Israel Chamber Orchestra board chairman Avigdor Lieberman has announced regretfully the resignation of music director Gil Shohat at the end of the current season, effective September 1. Shohat sent a letter to the board last week in which he stated that he is resigning in order to concentrate on composing and also to respond to many invitations from abroad to conduct. "Right now I'm working on another commissioned opera, a concerto for saxophone that Harvard has ordered and a neo-Renaissance work for the Amarcord vocal consort in Italy," Shohat told The Jerusalem Post after a busy day of rehearsals, "and this summer I'm going to be conducting at festivals in Vermont and near Stuttgart." Shohat, 34, became music director of the ICO in the fall of 2005 and the youngest Israeli musician ever at the helm of a major orchestra. Before that he'd been the ICO's in-house composer and managed its lecture concert series. Part wunderkind, part realist, wholly musician, Shohat made musical history when Italy's prestigious music publishers, Ricordi, signed him at the age of 23. He has composed dozens of works from symphony to cantata to concerto and critics fall over their adjectives to praise him. He plays some 40 piano concerts yearly, teaches and of course, conducts here and abroad. With all his success, Shohat remains remarkably humble, saying "I'm too busy making music to think about me." Looking back over his three year tenure as head of the ICO, Shohat feels proud of his and the orchestra's accomplishments, not least in making a triumphant recovery from its near bankruptcy. Musically it's "the rich repertoire we've done, like the Bach and Vivaldi series, reviving the chamber classics of Haydn and Mozart - even his opera The Impresario. We've played a lot of 20th century music and performed some 20 Israeli works, 12 of which we commissioned." Other milestones include cooperation with theaters such as the Cameri and increasing the ICO's participation in festivals, such as next month's performances at the Kremlin.