Warsaw Philharmonic, established in 1901 and based at Jasna Street, is the oldest philharmonic in Poland. Appearing at the Philharmonic has always been an important event in the life of a Polish artist.
On 21 May 1937 Panufnik’s Little Overture was included in the programme of the final concert of the Philharmonic season. This was a great distinction for a young composer.
During the post-war years Panufnik’s works were performed regularly at the Warsaw Philharmonic concert hall, until his escape from Poland. From May until December 1946 the composer was also the Director of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. At that time the building at Jasna Street had been totally destroyed and the priority was to find a suitable concert hall. Panfunik became very enthusiastic about the challenge of this job, but when it turned out that his requirements regarding the working conditions could not be met, he quickly tendered his resignation.
On yet another visit to lobby the Minister, I was casually informed that the accommodation for the musicians from the provinces, like our concert hall, was not going to materialise. It seemed that the reconstruction of Warsaw was proceeding slower than expected and that there were more urgent priorities than musicians.
After Panufnik’s escape from Poland in 1954, his compositions were removed from the programmes of the Philharmonic, which in 1955 was given the title of National Philharmonic. It was only from 1977, when the censor’s ban was lifted, that Panufnik’s works began to be performed again at the Philharmonic; however, the composer and his music made their true triumphal return at the Warsaw Autumn Festival in 1990.