is an ambassador of Polish culture on the international artistic scene. 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, presenting first performances of their works.
The PNRSO was created 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 Artistic Director was again taken over by Fitelberg. After the latter’s death in 1953, the orchestra was directed successively by Jan Krenz, Bohdan Wodiczko, Kazimierz Kord, Tadeusz Strugała, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Stanisław Wisłocki, Jacek Kaspszyk, Antoni Wit, Gabriel Chmura, and again Jacek Kaspszyk. In September 2000, Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa was appointed General and Programme Director. Stanisław Skrowaczewski holds the title of the first Guest Conductor of the PNRSO and Jan Krenz is the Honorary Director. At the beginning of the 2012/13 season, Alexander Liebreich became the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the PNRSO.
Apart from recording extensively 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 has been honoured with numerous awards for its phonographic achievements, including Diapason d’Or and Grand Prix du Disque de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque, Cannes Classical Award, and MIDEM Classical Award. Many renowned conductors and soloists have performed with the PNRSO including Martha Argerich, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Buchbinder, James Conlon, Plácido Domingo, Pierre Fournier, Nicolai Gedda, Barbara Hendricks, Julius Katchen, Leonidas Kavakos, Wilhelm Kempff, Kevin Kenner, Paweł Klecki, Kirill Kondrashin, Marguerite Long, Witold Lutosławski, Charles Mackerras, Misha 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, En Shao, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Isaac Stern, Henryk Szeryng, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Pieter Wispelwey, Krystian Zimerman, and Nicolai Znaider.
The Orchestra has performed in nearly all European countries, the Americas, as well as in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and in Persian Gulf countries. In recent years, the PNRSO has presented some spectacular projects that have met with an excellent audience and critical reception (Marathon of Górecki’s Works, Train to Kilar’s Music, two editions of Musical Voyage, Górecki•Penderecki Festival – in celebration of the composers’ 75th anniversary). Since 2005, the PNRSO has organised a biennial event called Festival of World Premieres – Polish Modern Music. In May 2015 the new PNRSO festival, Katowice Kultura Natura, was held for the first time.
In October 2014 PNRSO inaugurated its new seat, a building designed by Konior Studio of Katowice with an acoustic system by Nagata Acoustics designed by Yasuhisa Toyota.