Once upon a time, in the world of classical music, there lived the "Big Five." The term was used to lump together the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and our own Philadelphia Orchestra as the finest performing orchestras in the U.S.
But, over time, as other orchestras gained stature, both in performance and finances, the term became passe and no longer indicative of the American orchestral scene.
The Philadelphia Orchestra has a genteel rivalry with its illustrious neighbor to the west, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Though not among the"Big Five" American orchestras, Pittsburgh is certainly in that league. And then there were those neck-and-neck European tours where Pittsburgh had more, and classier, dates than Philadelphia.