Founded in 1950, The Iceland Symphony Orchestra, resident at Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik, has distinguished itself as one of the leading Nordic orchestras through its acclaimed performances and recordings.
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra consists of 90 full-time members and gives around 60 concerts each season, including subscription concerts in Reykjavík, family concerts, school concerts, recordings, and local as well as international tours. The orchestra's season concerts in Harpa concert hall are broadcast live on the Icelandic national radio. The orchestra has performed in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria, France, and the United States. The Iceland Symphony Orchestra launched in March 2012 the Tectonics festival of contemporary music curated by the ISO's Music Director, Ilan Volkov.
Ilan Volkov made his debut with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in 2003 and took on the post of Music Director and Chief Conductor in September 2011. Previous Music Directors include Osmo Vänskä, Petri Sakari, and Rumon Gamba. The orchestra maintains a long-standing relationship with Vladimir Ashkenazy, who began conducting in Iceland in 1972 and now holds the post of Conductor Laureate.
The Iceland Symphony Orchestra records regularly for BIS, Chandos and Naxos. Its cycle of Sibelius symphonies for Naxos, under the direction of Petri Sakari, has received great acclaim and is the orchestra's best-selling release to date. It is currently in the process of recording the complete orchestral music of Jón Leifs (BIS) and Vincent d'Indy (Chandos), the first volume of which was nominated for a Grammy-award for Best Orchestral Performance in 2009.