Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra
The history of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra starts before World War II. After the War, in 1945, violinist and conductor Stefań Rachoń took over the management of the ensemble. The artistic directors of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra were Włodzimierz Kamirski, Jan Pruszak and Mieczysław Nowakowski. During the tenure of Tadeusz Strugała (1990 – 1993) the orchestra acquired its present name and moved to a new home – the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio.
In the years 1993-2006 the artistic director of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra was Wojciech Rajski. In March 2007 Łukasz Borowicz was appointed to the position, where he remained until 31 January 2015. An album recorded with Dominik Połoński received the Fryderyk music award in 2007. The 2007/2008 concert season opened with a concert performance of Verdi’s Falstaff. In March 2008, during the 12th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival the Orchestra played Cherubini’s opera Lodoïska, prepared under the artistic direction of Christa Ludwig. Both of these operas were released on compact disc by Polish Radio, with Lodoïska being nominated for the Midem Classical and Fryderyk music awards.
A tradition was established, where each subsequent concert season under the artistic direction of Łukasz Borowicz opened with a concert performance of unknown or forgotten opera written by a Polish composer. And so, the Orchestra played Roman Statkowski’s Maria (2008/2009 season), Moniuszko’s Flis (to commemorate the composer’s 190th birthday in 2009), Feliks Dobrzyński’s Monbar czyli Flibustierowie (the opera was brought back to life more than 150 years after its première), Feliks Nowowiejski’s Legenda Bałtyku (opening of the 2011/2012 season), Zygmunt Noskowski’s Zemsta za mur graniczny with the libretto by the composer after a comedy by Aleksander Fredro (opening of the 2013/2014 season) and another opera by Moiuszko – Verbum nobile.
CDs released by Polish Radio include Statkowski’s Maria and Dobrzyński’s Monbar czyli Flibustierowie. To commemorate the 100th birthday and 40th anniversary of the death of Grażyna Bacewicz, the Orchestra recorded three of her violin concertos with Joanna Kurkowicz as soloist and the Overture. The recordings were released by Chandos Records. Przygoda króla Artura – an opera for radio was also recorded and released by Polish Radio on CD. The Orchestra also played Szymon Laks’ opera Bezdomna jaskółka in its original French version with an international cast of soloists. This was the first performance of this work in Poland. Another work was Karol Rathaus’ ballet Zakochany lew (2010). Both of these works were released on CD. In 2008 the Orchestra established cooperation with the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival. This resulted in the ensemble’s annual involvement in a cycle presenting lesser-known operas that were later released on CD. After Cherubini’s Lodoïska the orchestra performed Spohr’s Berggeist (2009), Weber’s Euryanthe (2010), Donizetti’s Maria Padilla (2011), Italo Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre re (2012), Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra (2013) and Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride (2014). Radio reocordings of works by Andrzej Panufnik conducted by Łukasz Borowicz were released on 4 CDs by the cpo label. In January 2015 the release received the International Classical Music Award (ICMA). There are also recordings available made with renowned Polish singers – two with Piotr Beczała (Orfeo), Mariusz Kwiecień (harmonia mundi) and with Artur Ruciński (Polskie Radio).
In 2015 Michał Klauza was appointed Artistic Director of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Under new management the Orchestra continues its tradition of presenting and recording forgotten works. The 2015/2016 season began with a performance of Michał Kleofas Ogiński’s opera Zelis i Valcour, czyli Bonaparte w Kairze. For Programme 2 of Polish Radio the Orchestra recorded works by Grażyna Bacewicz composed on commission from Polish Radio and Józef Wieniawski’s Suite romantique. These were all first digital recordings of these works. Sunday concerts in the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio were conducted not only by the Orchestra’s artistic director, but also by some of the greatest Polish conductors, including Jerzy Maksymiuk, Antoni Wit, Marek Pijarowski and Jose Maria Florencio. Soloists who played with the Orchestra include two laureates of the latest Chopin Competition – Kate Liu and Charles Richard-Hamelin.