The 23rd edition of the Sinfonia Varsovia to Its City Festival is kicking off! And along with it, the construction of Sinfonia Varsovia’s new music center. Don’t let traffic disruptions related to the first batch of reconstruction and modernization works discourage you – all Festival events will take place as usual in the Concert Pavilion at 272 Grochowska Street.
In the coming years, Sinfonia Varsovia will be constructing on many other levels, including programming concerts for diverse audiences, enriching educational projects, developing an academy for young orchestral musicians, and above all, building an internationally recognized orchestra and – with the prospect of a new concert hall – expanding an ensemble and its repertoire. This is why this year’s edition will revolve around the theme of “de/construction”. Held between 30 May and 20 June, the Festival will feature 10 events: four symphonic concerts (Tuesdays: 30 May, 6, 13, and 20 June), two concerts featuring wind ensembles (Saturday, 3 June and Sunday, 11 June), two recitals (Sundays: 4 and 18 June) and two family concerts (Saturdays: 10 and 17 June). They are arranged in construction pairs.
The program of the opening concert (30 May) will touch upon construction issues to the fullest extent. Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) (2016) by New York composer Missy Mazzoli will have its Polish premiere. The artist’s idea was to write a piece in the shape of the Solar System, creating a celestial harmony of spheres. Rendering (1990) by the Italian master of the 20th century music, Luciano Berio, is in fact a reconstruction of Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 10, left by its original composer in preliminary sketches, inlaid with contemporary musical elements. At the same time, it is also a metaphor for the technique to be used to modernize the historical buildings of the former Institute of Veterinary Medicine, the home to Sinfonia Varsovia. Finally, we will hear George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F Major (1925), the first piece the author of Blue Rhapsody orchestrated entirely by himself, performed by Elisaveta Blumina. The counterpart of the opening concert will be the Festival’s finale, which will be programmed in part… by the audience! By voting for selected overtures and symphonies, classical music lovers will help construct the program for the concert held on 20 June. Only Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Aleksandra Świgut as soloist is already part of the repertoire. Both concerts will be conducted by the principal guest conductor of Sinfonia Varsovia, Aleksandar Marković.
The other two symphony concerts juxtapose youth with experience. On 6 June, Zofia Kiniorska, Sinfonia Varsovia’s conductor-in-residence for the season, will take the conductor’s stand. The concert will close the conductor’s one-year collaboration with the orchestra. The soloists include two young instrumentalists: Czech clarinetist Kateřina Škardova and Sinfonia Varsovia bassoonist Szymon Michalik will perform the charming Duet-Concertino by Richard Strauss. The program will also feature music by Karłowicz and Dvořák. The protagonist of the concert held on 13 June will be Krzesimir Dębski. With his natural ease, the versatile violinist, pianist, conductor, and composer will conduct the anniversary concert showcasing his own film music.
Any solid construction should be based on a strong foundation. It is often said that it is the work of Johann Sebastian Bach that is such a strong foundation in music. Therefore, we want to “begin with Bach” (as a song goes) with Ewa Pobłocka (4 June), an outstanding interpreter of his keyboard works. A counterpoint to her recital will be a performance by Australian keyboardist Anthony Romaniuk (18 June). Based in Belgium, the multi-instrumentalist combines playing the harpsichord, clavichord, and fortepiano with contemporary piano, as well as electric pianos and electronics. His latest album Perpetuum (to be released in March 2023) is an erudite journey from Kapsberger, Scarlatti, Purcell, and Bach through Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann to Satie, Ligeti, and Adams. The program of the concert is constructed around persistent, rhythmic movement. Romaniuk’s recital, in which the artist will use three different instruments, will be his Polish debut.
Sometimes temporary constructions turn out to be the most durable. In the two concerts featuring only winds, instrumentalists will come together to construct a one-off ensemble for the Festival. In the concert on 3 June, the Sinfonia Varsovia Brass ensemble will be joined by the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra of Ravenna, which will be led by German conductor Thomas Clamor. The orchestral brass will shine in music from Leonard Bernstein’s musical West Side Story. The woodwind ensemble will give its response on 11 June. Led by conductor Andreas Wittmann, an oboist of the Berlin Philharmonic, the concert will be the finale of the 11th edition of the Sinfonia Varsovia Academy. The participants of the Academy will join their Sinfonia Varsovia professors in a performance of Mozart’s serenade and two Beethoven symphonies arranged for wind ensemble.
As every year, two Festival concerts are reserved for Bazylek (Little Basil the Dragon). The mornings with Little Basil (10 and 17 June) will be a great musical adventure for the youngest listeners. Our basilisk will recall songs from the period of the reconstruction of Warsaw, as well as discover the music of composers whose surnames begin with Ba-… like Basil!
A time of construction and anticipation lies ahead of Sinfonia Varsovia and its audience. Before the music sounds in the renovated and new interiors, we want to hear it on the right side of the Vistula as often as possible!