Johannes Brahms

Nänie, Op. 82, for choir and orchestra

Anton Webern

Das Augenlicht, Op. 26, for choir and orchestra

Johannes Brahms

Schicksalslied, Op. 54, for choir and orchestra

Karol Szymanowski

Litania do Marii Panny op. 59

Igor Stravinsky

Symphony of Psalms for choir and orchestra

Alexander Liebreich
Conductor
NOSPR
The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir
Iwona Sobotka
soprano
Alexander Liebreich

Alexander Liebreichhas proven himself to be one of the most avid conductors of his generation. Having only assumed the position of Principal Conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice in 2012, he has already received widespread recognition in Poland for reinventing the sound and programming of this tradition-steeped orchestra. Liebreich has also been Chief Conductor of the Munich Chamber Orchestra from 2006 until 2016: under his leadership, the orchestra has made tremendous strides through the development of new concert formats. In the same way, South Korea’s Tongyeong International Music Festival (TIMF) – which Liebreich led from 2011 to 2014 – has also benefited greatly from this spirit of renewal. In May 2016 the new concert hall in Katowice hosted the festival Katowice Kultura Natura under the artistic guidance of Alexander Liebreich for the second time.

Liebreich continually unearths new perspectives through his sleek, distinct and deft approach. He is equally aware of the historical, political and social dimensions of music: it is one’s responsibility towards the future to portray the present. Vocal music has always played a prominent role in Alexander Liebreich’s career. Born in Regensburg, Liebreich was steeped in the choir tradition of his hometown at an early age. In addition to conducting, he studied voice with the goal of being able to focus on both Romance philology and music history. Liebreich has conducted many renowned orchestras: he recently made his debut at such venues as the Musikverein in Vienna, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Cité de la Musique in Paris.


NOSPR

NOSPRfulfils the role of an ambassador of Polish culture on the international artistic scene. The ensemble has performed in Brussels (Europalia), Vienna (the opening of the Polish Year in Austria), Madrid (the gala concert of the Polish year in Spain), Rome (the celebration of the 70th anniversary of H.M. Górecki’s birthday), Kiev (the inauguration of the Polish Year in Ukraine), Paris (the gala concert of the New Poland Polish Year in France), and in London (the inauguration of the Polish year in Great Britain). The Orchestra has collaborated with some of the greatest composers of the second half of the 20th century: Witold Lutosławski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki, delivering the first performances of their works.

The NOSPR was founded in 1935 in Warsaw by Grzegorz Fitelberg who led it until the outbreak of World War II. In 1945, the orchestra was revived in Katowice by Witold Rowicki. In 1947, the post of the artistic director was taken again by Fitelberg. After his death in 1953, the orchestra was headed in succession by Jan Krenz, Bohdan Wodiczko, Kazimierz Kord, Tadeusz Strugała, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Stanisław Wisłocki, Jacek Kaspszyk, Antoni Wit, Gabriel Chmura and, once again, by Jacek Kaspszyk. In September 2000, Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa became the institution’s General and Programme Director. Since 2009, the post of the Associate Conductor has been entrusted to Michał Klauza. Stanisław Skrowaczewski is the first Guest Conductor of the NOSPR, Jan Krenz is a Honorary Conductor. On the 31st of August 2012, Alexander Liebreich became the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the NOSPR.

Apart from making archival recordings for the Polish Radio, the Orchestra has recorded more than 200 CD albums for many renowned record companies (including Decca, EMI, Philips, Chandos, and Naxos). The PNRSO was honoured with numerous awards for its phonographic achievements, including Diapason d’Orand Grand Prix du Disque de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque, the Cannes Classical Award, and the Midem Classical Award.

Many renowned conductors and soloists have performed with the NOSPR, including Martha Argerich, Boris Belkin, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Buchbinder, James Conlon, Placido Domingo, Pierre Fournier, Nicolai Gedda, Barbara Hendricks, Julius Katchen, Leonidas Kavakos, Wilhelm Kempff, Paweł Klecki, Kirill Kondrashin, Marguerite Long, Witold Lutosławski, Charles Mackerras, Mischa Maisky, Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Shlomo Mintz, Ivan Monighetti, Garrick Ohlsson, Kun Woo Paik, Krzysztof Penderecki, Maurizio Pollini, Hermann Prey, Ruggiero Ricci, Mstislav Rostropovich, Artur Rubinstein, Jerzy Semkow, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Leonard Slatkin, Isaac Stern, Henryk Szeryng, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Pieter Wispelwey, Krystian Zimerman, and Nicolai Znaider.

The Orchestra has performed in nearly all the European countries, in the Americas, as well as in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan and in the Persian Gulf countries. In the recent years, the PNRSO has implemented some spectacular projects which have been very well received by audiences and reviewers alike (The Marathon of Górecki’s Works, The Liking to Kilar’s Music, Musical Voyage(two editions), The Górecki•Penderecki Festival – in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the artist’s birth). Since 2005, the NOSPR has been the organiser of the biennial event called The Festival of World PremieresPolish Modern Music.

On the 1st of October 2014, the NOSPR inaugurated the artistic season in its new seat. The author of the architectonic project is Konior Studio from Katowice and the concert hall acoustics have been designed by Nagata Acoustics.

 


The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir

The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir began its professional activity under Zbigniew Soja in 1953. The subsequent choirmasters were: Roman Kuklewicz (1955-1971), Jozef Bok (1971-1974), Antoni Szaliński (1974-1978), and the present choirmaster Henryk Wojnarowski, who has held this position since 1978.

The central part of the choir’s artistic activity are symphonic and choral-orchestral concerts given with the Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra as well as a cappella performances in the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. The Choir also performs regularly at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival and in Wrocław at the Wratislavia Cantans Festival.

The Choir is also very active internationally. It has frequently been invited to give concerts with eminent orchestras, such as the Munich Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the RIAS Orchestra, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Symphony Orchestras, and the Orchestra of the Milanese La Scala. A significant event in the choir’s history was the invitation to take part in the La Scala production of Franco Donatoni’s Atem in 1985.

The choir’s enormous repertoire comprises more than 400 vocal-instrumental and unaccompanied works from the Middle Ages to contemporary music.

In April 2009, their first album with Stanisław Moniuszko’s masses conducted by H. Wojnarowski won the Fryderyk Award of the Polish music industry as Record of the Year in the category of Choral Music and Oratorios. In May 2010 their second CD was awarded „Orphees d’Or – The Arturo Toscanini Memorial Award” by L’Academie du Disque Lyrique in recognition of “the best phonographic initiative”, that is, the label’s efforts in promoting the music of Stanislaw Moniuszko.


Iwona Sobotka

Iwona Sobotkaachieved instant international acclaim as the Grand Prix winner of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium. Other awards include first prizes at the Warsaw Polish Art Song Competition and the East & West Artists International Auditions in New York, where she was awarded her debut concert in Carnegie Hall.

She has performed all over Europe, in the Americas and Japan, in such prestigious venues as the Berlin Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, Salle Pleyel in Paris and Royal Albert Hall in London. She has cooperated with many orchestras, including the Wiener Symphoniker, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, having worked with many of today’s pre-eminent conductors, including Sir Colin Davies, Sir Simon Rattle, Sylwian Camberling, and Massimo Zanetti.

Equally at home on the concert and opera stage, Iwona Sobotka performed at the National Opera in Paris, and created the roles of Violetta (La Traviata), Tatyana (Eugene Onegin), Pamina (The Magic Flute), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) and Julia (Romeo and Juliette). In 2010 she made her debut at the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival in the title role in Halka by Stanisław Moniuszko, only to come back in the summer of 2011 in the role of Liù in Turandot.

Iwona Sobotka is widely acknowledged for her interpretations of Polish vocal repertoire. In 2004, she contributed to a complete collection of Karol Szymanowski’s songs released by the Dutch label Channel Classics, and was distinguished by the National Academy of Recording Arts of Poland with the “Fryderyk” Award for the most outstanding recording of Polish music.