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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » June 29, 2015
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New Concert Hall for Wrocław
June 29, 2015   
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Andrzej Kosendiak, director of the National Forum of Music, which is about to open a new concert hall in the southwestern city of Wrocław, talks to Barbara Deręgowska.

Wrocław’s new concert venue, one of the most modern in Europe, will open this September and you will be the one to open it. Are you looking forward to this?
I absolutely am and I can’t wait. As the doors to the new concert hall open, so will a new section of the city. This part of Wrocław has been redesigned. The National Forum of Music has been built on Wolno¶ci Square, which until recently was just a huge and empty space in the middle of the city. Today in this historic part of the city there’s the magnificent, cutting-edge concert hall along with a parking lot and a green promenade stretching along the city moat. The buildings and streets around the square are being given a facelift as well, as this has been an opportunity for some general renovation work. This project is not just about opening a new music venue and inviting people inside. It is also about opening the door to a new central quarter. This is mainly a cultural quarter, as the Wrocław Opera and the City Museum are very close by.

What kind of music will audiences hear on opening day?
Music will be played at the National Forum of Music concert hall still before the venue officially opens Sept. 4. Throughout August, Wrocław-based music ensembles will be rehearsing in the new concert halls. We will be testing and tuning the halls. Each concert hall is fitted with different sound systems so you can adjust the acoustics to the kind of music that is about to be performed. The concert halls will be tuned both in closed rehearsals and with an audience in attendance, as we need to take into account that the acoustics of any venue change when people are present. We have planned such try-out concerts, but they will not be open to the general public. In August, we want to invite people who for professional reasons meet with large groups of people. Our August audiences will thus include taxi drivers, hotel receptionists, hairdressers, tour guides, the staff of spa centers and beauty parlors, bartenders from Wrocław restaurants and so on. We want them to see the venue, hear a concert and, hopefully, feel so astonished they will want to spread the word about it.

The opening concert Sept. 4 will be held in the largest concert hall and feature all our ensembles. The Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Benjamin Shwartz and Jacek Kasprzyk, the National Forum of Music Choir by Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny, the Baroque Choir and Orchestra by Paul McCreesh, and the Leopoldinum Orchestra by Hartmut Rohde. Audiences will hear work by Bach, Lutosławski, Kilar, Penderecki, Szymanowski and a new version of a music piece by Paweł Mykietyn. The interest in the National Forum of Music concert hall has been huge and a lot of people have already said they will attend the opening. Our guests will include the heads of many music institutions from around the world, including concert hall directors and festival directors. There will also be a large number of journalists from renowned European and international music magazines. A large part of the audience will be music lovers who have been attending our concerts for years. Philharmonic directors, presidents of music academies and heads of cultural institutions will come here from across Poland. We are expecting a total turnout of around 1,800.

On the next day, Sept. 5, the entire building will stand open for all Wrocław residents and visitors to see what it looks like inside. Our musicians will be performing short concerts in all the concert halls throughout the day. We will also hold two large concerts in the building’s underground halls, but instead of classical music, the concerts will feature jazz and techno. We want the building to welcome many different music genres.

On the third opening day, Sept. 6, the National Forum of Music concert hall will host the inaugural concert of the 50th International Wratislavia Cantans Festival. The program will reprise the very first Wratislavia Cantans concert that Andrzej Markowski conducted half a century ago.

Łukasz Rajchert/NFM Archive
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