INTERNATIONAL FREDERIC CHOPIN PIANO COMPETITION






The Frederic Chopin Society in Warsaw.


The Frederick Chopin Society in Warsaw took over and has been continuing the idea and work done by the Frederick Chopin Institute founded in 1934 on the initiative of Mieczyslaw Idzikowski. How much importance was then attached to the work done by the Institute is evidenced by the prominent persons who supported its idea. There were among them musicians and politicians as well: Emil Mlynarski, Karol Szymanowski, Stanislaw Niewiadomski, Leopold Binental, Adam Wieniawski, August Zaleski, Jozef Beck. The Main aim of the founders was for the Institute to carry out scholarly research on the life and music of Chopin and the propagation of his music. In order to achieve this aim it was necessary to lay the foundations of its future work. Such a basis was the museum, collection of manuscripts, Chopin souvenirs, archives, library, indispensible for serious studies. Thus the first, very important undertaking of the Institute was the national edition of Chopin's Complete Works. It was Ignacy Jan Paderewski, one of the greatest pianists of all time, prominent Chopin player, who took on this exacting task assisted by the pianist Jozef Turczynski and musicologist Ludwik Bronarski. In 1949, on the centenary of Chopin's death, the Institute marked the date with a number of significant initiatives, among which was the publication of the first four volumes of the Complete Works, and the holding of the 6th International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition. In 1950 the Frederick Chopin Institute changed its name into the Frederick Chopin Society. Like the activities of the Institute those of the Society have been developing for several decades along a number of lines: concerts, scientific and scholarly researches, publications, mounting of exhibitions. The museum items, gradually increased owing to purchases at auctions and donations and became in time the greatest collection in the world of Chopin objects. Along with manuscripts and things belonging once to the composer there are in the museum large collections of books and recordings. They constitute a valuable material for musicological and research works, as well as for the popularization of this music. For several decades the Society has been organizer of congresses, symposia, scientific conferences on Chopin subjects, of master classes for pianists and of the international Chopin competitions whose organization is stipulated in the Society's statut. The important role the Chopin Society has been playing in the musical life is also evidenced by the famous Polish and foreign musicians connected with this institution, especially those in this country who accepted to chair it. Memorable has remained the contribution made to its work by such distinguished persons as: Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, Stanislaw Szpinalski, Zbigniew Drzewiecki, Teodor Zalewski, Kazimierz Sikorski and Elzbieta Artysz, Barbara Hesse-Bukowska. Tadeusz Chmielewski is the president of the Society now.
As the Society develops also its tasks and aims are being extended. Lately, on the scale of the 2Ist centuary, the Chopin Encyclopedia by Mieczyslaw Tomaszewski, in the multimedial system, has been published, an extensive work on Chopin subjects. A team of musicians and musicologists headed by Jan Ekier, making use of the current state of Chopin researches, of new sources and discoveries, is now working on the new edition of Chopin's complete works entitled "The National Edition of Frederick Chopin's Works". The Society concentrates also on the popularization of Chopin's music. Thus each year, in the Ostrogski Castle the Society's seat, various musical events are held: piano recitals, Chopin recitals, music-verbal concerts, chamber music concerts. And during the period from spring to autumn, at the birth place of Chopin and the Royal Lazienki Park beside the composer's statue Chopin recitals are regularly given. Indeed the Society's concert activity is very rich, several hundred concerts are given each year. Chopin's music, because of its artistic value and universal perception, belongs to the world as a whole. Its worldwide significance is expressed by the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competitions. In 1925, Jerzy Zurawlew, a distinguished pianist, professor at the Frederick Chopin Higher School of Music, attached to the Warsaw Music Society, suggested the holding of piano competitions devoted to the music of the great composer. The first Chopin Competition was held in 1927 in the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. The next ones were to be organized every five years. How very high is the position of this great musical event is clearly evidenced by the steadily growing number of candidates who actually represent almost all the countries. Despite its high artistic standard, difficult programme and close selection of admissions, a participation in it gives a chance of becoming a prize-winner which may launch the young pianist on an international career. The candidates know it very well since many a famous pianist was the prize-winner at that Competition. The Society popularizes the knowledge about Chopin's life and his music by mounting exhibitions both at home and abroad and issuing various publications on him, including those for the young. In its activities there is also the holding of international record competitions called Grand Prix du Disque Frederic Chopin, the successive edition of which falls just on the time of this Chopin Competition, it organizes also master classes devoted to Chopin's music, and is a co-organizer of international Chopin festivals and last but not least it co-operates with Chopin societies and other cultural centres worldwide. In 1987 the Society called into being the International Frederick Chopin Foundation whose purpose is to propagate the composer's music, as well as a study of his life and work, preservation of manuscripts, documents and souvenirs, of places connected with him, and a promotion of young talented pianists and musicologists. The Foundation assists also the Chopin Society in its numerous activities. Andrzej Komorowski is currently the Foundation's Secretary General. One could go on describing the Society's initiatives and enterprises, the list of them has been very long during those years indeed. The achievements are largely due to the hard work and dedication of the successive board members, to their cooperation with prominent musicologists and musicians, as well as to the extreme devotion on the part of the Society's workes. It is owing to all those combined efforts that the Frederick Society has become the major centre of Chopin studies in the world.


THE FREDERIC CHOPIN SOCIETY

Ostrogski Castle
Okolnik Str.1, 00-368 Warsaw
Phone +48 +22 27-95-89
Fax +48 +22 27-95-99


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