One of Israel’s leading Orchestras and one of its capital’s most celebrated cultural institutions, The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, IBA, will celebrate 80 years of music this season.
Founded in the late 1930’s as the Jerusalem Broadcast Service Orchestra, the JSO became the “Kol Israel” National Radio Orchestra in 1948, coinciding with the Israeli declaration of Independence.
The orchestra’s former musical directors include Mendi Rodan, Lukas Foss, Gary Bertini, Lawrence Foster and David Shallon and the current music director is Maestro Frederic Chaslin. During the Current American concert tour the Jerusalem Symphony will be led by Maestro Yaron Gottfried, one of Israel’s great conductors, who has performed with JSO many times in the past and a frequent guest conductor on its stage.
The orchestra is known for its rich repertoire, ranging from the Baroque and the Classical periods through the Romantic period, extending to contemporary composers, many holding their Israeli premièrs with the JSO.
Since its establishment, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra has consistently supported Israeli composers by commissioning and performing their works. This season, marking the JSO’s 80th year, it will perform no less than 15 pieces created by Israeli composers – an impressive number of new local works. Many musicians who arrived in Israel during the large immigration (“Aliyah”) from the FSU, make for the majority of the JSO’s orchestra’s ensemble, while also absorbing many young and talented Israeli musicians during their studies in the Jerusalem Academy of music and dance.
Over the Last 8 decades, some of the world’s most legendary musicians have performed with the JSO including Igor Stravinsky, Otto Klemperer, Arthur Rubinstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, Pablo Casals, Igor Markevitch, Henryk Szeryng, Yo Yo Ma, Pierre Boulez, Neville Mariner, Christa Ludwig, Tabea Zimmermann, Martha Argerich, Radu Lupu, Jose Carreras, Jean Pierre Rampal, Maxim Vengerov and Yefim.
The JSO is often invited to hold tours in Europe, Asia, South America and the United States, and has played in some of the most prestigious venues across the world such as the Musikvereine in Vienna, the Philharmonie in Cologne and Carnegie Hall in New-York.
In February 2015 the JSO was invited by UNESCO to Paris to perform Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, Babi Yar in a special concert commemorating the 70th anniversary to the liberation of Auschwitz. The orchestra also toured in Brazil with Maestro Chaslin and Israeli soloist Itamar Zurman during August 2015. In 2009 the orchestra performed the oratorio Elijah (Mendelssohn) at the closing event of the annual Bachfest in Leipzig and in 2016 the JSO toured in Japan. Upcoming tours abroad in 2018 are scheduled in the US and South America.
The Orchestra is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Jerusalem City municipality. As the National radio orchestra, the Israel Broadcasting Authority backed the JSO until its Liquidation in 2017. To commemorate its rich history, the JSO’s management has decided to keep the IBA (“Israel Broadcasting Authority”) in the Orchestra’s name.