The Warsaw Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of Poland and one of Europe's most prestigious orchestras, will perform Wednesday at Centre College.
The first musical performance of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra took place Nov. 5, 1901, in the newly-opened Philharmonic Hall. The artistic director and principal conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra, Emil Mynarski, conducted this inaugural concert. The soloist was the world-renowned pianist, composer and future statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The program of this historic concert included Paderewski's Piano Concerto in A minor and works of other Polish composers, such as Chopin, Moniuszko, Noskowski, Stojowski and Eleski.
The first three International Chopin Piano Competitions (1927, 1932, 1937), in which the orchestra participated, were held in the hall, as well as the first International Wieniawski Violin Competition (1935) and the first Public Festival of Polish Arts (1937). Those events showed Warsaw's active participation in European musical life.
After 38 uninterrupted years of prosperity, the outbreak of World War II brought a temporary halt to the activities of the Philharmonic. The concert hall was bombed and partially burnt in the first days of September 1939, and completely destroyed by the end of the war. The orchestra lost 39 of its 71 players.