International Symphony Orchestra

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International Symphony Orchestra
Founded1957 (1957)
LocationSarnia, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan
Concert hallImperial Theatre
Principal conductorDouglas Bianchi

The International Symphony Orchestra of Sarnia, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan began in 1957. The Little Orchestra Society of Sarnia and the Port Huron String Ensemble came together and formed the Orchestra. The Orchestra is a non-profit organization and consists of around fifty-five musicians who are from both sides of the border between the United States and Canada. Many work full-time in the music profession. Other members are engineers, teachers, doctors, nurses, and homemakers, and all are well-trained musicians. From 1997–2011, the Orchestra's music director was acclaimed Canadian conductor Jerome Summers.[1][2] After an extensive search lasting nearly two years, the Orchestra selected Douglas Bianchi of Wayne State University in 2012 as its new Music Director.[3] The Orchestra performs at various venues and churches in the area throughout each season, including the Imperial Oil Center for the Performing Arts in Sarnia and the McMorran Theater in Port Huron.

Imperial Theatre Marquee - 5 May 2012 - Final concert of the 2011 - 2012 season

Affiliated organizations[edit]

In 1984, the Symphony Singers joined forces with the Orchestra, and this auditioned chorus remains with the group today. The Symphony also sponsors a Youth Orchestra. Two auxiliary groups also support the organization: the Symphony Association of the Port Huron Area, and the International Symphony Association. It also receives support from the Port Huron Musicale[4] and various sponsors and supporters, both private and commercial.

Notable performers[edit]

Many internationally recognized performers have collaborated with the International Symphony Orchestra. Chief among these is Canadian pianist Robert Silverman,[5] who performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto #5 (The Emperor) with the group in 2007.[6] Former prodigy and established star Caroline Goulding[7] has performed numerous times as featured soloist. American Gershwin specialist Kevin Cole graced the stage in April 2011.[8] Former lead dancer with Riverdance Nora Corrigan has participated during the Symphony's annual Celtic Concert for many years.[9][10][11] Canadian fiddle champion Shane Cook[12] played with the Orchestra in 2012 and returned in 2013.[13] In 2014, harmonica virtuoso Mike Stevens headlined the orchestra's "Classics Cross Country" concert.[14]

Detroit Music Awards[edit]

In 2011, the International Symphony Orchestra was awarded the title of "Outstanding Community Orchestra" from among several American and Canadian organizations that ring Lake Huron.[15] The Orchestra was again nominated in 2012, but did not win.[16]


  1. ^ "Jerome Summers Biography". Mozart to Miles. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  2. ^ Jerome Summers. "Jerome Summers Calendar". Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  3. ^ "ARTS: New ISO conductor". Sarnia Observer. Postmedia Network. 23 September 2012. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  4. ^ Beth Hancock. "Port Huron Musicale". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  5. ^ HeyShauna. "Robert Silverman Biography". Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  6. ^ Patrick Hession. "ISO Program, 2 Nov 2007". Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Caroline Goulding with the International Symphony Orchestra". 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Kevin Cole: America's Pianist". Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  9. ^ "ISO to present Celtic Classic". Sarnia Observer. Postmedia Network. 6 January 2009. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  10. ^ Morden, Paul (11 January 2010). "Celtic music with attitude". Sarnia Observer. Postmedia Network. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  11. ^ Young, Heather (29 December 2010). "ISO show offers Celtic flair". Sarnia Observer. Postmedia Network. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  12. ^ Obeserver Staff. "Kilts, Clans and Ceilidhs concerts set for Sarnia and Port Huron". Sarnia Observer. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Shane Cook, Tiffany Fewster & International Symphony". Sarnia Observer. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  14. ^ Observer Staff (12 February 2014). "See what's on tap in local entertainment". Sarnia Observer. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Detroit Music Awards". NTouchDesigns. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  16. ^ "Detroit Music Awards". NTouchDesigns. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2012.