Community Orchestras in Australia: Repertoire


Most Preferred Genres

Classical music (ie. from the classical period) is by far the most popular genre. 87% of respondent orchestras say they regularly play classical music, 11% occasionally, with a total positive ranking of 98%[i]. The second most played genre is Romantic music, played occasionally by 74% of orchestras and regularly by 7%. The genre with the second-highest positive ranking, however, is Movie Themes and Popular Songs (89%). The least performed genre, of the options given, was multicultural music, with the special category of “Babies Proms” (a style of concert rather than a genre) having the lowest ranking.

Of the positive responses (always/often/occasionally/would like to), classical music is the most played style. The rankings of other genres point to diversity across the sector, with a high percentage of orchestras performing non-classical music such as movie themes and popular songs, and 20th/21st century music. (Figure 1)

COiA july12 Figure1

Do orchestras want to play other genres?

Although only 8% of the orchestras responding to the survey currently play all eight nominated genres and categories, another 22% said they would like to add all the remaining genres that they were not already playing, ranging in number from one to four additions. Another 24% made a mixed response, indicating that they would like to add some new genres but were not interested in some others. This left almost half of the orchestras (46%) saying they had no wish to play genres other than those played currently. (Figure 2)

COiA july12 Figure2

What do they want to play more of?

Only Classical and Romantic avoided any “no” responses, these genres had some blank or “don’t know” responses but none stating that classical or romantic music aren’t played. Of the responses stating that the orchestra doesn’t currently play a genre, Australian music ranked equal highest among the genres that orchestras “would like to” play (50%), alongside Movie Themes and Popular Songs. A smaller number of the orchestras not playing baroque, early music or multicultural repertoire would like to do so.  

A large percentage of orchestras said they would like to play a “Babies Proms” program. As figure 1 shows, 20% of orchestras already performing this style of program. A further 28% said they don’t but would like to, 30% are not interested and some don’t know.

Next: Where do orchestras find their music?

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[i] 2% didn’t respond to the question