The Polish Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1972, originally as an orchestra at the Warsaw Chamber Opera for the performance of chamber operas, but with the ambition of performing concert repertoire. The ensemble became independent and years of work with talented young musicians under an equally young conductor – Jerzy Maksymiuk brought impressive results. The orchestra quickly won renown as one of the most interesting chamber ensembles around.
The orchestra’s first performances abroad in 1978, followed by numerous concerts with world-class soloists in prestigious concert halls around the world, as well as positive reviews and appreciation by audiences brought the orchestra worldwide fame.
The Polish Chamber Orchestra performed in Europe, the United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand in concert halls including the Barbican Center and the Royal Albert Hall in London, Usher Hall in Edinburgh, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Lincoln Center and many performances in Carnegie Hall in New York.
Soloists with the orchestra have included James Galway, Henryk Szeryng, Kiri Te Kanawa, Gideon Kremer, Yehudi Menuhin, Martha Argerich, Maxim Vengerov and others.
Its conductors include Jerzy Maksymiuk, Charles Dutoit, Yehudi Menuhin, Leopold Hager, Hans Graf, Mstislav Rostropovich and others.
The Polish Chamber Orchestra has made numerous recordings for record labels, radio and television. It has also recorded a video of a concert dedicated to Pope John Paul II.
The company takes part in numerous festivals, including the Flanders, Edinburgh, Warsaw Autumn, Aix en Provence and Mermoz – Music on the Sea festival.
The Polish Chamber Orchestra has received many awards, including Warsaw Autumn’s Orpheus award, the Poznań Spring festival award and the Wiener Floetenuhr for its recordings of Mozart.
The Polish Chamber Orchestra does not have a permanent conductor. Legendary violinist Nigel Kennedy was the ensemble’s artistic director in the years 2002 – 2008.
Recently, the Orchestra has been performing with world-famous virtuoso of the violin – Maxim Vengerov. In 2013 – 2014 the musicians performed together in Spain, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Turkey, Oman, Switzerland, Hungary, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
From September 1982 to December 2007 the ensemble was affiliated to the St. I. Witkiewicz Art Centre Studio in Warsaw.As of 1 January 2008 the Polish Chamber Orchestra has been part of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, a municipal cultural institution. The promoter of the Orchestra Sinfonia Varsovia is the Capital City of Warsaw.