I’ve just returned from a successful United States tour with the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra. We performed twelve concerts over a period of four weeks, starting in Florida (Ft. Myers, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, and West Palm Beach), continuing to Greenville S.C., Nashville TN, Carmel IN, Chicago IL, Wickenburg AZ, and finishing in California (Orange, Palo Alto and Rohnert Park).
We performed three different programs including, Brahms’ First Symphony, Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony, Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra and Symphonic Variations, and Szymanowski’s Concert Overture.
The chance to perform in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, in Chicago, was without a doubt the highlight of the tour! To our delight, the orchestra was well received at every venue were it performed, impressing critics and earning praise from audiences.
On a more personal level, it was also a great opportunity for me to see family and friends, as well as reconnect with fellow alumni and my professor, Mark Lawrence, from The Colburn School, who I hadn’t seen since my graduation, nine years ago.
Here I have compiled a brief history of the orchestra and the different venues it has operated within.
Founded in 1878, the “Breslauer Orchester-Verein” (later known as “Schlesisches Landersorchester” and “Schlesische Philharmonie”) received its own building affectionately known as ‘Breslauer Konzerthaus’. The venue had two halls: The main hall which seated 1200 patrons, and the chamber hall which seated approximately 600 patrons. The building, however, was unfortunately destroyed during the second World War.
In 1945, at the conclusion of the war, a new orchestra was founded in Wrocław. This ensemble functioned both as a philharmonic and opera orchestra. However, with the nationalization of the Wrocław Opera in 1949, this orchestra became a full time opera ensemble and thus there would be no concert orchestra in the city for the next 14 years.
In 1953 the creation of a symphony orchestra was proposed. It was suggested that the new ensemble be comprised of local musicians, giving concerts in the cities various venues, which included the Wrocław University of Technology, the Opera House, and the “Silesia” cinema.
In 1968, a new rather small 461 seat venue was provided for the orchestra. Over the period the ensemble inhabited that hall it has gone through a series of name changes. Chronologically it has been referred to as the Philharmonic (1945-1949), the Wrocław Symphony Orchestra (1954-1958), the Wrocław Philharmonic (1958-2014), the Witold Lutosławski Philharmonic in Wrocław (1994-2014), and presently the National Forum of Music Wrocław Philarmonic Orchestra.
In September 2015 the National Forum of Music is relocating in its new home. The new venue, designed by Kuryłowicz & Associates Architecture Studio, has taken six years to complete. Its Main Hall features 1800 patron seats. Additionally, it contains three chamber music halls: The Red Hall which seats 400, The Black Hall which seats 230, and The Chamber Hall with 220 seats.