Activities of the Lublin Philharmonic Henryk Wieniawski in Lublin began with the Lublin Chamber Orchestra, established in 1944, headed by Zygmunt Szczepański. The band gave its first concert on February 10, 1945, still during the war. Lublin Chamber Orchestra, transformed in 1946 into the Municipal Philharmonic in Lublin. Jan Widmański became the first director of the Philharmonic, and Zygmunt Szczepański, its former organizer, became its permanent conductor and artistic director. Before the end of the 1946/47 artistic season, Zygmunt Szczepański resigned from his position and left Lublin. Jan Widmański continued to be the director, and Adam Wyleżyński took over the artistic direction.
On November 21, 1949, by order of the Minister of Culture and Art, the Philharmonic was named the State Philharmonic in Lublin. The first seat was a small hall of the Music Society in the Theater building at J. Osterwy Street (now Kapucyńska Street). The building was erected in the years 1884-1886 according to the design of Karol Kozłowski and is one of the oldest theater buildings in the country. In 1995, the Philharmonic moves to a new building on ul. Maria Curie-Skłodowska, fulfilling the dream of a spacious concert hall.
Over the following years, the Philharmonic was headed by many directors, including: Jan Widmański (1945-1951), Antoni Niemczykowski (1951-1953), Ryszard Wiercioch (1953-1955), Andrzej Cwojdziński (1955-1964), Marian Lewandowski ( 1964-1969), Adam Natanek (1969-1990), Leszek Hadrian (1990-1997), Teresa Księska-Falger (1997-2004), Mirosław Ziomek (2004-2009), Jan Sęk (2009-2018), Wojciech Rodek (2018-2022). Currently, the position of Director is temporarily held by Zuzanna Dziedzic.
The following conductors were: Zygmunt Szczepański (1944-1947), Adam Wyciążyński (1947-1951), Bolesław Kuropatnicki (1949-1950), Roman Mackiewicz (1950-1951), Robert Satanowski, Felicjan Lasota (1951-1954), Eugeniusz Dziewulski (1951-1954), 1953-1954), Olgierd Straszyński (1954-1955), Karol Anbild (1955-1957), Franciszek Klimczak (1956-1957), Czesław Kwieciński (1963-1964), Ryszard Komorowski (1971-1991), Jerzy Salwarowski (1991-1991- 1994), Agnieszka Kreiner (1994-1997), Piotr Wijatkowski (1992-2011), Zygmunt Rychert (guest conductor 1997-1998), Szymon Maxim (guest conductor 2015-2016), Piotr Wajrak (2018), Dawid Jarząb (second conductor , 2018-2022).
The first breakthrough period for the Philharmonic was the years 1969-1990. Thanks to the then director Adam Natanek, the Philharmonic expanded its repertoire with new forms and genres. The director and conductor in one person introduced vocal and instrumental works to the repertoire: oratorios, masses, cantatas and operas in the stage version. At that time, the cooperation of the Philharmonic with amateur choirs such as “Echo”, the Choir of UMCS, KUL, AR, Lublin University of Technology and the Lublin Metropolitan Cathedral also developed. The Philharmonic also embarked on numerous foreign tours: the USSR (1969), Hungary (1974), Italy (1980, 1981, 1984, 2000, 2001, 2004), Switzerland (1985), Spain (1989, 1990, 1993), Sweden ( 1991, 1995), Germany (1992, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2002), South Korea (1999 – twice), Netherlands (1998), Denmark (2000, 2001, 2004), Austria (2003), Ukraine (2012, 2013 , 2014). The band took part in prestigious festivals: in Koszyce (1986); Festival of Contemporary Music in Alicante (1989); Flamenco Festival in Seville (1990) and the Franco Ferrara Conducting Seminar (Italy, 1984). In those years, several festivals were also established, which for many years appeared in the philharmonic calendar: Lublin Music September, Nałęczów Divertimento and summer concerts at the Museum in Kozłówka and the parish church in Kazimierz.
It was thanks to director Natanek that the project of the construction of today’s Center for the Meeting of Cultures, started in 1971, was changed and a new building for the Philharmonic was included in the plans. From the early 1970s, numerous chamber ensembles began to form at the Lublin Philharmonic: Lublin Reed Trio, Baroque Trio, Harp Trio, Piano Trio, Percussion Trio, Lublin Quartet, Lublin Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Wieniawski Quartet. In 1994, Agnieszka Kreiner took over the post of artistic director and it was she who finally finalized the move of the Philharmonic to ul. Maria Curie-Skłodowska. It is also thanks to her that the Lublin Philharmonic Orchestra records its first album “Souvenir de Lublin”.
After moving to the new building, Teresa Księska-Falger became the new director. It reactivated music events significant for the city and the region – Nałęczów Divertimento and Lublin Music September. The Lublin Philharmonic also joined the organization of the festival of contemporary art under the name of the Lublin Forum of Contemporary Art. Witold Lutosławski, whose initiators were: Agnieszka Kreiner and prof. Gabriel Klauza (Institute of Music, UMCS). The aim of the festival was to commemorate the outstanding composer Witold Lutosławski and to present various products of the human spirit and mind of our era. Many local musical circles, including Lublin’s academic choirs, universities, music schools, joined the cooperation with the Lublin Philharmonic in organizing the festival concerts. During the Lublin Forum, you could admire songs performed by outstanding artists from Poland and abroad. Each edition was accompanied by various artistic activities: theater performances, exhibitions, etc.
From 2012, the Philharmonic Orchestra was forced to give concerts outside its permanent seat, e.g. in the Collegium Maius Hall of the Medical University of Warsaw, due to the ongoing modernization of the building at ul. M. Skłodowska-Curie. They managed to return to “home” at the end of 2015. After the relocation, a new piano by Steinway&Sons, model D-724, arrived in the philharmonic’s instrumentarium. Selected from many, it replaced an old piano that had served musicians for almost 50 years. The first concert with the new instrument took place on February 13, 2016. Paweł Wakarecy played on it at that time. Another instrument purchased is a master class harpsichord – a copy of an 18th-century wing harpsichord built by Pascal Taskin.
In 2018, Wojciech Rodek was appointed general director of the Philharmonic. Its goal is to raise the profile of the Lublin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra again in the world and in the region, and to direct the activities of the institution towards young people through cooperation with Lublin and regional music schools and universities.
From the beginning of the Philharmonic’s existence to the present day, many excellent conductors have performed on its stage: Karol Teusch, Jerzy Katlewicz, Henryk Czyż, Jan Krenz, Wojciech Michniewski, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Antoni Wit, Krzysztof Penderecki, Marek Pijarowski, Agnieszka Duczmal, Jerzy Swoboda and soloists: Światosław Richter, Lidia Grychtołówna, Regina Smendzianka, Kevin Kenner, Dina Yoffe, Eugen Indjic, Rafał Blechacz, Paweł Wakarecy, Tatiana Shebanova, Philippe Giusiano, Charles Richard-Hamelin, Piotr Paleczny, Janusz Olejniczak, Georgij Osokins, Elżbieta Karaś-Krasztel, Yulia Avdeeva, Lukas Geniusas, Krzysztof Jabłoński, Andrzej Chorosiński, Joachim Grubich, Corina Marti, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Krzysztof Jakowicz, Jakub Jakowicz, Nigel Kennedy, Ilya Grubert, Orest Smovzh, Roman Lasocki, Dawid Ojstrach, Wanda Wiłkomirska, Edward Zbigniew Zienkowski, Piotr Pławner, Bartłomiej Nizioł, Andrzej Bauer, Tomasz Strahl, Dominik Połoński, Hanna Lisowska, Jadwiga Rappé, Stefania Woytowicz, Izab Ela Kłosińska, Lukasz Długosz.