The beginnings of Sinfonietta Cracovia, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, can be traced to 1990 when the ensemble “Cracow Young Chamber Players” was founded. Highly skilled, committed and exhibiting new approach to music artists immediately became recognizable, yet their further growth depended primarily on obtaining a proper funding. Supported bu Elzbieta and Krzysztof Penderecki,in 1994 the orchestra was transformed into the city’s cultural institution and received a new name: Sinfonietta Cracovia. The Orchestra of the Royal Capital City of Cracow.
Due to its exceptional qualities, the ensemble soon achieved great success and garnered enthusiastic acclam both from the audience and the critics. Apart from performing classical orchestral literature composed for chamber and larger orchestra, the musicians have effectively participated in other, unconventional artistic initiatives. This profite, comprising a wide scope of musical engagements (ranging from classical music concerts to performances at Unsound Festival), has become the Sinfonietta’s trademark ever since.
For over 20 years the orchestra has been led by an excellent violinist, viola player and pedagogue Robert Kabara. Under his supervision (he served as a director, concertmaster and soloist) Sinfonietta has developed its individual style, succeeded in many projects and recorded a number of albums. Much tribute should also be paid to violinist Adam Balas who was the orchestra’s manager in the years 1997-2010. He initiated several artistic projects and influenced and formed the ensemble’s image of a versatile musical group. Sinfonietta”s significance was also proved by the cooperation with an outstanding American artist John Axelrod who was a conductor-in-residence during the years 2001-2009. Under his baton the orchestra together with Camerata Silesia participated in the recording session of the BBC programme Holocaust; A Music Memorial Film from Auschwitz, having documented the performance of fragments of W.A. Mozart’s Requiem and H.M. Gorecki’s Symphony No 3 given in the former Auswitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The programme received the International Emmy Award in 2005.
In July 2014 Jurek Dybal opened a new chapter in Sinfonietta’s history. New director of the orchestra based in Cracow is simultaneously a talented conductor, organiser and member of the famous Vienna Philharmonic. Sinfonietta Cracovia with its new management started the 20th anniversary celebrations with a concert during the 2nd Krzysztof Penderecki International Festival “Level 320”. The musicians have performed under the baton of many famous conductors, including Krzysztof Penderecki, Antoni Wit, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Christoph Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Valery Gergiev, Ludwig Wicki, and collaborated with the world’s elite solosts – Maxim Vengerov, Boris Pergamenshikov, Rudolf Buchbinder, Muscha Maisky, Pieter Wispelwey, Ilya Gringolts, Kaja Danczowska, Irena Grafenauer, Barry Douglas, Tabea Zimmermann, Grigory Zhyslin, Konstanty Kulka, François Leleux, Isabelle Moretti, Janusz Olejniczak, Piotr Plawner, Radovan Vlakovic and others.
The orchestra has been invited to eprform at several renowned festivals such as Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Festival International de Colmar, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, Sacrum Profanum, Misteria Paschalia, in many prestigious music venues – St. Petersburg Conservatory and the Mariinsky Theatre, Philharmonic Hall and Konzerthaus in Berlin, Herkulessaal in Munich, Casino Hall in Basel and Tonhalle in Zurich, Théâtre Mogador in Paris, Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, Auditorio Nacional de Musica de Madrid, theatres in Brescia, Naples and Parma, Philharmonic Hall in Istanbul and many others.
Sinfonietta Crcovia has made numerous audio recordings, participated in productions of BBC Classical Music Television, TV Arte in France and Television in Poland, and recorded soundtracks to films and TV series directed by Agnieszka Holland, Janusz Zaorski, Jan Komasa and Jan Kidawa Blonski. Most recent engagements involve the motion picture soundtrack City ’44. The orchestra has repeatedly been invited to performduring the Film Music Festival in Cracow.
Sinfionetta Cracovia’s albums include recordings for pretigious record labels such as Arion, Channel Classics, DUX and CD Accord. One of the newly released CDs presents Beethoven’s piano concertos recorded by a great pianist Rudolf Buchbinder who performed with Sinfonietta at the 6th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival.
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Krakow is a city with a thousand years of tradition. The former seat of the Polish kings and the capital of the country, nowadays it is an important European metropolis. Krakow’s Old Town is a unique treasure of works of art, historical monuments and historic buildings, representing almost all
architectural styles, from the Middle Ages to the present day. For hundreds of years, the Main Market Square has remained the heart of the city. It is the largest town square of medieval Europe, preserved in unchanged form since 1257 and included in the first list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites already in 1978. For 600 years now, from the tower of St Mary’s Basilica, every hour the bugle call, played to the four winds, can be heard. Additionally, the Cloth Hall – the medieval market hall located in the middle of the Market Square – is one of the most recognizable Polish monuments. Krakow also boasts the second oldest institution of higher education in Central Europe – the Jagiellonian University. The Wawel Royal Castle has been overlooking the city for centuries – the beginnings of the residence of the Polish kings on the Wawel Hill date back to mid-11th century.
Apart from the monuments of the Old Town, Kazimierz, as a space of centuries-long co-existence of two cultures (Christian and Jewish), filled with Jewish monuments of global importance, continues to amaze. It is a district of antique and work of art markets, of cosy cafes, restaurants and pubs where live music can be admired. Krakow is also a city vibrating with cultural life. In 2000 it was selected as a European Capital of Culture. Every year, nearly 100 festivals and other cultural, world-famous events take place here. It is also a city of modern museums, where visitors can come face to face with history. The capital of the Małopolska region can also boast a rich offer for sports and recreation enthusiasts.
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