Orkiestra Filharmonii Narodowej w Warszawie / The Orchestra of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw gave its first concert ever on November 5th, 1901, in a new building erected specifically for its use. Emil Młynarski served as conductor and Ignacy Jan Paderewski was the featured soloist.
The Orchestra of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw gave its first concert ever on November 5th, 1901, in a new building erected specifically for that purpose.
The program on that historical evening consisted of Paderewski's own Piano concerto in A minor and the following other works of Chopin, Moniuszko, Noskowski, Stojowski and Żeleński.
It was only a short time before the Warsaw Philharmonic achieved a status that allowed it to attract exceptional artists from around the world. Before World War I and during the inter-war period, the Philharmonic became the center of music life in Poland and one of Europe's leading musical institutions. Almost all the famous conductors and soloists of the time, among them Grieg, Honegger, Klemperer, Prokofiew, Rachmaninow, Ravel, Rodzinńki, R. Strauss, Strawinńki, Arrau, Horowitz, Kempff, Rubinstein, Huberman and Sarasate, put in guest appearances with the Philharmonic.
From 1955 to 1958, the orchestra was lead by Bohdan Wodiczko, an exceptional musician and contemporary music aficionado whose closest collaborators included Arnold Rezler and Stanisław Skrowaczewski. This was a successful period for the Philharmonic, with the orchestra expanding in size and the Concert Hall gaining an organ. Witold Rowicki was appointed art director and first conductor of the Philharmonic in 1958. He retained this position until 1977, and throughout his directorship regular guest conductors included Stanisław Wisłocki and Andrzej Markowski, who from 1972 to 1974 served as deputy art director.
On July 1, 1977, Kazimierz Kord was appointed art director and conductor of the National Philharmonic. From the very beginning of his time with the orchestra, Kord emphasized expanding its repertoire, and in consequence programs for subsequent seasons included not only symphonies but also oratorical and operatic works. One of Kord's new projects was a concert series titled "Filharmonia Narodowa prezentuje" / "The National Philharmonic Presents...". These performances were recorded live and released as albums by the "Polskie Nagrania" label.
From 1979 to 1990 Tadeusz Strugała held the post of deputy art director and regular guest conductor.
The orchestra has completed over one hundred tours spanning five continents during its history. It has performed at virtually all the world's most important concert halls, eagerly applauded by audiences and praised by music critics for its exceptional, charismatic performances. The orchestra has also participated in many prestigious international festivals in such cities as Vienna, Berlin, Prague, Bergen, Lucerne, Montreux, Moscow, Brussels, Florence, Bordeaux and Athens.
The Orchestra of the National Philharmonic regularly participates in the Międzynarodowe Konkursy Pianistyczne im. F. Chopina / Frederick Chopin International Piano Competitions and in the Festiwal "Warszawska Jesień" / "Warsaw Autumn" Festival. It also takes part in recording sessions produced by Polish State Radio and Television, as well as Polish and foreign record companies, and often participates in the recording of film music. During its regular seasons, the National Philharmonic presents more than eighty symphonic concerts, over fifty chamber music concerts and series of concerts for children and young people, all of which are performed by The Orchestra of the National Philharmonic as well as other symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles from around Poland and abroad. The Philharmonic also organizes concerts throughout the country (primarily in schools), through which it aims to promote classical music among younger members of the population.
The National Philharmonic has hosted numerous internationally famous artists from around the globe. Apart from the most exceptional Polish conductors, such internationally famous masters of the baton as Hermann Abendroth, Gary Bertini, Herbert Blomstedt, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Charles Dutoit, Philippe Entremont, Aram Chaczaturian, Yehudi Menuhin, Kurt Masur, Helmuth Rilling, Genadij Rozdiestwienski, Leopold Stokowski i Igor Strawiński have also put in appearances. Concerts have also featured exceptional soloists like Martha Argerich, Kathleen Battle, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Teresa Berganza, Nigel Kennedy, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Dawid Ojstrach, Światosław Richter, Artur Rubinstein, Mścisław Rostropowicz, Henryk Szeryng, Pinchas Zukerman i wielu innych to name but a few.At present the Orchestra of the National Philharmonic is composed of one hundred twelve musicians. Jacek Kaspszyk serves as the Philharmonic's Managing and Artistic Director.Source: Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, January 2002.