Kenneth Woods is a conductor and cellist who has recently completed an interesting self-study of the works he's conducted during the 2009-2010 season, entitled "Which Composers Are Getting Played?" I find it an interesting read for a a number of reasons:
1) It's an interesting balance of basic repertoire, unusual works, and modern composers -- which goes against my perception that conductors only want to do works by dead white Europeans.
2) Woods talks about the process of working with orchestra and orchestra boards, which explains in part why certain works get done infrequently, or not at all.
3) It's thought-provoking. If you had to learn 75-125 works to conduct in a season, which ones would you choose? How many would you be willing to learn that you might not like very much, but orchestras expect you to perform? How much new music would you program, and how new is new?
That last question's not irrelevant. As Woods says as he goes through his list,
Other composers dear to me, however, have not been lucky. Bartók has been completely absent. This makes me crazy, but I get tremendous (and completely incomprehensible) resistance when trying to program his music.
Incomprehensible is right! Bartók is an acknowledged master, whose works are mainstays of the repertoire (at least among musicians). Modern? Well, maybe for 1948 -- but that was over a half century ago. Could we please move him to the dead white European male category so we can get his music performed more often? (if that's what it takes)