The Top OrchestrasBy
Determining the top orchestras is a controversial topic at best. Judging an orchestra is very subjective and there is no clear rating system. It is not like watching a game of baseball where there is clearly a winner and a loser. It is more along the lines of trying to judge figure skating. What appeals to one person may not to another. People place priorities on different factors depending on their particular tastes. However, the orchestras listed below are considered to be by the experts some of the best in the world.
The Vienna Philharmonic
This orchestra which was founded in 1842 has a slightly different history than many other orchestras. The founder, Otto Nicolai, started this group as an independent orchestra and one of the major principals of the group was that all decisions were based on voting with all members in the orchestra having a vote. This principle still applies to many of the decisions made by the Philharmonic today.
The Vienna Philharmonic is based in Vienna in the Weiner Musikverein. Any person who wants to join this prestigious organization must apply after having played for either the ballet, or the opera, for three years.
Berlin Symphony Orchestra
The Berlin Symphony orchestra is also called the Berliner Symphoniker. This orchestra has undergone numerous name changes and merges throughout the years. The original group consisted of 54 members who started playing together more than 119 years ago. The symphony makes its home in the Philharmonic Hall at Kemperplatz. This talented group has received praise from composers and critics alike, for many decades.
London Symphony Orchestra
London is one of the few cities that can boast having more than one world class orchestra. It has, in fact, five: The London Symphony Orchestra, the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. All of these symphonies are well regarded and respected throughout the world.
The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) was founded in 1904. It was the desire of the musicians who started this orchestra that they be allowed to operate and function as an independent. This was the first orchestra of its kind in the UK. They also have a number of other claims to fame, including the fact that they were booked to play on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, but were forced to cancel because of a scheduling conflict. They are also the first British orchestra to travel to a foreign country. They appeared in France in 1906.
This symphony has been selected to play a number of film scores, including: Star Wars, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Braveheart, Raider’s of the Lost Ark and Superman. The orchestra has also been featured on a number of pop albums. They are included on Neil Young’s Harvest, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band and Some of the songs on both the Thriller and Bad albums by Michael Jackson. They have even made contributions to the video game world where they played some of the background music for Tomb Raider.
The New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic lays claim to the title of being the oldest orchestra in the USA. This prestigious group was founded in 1842 and makes its home at Avery Fisher Hall. They gave their 1, 400th performance in December of 2004.
Originally founded by Ureli Corelli hill an American composer and conductor, it began playing using the name the Philharmonic Society of New York. On the 7th of December, this group began its long history by plating Beethoven’s 5th for 600 people in the Apollo Rooms.
Since that time, this group has toured all around the globe including a stop in North Korea in 2008. This landmark tour was at the invitation of the government of North Korea and was intended as a ground breaker for relations between the two countries. The symphony has among its credits more than seven different Grammy Awards, including five for the Best Classical Album of the year.
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
The Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam makes its home in the Concertgebouw Hall. The Hall opened in April 0f 1888, but the orchestra did not give its debut performance until November of the same year. The first principal conductor of this orchestra was Willem Kes who stayed on for seven years.
In 1988, the Beatrix of the Netherlands bestowed the official Royal to this elite group. This truly first class orchestra was heralded by Gramophone as being the very best orchestra in the world. When asked why this orchestra topped all others, the general response was that all the orchestras were magnificent, but that the Concertgebouw has a very distinctive sound that is all their own.
No matter which of these orchestras you choose to see and hear, you will know that you are in for a world class performance.