Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra’s roots go back to the beginning of the 19th Century. In 1827, Ottoman Sultan Mahmut II invited the famous Italian opera composer Gaetano Donizetti’s brother, Guiseppe Donizetti and awarded him “Pasha” title. Donizetti Pasha founded Mızıka-i-Humayun, Imperial Ottoman Orchestra, which is the predecessor of the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra. He remained as its Musical Director for over twenty five years until his death in 1856. The orchestra made the first European tours to Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Budapest and Sofia in 1917.
After the foundation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923, Mızıka-i-Humayun was moved to Ankara, newly founded Republic’s capital. In 1945, its name was changed as “Istanbul Municipality Symphony Orchestra” and as “Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra” in 1972 after it had been assigned to Ministry of Culture.
Through its long and rich history the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra, IDSO for short, maintains a special place in Istanbul’s cultural life as dominated by both tradition and new thinking.
Over the years IDSO has worked with many fine conductors and internationally acclaimed soloists. Among them Cemal Reşit Rey, Aaron Copland, Yehudi Menuhin, Hikmet Şimşek, Gürer Aykal, Tadeusz Strugala., Jean-Pierre Rampal, Sabine Meyer, Gidon Kramer, Heinrich Shiff, Natalia Gutman, Alexander Rudin, Luciano Pavarotti, Leyla Gencer, Güher & Süher Pekinel, Idil Biret, Fazil Say, Ayşegül Sarıca, Suna Kan, Ayla Erduran, Verda Erman, Gülsin Onay, Hüseyin Sermet .
From 2014 the Principal Conductor of the IDSO is Ender Sakpinar.
IDSO performed many of the works of Turkish composers for the first time and recorded radio and TV programs. To introduce the works of Turkish composers and the performance of Turkish musicians internationally, IDSO had concert tours in Italy,Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Greece, Memphis (1992), Spain (1990/93), in the exhibition of “Suleyman the Magnificent” held in the USA in “Europa Musicale” Festival held in Munich (1993), in Athens Festival (2000), Bulgaria (2002), Japan (2003), Egypt (2008), Germany (2009), and Spain (2012).
Ender Sakpinar studied at Ankara State Conservatory and in Paris, graduating from Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and at Rueil-Malmaison State Conservatory under direction of professor P. Dervaux and professor G. Devos. During his assistency in the Pasdeloup Symphony Orchestra in Paris, he founded the Ensemble International de Paris, sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ender Sakpinar was invited to perform with this orchestra at the inauguration of the Omaggio Venezia festival in Venice and to numerous other concerts and festivals in France, Italy, Sweden, Malta and Turkey.
Appointed as Permanent Conductor of Izmir State Symphony Orchestra between 1987-2014, he is the Principal Conductor of one of the most exciting orchestras in Turkey, Eskisehir Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra since 2004. His work with them include successful concert tours in Turkey, France, Japan, Spain and Italy.
From 2014 Ender Sakpinar is the Principal Conductor of Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra.
Founder and Music Director of Enka Sinfonietta and Aegean Symphony Orchestra, Ender Sakpinar regularly works with orchestras, ensembles and choirs in Turkey and around the world: L’Orchestre de Chambre de Toulouse, Kammer Orchester Berlin, Venice Chamber Orchestra, San Remo Symphony Orchestra, Sicily Symphony Orchestra, Taranto Symphony Orchestra, Madeira Symphony Orchestra, Mexico State Symphony Orchestra, Monterrey Symphony Orchestra, Brescia Vox Aurae Orchestra, Stockholm Folk Opera, Uppsala Academic Choir, Vienna Women Chamber Orchestra, Sarajevo Philharmonic Orhestra, Mediterranean Philharmonic Orchestra, Athens State Orchestra. He has worked with soloists such as Idil Biret, Güher and Süher Pekinel, Mintcho Minchev, David Geringas, Viktor Pikaizen, Alexander Rudin, Peter Katin, Konstantin Kulka, Jiri Barta, Radion Azarkin, Vaclav Hudacek, Liana İsakadze, György Sandor, Tedi Papavrami, Vladimir Ovchinikov, Louis Bacalov, Vladimir Krainev, Gregory Sokolov, Roby Lakatos, Maxim Fedotov, Eleni Karaindrou.
Ender Sakpinar’s repertoire covers the standard orhestral repertoire of all major composers. He often adds Turkish and contemporary music to his programmes.