POLIN Music Festival 2020

grafika ilustracyjna - identyfikacja wizualna POLIN Music Festivalu
fot. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

Three evenings, five concerts, musicians of world-renown and premieres of special projects - all these await the audience of the third edition of POLIN Music Festival to be held at POLIN Museum between 28 February and 1 March. Among the distinguished musicians to perform on our stage are: Michael Guttman, Lara St. John, Jing Zhao, Ohad Ben-Ari, JP Jofre, Matt Herskowitz, Pierre Genisson, Bastarda trio and the orchestras: Sinfonia Varsovia and NFM Leopoldinum.

28 lutego – 1 marca (piątek - niedziela), 

  • 28 February (Friday), Girls’ Orchestra from Birkenau tickets: PLN 60 / PLN 80, BUY A TICKET >>
  • 29 Febryary (Saturday), Guttman and friends, tickets: PLN 20 / PLN 30, BUY A TICKET >>
  • 29 February (Saturday), Shiksa & Bastarda, tickets: PLN 60 / PLN 80, BUY A TICKET >>
  • 1 March (Sunday), Jewish tango for the Orchestra, tickets: PLN 60 / PLN 80, BUY A TICKET >>
  • Three-day tickets: PLN 180, BUY A TICKET >>

The third edition of POLIN Music Festival will begin with a concert dedicated to the Girls’ Orchestra from Birkenau, headed by Alma Rosé in the years 1943-1944. Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra will be conducted by Marta Kluczyńska. The libretto, based on recollections of the former members of the camp orchestra, was penned by writer and reporter Patrycja Dołowy. It is a tale of the power of music that can save lives.

On the second day, we will listen to three chamber concerts. First, renowned violinist Michael Gutman, the Festival’s prime mover and co-curator, will introduce us to the realm of Jewish composers. He will be accompanied by his friends: cellist Jing Zhao, pianist Ohad Ben-Ari, and - for the first time at POLIN Museum - French clarinettist Pierre Genisson.

Next, violinist Lara St. John and pianist Matt Herskowitz will enter the stage. We remember Lara from her bravado performance, together with Sinfonia Varsovia, of a piece by Avner Dorman in September 2019 at POLIN Museum. Now she returns with her own project titled Shikse. The concert will include her own interpretations of melodies from Israel, Palestine, Macedonia and Armenia, as well as music by Cesar Franck and George Gershwin. The musician, named artist of the year 2019 by Alex Ross, one of the most influential music journalists in the world (The New Yorker), will play a unique instrument during the PMF concert - a violin that she bought at one of Warsaw’s second hand stores during her previous visit to Poland.

The second day of the Festival will end with a journey to the world of mystical Hasidic melodies from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries performed for us by the Bastarda Trio: Paweł Szamburski (clarinet), Michał Górczyński (bass clarinet) and Tomasz Pokrzywiński (cello). The Festival audience will listen to the premiere performance of the music from the Trio’s new album titled Nigunim. The musicians, inspired by the heritage of the Modzhitz Hasidic dynasty and by the music collection of Moshe Bieregowski, discover the beauty of old Jewish melodies, interpreting them in their own way, using their own unique musical language.

The Festival finale will be devoted to tango, in line with the PMF tradition. This year, however, Jewish tangoes will be performed by an orchestra. The audience will listen to the premiere of a double concert for bandoneon and violin by Juan Pablo Jofre. The solo parts will be performed by Michael Gutman and the composer himself. They will be accompanied by NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra. Aside from the pieces by Jofre, we will also listen to the music composed by, among others, Lalo Schifrin and Christian Danowicz.

Michael Guttman and Kajetan Prochyra are the POLIN Music Festival curators.

POLIN Music Festival - the program


  • 7 PM Girls’ Orchestra from Birkenau
    Sinfonia Varsovia under the baton of Marta Kluczyńska; Patrycja Dołowy - libretto. 
    The program includes, i.a., pieces by J. S. Bach, R. Schuman, P. Sarasate and M. Ravel. 

29.02. (SATURDAY) – POLIN CHAMBER Music Festival

  • 5 PM Guttman and friends: chamber music concert
    Michael Guttman – violin / Jing Zhao – cello / Ohad Ben-Ari – grand piano / Pierre Genisson – clarinet
  • 7 PM Shiksa
    Lara St. John – violin / Matt Herskowitz – grand piano
  • 9 PM Bastarda – premiere of the "Nigunim" album
    Paweł Szamburski – clarinet / Michał Górczyński – bass clarinet / Tomasz Pokrzywiński – cello


  • 6 PM Jewish tango for the Orchestra
    (Michael Guttman – violin / JP Jofre – bandoneon / NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra)

Organizer: POLIN Museum

Co-Organizer: The Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland

POLIN Music Scene’s patron is the Jankilevitsch Foundation