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Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra gave its first concert on 5 November 1901 in the Philharmonic’s newly built concert hall. The Orchestra was conducted by Emil Młynarski, cofounder, first music director and resident conductor of the Philharmonic, while the soloist was Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Already before World War I and between the world wars, the Philharmonic became a key centre of musical life in Poland and one of Europe’s major musical institutions.

In the early years After World War II, the orchestra’s concerts were held in theatres and sport halls. On 21 February 1955, the Philharmonic moved to a new seat (which replaced the one destroyed by German air raids) and was granted the status of the National Philharmonic. Under its new director Witold Rowicki, it regained the reputation of Poland’s leading symphony orchestra. In 1955–58 the position of Artistic Director was held by Bohdan Wodiczko, then again by Rowicki, and from 1977 by Kazimierz Kord. Between January 2002 and August 2013, Antoni Wit was both the Philharmonic’s Managing and Artistic Director. Between 2013 and 2019, the position of Warsaw Philharmonic’s Artistic Director was held by Jacek Kaspszyk. Since the 2019/20 season, this position has been taken up by Andrey Boreyko. 

Today, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra enjoys worldwide popularity and acclaim. It has made nearly 150 concert tours on five continents, appearing in all of the world’s major concert halls. It also regularly performs during the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competitions in Warsaw and the Warsaw Autumn Festival. It has also appeared at prestigious foreign festivals such as London’s BBC Proms, Prague Spring, La Folle Journée, festivals in Nantes, Bilbao, Lisbon, Tokyo, Vienna, Berlin, Bergen, Lucerne, Montreux, Moscow, Brussels, Florence, Bordeaux, and Athens. It records for Polish Radio and TV as well as Polish and foreign record labels and film companies. Its achievements have frequently been recognised with prestigious record prizes, including Grammy Awards in 2013 and 2017 (as well as six other Grammy nominations) for their recordings of Krzysztof Penderecki’s and Karol Szymanowski’s large-scale vocal-instrumental works, as well as Diapason d’Or, ICMA, Gramophone Award, Record Geijutsu, Classical Internet Award, Cannes Classical Award, and the Fryderyk Awards of the Polish Phonographic Academy. Since 2016, the Orchestra has regularly streamed its selected concerts online.