The Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Le Zion (ISO)
The Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Le Zion (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 of the children who will eventually become the next generation of musicians and audiences in Israel. This is achied 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, 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 the late Noam Sheriff and Mendy Rodan, Asher Fish, Dan Ettinger and James Judd. The founder of the orchestra is Meir Nitzan, who was the Rishon Lezion mayor at the time.