The different types of orchestra concerts include large-scale performances by a philharmonic or symphony orchestra, as well as those done on a smaller scale, such as chamber orchestra concerts. An instrumental ensemble also usually accompanies opera and other types of vocal performances. Other kinds of orchestra concerts can be performed by a wind ensemble rather than a traditional full orchestra. The types of music played in each of these performances can vary widely from classical to contemporary.
Music selections for large orchestra concerts often include at least one concerto or symphony written by one or more famous classical composers. These pieces can frequently date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, although some 20th-century pieces can also be chosen for certain music performances. Although some are meant to be played by a smaller chamber orchestra, many others are intended for a full ensemble with string, woodwind, brass, and percussion sections. Orchestra concerts are sometimes arranged with a focus on music from a certain historical period, such as the Baroque or Romantic era. Other performances can also feature the work of one specific composer.
Chamber orchestra concerts are typically performed by a smaller group of usually fewer than 50 musicians as opposed to more than 100 players in a symphony orchestra. Pieces of classical music in these performances are often written specifically for these kinds of chamber concerts. Examples sometimes include orchestral suites, which are series of shorter pieces that a composer has arranged according to a common theme. Some chamber groups can include only three or four musicians who play music written for these small ensembles. Some examples of this include string quartet pieces or instrument trio pieces written for combinations of piano and woodwinds.
Wind ensembles are groups of musicians that normally perform without string accompaniment, and they often perform adaptations of classical pieces to be played only by woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. This type of instrumental group may also perform other music genres, such as jazz or non-vocal versions of pop music. A wind ensemble is also sometimes called a concert band or symphonic band.
Regardless of the size and type of an orchestra, many of these instrumental ensembles stage concerts with a wide range of musical styles. Some concerts may feature a mix of classical pieces, upbeat popular songs, and even scores from well-known films. These varied programs are typically intended to appeal to as many audience members as possible.