Top 6 Orchestra Flashmobs — Acts of Robust Hit-and-Run Culture in Public Spaces

There’s one thing about classical music that I’ve always believed: it is far better to see it performed than to hear a recording of it. While this is true for just about all kinds of music, the multi-layered nature of classical compositions (especially pieces that call for large orchestras) make it even more suited than normal for in-person performance.

And when those performances take place in public, the experience is all the more radical. Breaking out of the confines of concert halls with perfect acoustics and controlled environments into the chaos that is a flashmob, these are six of my favorite classical performances from all over the world.

Ode to Joy in Catalonia

One hundred people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l’Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs came together in a square in Catalonia, Spain, to perform Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. The whole thing was beautifully filmed and as flashmobs go, ranks up there with the best of them.

Peer Gynt on a Metro

The Coopenhagen Philharmonic surprised metro passengers with a performance of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt in a fairly crowded compartment. The looks of sheer pleasure on many of the passengers’ faces is just as entrancing as the music.

The CPHPHIL strikes again

The Coopenhagen Philharmonic apparently likes this sort of “art in the public sphere thing. Here they are again, with a performance of Ravel’s Bolero.

Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi in Indy

Lest you think all good things only happen in Europe, we present a string company from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, rendering a masterful performance of pieces from Tchaikovsky and Vivaldo in the Keystone Fashion Mall in Indianapolis. Classical music in the midwest? For. The. Win.

The Canadians Handel Business Too

North of the border, our Canadian cousins got a nice surprise when a bunch of vocalists jumped up in a mall food court and belted out Handel’s Hallelujah chorus.

… and back to Europe

Those Europeans may not have all the classical flashmobs, but they seem to have some of the best. We close this list in Vienna, Austria, where Solistinnen, Chor und Orchester der Volksoper Wien renders an absolute stunner performance at the Westbahnhof Wien. Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana has been performed often before, but I doubt those performances had dancers who went undercover as janitors or rail officials.

Do you have a favorite performance you’d like to tell us about? Sound off in the comments, let us know!

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43 Responses to Top 6 Orchestra Flashmobs — Acts of Robust Hit-and-Run Culture in Public Spaces

  1. josh January 8, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Oh, wow! I had seen some of them but that Carmina Burana in Vienna is absolutely incredible!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Easton January 8, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    Wonderful – thanks for posting/sharing Chase!

  3. Shawn January 8, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    This is the best one I have ever seen.

    • Daf January 17, 2013 at 6:50 am #

      Ha. The film connection just adds that little smile when watching this one too

  4. Alexander January 8, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    This is a really good one as well. WDR Radio Orchestra playing the Star Wars Theme in Berlin =)

    • Alexander January 8, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      I mean in cologne ^^

  5. Samzara January 8, 2013 at 11:15 am #


  6. Sebastian Schack January 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    I like this one:

    It took place in Kiel, Germany, and was initiated to motivate people to enlist as an organ donor. The songs performed in this flashmob were chosen accordingly. I don’t want to spoil it for you guys, but “Stayin’ alive” is in it – that alone should force you to watch it. :)

  7. sherri innis January 8, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Humans are incredible.

  8. Anthony January 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Enjoyed this site very much . The flash mobs , bravo. Thank you

  9. DoctorZ January 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    Very, very nice. I particularly enjoyed the videos where the singers and dancers emerged from the crowd. Thanks for sharing these.

  10. Sara January 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    A part of the string section of our symphony orchestra NOVA Filharmonija (NOVA Philharmonic) did a flashmob in the city where we come from, Nova Gorica (Slovenia, Europe). We presented “Rezijanski ples” (“A Dance from Rezija” – Rezija is an area in Italy where the ethnicity is mostly Slovenian and they have a very specific sort of traditional music and are a part of our Slovenian national culture). The title of the video and the slogan is “USTVARJAJ!” which means “CREATE!”

  11. Ronnie January 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Great seeing all those. The last one by Volksoper Wien is still my favorite! Might be a little biased though as the place is right around the corner and I already had the pleasure of working with some of Volksoper’s dancers.

  12. Christy Harper January 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    Awesome post :) Thanks!

  13. Matt January 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    For some reason these two posts came up on my facebook feed (one being Chase’s and the other was this). Its a little old but I had never heard the story you all possibly have. It might not be a flashmob, however strings are involved.

  14. Themanro January 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

    Here is few other very good once:
    killer post, Chase!

  15. jessica January 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    what a wonderful reminder of the joy and creativity still present within the human spirit. thank you for posting this.

  16. Jimmy January 9, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    I always enjoy these flasmobs

    I found another (not classical ) but a symphonic touch


  17. Dawn Camp January 9, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    Thank you! I teach a group of homeschooled high school students one day a week and yesterday we switched from art to music history. I’m sending them here to see this, hoping it will enliven Classical music for them.

  18. Glen January 9, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Chase, these are wonderful. I love seeing the reaction of little kids “conducting”.
    My favorite for the Hallelujah Chorus has to be the one the Opera Company did at Macy’s in Philly at one of their Random Acts of Culture. Just because they have a 4 rank organ IN THE STORE!

  19. Marian Majik January 9, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    Great performances – thank you all !

  20. faisal January 9, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Super awesome Chase, thanks for sharing, very good performances indeed.

  21. Les Hutchinson January 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Love it!

    • Kathleen Semple January 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      My favourite has to be Hallelujah Chorus but Ode to Joy is close 2nd!

  22. Jules January 9, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Chase, I think this should be used to issue a challenge to the Seattle Symphony.

  23. Luz January 9, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Carmina Burana…Siempre, Impacta!

  24. Treasa January 10, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    I rather like this one from British Airways in Heathrow Airport a lot too:

  25. PPusa January 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    A choir formed in Facebook made a touching flashmob performance of Finlandia Hymn at the Central Railway Station in Helsinki.

    The flashmob was made in support of a presidential candidate by individuals who were not part of the official campaign. The campaign later adopted this as a tv advertisement.

  26. Rick January 18, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    You might like this one which I think is the best of all the Halleluiah’s on YouTube;

  27. John February 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    no matter how crazy the world can be, when you see this is spurs the very depths of you soul, with a spark for hope, love and joy and most of all Peace. thank you for sharing this

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