The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra was formed in April 1984, initially taking the name “Musicians of the Cloister” after the medieval cloister garden of Trinity Episcopal Church, where it played its first concerts.

Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, n.d.
Credit: Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra

The chamber music ensemble was incorporated in March 1985 and changed to its current name in March 1987. It is a not-for-profit corporation supporting itself through performances and donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

ICO’s founder, David Urness, modeled the orchestra on the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields of London, one of the most highly regarded chamber orchestras in the world. ICO’s original members were recruited mainly from local freelance musicians who were not employed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Many of these musicians were trained at Indiana University.

ICO’s first subscription series took place in the fall of 1985 at the Indiana Repertory Theatre’S Mainstage. Its inaugural concert featured world-renowned pianist Menahem Pressler as a soloist. The orchestra moved to the Indianapolis Museum Of Art for the beginning of the 1986-1987 season. Urness conducted the orchestra for its first two seasons, being replaced by British-born conductor Kirk Trevor in the spring of 1987. He served as the ICO music director and conductor for 27 years.

For the 1988-1989 season, the 32-piece orchestra moved to Clowes Hall. The ICO became the resident orchestra of the Schrott Center For The Arts when it opened on the Butler University campus in 2013. Indiana native Matthew Kraemer replaced Trevor to become the third music director and conductor in 2015.

Revised February 2021

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