The seating arrangement for the musicians in an orchestra is designed, naturally, to make the music sound best to the audience sitting out in the hall.
That’s one reason the percussion section is in the back, where it won’t drown out the flutes and violas. But the seating arrangement is definitely not optimized for the listening pleasure of the musicians, who hear a different cacophony depending on where they sit.
“The stage has 101 acoustical micro-climates. Every seat on that stage is different,” says section percussionist Perry Dreiman.