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Artistic season 2018/2019 programme

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Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

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Warsaw Philharmonic Choir

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Warsaw Philharmonic Choir

Warsaw Philharmonic Choir began its professional activity under Zbigniew Soja in 1953. Its subsequent choirmasters were: Roman Kuklewicz (1955-1971), Jozef Bok (1971-1974), Antoni Szaliński (1974-1978), Henryk Wojnarowski (1978-2016), and the present choirmaster, Bartosz Michałowski, who holds this position since January 2017.

The central part of the choir’s artistic activity consists of numerous symphonic and choral-orchestral concerts given throughout the season with Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra as well as a cappella performances in Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. The Choir performs regularly at the “Warsaw Autumn” International Festival of Contemporary Music and in Wrocław at the “Wratislavia Cantans” Festival.

The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir is also very active internationally, performing for audiences in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. It has frequently been invited to give concerts with eminent orchestras, such as the Munich Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the RIAS Orchestra, the Bamberger Symphoniker, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestras, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Symphony Orchestra in Rome, the Brussels Opera Orchestra, the Palermo Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Milanese La Scala.

A significant event in the choir’s history was the invitation to take part in the La Scala production of Franco Donatoni’s Atem in 1985. Following this first appearance in an opera, the choir was re-invited to the La Scala to participate in productions of Weber’s Oberon (1989) and Beethoven’s Fidelio (1990). The Choir also sang in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (1986) and Mozart’s The Magic Flute (1987) at La Fenice in Venice; in Beethoven’s Fidelio in Paris (1989); in Szymanowski’s King Roger (1992), Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex (1993) and Honegger’s Antigone (1993) in Palermo and Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri in Pesaro (1994). In 1988, 1990 and 2001, the choir was invited to the Vatican to take part in the celebrations of the successive anniversaries of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate.

Among the Polish and foreign baton masters and composers who performed with Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, there have been: Moshe Atzmon, Gary Bertini, Sergiu Comissiona, Henryk Czyż, Charles Dutoit, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Valery Gergiev, Sir Charles Groves, Jacek Kaspszyk, Kazimierz Kord, Jan Krenz, Helmut Koch, Witold Lutosławski, Lorin Maazel, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Igor Markevitch, Andrzej Markowski, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Grzegorz Nowak, Seiji Ozawa, Krzysztof Penderecki, Zoltán Pescó, Sir Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Wolfgang Renert, Ludomir Romansky, Witold Rowicki, Hans Martin Schneit, Jerzy Semkow, David Shallon, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, Tadeusz Strugała, Stanisław Wisłocki, Antoni Wit, and Bohdan Wodiczko.

The choir’s enormous repertoire comprises more than 400 vocal-instrumental and unaccompanied pieces from the Middle Ages to contemporary music. Polish music, and in particular the works of Krzysztof Penderecki, is a very important part of their repertoire. The choir has performed all of Penderecki’s vocal-instrumental and a cappella compositions. The composer’s unaccompanied works have been released on records, as also have St Luke Passion (twice), A Polish Requiem, Te Deum, Seven Gates of Jerusalem, Credo, and A Hymn to St Daniil. Both recordings of St Luke Passion were nominated to the Grammy Award, while their recording of The Polish Requiem was nominated for Grammy in 2005 and for Record Academy Award of the Japanese magazine Record Geijutsu – in 2005. The Choir later received Grammy nominations for their CDs with the Seven Gates of Jerusalem (2007) and Karol Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater (2008), Penderecki’s Utrenja (2009) – all recorded by NAXOS (cond. A. Wit). In April 2009, their first album with Stanisław Moniuszko’s masses conducted by H. Wojnarowski won the Fryderyk Award of the Polish music industry as Record of the Year in the category of Choral and Large-Scale Vocal-Instrumental Music. In May 2010 the second CD in the series was awarded “Orphees d’Or – The Arturo Toscanini Memorial Award” by L’Academie du Disque Lyrique in recognition of “the best phonographic initiative”, that is, the label’s efforts in promoting the music of Stanislaw Moniuszko. In March 2011, the Choir won the Fryderyk Award of the Polish Phonographic Industry for its 1989 CD recording of Roman Maciejewski's Requiem. Missa pro defunctis, re-released with new graphics in 2010 to mark the centenary of the composer’s birthday. 2014 saw the release of a DVD with Christmas carols, followed in 2015 by a CD.

The choir has also recorded Haendel’s Messiah, Israel in Egypt and Juda Maccabaeus, Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Fidelio and Symphony No. 9, Verdi’s Requiem, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, Bruckner’s Te Deum, Elsner’s Passion, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Moniuszko’s Ostra Brama Litanies, Maklakiewicz’s Four Masses, Maciejewski’s Requiem, and Kilar’s Missa pro pace.

choir director
tutoring pianists
Choir Personnel Manager
Choral concerts coordinator
Filharmonia Narodowa
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