60th IFCM "Warsaw Autumn"

Trans / Avant-gardes

The Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music celebrates its jubilee 60th edition! In fact, it is older: it was created in 1956, but editions of 1957 and 1982 did not take place, in the latter case as a protest against martial law.
This jubilee is a special incentive not only to reflect about the past, the Festival’s tradition, memorable concerts and characters. We shall indeed return to the great successes and breakthrough moments of the past, but also shall address the issue that is central to the identity of Warsaw Autumn: the phenomenon of
the  a v a n t - g a r d e.

The first Warsaw Autumns surely “knew” what avant-garde was. Our 60th edition shall look at “troubled” avant-garde. Hence the keyword and theme of this jubilee festival: Trans / Avant-gardes: the avant-garde in transgression, in movement and in trance. An avant-garde so transformed from its past guises that it becomes invisible but remains relevant: in radical approaches, in seeking the new, in transcending the state of things, in reordering the old, in the continuous effort to identify the modern man. The programme of the 60th Warsaw Autumn throws a bridge between selected artistic issues such as they were “yesterday,” in the time of the first Warsaw Autumns, and as they are today.

Those issues, deemed important for Warsaw Autumn’s identity by the Programme Committee chaired by Jerzy Kornowicz, include the phenomenon of sonorism, the orchestra, the string quartet, song, instrumental theatre, electronics, and multimedia. Further topics include percussion (notably through the continuous presence of Les Percussions de Strasbourg throughout the history of Warsaw Autumn) and the accordion. Yet another is Ukrainian music.

In this way, Warsaw Autumn renews its historical role as an important meeting point and exchange of artistic ideas in Central and Eastern Europe. We shall hear works of composers of the generation that joined musical life at the time of the first Autumns: Tadeusz Baird, Wojciech Kilar, Andrzej Dobrowolski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bogusław Schaeffer, Luigi Nono, Isang Yun. The musical languages of these authors will be contrasted with those of the young and middle generation, such as Pierre Jodlowski, Tadeusz Wielecki, Christophe Bertrand, Alexander Schubert, Brigitta Muntendorf, Johannes Kreidler, and Artur Zagajewski. We shall here Gérard Grisey’s legendary Le noir de l’étoile, a remembrance of the memorable 46th Warsaw Autumn in 2003, when another work by the same composer was performed, the visionary Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, played by Court-Circuit. That performance, greeted with silence by the entire audience followed by a minutes-long standing ovation, revealed Grisey to Polish audiences. At the opening concert of this year’s 60th Warsaw Autumn, Grisey’s Le noir de l’étoile will meet another important composition, Georg Friedrich Haas’s Dark Dreams, as well as Tansy Davies’s Forest and circulatio by Artur Zagajewski, awarded the main prize at this year’s 64th International Rostrum of Composers.

Our jubilee edition will also feature works by Georges Aperghis, Simon Steen-Andersen, Juliana Hodkinson, Rebecca Saunders, Michel van der Aa, Christophe Bertrand, Mauro Lanza, Ashley Fure, Dominik Karski, Vito Žuraj, Detlef Heusinger, Michał Moc, Tadeusz Wielecki, Johannes Kreidler, Jennifer Walshe, Brigitta Muntendorf, Paweł Hendrich, Andrzej Kwieciński, Jacek Sotomski, Pierre Jodlowski, Milica Djordjević, Franck Bedrossian, Francesco Filidei, Andrew Norman, and others. Artur Zagajewski, Haakon Thelin, Szymon Stanisław Strzelec, Jan Duszyński, Piotr Tabakiernik, Mauro Lanza, Lubava Sidorenko, Maxim Kolomiiets, Vladimir Gorlinski, Wojciech Błażejczyk, and Wenchen Qin will present world premieres of works commissioned by Warsaw Autumn. These will be performed by leading Polish and international orchestras, ensembles, and soloists: the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Liebreich, Warsaw Philharmonic conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk, New Music Orchestra (OMN) under Szymon Bywalec, Spółdzielnia Muzyczna, Diotima Quartet, SWR Experimental Studio from Freiburg, EWCM Orchestra under Rüdiger Bohn, Tempo Reale from Florence, TWOgether Duo, Decoder Ensemble, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, Nostri Temporis, the piano duo of Adam Kośmieja and Dimitri Vassilakis, pianist Małgorzata Walentynowicz and singer Frauke Aulbert, violinist Ashot Sarkissian, singer Joanna Freszel, clarinettist Michele Marelli, sheng player Yang Zheng, accordionists Leszek Kołodziejski, Eneasz Kubit and Rafał Łuc, and many others.

Within our major fringe event, Little Warsaw Autumn for children aged 4–12, now at its 7th edition, we shall hear and see an installation by Krzysztof Topolski, a concert–show inspired by the music of Eugeniusz Rudnik, an open-air performance by Tadeusz Wielecki, and a percussion duo concert by Magdalena Kordylasińska and Miłosz Pękala, with a guest appearance by the Warsaw Gamelan Group, enabling our youngest listeners to familiarise themselves with the Indonesian gamelan and even play it! All Little Warsaw Autumn events are our own commissions and world premieres.

For the second year running, we are also organising the Warsaw Autumn Hits the Club, featuring custom-composed works that include a club-like mood and style. Within this thread, titled Re:mix (alluding to both reminiscence and remix), we shall notably hear works inspired by the heritage of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, founded 60 years ago simultaneously to Warsaw Autumn. All Warsaw Autumn commissions, they have been composed by Maciej Moruś aka Macio Moretti, Tadeusz Sudnik, Erhard Hirt, and Claus van Bebber. Moreover, Warsaw Autumn Hits the Club will feature a panel on the ukrainian contemporary music scene. Our Jubilee edition also features popular fringe events, includes premieres, meetings with composers and performance, composition workshops (a first edition!), internet radio features, a concert of the New Music Orchestra of works by composers from Visegrad Group countries, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Musiquettes cycle presented by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, a New Music Incubator concert of young composers, and concerts of the Polish Composers’ Union Youth Circle.

The 60th edition of Warsaw Autumn Festival will take the audience on a trip both to the past and to the future of music and sound, to all those places where the signals of the “front guard” intensify and change into meanings. Radicals, idiomaticians and avant-gardes of all times, unite!