Jacek Kaspszyk is one of the most eminent Polish conductors, and became the Music and Artistic Director of Warsaw Philharmonic in 2013. Throughout his career, he has conducted orchestras from all over the world, in the concert hall and the opera house. In 2011 the artist received the Elgar Society Medal for his outstanding interpretations of that composer’s musical works. His noted recordings include an interpretation of Szymanowski’s King Roger, which was nominated for BBC Music Magazine’s Disc of the Year award.
Kaspszyk is a renowned conductor of opera. In 1998 he became artistic and music director, and later managing director of the Grand Theatre – Polish National Opera in Warsaw. Since 2006, Jacek Kaspszyk has been the artistic director of Witold Lutosławski Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in Wrocław. In 2009-12 he was also music director of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (PNRSO) in Katowice.
Founded in 1901, the Warsaw Philharmonic is one of Poland’s oldest artistic institutions. Before the outbreak of World War II, many of the greatest composers and soloists of the day performed with the Orchestra, including Grieg, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Richard Strauss, and Stravinsky. Although its original home had been destroyed and many of the members of the orchestra lost during the war, the Orchestra rebuilt itself, becoming once again Poland’s foremost ensemble.
The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra has made nearly 140 concert tours on five continents, appearing in all of the world’s major concert halls to great audience and critical acclaim.The Philharmonic has played host to the Chopin International Piano Competition since its inauguration, and performs in the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music. It also has an extensive discography, which have won numerous awards, including a Grammy Award in 2012. They focus primarily on the music of Polish composers.
The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir
The Warsaw Philharmonic Choir began its professional activity under Zbigniew Soja in 1953. Since 1978 their choirmaster has been Henryk Wojnarowski. The core of the chorus’s activity is numerous symphonic and choral-orchestral concerts given throughout the season with Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra as well as a cappella performances in Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. The Choir also performs regularly at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music and in Wrocław at the Wratislavia Cantans Festival.
The choir’s enormous repertoire comprises more than 150 vocal-instrumental and unaccompanied works from the Middle Ages to contemporary music. Polish music, in particular – the works of Krzysztof Penderecki – is a very important part of their repertoire. They have also recorded Handel’s Messiah, Israel in Egypt and Juda Maccabaeus, Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Fidelio and Symphony No. 9, Verdi’s Requiem, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, Bruckner’s Te Deum, Elsner’s Passion, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Moniuszko’s Ostra Brama Litanies, Maklakiewicz’s Four Masses, Maciejewski’s Requiem, and Kilar’s Missa pro pace.
Hannah Pedley has sung a wide range of roles and works and appears in opera, concert and recital. In 2010 Hannah gave her first performances in the title role of Carmen for Opera Holland Park to rave reviews, with Hugh Canning praising “her supercool, witty, impudent, ultimately defiant and heroic Carmen” in The Sunday Times.
2013 highlights included touring with English Touring Opera, playing the roles of Ottavia in Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea and Medea in Cavalli’s Jason, while concert highlights included Messiah with the CBSO at Symphony Hall and Sea Pictures with Peterborough Symphony Orchestra. She has a keen interest in contemporary music and has created roles in several modern works, including in Twitterdammerung at the Royal Opera House. On the concert platform Hannah has performed all of the main oratorio repertoire as well as some lesser known works, and toured Spain with Harry Christophers and the Sixteen.
Welsh tenor Andrew Rees graduated with honours from the Royal Northern College of Music and became a teacher before realising his vocation in life was to perform. He then studied opera in London before joining the English National Opera as a principal tenor. Andrew has performed as a soloist at all the major concert venues in London and across the UK.
Andrew has broadcast live on Radio and TV has performed on board the QE2, at the Proms in the Park, and the prestigious Henley Festival. Andrew has travelled widely with his operatic work and has taken lead roles around the world and across the UK. Roles include Pinkerton in Madam Butterfly; Cavaradossi in Tosca; Don Jose in Carmen and Froh in Das Rhinegold to name a few.
Paul Carey Jones
Baritone Paul Carey Jones was born in Cardiff and studied at The Queen’s College Oxford, The Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio, where he was the recipient of the National Eisteddfod of Wales’ most prestigious award for young singers, the W Towyn Roberts Scholarship. In May 2013 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, and was joint winner of the 2013 Wagner Society Singing Competition.
His operatic work includes principal roles for companies including Northern Ireland Opera, Scottish Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, Teatro Rossini di Lugo and Teatro Comunale di Bologna. Highlights of the 2013-14 season included his début for Welsh National Opera as Doctor Schön in Alban Berg’s Lulu; singing the title role in Verdi’s Macbeth for Northern Ireland Opera; and the release of his new album of contemporary British song, Songs Now, with the pianist Ian Ryan. He has also given the world premières of many works. As a recitalist he has worked regularly in collaboration with the award-winning pianist Llyr Williams for nearly fifteen years; their début album ‘Enaid – Songs of the Soul’ was released to critical acclaim.