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Gramophone ranks the world's top 20 orchestras

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When you compare baseball or other sports teams, there’s only one statistic that matters in the end: who wins the most games. When it comes to assessing the respective quality of the world’s top orchestras, the comparisons are much more complicated to make. Many different factors and qualities must be taken into consideration, and assessments are much more subjective. Despite the challenges, and potential controversy, Gramophone has gone in search of the “World’s Best Orchestra” publishing our list of the world’s top 20 orchestras.

To create our list, Gramophone polled leading critics around the world, including Alex Ross (New Yorker) and Mark Swed (Los Angeles Times) in the U.S., Rob Cowan in the U.K, critics from France’s Le Monde, Austria’s Die Presse, Germany’s Die Welt, and the leading paper in the Netherlands. Also included were various Editors associated with Gramophone around the world, including Editor James Inverne and Editor In-Chief James Jolly in London, and the respective Editors of the local editions of Gramophone in Korea, Spain and China.

Depending on your geographical location and personal tastes, the list will by turns confirm, surprise, and possibly confound. Three of the world’s most famous orchestras occupy the top three positions, but their ordering might surprise you!

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