The Silesian Philharmonic was one of the first arts institutions to be revived in Poland after World War II. It began on May 26, 1945, and soon thereafter started performing abroad.
One of the first arts institutions to be revived in Poland after World War II. It began on May 26, 1945, and soon thereafter started performing abroad.
Filharmonia Śląska / The Silesian Philharmonic was one of the first arts institutions to be revived in Poland after World War II, initiating its activities in the country on May 26, 1945, and soon thereafter beginning to perform abroad.
The Philharmonic's first artistic directors were Jan Niwiński, Witold Krzemieński i Stanisław Skrowaczewski. In 1953 Karol Stryja assumed the position of artistic director and first conductor, and additionally served as managing and artistic director from 1982 to 1990. In the years 1990-1998 Jerzy Swoboda occupied these positions, while Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk has been artistic director since May of 1998. In March of 2001, based on a competition for this position and the decision of the Managing Board of the Voivodeship of Silesia, Grażyna Szymborska was appointed the Philharmonic's managing director.
During recent years the Symphony Orchestra of the Silesian Philharmonic has embarked on numerous concerts tours that have taken it, among other places, to Austria, Bulgaria, Czecho-Slovakia, France, Yougoslavia, Germany, Romania, San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, Grat Brirtain, Soviet Union, Spain and Portugal. These voyages often involved participation in international music events like the Swansea Festival, the Festival of French Music in La Chaise-Dieu, the Prague Spring, the Kieler Woche, the Arne di Verona Festival, the "Warszawska Jesień" / "Warsaw Autumn" Festival, the "Wratislavia Cantans" Festival and others.
The stage of the Silesian Philharmonic has played host to many world famous artists, including Eugene Ormandy, Hermann Abendorth, George Szell, Leopold Stokowski, Carlo Zecchi, Gennadij Rożdiestwienskij, Kiryl Kondraszyn, Zubin Mehta, David and Igor Ojstrach, Leonid Kogan, Henryk Szeryng, Bronisław Gimpel, Ida Haendel, Gina Baucher, Emil Gilles, Artur Rubinstein, Julius Katchen, Witold Małcużyński, Alexis Weissenberg, Maurizio Pollini, Johan Browning, Roger Woodward, Krystian Zimerman, Daniel Szafran, Victoria de los Angeles, Mścisław Rostropowicz, to name but a few.
In 1973 the ensemble of the Silesian Philharmonic expanded to include a mixed choir composed of several dozen singers, while 1981 witnessed the formation of a chamber orchestra of more than a dozen musicians which was named the Śląska Orkiestra Kameralna / Silesian Chamber Orchestra.
The repertoire of the Silesian Philharmonic – alongside world symphonic music, oratorios, choral and chamber music – also features a significant amount of contemporary music, and particularly the work of Polish composers.
This Philharmonic was the first to initiate a campaign aimed at providing musical education to children and young people by organizing monthly concerts of symphonic and chamber music directed to this audience. Every four years, the Silesian Philharmonic additionally organizes the Międzynarodowy Konkurs Dyrygentów im. Grzegorza Fitelberga / Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors.
The Silesian Philharmonic possesses a professional recording studio outfitted with digital equipment. This has been used to record live concerts and special performance for recording agencies based in the United States, Great Britain, France, Japan and Hong Kong.Source: Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, January 2002.