The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: What is the best classical music app? A Slate magazine writer thinks he knows. Do you? | January 4, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

What is the best classical music app ever invented that you can buy?

Reporter Seth Colter Walls (below), who reported on the Mideast and culture for Newsweek and is now with Slate magazine, thinks he knows – and he makes a pretty convincing case.

seth colter  walls 2

The name of the app is The Orchestra and it sells for $13.95. Ad it certainly seems — and SOUNDS — impressive. (Check out the video at the bottom.)

Moreover, the inventor of the app is none other than the Finnish-born composer – recently celebrated for the release of his new prize-winning Violin Concerto – and former music director and conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Esa-Pekka Salonen (below).


Take a read, listen and make up your own mind. Then let the rest of us know what you think – either from the story by Slate or from your own actual experience with the app.

And there is no need to take Slate’s or Salonen’s word for it.

What do you find the best, most useful or most enjoyable classical music app? Let us know your recommendation in the COMMENT section.

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. That first photo isn’t of Seth Colter Walls. That is Darcy James Argue, founder of Secret Society, an 18 piece steampunk big band.

    Comment by Steven Slusser — January 1, 2014 @ 5:22 pm

  2. This app sounds awesome! I love that it offers several views of the orchestra and shows which instruments are playing at a time. I can’t tell if it is only for iPad, though.
    Seth’s writing is great…I love this quote: “Salonen’s choices of repertoire are gratifyingly diverse: You get a taste of Haydn’s Symphony No. 6, the march to the gallows in Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, and then a dive straight into the ever-more-complex orchestrations of the 20th and 21st centuries. Mahler likes his heavy-as-fuck marches; and Stravinsky’s “Firebird” is rhythm-mad and overflowing with folk tunes.”

    Comment by Justin Mathis — January 5, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

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