The beginnings of Sinfonietta Cracovia can be traced to 1990 when the ensemble “Cracow Young Chamber Players” was founded. Highly skilled, committed and exhibiting new approach to music artists immediately became recognizable, yet their further growth depended primarily on obtaining a proper funding. Supported by Elżbieta and Krzysztof Penderecki, in 1994 the orchestra was transformed into the city’s cultural institution and received a new name: Sinfonietta Cracovia. The Orchestra of the Royal Capital City of Cracow.
Due to its exceptional qualities, the ensemble soon achieved great success and garnered enthusiastic acclaim both from the audience and the critics. Apart from performing classical orchestral literature composed for chamber and larger orchestra, the musicians have effectively participated in other, unconventional artistic initiatives. This profile, comprising a wide scope of musical engagements (ranging from classical music concerts to performances at Unsound Festival), has become the Sinfonietta’s trademark ever since.
For over 20 years the orchestra has been led by an excellent violinist, viola player and pedagogue Robert Kabara. Under his supervision (he served as a director, concertmaster and soloist) Sinfonietta has developed its individual style, succeeded in many projects and recorded a number of albums. Much tribute should also be paid to violinist Adam Balas who was the orchestra’s manager in the years 1997-2010. He initiated several artistic projects and influenced and formed the ensemble’s image of a versatile musical group. Sinfonietta’s significance was also proved by the cooperation with an outstanding American artist John Axelrod who was a conductor-in-residence during the years 2001-2009. Under his baton the orchestra together with Camerata Silesia participated in the recording session of the BBC programme Holocaust; A Music Memorial Film from Auschwitz, having documented the performance of fragments of W.A. Mozart’s Requiem and H.M. Górecki’s Sympony No 3 given in the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The programme received the International Emmy Award in 2005.
In July 2014 Jurek Dybał opened a new chapter in Sinfonietta’s history. New director of the orchestra based in Cracow is simultaneously a talented conductor, organiser and member of the famous Vienna Philharmonic. Sinfonietta Cracovia with its new management started the 20th anniversary celebrations with a concert during the 2nd Krzysztof Penderecki International Festival “Level 320”. The musicians have performed under the baton of many famous conductors, including Krzysztof Penderecki, Antoni Wit, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Christoph Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Valery Gergiev, Ludwig Wicki, and collaborated with the world’s elite solosts - Maxim Vengerov, Boris Pergamenshikov, Rudolf Buchbinder, Mischa Maisky, Pieter Wispelwey, Ilya Gringolts, Kaja Danczowska, Irena Grafenauer, Barry Douglas, Tabea Zimmermann, Grigori Zhyslin, Konstanty Kulka, François Leleux, Isabelle Moretti, Janusz Olejniczak, Piotr Pławner, Radovan Vlatković and others.
The orchestra has been invited to perform at several renowned festivals such as Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Festival International de Colmar, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, Sacrum Profanum, Misteria Paschalia, in many prestigious music venues – St. Petersburg Conservatory and the Mariinsky Theatre, Philharmonic Hall and Konzerthaus in Berlin, Herkulessaal in Munich, Casino Hall in Basel and Tonhalle in Zurich, Théâtre Mogador in Paris, Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, theatres in Brescia, Naples and Parma, Philharmonic Hall in Istanbul and many others.
Sinfonietta Cracovia has made numerous audio recordings, participated in productions of BBC Classical Music Television, TV Arte in France and Television in Poland, and recorded soundtracks to films and TV series directed by Agnieszka Holland, Janusz Zaorski, Jan Komasa and Jan Kidawa-Błoński. Most recent engagements involve the motion picture soundtrack City ’44. The orchestra has repeatedly been invited to perform during the Film Music Festival in Cracow.
Sinfonietta Cracovia’s albums include recordings for prestigious record labels such as Arion, Channel Classics, DUX and CD Accord. One of the newly released CDs presents Beethoven’s piano concertos recorded by a great pianist Rudolf Buchbinder who performed with Sinfonietta at the 6th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival.