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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » September 16, 2009
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Tuning Up for Warsaw Autumn
September 16, 2009   
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Warsaw Autumn is a festival devoted to contemporary music, an event with a long tradition as well as international reputation and range. During the communist era this was the only event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw Autumn was held for the first time in 1956, during the political thaw after years of Stalinist dictatorship. Even though the authorities quickly abandoned attempts at democratization, the festival continued without interruption (with two exceptions) throughout the communist period and was financed by the government.

At the time, it constituted something of a breach in the Iron Curtain. The communist censors allowed the festival performers to indulge in various artistic "extravagances," allowing them to feel they had freedom of expression.

Warsaw Autumn has had a modernist image since it started. The festival has an open formula. The organizers aim to highlight the diversity of trends and tendencies in the music of our times.

The atmosphere of recent festivals has been different from that of, say, the early 1990s. Concerts have moved closer to audiences. Besides traditional venues such as the National Philharmonic, the Music Academy, theaters and churches, festival events are also held in sports halls, old factories and clubs.

This will also be the case this year.

A detailed program of the festival, which will be held in Warsaw between Sept. 18 and 26, is available on its website, www.warsaw-autumn.art.pl
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