Not necessarily ensembles or orchestras that are still around - also those who WERE around for a long time.
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra must be a contender
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
>>The orchestra's origins can be traced to 1743, when a society called the Grosses Concert began performing in private homes. In 1744 the Grosses Concert moved its concerts to the "Three Swans" Tavern. Their concerts continued at this venue for 36 years, until 1781. In 1780, because of complaints about concert conditions and audience behavior in the tavern, the mayor and city council of Leipzig offered to renovate one story of the Gewandhaus (the building used by textile merchants) for the orchestra's use.<<
Some of their most important leaders in history: Mendelssohn, Furtwangler, Bruno Walter.
I'm ashamed to say that I don't think I have even one recording with this orchestra.
Their string quartet must also be one of the oldest:
The Gewandhaus Quartet has existed since 1808 and is still around - as is costumary it consists of the concertmasters, solo violist and solo cellist of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. They premiered many great works - including Beethoven's Harp quartet in 1811.
The history of the VPO dates back to 1842
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