The Warsaw Voice » Culture » Monthly - August 28, 2015
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Chopin and More in Duszniki-Zdrój
   
A dazzling recital by Ukrainian-born Australian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk—with the audience demanding encores—concluded this year’s International Chopin Festival in the southwestern Polish resort of Duszniki-Zdrój, Lower Silesia province.

The festival, now in its 70th year, is the world’s oldest Chopin festival. The organizers say it is also the world’s oldest piano festival.

This year’s event featured a number of pianists who have won prizes at the International Chopin Piano Competition, which is held in Warsaw every five years.

“The 17th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw [due to begin Oct. 1] is only a few weeks away,” said Piotr Paleczny, artistic director of the Duszniki-Zdrój Chopin festival. “In connection with this, this year at Duszniki-Zdrój we hosted previous Chopin Competition winners.”

The opening concert of the Duszniki-Zdrój festival on Aug. 7 featured Kevin Kenner and Philippe Giusiano, accompanied by the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal.

On the following days until Aug. 15, performers included Takashi Yamamoto, Lukas Geniusas, Dang Thai Son, Ewa Pobłocka, Evgeni Bozhanov, Alexander Kobrin, Miroslav Kultyshev, Ingolf Wunder and Krzysztof Jabłoński as well as Yulianna Avdeeva, winner of the 2010 Chopin Competition.

Every year Duszniki festival-goers get to listen to some of the world’s finest young pianists as well as seasoned performers. For example, this year, Duszniki audiences were wowed by the likes of Eric Lu, winner of this year’s ninth international Chopin competition in Miami, Florida.

A characteristic feature of Duszniki concerts is their high quality and diverse program. While the main part of the repertoire is Chopin’s music, there are also works by other composers such as Mozart, Schubert, List, Horowitz, Prokofiev, Brahms, Bartok, and Beethoven. Although piano music reigns supreme, music lovers can also hear Chopin played on other instruments. One example was a chamber music concert performed by Konstanty Andrzej Kulka (violin), Tomasz Strahl (cello) and Agnieszka Przemyk-Bryła (grand piano).

Barbara Deręgowska