One of Israel’s premier orchestras, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra has played a major role in shaping and developing the country’s cultural sphere since the new state’s inception.
With conductor Steven Sloane at the helm as music director, the orchestra maintains a varied repertoire ranging from the Baroque and the Classical periods through the Romantic period, extending to contemporary composers, many of whom received their Israeli premières with the JSO. The JSO was the first Israeli orchestra to perform the works of renowned composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Henry Dutilleux, Alfred Schnittke and more. It has also consistently commissioned and performed works by Israeli composers.
Some of the music world’s most legendary figures have performed with the JSO over the decades, with memorable performances by Igor Stravinsky, Otto Klemperer, Arthur Rubinstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, Pablo Casals, Igor Markevitch, Henryk Szeryng, Yo Yo Ma, Pierre Boulez and more.
The orchestra has performed a number of premières, including the opera “David by Milhaud” (1954); Stravinsky’s cantata “Abraham and Isaac,” conducted by Robert Craft (1964); and Penderecki’s “Symphony No. 7 The Seven Gates of Jerusalem,” conducted by Lorin Maazel. The latter was commissioned to conclude the Jerusalem 3000 celebrations which marked three millennia of the city’s history.
The JSO often tours throughout Europe and in the United States and has played in some of the world’s most prestigious venues. In February 2015, UNESCO invited the JSO to Paris to perform Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, Babi Yar in a special concert commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.