Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

Voice/Instrument: Orchestra


The Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra (Polish: Orkiestra Filharmonii Narodowej w Warszawie), one of Poland's premier musical institutions, was established in 1901 on the initiative of an assembly of Polish aristocrats and financiers, as well as musicians. Between 1901 and the outbreak of World War II in 1939, a rollcall of virtuoso- and conductor-composers regularly performed their works with the orchestra, including Grieg, Honegger, Leoncavallo, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Richard Strauss, and Stravinsky. Among the other luminaries who played with the Philharmonic were the pianists Paderewski and Rubinstein, the violinists Heifetz and Sarasate, and the cellist Casals. The Philharmonic has played host to the Chopin International Piano Competition since the contest began in 1927, and also appeared at the inaugural Wieniawski International Violin Competition (1935) and Universal Festival of Polish Art (1937).

World War II interrupted the Philharmonic's activity and robbed the orchestra of much of its prominence in European musical life. The orchestra lost half its members to the war, as well as its elegant building, which had been erected and modeled after the Paris Opera at the turn of the century by Karol Kozłowski. Although the orchestra resumed its regular season in 1947-48, it had to wait until 1955 for its home to be finally rebuilt, albeit in a new style. When the building was dedicated on February 21, the Philharmonic was proclaimed the National Orchestra of Poland.

The conductor Witold Rowicki was responsible for helping modernize the ensemble and ensuring the orchestra cultivated Polish music both old and recent, as represented by the works of Chopin, Górecki, and Lutosławski, without failing also to refine its mastery of the world repertoire. At home, the orchestra performs in the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music besides accompanying the final rounds of the Chopin International Piano Competitions, while abroad it has toured the five continents to critical acclaim.

The Philharmonic has recorded music for several anime series. Notable shows include Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, Cowboy Bebop, Soukyuu no Fafner, Giant Robo: The Animation, Ah! My Goddess: The Movie, Princess Nine, Vision of Escaflowne, Wolf's Rain, Hellsing Ultimate,, Genesis of Aquarion., and more recently, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It has also recorded music for Namco's Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, and together with the Hollywood Session Orchestra, for the SEGA action-RPG Phantasy Star Universe. It also recorded a big part of the Score for Avalon , and part of a performance is seen in the movie. Most recently they have recorded music for Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIII. 

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Composers' compositions