Since Bachtrack maintains a highly structured database of many thousands of classical music and opera performances across the world, we're in a unique position to show you some statistics about what gets performed. Following on from my blog about the top composers, I've taken a deep dive into our statistics for 2010: here are the results.

A note for statisticians: clearly, our database only includes a proportion of the concerts performed across the globe. It's a large sample, although not a random one: it's skewed towards the events put on by the largest organisations and those who have chosen, for whatever the reason, to work with us. The sample sizes are as follows: Concerts: 11,724 (2,476 in US) Opera performances: 5,858 (883 in US) Update 27-Jan 2011: click here for more details on these statistics

Composers with most concerts

Here are the composers who featured in the greatest number of concerts during the year: a composer gets an entry if at least one work was performed in a given concert.

Worldwide USA only
1 Beethoven 1,576 Beethoven 306
2 Mozart 1,260 Mozart 285
3 Schumann 953 Brahms 208
4 Bach 902 Tchaikovsky 145
5 Brahms 879 Schumann 139
6 Haydn 648 Ravel 129
7 Schubert 645 Mahler 126
8 Tchaikovsky 607 Bach 125
9 Chopin 569 Haydn 122
10 Mahler 562 Stravinsky 111

Chopin, Mahler and Schumann's figures are boosted by the many performances in honour of their anniversaries (Mahler gets another one in 2011). Clearly, the worldwide top ten is very much an Austro-German affair, with only Tchaikovsky and Chopin breaking in from the outside!

Composers with the most works performed

This gives a sense of how prolific a composer was - that is, how much of his output is performed. A composer gets an entry for each of his works that was performed at least once in 2010.

Worldwide USA only
1 Bach 347 Mozart 111
2 Schubert 281 Bach 100
3 Mozart 271 Beethoven 85
4 Chopin 258 Chopin 84
5 Schumann 229 Haydn 63
6 Handel 212 Schumann 57
7 Haydn 189 Brahms 56
8 Beethoven 182 Schubert 37
9 Brahms 173 Shostakovich 34
10 Strauss R 126 Stravinsky 33

It's interesting that although Beethoven makes the top slot of the most performed composer, this is on the basis of a much smaller sample of his overall work than Bach, Schubert or Mozart. This perhaps reflects the composers' personal histories: Bach and Mozart being jobbing composers who churned out a great deal of work. The 20th century didn't see a "jobbing composer" of that sort, with Richard Strauss and Stravinsky creeping in at no. 10.

Most performed works

Worldwide USA only
1 Messiah (Handel) 125 Messiah (Handel) 45
2 Symphony no. 7 (Beethoven) 101 Symphony no. 2 (Brahms) 39
3 Symphony no. 1 "Titan" (Mahler) 93 Don Juan (Richard Strauss) 29
4 Piano Concerto no. 2 (Chopin) 87 Violin Concerto (Tchaikovsky) 29
5 Symphony no. 6 "Pastoral" (Beethoven) 84 Violin Conerto no. 5 "Turkish" (Mozart) 26
6 Piano Concerto no. 1 (Chopin) 82 Symphony no. 7 (Beethoven) 26
7 Piano Concerto no. 4 (Beethoven) 78 Symphonie Fantastique (Berlioz) 25
8 Symphony no. 5 (Beethoven) 77 Symphony no. 1 "Titan" (Mahler) 25
9 Piano Concerto no. 5 "Emperor" (Beethoven) 75 Symphony no. 3 "Eroica" (Beethoven)
10 Symphonie Fantastique (Berlioz) 75 Le Sacre du Printemps (Stravinsky) 24

This makes you realise quite how popular Beethoven's symphonies and piano concerti remain today, and what a huge place they occupy in the repertoire. The anniversary effect is also notable: I can't believe that we'll be seeing Chopin's piano concerti in this list next year! Caveat: we had a big push last Christmas to make sure everyone got their Messiah performances into the database, so this will have helped it to the top of the table.

Concerts and performances by period of music

A concert features in the "Concerts" column if it includes at least one work from that period. A work features in the "Works" column if it is performed in at least one concert. There are serious health warnings over the fine print of which composer has been put into which category: for example, Rachmaninov is labelled "20th/21st century", which is, after all, when he wrote most of his music, but is generally considered Romantic in style, and Beethoven is labelled "Romantic" although music textbooks seem to be split as to whether he's Romantic or Classical. So the appellation "20th/21st century" covers everything from Rachmaninov to Rodrigo to Stockhausen. Treat the data with care!

Period Concerts
USA only
USA only
20th/21st century 5,619 11,497 35% 1,280 2,579 43%
Romantic 6,392 13,791 42% 1,249 2,248 38%
Classical 1,936 2,888 9% 397 619 10%
Baroque 1,604 3545 11% 217 371 6%
Early 439 1473 4% 57 127 2%

Clearly, 20th century music is alive and well, with much of it being played today. Since it's such a broad category, it will be interesting to do a bit more analysis (for example, which end of the 20th century are we talking about), which I hope to take a look at some time. It's unsurprising that the USA numbers are skewed towards more modern works: it would seem that the flourishing early music and baroque setups in Europe are not as prevalent over there (or perhaps they simply don't hit our radar).

Busiest orchestras

Reminder: this excludes opera and ballet performances.

Worldwide USA only
1 San Francisco Symphony 144 San Francisco Symphony 139
2 Chicago Symphony 137 Chicago Symphony 137
3 New York Philharmonic 127 New York Philharmonic 122
4 Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano
Giuseppe Verdi
121 Los Angeles Philharmonic 118
5 Berliner Philharmoniker 119 Philadelphia Orchestra 99
6 Los Angeles Philharmonic 118 Boston Symphony 96
7 Concertgebouw 117 Indianapolis Symphony 89
8 Vienna Philharmonic 111 Cleveland Orchestra 85
9 Bournemouth Symphony 107 Houston Symphony 56
10 Philadelphia Orchestra 99 Cincinnati Symphony 48

Update: Clearly, this data only reflects concerts that have been input into our database: see the CBSO's comment below that they have done rather more events than we showed. Calling all orchestras: do get all your events in for 2011! European musicians' unions take note: they work them hard over in the US! And hats off to the Bournemouth Symphony for being the only UK orchestra to play over 100 gigs (as best we can tell from the data we have, of course).

Busiest concert conductors and their ages

Again, this excludes opera and ballet. The conductor's age at his 2010 birthday is shown in brackets.

Worldwide USA only
1 Valery Gergiev (57) 88 Michael Tilson Thomas (66) 82
2 Michael Tilson Thomas (66) 87 Charles Dutoit (74) 48
3 Mariss Jansons (67) 79 James Levine (67) 46
4 Iván Fischer (59) 68 Alan Gilbert (43) 46
5 Herbert Blomstedt (83) 67 Hans Graf (61) 44
6 Charles Dutoit (74) 60 Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (77) 42
7 Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (77) 58 Gustavo Dudamel (29) 32
8 Paavo Järvi (48) 56 Neal Gittleman (55) 30
9 Gustavo Dudamel (29) 56 Christoph Eschenbach (70) 29
10 Sir Simon Rattle (55) 56 Paavo Järvi (48) 28

The average age of these top 10 conductors is 62 (59 [oops - this was wrongly stated as 50 when originally published] in the US), brought down significantly by the presence of Dudamel. I don't think I'm surprised that many older conductors are hugely represented and the top names in the business. What surprises me is quite how many concerts they're doing. After all, at nearly 70 concerts in the year, how on earth does the 83-year old Blomstedt cope with the rehearsal schedule?

Composers with most opera performances

I haven't shown the USA-only numbers here, because the sample size seemed to be a bit too small: a single big run is enough to skew the numbers.

1 Verdi 824
2 Mozart 771
3 Puccini 681
4 Wagner 273
5 Rossini 259
6 Richard Strauss 246
7 Donizetti 240
8 Bizet 226
9 Britten 129
10 Tchaikovsky 111

Not many surprises here. I was surprised not to see Handel figuring higher, given the considerable interest in his work. Maybe everyone is feeling a bit over-Handeled after the anniversary in 2009. Verdi is at the top because of the sheer number of different operas he wrote that are still performed - 19 in the year.

Most performed operas

1 La Bohème (Puccini) 243
2 Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart) 238
3 Carmen (Bizet) 212
4 Tosca (Puccini) 211
5 La Traviata (Verdi) 200
6 Don Giovanni (Mozart) 156
7 Die Zauberflöte (Mozart) 137
8 Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) 124
9 Madama Butterfly (Puccini) 112
10 Rigoletto (Verdi) 102

No surprises here either. That's it for this whistlestop tour of the year. If anyone has any comments or questions about different data, let us know, either by commenting here (if you want to be public) or using the contact form (if you want to be private). David Karlin 24th January 2011