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Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Krakow started its activity in February 1945 as the first Polish symphonic orchestra after WWII. Despite obvious difficulties in post-war Poland, the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra has presented a high artistic level and outstanding interpreting skills, mastered throughout the years in cooperation with several renowned conductors.
The first post-war manager and conductor of the memorable concert in February 1945 was Zygmunt Latoszewski. Later, for the successive 70 years, the Orchestra has been conducted by such outstanding masters of baton as: Valerian Bierdiayev, Bohdan Wodiczko, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Witold Rowicki, Andrzej Markowski, Henryk Czyż, Jerzy Katlewicz, Tadeusz Strugała, Gilbert Levine (USA), Roland Bader (Germany), Vladimir Ponkin (Russia), Tomasz Bugaj, Jan Krenz, Paweł Przytocki and Michał Dworzyński.
In the years 1988-1990, the post of Artistic Director of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Krakow was held by Krzysztof Penderecki. He became honorary Artistic Director of the Philharmonic in 1993.
The Orchestra accompanied eminent soloists several times including Yehudi Menuhin, Artur Rubinstein, Igor and David Oistrakh, Sviatoslav Richter, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Lev Oborin, Bella Davidowich, Maurizio Polini, Mstislav Rostropovich, Nigel Kennedy, Kevin Kenner, Vadim Brodski, Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma, Garrick Ohlsson, Gidon Kremer and was conducted by such celebrities as Hermann Abendroth, Roberto Benzi, Paweł Klecki, Rafael Kubelik, Kirill Kondrashin, Carlo Zecchi, Antal Dorati, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Helmuth Rilling, Jerzy Semkow, Kazimierz Kord, Gabriel Chmura, Antoni Wit, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Jacek Kaspszyk, Marek Pijarowski and Christopher Hogwood.
The Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra performed in over 30 countries, including most European countries, re-invited many times, the performances being held in the most famous concert halls worldwide, for instance Konzerthaus and Musikverein in Vienna, Gewandhaus in Leipzig or Carnegie Hall in New York. The Orchestra successfully participated in numerous renowned festivals, such as Festival di Musica Contemporanea in Italy (1961,1964), Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Italy (1972,1973), Flanders Festival in Belgium (1972, 1974, 1986, 1994), Athens Festival (1974, 1987), Festival de Paris (1983, 1986, 1989) and Festival de Musique de la Chaise Dieu in France (1986, 1989, 2000), Festival Europäischer Musik in Germany (1985, 1986, 1990), Ravello Festival in Italy (1999, 2003), Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland (2004, 2005) and several times at the Warsaw Autumn and Vratislavia Cantans festivals.
One of the highlights in the Krakow Philharmonic’ artistic output was its successful performance in Musikverein in Vienna in February 2009, as a result of which the Krakow Philharmonic was re-invited to this prestigious concert hall where the Kracow Philharmonic Orchestra performed again in 2010.
The Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra has performed several first performances of pieces by 20th century composers, including these by Artur Malawski, Grażyna Bacewicz, Witold Lutosławski, Tadeusz Machl, Krystyna Moszumańska-Nazar, Juliusz Łuciuk, Adam Walaciński, Bogusław Schaeffer, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Krzysztof Penderecki, Zbigniew Bujarski, Marek Stachowski, Krzysztof Meyer, Wojciech Widłak, Marcel Chyrzyński.
The Orchestra’s recordings were awarded twice with the most prestigious awards: Passion by Krzysztof Penderecki conducted by Henryk Czyż was awarded in 1967 with Grand Prix du Disque; Polonica by Franz Liszt conducted by Tadeusz Strugała was awarded in 1988 with Grand Prix International du Disque.
For several years, the Orchestra has performed extensively and on a regular basis, and participated in educational activities of the Philharmonic, presenting the most eminent works to the young audience. In every artistic season, the Orchestra performs about 50 programmes during symphonic concerts and oratorios with the mixed and boys' choirs. The rich repertoire includes pieces from Bach to Penderecki.
Wiesław Kwaśny - born in 1950 in Cracow where he received primary and secondary musical education. He graduated with honours from the Academy of Music in Cracow, class of professor Eugenia Umińska. He also studied at Yale School of Music. He is a prize-winner of the following competitions: in Lisbon (fifth prize and H. Szeryng's special prize), in Naples (second prize), North Carolina Symphony (second prize), G.B. Dealy competition in Dallas (first prize). He was a concert master of the Orchestra of the Polish Radio and Television in Cracow, a soloist and concert master of the Polish Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia Varsovia in 1981- 2000. Concerting with the above-mentioned ensembles, he performed in Poland and abroad with the most outstanding artists, conductors and instrumentalists: Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Justus Frantz, Krystian Zimerman, Jerzy Maksymiuk, and Peter Schreier. He made numerous recordings for the Polish Radio and Television, as well as disc recordings. He is also active as a teacher: he was a visiting professor in Mainz, where he ran numerous master's courses. At the moment he is a professor at the Academy of Music in Cracow. In 2001 he became Concertmaster of the Cracow Philharmonic.
Agata Sanchez Martos
Magdalena Di Blasi
KETTLE - DRUMS
© Filharmonia Krakowska 2010