Interesting Facts about Orchestras

The orchestra is a marvellous design in classical music. A collaboration of so many separate instruments coming together en masse under the direction of a conductor for a single piece of music – each instrument playing its part. Here is a collection of facts about orchestras – from the historical to the bizarre.

  • The term ‘orchestra’ has its roots in ancient Greek and was used to refer to a ‘dancing area’ which was in front of a theatre stage.
  • Think instruments can only be made of wood or brass? An orchestra called the Vegetable Orchestra hails from Vienna, and all the instruments are all made from various vegetables! This orchestra was established in 1998 and continues to this day.
  • In 2013, an excess of 100 orchestra musicians took to the streets of Germany in protest of orchestra closures that had been going on resulting in over 2500 accomplished musicians losing their jobs.
  • 2016 saw the historical event of the world’s largest orchestra. Consisting of 7548 musicians gathered in a football stadium in Frankfurt, Germany, they were led by conductor Wolf Kerschek.
  • Blazing Riches is one of the 600+ games on Casumo, one of them featuring an orchestra of cherries, lemons, plums, and a variety of other fruits.
  • In 2007 a world record was created for the largest orchestra of coconut shells! This happened in Trafalgar Square and was directed by Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam, of Monty Python fame.
  • The oldest musical ensemble in the world is purported to be the Royal Danish Orchestra claiming heritage in the mid-1400s.
  • An orchestra comprises four groupings of instrument class; woodwind, brass, string and percussion respectively.
  • The composer Ludwig van Beethoven played a big role in the development of the orchestra. The biggest influence was on the orchestral setup that used the ‘standard complement’ – this involves using double winds and brass.