The Israel Chamber Orchestra (= ICO; Hebrew: äúæîåøú ä÷àîøéú äéùøàìéú) was founded in 1965 by Gary Bertini who served as its Artistic Director and conductor for 10 years. The ICO's first USA appearance was in New York in 1969. Subsequent Artistic Directors were: Luciano Berio, Rudolf Barshai, Uri Segal, Yoav Talmi, Shlomo Mintz, Philippe Entremont, Salvador Mas Conde, Noam Sheriff, Gil Shohat, Roberto Paternosto and Yoav Talmi. In 2009, Elizabeth Wallfisch was named the ICO's Baroque program adviser.
Many well-known artists have performed with the ICO: Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Yefim Bronfman, Miriam Fried, Joseph Kalichstein, Kryzstof Penderecki, Christoph Eschenbach, Yoel Levi, Jean Pierre Rampal, Paul Tortelier, Heinrich Schiff, Heinz Holliger, Sergiu Comissiona, Claude Frank, David Shallon, Tabea Zimmermann, and others.
Several internationally acclaimed choirs participated in the ICO's concerts throughout the years, among them: the Rinat Choir and Cameran Singers from Israel, the Nederlands Kamerkoor, Kammerchor Stuttgart, Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, Gulbenkian Choir, Brigham Young University Choir, Tölzer Knabenchor, Prague Chamber Choir and Wiener Sängerknaben.
The ICO's repertoire ranges from early baroque to contemporary music. The ICO pays utmost importance to attracting the young generation. Its “Family Series” have been enthusiastically acclaimed by young audiences and professional music critics alike.
The ICO tours extensively in Europe, USA, Canada, South America and the Far East and takes part in prestigious international music festivals such as the Salzburg Festival, festivals in Istanbul, Helsinki, Athens, Pompeii, Sofia and Mitte Europa, Hong Kong and many more.
The ICO recorded for Chandos, Naxos (music of Alberto Ginastera), Music Masters, The Israel Music Institute (IMI), Koch and Teldec (music of Arnold Schoenberg and Tchaikovsky).
The ICO is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Tel Aviv Jaffa Municipality.