January always sees a whirr of the Bachtrack abacuses as we round up our listings for the previous year, looking for any patterns or trends emerging. No site can claim to be comprehensive, but in 2015 we had 28,000 events listed from around the world, of some 16,500 works, cementing our position as the world’s leading site for finding classical music. And with 2,255 reviews posted in 2015, Bachtrack really is your first stop for exploring live classical music online. 

See our full infographic here. 

Who were the classical movers and shakers of 2015? Well, it’s no surprise that the big names still dominate. Mozart takes over from Beethoven as the most performed concert composer, closely followed by ‘the usual suspects’ Bach, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Schubert.

Top 10 concert composers in 2015 (2014 position in brackets):

  1. Mozart
    Mozart (2)

  2. Beethoven (1)

  3. J.S.Bach (3)

  4. Brahms (4)

  5. Tchaikovsky (6)

  6. Schubert (5)

  7. Haydn (12)

  8. Ravel (10)

  9. Sibelius (26)

  10. Schumann (11)

Composers with significant anniversaries usually enjoy a momentary rise in the rankings. 2015 saw the 150th birthdays of Nordic composers Sibelius and Nielsen. Sibelius stormed up the tables, from 27th position in 2014 into the top ten composers, settling in at No.9, with his music performed in 719 concerts. Orchestras were much more timid when programming Danish composer Nielsen, who only moved from No.54 up to 37. Sibelius presumably “sells” better than Nielsen, which is a real pity as there is some wonderful music out there to explore. In the opera house, Nielsen was almost completely neglected. Outside Denmark, no professional companies staged Maskarade or Saul and David, showing a distinct lack of adventure.

Arvo Pärt continues to be the most performed contemporary concert composer, leagues ahead of John Adams and John Williams. Female contemporary composers are still far behind, Jennifer Higdon ranked joint 167 in the list of concert composers. Top contemporary opera composer is Jonathan Dove, with 31 performances of 5 operas listed.

Autograph score of Beethoven's Fifth © Wikicommons
Autograph score of Beethoven's Fifth
© Wikicommons
Handel’s Messiah was toppled from top spot as the most performed concert work… but only just. Beethoven’s Fifth now sits at the head of the league. This year, three violin concertos burst into the top ten works, including Sibelius’ (that anniversary effect) moving from No.22 to No.3, thanks to Leonidas Kavakos, Frank Peter Zimmermann and Anne-Sophie Mutter leading the charge of violinists performing the concerto. Other lofty risers include Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik.

10 most played concert works (2014 ranking):   

  1. Beethoven: Symphony no. 5 in C minor (9)

  2. Handel: Messiah (1)

  3. Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor (22)

  4. Tchaikovsky: Symphony no. 5 in E minor (26)

  5. Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor (29)

  6. Beethoven: Symphony no. 7 in A major (2)

  7. Brahms: Symphony no. 1 in C minor (13)

  8. Beethoven: Symphony no. 6 in F major "Pastoral" (17)

  9. Mozart: Serenade no. 13 in G major, "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" (48)

  10. Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major (14)

Topping our list of busiest conductors is Jonathan McPhee. The resident Music Director at Boston Ballet is also Music Director of Lexington Symphony and Symphony New Hampshire. In December alone, McPhee had 28 engagements, including nine where he conducted both matinée and evening performances! Just behind McPhee are indefatigable maestros Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev and Gustavo Dudamel.

Busiest conductors of 2015:

Jonathan McPhee
Jonathan McPhee
1. Jonathan McPhee

2. Simon Rattle

3. Valery Gergiev

4. Gustavo Dudamel

5. Kent Nagano

6. Alan Gilbert

7. Marc Minkowski

7. Andris Nelsons

9. Fabio Luisi

10. Andrés Orozco-Estrada

In the concert hall, the Chicago Symphony was the busiest orchestra, pipping the New York Philharmonic. 

Busiest concert orchestras in 2015: 

1. Chicago Symphony Orchestra

2. New York Philharmonic

3. San Francisco Symphony

4. Berlin Philharmonic

5. Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie

6. Los Angeles Philharmonic

7. London Symphony Orchestra

7. Toronto Symphony

9. La Verdi

10. Vienna Symphony Orchestra

In the opera house, Italian opera dominates the top ten, Verdi’s La traviata in pole position with performances listed around the globe from Sydney to Savonlinna, from Cape Town to Tokyo.

Top 10 operas of 2015 (2014 ranking):

  1. Verdi: La traviata (2)

  2. Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (9)

  3. Bizet: Carmen (3)

  4. Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (6)

  5. Puccini: Madama Butterfly (5)

  6. Puccini: La bohème (1)

  7. Mozart: Don Giovanni (7)

  8. Verdi: Rigoletto (10)

  9. Puccini: Tosca (4)

  10. Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia (8)

<i>La traviata</i> at The Royal Opera © Catherine Ashmore | ROH
La traviata at The Royal Opera
© Catherine Ashmore | ROH

The Royal Opera is the busiest opera company in our statistics, putting on 212 performances in 2015, closely followed by The Metropolitan Opera.

Busiest opera companies in 2015 (2014):

  1. Royal Opera (5)

  2. Metropolitan Opera (2)

  3. Opera Australia (8)

  4. Wiener Staatsoper (1)

  5. Opéra de Paris (4)

  6. Bayerische Staatsoper (3)

  7. Zurich Opera (6)

  8. Deutsche Oper Berlin (11)

  9. English National Opera (10)

  10. Hungarian State Opera (not listed)

The busiest singers, according to our opera and concert schedules, were:

Busiest singers of 2015: 

1. Ismael Jordi

2. Tobias Kehrer

3. Dimitry Ivashchenko

3. Benjamin Rasheed

5. Yonghoon Lee

6. Günther Groissböck

6. Okka von der Damerau

6. Elodie Méchain

9. Olga Peretyatko

9. Leo Nucci

9. Piotr Beczała

In the world of dance, Tchaikovsky rules, composer of five of the top ten ballets. The Nutcracker, unsurprisingly, was the most performed ballet, chosen by many companies as its Christmas show. We had more listings for Nutcracker than any other single ballet, opera or concert work!

Most performed ballets of 2015:

  1. <i>The Nutcracker</i> at The Royal Ballet © ROH | Tristram Kenton
    The Nutcracker at The Royal Ballet
    © ROH | Tristram Kenton
    The Nutcracker

  2. Swan Lake

  3. Romeo and Juliet

  4. The Sleeping Beauty

  5. Don Quixote

  6. Edward Scissorhands

  7. Giselle

  8. Serenade (Balanchine)

  9. La Bayadère

  10. Theme and Variations (Balanchine)


The Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris was the busiest dance company in our listings, followed by The Royal Ballet and New York City Ballet.

Busiest dance companies in 2015:

  1. <i>Swan Lake</i> at Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris © Ann Ray | Opéra national de Paris
    Swan Lake at Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris
    © Ann Ray | Opéra national de Paris
    Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris

  2. Royal Ballet

  3. New York City Ballet

  4. Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures

  5. American Ballet Theatre

  6. San Francisco Ballet

  7. Birmingham Royal Ballet

  8. Boston Ballet

  9. English National Ballet

  10. Dutch National Ballet & Pacific Northwest Ballet

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