About the Festival

Marcel Chyrzyński – general and artistic director of the Festival (Photo by Marta Filipczyk / PWM Edition)

The Krakow International Festival of Composers (formerly known as Days of Music by Krakow Composers and 2014-2019 International Festival of Krakow Composers) has been part the cultural life of Krakow since 1989. The main purpose of the Festival is the promotion and presentation of contemporary professional work of Krakow composers (classics and professors, but also the outstanding middle generation, and the youngest composers and students of composition) created in relation to world music. This concept is realized via organization of concerts and meetings with composers. What is more, special lectures are organized during the Festival (conducted, among others, by music theorists of the Krzysztof Penderecki Academy of Music in Krakow, musicologists of the Jagiellonian University and invited guests from Poland and abroad).
In 1989, the festival was brought to life by Jerzy Kaszycki, Juliusz Łuciuk, Maciej Negrey and Kazimierz Pyzik. Since 1994 (for 20 years) the artistic director of the festival and the author of the program concept was musicologist Jerzy Stankiewicz. Since 2014 the general and artistic director is composer Marcel Chyrzyński.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

The main theme of the 34th Krakow International Festival of Composers is “Tradition in contemporary music”. I understand tradition in the context of composition as a continuum of the development of music since the ancient times. In the 20th century, avant-garde music rejected authorities of the past. However, the return to tradition came quickly, though in the altered form, assimilated with new musical means. Currently, we can observe a broad selection of styles, in which composers refer both to avant-garde and earlier music.

“Tradition in contemporary music” is also a topic of this year’s session, during which we will listen to speeches by: Jerzy Stankiewicz, Teresa Malecka, Agnieszka Draus and Maciej Jabłoński. The session will be hosted by Marcin Strzelecki.

In connection with the war in Ukraine, standing with all musicians from that country, I have decided to change the original program of this year’s edition of KIFC. The inaugural concert will focus mainly on Ukrainian composers. Sinfonietta Cracovia under the baton of Jurek Dybał will perform compositions by Lyubava Sydorenko (Octagon), Igor Shcherbakov (Warum? Chamber Symphony No. 5) and Zoltan Almashi (Chamber Cantata). The solo violin part in Almashi’s composition will be played by Ukrainian violinist Mariana Skrypa. The same concert will also feature Krzysztof Penderecki’s Ciaccona in memoria del Giovanni Paolo II and Palimpsest for string orchestra by Krystian Neścior (b. 1992), the winner of the 5th Krzysztof Penderecki International Competition for Young Composers. At the concert of the Aschenbach Trio from England, which will take place in the “Florianka” hall, Anna Litvinenko (American with Ukrainian roots) will perform Valentin Silvestrov’s Moments of Silence and Stillness.

Another important festival event will be the Concert on the occasion of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the 30th death anniversary of Olivier Messiaen. The outstanding pianist from Krakow Dominika Peszko will perform the entire cycle of Messiaen’s Twenty Gazes upon the Infant Jesus. So far, only two Polish pianists have performed this cycle in its entirety: Jerzy Godziszewski and Eugeniusz Knapik. The concert will be held under the honorary patronage of the French Embassy in Poland.

The program will be complemented by a lecture by Prof. Zbigniew Bargielski entitled A Few Thoughts on my Concept of Musical Form. He will also conduct a master class for students of Composition at the K. Penderecki Academy of Music in Krakow.

The 8 festival concerts will feature works by composers from Poland, England, Estonia, France, Georgia, Japan, Ukraine, Italy, and the USA. You will hear 20 world premieres and 4 Polish premieres.

I wish you an unforgettable experience!

Marcel Chyrzyński

General and artistic director