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Jan Lisiecki is the 9th busiest classical pianist in the world, and other facts

Robert Rowat

Canadian Jan Lisiecki was the ninth busiest classical pianist in the world in 2018, and at 23, the Calgary native is also the youngest pianist among the 10 busiest.

The information comes from Bachtrack, the classical music website, which has published its annual survey of the international music scene: Classical music in 2018: the year in statistics. The figures were derived from Bachtrack's database of 33,578 listings of concerts, operas and dance performances.

Lisiecki shares ninth position with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who's currently artist in residence with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Ahead of them on the list are Yefim Bronfman, Daniil Trifonov, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yuja Wang, Dénes Varjon, Andras Schiff, Kirill Gerstein and Igor Levitt.

Related: Jan Lisiecki's new all-Mendelssohn album will come out Feb. 1

Other remarkable findings in Bachtrack's report include the prevalence of music by Leonard Bernstein performed in 2018, the year of his centenary. His works were played more than those of every composer except Beethoven and Mozart, with Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story topping the list of most-performed concert works.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin was the fourth busiest conductor in 2018, behind Andris Nelsons, Valery Gergiev and Paavo Järvi. Fun fact: The eighth busiest conductor of 2018 was 91-year-old Herbert Blomstedt.

Busiest orchestra of 2018? The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Numbers (slightly) up for women

Women fared marginally better than in previous years, although the most-performed living female composer, Kaija Saariaho, still only ranks at 190th on the list.

Among female performers, JoAnn Falletta is the busiest conductor, ranking 19th in the world. There are six women among the 11 busiest violinists in the world, and two women among the six busiest cellists. Wang is the only woman among the 10 busiest concert pianists.

Verdi, Puccini, Mozart

There were no surprises among the most-performed operas of 2018, with Verdi, Puccini and Mozart making up 33 per cent. The Metropolitan Opera and Opera Australia are the only non-European companies among the world's 10 busiest.

"The workload is enormous," confides Alison Karlin, who trained as a stockbroker and qualified as a technical analyst before becoming director of Bachtrack. We reached her via email and asked her about putting together this year's report.

"First, I go through every category I can think of which might be interesting, trying to find everything which is shown and to consider everything which is not (like an absence of women)," she explains. "Then, I hand the information to a son who works in big data who runs this through his program to analyse mathematically how strongly a composer is rising or falling in popularity over several years. This picks up a selection of data, which is below the radar. When I finally have the data, I start work on the infographic, which takes another age."

View the full report here.


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