CULTURE & ARTS
06/17/2013 09:27 am ET

The Big Five Orchestras No Longer Add Up

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It was like clockwork. Someone writing in The New York Times would refer to the Big Five American orchestras: the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. And within hours, Peter Pastreich, the respected executive director of the San Francisco Symphony from 1978 to 1999, would beard The Times’s overseer of classical music — at the time, me — by telephone or e-mail, complaining that the term Big Five had long since outlived whatever usefulness it may once have had.

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