It’s a difficult and debatable task to choose the top orchestras in the world. Among the factors considered are concert performances, recording output, contributions made to both local and national communities, and the ability of their music to maintain its iconic status despite the emerging popularity of mainstream music. With the help of the classical music magazine, Gramophone, we have narrowed down the top ten most famous orchestras worldwide.
10. Budapest Festival Orchestra
The Budapest Festival Orchestra celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. The group’s founder, Ivan Fischer, and the many talented musicians within the group create beautiful and passionate music. This orchestra was founded in 1983, but despite its young age, has become a leading world orchestra. Iván Fischer set out to create an orchestra that would influence and enliven the musical life and culture of Hungary – and he was successful!
9. Cleveland Orchestra
Acclaimed as the Concertgebouw and Vienna Philharmonic in one, the Cleveland Orchestra is said to be America’s European orchestra. They have been touring the U.S. and abroad forming long term relationships with several other leading orchestras. You can expect a refined tone, with perfect intonation, and astonishing warmth at their performances. With their leader Franz Welser-Möst’s ongoing reinvention and inspiring interpretations of popular classical music, the Cleveland Orchestra has rightfully earned a place within this list.
8. Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Coming in at number eight on the list is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Known as one of the U.S.’s “Big 5” orchestras, they are famous for their gleaming brass sound. Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs well over one hundred concerts each year with the help of the best conductors and guest artists on the international music scene.
7. Los Angeles Philharmonic
The Los Angeles Philharmonic was founded in 1919 and currently resides in the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Their ability to remold and remodel their performances at the whim of the conductor, gives this orchestra a unique advantage. This orchestra is known for how beautifully they play both classical and contemporary music.
6. Desden Staatskapelle
The Dresden Staatskapelle has been performing for over 450 years. The orchestra has a rich and varied history, as well as a beautiful concert hall. This orchestra is popular for having its own distinct sound which makes it easily recognizable.