Warsaw Philharmonic - Warsaw
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Founded in 1901 by a small group of cultured aristocrats, the Warsaw Philharmonic is one of the oldest such institutions in Europe. One of the great European orchestras, most of leading names in Western classical music have performed here at some point.
The original building was designed in the Viennese Secession style by Karol Kozlowski and modelled on the Paris Opera. Destroyed in the Second World War, the building was replaced by a completely new one in 1955. The current building, which has an austere neo-classical exterior, enjoys a considerable degree of marble and red velvet opulence internally. Currently there is a concert hall that holds over 1,000 people and is suitable for a full symphony orchestra, and a chamber music hall that seats 378.
It was here that the inaugural edition of the world-famous Chopin International Piano Competition was held in 1927. These days the Warsaw Philharmonic - National Orchestra and Choir of Poland (to give it its full title) consists of 112 leading musicians and 100 singers. As well as at home they regularly perform in major concert venues around the world, and have recorded for both Polish and international record companies. Similarly, the concert hall has regularly played host to some of the world's finest ensembles, such as the Berlin Philharmonic, The Academy of Ancient Music and the New York Philharmonic. An annual event is the Lutoslawski Forum, which accompanies 20th century music with exhibitions and discussions.
There is a strong focus on encouraging youth, with regularly organised 'Thursday Musical Meetings' and Sunday concerts for children. Additionally, the Warsaw Philharmonic organises concerts in schools and cultural centres throughout the whole of Poland.