The National
Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra

The origin of the National Philharmonic goes back to 5 November 1901 when the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra gave its first concert. It was conducted by the co-founder of that orchestra, its artistic director and first conductor - Emil Mlynarski with the soloist being Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the world famous pianist and subsequently also a statesman. In its first years the Warsaw Philharmonic entertained such great musicians as Grieg, Honegger, Klemperer, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Strauss, Stravinsky, Horovitz, Kempff, Rubinstein, Huberman, Sarasate and many others. Competitions were held at its seat (1927, 1932, 1937). In the first postwar years the Philharmonic resumed its activities in the musical theatre "Roma". In 1950, Witold Rowicki was appointed its musical director and conductor. And it was owing to him that the Orchestra soon achieved a high standard, the consequence of which was, from 1952, a long series of concert tours. In 1952, the Choir of the Warsaw Philharmonic was formed. On 21 February 1955 the orchestra was given the name of "National" and inaugurated its activities in the newly reconstructed building in Jasna Str. During the period of three years its director ship was held by Bohdan Wodiczko who passed it then again to Witold Rowicki. In 1977 Kazimierz Kord became the Philharmonic's manager and artistic director, the post he has been holding since then. The National Philharmonic is one of the few institutions of this kind to have its own choir. The 100 strong ensemble of singers has been giving constantly concerts and it enjoys the highest renown in the world. During its over 40 years of foreign journeys the 120 strong orchestra has made 90 concert tours in 30 countries and on 5 continents. Apart from the best Polish conductors the Orchestra has been directed by famous foreign artists as well, among others by Khatchaturian, Dorati, Dutoit, Klecki, Stokowski. Among the distinguished soloists appearing in the National Philharmonic were Argerich, Arrau, Fischer-Diskau, Kogan, Menuhin, Richter, Rubinstein, Stern, Kremer, Pollini, Michelangeli, Oistrakh, Rostropovich, Szeryng. The Orchestra participates regularly in the Festival of Contemporary Music "Warsaw Autumn", as well as in the International Chopin Piano Competitions. Among its recordings are those made for Polish Radio and Television, Polskie Nagrania, Philips, Pony Canyon, Albany Records and Pol-Music.

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