“... Work with no other orchestra has ever given me as much satisfaction as my work as a soloist and conductor for the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra.”
“... they are wonderful, they are one of the best orchestras, not only in Poland. First class.”
In April 1984 Waldemar Dąbrowski, Director of the Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz Studio Centre for the Arts in Warsaw, and Franciszek Wybrańczyk, director of the then Polish Chamber Orchestra invited the legendary violinist Sir Yehudi Menuhin to perform in Poland as a soloist and conductor. To match the exigencies of the planned repertoire, the orchestra increased the number of its members, inviting renowned musicians from all over Poland to perform together. The ensemble’s initial concerts under the direction of Yehudi Menuhin were enthusiastically applauded by audiences and praised by critics, while Sir Menuhin himself did not hesitate to accept Waldemar Dąbrowski and Franciszek Wybrańczyk’s proposal to become the first guest conductor of the newly established symphony orchestra known as Sinfonia Varsovia.
The Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra was soon invited to perform concerts in the United States and Canada, with more invitations to follow – from many countries of Europa and Asia. The Sinfonia Varsovia has performed at the world’s most prestigious concert halls, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris, the Barbican Centre in London, Vienna’s Musikverein, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and the Herkulessaal in Munich.
Krzysztof Penderecki became the orchestra’s Musical Director in 1997 and its Artistic Director in July 2003, a position he still holds, often also working together with the ensemble as its conductor. The musicians perform together in Poland and abroad, playing many works by the composer.
Of special note is the Franciszek Wybrańczyk and Sinfonia Varsovia “To Its City” Festival. This unique project was initiated in 2001 by Franciszek Wybrańczyk, the founder and long-standing director of the orchestra. Each year in early autumn the orchestra performs free concerts in various parts of the capital.
In 2004, Wybrańczyk handed over the duties as the director of the Sinfonia Varsovia to Janusz Marynowski – his assistant and a long-serving musician in the orchestra.
From 2008-2012 the post of the orchestra’s musical director was held by the world-famous French conductor Marc Minkowski.
The celebrated La Folle Journée music festival holds a special slot in the orchestra’s performing calendar each season. The Sinfonia Varsovia regularly takes part in major music events in Poland and is a regular guest at the Chopin and His Europe festival, the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, the Warsaw Autumn festival and the Chain festival, devoted to Witold Lutosławski.
In 2010 the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra organised the La Folle Journée - Chopin Open Festival in Warsaw for the first time. The subsequent series Les Titans (2011), Russia (2012), Music of France and Spain (2013) and Music of America (2014) met with great enthusiasm from Polish audiences.
The orchestra’s repertoire is exceptionally extensive, ranging from 18th century works to contemporary compositions. The orchestra has played Polish and world premieres of works by, among others, John Adams, Krzesimir Dębski, Jan Andrzej Paweł Kaczmarek, Witold Lutosławski, Paweł Mykietyn, Onute Narbutaite, Krzysztof Penderecki, Marta Ptaszyńska, Marcin Stańczyk and Paweł Szymański. In January 2011 the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra presented the first performance of Krzysztof Penderecki’s A Sea of Dreams Did Breathe on Me...
The orchestra boasts a discography of more than two hundred and sixty albums, recorded for famous international labels including Decca, Denon Nippon Columbia, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Naïve, Naxos, Sony and Virgin Classics. Many of these recordings have received prestigious music awards, including the Diapason d’Or, the Diapason découverte, the Grand Prix du Disque and, on more than one occasion, the Polish Fryderyk award.
The orchestra’s artistic endeavours are supported by the Sinfonia Varsovia Foundation. Established in 2000 by Franciszek Wybrańczyk.
In 2014 the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra celebrated the 30th anniversary.
For more information please visit www.sinfoniavarsovia.org.