The Symphony Orchestra of Zabrze Philharmonic was created in spring 1950 as the Miners' Trade Union Philharmonic Society. Initially the main goal of the newly founded Symphony Orchestra was to propagate and popularize the music - in the broad sense - among the working class of Silesian industry. Another direction in the Orchestra activity, which has Been cherished up to the present, is the series of conceptually edited concerts for children and teenagers.
The Orchestra first years on stage were dominated by the easy music presentations. They performed pieces from operettas, operas, popular music tunes and well-known classical compositions.
As the time went by the artistic profile of the Orchestra was evolving toward more philharmonic repertoire. Today Zabrze Philharmonic has achieved the highest professional level in performing the complex classical music. Its style of working and concert programmes are acknowledged by the recognized soloists from Poland and elsewhere. The huge work done by the musicians and its results were perceived by the authorities in the middle eighties. The name was changed into State Philharmonic Society, which meant the appreciation of the Orchestra achievements.
In 50 years of Zabrze Philharmonic history there were a lot of outstanding artistes performing with the Orchestra: Wiesław Ochman, Andrzej Hiolski, Grażyna Brodzińska, Bogna Sokorska, Paulos Raptis, Bernard Ładysz, Romuald Tesarowicz, Piotr Paleczny, Krystian Zimerman, Krzysztof Jabłoński, Waldemar Malicki, Halina Czerny-Stefańska, Ewa Pobłocka, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Krzysztof Jakowicz, Wanda Wiłkomirska, Kaja Danczowska, Grzegorz Fitelberg, Karol Stryja, Jerzy Salwarowski, Marek Pijarowski, Laszlo Baranyay (Hungary), Tsung Yeh, Adam Rosenbloom, Lance Friedel (USA), Takako Takahashi (Japan), Ernest Werner Seiler (Austria), Ciro di Giovanni (Italy), Tai Wai Li (China), Kałudi Kałudow, Bożydar Nikołow (Bulgaria), Galina Wernygora (the Ukraine) and many more.
As well as having played in all the significant Polish concert halls, Zabrze Philharmonic several times performed in Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany and Japan. It participated in International festivals such as "Gaude Mater" in Częstochowa, "Viva il Canto" in Cieszyn, Jan Kiepura Festiwal in Krynica, Krystyna Jamroz Festiwal in Busko Zdrój, Śląska Trybuna Kompozytorów in Katowice (Silesian Composers' Rostrum), Festiwal Gwiazd in Międzyzdroje (Festiwal of the Stars) and others.
The Orchestra has recorded two CD albums and two documentaries for the Polish public television TVP. These two tv-specials included appearances of Piotr Paleczny and the Three Polish Tenors: Zdunikowski, Stachura and Morka.
The Orchestra repertoire is overwhelmed with classicism and romanticism, but we also willingly take modern works, especially those of Silesian school composers. Periodically the stage performances of operettas and operas are presented. Our all-the-time repertoire consists of a few various programmes filled with popular, light, movie, musical, dixieland and jazz music. For every season the Orchestra prepares 20 symphonic programmes, 5 oratorios, several popular music sets and 10 seperate programmes in a series of concerts for children and teenagers. On average we give 12 concerts per month in Zabrze hall as well as in other concert halls over the country.
Zabrze Philharmonic consists of 60 musicians. Since 1990 Sławomir Chrzanowski is its Managing and Artistic Director.