The Karol Szymanowski Krakow Philharmonic was the first philharmonic to be created in Poland after World War II. Its symphony orchestra gave its first concert on February 3, 1945.
The first philharmonic to be created in Poland after World War II. Its symphony orchestra gave its first concert on February 3, 1945.
The first philharmonic to be created in Poland after World War II. Its symphony orchestra gave its first concert on February 3, 1945, and was joined shortly thereafter by a mixed choir and somewhat later by a boys' choir.
With such an array of musicians at its disposal, the Krakow Philharmonic's repertoire (encompassing everything from Monteverdi to the contemporary avant-garde) began to develop a specialization focusing on oratorios, regularly presented in Krakow churches and at many of the world's festivals of religious music.
As an ambassador of Polish culture abroad, the Symphony Orchestra of the Krakow Philharmonic has made a great contribution in performing the works of Karol Szymanowski (its patron since 1962) and those of Krzysztof Penderecki (its honorary artistic director).
The stage of the Krakow Philharmonic has hosted some of the most prominent symphony and chamber orchestras in the world, including the Philadelphia Orchestra (E. Ormandy), the Cleveland Orchestra (G. Szell), the Suisse Romande (E. Anserment), the Orchestre National de la RadiodiFFusion et Television Française (M. Rosenthal, J. Martinon), the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (W. Steinber), the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra (Z. Mehta), the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (E. Marwinski), the Moscow Radio and Television Orchestra (G. Rozdyestvyenski), the Moscow Chamber Orchestra (R. Barshay) and the Bach Ensemble (J. Rifkin). It has also welcomed some of the world's most renowned soloists, including R. Ricci, M. Rostropovich, N. Yepes, to name but a few.
The Krakow Philharmonic's exceptional artistic status is confirmed by the degree to which this institution remains active - more than any other Polish philharmonic - in the concert realm and by the number of appearances its ensembles make abroad. Apart from weekly symphonic concerts, the Philharmonic organizes events in Krakow's many historical edifices (Wawel Royal Castle, Jagiellonian University), organ recitals (primarily in churches) and concerts designed to expose young people and children to the magic of classical music. The Philharmonic additionally serves as the patron of two organ festivals - the Dni Muzyki Organowej / Organ Music Days (April) and the Tynieckie Recitale Organowe / Tyniec Organ Recitals, held during the summer months at the Benedictine Abbey in Krakow's suburb of Tyniec - and contributes significantly to the cultural life of Krakow.
The musicians of the Krakow Philharmonic also have tremendous achievements as recording artists, rendering this yet another important part of their activities, one based primarily on commissions from foreign record labels (the choir of the Philharmonic also regularly appears on recordings of the Narodowa Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia / Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra). Recorded works have on two occasions won the Philharmonic important distinctions: Krzysztof Penderecki's Pasja / Passion, conducted by Henryk Czyż in 1967, received the "Grand Prix du Disque," while the "Polonica of Liszt," conducted by Tadeusz Strugała, garnered the "Grand Prix International du Disque" in 1988.Source: Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, January 2002.