|Alternative Spellings||ISO, Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands|
Rumon Gamba - Conductor from 2002 to 2010
Yan Pascal Tortelier - Conductor from 2016 to 2019
Olav Kielland - Conductor from 1952 to 1955
Bohdan Wodiczko - Conductor from 1965 to 1968
Bohdan Wodiczko - Conductor from 1970 to 1971
Karsten Andersen - Conductor from 1973 to 1978
Jean-Pierre Jacquillat - Conductor from 1978 to 1986
Petri Sakari - Conductor from 1987 to 1993
Petri Sakari - Conductor from 1996 to 1998
Rico Saccani - Conductor from 1998 to 2001
Ilan Volkov - Conductor from 2011 to 2014
Eva Ollikainen - Conductor from 2020
During the late-forties, the dream of a professional orchestra loomed ever larger in public discussion in Iceland. A group of musicians, led by composers Páll Ísólfsson and Jón Þórarinsson, wrote a formal proposal to the government where suggestions of administration and ownership of the planned orchestra were put forward. Eysteinn Jónsson, minister of culture, introduced a bill in Parliament during the winter of 1947-1948 where a special fund for the management of an orchestra was planned.
At the outset, the ISO was efficient in concerting and gave fifteen public performances during its first year of existence. However, the beginning was unpromising from a financial perspective: Operating costs were higher than applied to any other musical institution of the country, no budget estimates had yet been made and the public response was marked by lack of interest. Wage disputes were frequent and members of the orchestra regularly consulted their unions.
In 1954, the running of the ISO was incorporated into RÚV. This meant that the orchestra’s members had more job security and more wage stability than before. However, attendance to concerts remained low and after the first twelve months of the collaboration with RÚV, the orchestra was run at a great loss. Consequently, the activity of ISO came to a halt and no concerts were held during the winter 1955-1956.
In March 1956, advances were made towards restoring the ISO as a private institution and reinstating routine performances. The orchestra’s title had previously been Sinfóníuhljómsveitin (The Symphony Orchestra) but was now formally changed to Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands (The Icelandic Symphony Orchestra). Bjarni Benediktsson, minister of culture, was the main advocate of the new title and showed great interest in defining the orchestra as a national treasure.
In 1960, the orchestra’s board found itself relapsing into financial difficulties, partly due to a high inflation. Attendance to concerts remained moderate and earnings were negligible. In February 1961, the board decided to seek renewed ties with RÚV and reshape the ISO as a de facto department of the radio. The final result, however, was a rearrangement of the orchestra as a subdivision of RÚV. The arrangement was intended as a temporary solution but remained unchanged until 1982.
After the passing of the ISO law in 1982, the orchestra received provisions on the national budget. The number of players in the ISO had grown and kept growing during this period. Wikipedia