15-17 February 2019

POLIN Music Festival: History Between the Sounds

fot. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

Premiere of a piece inspired by the POLIN core exhibition, premiere of a musical poem dedicated to the life of Mieczysław Wajberg and a launch of Wajnberg@100 series - these are only some of the events planned for the second edition of the POLIN Music Festival. A three-day celebration of music, this year under the title History Between the Sounds, will take place on 15-17 February 2019. The POLIN Museum music scene will host, i.a., JACK Quartet, Michael Guttman, Linus Roth, Jing Zhao and the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra under the baton of Marzena Diakun

  • 15-17 February (Friday - Sunday)

Music serves as a medium at POLIN Museum. It carries the life stories of its authors—Jewish composers and musicians. It allows us to experience emotions akin to those felt by the residents of pre-war multi-cultural Warsaw who sat in concert halls or danced tangoes at dance parties. It also allows us - while presenting new Jewish music - to pose questions on the significance of Jewish identity for the contemporary composers and musicians. At POLIN Museum, the history of Polish Jews is being retold amidst the sound of music.

Having enjoyed the success of the first edition of POLIN Music Festival titled Roots’n’Fruits, we now invite you to the second edition organized under the title History Between the Sounds. The Festival will be held on 15-17 February 2019.


Mieczysław Wajberg will be the leading figure of the second edition of POLIN Music Festival. This eminent Polish-Jewish-Soviet composer was born 100 years ago in Warsaw, in a tenement house at the corner of Żelazna and Chmielna Streets. His life opus boasts 154 pieces, including i.a. 21 symphonic works and 17 string quartets. Wajnberg’s life was a journey through the tragic history of the two twentieth-century totalitarian systems: wanderings in search of a home, a shelter, a language, as well as being torn between the Jewish home, Polish upbringing and Soviet reality.

Wajnberg’s music will be celebrated twice over the course of POLIN Music Festival. During the opening concert, German violinist Linus Roth will perform “Rhapsody on Moldovan Themes”, accompanied by Sinfonia Varsovia under the baton of Marzena Diakun. On the following day, we invite you to a premiere of a musical poem on Wajnberg’s life directed by Natalia Babińska and based on the two collections of Wajnberg’s songs, "Triptych and Profile", both performed in Poland for the first time. Tomasz Raff, an outstanding bass vocalist, will perform as Wajnberg. These two events will launch a new "Wajnberg@100" concert series to be held at POLIN Museum throughout the year 2019.


There will be more premieres during this year’s POLIN Music Festival. Aside from Wajnberg’s piece, the opening concert will feature the first performance of II Symphony by American composer Sturdivant Adams. The symphony is titled "POLIN" and is the second symphony piece - next to Radzimir Dębski’s "POLIN" which premiered in 2016 - inspired by the POLIN Museum core exhibition "1000 Years of History of Polish Jews."

On the same evening, POLIN Museum will join the international exchange of musical postcards. Initiated by the musicians of the New York Philharmonics, the "Musical Postcards" project aims to connect young people from all across the globe by way of music. We will listen to a musical postcard by Nawras Al Taky from Syria titled “Trip”, followed by a response to it prepared especially for the Festival by Mateusz Śmigasiewicz, Polish composer of the young generation.


There is no need to introduce John Zorn to music lovers - not merely Jewish music, but twentieth - and twenty-first-century music in general. The cult saxophone player, improviser and prime mover of the New York avant-garde music scene, developed a program for the POLIN Music Festival himself! JACK Quartet, the hottest American contemporary music quartet, will perform "Necronomicon" (2003), "Kol Nidre" (1996) and "The Alchemist" (2011). The pieces will resound at the POLIN Museum auditorium on the second day of the Festival, preceded by the above-mentioned musical poem on the life of Mieczysław Wajnberg. 


The Sunday evening at POLIN Museum will consist of three parts. It will kick off with a trip to Argentina while watching a documentary Tango, una historia con Judios. The film tells a story of Jewish emigrants from Europe who became prominent authors of Argentinian tango. The evening finale will be a concert, inspired by the book by Julio Nudler From Ghetto to Milonga.  Double bass player Ariel Eberstein is the project’s curator. The POLIN Music Festival audience will have a chance to listen to, among others, the music of the Lipesker family, Simón Bajour (nee Szymuś Bachórz), as well as Gustav Mahler. Next to Ariel Eberstein, the concert will feature violinist Michael Guttman, pianist Chloe Pfeiffer and bandoneon player Lysandre Donoso.

Michael Guttman and Kajetan Prochyra are the Festival’s curators.

(Translation: Zofia Sochańska)

PROGRAM POLIN Music Festival: History between the sounds

DAY 1: 15 February, 7 PM – OPENING CONCERT

Noam Sheriff „Akeda”
Mieczysław Wajnberg „Rhapsody on Moldovan Themes op. 47 no. 3"

Sturdivant Adams „Polin” – premiere
Musical Postcards: Nawras Al Taky „Trip” and Mateusz Śmigasiewicz „Home Is Elsewhere” - premiere

Sinfonia Varsovia under the baton of Marzena Diakun
Linus Roth – violin (Wajnberg)
Michael Guttman – violin (Śmigasiewicz)
Jing Zhao – cello (Śmigasiewicz)

Tickets: 60 PLN (rows L-W) / 80 PLN (rows A-K), BUY TICKET >>


7 PM - Premiere of a musical poem based on the songs from the series Triptych and Profile


9 PM - JACK Quartet – John Zorn's string quartets

Tickets: 100 PLN (rows L-W) / 120 PLN (rows A-K)BUY TICKET >>

DAY 3: 17 February, 5 PM – JEWISH TANGO

4 PM - Chamber concert (Ben-Ari / Guttman / Zhao)
5.30 PM - film screening Tango, una historia con Judios
7 PM - Jewish Tango – concert (Guttman / Eberstein / Donoso / Pfeiffer)

Tickets: 60 PLN (rows L-W) / 80 PLN (rows A-K)BUY TICKET >>

Three-day tickets: 220 PLN, BUY THREE-DAY TICKETS >> 


Organizer: POLIN Museum

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

Patron: POLIN Music Festival is made possible thanks to the financial support of two anonymous donors

Support: Multimedia

Patron of Wajnberg@100 series is the Jankilevitsch Foundation.


Ambasada Stanów ZjednoczonychAmbasada Izraela

Ambasada ArgentynyAmbasada BelgiiAmbasada Belgii
Instytut GoethegoFundacja Ocalenie

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