Showing posts with label Orchestra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orchestra. Show all posts

Friday, November 16, 2018


Copy of toscaniniontour.jpg
"Toscaniniontour". Licensed under PD-US via Wikipedia.
Entertainment is certainly a very popular element found all over in New York. People love to see live music and they can find it where various types of orchestras person. You can even listen to them when you are at live productions such as the Phantom of the Opera. There are certainly some wonderful productions in New York that one can enjoy. Some of them take place on a regular basis and others only perform on a special basis.

The longest running orchestra in the United States is the Philharmonic. They have been in place since 1842. They have performed more than 15,000 shows and they always get rave reviews for their efforts. Tickets for their shows sell out fast and there are always plenty of people who show up for tryouts to be a part of this musical group. Plan to pay a premium price though for any performance by this well known New York group.

If you will be traveling to New York in the future, check online to find out about the various orchestra performances that will be taking place. This can be a wonderful treat when you get some time to relax. Many of them are at really nice locations and so you can decide to have a nice dinner that evening as well.

Sometimes though various New York orchestras have been known to travel to other locations. You may find you are able to catch a performance of theirs much closer to home. They are definitely worth the price of a ticket though as you won’t find live music this great too many other places. Yet if you can’t get enough of it you can buy CDs with the sounds of the New York orchestra on them. You can also download songs to your iPod.

For those that have big musical dreams, the quest for being accepted to join one of the various orchestras in New York is one that can come true. It takes plenty of hard work and dedication in order to do so. Of course, there is a great deal of pride that comes with the territory when you are performing in the New York orchestra.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


The logo of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The logo of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As is the case with many of America's pre-eminent orchestras -- of which the Boston Symphony is clearly one -- the ensemble's history can be told as a series of stories about its conductors. These singular stars of the podium command significant salaries and enjoy considerable influence over an orchestra's schedule, the type of sound it presents to the public, and even whether or not it will perform on tour -- and where. Most principal conductors also take on the title of music director, which gives them the power to make these kinds of organization-changing decisions.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) was founded in 1881, making it one of the oldest orchestras in the United States with a continuous performing history. The founder was Henry Lee Higginson, a wealthy businessman born in New York City but raised in Boston from the age of four. He was a Union Army officer during the U.S. Civil War and acquired considerable wealth following the conflict while working in his father's brokerage firm -- having first failed on his own in both the oil business and as the owner of a Georgia cotton farm. After struggling for some years to find its audience, the BSO began to flourish in the early years of the 20th century, thanks in great part to finding a permanent home in Symphony Hall, which hosted its first concert on October 15, 1900.

The orchestra was dominated in its early days by a string of German-born conductors, among them Wilhelm Gericke, Max Fiedler, and Karl Muck. Maestro Muck served two terms as BSO music director -- his final stint took place from 1912-18 -- and left with some rancor due to a rising tide of anti-German American public opinion after the country entered World War I. Two French conductors succeeded him, and the orchestra began to emphasize the French classical tradition from that point forward. The hiring of a number of musicians trained in France encouraged the furtherance of this tradition.

In 1924, the Boston Symphony signed Russian-born Serge Koussivitsky to be its principal conductor and music director, and this dynamic individual remained in those twin posts for 25 years, an almost unprecedented situation in classical orchestra circles. Under his leadership, the BSO began a series of radio broadcasts, and he also encouraged wider exposure by taking the ensemble west to the Berkshire Mountains for annual summer concerts. This program led to the founding of Tanglewood in 1940, and the venue has served as the summer home of the Boston Symphony ever since. During his tenure with the BSO, Koussevitsky commissioned orchestral works from a number of prominent composers. These pieces included Prokofiev's Symphony No. 4, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra (which was actually commissioned by the maestro's personal foundation but given its premiere by the BSO). The Russian director left in 1949, to be succeeded by French/Alsatian conductor Charles Munch. He remained with the orchestra until 1962, at which point Erich Leinsdorf took over as director.

For the Boston Symphony, the latter half of the 20th century was dominated by the reign of Seiji Ozawa, who led the orchestra from 1973 until 2002. Ozawa continued the ensemble's reputation for excellence -- he toured with them numerous times all around the world -- as well as making hundreds of recordings on a variety of record labels. James Levine, the first American to lead the Boston Symphony, replaced him in 2004. Levine helped revitalize the orchestra's reputation for playing new music, leading them to no fewer than 18 world premieres in six years. He continued to fulfill that role with the BSO while also remaining in charge of New York's Metropolitan Opera until a severe illness curtailed both activities.

Beginning in 2014 the BSO's music director is Andris Nelsons. He formerly held a similar post with the City of Birmingham [U.K.] Symphony Orchestra, having begun his musical career in his native Riga, Latvia, as a trumpet player in that country's national orchestra.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Fabulous Facts on the ORCHESTRA

Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco (Guadalajara...
Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Going out to the Orchestra, Opera, Musical Theatre or Mass is a past time which many people enjoy. Music plays a great part in many peoples lives, whether it is to listen to or take part in. These groups mentioned earlier all consist of an orchestra. So, what is an orchestra?

The word Orchestra comes from ancient Greek. It originally meant the semi-circular space in front of the stage in a theatre where the chorus in a Greek play danced or sang. Later, at the beginning of the seventeenth century when the first Italian Operas were performed, a small group of musicians accompanied the singers and were seated in a similar space in front of the stage. And so the word Orchestra came to mean a body of musicians.

There are various types of orchestras. The group size may be large or small and a conductor usually directs them.

Large orchestras of around one hundred musicians are seen in most large cities and perform in a variety of settings. They are often called:

1. Symphony Orchestra because of the symphonies they play which require a large number of musicians. They also play a wide range of other music.

2. Philharmonic Orchestra which means 'loving harmony of music"

Smaller Orchestras come in varying types and styles and include the following:

1. Chamber Orchestra: This orchestra usually consists of about twenty players who can comfortably perform in a large room of a mansion, hence the name. music performed consists of works from the eighteenth century eg from Bach and Mozart, and also more modern works.

2. Small Orchestra: This orchestra is slightly larger than the chamber orchestra and plays more modern works.

3. Theatre Orchestras: These orchestras accompany musical theatre, opera, ballets and can consist of up to sixty players.

4. String Orchestra: This orchestra consists of around twenty string instrumentalists only. Music played is classical and modern.

5. Jazz and Concert Orchestras which play and record light music.

It is interesting to note that a group of wind instrumentalists playing together is usually called a Band eg Symphonic Band

So what are the instruments of a typical Symphony Orchestra?
There are four main groups of instruments which play in a symphony orchestra.

String Instruments take up about two thirds or three-quarters of the entire orchestra. They consist of around 32 violins ( first and second ), 12 violas, 10 cellos and 8 double basses plus one or two harps.
Woodwind Instruments consist of flutes, clarinets, oboes, and bassoons. There are usually around 2 to 4 players of each of these instruments. One player from each instrument type may double up to a higher or lower version of that instrument eg flute players double up with a piccolo which is a shorter, higher flute.

Brass Instruments consist of trumpets, horns, trombones, tuba(s) and sometimes a cornet. The numbers vary depending on the work performed. Some modern works can use 6 trumpets, 8 horns, 4 trombones and 2or 3 tubas.

Percussion Instruments consist of 4 to 5 players. The instruments are varied and are shaken, rubbed or struck Examples used in a symphony orchestra are the timpani, tam-tam, cymbals, triangle, tambourines and various kinds of drums.

Where do these instrumentalists sit?
A typical symphony orchestra has a seating plan in the shape of a semi-circle ( from the original meaning of Orchestra ) with a conductor in the middle front on a raised stand. The layout can vary according to the conductor used.

The violins sit to the left of the conductor in order of first violins near stage edge and second violins next to the firsts. the cellos (stage edge ) and violas sit to the right of the conductor, with the double basses behind. The woodwinds sit in the middle with the flutes ( front ) and clarinets ( back ) to the left and oboes ( front ) and bassoons ( back ) to the right. The brass sits behind the woodwinds. And the percussion sit at the back of the orchestra

What does the Conductor do?
The conductor directs the orchestra with use of a baton and their arms. They indicate to the musicians all sorts of things like music speed, rhythm, an expression like loud and soft playing and bringing in the instrumentalists at the correct place. In rehearsal, they correct musicians on these aspects. The principal violin, who is the leader of the orchestra, is responsible for the discipline of musicians during rehearsal.
As you can see, there are a variety of orchestras which have varying numbers of people and instruments. A symphony orchestra is just one type of orchestra and consists of a large number of string, woodwind, brass and percussion players. Orchestras usually have a conductor who directs the musicians and gives the music spark.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Orchestra Hall, Michican Ave., Chicago,Illinoi...
Orchestra Hall, Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Formed in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is generally considered to be one of the country's finest classical music ensembles. Along with the orchestras of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland, these groups are collectively known as the Big Five, both for the quality of the music they play as well as their influence on the world of classical music.

The orchestra moved to its permanent home, Orchestra Hall, in 1904. Now a part of the overall Symphony Center complex located along South Michigan Avenue, the exterior of this edifice was designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham in the Georgian style. Above the ballroom windows that grace an upper floor are inscribed the names of five important composers: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner. Starting in 1995, the building underwent a significant renovation that took three years to complete. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1994.

As with most orchestras, their success is oftentimes best described by noting the accomplishments of the people who led them. Under the musical direction of Frederick Stock, the CSO made its first recording in 1916. He was also responsible for instituting a series of young people's concerts during the 1919-20 season that remains part of the orchestra's commitment to the community to the present day. In the period between the two world wars, Artur Rodzinski conducted the orchestra's first full-scale production of Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner, which starred Kirsten Flagstad. In the 1950s, Fritz Reiner conducted a number of historic recordings on the RCA label, including one of Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra that is considered by many aficionados the best example of its era. The orchestra has also attracted a number of high-profile guest conductors down through the years, notably many who were also composers. These have included Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel, Edward Elgar, Leonard Bernstein, and Aaron Copland.

The person who clearly had the greatest impact on turning the Chicago Symphony into a world-class orchestra was Georg Solti. The Hungarian-born conductor served as music director from 1969 until 1991 and led the ensemble in a total of 999 performances. Many of his recordings are listed as among the best examples of each respective work. Under his baton, the CSO undertook its first European tour [1971] and recorded the soundtrack for the feature film Casino.

The current music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is Riccardo Muti, known primarily for his work in opera and as principal conductor for the La Scala Opera House in Milan, Italy. However, he also enjoys a solid reputation as a leader of various symphony orchestras, in particular having served as music director for the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1980 to 1992.

Every summer the Chicago Symphony relocates to the northern suburbs and its summer home at Ravinia, a forest-like setting in nearby Highland Park, Illinois. The annual Ravinia Festival began in 1936, and it offers a wide range of classical music-everything from "pops" to opera, and occasionally a world premiere in a pastoral setting beneath the stars. Several famous conductors have made their CSO debuts at Ravinia, including James Levine and Seiji Ozawa.

The CSO was the first American symphony to align itself with a training orchestra. The Civic Orchestra of Chicago was formed in 1919, and it continues today as one of the most prestigious venues for musicians interested in becoming professional orchestra players. This ensemble generally performs five or six concerts per year and also sponsors a chamber series that showcases its most prominent young players.

Newest information on WIKIPEDIA

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What Comprises a MODERN ORCHESTRA?

Have you felt being carried to faraway places as you listen to the great music that comes from an orchestra? Yes, practically nothing could beat the way that an orchestra creates music. It makes you feel like you’re in the clouds listening to angelic voices. Since Ancient Egypt, the orchestra has evolved to the modern orchestra that we have now. But what comprises the modern orchestra?

Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco (Guadalajara...
Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Basically, an orchestra is composed of different instruments that blend harmoniously together to create an enchanting music. There are different classifications of musical instruments that are used in the modern orchestra. These are the woodwinds, the brass, the percussion, the keyboards and the strings. These classifications are further subdivided into different instruments.

The woodwinds is composed of the piccolo, bassoons, contrabassoon, flutes, oboes, English horn, clarinets in B-flat, and bass clarinets in E-flat. The brass classification includes French Horns in F, tuba, trumpets in B-flat, Euphonium, and trombones. The keyboards are the celesta and piano. The strings are violins I & II, cellos, violas, and double basses. Lastly, the percussion instruments include the snare drum, bass drum and tenor drum. It also includes the timpani, cymbals, tam-tam, tambourine, xylophone, and triangle.

Take the case of Oakville chamber orchestra. You can find that there is a hierarchy between the instruments. In every group, there is a recognized leader that usually plays the solo. The principal first violin is usually considered as the leader of the orchestra. The only one that is higher than the violin is the conductor himself.

In the low brass section, it is the principal trombone that is considered as the leader. However, for the entire brass section, it is the principal trumpet. The principal oboe is for the woodwind section. With the different instrument groups, there are also those that are considered as the co-principals. This hierarchy between the instruments at the Oakville chamber orchestra actually provide for a great musical effect.

Most modern orchestras of today are led by the conductor and usually play Oakville classical music. You would be amazed at how the music that they create touches your heart and soul.

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