The jubilee edition of the world's oldest music festival will feature concerts, recitals, and master classes led by prominent foreign and Polish pianists alongside talented young artists recognised at major piano competitions this yearFrédéric Chopin
came to Duszniki in August 1826 at the order of his Warsaw doctors. As we know from his letters, he took a liking to the health resort and even gave two charity concerts during his stay. The first Chopin Festival in Duszniki was held in 1946 on the 120th anniversary of the concerts of young Fryderyk and featured the great Polish pianists Zofia Rabcewiczowa and Henryk Sztompka. The festival has been an annual event ever since. With time, it won significant artistic prestige and gained international importance.
"The distinctive quality of the International Chopin Festival in Duszniki Zdrój is that it is the oldest piano - not just Chopin - festival in the world", points out the event's artistic director, pianist Piotr Paleczny. "Its small scale is a huge asset of the Duszniki festival. We don't have a modern, new concert hall. What we do have, what we keep reminding people about and what gains the respect of pianists, is the stage on which Fryderyk Chopin himself played many years ago, in 1826. That wins huge respect and adds glamour to our festival. There are very few similar events that can boast such a rich and long tradition".
The artists invited to this year's festival include the greatest pianists and winners of the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Festival. The inaugural concert will be given by Paleczny and the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra. The artists will perform in a large tent set up in Zdrojowy Park. Kevin Kenner, winner of the second prize in 1990, will give a piano recital on 7 August, followed on Monday by Sa Chen, winner of the fourth prize in 2000, and Dang Thai Son, winner of the 1980 competition. August 13will see a performance by Jean-Marc Luisada, winner of the fifth prize in the 1985 competition. Festival audiences will also enjoy recitals by Ayako Uehara (8 August), Stanisław Bunin (August 8), Nelson Goerner (August 11), Ewa Kupiec - a native of Duszniki (August 12), and Fabio Bidini (August 14).
Talented young musicians who have won prizes at various major piano competitions held around the world over the last few years, will also present their skills. Saturday, August 7 will see a performance by Yuja Wang, winner of the Aspen Music Festival Concerto Competition and the Young Artist of the Year Award 2009 from "Gramophone" magazine. The next day, Duszniki audiences can listen to Rachel Cheung from Hong Kong, winner of the second prize in the Alessandro Casagrande International Piano Competition in 2008 and fourth prize in the prestigious Leeds International Pianoforte Competition in 2009.
Afternoon recitals from Tuesday to Saturday will feature winners of the world's most famous piano competitions from last year: Martina Filjak from Croatia, winner of the Cleveland Piano Competition (August 10), Denis Kozhukhin from Russia, winner of the Vendome Prize 2009 in Lisbon (August 11), Sofya Gulyak from Russia, the first-ever female pianist to win the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition (August 12), and two pianists from South Korea - Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the first prize in the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition (August 13), and Yeol Eum Son, winner of the Silver Medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (August 14). Additionally, several contestants for this year's Chopin Competition will give a concert on Tuesday, August 12.
The inaugural concert will take place in the large tent in Zdrojowy Park, while all the other concerts will be held at the Chopin Manor. The master class and a concert by its participants on 10 August will be held in the Jan Weber Chamber Hall at the Foundation's headquarters.
For a full programme, see: www.chopin.festival.pl