The Portland Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1947 by Finnish composer and conductor, Boris Sirpo, who came to Portland after leaving his war-torn native country, and the orchestra was initially composed entirely of his music students at Lewis and Clark College. Now one of America’s oldest chamber orchestras, the commitment to quality performances of innovative repertoire that was instilled from the beginning continues.
Yaacov Bergman joined the orchestra in 2002, and under his leadership it has developed its distinctive timbre and a new focus of a fusion of art forms, while bringing to audiences World, American and Northwest Premieres. In 2011, Willamette Week's annual Finder edition called the PCO "The Most Ambitious" Arts Organization in Portland:
"Punching way above its weight, under music director Yaacov Bergman, PCO has lately been the city's most innovative orchestra, combining music with visual arts, poetry, theater, even science and sex."