Symphony Orchestra Brief Introduction
An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes be grouped into a fifth section such as a keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and electric and electronic instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ὀρχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus. The orchestra grew by accretion throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, but changed very little in composition during the course of the 20th century.
A smaller-sized orchestra for this time period (of about fifty musicians or fewer) is called a chamber orchestra. A full-size orchestra (about 100 musicians) may sometimes be called a symphony orchestra or philharmonic orchestra; these modifiers 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).
A symphony orchestra will usually have over eighty musicians on its roster, in some cases over a hundred, but the actual number of musicians employed in a particular performance may vary according to the work being played and the size of the venue. A leading chamber orchestra might employ as many as fifty musicians; some are much smaller than that. Orchestras can also be found in schools. The term concert orchestra may sometimes be used (e.g., BBC Concert Orchestra; RTÉ Concert Orchestra)—no distinction is made on size of orchestra by use of this term, although their use is generally distinguished as for live concert. As such they are commonly chamber orchestras.
The first orchestras were made up of small groups of musicians that gathered for festivals, holidays, or funerals.
It was not until the 11th century that families of instruments started to appear with differences in tones and octaves. True modern orchestras started in the late 16th century when composers started writing music for instrumental groups. In the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy the households of nobles had musicians to provide music for dancing and the court, however with the emergence of the theatre, particularly opera, in the early 17th century, music was increasingly written for groups of players in combination, which is the origin of orchestral playing.
Opera originated in Italy, and Germany eagerly followed. Dresden, Munich and Hamburg successively built opera houses. At the end of the 17th century opera flourished in England under Henry Purcell, and in France under Lully, who with the collaboration of Molière also greatly raised the status of the entertainments known as ballets, interspersed with instrumental and vocal music.
In the 17th century and early 18th century, instrumental groups were taken from all of the available talent. A composer such as Johann Sebastian Bach had control over almost all of the musical resources of a town, whereas Handel would hire the best musicians available. This placed a premium on being able to rewrite music for whichever singers or musicians were best suited for a performance — Handel produced different versions of the Messiah oratorio almost every year.
As nobility began to build retreats away from towns, they began to hire musicians to form permanent ensembles. Composers such as the young Joseph Haydn would then have a fixed body of instrumentalists to work with. At the same time, traveling virtuoso performers such as the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would write concerti that showed off their skills, and they would travel from town to town, arranging concerts along the way. The aristocratic orchestras worked together over long periods, making it possible for ensemble playing to improve with practice.
Later in the 1800s, the orchestra reached the size and proportions we know today and even went beyond that size. Some composers, such as Berlioz, really went all-out writing for huge orchestras. Instrument design and construction got better and better, making new instruments such as the piccolo and the tuba available for orchestras.
Many composers, including Berlioz, Verdi, Wagner, Mahler, and Richard Strauss, became conductors. Their experiments with orchestration showed the way to the 20th century. Wagner went so far as to have a new instrument, the Wagner Tuba, designed and built to make certain special sounds in his opera orchestra. In one of his symphonies, Strauss wrote a part for an alphorn, a wooden folk instrument up to 12 feet long! (The alphorn part is usually played by a tuba.) And Arnold Schoenberg wrote a piece called Gurrelieder for a 150-piece orchestra!
The 20th century has been a century of freedom and experimentation with the orchestra. It has also been a time of superstar conductors, as the conductor has more and more responsibility and visibility. The "basic" 19th-century orchestra is still around, and composers sometimes add or subtract instruments, depending on the effect they want to get. You might see a hugely expanded percussion section, or lots and lots of woodwinds and brasses. But the orchestra still takes more or less the same form: a big string section, with smaller sections for brasses, woodwinds, percussion, harps and keyboard instruments. After all these years, it still works!
A Night of Musical Kaleidoscope
Entering its 9th year and renowned for its innovative concert programming and versatility, the PSPA International Ensemble continues to provide the highest artistic excellence to the local audience, gathers the most gifted and professional musicians from around the world to the beautiful towns in Malaysia, i.e. Ipoh, Penang and Kuala Lumpur to partake in a unique and intensive chamber music making.
What entices these exceptional artists is a wonderful arena of discovery and an opportunity to achieve artistic and humanistic excellence.
The ensemble provides music of all eras by taking the audience on a diverse journey. And at the end of the journey, they will realise that the possibility with traditional classical ensemble is infinite.
From Bach to Yiruma! This year ensemble will be music from Vivaldi’s all time favourite, The Four Seasons violin concerto; Bach’s famous Air on G String & Brandenburg Concerto; the heart-warming Yiruma’s River Flows Into You; the exotic Bizet’s Carmen Fantasy and many more!
We will also feature the super clarinet soloist Mr. Andrew Simon, well-known for his flawless fingers-flying techniques and beautiful tone that will give you all an unforgettable musical journey!
The ensemble will also extend its mission on intensive education and outreach programs benefiting local community and younger generation, such as “Meet the Musicians” sessions and workshops involving students from various schools – to provide harmony for ALL.
So, let’s enjoy “A Night of Musical Kaleidoscope” with various popular tunes and the versatility of PSPA International Ensemble.
Ipoh Concert Date : 15th August 2015, Saturday
Times : 8.00pm
Venue : Tenby Schools Ipoh Auditorium
Ticket Prices :
(i) Category 1 seats (85 seats) @ RM150
(ii) Category 2 seats (110 seats) @ RM80
(iii) Category 3 seats (95 seats) @ RM40
*Early bird promotion (buy ticket before 30th June 2015) 20% discount
*Student 40% (early bird) / 30% discount
*Senior Citizen aged 60 years and above 30% (early bird) / 20% discount
*Buy online from PSPA store will get a further 10% discount.
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Tickets can be obtained from PSPA online store and PSPA office.
Call Witzi at : 012-5088818
PSPA at : 05-2427814
or visit our PSPA Store www.ipohcity.com/pspa for more details.
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