"Chopin - in Search for Common Language" I International Conference organized by NIFC "Chopin - in Search for Common Language" I International Conference organized by NIFC

The main idea behind the conference was an attempt – taking Chopin’s music as an example -  to answer a question about the origins of  universal comprehensibility of music, the ease of crossing cultural boundaries, types of relationships and the range of agreement reached with the help of music, differences in understanding music and, finally, is utility in creating a sense of unity among the people in 21st century. 

The discussions were held in three topic-oriented groups.

1. Chopin’s music – nationality and universalism

The most relevant issue faced by Poland is its role in new, integrated Europe. Chopin’s music may be considered the embodiment of national tradition, elevated to the status of  a common cultural good of the cultural community of the whole civilized world. What is the secret of this elevation, can the uniqueness of local, regional and national traditions constitute a barrier, which needs to be overcome, or can it become an asset (on what conditions, under what circumstances).


  1. Introductory lecture – Prof. Dr. Jacek Woźniakowski – Language of Art and Spoken Language: Regionalism and Universalism
  2. Prof. Dr Mieczysław Tomaszewski – Chopin and the Values
  3. Prof. Dr. Zofia Chechlińska – Editions of Chopin’s Works as a Ssource and Testimony of Transformations in Performative Ideas about the Composer’s Work
  4. Paweł Kamiński – National Edition of Chopin’s Works as an Example of Urtext Concentrated on the Performer
  5. Krzysztof Grabowski – Chopoin’s Text in Peter’s New Source Edition

2. A common language – new methods of public musical education with the use of Chopin’s music

Participants of a round table discussion: Prof. Andrzej Rakowski, Wojciech Jankowski, Maria Przychodzińska and Kacper Miklaszewski, Dr. Barbara Smolenska-Zielinska, Dr. Mirosław Grusiewicz, Dr. Elżbieta Szubertowa.

3. Chopin’s music – its reception and impact

Uneven economic development of the world surfaces also in cultural diversity. At the same time a rapid process of permeating and unification of mass culture may be observed, parallel to globalization of world economy. The question thus arises whether globalization is synonymous to simplification, flattening, vulgarization of culture and any message it tries to transmit? Is high culture doomed to marginalization?

Since the very beginning art has been a field for individual expression. Still not that long ago high art was indicative of social elevation. Today the ideal of the masses is uniformity, lack of outstanding features, thoughtless imitation. The success is measured by profitability or popularity of a venture, in the situation of absolute detachment from individual worth, perfection and fullness of a human being. Is the process inevitable, is the high art’s destiny – still finding audience – to become an area for practicing individuality, deepening reflection, global understanding. Is Chopin’s music’s future to be seen in aerobics classes? Is Chopin’s music of any interest to anybody these days, is it constantly put on concert schedules, does the demand change with time? What are the reasons of interest in Chopin from the point of view of different cultures? How intensive and fruitful is the research on Chopin’s life and music?


  1. Prof. Dr. Irena Poniatowska – Historical transformations in reception of Chopin’s music
  2. Prof. Dr. Jacek Kurczewski – Social aspects of reception of Chopin’s music 
  3. Round table discussion: „Warsaw – Chopin’s city today”, with the participation of representatives of Chopin societies from various countries of the world: Japan, Tunisia, Brazil, France, Germany, Austria, the USA, etc.

 The conference was accompanied by a concert of two young pianists, a 14-year-old Wang Yuija from Beijing and 16-year-old German artist, Martin Helmchen. During the Saturday concert, which was held in Sala Balowa of the Royal Castle, the performers presented compositions by Domenico Scarlatti, Claude Debussy, Sergei Rachmaninov, Franz Liszt and Fryderyk Chopin. 



Anna Koszewska Chopin – in Search of a Common Language. Conference Materials, “De Musica” Vol. IV 2003 (polish only)

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