Fact Checked

How Do I Hire an Orchestra?

Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Wanda Marie Thibodeaux

Hiring a professional orchestra is a simple process that involves understanding the music to be performed and getting in contact with the person or people who coordinate the orchestra's events. Whether or not a person is able to hire an orchestra depends on the schedule of the group. The hiring individual or organization also must be able to afford whatever fee the orchestra charges for rehearsals and the final concert.

When a person wants to hire an orchestra, he first must look at the music to be performed. Some music, such as music scored for chamber orchestra, does not require every member normally working within the orchestra. The person who hires the orchestra must pay a fee that covers the time of each musician who ends up playing, so it is important to be precise about the kind of music on the orchestra program so the orchestra can respond with a fee estimate and make arrangements with the correct players.

Orchestras, or individual musicians, may be hired privately.
Orchestras, or individual musicians, may be hired privately.

Usually, an orchestra has a manager or director who is responsible for organizing the orchestra's appearances, although some directors pull double duty and manage their orchestras in addition to conducting. This person acts as a liaison between the orchestra director, representatives of performance venues and the person hiring the orchestra. The second step to take to hire an orchestra is to contact the orchestra manager and express interest in securing the orchestra's services. The orchestra manager checks the events already on the orchestra calendar. If the orchestra is free on the date required by the hiring individual, he alerts the orchestra director that the orchestra has a hire request.

An orchestra consists of several different sections of instruments.
An orchestra consists of several different sections of instruments.

Once the orchestra director knows that someone wants the orchestra to play, he may announce the invitation to the orchestra members. He then may ask the members how many individuals would be able to commit to the rehearsals and concert. If too many of the orchestra's members are unavailable, the director usually declines the invitation, but he may tell the manager that the orchestra would be available on a different date if the hiring individual is able to change his schedule. In many professional orchestras, the director makes the executive decision whether or not to accept the invitation on behalf of the orchestra and orchestra members are expected to adjust their own schedules accordingly, since players understand that their position with the orchestra requires an availability commitment.

If the director accepts the invitation for hire, the hiring individual pays whatever fee the orchestra currently has. Rates can be several hundred to several thousand US Dollars, depending on the number of rehearsals and concerts requested and how many members of the orchestra must be present. The expense required to hire an orchestra is the primary reason why most aspiring musicians do not routinely hire their own orchestras, instead working to achieve a level of professional musicianship that warrants an invitation from the director to perform with the orchestra.

Even though it is expensive for a person to hire an orchestra, orchestras make it easy to do so because they want public exposure and have their own expenses to cover, such as the cost of the director's salary, rehearsal space, travel and sheet music. They frequently tell members of the public how to request orchestra services on programs, the orchestras' websites and advertisements in arts-related publications. They usually provide a website URL, the phone number or email address of the director or manager and an explanation of what and where the orchestra can play. There also are some websites designed to match hiring individuals to available orchestras, and directors may opt to list their orchestras on these sites.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


@Euroxati - Granted, I don't know a whole lot about music, but I don't think learning or performing a music track would be that difficult, especially with some experience.

Don't forget, not only do these people go to music school for years, but even more so, there are also music sheets that can help someone out with what they want to perform. Using one example, have you ever noticed that at a recital, whenever someone is about to perform a piano piece, they have a music sheet right in front of them?

Obviously, this makes sense. After all, it would be too hard to perform any kind of song blind. Not to mention that a music sheet is a guide that keeps things flowing. However, you obviously have to practice at home, and can't expect to memorize the entire song in only one sitting.


@Krunchyman - You make a very good point about how music is composed, and the intensity that the conductors have. In fact, it reminds me of a video I was watching a while back, when Miyamoto (a developer for Nintendo) was composing music for a game called Super Mario Galaxy. He was very direct, stern, but composed as well. However, as long as the orchestra is in harmony, there shouldn't be too many problems with how the band sounds. Overall though, one thing that this discussion leads me to wonder is how music is composed in the first place. In other words, how does a composer know what they want their music to sound like? Wouldn't that be quite difficult to arrange?


While I've never conducted an orchestra, let alone even hired one, I can imagine that it must be a very intense process, and that it takes years of practice as well. I have been to several concerts, and without a doubt, I have seen the intensity that the conductors give off.

You can really tell that they don't want the composers to screw up. Overall though, when hiring and conducting and orchestra, I think what's important to remember the most is the fact that one needs to work as a team if they want to get anywhere.

For the most part, music is harmonious, and everything has to be in sync. You can't have one person playing the violin, and then have another get off key while playing the saxophone. Then again, this is the exact reason why the conductors follows a music sheet, so that he/she knows how to follow along, and who is following along.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Orchestras, or individual musicians, may be hired privately.
      By: kirvinic
      Orchestras, or individual musicians, may be hired privately.
    • An orchestra consists of several different sections of instruments.
      By: oliver.wolf
      An orchestra consists of several different sections of instruments.