Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands (Iceland Symphony Orchestra) (ISO) is an orchestra based in Reykjavík, Iceland. 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. The most recent chief conductor was Rumon Gamba, who held the post from 2002 to 2010. Ashkenazy accepted the post of conductor laureate with the ISO in 2002. Gennady Rozhdestvensky is scheduled to become 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 is for 3 years, with 6 weeks of scheduled appearances in his first season and 9 weeks of concerts in subsequent seasons.
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. The orchestra has recorded commercially for such labels as BIS Records, Chandos Records 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".
Olav Kielland (1952-1955),
Karsten Andersen (1973-1980),
Jean-Pierre Jacquillat (1980-1986),
Petri Sakari (1988-1993),
Osmo Vänskä (1993-1996),
Petri Sakari (1996-1998),
Rico Saccani (1998-2002),
Rumon Gamba (2002-2010),
Ilan Volkov (2011-