The musical history of post-war Szczecin started already in 1945 when the first musical group was formed. The Symphonic Orchestra of the City of Szczecin was made up both by professionals and amateurs. Szczecin citizens could listen to their first concert on 23 November 1945 in the hall of the Bałtyk cinema. People could listen to pieces by Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky. The orchestra was soon joined by two more: a military and a railway one and then – by a 12-people strong radio orchestra. In 1947 Szczecin was enriched by another orchestra – the Symphonic Orchestra of the Musicians’ Association of the Republic of Poland. The first attempt to join forces of the dispersed musical community was the creation of the Workers' Music Association in 1948. Its first director and conductor was Felicjan Lasota.
The activities of the orchestra in the latter half of the 20th century
In 1953 the Ministry of Culture and Art established a new cultural institution. Since then the orchestra would reside in the building of the State Philharmonic in Szczecin. The musicians settled in the left wing of the National Council of the City building (today it is the City Hall building) and could finally develop artistically. The development was fostered by the long-term office of two directors: Józef Wiłkomirski (1955-1971) and Stefan Marczyk (1971-1990). The next directors of the orchestra were: Jarosław Lipke (1990-1994), Józef Radwan (1994-1996), Jerzy Salwarowski (1996-2003), Zygmunt Rychert (2003-2009) and Mykola Diadiura (2009-2012). For over three decades (1951-1986) the musicians played under the baton of a prominent conductor, Walerian Pawłowski.
During these few dozens years the orchestra was invited by many excellent musical scenes. It played in the National Philharmonic and on the stages of Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Bulgaria, as well as Italy, Holland and France.
Among the soloists who made guest appearances with the Symphonic Orchestra of the Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic in Szczecin one can find Krystian Zimerman, Rafał Blechacz, Emmanuel Ax, Halina Czerny-Stefańska, Lidia Grychtołówna, Witold Małcużyński, Piotr Paleczny, Ewa Pobłocka, Adam Makowicz, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Kaja Danczowska, Bartłomiej Nizioł, Stefania Toczyska, Ewa Podleś, Urszula Kryger, Wiesław Ochman, Andrzej Hiolski, Edward Auer, Zahar Bron, Eugene Indjic, Kevin Kenner, Natalia Gutman, Maurizio Pollini and Ivan Monighetti. Guest conductors included Witold Rowicki, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Antoni Wit, Krzysztof Penderecki, Tomasz Bugaj, Jerzy Katlewicz, Marek Pijarowski, Tadeusz Strugała, Karol Teutsch, Andrzej Markowski, Kazimierz Kord and Jerzy Maksymiuk.
In 1995 the Szczecin orchestra took part in the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Polish Radio Szczecin during which a recording of Symphony of Four Dreams by Janusz Stalmierski was made. In 1999 the orchestra musicians had their own celebration: the 50th anniversary of the Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Orchestra in the 21st century
At the beginning of the new millennium the Symphonic Orchestra of the Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic in Szczecin together with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra released an album "Brahms, Prokofjev piano concerto" which was nominated to the Fryderyki Award in 2002 as the Album of the Year (Orchestral Music). During the recording the musicians were conducted by Jarzy Salwarowski. In 2005, the Orchestra performed in unusual circumstances. The musicians together with the orchestra of the Opera at the Castle and Szczecin choirs performed "Polish Requiem" by Krzysztof Penderecki at the premises of the Szczecin Shipyard. The concert commemorating the victims of the 1970 Polish protests was conducted by the composer himself.
In 2012 Dorota Serwa became the director of the Philharmonic and appointed first Michał Dworzyński (2012/2013) and then Ewa Strusińska (2013/2014 and 2014/2015) to conduct the orchestra. In August 2014 the musicians moved to their new hall. The inaugural concert was played on the 5 September 2014 in the impressive Sun Hall under the baton of maestro Jacek Kaspszyk. It was the first event of the inaugural series called “forte. fortissimo. filharmonia”.
Compiled on the basis of archival materials of the Szczecin Philharmonic and the publication „Filharmonicy szczecińscy 1948-1998” by Mikołaj Szczęsny (Szczecin, 1999).