The Israel Symphony Orchestra (ISO) was founded in 1988 by the Rishon Lezion Municipality and is the largest and most prominent artistic body in the city. Since 1989 the Orchestra has been operating as the Israeli Opera Orchestra. The orchestra has positioned itself at the top of the artistic pyramid in Israel as a leading musical renowned body.
The Orchestra's qualities have led to its high reputation as an international level orchestra, both as an opera orchestra and as an independent symphony orchestra. Its two concert tours to China (2014, 2016) gained immense success and rave reviews, filling halls in Qingdao, Beijing and Shanghai. The orchestra’s concert in the Shanghai Music Festival was described as the main event of the festival. In the summer of 2008, the orchestra embarked on a highly successful tour of Argentina, Brazil and other South American countries. The ISO had also accomplished tours in Italy and Germany as well as in the Savonlinna Festival in Finland (2000). In October 2018 it has been invited to the prestigious Cervantino Festival in Mexico where it held a successful concert tour.
In August 2022 took the ISO part in a project of twin cities of Rishon Lezion called: Israel-Germany-Poland: connected by culture. Within this huge project the orchestra performed a concert in the Cathedral of Muenster, Germany with Mahler's 2nd symphony. The concert was a great success.
The orchestra sees great importance in music education and as a result initiated the "First Note" program.
The aim of the program is to enrich the musical knowledge and exposure to children, who will eventually become the next generation of musicians and audience members in Israel. This is achievable by creating a direct connection between the orchestra players and the community. As part of "First Note" program, the orchestra performs in kindergartens and schools, most of them located in Rishon LeZion.
The orchestra regularly collaborates with the Arthur Rubinstein Foundation, participates in the "Israeli Music Festival" of the Institute of Israeli Music and other national projects.
The orchestra offers the audience a wide variety of works from all musical periods including works by Israeli composers. The series of the orchestra include: Symphonic Series, Chamber Series, Concertino - concerts for the whole family, Andalusian concerts and musical performances with leading artists of the Israeli music world such as: Tislam, Yonatan Razel, Ariel Zilber and many others.
The orchestra won the ACUM Award for its excellence in performing, publishing and promoting contemporary Israeli music. The Orchestra includes many of the new immigrants arriving to Israel in the late 1980s, alongside with some of the best young musicians in Israel today. The different musical cultures brought by its member have formulated a personal sound that is appreciated by its audience and professional critics.
The first Musical Director was Shimon Cohen. His successors were Noam Sharif, Asher Fish, the late Mandy Rodan, Dan Ettinger and James Judd.
The founder of the orchestra is Meir Nitzan, who was the Rishon Lezion mayor at the time.
Dan Ettinger, the Musical Director of the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion and the Israeli Opera, is also the Musical Director of the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, the principal conductor of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and was recently appointed as music director of the opera house in Naples, Italy. Ettinger served as the musical director of the Mannheim Opera House, conductor of the Berlin State Opera "Unter den Linden" and assistant to the musical director, Daniel Barenboim. He was also chief guest conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the conductor of the Israeli Opera Choir.
Dan Ettinger regularly conducts numerous opera productions at leading opera houses around the world: the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the New National Theatre in Tokyo, the Royal Opera House in London, the National Opera in Paris. He also conducted the Mariinsky Opera House, St.
Petersburg at the "Red Sea" Festival, numerous productions at the Berlin Opera and the New National Opera, as well as the Los Angeles Opera, Munich, Vienna and Hamburg, the North Opera in England and the National Opera in Washington. At the Israeli Opera, he conducted many productions such as La Traviata productions in Rabin Square, Nabucco and Rigoletto in Park Ha'Yarkon, Ganei Yehoshua, and more. Dan Ettinger has conducted the leading orchestras in Israel, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as well as leading orchestras in Europe. Ettinger conducted a CD recording for EMI with singer Diana Demrau and for Orpheus with singer Adriana Feitzkone and the Berlin Radio Orchestra. His recordings with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion were also published. In the summer of 2015 he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival when he conducted "Marriage of Figaro".
Dan Ettinger was born in Israel in 1971.
He studied singing at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv under the guidance of Tamar Rahum.
As a baritone singer he has performed with all of the leading orchestras in Israel, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and in many roles in the Israeli Opera, such as works by Monteverdi, Mozart, Verdi and Prokofiev. In 1993 he won the Francois Shapira Prize, was awarded the America- Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship, alongside scholarships from the Israel Institute of Singing Art. Dan Ettinger is an awarded musician of the Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation and was previously a faculty member of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the School of Music at Tel Aviv University.
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