Are you a fan of orchestras? Ever wanted to attend an event featuring one? But the biggest question is: which one is the best? There really is no right or wrong answer because it entirely depends on your preferences. To pick the best orchestras, a number of factors like ethos, their musical direction, and the way they approach the repertoire have to be considered.
These specific parameters tend to distinguish one orchestra from the other. Of course, the core performance matters the most. Aside from that, you have to have an ear for music. Keeping all these factors in mind, below are some of the greatest orchestras that have caught the fancy of many a music lover across the globe.
The Vienna Philharmonic
This highly esteemed orchestra group is the epitome of grandeur and pomp that has always been the highlight of the age-old orchestral tradition. The Vienna Philharmonic has never failed to stick to the legacy of Western classical music in the last 177 years of its existence. During the course of its journey, the orchestra group has garnered praise and applause from several iconic musicians and composers such as Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, Johannes Brahms, and Richard Wagner. The Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year Concert has probably been their best to date, and the group has been bestowed with many an honor. Additionally, their rendition of the classics composed by none other than Austrian composer, Johann Strauss, has been raved by all and sundry.
The Berlin Philharmonic
Starting out in 1882, the Berlin Philharmonic is among those old-school orchestra groups that have etched its name in the history books. It has a rich past as several legendary conductors like Claudio Abbado, Herbert Von Karajan, Sir Simon Rattle, and Wilhelm Furtwangler were associated with it. Pomp and elegance define this world-famous orchestra group. The musicians are known for their flair, endless energy, and style of rendition. Aside from that, the Berlin Phil’s technical agility has been absolutely world-class and that goes without saying. Right from its inception until today, this particular orchestra group is still a class apart.
The London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra is well-acclaimed as a major soundtrack orchestra that has left music lovers enchanted with their awe-inspiring film scores. So much so, that the group’s compositions for the epic Star Wars franchise earned them heaps of accolades and appreciation from all quarters. John Williams, the legendary composer and an integral part of the LSO, drew immense praise for his work. Aside from Star Wars, John garnered huge attention for his compositions in The Shape of Water in 2017. The London Symphony Orchestra also had the honor of getting featured in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2012. Appearing alongside Rowan Atkinson, the LSO reached out to a colossal 900 million people. Wow! That’s truly an achievement of the highest level.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic
As the first symphony orchestra in Los Angeles, the foundation stone of the LA Philharmonic was laid almost a hundred years ago. Today, the group is hailed as one of the most glorified and recognized orchestras in the whole world. Gustav Dudamel, an important member of the LA Phil, displayed breathtaking skills as he led the group through fabulous interpretations of Bernstein, Prokofiev, and Schumann. The orchestra is following the contemporary path as well these days and is talented enough to dabble in other popular genres of music. LA Phil 100 At The Hollywood Bowl was the name of their concert in 2018, and it featured none other than Dudamel himself, Herbie Hancock, and Katy Perry. All credit goes to the orchestra for bringing such a bunch of megastars under one roof for the event and gift the audience a spectacular and unforgettable performance.
The Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment
The London-based orchestra group is sort of a trailblazer now in the orchestral scenario — a breath of fresh air if you will. One most stunning thing about the group is that it doesn’t have a principal conductor. The members invite guest conductors and follow democracy while electing the main players. The OAE believes in authenticity and follows this religiously. It puts emphasis on instruments that belong to different periods. It loves to follow baroque and prefers not to tread on the traditional path. In one word, these guys are brilliant!
As discussed already, choosing the best orchestras is never easy. However, a few factors put these groups in the elite club. Their performance, compositions, and flair for music is nothing short of amazing. You might even just fall in love with them!