We got a lot of interest last January when we published our Concert and Opera League Tables for 2010, so we thought we'd do it again for 2011. It's fascinating to see how a great deal is constant from year to year, with the biggest visible differences due to which composers have anniversaries. I'm not at all sure what will happen this year, where there are few anniversaries of major significance (Debussy, Delius, Cage and John Ireland fans may now throw rotten eggs at me, but in all honesty, none of these figure on most people's top 10 lists).

I haven't split out the US numbers this year: they didn't show anything particularly interesting that wasn't covered in 2010. The usual caveats 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. I have truly no idea how those biases might play out: they make these stats fairly useless for serious research, but they don't stop them being fun to read (I think). Anyway, here are the sample sizes this year: Concerts: 12,055 Opera performances: 5,547

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.

2011 2010
1 Beethoven 1,566 Beethoven 1,576
2 Mozart 1,403 Mozart 1,260
3 Bach 1,063 Schumann 953
4 Brahms 983 Bach 902
5 Schubert 759 Brahms 879
6 Liszt 700 Haydn 648
7 Tchaikovsky 665 Schubert 645
8 Haydn 639 Tchaikovsky 607
9 Mahler 623 Chopin 569
10 Handel 608 Mahler 562

Comparing this to last year, the anniversary effect is evident. Chopin and Schumann (who both had anniversaries in 2010) drop out of the top ten, to be replaced by Liszt, who had an anniversary in 2011, and Handel (who was close to the top ten last year anyway). Otherwise, the top ten list is identical - it will be interesting to see if Mahler drops out next year (he had anniversaries both in 2010 and 2011, but one senses that his popularity has really grown over this period). Looking at our concert finder for 2012, I can see that Debussy (who has an anniversary this year) is in the top ten as things stand. By the way, 6,839 concerts feature at least one of the top ten composers - 57% of the total.

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 2011.

2011 2010
1 Bach 370 Bach 347
2 Mozart 310 Schubert 281
3 Schubert 292 Mozart 271
4 Handel 274 Chopin 258
5 Liszt 267 Schumann 229
6 Brahms 177 Handel 212
7 Haydn 176 Haydn 189
8 Beethoven 168 Beethoven 182
9 Schumann 140 Brahms 173
10 Chopin 136 Richard Strauss 126

Worldwide, the list is identical to last year (bar slight re-ordering), except that Richard Strauss makes way for the anniversary effect of Liszt; Chopin and Schumann are lower in the list than they were, but not knocked out. The US numbers are more varied (although the top three remain the same): Chopin, Shostakovich and Stravinsky make way for Handel, Mendelssohn and Ravel.

Most performed works

2011 2010
1 Messiah (Handel) 121 Messiah (Handel) 125
2 Symphony no. 4 (Bruckner) 88 Symphony no. 7 (Beethoven) 101
3 Symphony no. 7 (Beethoven) 88 Symphony no. 1 "Titan" (Mahler) 93
4 Piano Concerto no. 1 (Liszt) 87 Piano Concerto no. 2 (Chopin) 82
5 Symphony no. 5 (Beethoven) 85 Symphony no. 6 "Pastoral" (Beethoven) 84
6 Symphony no. 3 "Eroica" (Beethoven) 80 Piano Concerto no. 1 (Chopin) 82
7 Symphony no. 7 (Bruckner) 79 Piano Concerto no. 4 (Beethoven) 78
8 Violin Concerto (Tchaikovsky) 77 Symphony no. 5 (Beethoven) 77
9 Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky) 75 Piano Concerto no. 5 "Emperor" (Beethoven) 75
10 Symphony no. 1 (Brahms) 70 Symphonie Fantastique (Berlioz) 75

In this table, it's the overall shape that proves to be constant rather than the precise details of each work: the Christmas standard of Messiah at the top, followed by the core repertoire symphonies interspersed with a few of the most popular concerti, and one major piece of programme music: Symphonie Fantastique last year, Pictures at an Exhibition this year (which, by the way, is one of my very favourite pieces of music from an early age, so I'm glad to see it). I suspect the ratings from the two Bruckner symphonies are exalted by the diligence of the wonderful people at the Bruckner society in making sure that their performances are all in our database!

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
20th/21st century 6,389 5,785 35% 5,619 35%
Romantic 6,829 2,934 37% 6,392 42%
Classical 2,108 657 12% 1,936 9%
Baroque 2,484 1,860 14% 1,604 11%
Early 473 847 4% 439 4%

An interesting snippet here is that although the romantic and classical repertoire accounts for a huge number of concerts, this is on the basis of a relatively small number of different works: in other words, the same works get played again and again. Contrast this to the 20th/21st century where there are almost as many different works as there are concerts, and the Early music period where there are far more. Health warnings: (1) these numbers are sensitive to how much detail gets put in about works into our database: small changes in this can skew the numbers. (2) The numbers of works for 2010 look wrong to me, so I've deleted them.

Busiest orchestras

Reminder: this excludes opera and ballet performances.

2011 2010
1 San Francisco Symphony 157 San Francisco Symphony 144
2 Chicago Symphony 133 Chicago Symphony 137
3 Boston Symphony 131 New York Philharmonic 127
4 Berliner Philharmoniker 131 O S di Milano Giuseppe Verdi 121
5 Los Angeles Philharmonic 124 Berliner Philharmoniker 114
6 New York Philharmonic 119 Los Angeles Philharmonic 118
7 Concertgebouw 112 Concertgebouw 117
8 Philadelphia Orchestra 111 Vienna Philharmonic 111
9 Cleveland Orchestra 104 Bournemouth Symphony 107
10 Bournemouth Symphony 95 Philadelphia Orchestra 99

Given the comments we got last year, I have to take pains to point out that this table measures only the concerts listed on our site. If orchestras' marketing departments don't list all their concerts, they don't get included here, and the effect can be significant.

Busiest concert conductors and their ages

Again, this excludes opera and ballet. The conductor's age at his 2011 birthday is shown in brackets.

2011 2010
1 Gustavo Dudamel (30) 82 Valery Gergiev (57) 88
2 Iván Fischer (60) 74 Michael Tilson Thomas (66) 87
3 Sir Simon Rattle (56) 70 Mariss Jansons (67) 79
4 Paavo Järvi (49) 69 Iván Fischer (59) 68
5 Charles Dutoit (75) 68 Herbert Blomstedt (83) 67
6 Michael Tilson Thomas (67) 65 Charles Dutoit (74) 60
7 Richard Tognetti (46) 64 Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos (77) 58
8 Alan Gilbert (44) 57 Paavo Järvi (48) 56
9 Andris Nelsons (33) 55 Gustavo Dudamel (29) 56
10 Bernard Haitink (82) 55 Sir Simon Rattle (55) 56

Richard Tognetti, Alan Gilbert and Andris Nelsons make the top ten, displacing Valery Gergiev, Herbert Blomstedt and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. All of these three are under fifty, bringing the average age down from 62 to 54. What bothers me is that I'm sure I saw a news item saying that Haitink was retiring, or at least going for a more relaxed schedule than he used to. Either I was imagining it all, or Haitink has a very strange idea of what "more relaxed" means.

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.

2011 2010
1 Mozart 619 Verdi 824
2 Verdi 614 Mozart 619
3 Puccini 568 Puccini 681
4 Donizetti 294 Wagner 273
5 Rossini 266 Rossini 259
6 Wagner 253 Richard Strauss 246
7 Richard Strauss 233 Donizetti 240
8 Bizet 203 Bizet 226
9 Handel 155 Britten 129
10 Tchaikovsky 113 Tchaikovsky 111

My only surprise last year was that Handel didn't make the top ten - that's duly changed this year, at the expense of Britten. Otherwise, virtually no changes and no surprises.

Most performed operas

1 Carmen (Bizet) 188 La Bohème (Puccini) 243
2 Don Giovanni (Mozart) 179 Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart) 238
3 La Bohème (Puccini) 164 Carmen (Bizet) 212
4 Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) 152 Tosca (Puccini) 211
5 Die Zauberflöte (Mozart) 133 La Traviata (Verdi) 200
6 La Traviata (Verdi) 126 Don Giovanni (Mozart) 156
7 Madama Butterfly (Puccini) 124 Die Zauberflöte (Mozart) 137
8 Tosca (Puccini) 123 Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) 124
9 Rigoletto (Verdi) 102 Madama Butterfly (Puccini) 112
10 Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart) 96 Rigoletto (Verdi) 102

The order has changed, the titles haven't: the top ten is still the top ten. Così fan Tutte was at number eleven, making the Mozart/da Ponte combination the most extraordinary operatic partnership for sheer longevity of their output. One point of interest, though: the top ten operas accounted for 25% of all performances in 2011, down from 30% in 2012. Maybe the repertoire that audiences will accept is gradually broadening, which would be a great sign, in my opinion. So that's it for another year's stats. As usual, 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 5th January 2012