I was 14 years old when i wask able to join my first orchestra in Brooklyn, New York. What an experience that was. This was an amateur group of Doctors, lawyers, amd other professionals. And then there was me, sitting last chair in the second violin section. What was so significant, in retrospect, is that i learned a huge chunk of the orchestral literature there. The symphonies of Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven, as well as many works for solo instruments.
It was amazing to me to listen to great music of Dvorak and Brahms, and i recall that we worked on the Brahms concerto for violin and Cello.
Our conductor was Maxim Waldo, who reportedly played Oboe under Arturo Toscanini.
Here is a performance of the Brahms Double Concerto with Ms. Mutter, as conducted by Mariss Jansons: