Arvo Pärt is the world’s second most performed living composer

Estonian composer Arvo Pärt was the world’s second most performed living composer in 2023; he was the most performed living composer in 2022, but swapped places with John Williams last year.

Arvo Pärt is the second most performed living composer in the world, according to the London-based database of classical music events, Bachtrack.

Each year, Bachtrack compiles a series of statistics showing the number of performances of each composer’s work, as well as information on the most active conductors, orchestras and individual works performed.

In 2023, Bachtrack listed 31,309 different events (around 4,000 more than the previous year). These include more than 16,000 concerts, 9,000 opera performances and almost 6,000 dance performances.

The ten most performed living composers were John Williams, Arvo Pärt, Jörg Widman, Thomas Adès, Philip Glass, John Adams, Sofia Gubaidulina, Caroline Shaw, Unsuk Chin and Anna Clyde.

Arvo Pärt’s “Sarah was ninety years old”, performed by Hilliard Ensemble.

The most frequently performed concert composers overall were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert, Sergei Rachmaninov, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Robert Schumann and Maurice Ravel.

The most frequently performed concert works were Rachmaninov’s “Symphonic Dances”, Rachmaninov’s “Piano Concerto no. 3 in D minor”, Dvořák’s “Symphony no. 9 in E minor, ‘From the New World'”, Rachmaninov’s “Piano Concerto no. 2 in C minor”, Beethoven’s “Symphony no. 7 in A major”, Beethoven’s “Symphony no. 5 in C minor”, Brahms’ “Symphony no. 4 in E minor”, Beethoven’s “Symphony no. 3 in E flat major ‘Eroica'”, Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony no. 6 in B minor, ‘Pathétique'” and Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du printemps”.

One of the most performed living composers since 2012

Arvo Pärt was the most performed living composer from 2012 to 2018 and in 2022, while in 2019 he was second only to John Williams. In 2020 and 2021, Backtrack didn’t collect data due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced the cancellation of most concerts.

Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi was the third busiest conductor in 2022, behind Andris Nelsons and Klaus Mäkela.

Paavo Järvi conducting the Estonian Festival Orchestra at the Pärnu Music Festival. Photo by Tõiv Jõul.

Arvo Pärt was born in 1935 in Paide, Estonia. Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style using tintinnabuli, a compositional technique he invented.

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