or·​ches·​tra | \ ˈȯr-kə-strə How to pronounce orchestra (audio) , -ˌke- \

Definition of orchestra

1a : the circular space used by the chorus in front of the proscenium in an ancient Greek theater
b : a corresponding semicircular space in a Roman theater used for seating important persons
2a : the space in front of the stage in a modern theater that is used by an orchestra
b : the forward section of seats on the main floor of a theater
c : the main floor of a theater
3 : a group of musicians including especially string players organized to perform ensemble music — compare band

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Examples of orchestra in a Sentence

He plays violin in the school orchestra. the orchestra will be performing a selection of Beethoven pieces tomorrow night
Recent Examples on the Web The conductor, rather, was Esa-Pekka Salonen, a longtime friend of the orchestra who many hoped would become its leader a few years ago instead of the punchier, less creative, less engaging van Zweden. New York Times, "400 Days Later, the New York Philharmonic Returns," 15 Apr. 2021 Now, after 15 days in March of audience-free rehearsals at The Shell by members of the orchestra — who also were filmed there for several upcoming online concerts — the panoramic venue has already proven its superior sonic and visual capabilities. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Symphony fine-tunes The Shell, its new $85 million bayside venue, and prepares to launch concerts," 2 Apr. 2021 He’s there to fill a very specific gap — your seat in front of an orchestra. Washington Post, "How a mannequin head could revolutionize how orchestras and audiences come together," 2 Mar. 2021 Members of the orchestra recorded the music while using a click track, with BLO music director David Angus monitoring remotely from his home in England. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston Lyric Opera drops a fully animated ‘Fall of the House of Usher’ production," 27 Jan. 2021 With his second commission from the DSO, which premiered Inner City Rhapsody in September 2019, Mason, 24, scored Reflection on a Memorial for string orchestra. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "Dallas Symphony and Dallas Black Dance Theatre honor lives lost due to racial violence," 12 Nov. 2020 He also is credited as the first bandleader to put the percussion section — congas, bongos and timbales — in a position of prominence in front of the orchestra. Deborah Ramirez, sun-sentinel.com, "Life of jazz great Tito Puente celebrated in livestream concert from Miami Beach on Sept. 6," 4 Sep. 2020 Musicals at the Opera House are on a Broadway scale, often with casts of two dozen or so, plus a pit orchestra, with limited backstage space. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Summer venues in Middlesex County face a second year of canceled shows amid lingering COVID-19 challenges," 11 Apr. 2021 The endowment will help to support the L.A. Opera orchestra’s 62 core musicians. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. Opera receives $5-million gift to jump-start pandemic recovery," 7 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'orchestra.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of orchestra

1606, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for orchestra

Latin, from Greek orchēstra, from orcheisthai to dance; perhaps akin to Sanskrit ṛghāyati he trembles, he rages

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Time Traveler for orchestra

Time Traveler

The first known use of orchestra was in 1606

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Statistics for orchestra

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Orchestra.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orchestra. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for orchestra



English Language Learners Definition of orchestra

: a group of musicians who play usually classical music together and who are led by a conductor
US : a group of seats in a theater that are close to the stage


or·​ches·​tra | \ ˈȯr-kə-strə How to pronounce orchestra (audio) \

Kids Definition of orchestra

1 : a group of musicians who perform instrumental music using mostly stringed instruments
2 : the front part of the main floor in a theater

Other Words from orchestra

orchestral \ ȯr-​ˈke-​strəl \ adjective

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Comments on orchestra

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