The Santander Orchestra project has been initiated by Bank Zachodni WBK and MyWay Foundation with the support of the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music. It offers a unique opportunity for artists from around the country to practise their skills under the tutelage of renowned conductors, musicians and lecturers from Poland and abroad.
Since 2015, the young artists have performed under the baton of Krzysztof Penderecki, John Axelrod and Jerzy Maksymiuk in the most prestigious and modern concert halls in Poland, such as the concert halls of the Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Polish Radio Symphonic Orchestra in Katowice. At the special invitation of Elżbieta Penderecka, the orchestra performed as part of the 20th Ludvig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Lusławice and Warsaw.
In autumn 2016, these gifted artists recorded their first album, featuring the works of Fryderyk Chopin and Antonín Dvořák. The musicians played under the baton of José Maria Florêncio and were accompanied by a talented pianist, Krzysztof Książek. The album, whose release was promoted with a concert held on 30 November 2016 in the National Concert Hall, is available on CDs and via popular digital music services (e.g. Spotify).
As part of their preparations for concerts, the participants attended a series of workshops organised in the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music in Luslawice, including coaching sessions and classes on self-presentation, media communication and finance.
Out of over 300 artists who applied for the third edition of the project, 125 were finally admitted. The masterclasses, which were the core part of the Santander Orchestra Academy, were complemented with theoretical lectures on social media, public relations, copyright and savoir vivre. Special guest lecturers included: Piotr Metz, the music director of Polish Radio Three, and Rafał Masny, co-founder of the Abstra.tv Youtube channel. The classes took place at BZ WBK Relationship Centre in Warsaw and lasted from the end of September to mid-December 2017.