14th Festival of Polish Music

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - Sunday, July 22, 2018

  • Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - Sunday, July 22, 2018

We will hear music ranging from early to contemporary, works known the world over and those still waiting to be discovered, expansive vocal and instrumental compositions and chamber music and duets… But the diverse repertoire has a white-and-red common denominator: that’s right, the 14th Festival of Polish Music is here!

Fabulous performers

The festival opens with a monumental piece which serves as a musical chronicle of our history: Krzysztof Penderecki’s Polish Requiem. The work dates back to 1980 and the lyrical, melancholy Lacrimosa composed on request of Lech Wałęsa for the unveiling of a memorial dedicated to shipyard workers killed in anti-government riots. This marked the first stage of the creation of the composition which continued to evolve over the next twenty-five years. Its subsequent parts were inspired by current and historical events significant for Poland (such as the Warsaw Uprising of the Second World War and the death of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński). The tenth part, Chaconne per archi, composed in 2005 after the passing of John Paul II, has been described by the composer as the finale of the piece. On 3 July, the Church of St Catherine resounds with soloists Izabella Matuła (soprano), Isabelle Vernet (mezzo-soprano), Wojciech Parchem (tenor), Liudas Mikalauskas (bass) and the Choir and Orchestra of the Kraków Philharmonic under the baton of Maciej Tworek. The performance marks two important anniversaries falling this year: the centenary of Poland regaining independence, and the 85th birthday of the composer.

The Gothic church in Kazimierz is also the setting for Paweł Łukaszewski’s oratorio Via Crucis (8 July), composed as a mega-rondo, with each part of the Way of the Cross opening and closing with the same musical theme. It will be performed by Jakub Michalski (narrator), Wojciech Basiakowski (countertenor) Aleksander Zuchowicz (tenor), Jacek Jaskuła (baritone) and the Wrocław Opera Choir and Orchestra. The conductor Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski has described the composition as a “beautiful combination of the new with the traditional”. On the same evening we will also hear Wojciech Kilar’s Magnificat for soprano (Eliza Kruszczyńska), tenor, bass, mixed choir and orchestra.

Duets, quintets…

Been missing chamber music? No problem! On 12 July, the Aula of Collegium Novum of the Jagiellonian University welcomes the up-and-coming violinist Miranda Liu. Two years ago, before she even turned twenty, the American was appointed concertmaster of the esteemed Hungarian orchestra Concerto Budapest. In Kraków she performs hits of Polish violin music, including Wieniawski’s Legend and Szymanowski’s Mythes. She is joined by the Hungarian violinist Éva Szalai who also reaches for compositions by her compatriots Liszt and Bartók.

Chamber works for violin and piano (Paderewski, Lutosławski, Nikodemowicz) resound during the concert by Wojciech Pronowicz and Radosław Sobczak (5 July, Manggha Museum Galicia Jewish Museum). The Cracow Duo presents a review of works for cello and piano composed between the 19th and 21st centuries (8 July, Collegium Novum). Finally, Juliusz Zarębski’s Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 34, described as the finest achievement of Polish chamber music of the Romanticism, resounds at the Manggha Museum performed by musicians from the Sinfonietta Cracovia orchestra and Piotr Sałajczyk on piano (4 July).

Chopin’s world

He believed the human voice to be an imperfect instrument, and his 19 songs were only published after his death. Fryderyk Chopin only wrote them for books of friendship, for beautiful ladies or simply on the spur of a moment. They were inspired by texts by Polish poets, which made the composer happy, or sad, or melancholic… We take a peek into this intimate world of Chopin’s emotions with the acclaimed soprano Elżbieta Szmytka accompanied on piano by Grzegorz Biegas (19 July, Collegium Maius).

And of course the Festival of Polish Music wouldn’t be the same without Chopin’s polonaises, waltzes, mazurkas, nocturnes or scherzos, performed at the Aula of Collegium Novum by Philipp Kopachevsky, soloist at the Moscow Philharmonic (21 July).

Polish motifs

The Polonia overture inspired by the independence uprising in November 1830, the symphony known as Polish with a polonaise in the finale, the Polonia symphonic prelude with excerpts from the Dąbrowski Mazurka – you’d be forgiven for thinking these compositions were penned by Polish composers, but you’d be wrong. In fact they were written by Richard Wagner from Germany, Pyotr Tchaikovsky from Russia and Edward Elgar from England. The works with Poland in their titles are presented during two concerts by the Sinfonia Iuventus Polish Orchestra and guests: on 13 July the musicians are joined by conductor Matteo Pagliari and violinist Małgorzata Wasiucionek who also performs the solo part in Wieniawski’s Concerto No. 2 in D minor, while on 20 July the baton is taken over by Su-Han Yang, winner of the 10th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors.

Zieleński. Contexts

The finale concert takes us back in time to the days of the Vasa dynasty. Capella Cracoviensis under the baton of Jan Tomasz Adamus presents works by Mikołaj Zieleński – composer, organist and bandmaster to the Archbishop of Gniezno at the turn of the 17th century. They will be juxtaposed with compositions by Marcin Mielczewski, Asprilio Pacelli and Heinrich Ignaz von Biber. The early music resounds at the Church of St Catherine on 22 July.


According to Richard Wagner, “Music is the beginning and end of language.” And so while we could talk endlessly about the wealth of Polish music, instead let's simply head to the festival and listen to the music! (Barbara Skowrońska)

3 July 2018, 7pm
Church of St Catherine

Izabella Matuła (soprano)
Isabelle Vernet (mezzo-soprano)
Wojciech Parchem (tenor)
Liudas Mikalauskas (bass)
Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir
Teresa Majka-Pacanek (choirmaster)
Maciej Tworek (conductor)

K. Penderecki Polish Requiem

PLN 40/25 (VIP PLN 60)

4 July 2018, 7pm
Manggha Museum

Krzysztof Grzybowski (clarinet)
Piotr Sałajczyk (piano)
Sinfonietta Cracovia
Maciej Lulek (concertmaster)
Karolina Micuła (recitation)

F. Janiewicz/A. Panufnik Divertimento
F. Nowowiejski Death of Ellenai
J. Zarębski Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 34

PLN 30/20

5 July 2018, 7pm
Galicia Jewish Museum

Wojciech Pronowicz (violin)
Radosław Sobczak (piano)

J. Nikodemowicz Nocturne for violin and piano, Capriccio for violin solo
I.J. Paderewski Sonata for violin and piano Op. 13
K. Penderecki Cadenza
W. Lutosławski Partita for violin and piano
H. Wieniawski Polonaise de concert in D major Op. 4

PLN 30/20

8 July 2018, noon
Collegium Novum UJ

Cracow Duo: Jan Kalinowski (cello), Marek Szlezer (piano)

F. Chopin Introduction et polonaise brillante Op. 3
W. Żeleński Berceuse Op. 32
K. Szymanowski Prelude Op. 1 No. 1 (arr. G. Bacewicz)
M. Chyrzyński Farewell
Z. Stojowski Sonata in A major Op. 18

PLN 30/20

8 July 2018, 8pm
Church of St Catherine

Eliza Kruszczyńska (soprano)
Wojciech Basiakowski (countertenor)
Aleksander Zuchowicz (tenor)
Jacek Jaskuła (baritone)
Jakub Michalski (narrator)
Wrocław Opera Orchestra and Choir
Anna Grabowska-Borys (choirmaster)
Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski (conductor)

P. Łukaszewski Via Crucis
W. Kilar Magnificat

PLN 40/25 (VIP PLN 60)

12 July 2018, 7pm
Collegium Novum UJ
AEAA Presents

Miranda Liu (violin)
Éva Szalai (piano)

H. Wieniawski Legend, Faustus Op. 20
F. Chopin Variations in B flat major Op. 2, Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48 No. 1
F. Liszt Die drei Zigeuner
K. Szymanowski Mythes Op. 30
F. Chopin/F. Liszt 6 Polish Songs
B. Bartók Romanian Folk Dances

PLN 30/20

13 July 2018, 7pm
Church of St Catherine

Małgorzata Wasiucionek (violin)
Polish Orchestra Sinfonia Iuventus
Matteo Pagliari (conductor)

R. Wagner Polonia overture
P. Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 3 “Polish”
H. Wieniawski Concerto No. 2 in D minor for violin and orchestra Op. 22

40/25 (VIP PLN 60)

19 July 2018, 7pm
Collegium Novum UJ

Elżbieta Szmytka (soprano)
Grzegorz Biegas (piano)

in programme all songs of F. Chopin

PLN 30/20

20 July 2018, 7pm
Church of St Catherine

Polish Orchestra Sinfonia Iuventus
Su-Han Yang (conductor)

E. Elgar Polonia Op. 76
I.J. Paderewski Symphony in B minor „Polonia” Op. 24

PLN 40/25 (VIP PLN 60)

21 July 2018, 7pm
Collegium Novum UJ

Philipp Kopachevsky (piano)

F. Chopin Polonaise in A flat major Op. 53, Berceuse in D flat major Op. 57, Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Waltz in A flat major Op. 34 No. 1, Waltz in A minor Op. 34 No. 2, Waltz in D flat major Op. 64 No. 1, Waltz in A minor Op. posth., Waltz in C sharp minor Op. 64 No. 2, Mazurka in F major Op. 68 No. 3, Mazurka in A minor Op. 17 No. 4, Mazurka in B flat major Op. 7 No. 1, Mazurka in F sharp minor Op. 59 No. 3, Mazurka in C sharp minor Op. 63 No. 3, Nocturne in E flat major Op. 9 No. 2, Scherzo in B flat minor Op. 31, Scherzo in C sharp minor Op. 39

PLN 30/20

22 July 2018, 8:30pm
Church of St Catherine
Zieleński. Contexts

Capella Cracoviensis
Jan Tomasz Adamus (conductor)

M. Zieleński In monte Oliveti, Magnificat, Vox in Rama, Terra tremuit et quievit
M. Mielczewski Benedicto et claritas
A. Pacelli Veni sponsa Christi
H.I.F von Biber Missa Alleluja

PLN 40/25 (VIP PLN 60)

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