All told, this will be the eighth edition of the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, and the first to take place in Warsaw. As usual, it will feature some of Europe's and the world's most outstanding soloists, conductors, orchestras, and chamber ensembles. The event has become an important part of Europe's musical landscape around the Easter holiday.
With each edition, the WIELKANOCNY FESTIWAL LUDWIGA VAN BEETHOVENA / LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN EASTER FESTIVAL gains significance in the line-up of the most important music events in Europe. The festival boasts a unique atmosphere that derives from excellent musical performances, the participation of outstanding soloists and conductors, famous orchestras, chamber ensembles and choirs, and the inclusion of often intriguing exhibitions. The festival program is arranged in such a way as to present the works of its patron - one of the most exceptional composers in the history of music - in various contexts and from various perspectives. Each year, the organizers devise a specific theme for the event. Its seven editions thus far have centered on the following subjects: "Beethoven i poprzednicy" / "Beethoven and His Predecessors" (1997), "Beethoven: struktura i ekspresja" / "Beethoven: Structure and Expression" (1998), "Beethoven i romantycy" / "Beethoven and the Romantics" (1999), "Od Beethovena do Mahlera. W kregu wielkiej symfoniki" / "From Beethoven to Mahler - Within the Realm of Great Symphonic Music" (2000), "Beethoven i muzyka XX wieku, 'wieku apokalipsy i nadziei'" / "Beethoven and the Music of the 20th Century - 'The Century of Apocalypse and Hope'" (2001), "Beethoven - Schubert - Chopin: w poszukiwaniu ekspresji wlasnej egzystencji" / "Beethoven - Schubert - Chopin: In Search of Expression of One's Own Being" (2002) and "Beethoven i muzyka baroku" / "Beethoven and Music of the Baroque" (2003).
The LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN EASTER FESTIVAL was held for the first time in 1997, a year when people throughout the world celebrated the 170th anniversary of the death of its patron. Since its beginnings the festival has been accompanied by the International Beethoven Symposium as well as by exhibitions of unique manuscripts, sketches and first editions of sheet music, customarily held at the Jagiellonian Library. The festival was held annually in Krakow through 2003. This year, this special eighth edition of the musical celebration dedicated to Beethoven is being held for the first time in Warsaw; the theme for this edition is "Beethoven i muzyka Europy narodow" / "Beethoven and the Music of the Europe of Nations." This is the largest edition of the festival to date, one that will ultimately include nineteen symphonic concerts, chamber concerts and recitals. These have already taken place or will be held at the Grand Theatre - National Opera, the Polish Theatre, the National Philharmonic, the Witold Lutoslawski Polish Radio Studio, the Grand Hall and Concert Hall of the Royal Castle, the Stanislawowski Theatre in Lazienki Royal Park, and the Hall of Prussian Allegiance at the Sukiennice Market Hall in Krakow (which will host a concert celebrating the opening of an exhibition of music manuscripts at the Jagiellonian Library). These events will collectively feature fifty-six soloists, one thousand eighty hundred sixty-five performers, and thirteen orchestras and ensembles from various parts of the world. Music lovers will have an opportunity to hear great oratorical forms, works for symphony orchestra and chamber ensemble, musical masterpieces of the Classical, Romantic and Modern eras, as well as of the 20th century.
"This year's festival began at a special moment - precisely one month before Poland accedes to the European Union," said Elzbieta Penderecka, the founder and artistic director of the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival. "That is why I had no doubts that it should open with a performance of the 9th Symphony, including the 'Ode to Joy' that crowns this work and that is the anthem of the United Europe. It is no accident that the festival program includes performances by numerous artists from European Union countries and from the countries that will become EU members in May. I would like the festival to contribute through music to building a positive image of Warsaw and Poland in Europe."
|Jacek KaspszykKremerata BalticaUrszula KrygierShanhai QuartetAntoni Wit|
In addition to performances of the works of Beethoven, festival events will feature music by Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms, Frederick Chopin
, Antonin Dvorak, Manuel de Falla, Albert Ginastr, Joseph Hayden, Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
, John Kinsell, Witold Lutoslawski
, Gustav Mahler, Arturs Maskats, Olivier Messiaen, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Modest Musorgsky, Ignacy Jan Paderewski
, Krzysztof Penderecki
, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Dmitri Shostakovich, Giuseppe Verdi and others. The array of invited soloists and ensembles is no less impressive. This will include Canadian singer Wendy Nielsen (an outstanding performer of Beethoven's works with a unique, vibrating voice), Lioba Braun, Stella Doufexis, Michaela Kaune, Urszula Krygier, Anna Lubanska, Hasmik Papian, Agnieszka Rehlis, Krassimira Stoyanova and Violetta Urmana, as well as male singers Vinson Cole, Christian Elsner, Robert Holzer, James Johnson, Giacomo Prestia, Vincenzo La Scola and Michael Volle. A number of outstanding instrumentalists have also been invited, among them are pianists Rudolf Buchbinder, Barry Douglas, Nelson Goerner and Hartmut Höll, cellists Frans Helmerson, Arto Noras and Boris Pergamenschikov, clarinetist Michel Lethiec, and violinists Leticia Munoz, Erika Raum and Gidon Kremer. The list of conductors who are scheduled to appear consists of Antonello Allemandi, Rolf Beck, Gabriel Chmura, James Conlon, Wojciech Czepiel, Patric Gallois, Jacek Kaspszyk
, Maximiano Valdes and Antoni Wit
. The festival will also feature appearances by ensembles and orchestras like the Kremerata Baltica, the Lithuanian Philharmonic, the Sinfonia Finlandia, the Camerata Ireland, the Shanghai Quartet, the ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR OF THE NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC, the POLISH RADIO NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA in Katowice, the Orchestra and Choir of the Grand Theatre in Warsaw, the Symphony Orchestra of the Academy of Music in Krakow, the SINFONIA VARSOVIA, the SINFONIETTA CRACOVIA, the Chor der Bamberger Symphoniker, and the POLISH RADIO CHOIR in KRAKOW.
Each concert of the EASTER FESTIVAL will feature something unique. Performers of the 9th SYMPHONY include outstanding singers Wendy Nielsen (soloist of the Metropolitan Opera in New York), Lioba Braun (an outstanding performer of Wagner's music and a star of the festival in Bayreuth and Milan's La Scala), Vinson Cole and James Johnson, as well as the Choir of the National Philharmonic and the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice under the direction of James Conlon (director of the Paris Opera). A concert featuring a performance of Antonin Dvorak's STABAT MATER, scheduled for Good Friday, has been included in the festival program not only because it relates thematically to the Easter Holiday but also because this year will mark the one hundredth anniversary of the death of this composer. In addition to STABAT MATER, music lovers will have an opportunity to hear Dvorak's CELLO CONCERTO as performed by outstanding Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson, accompanied by the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra in Katowice conducted by Gabriel Chmura. The festival will also feature a number of performers and ensembles who will appear in Poland for the first time. These will include the Shanghai Quartet, the Camerata Ireland, the Sinfonia Finlandia, Lioba Braun, German opera star Michaela Kaune, Erika Raum, and Violetta Urmana - a soloist of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and performer of the mezzo soprano part in Verdi's REQUIEM.
Beethoven and his music are the subject of intensive research, examination and debate by a vast group of music theoreticians, historians and critics. This year's International Scientific Symposium will be chaired by Professor Mieczyslaw Tomaszewski and take place at the "Zacheta" National Contemporary Art Gallery. Deliberations will focus on presenting the oeuvre of Ludwig van Beethoven in the context of European music, underlining the role that the composer played in the development of music throughout the continent, and discussing how his music has inspired and continues to inspire many to explore new references and reinterpretations within culture.
Two exhibitions accompany this year's edition of the LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN EASTER FESTIVAL. The first, titled "Beethoven i muzyka Europy narodow" / "Beethoven and the Music of Europe of Nations" (March 30th - April 10th, 2004), presents the unique manuscripts and first editions of the composer's music contained in the collection of the Jagiellonian Library in Krakow. The second was titled "Skarby Biblioteki Narodowej" / "Treasures of the National Library" and took place at the Palac Rzeczypospolitej (Palace of the Republic), home of the Department of Special Collections of the National Library in Warsaw (April 3-4, 2004).
Program 2 of Polish State Radio has agreed to broadcast events organized as part of the LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN EASTER FESTIVAL. Channel 1 of Polish State Television showed a live broadcast of the inaugural concert that featured a performance of Beethoven's 9th SYMPHONY, while Channel 2 of Polish State Television will broadcast features about the event as well as interviews with participating musicians throughout the festival. A recording of the festival performance of Beethoven's 9th SYMPHONY will be released shortly after the festival.
The LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN EASTER FESTIVAL was admitted to the European Festivals Association in October of 2001.More information
about LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN EASTER FESTIVAL.Additional information: The Ludwig van Beethoven Association / Stowarzyszenie im. Ludwiga van Beethovena
ul. Grzybowska 24, Warszawa
tel. (+48 22) 320 17 09, 320 17 51-52
tel./fax (+48 22) 320 17 03