Orchestra Sinfonia Varsovia


In April of 1984, the legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin was invited to Poland to perform as a soloist and to conduct the Polish Chamber Orchestra. In order to match the exigencies of the planned repertoire, the orchestra increased the number of its members, inviting Poland’s finest musicians to participate in the venture. The first concerts conducted by Menuhin were enthusiastically received by audiences and appreciated by critics. Yehudi Menuhin became the chief guest conductor of the orchestra, which continued to perform with new members and was named Sinfonia Varsovia.
Sinfonia Varsovia has performed in the world’s most celebrated concert halls, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Théatre des Champs Elysées in Paris, the Barbican Centre in London, Vienna’s Musikverein, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Herkulessaal in Munich. It participates in festivals in Poland and abroad but “La Folle Journée” music festival organised by the French C.R.E.A. association holds a special slot in the orchestra’s performing calendar each season.
It has performed with many distinguished conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Gerd Albrecht, Charles Dutoit, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Valery Gergiev, Hans Graf, Leopold Hager, Jacek Kaspszyk, Kazimierz Kord, Jan Krenz, Emmanuel Krivine, Witold Lutosławski, Paul McCreesh, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Yehudi Menuhin, Marc Minkowski, Grzegorz Nowak, Krzysztof Penderecki, Michel Plasson, Mstislav Rostropovich, Volker Schmidt-Gertenbach, Jerzy Semkow, Antoni Wit and Bruno Weil.
The orchestra has accompanied such renowned soloists as Salvatore Accardo, Piotr Anderszewski, Maurice André, Martha Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Teresa Berganza, Rafał Blechacz, Alfred Brendel, Piotr Paleczny, José Carreras, Sarah Chang, Kyung-Wha Chung, José Cura, Placido Domingo, Augustin Dumay, Nelson Freire, James Galway, Sophie Graf, Fou Ts’ong, Sharon Kam, Kiri Te Kanawa, Nigel Kennedy, Gidon Kremer, Alicia de Larrocha, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Christa Ludwig, Radu Lupu, Albrecht Mayer, Mischa Maisky, Yehudi Menuhin, Shlomo Mintz, Olli Mustonen, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Piotr Paleczny, Olga Pasiecznik, Murray Perahia, Maria João Pires, Ivo Pogorelić, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Vadim Repin, Katia Ricciarelli, Mstislav Rostropovich, Heinrich Schiff, Howard Shelley, Henryk Szeryng, Maxim Vengerov, Andreas Vollenweider, Christian Zacharias, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Tabea Zimmermann and Grigori Zhyslin.
It boasts a discography of more than 200 albums, recorded for famous international labels: Decca, Denon, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Naïve, Naxos, Nippon Columbia, Sony and Virgin Classics, as well as for Polish labels, including BeArTon, CD Accord, DUX, Polish Records and Polish Radio. Many of these recordings received prestigious music awards.
In 1997 Krzysztof Penderecki became the orchestra’s musical director and in 2003 – its artistic director. He still holds the position and often works with the band as a conductor. In June 2008 the post of the orchestra’s musical director was given to the world-famous French conductor Marc Minkowski.
In 2004, Franciszek Wybrańczyk handed over the duties of the director of Sinfonia Varsovia to Janusz Marynowski.
The Sinfonia Varsovia Foundation was established in the year 2000 by Franciszek Wybrańczyk who was the orchestra’s director for many years. The foundation initiates and supports the orchestra’s artistic endeavours.  
It promotes in particular Polish composers and young talents and organises the annual  Franciszek Wybrańczyk Sinfonia Varsovia to Its City festival.
The year 2009, which marked the 25th anniversary of the activity of Sinfonia Varsovia, was a particular year in the history of the Orchestra also on account of the decision of the authorities of the Capital City of Warsaw to purchase a real property in the Warsaw Praga district. Unused for years, the former seat of the Institute of Veterinary Sciences of the Warsaw University of Life Sciences at ul. Grochowska 272, was now meant to house the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra.
In June 2010, by the decision of the Council of Warsaw and the President of Warsaw, there was announced an international architectural competition for the design of the new concert hall for 1,800 spectators and for architectural development of the real property at ul. Grochowska 272 in Warsaw. The solemn settlement of the competition took place in November 2010 and the competition was won by the project entitled “The Musical Garden” by the Thomas Pucher Atelier from Graz, Austria.
The Orchestra’s coordinator is the Capital City of Warsaw.