The Polish Radio Choir was founded in 1948 by Jerzy Gert. It was then directed in turn by Adam Pałka, Jerzy Kurcz, Maciej Ogarek, Stanisław Krawczyński, Bronisława Wietrzny, Małgorzata Orawska, Włodzimierz Siedlik, and, since June 2010, by Artur Sędzielarz. The Choir has participated in numerous festivals in Poland and abroad, including Wratislavia Cantans, the Ludwig van Beethoven Festival in Warsaw, the Warsaw Autumn, the Poznań Musical Spring, the Duszniki Chopin Festival, Music in Old Cracow, Rossini Opera Festival, Settimana in Monreale, le Festival de la Musique Contemporaine Centre Pompidou, and the Oratorio und Cantata Festival Ratzeburg. At the turn of 2000 and 2001, the Choir went on tour with the Israel Kibbutz Orchestra under the direction of Avi Ostrowski, performing works by Szymanowski and Mozart. In November of 2001, the Choir participated in the Europalia Festival in Brussels, performing Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater with the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice under the direction of Antoni Wit. In February 2002 the Choir toured Switzerland, in July 2008 it was once again invited to Israel, were it performed works by Beethoven, Poulenc, Zieleński, Górecki, and Penderecki, among others. In 2009 the Choir gave concerts in South Korea and Canterbury as part of “Polish Year.” In February 2010 the Polish Radio Choir, together with the National Symphonic Orchestra of the Polish Radio in Katowice, took part in the Polish premiere of Dixi by the Georgian composer G. Kantchelli, and, in the same month, in that of M. Nyman’s Out of the ruins. Under the auspices of the Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw, in March 2010 the Polish Radio Choir participated in a concert performance and CD recording of C. M. von Weber’s opera Euryanthe under the direction of Łukasz Borowicz. The Polish Radio Choir cooperates closely with two outstanding Polish composers: Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. Each year the Choir gives a number of concerts throughout Poland, performing the a cappella works of K. Penderecki under the direction of the composer. Numerous reference recordings for the Polish Radio (including world premieres) have resulted from the Choir’s collaboration with H.M. Górecki, a highlight being the two CD albums issued in 2008. The Polish Radio Choir is one of few choirs that can boast of having Arnold Schoenberg’s opera Moses and Aaron in its repertoire. In 1998 the Choir was invited by the Staatstheater in Darmstadt for a joint performance of this work. In 2002 the Choir performed in Palermo at the Teatro Massimo, in 2003 at the Staatstheater Stuttgart, and in 2004 as a guest of the Hamburgische Staatsoper. In 2011 the Polish Radio Choir was invited by the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels to realize the choral part of Karol Szymanowski’s opera King Roger.
The Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra has a history dating back to pre-war years. It was re-activated in 1945 by the violinist and conductor Stefan Rachoń, whose successors have included Włodzimierz Kamirski, Jan Pruszak, and Mieczysław Nowakowski. During the tenure of Tadeusz Strugała (1990–93), the ensemble received its present name and moved to the brand-new Polish Radio Concert Studio named after Witold Lutosławski. From 1993 to 2006, the orchestra worked with musical director Wojciech Rajski, who was succeeded by Łukasz Borowicz in March 2007. The first CD with the new artistic director, featuring works by Schumann (with cellist Dominik Połoński), won the ‘Fryderyk’ Prize of the Polish recording industry in 2007. During the 2007/08 season, the orchestra gave concert performances of Verdi’s Falstaff and Cherubini’s Lodoïska (directed by Christa Ludwig, at the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw). Both works were released on CD by the Polish Radio’s own label; the Lodoïska album was nominated for the Midem Classical Award and the ‘Fryderyk’ Prize. It has become a tradition for the Polish Radio SO to open its seasons with concert performances of lesser-known and forgotten operas by Polish composers. These have included Roman Statkowski’s Maria, Stanisław Moniuszko’s Flis (to mark the 190th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2009), Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński’s Monbar or the Filibusters (the first performance of the opera in 150 years), Feliks Nowowiejski’s The Legend of the Baltic, and Zygmunt Noskowski’s Revenge for the Boundary Wall. Maria and Monbar or the Filibusters have been released on CD on the Polish Radio’s own label. The orchestra’s most recent recordings include Grażyna Bacewicz’s violin concertos (with Joanna Kurkowicz as soloist) for Chandos and her radio opera The Adventures of King Arthur on Polish Radio’s own label, to mark the centenary of the composer’s birth and the fortieth anniversary of her death. The orchestra has also given concert performances of Szymon Laks’s opera L’Hirondelle inattendue (the first Polish performance in the original French version) and Karol Rathaus’s ballet Le lion amoureux, both released as world premiere recordings on the eda records label. In collaboration with the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, the orchestra has continued its exploration of the lesser-known operatic repertoire with Louis Spohr’s Der Berggeist, Weber’s Euryanthe, Donizetti’s Maria Padilla, Italo Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre re, and Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, all subsequently released on CD. The orchestra’s discography additionally includes a three-CD set with works by Andrzej Panufnik, under the baton of Łukasz Borowicz, issued in 2014 in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the composer’s birth. It is part of the complete recording of orchestral and concert music for the cpo label in cooperation with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Deutschlandradio Kultur.
Komponist: Simon Laks, Karol Rathaus