began its professional activity under Zbigniew Soja in 1953. The subsequent choirmasters were: Roman Kuklewicz (1955–71), Józef Bok (1971–74), Antoni Szaliński (1974–78), and since 1978, Henryk Wojnarowski.
The Choir’s activities are focused on symphony and oratorio concerts with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a cappella performances at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall where the Choir makes a number of appearances each season. It is a regular performer at the Warsaw Autumn Festival and Wratislavia Cantans Festival. It has also toured Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey. The Choir is invited to perform with orchestras such as the Munich Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Orchestra, RIAS, Bamberg Symphony, Tel Aviv Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Santa Cecilia in Rome, Brussels Opera, Palermo Symphony, and Milan’s La Scala.
A significant event in the Choir’s history was the invitation to take part in a La Scala production of Franco Donatoni’s Atem opera in 1985. Following this operatic debut, the Choir was invited to the La Scala again to participate in Weber’ Oberon (1989) and Beethoven’s Fidelio (1990) as well as appearing in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (1986) and Mozart’s The Magic Flute (1987) at Venice’s La Fenice, Beethoven’s Fidelio in Paris (1989), Szymanowski’s King Roger (1992), Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex (1993), Honegger’s Antigone (1993) in Palermo and Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri in Pesaro. In 1988, 1990 and 2001, the Choir was invited to the Vatican to take part in the celebrations of the successive anniversaries of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate.
Partnerships with conductors include Gary Bertini, Sergiu Comissiona, Henryk Czyż, Jacek Kaspszyk, Kazimierz Kord, Jan Krenz, Lorin Maazel, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Zubin Mehta, Grzegorz Nowak, Seiji Ozawa, Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold Rowicki, Jerzy Semkow, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, Stanisław Wisłocki, Antoni Wit, and Bohdan Wodiczko.
The Choir’s vast repertoire comprises more than 150 vocal-instrumental and a cappella works from the Middle Ages to contemporary music, with great importance given to Polish music, particularly the works of Krzysztof Penderecki. The Choir has performed all of Penderecki’s large-scale vocal-instrumental and unaccompanied works, recording the St. Luke Passion (twice), Polish Requiem, Te Deum, Seven Gates of Jerusalem, Credo, and Hymn to St. Daniil. Both recordings of St. Luke Passion were nominated for Grammy Awards, while the Polish Requiem was nominated to a Grammy in 2005 and to the Record Academy Award of the Japanese magazine “Record Geijutsu” in 2005. The Choir received more Grammy nominations for the Seven Gates of Jerusalem (2007), Karol Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater (2008), and Penderecki’s Utrenja (2009, all recorded on Naxos under Antoni Wit). In 2009, the first CD of Stanisław Moniuszko’s Masses conducted by Henryk Wojnarowski won the Fryderyk Award of the Polish music industry as Choral and Vocal-Instrumental Record of the Year, while the second volume of this world premiere recording received an Arturo Toscanini Golden Orpheus from the Académie du Disque Lyrique for “Best Phonographic Initiative”. Another Fryderyk Award came in 2011 for a re-release of Roman Maciejewski’s Missa pro defunctis on the occasion of the composer’s 100th anniversary. The Choir has also recorded Handel’s Messiah, Israel in Egypt and Judas Maccabaeus, Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Fidelio and Symphony No. 9, Verdi’s Requiem, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, Bruckner’s Te Deum, Józef Elsner’s Passion, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Moniuszko’s Litanies of Ostra Brama, Maklakiewicz’s Four Masses, and Wojciech Kilar’s Missa pro pace.