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Mixed Choir of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Cracow started its activity in 1945, and in 1950 it received the status of a professional ensemble. In 1951 the Choir won the 1st award on the 1st Festival of Polish Music in Warsaw, and has been esteemed ever since, presenting a rich repertoire with oratorios and a cappella pieces, ranging from the 17th-century to contemporary music.
The choir consists of 85 artists. The choir participated in several famous Polish festivals (Vratislavia Cantans, Warsaw Autumn, Gaude Mater in Częstochowa) and festivals abroad (Festival de La-Chaise Dieu, Sagra Musicale Umbra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Holland Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Flanders Festival, Biennale in Venice, Festival Gulbenkian de Musica, Festival Internazionale de Baalbeck, Festival van Vlaanderen, Festival de Lyon, Helsingfors Festspel-Helsinki Festival, Festiwal d’Art Sacré de Paris, Internazionales Brucknerfest Linz, Festival Internazionale di Roma, Festival Europäischer Musik, Eurofestival Religieuze Muziek Maastricht, Tamperen Savel Festival, Uluslararasi Istanbul Festivali, Athens Festival, Festival de Berlioz). From its first to the seventh edition the choir was involved in the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival. During numerous tours abroad, the choir performed almost all over Europe and in Iran, Liban, Turkey, Canada, the USA and in countries of the former Soviet Union. The choir was the first Polish ensemble to perform in the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
The choir accompanied many European orchestras, amongst others, Wiener Symphoniker, Beethovenhalleorchester, Orchestre Radiotelevision Belge, Orchestra Sinfonica della Radiotelevisione Italiana di Roma, Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia di Roma, Orchestra dell’ Emilia-Romagna 'Arturo Toscanini' Parma, Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana di Palermo, Stadtkapelle Dresden, Rundfunksinfonieorchester Berlin, Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, Orchestre Philharmonique du Montpelier, Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Limburg Symphonie Orkest Maastricht. The Philharmonic’s choir participated in great international events, such as celebration of the 10th anniversary of the pontificate of John Paul II and also in his Canonization Mass in Vatican (27th April 2014), concert in Berlin on the occasion of the Reunification of Germany in 1995 (War Requiem by Benjamin Britten) and celebration of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1995.
In 2004 along with the Ankara State Polyphonic Choir, London Philharmonic Choir and Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the choir took part in the Concert of Reconciliation in Vatican.
The Cracow Philharmonic Choir, specializing in performing monumental oratorios, has also had operas in its repertoire, such as Don Giovanni by Mozart, La Pulzella d’Orleans by Tchaikovsky (directed by Lamberto Puggelli, Teatro Massimo Palermo, 2003), Lohengrin by Wagner (directed by Luca Ronconi, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 1999), The Freeshooter by C.M. Weber, K. Penderecki’s Black Mask; E. Grieg’s Peer Gynt (music to H. Ibsen’s drama); the world’s most beautiful opera choirs; and popular works: Missa Criolla by A. Ramirez, Liverpool Oratorio by Paul McCartney, Requiem by Andrew L. Webber, Trionfi by C. Orff, or Alexander Nevsky by Prokofiev.
The Choir contributed to popularize Penderecki’s music, especially his Matins and Lucas Passion; the recording of the latter was awarded with Grand Prix du Disque. Other successful recordings of the Choir are those of W. Kilar’s music. The recording of compositions by W. Kilar: Krzesany, Angelus, Victoria – was nominated to a prestigious Fryderyk award in 1997. The choir participated in recording of Kilar’s music for the movie soundtrack to Dracula by F. Coppola and A King for Burning by Thomas Toelle.
A perfect performance of the musically and linguistically difficult Matins by K. Penderecki is the flagship of the choir, proud of its long collaboration with this famous modern composer. A precious token of this co-operation is the dedication to the Cracow Philharmonic Choir that has been placed in the first edition of Penderecki’s Stabat Mater. For many years the choir has received approval of audience, reviewers and conductors. Numerous tours abroad granted the choir an opinion of the 'ambassador of Polish culture'.
Teresa Majka-Pacanek graduated from the Faculty of Music Education under prof. Arkadiusz Basztoń at the Academy of Music in Cracow. During her studies she started working with amateur choirs, which gave her an opportunity to gain experience as conductor and to master her conducting skills. Since 1983 she has led the dr Henryk Jordan 'Hasło' male choir. Between 1984 and 1989 she worked as choir conductor at the State Fryderyk Chopin Secondary School of Music in Cracow. At the same time she was assistant to the conductor of the Dominanta Choir of the Cracow University of Economics.
Since 1985 she has collaborated with the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Cracow as choir singer. From 1989 until 1993 she served as manager and conductor of the Cracow Philharmonic Chamber Choir. At that time she went three times on a tour of France (giving 55 concerts in 49 different cities), took part in numerous concerts in Poland and abroad, and participated in international festivals (Guitar Music Days, 1988, 1993; FUTURES MUSIQUES IV Contemporary Music Festival in Paris,1989; European Culture Month in Krakow, 1992). She also made three recordings. Between 1991 and 2009 she served as assistant to the choirmaster of a mixed choir and simultaneously as choir singer.
Between April and November 2009, she worked as choir conductor and in October 2009, having won the competition, she took up a post of the choirmaster of the Cracow Philharmonic Mixed Choir.
She has performed in Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Lithuania, Ukraine, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Hungary and Italy, where she conducted The Krakow Philharmonic Choir during Canonozation Mass of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII on 27th April 2014 (Vatican).
She has collaborated with many Polish and world-famous conductors and musicians. On the occasion of the 70th birthday of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, she prepared a special jubilee concert with Górecki’s participation as honorary guest.
She highly values her collaboration with Jan Łukaszewski, one of the most renowned Polish choirmasters. She also wishes to share experiences with other choirmasters around the world – one of them is Gary Graden, a real expert on choral arts.
© Filharmonia Krakowska 2010