Under the leadership of Music Director Krzysztof Urbański and Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has become a leading orchestra in the nation with its commitment to artistic excellence, diverse and creative programming inside and outside its historic Hilbert Circle Theatre home, its engagement with communities throughout the state of Indiana, and its innovative approaches to music education, performance and collaboration.
A Brief History
Under the baton of Ferdinand Schaefer, 60 men and women made their official debut as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, November 2, 1930, in Caleb Mills Hall in the newly built Shortridge High School. In the decades since this debut concert, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has emerged as one of America’s top orchestras which attracts the finest musicians, guest conductors and artists from all from all over the world and presents quality classical, pops, family and holiday programming to hundreds of thousands of people each year. The ISO has received national and international acclaim with its radio broadcasts, tours and recordings; became the first major orchestra with a resident ensemble (Time for Three); and more than any other orchestra, maintains the largest library of digital music available for download on InstantEncore.com.
The ISO’s home – the Hilbert Circle Theatre
Built in 1916, the Circle Theatre in downtown Indianapolis was the first motion picture palace west of New York built especially for the purpose of showing feature-length photoplays. From 1916-1981, the Circle Theatre’s repertoire ranged from world premiere movie features, classical concerts and live stage shows to low-budget motion pictures and short films. The facility was transformed into an orchestra hall on October 12, 1984, when the ISO made its move from Clowes Memorial Hall to downtown Indianapolis. With a significant and generous gift from Steve and Tomisue Hilbert in 1996, the hall was renamed the Hilbert Circle Theatre. In 2013, new seats were installed to create more accessibility and comfort for patrons, courtesy of Lilly Endowment Inc.
Leadership within the ISO
Maestro Krzysztof Urbański was appointed as the ISO’s seventh Music Director on October 19, 2010, and has now become a preferred and highly respected conductor among top orchestras in Europe, Asia and the United States. Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly’s approach to innovative pops programming has garnered acclaim throughout North America, where he continues to serve as the principal pops conductor for four major orchestras, including Indianapolis. Concertmaster Zach De Pue begins his eighth season with the ISO and alongside his trio, Time for Three, leads the orchestra in performances and new audience development initiatives. Conductor Laureate Raymond Leppard, who successfully led the ISO for 14 years as Music Director, continues his involvement through the beloved Classical Christmas concert in December.
The ISO in 2014-2015
In his fourth season with the ISO, Maestro Urbański’s vision centers around powerful, large-scale symphonic works by Brahms, Beethoven and Mahler. In addition, the season will include the multi-week themed event, “Fantasy, Fate and War: A Midwinter Russian Festival,” which focuses on the culture of Russia and composers Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. “Fantasy, Fate and War” concludes with the ISO’s first-ever performance of Shostakovich’s monumental Seventh Symphony, the “Leningrad.” In the Printing Partners Pops Series, Maestro Everly has programmed a season with a nod to the leading men – the artists, composers, singers, songwriters, actors and creators – who left a significant mark on American music and film in the 20th century.