Great Ensembles

When a group of individuals, as few as two or as many as one thousand, gather together to study, learn, rehearse and ultimately perform a piece of music, theater, or dance, their efforts can produce a result approaching the sublime.

These combined efforts often help to elevate the spirit of all those included, each in attendance, and in the cases below, those of us watching or listening years after the original performance or recording occurred. 

These are just a few examples of the power, musically speaking, of working together.

A benchmark recording of the music of Gabrieli.


The combined forces of the brass sections of four major American orchestras (Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Boston) and E. Power Biggs on organ. I can only imagine what the rehearsals and recording sessions were like!

Next, more brass, but only five players.

Empire Brass

This is one of my earliest musical favorites from Empire Brass: Procession of the Nobles.

Five performers, each posessing the skills of a soloist and a section player, combining their talents.

Here we have a soloist, one you may know, performing with the stellar Eastman Wind Ensemble, conducted by Donald Hunsberger.

Wynton Marsalis performing Carnival of Venice.

Soloist, conductor, winds, brass, and percussion all working together.

Now add choir and a full string section to the mix.

Gustav_Mahler + Leonard_Bernstein = awesome

A huge orchestra, massive choir, and multiple vocal soloists all combine for a command performance, under the direction of a master.

Leonard Bernstein leading the Vienna Philharmonic in Gustav Mahler‘s 8th symphony, “Symphony of a Thousand”.

These are but a few examples of groups, large and small, overcoming their individualities and becoming a force of excellence together – thinking, breathing and being – as one great ensemble.


About zkgraff

Man on the move, Director @ensemblezkg, Host of @DesignInConvo Podcast, Triathlete, CrossFitter, Ironman CA 70.3 Finisher
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2 Responses to Great Ensembles

  1. shaunadegruchy says:

    What a great compilation! I haven’t heard Procession of the Nobles in a long time. Thanks!

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