Institutions related to Chopin Institutions related to Chopin

Australian Chopin Society in Melbourne

Australian Chopin Society in Melbourne

It was in 1998 that Slavomir Michael Zumis initiated and founded the Australian Chopin Society. However, the inspiration to organise such an organisation was influenced by a number of personal events.

Slavomir who is Melbourne born, has a Polish family background. His first visit to Poland was in 1994 for postgraduate studies. Intensive pianoforte performance training from 1994-1996 at Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music, Warsaw, under the direction of Professor Maria Szraiber (Dean of Pianoforte Department), gave Slavomir a firm pianistic foundation towards the understanding of the music of Fryderyk Chopin.

Experiences in the musical-cultural heritage and activities of Poland left a strong impression on Slavomir; particularly the 1995 International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, the collections of Chopin Society Museum in Warsaw, and well known attractions as; Zelazowa Wola, Lazienki Park, Church of The Holy Cross, as well as the museums of Paderewski and Szymanowski.

The announcement by the international organisation UNESCO of the commemorative year 1999 as the 150th anniversary of the death of Fryderyk Chopin, gave the final impulse and decision to form the Australian Chopin Society.

The visual artist Ryszard Konikowski provided preliminary ideas in the concept for an Australian Chopin Society. The dedicated work of Zdzislaw Derwinski and Joanna Sypula-Gliwa through media publicity created awareness of the establishment of the organisation. These persons were central in the development and progress of the society and its 1999 activities.

After the formal registration of the organisation in 1998, the Australian National Commission for UNESCO in Canberra was invited to become Honorary Patron for the society. Other Honorary Patrons also accepted, they include the concert pianists Maria Szraiber, Piotr Paleczny and Roger Woodward.

It was in 1999 the commemorative year that the Australian Chopin Society made its debut in Melbourne with the Inaugural Concert (May 16) followed by Chopin In Memoriam: 150th Anniversary Festival (September 3-5). Significantly, it was also the first festival dedicated to Fryderyk Chopin’s music in Australia.

Such varying stimuli gave rise and necessity to establish a musical organisation in Australia with Fryderyk Chopin as musical patron, whose international iconic status represents the highest class in pianoforte composition and performance. It is the objective by the organisation in its activities, that Fryderyk Chopin’s piano music is performed and presented in Australia with the same cultural respect and musical experience as in Poland.


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