The IRIS Orchestra, celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2010, has been referred to as a new model for a 21st-century American orchestra. Unique in its structure and unlike any other orchestra in the country, it has established itself as one of the most successful musical groups in the United States. Since its first season it has set a new standard for innovative performances and recordings, musical excellence, creative programming, and service to the community. The resident orchestra at Germantown Performing Arts Centre in Tennessee, IRIS is led by founding Artistic Director Michael Stern.
In 2007 the IRIS Foundation was launched to support the orchestra’s transition to an independent non-profit status. The membership of the orchestra is comprised of a community of musicians from all over the United States. Over the past ten years IRIS has presented a remarkable array of soloists including Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Midori, Emanuel Ax, Michelle DeYoung, Yefim Bronfman, Dawn Upshaw, Garrick Ohlsson and Yo-Yo Ma. The list of commissioned composers is equally distinguished, including such important composers as Stephen Hartke, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, William Bolcom and Ned Rorem.
The IRIS Orchestra with conductor Michael Stern