Update browser for a secure Minnesota Orchestra experience

It looks like you may be using a web browser version that we don't support. Make sure you're using the most recent version of your browser, or try using of these supported browsers, to get the full Minnesota Orchestra experience: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge.

The Philharmonia Fantastique: Instrument Families concert introduces students to instrument families and to many of the instruments in a symphony orchestra. The concert features Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra, a piece that is paired with a film. The piece and film introduce instrument families and individual instruments by sight and sound. The first set of activities in this curriculum further extend learning by addressing how sound is produced in each respective instrument family.

Guide to the Orchestra

See instruments in action, as demonstrated by Minnesota Orchestra musicians.

Explore instruments

About the Composers

Mason Bates (b. 1977) is a Grammy Award-winning American composer, who has served as composerin-residence at some of the top orchestras in the US, including the Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. While living in San Francisco in 2001, Bates worked as a DJ and techno artist and later that year co-founded Mercury Soul, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that mounts club shows that combine classical music and DJ sets. He is best known for his symphonies that mix Romantic-era style with modern sounds, such as electronic music and recordings of machinery.

His multimedia work, Philharmonia Fantastique: The Making of the Orchestra, is a 25-minute work that integrates film, animation, and pre-recorded sound with a live orchestra. The piece premiered in March of 2020 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and its soundtrack won the 2023 Grammy Award for Best Engineered Classical Album. This animated film introduces the instruments of the orchestra and explores the fundamental connections between music, sound, performance, creativity, and technology. 

Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) was a Czech composer, regarded in his home country as the father of Czech music. He is known for pioneering music that identified with the aspirations to a cultural and political revival by the Czech people. His music was greatly influenced by his home country, from its politics and history to the legends and landscapes of Bohemia. While living in Prague in the early 1860s, Smetana became one of the leaders of the new genre of Czech opera. The Bartered Bride, one of his most well-known works, premiered in 1866 at the Provisional Theatre in Prague; while it was not immediately popular, it gained widespread popularity after a revised and extended version was premiered in 1870. The opera is a light comedy performed in two acts with music that incorporates traditional Bohemian dance forms, including the polka and furiant. The overture was composed before the rest of the opera and is often played as a concert piece independently, like you will hear today.

Thumbnail image of Curriculum

Teacher Activities for Philharmonia Fantastique

Explore our concert guide designed for use in the classroom—including activities, flashcards, and more.

Download the Curriculum


Minnesota Orchestra

Sponsored By

Mary Ann Feldman Music Education Fund


Midwest Radiology
RBC Wealth Management

Enhance the Learning of Music

The generosity of Orchestra donors makes it possible for students, families and teachers to experience the magic of a Minnesota Orchestra Young People’s Concert.