Antoni Wit

Antoni Wit, one of the highly regarded Polish conductors, studied conducting with Henryk Czyż and composition with Krzysztof Penderecki at the Academy of Music in Cracow. He subsequently continued his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He also graduated in law from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Immediately after graduation he was engaged as an assistant at the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. Later he became the conductor of the Poznań Philharmonic, worked with the Warsaw Grand Theatre and was artistic director of the Pomeranian Philharmonic (1974-77) and next director of the Polish Radio and Television Orchestra and Chorus in Cracow.

For 17 years, starting in 1983, Antoni Wit was the director of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice. He is the longest-standing director in the history of this orchestra. In 1987-1994 he was the first guest conductor of Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria. In January 2002 he was appointed general director and artistic director of the Warsaw Philharmonic.

He has conducted in nearly all the most important European music centres, in both Americas, in the Middle East and the Far East. He has recorded over 90 albums for such labels as EMI-HMV, CBS, Camerata Tokyo, NVC Arts, Pony Canyon, Naxos, Polskie Nagrania. In 1985 his recording for EMI of Stabat Mater by Szymanowski was considered by the English critics as one of the best records of the year. In 1993 the CDs containing Prokofiev’s all piano concertos released by Naxos was awarded the Diapason d’Or and Grand Prix du Disque de la Nouvelle Académie du Disque. Lately the artist has completed the recording of all the great orchestral works of Witold Lutosławski to be released in a set of nine CD’s.

Antoni Wit won second prize at the Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition in Berlin, as well as many state awards. He received the critics’ Orfeo Prize twice (1984, 1996) for the best performance of Polish music during the Warsaw Autumn festivals.

In 1998 he received the Polish Radio “Diamond Baton” award for outstanding artistic creations popularizing Polish music at home and abroad. He was listed as number 55 in “The Silesian of the Century” ranking by Gazeta Wyborcza. He has conducted such orchestras as The London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra in London, Berliner Philharmoniker, Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Roma, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Dresdner Philharmonie.

He is regularly invited to participate in music festivals in Poland and abroad. In recent seasons he appeared with the National Polish Radio Symphonic Orchestra at La Roque d’Anthéron Piano Festival (France), Al Bustan Festival (Lebanon), Bad Hersfeld Festival (Germany), the Dresden Contemporary Music Days and the prestigious festivals at home (Warsaw Autumn, Wratislavia Cantans, Music in Old Cracow, Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, Polish Radio Music Festival).

Last season Antoni Wit conducted such orchestras as the Bergen Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Belgique, Radio Symfonie Orkest in Hilversum, Opéra de Marseille, Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado del Asturias in Spain, Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, Kansai Philharmonic in Osaca, Bamberger Symphoniker, National Symphony Orchestra w Dublinie, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and MDR – Sinfonieorchester Leipzig.

On January 20 the artist received the coveted Cannes Classical Award for the recording of Turangalîla-Symphonie by Messiaen for Naxos in the category of the Great Musical Works of the 20th Century (Midem Classique 2002)

Antoni Wit is also a professor at the Academy of Music in Warsaw.