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A Festival of American Orchestras for July 4th

Photo by from Pexels

This July 4th, celebrate the wealth of great music this country has to offer with a festival of American orchestras from 6pm to midnight on WCRB!

We'll be playing your favorite American orchestras throughout the day, as well, plus an extra helping of music by American composers.

Here are some of the orchestras and ensembles you'll hear on July 4th:

Boston Symphony Orchestra

If you know us, you know we love the BSO. They've been blowing Boston's minds since 1881, and continue to do so today under the direction of Andris Nelsons. Visit their website to learn more about our hometown orchestra's fascinating history.

Boston Baroque

Their performances are always thrilling, even when it's music you've heard a thousand times. Founded in 1973 by Music Director Martin Pearlman, Boston Baroque was North America's first permanent Baroque orchestra. They have 6 GRAMMY nominations under their belt, as well as 26 commercial recordings -- and they were also the first period-instrument ensemble to perform at Carnegie Hall. Learn more about Boston Baroque.

Handel and Haydn Society

Founded in 1815, H+H is the oldest performing arts organization in the United States, and gave the American premieres for masterpieces like Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879). In recent years, their emphasis on Historically-Informed Performance keepsn each piece they play feeling as fresh as its premiere. Learn more about the Handel and Haydn Society.

Atlanta Chamber Winds

Founded in 2006, the Atlanta Chamber Winds consists of some of the finest wind players from other Atlanta ensembles, such as the Atlanta Opera and Ballet orchestras. Their first recording, "Music from Paris," featured rarely-performed wind music by French composers; future projects will include music by American and British composers. Learn more about the Atlanta Chamber Winds.

Chicago Sinfonietta

"Rarely performed music by composers of color are a Sinfonietta staple," they write on their website, "and often include almost entirely lost compositions that are carefully pieced together and preserved through recording and/or the production of sheet music." The Chicago Sinfonietta, founded by Paul Freeman, is constantly pushing boundaries and expanding the canon. Learn about their Project W, featured earlier this year on Out of the Box.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

For more than 120 years, the Pittsburgh Symphony has been on the forefront of new and exciting American music. One example: in 1944, they premiered Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1, "Jeremiah." Learn more about the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

The Boston Pops

Is there a more "American" orchestra than the Boston Pops? Helmed by maestros like Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and, now, Keith Lockhart, the Pops is dedicated to fun music -- a quick look at recordings from the Fiedler era is evidence enough of that. Learn more about the Boston Pops.

New York Philharmonic

The New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and also has some of the best-preserved archives of any orchestra. Documents, letters, music scores, meeting minutes, photos, and more are all available to explore for free online. Learn more about the New York Philharmonic.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

The St. Louis Symphony is the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the US, after the New York Philharmonic. Founded in 1880, the same year Thomas Edison used Christmas lights for the first time, the SLSO's focus on music education and outreach makes it a pillar of its community. Learn more about the St. Louis Symphony.

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

The Cincinnati Symphony's website summarizes it best: "A champion of new music, the Orchestra has given American premieres of works by such composers as Debussy, Ravel, Mahler and Bartók and has commissioned works that have since become mainstays of the classical repertoire, including Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man." Learn more about the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Charleston Symphony Orchestra

The CSO's dedication to music education runs deep. With two Young People's Concerts each season, a series of master classes and in-school performances, and a broad array of K-12 educational programming in local Title I schools, the CSO reaches approximately 30,000 students each season. Learn more about the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Calling themselves "the most accessible orchestra on the planet," the Detroit Symphony has a ton of digital offerings for audiences to enjoy anytime, anywhere. Their new music director, Jader Bignamini, was just announced in January 2020, so upcoming DSO seasons will be fascinating to watch! Learn more about the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra has been keeping busy during the pandemic, with a series of concert livestreams and other virtual music experiences. Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin keeps the orchestra sounding fresh and full of energy. Learn more about the Philadelphia Orchestra


Whatever you're up to this July 4th, tune in to WCRB on air, online, or on app all day for even more music from our incredible American orchestras.