Silliest ever ensemble names

Silliest ever ensemble names


norman lebrecht

August 09, 2022

A press release caught our eye this morning.

It’s for a tour by ‘Concertgebouw Young’ with conductor Gustavo Gimeno.

Something lost in translation? Unless they change that name, we’ll start referring to the parent organisation as Concertgebouw Old.

Elsewhere, German radio orchestras have snappy names like Südwestrundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, while Russia regales us with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia named after Evgeny Svetlanov. Put that on a postcard and there’s no room left for a stamp.

How about the Firebird Youth Chinese Orchestra? It’s based in San Francisco.

Or the Arts Sphere Chamber Ensemble. Active in Singapore.

There used to be a quartet in Oklahoma called the Stringents.

San Francisco has a piano trio named Fog.

How very apt.

More, please.

pictured: Abbado, Rattle, Berlin Phil intendant Ohnesorg (which means no worries hah!)


  • MWnyc says:

    Oh, there have been a bunch of early music ensembles in the States with silly names.

    the Suspicious Cheese Lords
    Louis Louis (specialists in French Baroque)
    Guido’s Other Hand (which I actually found rather witty)

    • Sol L Siegel says:

      Louis Louis might someday get a booking at the Zellerbach Theater on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia – and then dine at Louie Louie, a restaurant on the next block.

  • Ian Pace says:

    There is a German Ensemble Trial and Error.

  • Rob Keeley says:

    Orchestra Révolutionaire et Romantique…pretentious of not actually silly.

  • Gustavo says:

    BRSO – meaning Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.

    Don’t you dare say “Bayrisches Rundfunksymphonieorchester”!

  • microview says:

    We used to hope for a piano trio with Josef Suk, Yo-Yo Ma and Felix Kok. But it never. happened.

  • Fernandel says:

    In the early 90s, we were spoiled with “Orchestre de l’Opéra Bastille”, “Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris-Bastille”, “Orchestre de la Bastille”…

  • Brian Bell says:

    Here in Boston we have the Society for Historically Informed Performance, or SoHIP.

  • Rob says:

    The Vaccine Ensemble – they only play bleeding chunks.

  • Will Simpson says:

    Well, there was a Südwestrundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg until SWR closed it down in 2016.

  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    An ensemble called ‘[chosen name] Symphony Orchestra’ has always seemed a bit redundant.

    Cleveland and Philadelphia seem to have the title down as well as the music making.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      But then you have the “Count Basie Orchestra” or the “Duke Ellington Orchestra” — or for that matter the “NBC Orchestra” that played for the Tonight Show — not to mention some wind orchestras and chamber orchestras, and then “symphony orchestra” does not seem so redundant, or at the very least it becomes more helpfully descriptive.

  • Gustavo says:

    Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

    Based in London, not Paris.

  • Gustavo says:

    West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO)


  • DL says:

    The Stamford (CT) Symphony now goes by the name Orchestra Lumos, “as part of a rebranding effort to expand the organization’s reach.”

    HA! Some ad agency is laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Gustavo says:

    Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

    Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

  • Don Ciccio says:

    The pick of the litter has to be ‘The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen.’

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Les Cris de Paris.

  • Realest8maven says:

    Lizzie Borden Trio – Ax, Ma, Mutter…

  • Nicolas says:

    A baroque trio recently created in Montréal is named “Les Barocudas”.

  • John Willan says:


  • Ludwig's Van says:

    Classical Band

  • Dave Fox says:

    Turtle Mountain Naval Base Tactical Wind Ensemble

  • Paul Joschak says:

    “Put that on a postcard and there’s no room left for a stamp”. I know – have you seen the size of stamps recently…!?

  • prof says:

    in the states there is a very good chamber orchestra with the unfortunate name A Far Cry. (What?)

    And I’ve always found the Gustav Mahler Chamber Orchestra to be a terrible oxymoron since Mahler only wrote for massive symphony orchestra.

  • Sergey says:

    Oh, you really underestimate the power of Russian bureaucratic namings. For example, the official name of Saint Petersburg Philharmonia is ‘Federal State Budget Institute of Culture «The Saint Petersburg Academic Philharmonia named after D. D. Shostakovitch»’. The Tchaikovsky orchestra is actually ‘’Federal State Budget Institute of Culture «The State Academic Large Symphony Orchestra named after P. I. Tchaikovsky»’, and so on.

  • Ben G. says:

    While we’re on the subject, the name of a very famous American quartet had to be changed for obvious reasons.

    Read on:

  • RichC says:

    We cannot overlook the early music trio calling itself The Rare Fruits Council

  • Sean says:

    Van Diemen’s Band, a Tasmanian ensemble dedicated to period performance; a very clever name, I think.

  • Natalie Tsaldarakis says:

    Apartment House ensemble! Wigmore Hall’s associate ensemble

  • Wendy says:

    Always liked Playing with Fire (early music); Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio a bit unwieldy.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    San Francisco has an outdoor horn club called Fog Horns.

  • Mock Mahler says:

    Well-Strung, the Singing String Quartet

  • Eunice Burns says:

    The rare fruits council (early music ensemble).

  • Rob Keeley says:

    Musica Aeterna….I mean, HONESTLY….

  • Anon says:

    If only Joseph Suk, Yo Yo Ma, and Felix Kok had been able to create that dream team trio together….

  • AM says:

    Warmia and Mazury Philharmonic “Feliks Nowowiejski” in Olsztyn. Warmia and Mazury is a province in the north of Poland. Feliks Nowowiejski was a composer who was born there. Olsztyn, the capital of the province, is a historic city with a quite well preserved castle of the Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem aka Teutonic Knights.

  • Tim Walton says:

    Adding the word ‘ever’ in the heading is grammatically wrong. Only used by illiterate people.

  • Conway says:

    And then there’s the Panocha Quartet from the Czech Republic… enough said…

  • Monty Earleman says:

    Pamlico Music Society…..

  • Realest8maven says:

    Then there is the wonderful group founded by my friend, Gordon Wright, late of the Fairbanks Symphony, The Arctic Chamber Orchestra, which has brought great music to the bush for over fifty years.