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 (1990-1993) the ensemble was given its present name and moved to the brand-new Polish Radio Concert Studio, which was soon named after Witold Lutosławski. In 1993-2006, the orchestra worked with Wojciech Rajski as Artistic Director. In March 2007 he was succeeded by Łukasz Borowicz, who led the ensemble until the end of January 2015. The CD featuring Schumann’s works (conducted by Borowicz, with the cellist Dominik Połoński) won the ‘Fryderyk’ Prize of the Polish recording industry (2007). During the 2007/08 season, the orchestra gave concert performances of Verdi’s Falstaff and of Cherubini’s Lodoïska (staged under the artistic supervision of Christa Ludwig at the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw). Both works were released on CD by Polish Radio, and the Lodoïska album was nominated for the Midem Classical Awards and the ‘Fryderyk’ Prize. It has become a tradition for the Polish Radio SO to inaugurate its successive seasons with concert performances of lesser-known and forgotten operas by Polish composers. These have included Roman Statkowski’s Maria (the 2008/09 season), Stanisław Moniuszko’s Flis (to mark the 190th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2009), F.I. Dobrzyński’s Monbar or the Filibusters (the first presentation of the opera for 150 years), Feliks Nowowiejski’s The Legend of the Baltic (2011/2012), Zygmunt Noskowski’s Revenge for the Boundary Wall, with a libretto based on Aleksander Fredro’s comedy (2013/2014) and Moniuszko’s Verbum nobile (2014/2015). Maria and Monbar or the Filibusters have been released on CD by Polish Radio. The orchestra’s recent recordings also include Grażyna Bacewicz’s violin concertos (with Joanna Kurkowicz as the soloist) and Overture (for Chandos), and her radio opera The Adventures of King Arthur (for Polish Radio), to mark the centenary of the composer’s birth and the 40th anniversary of her death in 2009. The orchestra also gave concert performances of Szymon Laks’s opera L’Hirondelle inattendue (the first Polish performance in the original French version) and of Karol Rathaus’s ballet Le lion amoureux, also released on CD. In collaboration with the Beethoven Festival the orchestra has continued its exploration of lesser-known operatic repertoire with Louis Spohr’s Der Berggeist (2009), Weber’s Euryanthe (2010), Donizetti’s Maria Padilla (2011), Italo Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre re (2012), Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra (2013) and Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris (2014), all subsequently released on CD. The orchestra’s discography also includes an 4-CD-set with Andrzej Panufnik’s symphonic music for cpo, which in January 2015 won an International Classical Music Award (ICMA) in the Special Achievement category. In coming months the orchestra will continue its series of recordings with leading Polish singers. Two CDs with Piotr Beczała (for Orfeo), and one each with Mariusz Kwiecień (for Harmonia Mundi) and Artur Ruciński (for Polish Radio) have already been released.
In February 2015 Michał Klauza was appointed Artistic Director of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.