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PROMS REPORT 2011

 

Composers: 7/112 (6.2%)

Living composers: 5/33 (15.1%)

Conductors: 1/63. (1.8%)

Instrumental soloists: 15/60 (25%)

 

The women composers are: Sally Beamish (BBC commission); Judith Bingham; Sofia Gubaidulina; Hildegard of Bingham; Elizabeth Maconchy; Judith Weir (BBC commission); Stevie Wishart (BBC commission).
The conductor is Stevie Wishart conducting her own folk/chamber group.

To analyse the figures – although 7 women composers represents the high end of any previous total, a closer look shows that only one of the works by a woman features in an evening concert in the Royal Albert Hall. And that one work is a 4 minute fanfare!

In recent years the BBC has been extending the series of main evening concerts in the RAH by having chamber daytime concerts in the Cadogan Hall, or afternoon concerts in the RAH. The audiences at the Cadogan are obviously very much smaller than the RAH which holds about 6000. It is disappointing to note that all the women composers (except the 4 min fanfare) are daytime concerts – 5 in the Cadogan, and one in an afternoon organ recital in the RAH. This partly reflects the perception of a smaller audience for contemporary pieces, so let’s take a look at living male composers who ARE being performed at the evening concerts in the RAH: There are 19 of these! So the score for women/men in evening concerts in RAH:

1 (at 4 mins)/ 19 (mostly substantial orchestral pieces of 20 – 35 mins).

So no chance of women catching up at this rate......

To put the figures in context, I decided to survey the September – December season of concerts at the Southbank Centre (which has 3 major concert halls). The figures for that are:

Composers: 4/114 (3.5%)

Living composers: 4/29 (14%)

Conductors; 2/48 (4.1%)

These figures are very much the same as for the BBC Proms.

 

Jennifer Fowler