The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine, from the medieval city of Lviv, was officially established in 1902. During its first season, the orchestra performed nearly 115 concerts, featuring the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, symphonic works by Felix Mendelssohn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Antonin Dvorak, Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, Camille Saint-Saëns and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Ruggiero Leoncavallo and Mieczyslaw Karlowicz performed as invited conductors with the Lviv orchestra during its first season.
In 1933, the orchestra became incorporated as the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine and was led by Adam Soltys. He actively worked with the orchestra until 1938. During this period, the orchestra collaborated in performance with prominent composers Maurice Ravel, Bela Bartok and Karol Szymanowski as well as soloists Anton Rubinstein, Ferruccio Busoni, Wanda Landowska, Leopold Godowski, Jacob Milstein, and Eugene Ysaye, among many others.
With the advent of the Soviet regime, the orchestra was led by Isaac Pain. Lviv conductor and composer Mykola Kolessa was also invited to work with the orchestra. During the German occupation, in 1941–1944, the Philharmonic did not operate. In the postwar period, the orchestra had to be re-assembled, which was the joint effort of Isaac Pain, Dionysius Khabal, Nestor Hornytsky and Mykola Kolessa. They resumed work in August 1944.
Some of the world’s greatest musicians have performed with the orchestra since the 1950s, including Sviatoslav Richter, Heinrich and Stanislav Neuhaus, Emil Gilels, Maria Yudina, Moisey Greenberg, Dmytro Bashkirov, David and Ihor Oistrakh, Mstyslav Rostropovich, Yuriy Lysychenko, Mariya Chaikovska, Viktoria Lukyanets, Gidon Kremer, Leonid Kohan, Natalia Gutman, Oleh Polyansky, Dmytro Tkachenko and more. Many of the most prominent conductors in classical music have appeared with the orchestra, including Kirill Kondrashin, Fuat Mansurov, Nathan Rakhlin, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Reinhold Gliere, Yevgeni Mravinsky, Nikolae Popescu, Kurt Masur, Saulius Sondeckis, Theodore Kuchar and Mariss Jansons as well as Ukrainian conductors Stefan Turchak, Fedor Glushchenko, Igor Blazhkov, Roman Kofman, Volodymyr Kozhukhar, Volodymyr Sirenko, Viktor Ploskina, Yuriy Yanko and Victoria Zhadko. After two seasons as the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, Theodore Kuchar was appointed the Principal Conductor of the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine in 2022.
The Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine has toured extensively around the world, including Poland, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and The People’s Republic of China. During the past several seasons, they have completed highly acclaimed recordings for major international labels including Naxos and Brilliant Classics.