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Warsaw: Conservatory

Warsaw: Conservatory Warsaw: Conservatory

Warsaw Conservatory was housed in a building on the corner of Krakowskie Przedmieście and the now non-existent Mariensztat street that was formerly part of a Cistercian monastery. It existed from 1819, but its formal inauguration as the Institute of Music and Declamation only took place in April 1821. Held here were mainly lessons for vocal and instrumental classes, as well as all practical lessons for students of the High School of Music. School concerts were held in the Conservatory's concert hall, with Fryderyk often among the performers. At one of these concerts, he met a pupil from the vocal class, Konstancja Gładkowska - the great love of his youth.

On the first floor of the 'ex-Cistercian' school building, on the Mariensztat side, the vice-chancellor Józef Elsner had his apartment. Chopin was the vice-chancellor's favourite pupil, and so was a frequent guest in his home, where he would present his latest compositions in front of Mrs Elsner and the couple's daughter, Emilia. The same building was also home to a boarding house for female pupils of the Conservatory. There lived Konstancja Gładkowska, on whom Fryderyk frequently called. During his visits he would improvise on the piano and accompany her as she sang. The young singer's teacher, Carlo Soliva, a great admirer of Chopin's talent, was enthusiastic about these meetings. After all, he could not have dreamt of a better accompanist for his pupil.

A building housing a monastery was in existence on Krakowskie Przedmieście, between the Royal Castle [Zamek Królewski] and the Church of St Anne, as early as the end of the fifteenth century. From 1584 it was occupied by Bernardine Franciscan Sisters. In the seventeenth century a jurisdiction was established here; the Church of St Clare was erected and a new monastic house was built. The Bernardine Sisters took care of orphans and widows, and also ran a school for girls from noble houses. In 1818 the convent was transferred to Przasnysz, and the abandoned building was converted into military stores. It was subsequently allocated to the Music Conservatory, which had its seat there until 1831.

The building was demolished in the 1840s, and since that time no other edifice has been erected in its place. An empty square has remained, which today offers a panoramic view over the Praga district of Warsaw.


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