„(…) we could once again hear what a great (the best in Poland?) orchestra this is. This ensemble has its own “klang” and is capable of shaping the sound of the fascinating harmonies found in Bartók’s score. (…)”
Kacper Miklaszewski, Ruch Muzyczny
Hailed as the leading Polish orchestra, the PRNSO fulfills the role of a cultural ambassador representing Poland on the international arts. The orchestra had a unique opportunity to work with probably the most important Polish composers of the second half of the 20th century: Lutoslawski, Penderecki and Gorecki. The first performances of their works were often played by the PRNSO. This experience has given the orchestra a unique status among other orchestras in the world.
The PRNSO in Katowice was founded in 1935 in Warsaw. The orchestra was created and led by Grzegorz Fitelberg until the outbreak of World War II. In March 1945 Witold Rowicki revived the orchestra in Katowice. In 1947 the orchestra was taken over by Grzegorz Fitelberg who had come back to Poland. After his death in 1953, the orchestra was headed by Jan Krenz, Bohdan Wodiczko, Kazimierz Kord, Tadeusz Strugała, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Stanisław Wisłocki, Jacek Kaspszyk, Antoni Wit. In September 2000 Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa became the General and Programme Director. Between 2001 and 2007 the Artistic Director of NPRSO was Gabriel Chmura. In January 2009 Jacek Kaspszyk became Music Director and Michał Klauza Associate Conductor. The title of the first Guest Conductor of NOSPR was accepted by Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Honorary Conductor by Jan Krenz and Artistic Advisor by Jerzy Semkow.
The orchestra has recorded more than 200 CDs for many Polish and foreign labels (Decca, EMI, Phillips, etc.) and made numerous archival recordings for the needs of Polish Radio. For phonographic achievements the orchestra was honoured with numerous prizes among others the Diapason d'Or and the Grand Prix du Disque de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque, the Cannes Classical Award, the Midem Classical Award.
Many renowned conductors and soloists have performed with the NPRSO in Poland and abroad. Among them were: Martha Argerich, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Buchbinder, James Conlon, Placido Domingo, Pierre Fournier, Nicolai Gedda, Barbara Hendricks, Julius Katchen, Leonidas Kavakos, Wilhelm Kempff, Kevin Kenner, Paweł Klecki, Kiryłł Kondraszyn, 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, Mścisław Rostropowicz, 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 toured most of the European countries as well as Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Braziland the countries of Persian Gulf. The Orchestra has realized spectacular projects which receiving enthusiastic reviews and the applause of enraptured audiences(“Marathon of works of H.M.Gorecki" , "Drive to Kilar`s music”,"Musical Sea Voyage"- two editions, "Kilar's Day").
Since 2005 NPRSO organizes Festival of World Premieres-Polish Modern Music.