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POLIN Music Festival: #online

Grafika główna festiwalu z napisem: POLIN Music Festival, 26-28.02.2021, kolorystyka fioletowa
fot. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

It was a special edition of POLIN Music Festival indeed - no symphony orchestra, no standing ovation at the Museum auditorium, no hugging after the concerts, no small talk in the foyer. However, organizing concerts online allowed us to prepare a great journey.

The music journey will lead us from Switzerland, through Belgium, Poland and Ukraine all the way to the United States. We will be listening to the music composed by Bloch, Gershwin, Glass, Freidlin, Piazzolla and Wajnberg.

POLIN Music Festival will begin with a concert by its curator Michael Guttman. Unable to join us here in Warsaw this year, the distinguished violinist is going to perform for us at his home in Switzerland. Together with Jing Zhao, an outstanding cellist, Michael will perform "Suite Hebraïque" by Ernest Bloch.

From the Alps, we will travel back to Warsaw. 26 February marks the 25th anniversary of the passing of Mieczysław Wajnberg, an excellent Polish-Jewish-Russian composer who is well-known to the audience of POLIN Music Festival. Together with the newly-opened Wajnberg Institute, we will commemorate this great artist by presenting the songs he composed to Yiddish lyrics. We will admire the performances by Polish musicians of the younger generation: Ewa Leszczyńska (soprano), Maria Sławek (violin), Marcin Zdunik (cello) and Mischa Kozłowski (piano). In between the pieces, Yiddishist Karolina Szymaniak will elaborate on the lyrics Wajnberg selected. 

The second day of POLIN Music Festival will feature two piano recitals. In Odessa, we will be joined by Alexey Botvinov. Deutsche Grammophon has just released a record of Alfred Schnitke’s music performed by Alexey and violinist Daniel Hope. However, especially for the Festival audience, this remarkable pianist will play the music by another composer, Jan Freidlin, a resident of Israel who left Odessa in the early 1990s. The Polish premiere of "Seven Landscapes" will be preceded by Phillip Glass’ BAFTA-winning suite written for the motion picture "The Hours."

From Odessa, we will travel across the Atlantic to the United States, in time to listen to a recital of George Gershwin’s music performed by Eric Himy, famous for his interpretations of the American composer’s oeuvre. 

On Sunday morning, we will invite the youngest music lovers to join us in front of their screens. Musicians from the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra will form a string quartet especially for us: Magdalena Krzyżanowska as the first violin, Karolina Gutowska as the second violin, Małgorzata Szczepańska playing viola, and Krystyna Wiśniewska playing cello. The concert will be presented by Elżbieta Grab and Joanna Dubrawska, POLIN Museum educators. The event has been designed also for children with special sensory needs.

In line with POLIN Music Festival tradition, the Sunday finale will be dedicated to the sounds of tango. Bassist Ariel Eberstein, well-known to the Festival audience, will welcome us at his studio in Brussels and introduce us to his SONICO ensemble. We will be first to listen to the material from their new record released to mark Astor Piazzolla’s 100th birthday titled "Piazzolla - Rovira: The Edge of Tango." The musicians will play for us the pieces by Octeto Buenos Aires, Piazzolla’s first avant-garde ensemble. The composer himself burnt down the ensemble’s musical scores in the early 1960s, and the music has not been performed since. On Sunday, the tango icon’s pieces will be performed next to the works by Eduardo Rovira and his Octeto La Plata. 

As part of POLIN Music Festival, we have also planned the premieres of podcasts devoted to the musicians who are heroes of the Legacy gallery, a new section of the POLIN Museum core exhibition. We will introduce the works by Bronisław Huberman, Artur Rubinstein and Henryk Wars to our Festival audience.

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

POLIN Music Festival: #online (26-28 February 2021)

26 February (Friday)

  • 8PM Michael Guttman & Friends: Ernest Bloch "Suite Hebraïque" and more
  • 9PM Ewa Leszczyńska, Maria Sławek, Marcin Zdunik, Mischa Kozłowski: Mieczysław Wajnberg "Yidishe lider"; commentary by: Karolina Szymaniak

27 February (Saturday)

  • 8PM Alexei Botvinov plays Philipp Glass & Jan Freidlin
  • 9PM Eric Himy plays George Gershwin

28 February (Sunday)

  • 11AM "Kids and bows": koncert przyjazny sensorycznie
  • 8PM SONICO: The Centenary of Astor Piazzolla

Organizer: POLIN Museum

Co-organizer: Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Polan

Jankilevitsch Foundation is the patron of the POLIN Museum Music Scene