The Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra The orchestra began its artistic activity with a concert on the 26th of May 1945 as the State Philharmonic in Katowice. Since that event, its level of performance and numerous achievements have assured it a leading position among Polish symphonic ensembles. It has also become an unchanging reason for the participation of the philharmonic's artists in many international, renown festivals. The orchestra's vast repertoire encompasses the classics of orchestral music, and contemporary pieces alike.
Our musicians have participated, on numerous occasions, in the international Warsaw Autumn Festival, which is more than 50 years old. Their first appearance at the La Chaise-Dieu festival was made twenty five years ago, and they have also performed at Wrocław's Vratislavia Cantans, the great oratorio-cantata festival. The incessant invitations from the most acknowledged concert halls (both in Poland and abroad) are a living proof of the high esteem the Silesian Philharmonic enjoys.
The high class and artism of the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra is known across Europe. In July of 2000, along with the Silesian Philharmonic Choir led by M. Błaszczyk, the Orchestra performed for Pope John Paul the 2nd during the celebration of the year 2000 jubilee in Rome. Since its first tours around the former Czechoslovakia in 1958, the orchestra has given concerts in Austria, Bulgaria, France, Spain, Ireland, Yugoslavia, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Romania, San Marino, Great Britain, and Italy. The orchestra has also promoted Polish culture outside of its home continent, in such places as Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Since its very foundation, the Silesian Philharmonic has been hosting such top artists as Zbigniew Drzewiecki, Stanisław Szpinalski, Henryk Sztompka. Grażyna Bacewicz, Eugenia Urmińska, Irena Dubiska, Wanda Wiłkomirska, Eugene Ormandy, Leopold Stokowski, Carlo Zecchi, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Kiril Kondrashin, Zubin Mehta, David and Igor Oistrakh, Henryk Szeryng, Emil Gilels, Artur Rubinstein, Witold Małcużyński, Alexis Weissenberg, Maurizio Pollini, Mstislav Rostropovich, Victoria de los Angeles, Krystian Zimerman, Piotr Paleczny, Leszek Możdżer, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Roman Lasocki, Piotr Pławner, Michael Zilm, Chikara Imamura, Krzysztof Jabłoński, Antoni Wit, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Agnieszka Duczmal. All these names are yet another proof of the philharmonic's well established position and high prestige it enjoys in its country.
In 2006, the philharmonic's musicians opened the 1st Enjoy Cieszyn festival with their performance of Wojciech Kilar's film scores under the baton of Mirosław Błaszczyk. To commemorate George Gershwin's 110th birthday anniversary, the ensemble performed with Leszek Możdżer and Mirosław Błaszczyk at the end of the 2007/2008 season, and with Electric Light Orchestra in November 2008.
The Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Karol Stryja, has been the first ensemble to record and publish the complete vocal-orchestral works by Karol Szymanowski (which are still availble from the Naxos label). When it comes to recordings, the Philharmonic's musicians have been among the most prolific ensembles in Poland. Their album containing George Gershwin's works under the baton of Jerzy Salwarowski has achieved the Gold Record Award, and the recording of Karłowicz's complete Symphonic Poems (with the same conductor) has proved to be monumental. In November 2007, the first ever recording of Wojciech Kilar's Magnificat was released, performed by the Silesian Syphony Orchestra and Choir under the baton of Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk (featuring solo appearances by Izabela Kłosińska, Tomasz Krzysica, and Piotr Nowacki). The most recent source of pride is the 2008 album containing Tchaikovsky's pieces with phenomenal performance by violinist Konstanty Andrzej Kulka and with Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk as the conductor. A new album with pieces by 3 generations of Katowice composer school is going to be released in the nearest future.
Artistic direktor and conductor Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk
First violins Eugeniusz Pawełek
Violas Mieczysław Dancewicz
Krzysztof Modliszewski (urlop)
Cellos Franciszek Skóra
Double-basses Krystian Wocław
Flutes Jerzy Sojka
Oboes Wenancjusz Szołtysik
English horn Jacek Gaudyn
Clarinets Czesław Kasperek
Bassoons Tadeusz Łukosz
French-horns Joachim Nowak
Trumpets Grzegorz Przybyła
Trombones Joachim Baron
Bass trombone Piotr Misiak
Tuba Marek Ozioro
Timpani Zbigniew Bąk
Percussion Jacek Kozłowski