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The first Polish Orchestra, post-World War II, was established in Wrocław by emigrant musicians from various parts of Poland after the downfall of the Festung Breslau, ended by the siege or Battle of Breslau, in 1945. These musicians established an orchestral ensemble under the direction of Stefan Syryłło and they began rehearsing in the Spring of 1945. Their first concert took place on June 29, 1945, opening solemnly with Chopin’s Polonaise in A major. The Orchestra inaugurated their first regular concert season on August 7th of the same year. Syryłło designated the orchestra on concert bills and in formal correspondence as ‘the Philharmonic’ although, the ensemble also served as the Opera orchestra and had never agreed on an official name. Nonetheless, the orchestra was referred to in later histories of Wrocław's cultural life as ‘the first Philharmonic’. Following its formulation, many accomplished Polish artists were invited to perform as guests with the Wrocław Philharmonic, among them, Ewa Bandrowska-Turska, Zbigniew Drzewiecki, Henryk Sztompka, Irena Dubiska and Eugenia Umińska. Stanisław Skrowaczewski was appointed associate conductor of the ensemble in 1946. The following season Kazimierz Wiłkomirski took over as its director. With Wiłkomirski at the helm, the Philharmonic continued to invite prominent Polish soloists to perform with the ensemble and began collaborations with international artists like Rafael Kubelík and Václav Smetáček, cellist Daniel Shafran, pianist Pavel Serebryakov, and bassist Paul Robeson. In 1949 the Wrocław Opera became a state institution and the orchestra was obliged to perform only opera repertoire, thus from 1949-1953, the 'Philharmonic' orchestra was absent from Wrocław’s cultural life.

In the early 1950s, the residents of Wrocław began to express their desire for a symphony orchestra with increasing enthusiasm. On December 27, 1953, a memorandum was submitted to the National Council of the City of Wrocław petitioning for the establishment of the ‘Lower Silesian Workers’ Philharmonic’ in celebration of the Second Congress of the Polish United Workers’ Party. The document was signed by Antoni Stanisławczyk, chief of the Song and Dance Company of the Wrocław Military Unit, conductor Radomir Reszke and Wojciech Dzieduszycki, who represented the Chopin Society. The signatories resolved to create a symphony orchestra comprised of local musicians aimed at performing with the best soloists and conductors in the region and with the intention of holding performances in a variety of local venues including, Wrocław Polytechnic, the Wrocław Opera, and Śląsk Cinema, as well as in factory halls and cultural centres. The letter closed by remarking that the orchestra had already begun rehearsals. Thus, January 1954 saw the establishment of the Wrocław Symphony Orchestra Artistic Council with Józef Lasocki, then the head of the State Superior Music School in Wrocław, appointed as the general and artistic director. Adam Kopyciński became the principal conductor and Radomir Reszke was appointed associate conductor. The orchestra’s office was located in the cellars of the State Superior Music School and its rehearsals were held in the School’s Assembly hall. For the next dozen or so years, the concert venue became the hall of Wrocław Polytechnic. In 1954 a string quartet was formed from its members, this group would be the first in a long line of chamber ensembles devised of the Wrocław Philharmonic players, a tradition that continues to date. In 1956 the first Symphonic Matinée for young people was presented and in 1958 the orchestra hosted its first jazz performance. 

The orchestra was designated with state institution of culture status on August 1, 1958, and it was renamed the ‘State Philharmonic in Wrocław’. Adam Kopyciński took over as the general and artistic director in addition to being the principal conductor. The Philharmonic was then given office space and a rehearsal room on the first floor of a building on ul. Pawła Włodkowica. From 1961 to 1963 Radomir Reszke served as the artistic director and principal conductor of the Philharmonic. In partnership with the Polish Composers Union, the Philharmonic organized the Festival of Music by Composers of the Western Territories, which took place at irregular intervals every one to four years. The festival has continued to present contemporary Polish music to date and is now known as the Musica Polonica Nova festival. In 1961 an oratorio choir was established, which presented oratorios with the Philharmonic Orchestra accompanying, that collaboration lasted for seven years. Włodzimiesz Ormicki succeeded Radomir Reszke as the director of the Philharmonic for two years between 1963 and 1965, followed by a few months’ vacancy during which the Philharmonic’s associate conductor Tadeusz Strugała managed the institution. The next general director, Andrzej Markowski, was the man who initiated the Oratorio-Cantata Festival ‘Wratislavia Cantans’ and persuaded authorities to construct a new venue for the Philharmonic on Piłsudskiego Street. In 1966, on the occasion of Poland’s Millennium, Markowski founded the Chamber Choir, ‘Cantores Minores Wratislavienses’, and Edmund Kajdasz became the choirmaster. Andrzej Markowski stepped down as the Philharmonic’s director in 1968, though he continued to manage the Wratislavia Cantans until 1977. The Philharmonic’s associate conductor Tadeusz Strugała took over as director for the next 10 years and one of his greatest achievements was championing the Leopoldinum Chamber Orchestra, one of the aforementioned chamber ensembles composed of the Philharmonic’s members. In 1980 Marek Pijarowski became the general and artistic director and his tenure lasted a lengthy 21 years with the institution. In 1994 the Wrocław Philharmonic was renamed after Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, becoming the Lutosławski Philharmonic. In 1999 the Philharmonic was designated as an official institution of culture of the Lower Silesian province. Lidia Geringer d’Oedenberg was appointed general director in 2001 and Mariusz Smolij became the artistic director. It was during this period that the hugely popular Family Concerts were introduced into the Philharmonic’s performance schedule. Jan Latham-Koening served as the ensembles artistic director in 2004.


In 2005 Andrzej Kosendiak became the general director of the Philharmonic. Since 2006 the Philharmonic has been co-financed by the Lower Silesian Province, the City of Wrocław and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Kosendiak created the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, and established a permanent Chorus and Boys Choir, in addition to initiating the festivals Singing Europe and the Leo Festival. He has also championed the education projects Singing Wrocław, Singing Poland, and Mummy, Daddy Sing to Me. He instituted the Witold Lutosławski – Opera Omnia recording series, whose aim is to release the complete works of Lutosławski, and is one of the creators of Muzyka w Mieście, published monthly by the National Forum of Music, since 2012. In 2014 he oversaw the merger of the Wrocław Philharmonic and International Festival Wratislavia Cantans to form what we now refer to as The National Forum of Music. Upon his initiative, construction commenced on the new venue of the National Forum of Music, and he now serves as the coordinator of this state-of-the-art performing arts venue.

 

The National Forum of Music, plac Wolności 1, 50-071 Wrocław, co-managed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, City of Wrocław and Lower Silesian Province, registered in Rejestr Instytucji Kultury run by the City of Wrocław as RIK 38/2014.

Patrons:

Wdrożenie e-usług w Filharmonii im. Witolda Lutosławskiego we Wrocławiu - etap 2 współfinansowany jest przez Unię Europejską ze środków Europejskiego Funduszu Rozwoju Regionalnego w ramach Regionalnego Programu Operacyjnego dla województwa dolnośląskiego na lata 2007 - 2013 oś priorytetowa 6. Wykorzystanie i promocja potencjału turystycznego o kulturalnego Dolnego Śląska (Turystyka i Kultura), działanie 6.5. Działania wspierające infrastrukturę turystyczną i kulturową.