Here we are presenting general information about an orchestra.

An orchestra is an instrumental ensemble, usually fairly large with string, brass, woodwind sections, and possibly a percussion section as well. The term orchestra derives from the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus. The orchestra grew by accretion throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but changed very little in composition during the course of the twentieth century.

A full size orchestra (about 50-100 players) may sometimes be called a "symphony orchestra" or "philharmonic orchestra"; these prefixes do not necessarily indicate any strict difference in either the instrumental constitution or role of the orchestra, but can be useful to distinguish different ensembles based in the same city (for instance, the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra). The actual number of musicians employed in a particular performance may vary according to the work being played and the size of the venue.

The typical symphony orchestra consists of four proportionate groups of similar musical instruments, generally appearing in the musical score in the following order:

Woodwinds: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon

Brass: 2 to 8 horns, 2 to 5 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 bass trombone and 0 to 2 tubas

Percussion: timpani, snare drum, tenor drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, wood block, tambourine, marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, glockenspiel, gong (tam-tam), tubular bells, etc.

Strings: 16 to 30 violins, 8 to 12 violas, 8 to 12 violoncellos, and 5 to 8 double basses.

The so-called "standard complement" of double winds and brass in the orchestra is generally attributed to the first half of the 19th century. Apart from the core orchestral complement, various other instruments are called for occasionally. These include the saxophone, heckelphone, flugelhorn, cornet, harpsichord, harpa and organ. Saxophones, for example, appear in a limited range of 19th and 20th century scores. While appearing only as featured solo instruments in some works, for example Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, the saxophone is included in other works, such as Ravel's Bolero and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, as a member of the orchestral ensemble.

Among the instrument groups and within each group of instruments, there is a generally accepted hierarchy. Every instrumental group (or section) has a principal who is generally responsible for leading the group and playing orchestral solos. The violins are divided into two groups, first violin and second violin, each with its principal. The principal first violin is called the concertmaster (or "leader" in the UK) and is considered the leader of not only the string section, but of the entire orchestra, subordinate only to the conductor.

The principal trombone is considered the leader of the low brass section, while the principal trumpet is generally considered the leader of the entire brass section. Similarly, the principal oboe is considered the leader of the woodwind section, and is the player to whom all others tune. The horn, while technically a brass instrument, often acts in the role of both woodwind and brass. Most sections also have an assistant principal (or co-principal or associate principal), or in the case of the first violins, an assistant concertmaster, who often plays a tutti part in addition to replacing the principal in his or her absence.

A section string player plays unison with the rest of the section, except in the case of divided (divisi) parts, where upper and lower parts in the music are often assigned to "outside" (nearer the audience) and "inside" seated players. Where a solo part is called for in a string section, for example in the violins, the section leader invariably plays that part. Tutti wind and brass players generally play a unique but non-solo part. Section percussionists play parts assigned to them by the principal percussionist.

In modern times, the musicians are usually directed by a conductor, although early orchestras did not have one, using instead the concertmaster or the harpsichordist playing the continuo for this role.

The most frequently performed repertoire for a symphony orchestra is Western classical music or opera. However, orchestras are sometimes used in popular music, and are used extensively in film music.



To remember the usual layout of an orchestra click HERE for external information.

The Indian Philharmonic Orchestra was formed in 2007 by Dr. L. Subramaniam and Dr. Michael Koehler to strongly establish orchestral music in India, and to promote global understanding and cooperation through music.  After the overwhelming positive response they received after a series of concerts together, they felt the next step was to bring their unique brand of orchestral music to India.  

Dr. Subramaniam has long established himself as the foremost Indian composer and has composed for and collaborated with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berlin Opera. Dr. Michael Koehler is one of the leading young conductors of Europe and has established a name for himself because of his sensitive interpretation of traditional western classical masterworks and his receptivity towards new masterpieces and world culture.  Their combined experience and collaboration ensures a world-class orchestra.

The orchestra features members of the Leipzig Philharmonic Orchestra who currently form the backbone of the orchestra and also mentor Indian members of the orchestra.  The repertoire of the orchestra ranges from masterworks of Western Classical music to Contemporary Indian music.