On orchestra calendars I sometimes see events called "reading sessions", such as this one: Pittsburgh Symphony 11th Annual Reading Session

What is a "reading session" and how does it differ from a normal concert?

  • 1
    READ the link - it tells you everything you need to know. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 23:24
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    @jjmusicnotes No, it doesn't. It assumes you already know what a reading session is. That's why I asked the question. Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 23:27
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    Reading is simply reading through a piece - as one would read a story. No rehearsal, just read it. Good players are quite capable of doing this. The results will be quite palatable, although after, the conductor and composer may feel the need to change things - subtly or not.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 7:50

1 Answer 1


Typically, it's an opportunity for new composers to hear their music played by a real orchestra, as opposed to the playback option in their notation computer software. "Reading" implies that this is usually close to sight-reading by the orchestra (and sometimes by the conductor as well!)

  • It also can be an opportunity for music teachers, directors, and others that are responsible for music repertoires to read through new music with a group so they can get first hand experience with music that they may want to consider for their ensembles.
    – Jared
    Commented Sep 7, 2023 at 16:42

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