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Władysław Szpilman – The Pianist of Warsaw

Thursday, 15 September 2011
This year marks the 100th birthday of Władysław Szpilman. The cycle “Władysław Szpilman – The Pianist of Warsaw” will begin on 22 September with a remembrance evening at the Agnieszka Osiecka Music Studio devoted to the composer’s connections with Polish Radio. The documentary “Don’t believe the song – Władysław Szpilman, a sketch for the portrait”, will be screened, and the composer’s songs will be performed by Irena Santor, Bogdan Hołownia and Czesław Majewski. A day later, on 23 September, Dr Katarzyna Naliwajek-Mazurek from the Institute of Musicology of Warsaw University will give a lecture on Szpilman’s music at the Brzozowa Gallery of the Warsaw Cultural Education Centre, a concert of the composer’s songs will be performed, and there will be a preview of an exhibition presenting his profile against the background of the fates of musicians in Poland during World War II.
On 24 September at the Luna Cinema in Warsaw, there will be a screening of the film “Pianist” and a discussion on the fate of Szpilman during the German occupation and the complicated way to publish the full version of his memoirs in 2000. Tomasz Miłkowski and Stanisław Zawiśliński will take part, among others.
The Władysław Szpilman Concert Studio will open on 25 September at the headquarters of Polish Radio on al. Niepodległości. This small studio, which remained abandoned for 25 years, has recently been completely refurbished. The programme of the inaugural concert refers to Szpilman’s Warsaw Quintet repertoire, which will be performed by Solisti di Varsavia. On the same day at the Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature, there will be a discussion panel “Szpilman’s Warsaw”, which will be attended by Halina Szpilmanowa, the performer of Szpilman’s songs Joanna Rawik, the Chairman of the Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews Marian Turski, and an expert on Warsaw Karol Mórawski.
The cycle will end on 26 September with the music show “No One Can Return Those Songs” at the Och-Theatre. Hits such as “I Don’t Believe the Song”, “Rain”, “No One Can Return Those Years”, “The Time Will Come For That” , and “Three Friends From the Sports Fields” will be performed by students and graduates of the Theatre Academy, including Karolina Dąbrowska, Wiktoria Gorodeckaja, Natalia Sikora, Jacek Beler, and Marcin Januszkiewicz.
“Although he was not born in Warsaw, he was connected throughout his entire life with the capital city, through thick and thin,” said Paweł Sztompke from Polish Radio Channel One during the Wednesday press conference.
“Szpilman and Warsaw – it is for this city that he wrote his most beautiful songs during the rebuilding after the war, it is here that he organized the musical life not only for the city but also for the entire country by acting as music director of the Polish Radio, by writing new repertoire for orchestras, by recording hundreds of works, by creating the music stage, and by finding new singing stars. When Szpilman formed one of the best known chamber ensembles, he deemed it appropriate to emphasize its links the capital of Poland, naming it the Warsaw Quintet,” recalled Sztompke.

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