Warsaw Music Encounters

early music - new music


Warsaw Music Encounters is an annual festival of early and new music created in 1986. The Festival, founded and directed by the composer Władysław Słowiński, is organised by the Warsaw Branch of the Polish Composers’ Union and co-organised by Polish Radio Programme Two. Since its inception, the Festival has received the most significant financial support from the Municipal Office of the Capital City of Warsaw. Over the years, Warsaw Music Encounters has become a major element of the Capital’s yearly cultural offer. Besides the festival is financed by the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and supported by ZAiKS Author’s Association.

Warsaw Music Encounters is one of the most important festivals of early and new music, but also the first and only one that has made it a principle to combine these two on a regular basis. Thanks to this principle, the Festival provides an opportunity for many early music enthusiasts to get acquainted with contemporary works and discover that they “don’t bite” after all. The position in the Festival is also confirmed by the ever growing interest of Polish and foreign musicians who submit their programme offers. For many years now, the Festival has featured excellent performers and exciting repertoires, “gaining momentum” with every new Festival year and meeting the tastes of a growing number of listeners.

In accordance with the programme formula contained in the Festival’s subheading "Early Music - New Music", the Festival presents important early and new music compositions and promotes the most recent works by contemporary composers, written for the large part specially for this Festival, which also contributes to its unique character.

Since 2010, the Festival has also begun to present jazz music - an untypical but exciting combination. Among the featured jazz artists, there was the legendary String Connection in 2010, the outstanding German Thärichen’s Tentett in 2011 and spirited jazz pianist Marcin Masecki.

The Festival’s programme principles allow for a peculiar “interpenetration of cultures”, as the presented contemporary works frequently reflect some aspects of the early music compositions, whereas the jazz pieces contain influences from both. This can often prove inspiring and creative.

Among the Festival performers we should mention, apart from leading Polish artists, such ensembles as The King’s Singers, Musica Antiqua Köln, Musica Reservata de Barcelona, Discantus, Alla Francesca, La Morra and Musica Nova and soloists, including the violinist Alena Baeva and the cellist Ivan Monighetti.

The Festival Programme is determined by a Programme Committee consisting of eminent specialists – composers and musicologists: Prof. Michał Bristiger, Paweł Gancarczyk, Małgorzata Gąsiorowska (musicologists), Edward Sielicki, Adam Sławiński and Władysław Słowiński (composers and music theorists). The Programme Committee is chaired by Władysław Słowiński, artistic director of the Festival.

In the previous years, the Festival concerts were broadcast or rebroadcast by the Polish Radio as well as other stations within the European Broadcasting Union, which has undoubtedly contributed to the international promotion of Warsaw’s cultural offer and of the city itself. We hope that this tradition of radio coverage will be continued in 2012.

Warsaw Music Encounters is a festival directed towards music lovers from Warsaw, but also towards tourists willingly spending time at the Festival concerts. Another group of target listeners are the secondary school students, both from Warsaw and other places in Poland. Every year organized school groups travel to Warsaw specially to attend the Festival concerts.

The Festival admittedly does not map out new trends in music and does not cause scandals, but it is an enjoyable and exciting way of spending time and an opportunity to listen to engaging compositions, both well known and quite new ones. It also provides a chance to meet many interesting personalities, outstanding composers and talented artists.

The Festival concerts are held in the Royal Castle, the Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio and the Evangelical-Reformed Church at 74, Solidarności Avenue.