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The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra gave its first concert on 5 November 1901 at the newly erected Philharmonic Hall. That inaugural concert was conducted by Emil Młynarski, the Philharmonic’s first Music Director and Principal Conductor, and featured the world-famous pianist, composer and future statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The Warsaw Philharmonic’s rapidly improving performance standards soon attracted distinguished artists from all over the world. Both before the First World War and during the interwar years, it established itself as the main centre of musical life in Poland and one of the leading musical institutions in Europe. 

In the early years after the Second World War, the Orchestra’s concerts were held in theatres and sport halls. On 21 February 1955, the Philharmonic moved to a new seat (its old hall had been destroyed by German bombs) and was granted the status of Poland’s national orchestra. Under its new director, Witold Rowicki, it regained its reputation as Poland’s foremost symphony orchestra. 

From 1955 to 1958, the position of Artistic Director was held by Bohdan Wodiczko, before Rowicki’s second term, ending in 1977, when Kazimierz Kord took over. Between January 2002 and August 2013, Antoni Wit was the Philharmonic’s Managing and Artistic Director. From the 2013/14 season, the post of Artistic Director was held by Jacek Kaspszyk, who was succeeded in 2019 by Andrzej Boreyko.
Today the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra enjoys worldwide popularity and acclaim. It has made over 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 Competition in Warsaw and the Warsaw Autumn Festival, and records for Polish state radio and television (TVP), as well as Polish and foreign record labels and film companies. The Orchestra has frequently received prestigious awards, including a Grammy in 2013 (and six other Grammy nominations) for its recordings of large-scale vocal-instrumental works by Penderecki and Szymanowski, Diapason d’Or, ICMA, Gramophone Award, Record Geijutsu, Classical Internet Award, Cannes Classical Award and Fryderyk award from the Polish Phonographic Academy. In 2016 the Orchestra also launched regular online streaming of selected concerts.