This year’s Małopolska Akademia Talentów [Małopolska Talent Academy] was held June 27 – July 4 in the charming southern Polish mountain town of Łącko. Organized and headed by the Kraków Music Academy professors Jan Kalinowski (cello) and Marek Szlezer (piano), this summer music camp attracted a total of 44 students from the Małopolska region and two students from Ukraine.
Ranging in age from about 10 to 27, these students had an opportunity to participate in the Talent Academy’s extensive offering of daily individual lessons, an intensive roster of master classes, as well as solo and chamber music concerts. Additional instruction for this year’s students was provided by several other Kraków Music Academy faculty, including violinist Oriana Masternak, violist Maria Shetty, clarinetist Piotr Lato, pianists Gajusz Kęska, Bartłomiej Kominek and Mateusz Kurcab, and cellist Beata Urbanek-Kalinowska. Violinist Małgorzata Wasiucionek (Katowice Music Academy) and flutist Wioletta Strączek (Chopin Music School in Nowy Sącz) completed the roster of distinguished scholars teaching in Łącko this summer.
This year, the Academy’s summer courses in Łącko are already in their seventh edition. They feature an ever-growing number of students and faculty and daily evening concerts attended by scores of young musicians and local community members. Much credit for the success of this enterprise must go to the Porta Musicae Arts Society and Witold Kozłowski, Marshall of the Małopolska Province, who co-organize this valuable educational experience. A fine roster of partners in this enterprise begins with the Łącko Music School and its director, Dr. Stanisław Strączek, who generously provided the Academy with music school facilities and assisted in event planning at every turn. Led by Łącko mayor, Jan Dziedzina, the local community is very much part of this annual event, alongside the Łącko Community Center that also opened its doors to the students. The local parish of St. John the Baptist—with its fine Baroque church from the early 1700s and a brand new Parish Hall—provided two excellent concert venues for the Academy throughout the week thanks to a far-reaching and very friendly support from its pastor, Fr. Dr. Czesław Noworolnik. Finally, overseeing the organization, logistics, and day-to-day smooth functioning of the Academy throughout the week was in the able hands of the Academy’s ever-present and always well-organized General Manager, Ola Kuzemko.
As to the Paderewski connection, this year’s Academy student roster was enriched by two students from the Music School No. 1 for Children in Vinnytsia, Ukraine—the town closest to Paderewski’s birthplace, in the village of Kuryłówka (now Kurilivka, Ukraine). They arrived in Łącko after participating in their local Paderewski Music Competition, organized for the past two years by the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Vinnytsia under the aegis of Consul Damian Ciarciński, Deputy Consul Joanna Szeliga and their dedicated staff. Besides organizing and financing the Paderewski Competition in Vinnytsia, the Consulate also financed travel and tuition in Łącko for the two selected students and their chaperone.
The 16-year old pianist Maria Suprun participated in the Academy classes alongside with her 12-year-old colleague, violinist Andriy Kordon. These two young musicians also appeared in concerts during the week, with Maria performing Kabalevsky’s piano arrangement of Bach’s G minor Organ Prelude and Fugue and Andriy giving a sure-footed interpretation of Kreisler’s Prelude and Allegro in the Style of Pugnani for violin and piano.
At the end of the Academy week, Maria Suprun presented the Polish Music Center with an album of selected dances by Ignacy Jan Paderewski. This attractively published score—a joint venture of the Polish Consulate in Vinnytsia, Music School No. 1, the City of Vinnytsia Cultural Council and the local Polonia Center—includes such favorites as four Krakowiaks from Op. 5 and Op. 9, four Mazurkas from Op. 5 and 9, and a Polonaise, Op. 9 no. 6. It will be a cherished addition to the Polish Music Center’s library and a nice souvenir of the 2021 Małopolska Talent Academy in Łącko.
Alongside much deserved congratulations to all organizers, sponsors and participants, an express wish is to reconvene again in Łącko next year, particularly with the prospect of the new music school building becoming a real possibility. Let us hope that the construction, which has been proceeding apace for about a year by now (pictured at left), will be finished as soon as possible and that the sounds of music will continue to enrich this lovely mountain town next summer.