THE SILESIAN DAYS OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC


The Silesian Days of Contemporary Music started in 1984 as a follow-up to the Silesian Composers' Tribune, a traditional concert series organized by the Katowice Division of the Polish Composers' Union and the Academy of Music. It is the organizers' intention for the Days to embrace all kinds of contemporary music ideas and programmes, from avant-garde to postmodernism. While the promotion of new Polish music is the prime objective, the Days welcome also works composed abroad, their programmes always including new music achievements representing diverse geographical areas, generations and styles.

The festival had twelve editions until 2006: the first five held annually in 1984-88, the following seven held biennially (alternating with the Silesian Composers' Tribune) after a six-year gap, that is in the years 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006. The first three editions hosted a number of accomplished soloists and orchestras, including Aureli Blaszczok, Henryka Januszewska, Michalina Growiec, Roman Lasocki, Jerzy Mechlinski, Grzegorz Olkiewicz, the Kwartet Slaski / Silesian Quartet, Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra under Piotr Warzecha, Zabrzanska Filharmonia Gornicza under Tadeusz Babinski and Silesian Chamber Orchestra under Jan Wincenty Hawel. A lot of attention was paid to young composers, the Silesian Days being the venue of debuts of Wiesław Cienciala, Andrzej Dziadek, Slawomir Olszamowski i Piotr Radko.

The Days flourished particularly under Andrzej Krzanowski, one of the finest Silesian composers, in 1987-8. Krzanowski expanded the repertoire to include oratorios and cantatas, added concerts of the Youth Section of the Polish Composers' Union and introduced performances by talented secondary school students. The event gained prestige owing to the participation of foreign composers, most notably Freiburg's Klaus Huber, and to concerts played by Roman Jablonski, Elzbieta Stefanska-Lukowicz and Olga Szwajgier as well as the Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio and Television under Antoni Wit, Silesian Philharmonic Choir, Opole Philharmonic Orchestra under Marek Tracz and Bielsko Chamber Orchestra under Tadeusz Kocyba.

Despite being held after a six-year gap and on a biennial basis, the later editions of the Silesian Days followed the same principles with regard to contents and layout of concerts. The organizers have continued to aim for a most comprehensive review of the latest achievement of Silesian composers and for a presentation of works by major Polish – also the young – and foreign composers. For instance, contemporary American music was on the agenda in 1994. The concerts have included a number of world or Polish first performances of music written by composers of various generations, notably Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, Wojciech Kilar, Witold Szalonek i Eugeniusz Knapik

The 9th Silesian Days of Contemporary Music in 2000 were combined with a young composers' competition, and the winning works were performed at one of the festival concerts.
Polish Music Information Center
Polish Composers' Union
January 2002
updated by Anna Iwanicka-Nijakowska
November 2006

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