WHAT’S IN THIS VIDEO: What makes a great orchestra, yes. But also what defines a great orchestra. Let’s talk about the orchestral landscape in America. The first orchestra concert was in 1800, but the first orchestra seasons didn’t start till 1842. There are now about 1,800 orchestras in America. In recent decades orchestras have improved technically, but technical proficiency doesn’t define a great orchestra. How an orchestra engages with its audience is also important.