Women, First Nations composers under-represented in orchestral repertoire: new report

Analysis of the repertoire of nine major organisations, including the QSO, MSO, SSO, TSO, ASO and WASO, reveals that only 9% of 2,006 works performed in 2019 were written by Australian composers.

Australia’s largest orchestras and other major classical music organisations played more pieces with the word ‘violin’ in their titles in 2019 than works by female composers, according to a new independent report released this week (24 June).

The Living Music Report, created by composer and educator Ciaran Frame, reveals that only 0.05% of works performed in 2019 were written by First Nations composers; just 3% of works in repertoire were by female composers; and works by Australian composers represented only 9% of all music performed.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts