Iceland Symphony Orchestra

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Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands (Iceland Symphony Orchestra) (ISO) is an Icelandic orchestra based in Reykjavík. The ISO is an autonomous public institution under the auspices of the Icelandic Ministry of Education. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra made its home in Háskólabíó (University Cinema) from 1961–2011, but moved into the new 1800-seat Harpa (Reykjavík Concert and Conference Center) in spring 2011. The orchestra gives approximately sixty concerts each season. Per a 1982 law, the ISO's primary financial sources are the Icelandic treasury (56%), RÚV (Icelandic National Broadcasting Service) (25%), and the City of Reykjavik (18%), with the remaining 1% coming from the township of Seltjarnarnes.

Around 1925, a small orchestra of about 15 players, the Hljómsveit Reykjavíkur (Reykjavík City Orchestra), began to give concerts. Further institutional roots of the orchestra came with the foundation in 1930 of the RÚV and of the Reykjavík College of Music. The RÚV had a radio orchestra for several years. The ISO was formally founded in 1950, giving its first concert on 9 March 1950, with an ensemble of 39 players.

Olav Kielland was the ISO's first chief conductor, from 1952 to 1955. The orchestra then had a long period without a single chief conductor, during which time the ISO collaborated with such conductors as Bohdan Wodiczko and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Its second chief conductor was Karsten Andersen, from 1973 to 1980. Rumon Gamba was chief conductor from 2002 to 2010. Ashkenazy accepted the post of conductor laureate with the ISO in 2002. Gennady Rozhdestvensky became the ISO's principal guest conductor in 2011. In January 2011, the ISO named Ilan Volkov as its 9th chief conductor and music director, effective with the 2011-2012 season. His initial contract was for 3 years, with 6 weeks of scheduled appearances in his first season and 9 weeks of concerts in subsequent seasons.[1][2] In June 2014, the orchestra announced the appointment of Osmo Vänskä, who was the orchestra's chief conductor from 1993 to 1996, as its next principal guest conductor, effective with the 2014-2015 season.[3][4] Volkov concluded his tenure with the ISO in August 2014,[5] following the orchestra's debut at The Proms.[6] In October 2015, the ISO announced the appointment of Yan Pascal Tortelier as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2016-2017 season, with an initial contract of 3 years.[7]

In addition to its subscription concerts in Reykjavík, the ISO gives concerts elsewhere in Iceland and has toured abroad, including visits to the Faroes, Greenland, Germany, Austria, France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and North America, including its first tour to the United States in 1996.[8] The orchestra has recorded commercially for such labels as BIS Records, Chandos Records[9][10][11] and Naxos Records. The ISO has also collaborated with the pop/rock Todmobile in a 2003 live concert in the Laugardalshöll in Reykjavík, released as the live CD "Sinfónía", and with the heavy metal band Skálmöld in a series of 2013 live concerts at Harpa.

Chief conductors[edit]


  1. ^ "Iceland Symphony Orchestra Names Ilan Volkov Music Director Designate" (Press release). Iceland Symphony Orchestra. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  2. ^ "Volkov verður aðalstjórnandi Sinfóníuhljómsveitarinnar". Morgunblaðið. 2011-01-11. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  3. ^ "Osmo Vänskä aðalgestastjórnandi næstu þrjú starfsár" (Press release). Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Sinfóníuhljómsveitar Íslands). 16 June 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  4. ^ Andrew Mellor (2014-07-10). "Principal Guest positions for Vänskä and Stenz". Gramophone. Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  5. ^ "Volkov kvaddur". RÚV. 2014-06-19. Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  6. ^ Erica Jeal (2014-08-24). "Prom 48: Iceland Symphony Orchestra review – energetic but imperfect debut". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  7. ^ "Yan Pascal Tortelier Named Chief Conductor" (Press release). Iceland Symphony Orchestra (Sinfóníuhljómsveitar Íslands). 6 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-06. 
  8. ^ Alex Ross (1996-02-29). "Passion by Way of Iceland And the Idiosyncratic". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  9. ^ Layton, Robert (July 1993). "Sibelius: Pelleas and Melisande—incidental music, Op. 46. Swanwhite, Op. 54—excerpts, King Christian 11—incidental music, Op. 271. Sanil Tillikainen (bar); Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Petri Sakari. Chandos CD CHAN9I58". Gramophone: 55. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  10. ^ Andrew Clements (2008-04-04). "D'Indy: Jour d'Été à La Montagne; La Forêt Enchantée; Souvenirs; Iceland Symphony Orch/Gamba". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  11. ^ Fiona Maddocks (2010-04-04). "D'Indy: Orchestral Works Vol 3/Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Gamba, Sigurour Flosason (saxophone)". The Observer. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  12. ^ "Minningarsjóður um Jean Pierre Jacquillat: Þóra Einarsdóttir söngkona hlaut". Morgunblaðið. 1992-06-24. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 

External links[edit]