The Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra in Katowice performs a special concert on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. With maestro Jerzy Semkow conducting the orchestra, the celebration moves on to Warsaw, hosted by the Grand Theatre - National Opera. The programme of both events includes two great compositions: the 5th Symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The philosophical message, which emerges from both composers' deliberations over the human fate, encourages listeners to draw analogies and contrasts among the two "5ths"...
The Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra in Katowice performs a special concert on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. With maestro Jerzy Semkow conducting the orchestra, the celebration moves on to Warsaw, hosted by the Grand Theatre - National Opera
The programme of both events includes two great compositions: the 5th Symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The emotional contrasts presented in its characteristic simplicity of simple form and clear symbolism have contributed to the continuing popularity of the Symphony among music lovers. The leitmotif of the composition as defined by Beethoven himself as "fate knocking at our door" is one of the best-recognized idioms of music.
The philosophical message, which emerges from both composers' deliberations over the human fate, encourages listeners to draw analogies and contrasts among the two "5ths". Tchaikovsky wrote his over a two-month period, producing a moving and overwhelmingly personal piece filled with emotions and spontaneity. It represents so called "autobiographical symphony" style, in which the composer expresses his own emotional experiences through musical means. Contrary to Beethoven's piece, Tchaikovsky's expresses more pessimism, emotional instability and even despair, to which the composer admitted in his letters.
The Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra
in Katowice plays the role of a cultural ambassador representing the country on the international stage. The orchestra has cooperated with the greatest composers of the second half of the 20th century, such as Witold Lutosławski
, Krzysztof Penderecki
and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki
The Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra was established in 1935 in Warsaw by Grzegorz Fitelberg
, who directed it until the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1945 Witold Rowicki reactivated the orchestra, this time, in Katowice. In 1947, Fitelberg became the Artistic Director again. After his death in 1953, the ensemble was directed, respectively, by Jan Krenz, Bohdan Wodiczko
, Kazimierz Kord
, Tadeusz Strugała, Jerzy Maksymiuk
, Stanisław Wisłocki, Jacek Kaspszyk
, Antoni Wit
, and Gabriel Chmura. In September 2000, Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa was appointed the General Director and Programming Director. In 2009, Jacek Kaspszyk accepted the post of the Musical Director while Michał Klauza became the second conductor. Stanisław Skrowaczewski was appointed the first visiting conductor and Jan Krenz the honorary conductor. Jerzy Semkow is in charge of the artistic side.
Apart from archival recordings for the Polish Radio, the orchestra has recorded more than 200 CDs for several prestigious record companies (including Decca, EMI, Philips, Chandos, Naxos). The orchestra was awarded numerous prizes for its phonographic achievements, including Diapason d'Or and Grand Prix du Disque de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque, Cannes Classical Award and Midem Classical Award.
Many outstanding conductors and soloists performed with the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra such as Martha Argerich, Leonard Bernstein, Plácido Domingo, Barbara Hendricks, Kevin Kenner, Mischa Maisky, Neville Marriner, Garrick Ohlsson, Maurizio Pollini, Mścisław Rostropowicz, Artur Rubinstein
, Isaac Stern, Henryk Szeryng, or Krystian Zimerman
Jerzy Semkow, the host of both anniversary concerts, is an outstanding personality on the scene of international conducting. Today, he belongs to the circle of the world's top conductors. Semkow's interests focus on great symphonic music, mainly classical and romantic, as well as opera music. Jerzy Semkow was the Artistic Director of the Warsaw Opera and the first conductor of the Copenhagen Royal Opera. He also held the chair of the director and first conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (USA). At the end of the 70s, he was in charge of the Italian Radio and Television RAI Orchestra in Rome and, subsequently, of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (USA).
The artist also devoted himself to work with young musicians. For several years, he conducted concerts during the Aspen Music Festival (Colorado) performed by orchestras composed of students and professors of the greatest schools of music from the United States. He gave numerous lectures on music at the Colorado State University and taught master courses at the Yale University and the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He is the founder and patron of the Polish Orchestra Sinfonia Iuventus.
Jerzy Semkow's most recent artistic interests focus on the great forms of sacred music. He conducted the performance of Mozart's Requiem at the gala concert on the occasion of 150th anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin
's death with the participation of the choir of the French National Orchestra at the La Madeleine Church in Paris (broadcast by Eurovision), Beethoven's Mass in C Major and Mozart's Great Mass in C minor at the Festival of Sacred Music in Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral).
Two concerts celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra in Katowice will be performed on November 19, 2010 at the orchestra's venue in Katowice and on November 22 at the Grand Theatre - National Opera
Source: Press materials.