Definition of orchestra in English:



  • 1A group of instrumentalists, especially one combining string, woodwind, brass, and percussion sections and playing classical music.

    • ‘The first half of the programme will consist of the choir and orchestra performing Schubert's Mass in G, for which they will be joined by soprano Evelyn Nicholson.’
    • ‘The orchestra was founded in 1951 by eight soloists from the most highly respected Viennese orchestras and chamber music ensembles.’
    • ‘The scoring is for a simple classical orchestra, strings, double woodwind, four horns and two trumpets.’
    • ‘The orchestra's brass section will open each concert with A Fanfare For The Ancient Kingdom, a piece composed in conjunction with local schools.’
    • ‘The result is not the sound of a piano but the sound of a whole percussion orchestra.’
    • ‘Sandström uses a large orchestra, including many percussion instruments and an organ.’
    • ‘The brass section of an orchestra typically consists of trumpets, horns, trombones, and tubas.’
    • ‘With a thriving orchestra, wind-band, ensembles and choirs, and a full range of instrument lessons on offer, music is well represented in the school.’
    • ‘Born in China, Jennifer is a member of the Columbus Symphony Cadet orchestra and is principal flutist at Jones Middle School.’
    • ‘Calfe also is active in her high school marching, concert and jazz bands, orchestra and percussion ensemble.’
    • ‘They are joined by anything from sweeping strings to a full orchestra with brass and a mass of subtle percussion.’
    • ‘The competition is open to all brass players under the age of 21, of Grade 8 or equivalent standard, who play regularly with a brass or wind band or orchestra.’
    • ‘It supports a concert choir, a concert band and an orchestra.’
    • ‘My father believed there would be more openings for a violin player in an orchestra because the string section was bigger than any other.’
    • ‘Conklin has performed as a violin soloist with numerous orchestras including the Louisville, Nashville and Berlin Symphony Orchestras.’
    • ‘As the dark tones of the opening gave way to the big tunes and the triumphant outbursts of brass and percussion the orchestra sounded confident and technically in control of Dvorak's patriotic music.’
    • ‘He also studied the violin with Felix Niolan, concert-master of the Opéra orchestra.’
    • ‘Numbering more than 15,000, Boosey publications are a staple for serious musicians of all instruments, and for concert bands, orchestras and choirs.’
    • ‘Sibelius Instruments is a unique, interactive encyclopedia of instruments, bands, orchestras and ensembles.’
    • ‘It is as if the string section of the orchestra suddenly decided to play its own music, disregarding everyone else.’
  • 2The part of a theater where the orchestra plays, typically in front of the stage and on a lower level than the audience.

    • ‘Another door at the far end led into the orchestra pit under the stage.’
    • ‘Simply put, the system divides the orchestra pit into ten acoustical zones and the stage into fourteen, each governed by a directional microphone.’
    • ‘‘There is a give-and-take between what happens on stage and what happens in the orchestra pit,’ he added.’
    • ‘As part of the refurbishment, a new orchestra pit, accommodating up to 60 musicians, has been created, along with the construction of a new backstage block, incorporating dressing rooms, and an increase in the height of the flytower.’
    • ‘There is even an orchestra pit, quite unusual for auditoriums at home.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the front wheel that was supporting the castle went skidding across the stage and landed in the orchestra pit.’
    • ‘Word is Adams fell nearly six feet into the orchestra pit at Liverpool's Royal Court theatre, badly fracturing his wrist, injuring his leg and cutting his lip.’
    • ‘And the orchestra pit at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre was being used for the first time.’
    • ‘Next week's production of The Wizard Of Oz will involve more than 100 participants, aged seven to 21, on stage and backstage and in the orchestra pit.’
    • ‘A special focus on the performing arts is evidenced in the public wing of the building, which includes a 1030-seat auditorium with a recessed orchestra pit and full fly loft.’
    • ‘This corresponded to the front of the orchestra pit.’
    • ‘The fact that neither hall has an orchestra pit created unique problems of stagecraft for the directors.’
    • ‘During an orchestra rehearsal for New York City Ballet, Christopher Wheeldon rushes onto the stage from the audience, nimbly maneuvering over a narrow strip between the proscenium and the orchestra pit.’
    • ‘The current facility, a traditional black-box theater in Alice Pratt Brown Hall, accommodates only 200 and has a small orchestra pit and stage.’
    • ‘The theater also contains a full fly tower and is outfitted with a control suite, catwalks, spotlights, and an orchestra pit.’
    • ‘This evening, though, Davis will make his debut in the orchestra pit at Richard Wagner's Bayreuth festival theatre in Bavaria, conducting the composer's 1850 work, Lohengrin.’
    • ‘He led the foursome to seats in the balcony above the orchestra pit - the perfect place to sit and see and hear everything.’
    • ‘He's been keeping her in the orchestra pit under the stage all this time.’
    • ‘Six principal string players (two violins, two violas, and two cellos) had left their places in the orchestra pit and now took their seats on the stage for the overture.’
    • ‘This could be lowered for an orchestra pit; raised to match the floor level just in front of the stage, where it could support three rows of seating; or raised further to the stage's level, increasing its frontal floor area.’
    1. 2.1North American The seats on the ground floor in a theater.
  • 3The semicircular space in front of an ancient Greek theater stage where the chorus danced and sang.

    • ‘An exceptional feature of the theatre is the fact that a small stream was channelled through the space between the orchestra and the back of the proscenium.’


Early 17th century: via Latin from Greek orkhēstra, from orkheisthai ‘to dance’.