The Philharmonic was set up within the National Musical Theatre which, starting from 1 September 1980, has operated as the Dramatic Theatre and Chamber Orchestra.
From the very beginning, the orchestra, besides participation in operatic performances, has performed its own concerts. In 1992 it became affiliated with an institution named the State Chamber Orchestra and the Impresario Theatre in Słupsk. By the decision of the City Council of 28 June 2005, this institution was transformed into the Polish Philharmonic Sinfonia Baltica in Słupsk.
The greatest soloists and conductors have cooperated with the Orchestra. Since its establishment, the Orchestra has also been connected with the annual Polish Pianists Festival, often participating in the world premieres of compositions by Polish authors (Dębski, Kuźniak, Moss).
Its members have performed in many European countries (Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Benelux). In addition to typical symphonic programmes, the ensemble ventures into a highly-diverse repertoire, often verging on various styles and genres, such as pop and jazz interpreted as symphonies (e.g. Michał Urbaniak, Adam Makowicz).
In 1999 and 2000, the Słupsk Orchestra performed Requiem For My Friend by Zbigniew Preisner, marking the second (after Warsaw) rendition of this piece in Poland. Later, in 2005, the Requiem was presented by soloists with the Orchestra in three concerts in the Netherlands, one of which took place in Concertgebouw, the famous Amsterdam concert hall.
In October 2001, accompanied by the Greek songster George Dalaras, the chamber ensemble played a special concert in the Alte Oper (Frankfurt am Main) during the International Book Fair (Buchmesse).
To date, the Polish Philharmonic Sinfonia Baltica in Słupsk has recorded twenty seven albums, including The Beatles Symphony Orchestra, which featured symphonic interpretations of songs by Lennon and McCartney (in Bohdan Jarmołowicz’s arrangement) and Can’t Buy Me Love with Vadim Brodski. The album, made for Centaur Records, an American recording company, with saxophone concerts by Greg Banaszak, earned the orchestra a nomination for the Grammy award. Four years later, also for Centaur Records, the Philharmonic recorded pieces by contemporary American composers in flute and orchestra arrangements, with Katherine DeJongh as the soloist. For the DUX recording company, the orchestra cooperated with a pianist, Edward Wolanin, producing a CD of Chopin’s compositions in new, symphonic versions, in addition to those by George Gershwin and Astor Piazzolla. Soloists – Tomasz Tomaszewski – violin, and Wiesław Prządka – bandoneón, made their contribution to that album. With André Ochodlo, songster and Director of the “Atelier” theatre in Sopot, the orchestra recorded songs to lyrics by Itzig Manger, in Yiddish, and with an exquisitely rich arrangement by Jarmołowicz. This was the world’s first album of its type (presenting symphony music) devoted to Jewish music.
For a couple of years, musicians have been collaboraing with Krzesimir Dębski, performing his numerous compositions as world premieres. These include the Piano Concerto, the Two Stradivarius Concertos and the Nihil Homine Mirabilius symphony, which, over the last two years, they have recorded on CD as the first and only ensemble in Poland.
In 2003 in Gdańsk, the orchestra performed Wojciech Kilar’s Missa Pro Pace (in the composer’s presence) and during an artistic event called Violin Summit – a concert with the stars of Polish violin art, including Katarzyna Duda, Krzesimir Dębski, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka and Michał Urbaniak. The concert received the highest distinction of the Pomeranian Voivodeship – the Pomeranian Art Award Gryf 2003 in the category of “Artistic events”.
In recent years, the musicians from Słupsk have been on tour with the eminent French accordionist, Richard Galliano, visiting three cities – Gdańsk, Poznań and Kraków (2004). The tour yielded fruit in the form of a new album, this time devoted to the tango – Tango Forever – available in music shops throughout the country. At the beginning of 2005, the orchestra received invitation to tour Germany with the world-famous St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre, for which it provided accompaniment, performing Swan Lake and The Nutcracker by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
In May 2005, Sinfonia Baltica took part in the Summer Festival in Belgian Sint-Truden, and a month later in the “Fermata” Piano Festival in Lublewo, where its performance at the side of Cyprien Katsaris, a world-class pianist, enjoyed great success. The next, 2005/2006, season, initiated Sinfonia’s cooperation with the excellent Kroke ensemble from Kraków. They played together during Music Connects Nations or A Symphonic Kroke in Gdańsk (two concerts – 2005 & 2007) and Bydgoszcz (2006).
2007 started with another CD containing tangos - Tango alla polacca – this time based on compositions by Władysław Szpilman and his arrangements for solo instruments (Wiesław Prządka – accordion, Tomasz Tomaszewski – violin, Filip Wojciechowski – piano) and a symphony orchestra.
Next, a DVD followed with Mozart’s Requiem D-Moll, recorded in late 2004 by soloists, the Słupsk orchestra and the Polish Chamber Choir “Schola Cantorum Gedanensis”. The concert, conducted by Jarmołowicz, was held during a night-time event in Gdańsk, on the anniversary of the composer’s death.
Since 1992, the institution has been led by the gifted conductor, arranger and composer, Bohdan Jarmołowicz.