We all think our taste in music determines the best out there. However, the best orchestras in the world come with a fair number of requirements. And, today we’re taking a look at their founding and notable members. Here are the top orchestras in the world.
1. Royal Concertgebouw
The history of Royal Concertgebouw dates back to 1888. Today, the group of 120 plus musicians has made teamwork and attentiveness a habit of their play style.
The mixture of contemporary with classical roots has made the Concertgebouw world-renowned. They also drew many of today’s musical directors to residencies with the foundation. They are known for their renditions of Mahler and Bruckner. The introduction of Dutch Passion and Second Vienesse to stipulate their repertoire further.
With their Concertgebouworkest Live title, the group has released over a thousand recorded performances for their audience’s enjoyment. They also hold a yearly seasonal performance called Christmas Matinee.
Fact: The Royal Concertgebouw is home to talents like Marissa Janson and Ricardo Chally.
2. Berlin Philharmonic
Berlin’s music history is as passionate as its politics. Established in 1963, the original members looked to make their careers as the Former Bilse Ensemble – so-called after their former director.
From humble venues, famous conductors such as Ernst Rudolff and Franz Wullner would lead them as the Philharmonic, soon counting Hans Von Bulow among a line of historic directorship. Today, under the director Sir Simon Rattle, the Philharmonic is one of the best orchestras in the world. They also have developed a classic concerto for the digital age.
The Berlin Philharmonic has toured in Abu Dhabi for Easter Festival and continues its beginnings as a rebel-spirited ensemble innovator.
3. Vienna Philharmonic
Vienna Philharmonic is “incomparable” and, as Bruckner said, “…the most musical association.”
Founded in 1842, the Vienna Philharmonic has kept a strong sense of autonomy in its operation and progression alongside its Vienna Orchestra counterpart. Taking a special interest in history, the ensemble has counted performances for the memory of WW1 and was inducted as Ambassadors for Peace by the IIASA. Plain as their adopted motto: “From the heart to the heart.”
4. London Symphony Orchestra
With pride in being independent and self-run, the London symphony counts its number of recordings, breakthroughs, and innovating spirit as making it the best orchestras in the world.
From 1904 onward, the LSO has worked as the backbone of London’s classical music development. They also have programs promoting youth in musical learning. Their work has included opening for the London Olympics and Recordings of Abbey Road. They also have a recent partnership with St Lukes to provide funding and teaching for misused communities.
5. Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Called the greatest by critics, the Chicago Orchestra has covered many genres since its creation in 1892. Currently led by famed director Riccardo Muti, the group’s history can be highlighted by previous leadership.
Prior director Daniel Barenboim oversaw the completion of Symphony Center. The first of many European tours under Sir George Solti, and Frederick Stock rising from violinist to direct the first Civic Orchestra of Chicago in training future musicians.
Today, the orchestra and its 10th director have been busy recording Verdi’s Requiem under an independent label. No slouch to achievement; both orchestra and chorus have received over 60 awards from the National Academy.
6. Los Angeles Philharmonic
The Los Angeles Philharmonic is celebrating its 103rd season. The orchestra was formed in 1919 and played in venues like the Walt Disney concert hall and the Hollywood Bowl.
The orchestra is innovative at its core. They plan festivals and concerts to enjoy and educate young audiences on concerto music. The orchestra also has landed grand applause for the Green Umbrella Series and recording Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels.
While working extensively for television programming, its directors have gained recognition for operatic symphonies such as Brahm’s No.4. They also have homages to Maurice Ravel’s work.
7. Budapest Festival Orchestra
While fairly recent, the BFO has made a dramatic splash in the orchestra scene under director Ivan Fischer. Highly productive, the ensemble counts performances from Carnegie Hall New York to Barbican Centre in London.
With collaboration from Zoltan Kocsis, appearances at the Mostly Mozart Festival and Vincenz Operatic Festival are just first on their lists. Critics have approved, with awards for the group’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony’s 1 & 5. With so much accomplished in a relatively short time of formation, it begs to ask where the BFO will go next.
8. Staatskapelle Dresden
Berlin-based Staatskapelle Dresden is one of the oldest orchestras. Its history dates back to 1548 and was founded by Joachim II as the Court Orchestra “Hofkeppelle.”
A long list of conductors has led the Royal Court Opera. Some of them include Eric Kleiber, Richard Strauss, and Otmar Suitor. Daniel Barenboim was recently made Conductor for Life. He has coordinated performances of Beethoven, Mahler, and Schuman with visiting guest conductors. The group frequently releases recordings of historic multi-part symphonies such as Beethoven piano concertos and, most recently, Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Die Zarenbraut.”
9. Cleveland Orchestra
Cleveland Orchestra came together in 1918 and was led by famous directors like Artur Rodinzki and Lorin Mazel. Franz Welsor-Most is currently leading the orchestra since 2002.
The original ensemble was the first American orchestra to be on the radio. They also brought jazz to the music hall on Friday night broadcasts. Today, the outreach of its musicians has brought their musical talent into North Ohio neighborhoods. They also welcome any novice to the enjoyment of a concert orchestra. It’s easy to see why they are counted as one of the Big Five American Orchestras.
The Best Orchestra in the World – Which One Is Your Favorite?
This list makes up some of the best symphonies in the world. Choosing is difficult, but it ultimately comes down to the preference of the listener. Whether foreign or stateside, the enjoyment of fine music is universal and should be valued.
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