Riverside Orchestra grew out of a chamber music series, organized by Dr. Ephraim Rubin, a scientist who loves to play the clarinet. The group started playing orchestra concerts in 1971 and has been managed by its founder ever since. Although mainly a community orchestra with volunteer players, some of the members are professional musicians. Most players have - or are retired from - other careers, but enjoy playing the symphonic repertoire with other enthusiastic instrumentalists. There is a core group of players who have been in the orchestra since the 1970’s, and many of those who joined later quickly become equally committed.
Most of our concerts include a concerto or operatic performance with widely renowned soloists
After playing in local youth symphonies or college orchestras, our members find in Riverside a rare place that affords them the simple joy of continuing to play in an orchestra. The camaraderie of rehearsing (and of sharing juice and cookies mid-rehearsal!) is as important to the members as making music.
The audience is as loyal. With a long term and friendly relationship to the Trinity School, one of the oldest private schools in New York City, Riverside has become an Upper West Side institution, attracting many classical music-lovers who live not just there but come from all over the NYC metropolitan area. And they bring guests from all over the world!
Unusual among orchestra concerts, ours are followed by a party for orchestra and audience members. Over wine, juice, pizza, baked ziti, salad, fruit and cheese, we have found a convivial way to remind the audience that they are our partners not just our patrons.
Most of our concerts include a concerto or operatic performance with widely renowned soloists -- many of whom are members of the New York Philharmonic. While this often provides them with a dress-rehearsal opportunity for a later performance with a more renowned orchestra, they are generous with their talents because of the welcome they receive from the orchestra and audience alike, and because of a shared conviction of the importance of bringing great music to a wider audience
Riverside conductors -- such a succession of wonderful musicians! Many have moved on to “the big time” after their Riverside experience. Riverside provides a training ground for the up-and-coming, as well as the opportunity for conductors without their own orchestra to expand their experience. They, like our featured soloists, are committed to the orchestra’s mission -- to be a community of music makers and music lovers.