Choir of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Cracow

Choir of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Cracow was set up in 1945. Its extensive concert activity, with a repertoire ranging from oratorios to a cappella works covering a period from the 17th century to today, began with First Prize at the 1st Festival of Polish Music in Warsaw in 1951.

The ensemble has been invited to prestigious festivals both in Poland – Wratislavia Cantans, Warsaw Autumn – and abroad – in Paris, Lyon, La Chaise-Dieu, Venice, Rome, Baalbek, and Helsinki. Its innumerable tours have taken in the whole of Europe as well as Iran, Canada, Lebanon, Turkey, the United States, and Russia. It was the first Polish ensemble to perform at La Scala in Milan. Furthermore, the choir has accompanied many recognised foreign orchestras, notably the Wiener Symphoniker, Bonn’s Beethovenhalle Orchestra, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Roma, Staatskapelle Dresden, Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin (RSB), and Orchestre Philharmonique de Montpellier.

The Kraków Philharmonic Choir is known for its participation in grand international-scale events, including a concert celebrating the first ten years of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate, the concert held in Berlin to mark the Reunification of Germany (1990), the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (1995), and the canonisation service for popes John XXIII and John Paul II in the Vatican City (2014).

The choir plays a part in promoting Krzysztof Penderecki’s music, and their recording of St Luke Passion was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque. Other successful recordings feature compositions by Wojciech Kilar. A CD with his Krzesany, Angelus, and Victoria was nominated for a Fryderyk Award in 1997. The Kraków ensemble also participated in the recording of Kilar’s film music for Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula and Thomas Toelle’s A King for Burning. Having for many years garnered the appreciation of audiences, critics, and conductors, the Kraków Philharmonic Choir became a kind of “ambassador of Polish culture” largely thanks to its foreign tours.

photo Michal_Ramus