Star-Studded Lineup For Chopin Summer Festival

During the second half of August, music by Chopin and several other Polish composers resonated throughout Warsaw and its environs. Chopin and His Europe Festival had once again brought top talents and interesting programming to the Polish capital, launching this year’s edition with the August 15 concert at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall where pianist Nikolai Luganski, Sinfonia Varsovia and conductor Alexander Vedernikov presented two of Chopin’s piano concertos. The Festival presented a pleasing mix of large-scale works (Tchaikovsky’s The Voyvoda Overture and Karłowicz’s E-minor Symphony under Mikhail Pletnev or an all Tchaikovsky program with his Piano Concerto No. 1 and “Polish” Symphony also under Pletnev), with a number of chamber concerts that featured early romantic Polish music (works by Ogiński, Chopin and Lubomirski performed by Tobias Koch) or a program of cello and piano works by Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann given by Truls Mørk and Jan Lisiecki.  Contemporary composers like Andrzej Czajkowski and Paweł Szymański were represented alongside works by Bach and Teleman, and a plethora of young pianists gave recitals on the historic 1855 Erard piano, providing a small insight into concert sounds of the past.

Towards the end of the Festival, the Philharmonia Orchestra with Vladimir Ashkenazy presented a solidly romantic fare of Elgar, Paderewski and Rachmaninov. Led by Jacek Kasprzyk, the August 29 closing concert featured three pianists (Yuliana Avdeeva, Krzysztof Jabłoński and Ingolf Wunder) in a feast of two Chopin piano concertos and Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody.

Held under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland and the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the Eleventh Chopin and His Europe Festival featured a total of thirty-two concerts curated by the Artistic Director, Stanisław Leszczyński, and organized by the National Chopin Institute in Warsaw.