In the weirdest of polls, Ireland has the world’s favourite symphony orchestra

In the weirdest of polls, Ireland has the world’s favourite symphony orchestra


norman lebrecht

October 02, 2015

The review site Bachtrack runs an annual poll for top orchestra and conductor. In a modest reader base, the results are easily rigged by well-organised interest groups.

This year’s favourite orchestra, announced today, is Dublin’s RTE Concert Orchestra. The winning maestro is conductor Jo-Ann Falletta. See here.

In second place, far behind, is the Cleveland Orchestra with Franz Welser-Möst.

That’s the value of online polls.



  • Gilles says:

    Nothing about the methdology : strang isn’it ?

  • Halldor says:

    Hey, that’s nothing – they elect leaders of political parties like that now too.

  • Eivind GJ says:

    Oh! I’m conducting them tonight – hope the whole world will listen to the radiobroadcast then?

    • Tommy Nielsen says:

      No, Gullberg Jensen is conducting the Symphony Orchestra. The RTE Concert Orchestra is usually lighter fare. The fab John Wilson is in charge of them.

  • Edna Welthorpe says:


  • Furzwängler says:

    Sounds like the pollsters had been drinking fortified Leprechaun juice.

  • jack Rose says:

    Not what you wanted to hear Norman. So that makes it valueless. We should always check with you first I guess. I also question the quality of the poll but wonder if, in this world of lack of interest in Classical music, is this truly what people feel? BTW I like Ms. Falletta and her work. I know you do not want to hear this but I think this reflects the influence of Naxos.

  • Jon H says:

    These things are always biased. No two listeners hear the same thing the same way, so who cares? People just need to figure out what sounds good to them, and fine – write an article, write a book – but it says more about those people than it does the orchestras in question.

  • Jaxon says:

    My organization gamed a poll on Bachtrack once and we won. We were actually a plausible quote-unquote winner of that poll, but still. Gamed the heck out of it.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Utterly bizarre, possibly worthless. John Wilson – a niche, light music advocate – the world’s third favourite conductor? Hands up anyone who’s ever heard of him, for a start…

    I love light music, but, since Mantovani (the talented one), the conductor has never been the star in this genre.

    The Petrenkos, Ivan Fischer et al would surely chuckle at this list if they ever bothered to read it.

    • Halldor says:

      John Wilson conducted the most shattering Vaughan Williams 6 I’ve ever heard, and he’s also extremely fine in French impressionist repertoire. Yes, he’s also exceptional in “light” music, if you want to draw that outdated distinction. And he’s justly celebrated for it – his BBC Proms broadcasts and sell-out tours make him probably one of the best-known conductors in the British Isles at present. But to brand him a niche conductor is simply inaccurate.

      That this is a very flimsy poll, no-one disputes – it’s really just an indicator of which orchestra mobilises social media most effectively, and bravo RTE for that. But why invoke snobbery to make that point?

  • Whelan J says:

    Surely a poll like this shows which orchestras effectively communicate with their audience over the likes of social media etc. If nothing else this shows that the RTÉ Concert Orchestra is completely in touch with it’s audiences both with regard to its repertoire and audience outreach. Perhaps some of the bigger orchestras didn’t perform so well because they just aren’t as active in communicating with their audiences?

    The concert orchestra isn’t meant to perform large scale symphonies, in fact it used to be named the Light Music Orchestra but what it does on the level it does is almost stand alone in Europe.