About the Competition About the Competition

‘Independent’ is a key word associated unambiguously today with the holistic program for celebrations of Poland’s 100th anniversary of regaining independence. Evoked in the festival title, it is intended to point to the overall program contour, essentially designating the form of this year’s edition. It is filled out with two names: Chopin and Paderewski – two iconic figures in Polish culture: artists whose legacy contributed to Poland’s regaining the status of a free state. The first, during a time when any expectation of freedom for the country was in vain, created the most enduring idiom of Polishness in his work; the second contributed immensely to the regaining of independence, making use of his status as a legendary artist in the battle for freedom. Paradoxically unappreciated by his contemporaries and fellow Poles as a composer, he left behind works of exceptional charm and undeniable value, as we will be convinced by, among other things, the festival program.

In 2018, these two artists will inspire us to take a closer look at the extraordinarily rich output of Polish music – both that of the Partition times in the 19th century, and that of the 20th and 21st centuries. Different forms, different genres: from songs and instrumental miniatures, to well-known and unknown symphonic and chamber works, to an opera anticipating the Year of Stanisław Moniuszko, as well as works by Palester and Panufnik; we shall also hear the world premières of works commissioned from Krzysztof Penderecki and Agata Zubel.

As is traditional, the performers will include great masters of both modern and period piano, virtuosi of many other instruments, and also numerous young artists, including talents emerging from the Witold Lutosławski Cello Competition.


So, Chopin and His Europe 2018 will feature:

Première events:

  • Krzysztof Penderecki’s Polonaise for symphonic orchestra, commissioned by the Institute, will be heard at the Festival opening, 9 August.
  • Fireworks – the world première of a work by Agata Zubel, performed by the European Union Youth Orchestra under Gianandrea Noseda, 13 August.
  • The first concert performance of Schubert’s Die Winterreise with words by Stanisław Barańczak – an exceptional, symbolic contribution of Polish culture to the Romantic idiom so deeply anchored in the atmosphere of 19th-century Europe. The concert on 17 August will be a promotion for a CD already recorded by Tomasz Konieczny and Lech Napierała.
  • The first concert performance of Stanisław Moniuszko’s Halka in an Italian-language version, on period instruments.
  • The world première of Andrzej Panufnik’s Hommage à Chopin in a version for flute and quartet.


Polish music aside from that already mentioned in the première events:

  • Of the over 120 works that will be heard during the Festival, 60 will be works by Polish composers.
  • Monographic concerts devoted to Mieczysław Karłowicz and Ignacy Jan Paderewski in the rendition of the Russian National Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic from London.
  • A presentation of Ludomir Różycki’s Violin Concerto.
  • Karol Rathaus’ Piano Concerto.
  • Witold Maliszewski’s Piano Concerto.
  • Maurycy Moszkowski’s Piano Concerto.
  • Mieczysław Karłowicz’s Violin Concerto (twice).
  • Rarely-played works, including Chopin’s Piano Trio with an extraordinary ensemble: Yulianna Avdeeva, Gidon Kremer, Giedrė Dirvanauskaitė (19 August) and Władysław Żeleński’s Sonata for Violin and Piano (Sergey Dogadin and Plamena Mangova, the same day)


…to Paderewski:

  • A monographic concert with Dang Thai Son in the leading role; he will play both solo works by the composer and his Piano Concerto, now released on CD after his sensational performance with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy at the Festival in 2015. This time with Sinfonią Varsovią under the baton of Jacek Kaspszyk, 25 August.
  • The Piano Concerto in the rendition of Garrick Ohlsson (who will also play it during the Independence Gala on 11 November 2018 at the National Opera) and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Grzegorz Nowak (30 August).
  • Without doubt one of the most important points on the program: a vocal recital by Christoph Prégardien, who together with pianist Christoph Schnackertz will perform, among other works, 12 Songs to works by Catulle Mendès (20 August).


Festival of diversity:

  • The jubilee of Agnieszka Duczmal’s Amadeus orchestra, which the ensemble will be celebrating at the Festival with a special concert: on 19 August, Makoto Ozone will remind us of the jazz version of Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 9 in E-flat major, and Franz Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto no. 1 in C major will be divided up among three prizewinners at the most recent Witold Lutosławski Cello Competition. The evening will also include the promotion of a CD: an extraordinary album with archival recordings of concerti for piano and cello by Haydn in the renditions of Martha Argerich and Mischa Maisky, along with the Amadeus orchestra.
  • Debussy for the inauguration: On his 100th anniversary of death, the Beethoven Academy Orchestra under Jean-Luc Tingaud will perform Le coin des enfants and – together with young, outstandingly talented Polish saxophonist and winner of the Eurovision 2016 competition Łukasz Dyczka – the Rhapsody for Saxophone and Orchestra.
  • The première presentation in contemporary Warsaw of the Symphony in E-flat major ‘Warsaw’ by E. T. A. Hoffmann – a figure symbolic of European Romanticism. The symphony, composed in the capital of the then non-existent Polish state, was performed for the first time at the Mniszech Palace – the present Belgian Embassy. On 14 August, it will be played by Concerto Köln.