Best Of 2006

Best Orchestra: Red {an Orchestra}

Eschewing the usual orchestra fare, Red's witty, smart programs stick to music written by avant-garde and experimental composers from the 20th century. In the four seasons it's been around, Red once paid tribute to sci-fi's favorite musical instrument, the theremin. And it staged a three-part production titled "3, 2, 1 . . . Piano," in which a trio of keyboardists slowly left the stage till only one remained. Even Red's holiday concerts are worth celebrating. Last year's exemplary Christmas show, A New Amahl, featured an urban-set narrative, a gritty video installation, and super-sized puppets. Sure beats The Nutcracker.