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Israel Chamber Orchestra

ISRAEL CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (formerly the Israel Chamber Ensemble). The Israel Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1965 by conductor Gary *Bertini, to offer a range of music which had not previously been available to the Israeli public, from Baroque to original contemporary works commissioned for Israeli composers. The repertoire includes solo recitals, works for chamber orchestra, and chorale concerts. Orchestra members include many recent immigrants, particularly from the U.S.S.R. and the United States.

Among the outstanding musical directors have been Rudolf Barshai and Luciano Berio. Uri Segal became musical director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, following a successful career abroad. After winning first prize in the 1969 Mitropoulos Conducting Competition in New York, he conducted major orchestras in New York, England, and then throughout Europe, America, and in New Zealand. Subsequent directors were Yoav Talmi, Shlomo *Mintz, and Philippe Entremont, who served as principal conductor in 1995–98 and was afterwards appointed laureate conductor. Maestro Salvador Mas Conde served as musical director in 1998–2001, succeeded by Noam *Sheriff (2002–5) and Gil Shohat (from 2005), an Israeli composer known for his avant-gardism.

In 1978 the orchestra undertook a project of music education for youth, presenting the first series of special Youth and Family Concerts. Using "special events," commentary, audiovisual media, and actor-mime performances accompanying musical presentation, the programs aim to bring youth closer to music and musical understanding. The orchestra also performs in special locales or atmospheres suitable to the work being performed.

The Israel Chamber Orchestra presents its regular annual concert series performances in Israel and undertakes annual concert tours abroad, especially in Europe and America. Each concert program is recorded and filmed in cooperation with the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

The orchestra continues to expand and diversify, including "New Dimensions" concerts of contemporary music, guest soloists, and conductors, and also places a strong emphasis on opportunities for Israeli soloists and rising young artists.

Numerous well-known artists have performed with the orchestra, including Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir *Ashkenazy, Isaac *Stern, Itzhak *Perlman, Pinchas *Zuckerman, Shlomo *Mintz, Yefim *Bronfman, and Jean Pierre Rampal. Several internationally acclaimed choirs appeared with the Orchestra, such as the Netherlands Chamber Choir, Stuttgart Chamber Choir, Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, Gulbenkian Choir, Brigham Young University Choir, Toelz Boys Choir, Prague Chamber Choir, and Vienna Sangerknaben.

The orchestra is supported by public and private funds, and a public council serves it in an advisory capacity.


Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.