The 59th International ‘Warsaw Autumn’ Festival of Contemporary Music [Warszawska Jesień] will be held in various venues throughout Warsaw from September 18-26, 2016. This year’s Warsaw Autumn will direct audiences’ eyes, ears and attention to the stage—understood both literally and symbolically. The starting point will be “opera,” associated with a specific theatrical space a musical work in several acts, going through the meanders of tradition and modernity toward a variety of theatrical and para-stage forms, from mini-opera through instrumental theatre and objectophone monodrama to the most complex and innovative—in both form and content—multimedia works.
Created in 1956 and running annually with only two exceptions since its beginning, Warsaw Autumn is a festival with a long tradition and is a true witness to music history. It is the only contemporary music festival in Poland on an international scale and with an international status. For many years, it was the only event of this kind in Central and Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, it remains a living organism: it thrives as much as Polish cultural funding and the general condition of music allow.
The Festival is organized by the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP). The Repertoire Committee, an independent body appointed by the Union’s Board, determines the program of each edition of the festival. Warsaw Autumn is, therefore, an international and nonprofit festival of a nongovernmental association.
Today, Warsaw Autumn has fulfilled its original goal to familiarize Polish audiences with the classic works of the early twentieth century. Yet there remain gaps regarding the classics of the second half of the twentieth century. Filling in these gaps goes hand-in-hand with the Festival’s other primary (and timeless) objective: to present new music from Poland and abroad. Organizers strive to present this music in a way that is both of the highest artistic quality and accessible to a wide and varied audience, highlighting that which is new and different and exotic but also enriches the listener.
Regarding organizers’ dedication to the newest music of Polish composers, the following are the composers and pieces that will be given their World Premiere at this year’s Festival:
- panGenerator – Music of the Spheres (interactive installation, Warsaw Autumn commission) (Sept. 16-25)
- Marta Śniady –Meme Opera (Warsaw Autumn commission): Anna Kierkosz – texts based on competition memes, artistic concept; Konrad Dworakowski – texts, artistic concept, direction; Jakub Stępień (Hakobo) – scenography, visualizations; Łucja Szablewska – voice; Rafał Łuc –accordion; Wojciech Błażejczyk – electric guitar; Bartosz Sałdan – percussion; Dominik Płociński –cello; Maciej Koczur – conductor (Sept. 17)
- Sławomir Kupczak – I Don’t Know (open-air performance, Warsaw Autumn commission): Łukasz Błażejewski (Prince Negatif) – performer; Students of the Stanisław Moniuszko State Music School in Jelenia Góra (Sept. 17)
- Jarosław Siwiński – Silent Fish (micro-opera, Warsaw Autumn commission): Małgorzata Kołcz -libretto, double bass; Grzegorz Ociepka – direction; Aleksandra Świderek-Żakiewicz – soprano (Mum); Piotr Pieron – bass (Dad); Michał Górczyński – clarinet (Son Stefek); Michał Styczyński -viola (Talking Cat); Dagny Baczyńska-Kissas – synthesizer (Silent Fish) (Sept. 18)
- Aaron S Collective/Sławomir Wojciechowski – Aaron S (multimedia opera, Warsaw Autumn commission): Aaron S Collective: Sławomir Wojciechowski – composition, Paweł Krzaczkowski -libretto; Krzysztof Cybulski – instruments making & software, and Norman Leto – video; LUX:NM Contemporary Music Ensemble Berlin (Sept. 21)
- Piotr Peszat – The Message (Warsaw Autumn commission) GrauSchumacher Piano Duo: Andreas Grau, Götz Schumacher – pianos; Thomas Hummel – live electronics; Marta Grzywacz -voice; Magdalena Bojanowicz – cello; Maciej Frąckiewicz – accordion; Oliwier Andruszczenko -bass clarinet; Wojciech Błażejczyk – objectophones, electric guitar; Bartosz Kowalski -objectophones; Krzysztof Kozłowski – objectophones; Leszek Lorent – objectophones; Michał Bereza – live electronics; Michał Niedziałek – conductor (Sept. 23)