In some orchestras the seating is important. In others the section players rotate. It's not optimal to have all the best players in the front. It's actually great to have great players in the back as well which is why many orchestras have the rotating section. Usually the concert-master, assistant-CM, co-CM, 2nd CM, alternate-CM, differs in all orchestras, sit in the front. Some orchestras have 2 desks and some have 3 desks of concertmasters. Also section leaders in all the sections sit in the front. After that it could be anything.
In professional orchestras you audition for a position and not for seating. This means that if I audition for section violinist, I may be much better than the concert-master but will never have a chance to sit there. Often the best players audition for these positions but not necessarily. Many don't like the pressure.
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