The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra’s first concert took place on 5 November 1901 in a newly constructed building. The orchestra was conducted by the Philharmonic’s co-founder, first music director and conductor Emil Młynarski, with Ignacy Jan Paderewski as soloist. Even before World War I and during the interwar period, it had become the main centre of Polish musical life, as well as one of the most important musical institutions in Europe.
In the first years after the Second World War, the concerts of the orchestra were held in theatres and sports halls.
On 21 February 1955, in place of the old headquarters destroyed by German air raids, the orchestra received a reconstructed building and the status of National Philharmonic. Under the direction of Witold Rowicki, it regained its prestige as the leading symphonic ensemble in Poland. From 1955 to 1958, Bohdan Wodiczko held the post of artistic director, only to pass it back to Rowicki. In 1977, the post was taken over by Kazimierz Kord. From January 2002 to August 2013, the orchestra’s executive and artistic director was Antoni Wit. On 1 September 2013, the post of artistic director was taken by Jacek Kaspszyk.
Today the Warsaw Symphony Orchestra enjoy popularity and recognition all over the world. The ensembles have made over 140 tours on five continents, and performed in all of the world’s major concert halls.
The orchestra regularly participates in the Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competitions and the Warsaw Autumn Festival. It records for Polish Radio and Television, Polish and foreign record labels, and films.
The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra’s achievements have been honoured many times with prestigious music industry awards, including a 2013 Grammy Award and seven other nominations for this award for recordings of oratorio works by Krzysztof Penderecki and Karol Szymanowski, the Diapason d’Or, Gramophone Award, Record Geijutsu Award, Classical Internet Award, Cannes Classical Award, and Polish Fryderyk awards.
The Warsaw Philharmonic stage regularly hosts the world’s greatest artists.