Sinfonia Varsovia


The closing concert of the Hungarian Chopin Year

Sunday 12 December 2010, 7:00 pm

Place of Arts, Bela Bartók National Concert Hall

1095 Budapest, Komor Marcell u. 1.

The closing concert of the Hungarian Chopin Year also ushers in the 2011 Liszt Year. It is no exaggeration to call Sinfonia Varsovia one of Europe’s finest and most flexible orchestras; its artistic director is one of the great names of contemporary music, Krzysztof Penderecki, although since 2008, its music director has been French conductor Marc Minkowski, who has Polish and Hungarian roots. The Sinfonia Varsovia owes its creation to one of the greatest performing artists of the 20th century, Yehudi Menuhin; at a guest concert with the Polish Chamber Orchestra, the ensemble was expanded with the best wind players in Poland. Menuhin expressed his regret should the ensemble fold after his visit and the cultural powers of the time decided to maintain the new ensemble. It was a fine decision: Sinfonia Varsovia is without exaggeration one of the best and most flexible orchestras in Europe, with a repertoire that extends from the 18th century to contemporary music. They have excelled in all areas – proven by their guest artists, from Claudio Abbado and Mstislav Rostropovich to Anne-Sophie Mutter. This evening, they will be conducted by the Georgian musician George Tchitchinadze. He is in his early forties and studied at the famous Dnesin Institute. The soloist this evening will be the well-known pianist Gábor Farkas, who was placed third at the 2000 Franz Liszt International Piano Competition, and in 2003 won the Hungarian Radio National Piano Competition. He is one of the finest exponents of Liszt and the Romantic piano literature among the younger generation. He will be the soloist in the concerto written by Chopin, named by his Polish admirers the “new Mozart”. He composed it by public demand on his return to Warsaw from Vienna in 1830. It was premièred in March that year at the Polish National Theatre, before an audience of nearly nine hundred.


 In April of 1984, the legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin was invited to Poland to perform as soloist and to conduct the Polish Chamber Orchestra. In order to match the exigencies of the planned repertoire, the orchestra increased the number of its members, inviting Poland’s finest musicians to participate in the venture. The first concerts conducted by Menuhin were enthusiastically received by audiences and appreciated by critics. The delighted lord Menuhin expressed his desire to continue working with the newly-formed ensemble.

SINFONIA VARSOVIA has performed in the world’s most celebrated concert halls, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Théatre des Champs Elysées in Paris, the Barbican Centre in London, Vienna’s Musikverein, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Herkulessaal in Munich. The orchestra played at renowned festivals in Salzburg, Gstaad (the Yehudi Menuhin Festival), Aix-en-Provence, Montreux, La Roque d’Antheron, Schleswig-Holstein, the Pablo Casals Festival, Würzburg, Alte Oper (Frankfurt am Mein), the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, and many more. The celebrated “La Folle Journée” music festival organised by the French C.R.E.A. association and its director René Martin holds a special slot in the orchestra’s performing calendar each season. Each year, the festival adopts a different theme and is hosted by a different city around the world, including Nantes, Bilbao, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. The festival is a unique undertaking on a world-wide scale.

The orchestra’s repertoire is exceptionally extensive, ranging from 18th century works to contemporary compositions. The orchestra has played Polish and world premieres of works by Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold Lutosławski, Marta Ptaszyńska, Paweł Szymański, Paweł Mykietyn, John Adams, Onute Narbutaite and Krzesimir Dębski, to name but a few.

SINFONIA VARSOVIA has performed with many distinguished conductors, including
Claudio Abbado, Gerd Albrecht, Charles Dutoit, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Hans Graf, Leopold Hager, Jacek Kaspszyk, Kazimierz Kord, Jan Krenz, Emmanuel Krivine, Witold Lutosławski, Paul McCreesh, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Yehudi Menuhin, Marc Minkowski, Grzegorz Nowak, Krzysztof Penderecki, Michel Plasson, Mstislav Rostropovich, Volker Schmidt-Gertenbach, Jerzy Semkow, Antoni Wit and Bruno Weil.

During its numerous concerts, the orchestra has accompanied such renowned soloists as Salvatore Accardo, Piotr Anderszewski, Maurice André, Martha Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Teresa Berganza, Rafał Blechacz, Alfred Brendel, Piotr Paleczny, José Carreras, Sarah Chang, Kyung-Wha Chung, José Cura, Placido Domingo, Augustin Dumay, Nelson Freire, James Galway, Fou Ts’ong, Sharon Kam, Kiri Te Kanawa, Nigel Kennedy, Gidon Kremer, Alicia de Larrocha, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Christa Ludwig, Radu Lupu, Albrecht Mayer, Mischa Maisky, Yehudi Menuhin, Shlomo Mintz, Olli Mustonen, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Olga Pasiecznik, Murray Perahia, Maria João Pires, Ivo Pogorelić, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Vadim Repin, Katia Ricciarelli, Mstislav Rostropovich, Heinrich Schiff, Howard Shelley, Henryk Szeryng, Maxim Vengerov, Andreas Vollenweider, Christian Zacharias, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Tabea Zimmermann and Grigori Zhyslin.

SINFONIA VARSOVIA has made numerous recordings on compact disc and for radio and television. The orchestra boasts a discography of more than 200 albums, recorded for famous international labels: Deutsche Gramofon, Decca, Sony, EMI, Virgin Classics, Naxos, Denon, Nippon, Columbia and polish labels Cd Accord, Polskie Nagrania, BeArTon, DUX and Polskie Radio.


George Tchitchinadze                                         

Maestro Tchitchinadze is one of the most beloved artists in Georgia. He has won both public and critical acclaim thanks to his brilliant music skills coupled with personal charisma and his warm and sensitive way of communicating with musicians during the actual working process as well as beyond it.

Mr Tchitchinadze started his career as an opera conductor in 1998, when he conducted the Gala Concert at the International Opera Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia. He has been conductor and Deputy Artistic Director of the Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theatre. He has conducted operas for the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theatre, such as:  Aida (2008),  Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (2008) or  Mozart’s Don Giovanni (2009).

Recently, George Tchitchinadze has been working with Sinfonia Varsovia in the Netherlands,  Warsaw, Bilbao and Japan. He will conduct Het Orkest van het Oosten in Enschede-Holland in March 2011 and he started his first collaboration with the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland in September 2010 preparing the Opera Fiery Angel by Prokofiev. In 2008, he toured Israel with the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet State Theatre in Jerusalem.
In 2007, he conducted the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Orchestra in Vilnius and the Lithuanian National Chamber Orchestra. 
In 2004, he conducted the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra as well as the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra in Damascus. In 2003, he conducted Saint Christopher Chamber Orchestra at the International Music
Festival “Alternative” in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2001, he was Music Director of the International Music Festival in Saga, Japan, where he conducted the famous St. Petersburg Orchestra of the State Hermitage Museum.

Jointly organised by the Palace of Arts and the Polish Institute

Liszt: Les Préludes
Liszt: Mazeppa
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, op. 21

Conductor: George Tchitchinadze



City of Warsaw

Under the high patronage of:

Dr. Pál Schmitt - President of the Republic of Hungary

Honorary patrons:

Bogdan Zdrojewski - Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Republic of Poland

Miklós Réthelyi - Minister of National Resources, Republic of Hungary

Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz - Mayor of Warsaw