The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is a major American orchestra based in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Annually, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performs 200 concerts for over 350,000 people. It is the largest performing arts organization in Indiana. The ISO is currently one of only 18 American orchestras that perform year round. It also has a discography of 36 recordings. Since 1982, a popular summer series is the Marsh Symphony on the Prairie, performed at Conner Prairie in Fishers. It has drawn a record 13,000 attendees for the Patriotic Pops night.
The ISO's home theater is the Hilbert Circle Theatre in Downtown Indianapolis on Monument Circle. Previous locations included Clowes Hall on the campus of Butler University and Caleb Mills Hall. The Circle Theatre, a former "movie palace", was renovated and enlarged for the Symphony and re-opened October 12, 1984.
An annual holiday performance begun in December 1986 is the IPL Yuletide Celebration, hosted in recent years by Sandi Patty and Daniel Rodriguez, among others.
In 2009 the ISO announced its first-ever ensemble-in-residence Time for Three.
The Orchestra was founded in 1930 by Ferdinand Schaefer, a local violin professor. In 1937, Fabien Sevitzky was hired as the Orchestra's first music director, as the musicians became fully professional, paid a weekly salary for a 20-week season. The orchestra quickly ascended to national prominence, issuing a series of phonograph recordings on RCA Victor and Capitol Records in the 1940s and early 1950s.
In 1956, Izler Solomon was appointed to the post of music director. The orchestra toured nationally and produced a series of international salute concerts. This series won a US State Department Award.
John Nelson became the director in 1976, and established the orchestra's present home at the Hilbert Circle Theatre in downtown Indianapolis. Nelson brought the ISO back to the airwaves on NPR and PBS, as well as concerts in Carnegie Hall in 1989 and 1991 and at the Kennedy Center. He also took the orchestra on its first-ever foreign tour, to Germany in 1987, with concertmaster Hidetaro Suzuki.
Nelson was followed by Raymond Leppard in 1987. Under Leppard's direction, the orchestra began a 52-week season, and made a series of recordings on the Koss Classics label. Leppard returned the orchestra to Europe for two more tours in 1993 and 1997. Indianapolis On The Air, a weekly radio series begun in 1994, is produced by WFYI in Indianapolis and is syndicated to over 250 radio stations in 38 states.
The symphony announced on October 19, 2010, that Krzysztof Urbanski would become the seventh music director in the organization's eight-decade history, as well as the youngest musician to lead the orchestra.
Some of the orchestra's earliest recordings have re-appeared on the Historic Recordings.co.uk label in the UK.
Ferdinand Schaefer (1930-1937) (founder),
Fabien Sevitzky (1937-1955),
Izler Solomon (1956-1975),
John Nelson (1976-1987),
Raymond Leppard (1987-2001) (now Conductor Laureate),
Mario Venzago (2002-2009),
Krzysztof Urbanski (2011-present),
Principal Pops Conductors:
Erich Kunzel (1982-2002),
Jack Everly (2002-present)