National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra

photos: J. Deluga-Góra

National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra is the leading Polish orchestra and a showcase for Polish symphonic excellence. It debuted as the Warsaw Philharmonic on 5 November 1901 with Emil Młynarski conducting and Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the benefactor of the ensemble, at the piano. Before the second world war the orchestra played with the most outstanding conductors and composers of the time including Emil Młynarski, Grzegorz Fitelberg, Mieczysław Karłowicz, Artur Rodziński, Edvard Grieg, Artur Nikisch, Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Maurice Ravel, Camille Saint-Saens, Richard Strauss and Igor Stravinsky. It also performed with such outstanding soloists as Witold Małcużyński, Artur Rubinstein, Claudio Arrau, Vladimir Horowitz, Leopold Auer, Jascha Heifetz, Bronisław Huberman, Paweł Kochański, Pablo Sarasate, Jacques Thibaud, Eugene Ysaye, Pablo Casals, Ewa Bandrowska-Turska, Feodor Chaliapin, Adam Didur, Jan Kiepura, Ada Sari and Wanda Wermińska.The Philharmonic resumed its activities in the 1947/48 season but the concert hall, destroyed during the war, was not refurbished until 1955.Inaugurating the season at the new venue the Warsaw Philharmonic was renamed the National Philharmonic of Poland. In the following years the orchestra roster expanded and a mixed choir was founded. The great bulk of the reform work after the war was done by Witold Rowicki who led the orchestra in the years 1950-55 and 1958-77. His follower, Kazimierz Kord, was the director of the ensemble in the years 1977-2001 and is widely credited with having raised the artistic standards of the orchestra. Other permanent conductors of the orchestra include Stanisław Skrowaczewski and Bohdan Wodiczko. Antoni Wit has been the principal and artistic director of the National Philharmonic since 2002. The National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra performs regularly in major music centres around the world. It has participated in the renowned music festivals including the Great Orchestras of the World cycle in London, Berliner Festwochen, Internationale Musikfestwochen Luzern,Festival Montreux, Prague Spring Festival, Festival van Vlaanderen and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. The International Festival of Contemporary Music ‘Warsaw Autumn’ and the final stage of the Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition are two local events in which the orchestra participates on a permanent basis.The history of the National Philharmonic and the orchestra after WW2is marked with concerts featuring outstanding musicians. Apart from the most prominent Polish artists the orchestra has played with Martha Argerich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kathleen Battle, Joshua Bell, Teresa Berganza, Gary Bertini, Herbert Blomstedt, Alfred Brendel, Aram Khachaturian, Charles Dutoit, Philippe Entremont, Rafael Fruhbeckde Burgos, Philippe Herreweghe, Robert Holl, Marek Janowski, Nigel Kennedy, Evgeny Kissin, Gidon Kremer, Lang Lang, Felicity Lott, Lorin Maazel, Mischa Maisky, Igor Markevitch, Kurt Masur, Yehudi Menuhin, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Midori, Marc Minkowski, Shlomo Mintz, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Kent Nagano, David and Igor Oistrakh, Murray Perahia, Maurizio Pollini, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Artur Rubinstein, Jordi Savall, Isaac Stern, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, Henryk Szeryng and Arcadi Volodos. Recording activity has always played an important role in the life of the orchestra. Recent awards include Grammy Award nominations for the recordings of St. Luke Passion, Polish Requiem, The Seventh Gates of Jerusalem and Utrenja by Krzysztof Penderecki for Naxos. The complete recording of Karol Szymanowski’s orchestral and oratorical works has won critical acclaim from Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine and the Classics Today website alongside two Grammy Award nominations.


Pablo González

Born in 1975 in Oviedo (Spain), he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where he also started his conducting career. He was assistant conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and collaborated with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Bournemouth Sinfonietta. Currently he is the artistic director of the Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra; in October 2008 he was appointed principal guest conductor of the City of Granada Orchestra. He has also conducted the Danish Radio Sinfonietta, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Wiener Kammerorchester, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Basel Symphony Orchestra, Musikkollegium Winterthur, City of London Sinfonia, Orquestra Sinfonica del Estado de Sao Paulo and all major Spanish ensembles.

Mr. Gonzalez has also collaborated with the BBC and Radiotelevision Espanola and received prizes in many competitions including the first National Competition for Young Conductors in Granada, Donatella Flick Conducting Competition and the eighth edition of the Cadaques Orchestra International Conducting Competition. He has been involved in symphonic and opera projects (Carmen, Don Giovanni). The recording of Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz that he made with Sir Colin Davis has won two Grammy awards.