Organ festival: Kingdom of the noble instrument

This summer Krakow has become a European capital of organ music. Two organ music festivals commenced at the end of June. The first, the 17th International Festival of Summer Organ Concerts began on June 28 at the Mariacka Basilica. The 16th Annual Organ Summer by the Royal Track Festival will also hold concerts every Monday and Tuesday in July and September. The summer festivals are great occasions to listen to the music of Bach, Mozart and Schumann in a moody temple interior, resonating sounds of historic instruments and artists. ?I would like to create an entirely new quality,? says Professor Miroslawa Semeniuk?Podraza, the artistic director of the International Festival of Summer Organ Concerts, organist and teacher at the Music Academy in Krakow. ?First of all, I wanted to invite people to listen to organ concerts in different places, in the most beautiful, historic temples of Krakow and show the instruments hidden there.? World-renowned young musicians will be guests of this year?s festival, which was first organized in 1991 by the Center of Culture Dworek Bialopradnicki and the Music Academy in Krakow. During the inauguration concert in the Mariacka Basilica Ulrike Northoff presents compositions of Bach, Buxtehude and music of German Romanticism. ?Breathtaking, full of emotion and joyful play,? critics have written about the young artists performing in this year?s festival. It?s time for Krakow to become acquainted with creative youthful activity. The organ duet of husband and wife, Josef and Sussane Miltschitzky, is sure to please in the festival program. Josef is an organist for a famous basilica in Ottobeuren, Germany and Sussane is a pianist and soprano. They present the music of German Baroque and Romanticism in the basilica ?Na Piasku.? Professor Marco D?Avol, a composer and concertmaster, comes from Ragusa, Italy, a city famous for its many historic church instruments. In Krakow he will also play the oldest organ known to this region in the church of St. Cross.Johan Hermans, a well-known musician from Belgium, will play alongside several young artists from Krakow: Zygmunt Kokoszka, Arkadiusz Bialic and Marek Wolak. This is a festival tradition, to expose the young musical talent of Poland. ?It is worth promoting youngsters and to open for them a path to a career. This is our duty,? says Professor Semeniuk-Podraza. As this year is the Music Academy?s 50th anniversary, all the Polish performers at the festival will be from Krakow?s Music Academy. The second festival, ?Organ Summer by the Royal Track,? also has a long-lasting tradition. It will present concerts of the most famous and well-known compositions of Bach, Mozart, and other great composers of organ music. The concert music will be chosen and performed by Maurycy Merunowicz, a Polish organist. To honor 300 years since the death of a great predecessor of J.S.Bach ? Dieterich Buxtehude ? this year?s program will include the composer?s work. Each of Merunowicz?s concerts is full of emotion. Besides performing Bach?s greatest works, Merunowicz will also play the less frequently performed preludes and fugues from the composer?s earlier years. The July 9 and September concerts include Cesara Francka?s subtle composition from Paris ?painted with sound? and other fantastic pieces from late French romanticism of such composers as Alexandre Guilmant, Louis Vierne, Charles Marie Widor or Marcel Dupre. Each concert will be played twice in different locations using different period instruments. This method will provide listeners with an opportunity to hear the same compositions emanating different sounds. The Mariacka Basilica concert tickets (15-25 zloty) are available in the Center of Culture Dworek Bialopradnicki (ul. Papiernicza 2), Bileteria Krakow (ul. Krasinskiego 6/2) and at the City Information Center Punkt Informacji Miejskiej (ul. sw. Jana 2) The ?Organ Summer by the Royal Track? festival concerts take place in July and September at 20:00 every Monday in the church of St. Paul and Peter on ul. Grodzka 54, and every Tuesday in the church of St. Martin on ul. Grodzka 58. The tickets (30 and 20 zloty) are available on the day of the concerts at the concert venues.  

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