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America assembles a super-orchestra

August 31, 2016 by norman lebrecht

13 comments.


us superorch

This is the cello section of the Gerard Schwarz All-Star orchestra recording for PBS television at Suny College New York.

It features principals of the Met, Cincinnati, Richmond, associate of San Francisco, two members from the Philadelphia Orchestra, one from the New York Philharmonic, one from the National Symphony and Gerard Schwarz.

Over four sessions in two days they recorded: Sibelius no.2, Elgar Enigma Variations, Goosens Jubilee Variations, Mussorgsky’s Bald Mountain, Britten Variations, Hovaness Mysterious Mountain, Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet.

They should get together more often.


Comments (13)

  1. harold braun says:

    They already did!There are already 12 dvd’s out,made in 2013 and 14

  2. superorchestraneedssuperconductor says:

    Now all they need is an A-list conductor.

    1. Musician101 says:

      The conductor in fact hand picked this orchestra. The conductor, Schwarz, knows each and every member of this ensemble. Do Music Directors in general know everyone’s name who play for them?

      1. Nydo says:

        The conductor knows (is familiar with) these players from Mostly Mozart, The New York Chamber Symphony (he was the conductor of both for a number of years), and guest conducting stints with the other orchestras. I doubt that he knows more than a few of them personally. Lots of pr involved in the promotion of this series, which is essentially an unrehearsed reading of the pieces with no chemistry developed between any of the participants.

  3. Mus914 says:

    4 million school children have viewed the broadcasts in schools throughout the United States.

  4. Patrick says:

    Germany already has a “super orchestra”…the Berlin Philharmonic. This group is like the US olympic basketball team. Good players, but who cares?

  5. Matt says:

    A great orchestra and conductor!

    The full orchestra roster includes 13 from the New York Philharmonic, 10 from the Philadelphia Orchestra, 4 from the Boston Symphony and members from Dallas, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Utah, North Carolina, New Jersey, Seattle, Nashville, Detroit, San Francisco, National Symphony, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Houston, and many more!

    1. Rich Patina says:

      Impressive roster, I’m sure that the music-making is top-notch. However, I have to agree with Patrick…what’s the point? Who cares? If it is a gimmick (and I think it is) then…yawn.

      1. Matt says:

        It’s an broadcast series on PBS and online education program with the Khan Academy. Exposing and enriching people – young and old to great music – is the point!

        Read more about it at: http://allstarorchestra.org

  6. Leo says:

    I agree I don’t see the point in bringing together top class musicians and calling it an all star orchestra. I never could tell the difference in quality between professional orchestras across the world and I’ve seen and listened to them all live over the years. The only reason the city state capital orchestras stand out is that they get the most money and pay the highest wages. Too much in my view compared with the regional orchestras. To be frank the best orchestra I’ve ever heard is the Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Also the only difference between conductors I observe is how much energy they put in and how they take the tempos and also how they interact with the audience. Nothing to justify how a great conductor is defined. Lets stop this myth that the capital city orchestras around the world and their over paid conductors are best – they’re not.

    1. Nydo says:

      You need to listen more closely. Even in this international age, there are obvious variations in the performances of different orchestras, and different conductors, and a great deal of difference in interpretative results, and the great performances carry a lot more impact than the average ones. Youth Orchestras like the one you mention bring plenty of enthusiasm, and the technical level is higher there than in the past, but there is still something missing when you compare them to the best professional orchestras. You just have to listen actively to be able to tell the difference. Of course, there are a fair share of pedestrian performances by the big name orchestras as well, and in those cases, you might prefer the Youth Orchestra.

  7. Fred miller says:

    Any orchestra, conductor, and organization that provides top quality performances plus educational videos absolutely free of charge to students and viewers all over the world deserves our praise and support. Bravo for great performances, pure spirit and for building tomorrow’s audiences. Negativity is useless, snarky, and destructive. To those commenters: Shame on you!

  8. Doug says:

    The American scene is a poison to the living legacy of classical music. It has become a commodity to be sold like the next shiny new car off the assembly line. This is what comes with a complete lack of knowledge and outright disdain of history. I speak from within the “industry” here and it sickens me every day.


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