Festival of Polish Music

The 11th edition of the Polish Music Festival will be held from July 8-18, 2015 in Kraków. Audiences will hear both early music and works by the great such as Chopin and Moniuszko, as well as outstanding contemporary composers such as Wojciech Kilar and Krzysztof Penderecki, all performed by outstanding soloists and ensembles from Poland and abroad.

The festival will be inaugurated with Stanislaw Moniuszko’s Halka on July 8 at the Julius Slovak Theater, where the first post-war performance of Halka in its Vilnius version was held. This new production keeps the original idea of the opera. The cast is comprised of renowned soloists, both Polish and foreign, and Capella Cracoviensis will provide the orchestral accompaniment under the baton of Jan Tomasz Adamus using historical instruments, which will give the event a special authenticity.

During several other concerts, festival goers will be transported to even earlier periods of Polish music. On July 9, the musicians of Ensemble Peregrina, led by singer and musicologist Agnieszka Budzińska-Bennett, will perform hymns and songs derived from source materials and treaties during the times of Bolesław I the Brave (967-1025) and St. Wojciech (956-997), interspersed with instrumental works. On July 16 the renowned international ensemble specializing in baroque music performance—Il Giardino d’Amore, under the artistic direction of violinist Stefan Plewniak—will present Polish court music from 1500-1750, when musical culture flourished under such composers as Diomedes Cato, Wojciech Długoraj, Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki, Jan z Lublin, Marcin Mielczewski, Bartłomiej Pękiel and Mikołaj Zieleński.

Other concerts will feature some of the best known of Poland’s composers. On July 11, Italian pianist Alberto Nosè will perform a recital of Chopin in the Jagiellonian University’s Collegium Novum Auditorium.  On July 17, violinist Agata Szymczewska and pianist Grzegorz Skrobiński will present a recital of works by Karol Szymanowski, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Marcin Markowicz and Henryk Wieniawski, followed by a concert of Dobrzyński and Chopin performed by the Krakow Philharmonic String Quartet with guest pianist Ivo Kahánek. On July 18, pianist Ludmil Angelov presents a recital of Chopin, Zarębski, Michałowski and Moszkowski.

The Polish Music Festival features not only those compositions that are already a permanent part of the canon of musical literature, but also current trends and directions in the art of sound. The July 10 concert led by Sinfonietta Cracovia will feature some of the leading soloists promoting contemporary music artists today—cellist Magdalena Bojanowicz and accordionist Maciej Frąckiewicz—who will perform compositions by Marcel Chyrzyński (ukiyo-e), Nicholas Majkusiak (Rhythm Games), Dariusz Przybylski (Red, Yellow, Red. Hommage à Mark Rothko) and Wojciech Kilar (Orawa) under the baton of outstanding conductor Bassem Akiki.

The 11th edition of the Festival will conclude on July 18 with compositions of the two leading figures of Polish contemporary music—Wojciech Kilar and Krzysztof Penderecki. The concert will juxtapose two studies of the hymn of praise, Te Deum. Two versions – two musical ideas – two different worlds. What unites the two compositions is the tendency to benefit from the past (the musical language of both abounds in references to the tradition of the great masters of the Renaissance and Baroque), embedding them in the present while looking ahead with innovative musical ideas for the future . The concert will feature acclaimed soloists from major European opera houses, alongside the Kraków Philharmonic Choir and one of the most respected orchestras in Poland, Sinfonia Varsovia, led by Maestro Maciej Tworek.

[Sources: polmic.pl, fmp.org.pl]