Musical Director: Krzystof Penderecki
Managing and Artistic Director: Franciszek Wybranczyk
In April 1984, at the invitation of the Polish Chamber Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin visited Poland to participate in a concert both as soloist and conductor.
To accommodate to the repertoire to be performed, the orchestra was obliged to expand its ranks to 40 musicians and accomplished this by recruiting many talented young musicians from all over the country. The subsequent concert was broadcast by radio and TV and was met with such overwhelming enthusiasm by the critics and audience alike, exclaiming its outstanding musical quality, that the spontaneous idea of a permanent ensemble consisting of 24 strings and double wind section became a reality. So great was his interest in the new formation that Lord Yehudi Menuhin signed, before returning to England, a contract to be a principal guest conductor of Sinfonia Varsovia.
Almost immediately the orchestra was invited to do a concert tour in the USA and Canada. Further invitations from Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Finland followed; in recent years Sinfonia Varsovia has also performed in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. The orchestra has played in the Carnegie Hall (New York), Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (Paris), Barbican Centre (London), Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires); regularly appeared at numerous festivals: Yehudi Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, Montreux, Schleswig-Holstein, Wuerzburg, Aix-en-Provence, Pablo Casals Festival (San Juan), Salzburg, Alte Oper (Frankfurt), Festival de Musique en Mere etc.
The highest performance standards could not be maintained without an open competition system for all the positions in the orchestra. In addition, the "Orchestra Studium" attached to Sinfonia Varsovia gives a chance to young musicians to get acquainted with technique and specific ensemble playing style before entering the competition. This is why this orchestra is able to maintain its identity and the term "young orchestra" is frequently used by the critics writing about Sinfonia Varsovia.
Owing to its almost unlimited repertoire the orchestra performs with some of the finest conductors of the world including Claudio Abbado, Gerd Albrecht, Rafael Fruehbeck de Burgos, Charles Dutoit, Hans Graf, Justus Frantz, Leopold Hager, Jan Krenz, Emmanuel Krivine, Witold Lutoslawski, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Yehudi Menuhin, Mscislaw Rostropowicz, Krzysztof Penderecki, Michel Plasson, Jerzy Semkow, Volker Schmidt-Gertenbach, Peter Schreier, Jerzy Swoboda, Muhai Tang, Bruno Weil
and soloists such as Salvatore Accardo, Martha Argerich, Maurice André, Yuri Bashmet, Theresa Berganza, Alfred Brendel, Kyung Wha Chung, Augustine Dumay, Justus Frantz, James Galway, Fou Ts'ong, Krzysztof Jablonski, Kiri te Kanawa, Gidon Kremer, Alicia de Larrocha, Ellisabeth Leonskaja, Christa Ludwig, Radu Lupu, Misha Maisky, Yehudi Menuhin, Shlomo Mintz, Oli Mustonen, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Janusz Olejniczak, Ewa Osinska, Michaela Petri, Murray Perahia, Maria Joao Pires, Jean-Bernard Pommier, Samuel Ramey, Katia Ricciarelli, Mscislaw Rostropowicz, Heinrich Schiff, Henryk Szeryng, Maria Tipo, Alexis Weissenberg, Christian Zacharias, Tabea Zimmerman, Frank Peter Zimmerman, Grigori Zyslin.
Sinfonia Varsovia has produced a number of highly successful recordings for Pathé Marconi - EMI, Virgin Classics, Decca, Denon Nippon Columbia, Aperto, Polskie Nagrania, which have received some distinguished prizes such as the "Grand Prix du Disque" and "Diapason d'Or".
The orchestra's place among the world's leading chamber ensembles of this kind is confirmed, not only by the excellent reviews it receives from the most renowned music critics, but also by its permanent presence in the most prestigious concert halls of four continents.
"Work with no other orchestra has given me as much satisfaction as my work, as conductor and soloist, with the Sinfonia Varsovia. I can say with full conviction that for many of years of working together with this orchestra, the many recordings we have made together, the numerous concerts we have played, spanning a vast repertoire of classical and contemporary music, it has always maintained the highest levels of performance.
Musicians have never started a rehearsal ill-prepared. They have always been full of enthusiasm, involved in their work with precision and elegance.
Music is their way of life. Such an approach is a real delight for the audience.
I congratulate the musicians and their magnificent manager Mr Franciszek Wybranczyk for their achievements, unparalleled in the history of music-making as a company."
Sinfonia Varsovia acts under the aegis of the "Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz" Art Center Studio in Warsaw.