Inspired by the past, we create the future

Activity of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute


Over 700 thousand people have participated in the events the Adam Mickiewicz Institute has organised under the title of Niepodległa (The Independent) with the Institute’s partners as part of the international celebrations of the centenary of Poland regaining independence. Ever since the programme’s launch, there have been over 240 cultural events in 65 cities, from North America to Europe, 56 theatre performances, 38 exhibitions, 37 workshops, and 17 conferences. The information published on has reached 6.5 million users who generated 18 million hits.


At the peak moment of this year’s programme, the foreign audience will have the opportunity to participate in events held in such prestigious and highly recognised venues as the Pompidou Centre (Paris), the Barbican Centre (London), Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), The Golden Hall of the Musikverein (Vienna), the Bouffes du Nord theatre (Paris), the BOZAR (Brussels), Lotte Concert Hall (Seul), National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing), Carnegie Hall (New York). There will also be an exhibition of Polish design during Designblok in Prague, performances of Polish dance theatre at the Shanghai International Arts Festival and seven musical performances under the title “Paderewski Cycle” presented in NYC, LA, New Mexico and New Orleans.

The delivery of the International Governmental Programme of Niepodległa has been awarded to the Adam Mickiewicz Institute by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. It has been the biggest undertaking promoting Polish culture since 1989. Within the period of four years, there will have been over 400 cultural projects carried out. The aim of the programme is to strengthen the image of Poland as a country of rich traditions, drawing on the past but also focusing on modern culture, and being an important part of the European identity. Following the slogan “Inspired by the past, we create the future”, the programme is being carried out in 20 countries of Europe (with a particular focus placed on Central Europe), Asia, and the biggest cities of the United States.


Niepodległa in Western Europe


After the success of the monographic exhibition of Roman Cieślewicz presented at the Museum of Decorative Arts, another large Polish presentation was opened at the Pompidou centre, one of the most important museums of contemporary art in the world. The exhibition displays the works Katarzyna Kobro and Władysław Strzemiński (24 October 2018 – 14 January 2019). It is an important element of the common endeavours of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Museum of Art in Łódź, which has borne fruit also in the form of this exhibition being presented in Madrid and Malmö. Both institutions have taken it their task to remind the world public about the place that Kobro and Strzemiński deservedly occupy in the 20th century art history. Another exhibition titled “Młoda Polska” (Young Poland) is taking place at the same time at the Museum of Art in Gothenburg (27 October 2018 – 17 March 2019). Prepared together with the National Museum in Warsaw, the presentation will be the biggest display of Polish painting in Scandinavian countries.



Polish music has been presented during special series, concert tours and individual shows. The autumn music programme includes, for example, a focus on Polish music (10 September – 25 November 2018) at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, opened in 2017 and stirring great interest. Polish classical and jazz music is presented there in a series of several concerts. On the 2nd of December, at the Eglise Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis in Paris a concert titled “Hymne a la Pologne” will take place. Orchestre Pasdeloup, the oldest French philharmonic orchestra will perform a Polish programme conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk and with the participation of pianist Janusz Olejniczak. The concert in Paris, as well as that of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Vienna, have been organised under the auspices of the President of the Republic, Andrzej Duda.

An important point in the music programme of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute are the numerous compositions commissioned to composers such as Agata Zubel, Krzysztof Penderecki, Paweł Szymański (premiering on the 2nd of November in London) and Elżbieta Sikora (premiering in 2019), presented at concerts held in Berlin, London, Hamburg, Warsaw and Vienna.

At the meeting of the music and exhibition autumn programmes of Niepodległa is the special project dedicated to the Polish Radio Experimental Studio. Its main event is a display at the Zentrum der Kunst und Medien in Karlsruhe (14 July 2018 – 6 January 2019). The exhibition has been supplemented with records and concerts, as well as new technology elements: VR, and a library of the Studio samples, 18 thousand downloads of which have been recorded within the first month after its launch.

After a series of theatre performances by Krystian Lupa during the Festival d’Automne, the Paris audience will be invited to projects of the ZAR theatre on Peter Brook’s famous stage - Bouffes du Nord (12 – 15 December 2018). The program includes a concert "Anamnesis", a screening o the film "Akropolis" as well as the performance "Medeas. On Getting Across".




Niepodległa in Central Europe


The centenary of Poland regaining independence is also an important moment in the history of the Central and Eastern European countries. For that reason much of the programme is focused on this region.

A rich presentation of Polish design, including the exhibitions shown during the Romanian Design Week, Budapest Design Week and the Vienna Design Week, where Poland was the guest of honour, is completed by the show titled “Corals of Coral Colour” presented at Designblok in Prague (25–29 October), as well as television screenings of a series on design, “Rzecz polska” (The Polish Thing) produced by the Institute and TVP Kultura..

After the rich presentation of Polish music at the festivals “Bridging Europe” in Budapest and “Prague Spring”, a special concert will take place on the 17th of November, when the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Liebreich together with pianist Szymon Nehring will play at the Golden Hall of the Wiener Musikverein. The concert is organised under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, and will end a mini - tour of the artists who gave concerts in the fall, opening the Polish focus at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg (10 September 2018) and representing Poland in Copenhagen (9 September 2018).

The programme prepared with Lithuanian partners includes presentations based on shared cultural heritage and include, for example, the exhibition “Angel and Son” dedicated to the Witkiewicz family (20 September – 18 November 20108), exhibition “Lithuania, my Homeland… Adam Mickiewicz and His Narrative Poem Sir Thaddeus” at which the manuscript of the work is presented in Lithuania for the first time ever (27 November 2018 – 24 February 2019), or “The Forefathers’ Eve: directed by Eimuntas Nekrošius (29-30 October2018). Simultaneously, contemporary art from both countries is shown at the exhibition “Waiting for the Second Coming” which can now be seen at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw (26 October 2018 – 27 January 2019) after its first presentation in Vilnius. The exhibition “Lithuania, my Homeland… Adam Mickiewicz and His Narrative Poem Sir Thaddeus” is held under honorary auspices of the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Prof Piotr Gliński and, from the Lithuania side, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania,Saulius Skvernelis and Minister of Culture of Lithuania, Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson.

The main point in the autumn programme organised in Ukraine is the Polish-Ukrainian concerts titled “Music of Independence”. The main idea of the project is to juxtapose Polish and Ukrainian music of the twentieth century. The initiator of the series, prepared by Polish and Ukrainian artists, is Roman Rewakowicz – a promoter of Polish-Ukrainian music dialogue. On the 4th of December 2018, the National Orchestra of Ukraine will give a concert at the National Music Academy of Ukraine in Kiev which will include I.J. Paderewski’s Symphony in H minor “Polonia” Op. 24.

Another music project is the innovative Polish-Ukrainian big band consisting of Polish and Ukrainian musicians of the young generation. The basis for their joint compositions are lyrics by Ukrainian poets and writers while the music is composed by jazzmen Michał Górczyński and Paweł Szamburski. The first performance of the band is planned on the 17th of November 2018 at the 33 jazz club in Kiev.



Niepodległa in Asia


China Shanghai International Arts Festival is recognised as one of the biggest cultural events in China. The Polish Focus at the 20th edition of the festival (19 October – 18 November 2018) will include a concert of Sinfonia Varsovia, as well as the performance of “The Harvest” by the Polish Dance Theatre, which uses pieces written by Eugeniusz Rudnik, a pioneer of Polish electronic music and a collaborator of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio. The concert of Sinfonia Varsovia is part of a tour, during which the orchestra will give 10 concerts in the most important Chinese and Korean concert halls, including the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing and the Lotte Concert Hall, with the participation of such prominent soloists as Anne-Sophie Mutter and Yu-Chien Benny Tseng. After eight concerts in China conducted by Prof Krzysztof Penderecki, the musicians will give two concerts in South Korea (10 and 11 of November in Usan and Seul), this time under maestro Grzegorz Nowak.

Furthermore, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute has taken upon itself to organise cultural events accompanying the Independence Cruise and, taking advantage of the presence of the ship, Dar Młodzieży, in Singapore and Osaka, it is presenting Polish culture in the two countries. The local audience in the Singapore harbour admired kinetic sculptures, while music lovers were invited to a concert of Marek Bracha at the botanical gardens. The next stop of the sailing ship is Osaka (13- 16 November 2018), where the viewers will be greeted by a virtual cruise aboard the Polish transatlantic, MS “Pilsudski”. Thanks to the VR technology, viewers will learn the history of Poland from 100 years ago in a modern fashion.



Niepodległa in the USA


I.J. Paderewski has been an inspiration to international artists, not only musicians who play his compositions, but also those from the visual arts who use new technology (the installation “Paderewski
Remixed” by the British collective Yeast Culture), as well as people connected with the American musical scene. At the turn of November and December, the effects of the project titled “Paderewski Cycle” will be presented in four American cities – New York, Los Angeles, New Mexico, and New Orleans (28 November – 6 December 2018). These performances, which hold a potential to become not just musicals, but also oratories or alternative operas, will be presented to academic circles, Broadway producers and potential investors.

The Silesian Quartet will give concerts in New York and Chicago (6, 7 November 2018) bringing back the music of the Warsaw insurgents, Roman Padlewski and Joachim Mendelson, whose life and music was connected with Warsaw. On the 40th anniversary of its foundation, this outstanding chamber ensemble decided to present to the world a series of Polish string quartets unknown to the wider global audiences.

On the 11th of November at the Unite Solo festival on New York’s Broadway a multimedia performance will be presented titled “The Auschwitz Volunteer: Captain Witold Pilecki” based on the awarded publication “Beyond Bravery. An Auschwitz Volunteer” compiled on the basis of reports given by colonel Witold Pilecki.

The Carnegie Hall in New York (14 November) will host Janusz Olejniczak, Sebastian Karpiel-Bułecka, the splendid musicians of the Atom String Quartet, Neo Quartet and Karpiel Bułecka’s Highlander Quartet conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk. At a concert prepared by The Polish National Opera under the title “Voices of Mountains”, the audience will have the opportunity to hear compositions which draw on the music of the Polish mountains written by such composers as Karol Szymanowski, Wojciech Kilar and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. The music will be accompanied with screen projections of photographs by Mieczysław Karłowicz.




Premieres of Niepodległa


The slogan “Inspired with the past, we create the future” places a certain responsibility on the organisers – for that reason, a significant part of the programme is reserved to new works inspired by the legacy of the last 100 years of Polish culture.

These include compositions commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute on the occasion of the anniversary, as well as performances, multimedia art installations, digital culture and VR projects.

During the first year of the programme only, four new pieces composed by Polish composers on the commission of the Institute and partners were premiered (EUYO, NIFC, Klangforum Wien, radio BBC): “Bildbeschreibung” opera (6, 29 September 2018), as well as Agata Zubel’s “Fireworks”, for which she received the European Composer Award (13, 14 and 19 August 2018), “The Polonaise” by Krzysztof Penderecki (foreign premier – 25, 29 October 2018) and “Fourteen Points. Woodrow Wilson Overture” by Paweł Szymański (2 November 2018). A premiere of the Elżbieta Sikora’s work is planned for the coming season. Polish music recordings have also had their premieres, including those promoting the Polish Radio Experimental Studio which have been sent to subscribers of “The Wire” and an album by the Silesian Quartet, “Grażyna Bacewicz The Two Piano Quintets – Quartet for Four Violins” which was awarded record of the month by the BBC Music Magazine.

Contemporary dance performances have also been coproduced with partners from Central Europe and countries of the Eastern Partnership: “Polyphony” – the first performance in a series of “Territories of Choreography” inspired by the work of female dancers and choreographers connected with Polish culture, and “Heart of the Factory” inspired by post-industrial spaces. The scriptwriters and directors of the American musical scene have drawn inspiration from the oeuvre and personality of Ignacy Paderewski and produced performance projects as part of the “Paderewski Cycle”.
Other contemporary dance and drama performances are in the making.

Premieres of Niepodległa: New technology

In 25% of the projects new technology has been used. It was an absolute must in the events commemorating the centenary. VR lovers have had an opportunity to try a VR game inspired by the work of Tadeusz Kantor, prepared by the Belgian – American art collective Tale of Tales and available on the “Cricoterie” platforms.

New technology is used in projects expanding the knowledge of the foreign audience about the Polish music, e.g. “Paderewski Remixed” – a multimedia installation by the Yeast Culture collective based on the film, “The Moon Sonata” from 1937, where the main character is Paderewski. Others include the APPARATUM installation by the collective Pan Generator, the library of samples promoting the achievements of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, and the Map of Polish Composers. has invited its readers onto a multimedia journey to the times when the fate of Poland, erased from the political map of Europe, was being decided on. The story is narrated by Georg Brandes – a prominent Danish writer. The premiere of the multimedia article “Where is Poland? Foreigner’s Guide to Polish Culture under Partitions” is planned for November. 3.0 for Niepodległa 3.0 is a reflection of the newest trends which are now present in designing the Internet services. Using the possibilities offered by the newest technologies and the creativity of Polish designers, Culture 3.0 is aims at improving the functionality of the service and the attractiveness of the content there presented. Wanting to satisfy the expectations of its users, it has been created in the mode of “mobile first” approach, which has resulted in a 25% increase of views from mobile devices. Ever since the launch of Culture 3.0 in April this year, the number of users in comparison to the same period last year went up by 13.5% , and the number of hits went up by over 50%. Users also spend more time now with the new (an increase by 27%). All in all, from November 2017 until November 2018, the portal was visited by 6.5 million users, generating 16 million hits.


The complex programme of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, which is carried out as part of the Multiannual Governmental Programme Niepodległa, is divided into two programme blocks. The Niepodległa programme has been prepared by the teams of the Institute and carried out in cooperation with Polish and foreign partners. In the period of four years, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute will have carried out 400 projects in over 20 countries.

The Institute’s programme is further complemented by projects organised as part of the “Cultural Bridges”, i.e. the Institute-managed subsidy programme of the Ministry of Culture and National
Heritage. It is addressed to non-governmental organisations focusing on cultural activities as well as culture institutions and local authorities. The 2018 edition was extremely popular among the potential grant recipients – 263 projects were submitted and 74 applications were granted financial support. 316 cultural events were scheduled for the 2018 edition, taking place in 74 cities of 18 countries. The budget for 2018 was PLN 10 million.

Over PLN 60 million has been earmarked in the Multiannual Governmental Programme for the international programme of commemorating the centenary of Poland regaining independence. Over PLN 20 million from that amount has been allotted to the cooperation with non-governmental organisation and local government cultural institutions.

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