The Polska Music program aims to bring Polish music and artists to greater cultural prominence around the world. As well as initiating, supporting and organising international stage productions, concerts, events, exhibitions, conferences, books, recordings and innovative digital and multi-media projects, Polska Music commissions new work, and promotes contemporary Polish composers and performers.
Polska Music was created in 2011 by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, a national cultural institution based in Warsaw whose mission is to promote Polish culture internationally and actively participate in international cultural cooperation.
A major focus of Polska Music has long been to organise performances of Polish classical music by prominent international artists worldwide. Among its partners are Berliner Philharmoniker, Cité de la musique – Philharmonie de Paris, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
A notable example of Polska Music’s work was the centenary of Witold Lutosławski in 2013, celebrated internationally with 67 orchestras playing his music in 700 concerts that year, including the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Woven Words tour. Other recent achievements have included a performance of Krzysztof Penderecki’s St Luke’s Passion to open the Salzburger Festspiele 2018; a major collaboration with the Rambert Dance Company, Kim Brandstrup and the Quay brothers which resulted in a spectacular full-length ballet, Life is a Dream, featuring only music by Lutosławski (2018); and major new opera productions staged by Brergenzer Festspiele, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lincoln Center Festival, Royal Opera House, Sydney Opera House, Welsh National Opera, which confirmed the international reputations of Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Passenger, Karol Szymanowski's King Roger and André Tchaikowsky’ Merchant of Venice.
Polska Music also has a deep commitment to contemporary music, commissioning many new works from Polish composers. Recent highlights include Fireworks by Agata Zubel, premiered at BBC Proms; a symphonic work devoted to Polish harpsichordist Wanda Landowska by Elżbieta Sikora, to be premiered in Paris later this year; a choral piece based on the Improperia Popule meus, quid feci tib by Paweł Łukaszewsk, to be premiered by Collegium Musicale in Estonia later this year; and Fourteen Points: Woodrow Wilson Overture by Paweł Szymański, which received its world premiere from BBC Symphony Orchestra at London’s Barbican Centre and live on BBC Radio 3 in November 2018.
The scope of the programme continues to expand. Exploring new ways of promoting Polish music, the Polska Music team created the Map of Polish Composers, an innovative multi-lingual, interactive resource about Polish music and composers, which is available free of charge at mapofcomposers.pl.
Polska Music has also been celebrating 60 years of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, a pioneering centre for the creation of original electro-acoustic music, and the first in the Eastern Bloc. Highlights include the publication of a free, comprehensive library of audio samples for the modern makers of electronic music, and a major exhibition at the Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany.
A wide range of high-profile events are planned for 2019 to celebrate Weinberg’s centenary including major concert series at London’s Wigmore Hall and Philharmonic de Paris, including a complete cycle of string quartets with the Danel Quartet; new international productions of The Passenger with The Israeli Opera Tel-Aviv-Yafo and Staatstheater Braunschweig; major concerts, including the premier of Suite No. 4 from the Gold Key ballet performed by the UK’s City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, as well as a series of books, recordings and an academic conference at the University of Manchester.
The Heroines of Sound, actively promoting the work of Polish women composers and artists through Polska Music, is also generating much interest. As well as the new commissions mentioned above, major concerts are planned for Elżbieta Sikora and Agata Zubel in Paris and Milan. A recording of new works by Maria Szymanowska and a new book in French about Agata Zubel are also planned.