Discover the Iron Curtain's unlikeliest music haven and the people who made it happen
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In 1957, the Polish Radio Experimental Studio (PRES) first opened its doors in Warsaw, and would very soon become an important European centre for the creation of exciting and original electro-acoustic music. But how did such a place even come to be built in Poland, just a few years after the death of Stalin and the severe artistic restrictions of Social Realism?
In this episode, you will find out what exactly went on inside the strange electronic depths of the PRES, and how through the efforts of its first director, Józef Patkowski, the studio became a 'window to the world', hosting the best composers from both the Eastern Bloc and the West. You'll also hear the remarkable story of Eugeniusz Rudnik, a technician from a small Polish village, who after spending countless hours helping out others with tape machines and signal generators found unexpected success and recognition.
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[02:05] The origins of electronic music
[05:58] How the communist authorities agreed to fund an experimental studio
[12:35] The humble beginnings of Eugeniusz Rudnik’s career at the studio
[15:22] Rudnik’s love for magnetic tape and processing human voices
[20:15] How the introduction of Martial Law put an end to the studio’s prosperity
[24:28] Rudnik’s legacy and MSN’s plans to recreate the studio’s famous recording space
Antoni Beksiak / for kindly initiating us into the technological and musical history of the studio. Antoni is a music critic, musician and festival curator (Turning Sounds et al.). He leads the bands Niewte and Gęba.
Łukasz Strusiński / for inviting us to the International PRES Conference in Łódź (October 2017) and helping us navigate this topic. Łukasz is a classical music expert and part of the Master Project team at the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
Agnieszka Pindera / for sharing her knowledge about the studio and those closely involved with it, including Józef Patkowski, Eugeniusz Rudnik and Władysław Sokorski. Agnieszka is a curator at Muzeum Sztuki in Łodź and organiser of the International PRES Conference held at the museum in 2017.
Paweł Nowożycki / for talking to us about the iconic Black Room at PRES and its planned re-construction at the new Museum of Modern Art (MSN) building in Warsaw. Paweł is a curator at MSN and head of the PRES reconstruction project.
David Crowley / for shedding light on the historical and artistic background of the studio as a place of creative openness behind the Iron Curtain and its important links with Western studios and composers. David Crowley is the Head of the School of Visual Culture at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.
SFTEW Team: Wojciech Oleksiak, Adam Zulawski, John Beauchamp, Nitzan Reisner & Piotr Wołodźko