New York Philharmonic

The New York Philharmonic is the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States. [1] It performs most of its concerts at the Avery Fisher Hall in New York.

The orchestra started in 1842. At that time it was called the Philharmonic Society. At its first concert the orchestra played a very long programme which included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 conducted by Ureli Corelli Hill. The musicians worked as a cooperative or "communistic" society. This meant that the musicians themselves made up the rules about how the orchestra should be run: who would become a member, which music would be performed, and who would conduct. At the end of each season they divided any money the orchestra had earned amongst themselves.

Beethoven's ninth and a new home, 1846

The orchestra were a great success, but they needed a new concert hall. They gave a fund-raising concert which included Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. It was the first time it had ever been played in America. The concert took place in Castle Garden on the southern tip of Manhattan. There were about 400 performers in the orchestra and choir. The words that the choir sings were translated into English. It was the first time this work had been sung in English anywhere in the world. However, the tickets cost a lot of money: US$2.00 each, so not so many people came. It was some time before the orchestra got their concert hall. Many people thought Beethoven's 9th symphony was a strange piece of music because the choir only sing in the last movement which is called " Ode to Joy". In 1865 Theodore Eisfeld conducted the Orchestra’s memorial concert for the recently assassinated Abraham Lincoln, but the last movement was not performed because it was thought that the "Ode to Joy" was not suitable for the sad occasion.

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