The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra played its inaugural concert on November 5, 1901 in the newly- opened Philharmonic Hall. Led by its first artistic director and principal conductor Emil M?ynarski, the performance featured the world-renowned pianist and composer Ignace Jan Paderewski as soloist. The orchestra quickly became the main centre of musical activity in Poland in the years preceding and following World War I. Nearly all the leading conductors and soloists of the day appeared with the orchestra, including Grieg, Honegger, Klemperer, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky, Horowitz, Rubinstein, and Sarasate.
The outbreak of World War II temporarily halted the activities of the Philharmonic; its auditorium was destroyed. In the first post-war years, the Philharmonic was led by Straszy?ski and Panufnik who were superseded in January 1950 by Witold Rowicki as its director and principal conductor. Despite difficult working conditions, the orchestra was reorganised and began touring abroad. On February 21, 1955 the rebuilt Philharmonic Hall was re-opened and the orchestra received the status of the National Orchestra of Poland.
In January 2002 Maestro Antoni Wit assumed the post of General and Artistic Director of the Warsaw Philharmonic – The National Orchestra and Choir of Poland. Today both the Orchestra and Choir have wide-reaching popularity and acclaim. Both ensembles have completed over one hundred tours on five continents and appear in major musical venues worldwide. Each season the Philharmonic presents over 80 symphony concerts. The orchestra has made numerous recordings which have garnered multiple awards and distinctions.
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