The destruction of Warsaw caused the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (WOSPR) to be moved from the capital to Katowice, where it has remained till today (now known as the NOSPR). Consequently, Witold Lutosławski travelled to the Silesian city many times. It was here that listeners first heard his Symphony No. 1 and Five Songs to words by Kazimiera Iłłakowicz, both in the earlier version with piano and in the later version with orchestra, with Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa soloist both times. Quite a sensation was caused by the premiere of Musique funèbre, given in March 1958 by the WOSPR under Jan Krenz, who talked the composer into writing that work. The WOSPR was also the first orchestra to perform the Second Symphony in its entirety.
With the WOSPR in Katowice, Lutosławski matured as a symphonic conductor. In 1952, encouraged by Grzegorz Fitelberg, he recorded Haydn’s ‘Oxford’ Symphony and his own Symphonic Variationswith that orchestra for Polish Radio. From the sixties onwards, the Silesian musicians worked many times on successive Lutosławski works under his direction. Together they recorded a complete set of discs for EMI in 1976 (an extra technical sensation of that collaboration was the first use in Poland of a quadrophonic apparatus). It was also with the Katowice musicians that Lutosławski scrupulously prepared for the first performance of his Fourth Symphony in Los Angeles.