Together with a number of renowned guest artists and its newly appointed Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic is at the heart of Polish musical scene.
The orchestra was founded in 1945 as both a symphony and an opera orchestra. In 1949 it became the State Opera Orchestra and held symphonic concerts sporadically until 1954, when it became an independent symphony orchestra. In 1994 it adopted the name of Witold Lutoslawski in memory of the great composer, and on the opening Wroclaw's new concert hall, the National Forum of Music in 2015, it became the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic. The National Forum of Music, located in the historic center of Wroclaw, operates a state-of-the-art multifunctional concert venue. The acoustics and theater design of the concert halls was the work of the renowned New York based Artec Consultants Inc (now Arup) and led by Tateo Nakajima. The building of the NFM has been designed by the esteemed polish architect Stefan Kurylowicz and the Kurylowicz & Associates Architectural Design Studio.
The orchestra participates in a huge range of projects each season, including subscription concerts, education projects, recordings, radio broadcasts, and outdoor concerts. The educational activities include concerts young people and collaborations with the Karol Lipinski Academy of Music in Wroclaw and the NFM Orchestra Academy and Choral Academy.
Thanks to its collaborations with festivals presented by the National Forum of Music, such as Jazztopad and Musica Electronica Nova, the Wroclaw Philharmonic enjoys regular collaborations with some leading avant garde and jazz artists such as John Zorn, Wynton Marsalis with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and Terje Rypdal.
From 2006-2013, the orchestra was led by Jacek Kaspszyk, who contributed greatly to the ensemble's development during his seven-year tenure as principal conductor and artistic director. He was succeeded by Benjamin Shwartz from 2013 to 2016. In 2016, the city of Wroclaw was hailed as the European Capital of Culture and the orchestra's performances accompanied the celebrations that season. The NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic has worked with many fine guest conductors, among them Giovanni Antonini, Andrey Boreyko, Philippe Herreweghe, Paul McCreesh, Dima Slobodeniouk, Krzysztof Penderecki and Mario Venzago. The orchestra has worked with all of Poland's great 20th century composers including Witold Lutoslawski, Pawel Mykietyn, Krzysztof Penderecki, Elzbieta Sikora, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and Agata Zubel. Promoting Polish music is a special focus of the orchestra who regularly perform in prominent venues in Poland as well as throughout Europe and the United States. Past international tours have included works by Szymanowski, Lutoslawski, Górecki, and Penderecki.
The NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic regularly performs works commissioned by the National Forum of Music and has a growing international presence with its commitment to presenting Classical and Romantic masterworks as well as 20th & 21st century symphonic repertoire and contemporary Polish composers. The orchestras numerous, award-winning albums include Witold Lutoslawski: Opera omnia, a recording of the complete works of the prominent 20th-century composer (CD Accord). The latest releases include an album of music by Pawel Mykietyn, recorded with Benjamin Shwartz on CD Accord which was nominated for a Fryderyk in the Album of the Year - Contemporary Music category, and a recording of Arvo Pärt's four symphonies under the baton of Tõnu Kaljuste (ECM).