Beethoven's Seventh Was Most-Performed Work of 2005-06
By Ben Mattison
From PlaybillArts.com - 12 May 2006
While Mozart dominated concert programs this season, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony was the single work most performed by North American orchestras, with 89 performances, according to the American Symphony Orchestra League's annual repertoire report.According to the ASOL's statistics, based on information submitted by 322 ensembles, performances of Mozart shot up during his 250th-anniversary year. There were a total of 1,453 Mozart performances this season, far more than Beethoven (948), Tchaikovsky (581), and Brahms (495).
By comparison, there were 647 performances of Mozart in 2004-05 and 672 in 2003-04; Beethoven was played more during both seasons.
In 2005-06, the most-performed Mozart work, and the second most-performed work overall, was Symphony No. 41 ("Jupiter"), with 76 performances. Other top choices included Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 (73 performances), Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (72), Brahms' Symphony No. 1 (68), Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto (67), Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 (65), and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 (62).
The most-performed contemporary work (defined as composed within the last 25 years) was Joan Tower's Made in America, which was commissioned by ASOL and Meet the Composer for small orchestras across the country; it got 58 performances in 2005-06.
Other popular new works included Jennifer Higdon's Blue Cathedral, which got 19 performances; Aaron Jay Kernis's Musica Celestis for String Orchestra (18); Osvaldo Golijov's Last Round (14); and Peter Maxwell Davies' Orkney Wedding With Sunrise (13). After Tower, whose works had a total of 81 performances, John Adams was the most-performed contemporary composer, with 78 performances.
With a total of 1,072 performances, contemporary works accounted for about 14 percent of all performances in 2005-06, up (thanks in large part to Tower's piece) from 9 percent in 2004-05.
American works accounted for 17 percent of performances, with Copland, Gershwin, and Samuel Barber most frequently heard.