The Narodowa Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia (NOSPR) / Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (which previously operated as the Wielka Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia / Polish Radio Great Symphony Orchestra) was created in Warsaw in 1935.
The orchestra - known at the time as the Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia / Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra - was formed by Grzegorz Fitelberg, who also acted as its director until the outbreak of World War II. In March of 1945 the orchestra was revived in Katowice by Witold Rowicki, who went on to work with the ensemble for the next five years. In 1947, Grzegorz Fitelberg once again assumed artistic direction of the orchestra after returning from abroad. Following his death in 1953, the orchestra was headed for fifteen years without interruption by Jan Krenz, and subsequently by other prominent conductors, including Kazimierz Kord (1969-1973). From 1983 to the year 2000, Antoni Wit served as Managing and Artistic Director, remaining in this position longer than anyone else in the history of the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra.
In September 2000, Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa became the orchestra's General and Programme Director. Between 2001 and 2007 the Artistic Director of the orchestra was Gabriel Chmura. In January 2009 Jacek Kaspszyk became the Music Director and Michał Klauza the Associate Conductor. The title of the first Guest Conductor of NOSPR was accepted by Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Honorary Conductor by Jan Krenz and Artistic Advisor by Jerzy Semkow.
The achievements of the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra encompass a vast array of archival recordings, particularly important among which are its world premiere recordings of contemporary works - a result of the orchestra's collaboration with many Polish and foreign contemporary composers. The orchestra has recorded more than 190 albums that have been released on CD by both Polish and foreign record companies, including Polskie Nagrania (Polish Recordings), EMI-HMV, Decca, Philips/Point Music, NVC Arts, Newport Classic, CRI, Thorofon Schallplatten and Naxos. The orchestra's recording of the complete piano concertos of Prokofiev for the latter label brought this firm the "Diapason d'Or" and the "Grand Prix du Disque de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque" awards in 1993. The recording of Turangalila Symphony by Olivier Messiaen under Antoni Wit was awarded the 2002 "Cannes Classical Award". Recently a record for DUX with works of Krzysztof Penderecki (Capriccio for violin and orchestra, De natura sonoris no. 2 for the piano and orchestra and Piano Concerto "Resurrection") with participation of NOSPR as well as soloists Beata Bilińska and Patrycja Piekutowska conducted by the composer received prestigious "Midem Classical Award" 2008 in the category of Conteporary Music.
The orchestra has appeared in concert with some of the world's most outstanding conductors and with world famous soloists, including Martha Argerich, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Colombo, Placido Domingo, Pierre Fournier, Nicolai Gedda, Barbara Hendricks, Julius Katchen, Wilhelm Kempff, Paweł Klecki, Kiryll Kondraszyn, Marguerite Long, Witold Lutosławski, Charles Mackerras, Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Garrick Ohlsson, Krzysztof Penderecki, Maurizio Pollini, Herman Prey, Ruggiero Ricci, Mscislaw Rostropowicz, Artur Rubinstein, Thomas Schippers, Jerzy Semkow, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Isaac Stern, Henryk Szeryng, Krystian Zimerman.
The Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra has performed in a majority of European countries, as well as in Iran, Lebanon, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, Canada and Brazil. The orchestra has invariably won over critics and enjoyed the enthusiastic reception of audiences wherever it has traveled.
The orchestra has received numerous state awards and distinctions for its artistic achievements.Source: Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, January 2002; last updated: January 2009