The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice fulfils the role of an ambassador of Polish culture on the international artistic scene. The ensemble has performed in Brussels (Europalia), Vienna (the opening of the Polish Year in Austria), Madrid (the gala concert of the Polish year in Spain), Rome (the celebration of the 70th anniversary of H.M. Górecki’s birthday), Kiev (the inauguration of the Polish Year in Ukraine), Paris (the gala concert of the New Poland Polish Year in France), and in London (the inauguration of the Polish year in Great Britain). The Orchestra has collaborated with some of the greatest composers of the second half of the 20th century: Witold Lutosławski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki, delivering the first performances of their works.
The NOSPR was founded in 1935 in Warsaw by Grzegorz Fitelberg who led it until the outbreak of World War II. In 1945, the orchestra was revived in Katowice by Witold Rowicki. In 1947, the post of the artistic director was taken again by Fitelberg. After his death in 1953, the orchestra was headed in succession by Jan Krenz, Bohdan Wodiczko, Kazimierz Kord, Tadeusz Strugała, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Stanisław Wisłocki, Jacek Kaspszyk, Antoni Wit, Gabriel Chmura and, once again, by Jacek Kaspszyk. In September 2000, Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa became the institution’s General and Programme Director. Stanisław Skrowaczewski is the first Guest Conductor of the NOSPR, Jan Krenz is a Honorary Conductor. On the 31st of August 2012, Alexander Liebreich became the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the NOSPR.
Apart from making archival recordings for the Polish Radio, the Orchestra has recorded more than 200 CD albums for many renowned record companies (including Decca, EMI, Philips, Naxos and Chandos). The NOSPR was honoured with numerous awards for its phonographic achievements, including Diapason d’Or and Grand Prix du Disque de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque, the Cannes Classical Award, and the Midem Classical Award.
Many renowned conductors and soloists have performed with the NOSPR, including Martha Argerich, Boris Belkin, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Buchbinder, James Conlon, Placido Domingo, Pierre Fournier, Nicolai Gedda, Barbara Hendricks, Julius Katchen, Leonidas Kavakos, Wilhelm Kempff, Paweł Klecki, Kirill Kondrashin, Marguerite Long, Witold Lutosławski, Charles Mackerras, Mischa Maisky, Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Shlomo Mintz, Ivan Monighetti, Garrick Ohlsson, Kun Woo Paik, Krzysztof Penderecki, Maurizio Pollini, Hermann Prey, Ruggiero Ricci, Mstislav Rostropovich, Artur Rubinstein, Jerzy Semkow, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Leonard Slatkin, Isaac Stern, Henryk Szeryng, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Pieter Wispelwey, Krystian Zimerman, and Nicolai Znaider.
The Orchestra has performed in nearly all the European countries, in the Americas, as well as in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan and in the Persian Gulf countries. In the recent years, the NOSPR has implemented some spectacular projects which have been very well received by audiences and reviewers alike (The Marathon of Górecki’s Works, two editions of Musical Sea Voyage,The Górecki•Penderecki Festival – in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the artist's birth). Since 2005, the NOSPR has been the organiser of the biennial event called The Festival of World Premieres Polish Modern Music, which 7th edition was nominated for the Koryfeusz Muzyki Polskiej 2017 award in the Musical Event of the Year category.
updated: January 2018 (ac)