Class #2: Introduction – What Makes A Great Orchestra?

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: What makes a great orchestra, yes. But also what defines a great orchestra. Let's talk about the orchestral landscape in America. The first orchestra concert was in 1800, but the first orchestra seasons didn't start till 1842. There are now about 1,800 orchestras in America. In … [Read more...]

Tom Morris: What Defines An Orchestral Point Of View

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: A great orchestra has a point of view. It's not interchangeable with other orchestras. You need a collection of musicians who don't just play notes well, but who each add something distinctive. You need cohesiveness. Orchestras have been gradually losing personal style. Jet … [Read more...]

Listen and Do: Six (Really Short) Versions of Brahms

The best way to compare performances (or orchestras) is to listen to them side-by-side. Side-by-side can be playing entire performances to compare the interpretations, the ideas, the sound. But the exercise here is more specific. Below are six excerpts from six different performances of Brahms' … [Read more...]

Anne Midgette: Qualities To Look For in A Great Orchestra

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: There are the technical things - the tuning, the richness of sound, the ability to play together. Does something sound thin versus sounding rich? But there's something even more important - how does an orchestra engage with its audience. Even those who haven't heard many … [Read more...]

David Alan Miller: Define the Personalities of Great Orchestras

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: The personalities of the great old orchestras had personality - players and conductors. Gigantic personalities gave orchestras their own personal stamp. Each orchestra has distinct personality. Here's what the great orchestras were known for. Chicago, New York, Philadelphia... … [Read more...]

Anne Midgette: Ranking Great Orchestras

WHAT'S IN THIS VIDEO: Ranking orchestras is difficult because of geographic distance. There has been homogeneity with mixing of players internationally over the past several decades. But it is amazing how orchestras maintain their traditional quality of personality over decades even long after the … [Read more...]

Listen and Do: Four Great Orchestras

The great orchestras of yesterday were each known for their defining characteristics. Their sound, their musicality, their personalities were usually defined by great conductors, who spent much time with their orchestras developing them. Here are four of the greats: Known for its opulent string … [Read more...]

One Magazine’s Top 20 Orchestras List

In 2008 Gramophone Magazine took a poll of prominent critics and declared the top 20 orchestras in the world. They were: 1 Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra 2 Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra 3 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra 4 London Symphony Orchestra 5 Chicago Symphony Orchestra 6 Bavarian Radio … [Read more...]