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Warsaw Philharmonic Choir

Warsaw Philharmonic Choir

The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir are an internationally renowned, award-winning choir. The choir collaborates regularly with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir began its professional activity under Zbigniew Soja in 1953. The subsequent choirmasters were: Roman Kuklewicz (1955-1971), Józef Bok (1971-1974), Antoni Szalinski (1974-1978), and the present choirmaster Henryk Wojnarowski, who has held this position since 1978.

The central part of the choir's artistic activity are numerous symphonic and choral-orchestral concerts given throughout the season with Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra as well as a cappella performances in Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. The Choir also performs regularly at the 'Warsaw Autumn' International Festival of Contemporary Music and in Wroclaw at the Wratislavia Cantans Festival.

The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir is also very active internationally, performing for audiences in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. It has frequently been invited to give concerts with eminent orchestras, such as the Munich Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the RIAS Orchestra, the Bamberger Symphoniker, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestras, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Symphony Orchestra in Rome, the Brussels Opera Orchestra, the Palermo Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Milanese La Scala.

A significant event in the choir's history was the invitation to take part in the La Scala production of Franco Donatoni's Atem in 1985. Following this first appearance in an opera, the choir was invited to the La Scala again to participate in productions of Weber's Oberon (1989) and Beethoven's Fidelio (1990). The Choir also sang in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress (1986) and Mozart's The Magic Flute (1987) at La Fenice in Venice; in Beethoven's Fidelio in Paris (1989); in Szymanowski's King Roger (1992), Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex (1993) and Honegger's Antigone (1993) in Palermo and Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri in Pesaro. In 1988, 1990 and 2001, the choir was invited to the Vatican to take part in the celebrations of the successive anniversaries of Pope John Paul II's pontificate. Television stations throughout Europe broadcast the concerts. In December 2001, the Choir took part in special concerts for John Paul II in the Vatican.

Among the Polish and foreign baton masters who performed with the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, there have been: Gary Bertini, Sergiu Comissiona, Henryk Czyz, Jacek Kaspszyk, Kazimierz Kord, Jan Krenz, Lorin Maazel, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Zubin Mehta, Grzegorz Nowak, Seiji Ozawa, Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold Rowicki, Jerzy Semkow, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, Stanislaw Wislocki, Antoni Wit, and Bohdan Wodiczko.

The choir's enormous repertoire comprises more than 150 vocal-instrumental and unaccompanied works from the Middle Ages to contemporary music. Polish music, in particular - the works of Krzysztof Penderecki - is a very important part of their repertoire. The choir has performed all of Penderecki's large-scale vocal-instrumental and a cappella works. The latter performances were released on records, as well as recordings of St Luke Passion (twice), A Polish Requiem, Te Deum, Seven Gates of Jerusalem, Credo, and A Hymn to St Daniil. Both recordings of St Luke Passion were nominated to the Grammy Award, while their recording of The Polish Requiem was nominated to Grammy in 2005 and to Record Academy Award of the Japanese magazine Record Geijutsu - in 2005. The choir later received Grammy nominations for their CD with the Seven Gates of Jerusalem (2007) and an album with vocal-instrumental works by Karol Szymanowski, incl. his Stabat Mater (2008) - both recorded by NAXOS (cond. Antoni Wit). In April 2009, their first album with Stanislaw Moniuszko's masses conducted by Wojnarowski won the Fryderyk Award of the Polish music industry as Record of the Year in the category of Choral and Large-Scale Vocal-Instrumental Music.

The choir has also recorded Handel's Messiah, Israel in Egypt and Juda Maccabaeus, Mozart's Requiem, Beethoven's Fidelio and Symphony No. 9, Verdi's Requiem, Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust, Bruckner's Te Deum, Elsner's Passion, Mahler's Symphony No. 8, Moniuszko's Ostra Brama Litanies, Maklakiewicz's Four Masses, Maciejewski's Requiem, and Wojciech Kilar's Missa pro pace.