Earlier this year, Richard Letts published an enlightening if sobering report on the state of contemporary music programming at Australian orchestras and opera houses. After reading Dick’s piece, I wondered what the situation was like in North America. Was it somehow similar? I did some digging around and uncovered a fascinating resource called the Orchestra Repertoire Report, published by the League of American Orchestras.

The League of American Orchestras is a national advocacy organization for North American orchestras and has been keeping tabs on what is being programmed in symphonic concert halls since 2000. Member orchestras, such as the Minnesota Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic, submit data on all their programming, and from this wealth of material, the League is able to track industry-wide programming and performance trends. The most recent Orchestral Repertoire Report is for the 2010-11 season and includes statistics from 62 different orchestras across North America.

While the focus of this discussion will be on North American and contemporary music programming, I did want to mention there is so much more in the Orchestra Repertoire Report 2010-11. I encourage you to browse this invaluable resource. Information from the 2010-11 concert season can be found here. Also, an archive from 2000 to 2010 seasons can be seen here.

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AuthorAndrew Byrne

Last night I attended a concert as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival on the Upper West side on Manhattan. It was quite an event. The adventurous genre-hopping So Percussion quartet joined forces with the quirky rock duo Buke and Gase for an evening of... Well, it was hard to define exactly what they were playing: was it contemporary classical music or experimental indie rock or something else? Whatever it was the audience lapped it up, whooping and hollering for more. It was not your standard issue new music concert to be sure. And not your standard issue concert audience either.

The Ecstatic Music Festival, which takes place every March at the scrappy Merkin Concert Hall in the shadow of Lincoln Center, is perhaps the most public expression of one of the more interesting musical trends to emerge from New York in the last couple of years. For my first post, I thought I’d introduce you to some of the ideas and figures associated with this development.

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AuthorAndrew Byrne