The beginning of the 1930s brought significant changes to the city’s artistic life. In early February 1930, after the death of Mieczysław Sołtys, his son Adam Sołtys(1890-1968) was elected director of the Polish Music Society and Conservatory. That is why, in addition to conducting, composing, teaching, and music criticism, he was also responsible for administrative duties.

Musical life was significantly revived from the moment radio broadcasts from the Society’s concert hall appeared (live), thanks to the opening of a radio studio in Lviv in 1931 and an active music department (also headed by Adam Sołtys). As part of these broadcasts, the ensembles of the Polish Music Society, the Lviv Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, the Conservatory Orchestra, folk groups, and choirs of singing societies demonstrated their professionalism. As well as pianists, violinists, vocalists, etc.

However, the following years brought many changes, unfortunately, not only positive ones. As a result of the deepening global economic crisis, in 1933 the Bolshoi City Theatre (today the Solomiia Krushelnytska Lviv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre) did not open a new season. This raised the question of resuming the activities of the Lviv Philharmonic, which would protect the musicians of the theatre’s orchestra from disbandment. To this end, the Presidium of the City of Lviv transferred part of the cultural budget allocated to the Polish Music Society, which was tasked with organising the resumption of the Philharmonic’s activities.

Lviv National Philharmonic - 1930s

Вул. Академічна у 30-х рр. ХХ ст. (сьогодні – просп. Шевченка)


Thus, the first concert of the “newly created” Lviv Philharmonic took place in the hall of the Great City Theatre on 20 November 1933 under its director Adam Soltys. The concert featured Johannes Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, Felix Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream overture, and Ludomyr Różycki’s symphonic poem King Coffetua.

Since its reopening, the Philharmonic has become the centre of the city’s musical life. In a short period of time (four months), eight concerts under the baton of A. Soltys and a number of events with the participation of famous conductors invited from abroad took place.

Instrumentalists formed the symphony orchestra from the Polish Music Society and the City Theatre. The orchestra of the Polish Union of Musicians, which functioned in the 1920s, had a similar composition. Their kinship is evident in the fact that the musicians of the above-mentioned musical institutions were called former orchestral members of the PSM at the time of the Philharmonic Orchestra’s formation.

The Lviv Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra worked closely with the PMS orchestras. This cooperation continued not only in the first season, when the institution functioned under the patronage of the Society but also in the following years after the PMS refused to hold philharmonic concerts. Even with such a heavy workload and unfavourable conditions, the orchestra managed to gain European recognition. Music critic Alfred Plon, evaluating the Philharmonic’s activities during the second concert season, wrote: “Despite the contradictions and difficulties, the directors V. Gozhytsia and M. Turk managed to bring the institution entrusted to them to the appropriate artistic level. In this, they were greatly helped by the orchestra, which has made enormous progress in a relatively short period of time. It is likely that today the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra is the best in Poland after the Warsaw Philharmonic.[1].

Over the next six seasons of the orchestra’s activity (the season lasted about six months), a significant number of symphony concerts took place, with 26 conductors taking part: 11 Lviv-based conductors and 15 touring conductors.

Lviv National Philharmonic - 1930s


During this period, the Lviv Philharmonic orchestra performed under the direction of prominent composers such as Maurice Ravel, Bela Bartok, and Karol Szymanowski, soloists such as Anton Rubinstein, Ferruccio Busoni, Wanda Landowska, Leopold Godowski, Jacob Milstein, Eugène Isai, Pablo Casals, and singers such as Adam Didur, Stanisława Korwin-Szymanowska, and many others. The Philharmonic Orchestra performed under the baton of the following Lviv conductors: Adam Soltis, Antin Rudnytskyi, Viktor Hausman, Marian Altenberg, Jozef Lehrer, Jakub Mund, Bronislaw Wolfstahl, Jarosław Leszczynski, Jerzy Kolaczkowski, Alfred Stadler, and Kazimierz Gardulyak.

Guest conductors such as Kazimierz Wilkomirski, Tadeusz Mazurkiewicz, Valerian Berdyaev, Hermann Scherchen, Ignacy Neumark, Jascha Gorenstein, Grzegorz Fitelberg, Jozef Goldstein, Felix Nowowiejski, Eduard van Beinum, Henri Pansy, Stefan Sledzinski, Mieczysław Miezeyewski, and Czesław Lewicki played an equally important role.

Undoubtedly, the first among Lviv conductors was Adam Soltys, who in the first season combined the functions of a director and artistic director. Analysing the circumstances in which the orchestra was operating, as well as Adam Soltys’s active work with them, we can conclude that he was the “foundation” that allowed the orchestra to flourish. Thereafter, A. Soltys made a lot of efforts to maintain its proper artistic level. This was not easy, given the already mentioned difficult working conditions and the unemployment of the orchestra members during the six-month period when the instrumentalists had no engagement.

Lviv National Philharmonic - 1930s

Адам Солтис на сцені концертного залу ГМТ на поч. 30-х рр. (сьогодні – Концертний зал Людкевича Львівської філармонії)


Only A. Soltys can be considered a “stationary” conductor of the orchestra, and that was in 1933-1934. Later, the Philharmonic management deliberately did not engage a permanent conductor, preferring touring conductors – both to interest the public in “novelties” and to ensure that local musicians would learn from the experience of the masters [2].

Despite various measures to raise subsidies for the Philharmonic, the effects of the economic crisis were becoming more and more noticeable. Only six concerts were held in three months (5.11.1935 – 2.02.1936), and none in March and April of the same year. In the next concert season (1936-1937), the situation became worse. However, when Béla Bartók came to Lviv with a recital, the hall of the Polish Music Society was packed (at Khorunshchyna Street, 7; today it is 7 Tchaikovskyi Street, where the Lviv National Philharmonic is located)!

In the next season (1938-1939), Adam Soltis worked exclusively with the ensembles of the Polish Music Society.



[1] Plohn A. Bilans sezonu. XIV. Koncert. Chwila. 1935. № 5784. 30 kwietnia. S. 7

[2] The same source