Filharmonia im. Witolda Lutosławskiego / The Witold Lutosławski Philharmonic in Wroclaw is one of the country's leading music institutions. Its beginnings date back to 1954 and the formation of the Wrocławska Orkiestra Symfoniczna / Wrocław Symphony Orchestra, which four years later acceded to the status of a State Philharmonic.
The Symphony Orchestra of the Witold Lutosławski Philharmonic in Wrocław
During its history, the Philharmonic has performed under the leadership of such individualities as Adam Kopyciński (1954-1961), Radomir Reszke (1961-1963), Włodzimierz Ormicki (1963-1965), Andrzej Markowski (1965-68), Tadeusz Strugała (1969-1980), Marek Pijarowski (1980-2001). At present, Lidia Geringer d'Oedenberg is its general director, while Jan Latham-Koenig serves as artistic director.
In 1968 the Orchestra of the Wrocław Philharmonic received its own edifice, a building that remains its home to this day. On its 40th anniversary, the institution was named after Witold Lutosławski, the most exceptional Polish composer since Karol Szymanowski.
The Witold Lutosławski Philharmonic is one of the most active music institutions in Poland. It has created several festivals whose traditions date back many years. These include the Festiwal Polskiej Muzyki Współczesnej "Musica Polonica Nova" / "Musica Polonica Nova" Festival of Polish Contemporary Music (since 1962) and the Międzynarodowy Festiwal Oratoryjno-kantatowy "Wratislavia Cantans" / "Wratislavia Cantans" International Festival of Oratorical and Cantata Music (since 1966). The third such festival are the Dni Muzyki Organowej / Organ Music Days (since 1964), an event that expanded after five editions (in 1968) to include harpsichord music and ultimately acquired the name Dni Muzyki Organowej i Klawesynowej / Organ and Harpsichord Music Days.
The Philharmonic organizes concerts of symphonic music, oratorios and cantatas, and chamber music, as well as numerous recitals by exceptional virtuosos from around the world. The orchestra has preformed with soloists and conductors of European and worldwide fame, including Kiryl Kondraszyn, Carlos Paita, Pierre Colombo, Carlo Zecchi, Henryk Czyż, Witold Rowicki, Jan Krenz, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Kazimierz Kord, Witold Małcużynski, John Ogdon, Michael Ponti, Gina Bachauer, Stefan Askenaze, Grigorij Indjič, Sidney Harth, Eugene Sarbu, Krystian Zimerman, Eugene Indjič, Borys Pergamenszczikow, Thomas Martin, John Edward Kelly, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Garrick Ohlsson. The Philharmonic's stage has also played host to such notables as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Witold Lutosławski. A dynamic institution, the Philharmonic has also proved successful in bringing numerous renowned foreign ensembles to Wroclaw, including a number of English orchestras, the "Gewandhaus" with the legendary Konwitsch, Baraszaj's famous orchestra, and the best string quartets lead by the exceptional "La Salle" Ensemble. Year to year the list of countries from which guest performers hail continues to expand. Apart from artists from Europe and the United States, the Philharmonic has hosted musicians from Japan, China, Korea, Malaya, Egypt, Mexico, Argentina and Cuba. Also expanding, though more gradually, is the list of countries in which the Orchestra of the Wroclaw Philharmonic has appeared in concert. Thus far, tours have taken the ensemble to over two hundred foreign cities, with the orchestra having confirmed its excellent reputation in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Holland, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The Philharmonic's credits also include numerous recordings for television, radio and commercial release. Traditionally, the Witold Lutosławski Philharmonic also takes part in festivals like the Chopin Festival in Duszniki, the "Warsaw Autumn" International Contemporary Music Festival and a number of festivals in Lower Silesia, including those at Szczawno, Lądek and Kudowa Zdrój.
The musicians of the Wrocław Philharmonic invest much effort in maintaining a broad repertoire and artistic excellence. These are but two of the traits that allow the orchestra to attract subsequent generations of music lovers through its "Filharmonia dla Młodych" / "Philharmonic for the Young" series, which has proved immensely successful, thereby securing a steady flow of listeners enthusiastic about classical music.Source: Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, January 2002; updated January 2005.