Poll: Your Orchestra & Conductor 'Dream Team'

Have Your Say Wednesday

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie (Stadt Hamm/Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie)

A website has sought to rank the busiest musicians in 2013 – but how about the best?

Last week, the classical events finder website Bachtrack published a ranking of the busiest classical musicians in 2013. Among its findings: The world's most active orchestra was the San Francisco Symphony, with 146 events, followed by the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie (Northwest German Philharmonic).

Rounding out the top ten were, in order, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, Boston Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic.

Lists were based exclusively on the events submitted to Bachtrack, and are not considered comprehensive. An infographic shows the results (PDF).

In the department of no surprises, Valery Gergiev topped Bachtrack’s ranking of busiest conductors, with 99 events. He was followed by Andris Nelsons, Fabio Luisi, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Barenboim, Simon Rattle, Daniel Harding, Michael Tilson Thomas, Marco Armiliato and Philippe Jordan. Gilbert was the busiest concert conductor, that is, excluding dance and theatrical performances.

Mozart, Beethoven and Bach were the top three most performed composers in last year, a ranking that squares with WQXR's 2013 Classical Countdown.

Of the 100 busiest conductors, there was only one female: Marin Alsop came in 70th (the low number was evidently due to missing events from in Baltimore and São Paulo, where she is music director).


With this in mind, which top-five conductor would you want to hear with a top-five orchestra? Give us your orchestra and conductor dream team using the polls below.


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Comments [18]

Barry Owen Furrer

Thank you, Les, for the info re: the Toscanini and Goldman connection - very interesting! If memory serves, I believe Goldman was the youngest member (at 17) of the Met orchestra and had an uncle, Nathan Franko who was an accomplished conductor. There's a great photo of Toscanini circa 1916 posed in front of a military band - would love to hear a recording of that ensemble under the Maestro's baton!

Jan. 19 2014 02:13 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

Arturo Toscanini.

Jan. 18 2014 11:39 AM

Dudamel, Gilbert and Gergiev would make excellent choices for any orchestra. As for current day orchestras, I'd choose the N.Y. Phil, The Concertgebouw and one not on the list, the Vienna Philharmonic. But as Arturo Toscanini and George Szell are mentioned, I wonder how our modern day maestros would fare with Toscanini and Szell's orchestras (NBC Symphony and the Cleveland) as conductor/orchestra pairings? So what do you think, Gergiev and the NBC Symphony? Gilbert or Dudamel with the Szell-era Cleveland Orchestra? That might be my 'dream team'.

Jan. 17 2014 10:46 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

Thanks, Mr. Furrer. The five-disc "A Toscanini Treasury of Historic Performances", released by RCA Victor in observance of the 100th anniversary of Toscanini's birth in 1967, contains a log of all the NBC Symphony musicians, as does Wikipedia article " NBC Symphony Orchestra" if you click on "External Links". Tuba player William Bell played for Sousa before joining the NBC and later the New York Philharmonic. Tibor Serly, sometimes an NBC violist, was Bartok's pupil and friend who "deceiphered and scored" the last 17 bars of Bartok's Third Piano Concerto --- as written in the Boosey & Hawkes pocket score --- and was a teacher of Milton DeLugg, still of the NBC audio booth during Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He provides the background music for the floats when the bands aren't playing. Blessings to him! Finally, there's an interview with Edwin Franko Goldman in the WNYC Municipal Archives in which he says he played trumpet in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra when Toscanini was there, and that Toscanini took seven players from the Goldman Band with him when the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York visited Europe. Ah, memories...

Jan. 17 2014 09:56 AM
Barry Owen Furrer

@Les from Miami:
Perhaps a check into the archives of AFM Local 802 in NYC would be a start for rosters of the old NBC Symphony. I know there were ex-Sousa Band members that played under Maestro Toscanini as well. As Cher sang, "if we could turn back time!"

Jan. 16 2014 08:26 PM
Howard from Florida

When Messrs. Frank Miller and Leonard Sharrow left the NBC Symphony Orchestra, both became the principal players of the 'cellos and bassoons in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Jan. 16 2014 11:53 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

Re: the Firestone Orchestra: The concertmaster was Oscar Shumsky an extraordinary soloist and chamber music collaborator. I've seen NBC Symphony Orchestra principals Frank Miller, 'cello and Leonard Sharrow, bassoon on some of the telecasts, and on one of them Mitch Miller, oboe. I'd love to see a complete roster, but I have no idea how to find one. I'm sure it changed over the years. It's probable some players would also include some New York Philharmonic members, but I can't verify this. Howard Barlow had an office down the hall about 6 doors from Toscanini. Toscanini once gave him a medallion for the holidays saying "To Howard Barlow who doesn't try to change what the composer wrote". And, of course, Barlow was a music director of the Baltimore Symphony. My all-time dream team is Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, but among the living, as I already wrote, it would be Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic.

Jan. 16 2014 10:14 AM
Sibern from Brooklyn

Robert Leffingwell from California must be an old timer to remember Howard Barlow and the Firestone Symphony Orchestra. I remember them too, the
orchestra was probably pick-ups from the NY Phil. Other than the novelty I wouldn't really pick this combo. They were good in their days and couldn't compete with todays super orchs and conductors.

Jan. 16 2014 09:57 AM
Fred from Queens

George Szell/Cleveland Orchestra

Jan. 15 2014 06:56 PM
Robert Leffingwell from Campbell CA

Howard Barlow and Firestone Symphony Orchestra

Jan. 15 2014 05:12 PM
Nat Mitchell

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Fritz Reiner

Jan. 15 2014 04:38 PM
Albert Sanchez Moreno

Dudamel isn't here because this poll lists the busiest conductors, not necessarily your favorites.

Jan. 15 2014 04:37 PM
Rahi Yavari from San Francisco

Esa-Pekka Salonen and NY PHIL....:)

Jan. 15 2014 04:31 PM
Gerardo from Monterrey, Mexico

I would like to see Dúdamel with the NYPO (not that he hasn't conducted it before), or Gilbert and the Berlin Phil

Jan. 15 2014 04:28 PM

Why is Gustavo Dudamel not listed here.

Jan. 15 2014 04:21 PM
Mary Bartow from New York

I would like to hear Riccardo Muti conduct the NY Philharmonic

Jan. 15 2014 04:16 PM
Caleb from Bloomington

Why is Rattle and Berlin not listed here?

Jan. 15 2014 04:07 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

I'm assuming the question has to do with which pairing we'd like to hear live. I'd most like to hear Claudio Abbado conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Following closely, I'd like to hear Riccardo Muti conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, though I've seen and heard both via sound and video recordings.

Jan. 15 2014 11:05 AM

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