The Polish Radio Experimental Studio (PRES) was established during the temporary liberalisation of life in Poland in October 1956. The event was no less than a phenomenon for this part of Europe, and it also had a symbolic meaning. This year the studio celebrates its 60th anniversary. On 13th and 14th October 2017, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Art Museum in Łódź are holding a conference to commemorate this event.
The Polish Radio Experimental Studio started its activity in 1957, nine years after Pierre Schaeffer's experimental studio in Paris, six years after the Cologne's Studio für Elektronische Musik, and two years after Milan's Studio di Fonologia Musicale. The fourth European experimentally-oriented radio unit started the era of electroacoustic music in Poland. PRES was a part of a public radio station. Led by a musicologist Józef Patkowski, it became one of the most innovative projects of its times.
The conference will focus mostly on the studio’s activity with special attention towards artistic freedom in times of socialism and censorship. Its international contacts will be analysed. These include Fulbright’s grantees being commissioned to compose or co-operation with artists such as the American Michael Ranta or the Italian group Nuove Proposte Sonore. The design of Oskar Hansen’s studio and Krzysztof Wodiczko’s exhibition Instrument Perkusyjny will serve as examples of the relationship between the studio and the art world. The sound engineer-composer relationship will also be examined during a discussion with the second generation of the studio’s engineers and on the basis of the performance of three different versions of a symphony by Bogusław Schaeffer. The conference's programme also includes a lecture on the early reception of electro-acoustic music, as exemplified by Krzysztof Penderecki’s work, and a speech on the relationship between the studio’s sound engineering and popular music.
During all these lectures, presentations and discussion panels, we will discover:
- Why has there never been a national studio similar to PRES in the UK?
- What is the collective aspect of the composition of electro-acoustic music?
- Why was experimental music supported more by art galleries than by musical institutions?
- In what way was the production of experimental music beneficial for the development of modern museums?
- How did the artist function between freedom and censorship?
The list of conference guests includes:
Antoni Beksiak / Bolesław Błaszczyk / Dariusz Brzostek /Cindy Bylander / David Crowley / David Grubbs / Ewa Guziołek-Tubelewicz / Lukáš Jiřička / Aleksandra Kędziorek / Sanne Krogh Groth / Michał Libera / Michał Mendyk / Flo Menezes /Antoni Michnik / Lars M¸rch Finborud / Frances Morgan /Daniel Muzyczuk / Ola Nordal / Barbara Okoń-Makowska /Agnieszka Pindera / Holly Rogers / Tadeusz Sudnik / Krzysztof Szlifirski / Jan Topolski / Joanna Walewska / Laura Zattra /Marek Zwyrzykowski
Accompanying events include: Jan Topolski’s lecture on films that use music by the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, a concert featuring Thomas Lehn, Wolfram and Tadeusz Sudnik.
- Bogusław Schaeffer – Electronic Symphony (performed by Wolfram)
- Bogusław Schaeffer – Electronic Symphony (performed by Thomas Lehn)
- Tadeusz Sudnik – Re:mix
Thomas Lehn studied sound engineering, piano and jazz piano in Germany. Since 1982 he has given concerts with a repertoire varying from classicistic to contemporary. He developed an interest in live electronics, which he has been associated with since the early 1990s. He has worked mainly on analogue synthesizers since the late 1960s.
Dominik Kowalczyk, known professionally as Wolfram, is a sociologist, IT specialist, webmaster and musician. Former member of the Neurobot trio, he has been a solo artist since 2000, he also occasionally performs with bands. He recorded three albums with Neurobot and six solo albums, the last one Thinking Dust (2005) was met with favourable reviews in Poland.
Tadeusz Studnik is a Polish sound engineer, performer, composer, founder of the Studio of Impossible Sounds. He worked in the Polish Radio Experimental Studio. His genres include film, electronic, theatre and folk music. He collaborated with Tomasz Stańko’s group Freelectronic. He is a member of the Kawalerowie Błotni group, whose other members include Jerzy Kornowicz, Mieczysław Litwiński, Ryszard Latecki, Krzysztof Knittel and Tadeusz Wielecki. The group composes traditional free-jazz music in unusual surroundings, such as forests and fields.
The conference's full programme is available on the event's website.
The conference is part of POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme accompanying the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Poland's sovereignty.
The conference was financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as a part of the NIEPODLEGŁA multi-annual programme for the years 2017–2021.
Source: press materials, compiled by MK, 6.10.2017, translated by KF, 13.10.2017