Music is a language, but language carries its own music. In our festival’s programme, these two elements will intertwine in various ways, touching upon issues such as: the role of words in music; words embedded in music and music embedded in words; the language of music, the music of language; common elements between music and language; the specificity of structures; the grammar of music, the architecture of text; similar functions; music and information; communication through music; means of transmission; the “speech” of music from the social perspective; art of the time of the plague: home music.

Jerzy Kornowicz, Festival Director

The 63rd annual ‘Warsaw Autumn’ [Warszawska Jesień] International Festival of Contemporary Music is being held in various venues from September 18-26, 2020 under the theme of “Music and Language.” Organized by the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP), Warsaw Autumn is Poland’s leading contemporary music festival, and has been presenting music on the cutting edge—both from Poland and from around the world—since it began in 1956. Due to the extraordinary circumstances of 2020, festival events will either be livestreamed or available for viewing online afterwards, in addition to being performed in-person for limited audiences.

This year’s nearly 50 festival events will include concerts, performances, sound theatre, various opera formulas, intermedia, improvisations, internet and radio forms (on the 95th anniversary of the Polish Radio), meetings, and composer workshops. Performers include five of the world’s top orchestras, two choirs, nine ensembles, and countless international soloists. Among the 50 composers whose works will be performed—including 23 world premieres—the following composers are featured: Mark Andre, François Sarhan, Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil, François-Bernard Mâche, Peter Ablinger, Juliana Hodkinson, Joanna Woźny. Also, 23 composers will be making their Warsaw Autumn debut this year.

The following is a list of the world premieres by Polish composers:

Friday / 18 September / 19:30 / Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall
ElettroVoce: Agata Zubel – soprano, Cezary Duchnowski – electronics; Tom Pauwels – electric guitar; proMODERN; Grzegorz Łukawski – speaker; Polish Radio Choir, Maria Piotrowska-Bogalecka – choirmaster; Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, Monika Wolińska – conductor

  • ELETTROVOCE (Agata Zubel & Cezary Duchnowski) – Whims for semantoabsorbing phonotyser and Whims for desemantric verbaphoney
    (Warsaw Autumn commissions, with support from the Society of Authors ZAiKS)
    (Warsaw Autumn commission, with support from the Society of Authors ZAiKS)

Sunday / 20 September / 19:30 / ATM Studio
Kwadrofonik: Emilia Sitarz and Bartłomiej Wąsik – piano; Magdalena Kordylasińska and Miłosz Pękala – percussion

Monday / 21 September / 19:30 / Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio
Ensemble Vortex; Marek Straszak visual layer; Szymon Kaliski – interactive system

  • RAFAŁ ZAPAŁA – Daremność [Futility]
    (Warsaw Autumn commission, with support from the Society of Authors ZAiKS)

Tuesday / 22 September / 19:30 / Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio
Adam Bałdych – violin; NFM Leopoldinum String Trio; NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra, Christian Danowicz – conductor; Paweł Hendrich – electronics

  • EWA TRĘBACZ – Metanoia
    (National Forum of Music commission)

Tuesday / 22 September / 22:30 / ATM Studio
19/91: Aleksandra Kaca, Teoniki Rożynek, Żaneta Rydzewska – performance, instruments,live electronics; Electric Primitivo: Arturo Corrales – electronics, Emilio Guim – electric guitar 

Wednesday / 23 September / 19:30 / Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio
European Workshop for Contemporary Music; Pia Davila – soprano; Rüdiger Bohn – conductor

    (Warsaw Autumn commission, with support from the Society of Authors ZAiKS)

Wednesday / 23 September / 22:30 ATM Studio
Barbara Mglej and Paulina Woś-Gucik – violin; Martyna Zakrzewska – piano; Aleksandra Gołaj – percussion; Alena Budziňáková-Palus – accordion, electronics, video

Saturday / 26 September / 19:30 / Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall
Leszek Lorent – performer; Jörg Widmann – clarinet; Chopin University Big Band, Piotr Kostrzewa – band coach; Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, Bartosz Michałowski – conductor; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra,  Andrzej Boreyko – conductor, Maciej Tomasiewicz – conductor

  • MIKOŁAJ LASKOWSKI – Infectious (Feel It®) 
    (Warsaw Autumn commission, with support from the Society of Authors ZAiKS)
  • JOANNA WOŹNY – canti in/versi 
    (Warsaw Autumn and Warsaw Philharmonic commission)

In addition to premieres during the main Festival, the ‘Little Warsaw Autumn’ events for children include four premiere musical experiences: Michał Silski’s sound installation Trambambula, the Kwartludium ensemble’s Musical Olympics, Paweł Romańczuk’s concert–installation at the Museum of Warsaw; and Aleksandra Cieślak and Edward Sielicki’s radio feature opera Basements, Mysteries from under the floor. The Festival also includes Warsaw Autumn Hits the Club, Warsaw Autumn Contexts and other fringe events.

For more information on concerts and artists, as well as a full schedule of events, visit