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Difference between Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra

Difference between Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra

What is the difference between a philharmonic and a symphony orchestra? Though the two orchestras may share some similar characteristics, each has its own unique traits that set it apart from the other. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at those differences and discuss why they matter. Stay tuned!

What is a Philharmonic?

Philharmonic is an adjective that describes something as relating to or being a Philharmonic Orchestra. A Philharmonic Orchestra is a large symphony orchestra, typically composed of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments, with the string section playing a leading role. The term Philharmonic is also used to refer to individual Philharmonic orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. These orchestras are typically regarded as some of the finest in the world and perform at many of the most prestigious concert halls. In addition to producing great music, Philharmonic orchestras also play an important role in promoting cultural exchange and understanding.

What is Symphony Orchestra?

A Symphony Orchestra is typically a large ensemble of musicians who perform classical music. The Symphony Orchestra usually contains several different sections, such as the strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. The Symphony Orchestra typically performs in a concert hall, and they are often conducted by a maestro. The Symphony Orchestra has a long history dating back to the Baroque period, and they continue to be one of the most popular forms of classical music today. Symphony Orchestras are known for their grandiose sound, and they often perform some of the most iconic pieces of classical music.

Difference between Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra

Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra are two types of musical ensemble that have several differences between them. Philharmonic orchestra is a group of musical instrument players who play classical music while Symphony orchestra is a group of musical instrument players who play symphonic pieces. The size of Philharmonic Orchestra is usually smaller than that of Symphony Orchestra. Philharmonic Orchestra typically has about 60 members whereas Symphony Orchestra has about 80 members.

Another difference between Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra is Philharmonic performs in Philharmonic Halls which are smaller than the concert halls in which Symphony Orchestra performs. The repertoire of Philharmonic Orchestra mainly consists of works from the classical period while the repertoire of Symphony Orchestra includes works from the Romantic period. Finally, Philharmonic Orchestras are mostly funded by the government or non-profit organizations whereas Symphony Orchestras are mostly privately funded.


The Philharmonic Orchestra is a professional orchestra made up of musicians who play string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. They may also sing opera or play keyboard instruments. A Symphony Orchestra is usually larger than a Philharmonic Orchestra and typically includes more strings and less brass and woodwinds. Most importantly, the two orchestras have different purposes. The Philharmonic Orchestra plays classical music for audiences who appreciate that type of genre, while the Symphony Orchestra often performs new works commissioned by them.

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