Polish composer Frédéric Chopin was born on either February 22 or March 1, 1810, but in Israel the party has already started. The Fryderyk Chopin Institute and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland have initiated the project 2010 The Chopin Year, a worldwide celebration that includes concerts, lectures, conferences and exhibits. The Polish Institute in Israel, in conjunction with several Israeli musical institutions – The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance (JAMD), The Israel Conservatory of Music, The Chopin Society and the Edward Aldwell Center – will present an impressive program of events throughout the coming year, including concerts broadcast live on Kol Hamusica (88 FM) and events which will be open to the public free of charge.
On January 1, at 12:00, Tomer Gvirzman will perform Chopin’s Etudes Integral, Op 10 – Op 25 at the Ein Kerem Music Centre. This series of monthly concerts will be performed by talented young musicians from the Aldwell Center Young Master Pianists Program, and broadcast live on Kol Hamusica. The program was prepared by the Aldwell Center and the Chopin Society in Israel. Alexander Tamir, who founded the Chopin Society in 1991 to encourage and support Israeli pianists, announced that the Israeli organization is one of the few who chose to mark the anniversary with performances of Chopin’s repertoire by Israeli artists. Tamir added that Chopin will have a significant presence in the upcoming Israel Festival in June, with several concerts planned, including The Andrzej Jagodinski Piano Trio. Tamir said, “There are many who try to turn Chopin into jazz, in Poland they do it excellently.”
Lea Agmon, Artistic Director of the Edward Aldwell Center and Director of the Conservatory of the JAMD, announced a festival of a different kind. An international symposium on the words of Chopin, will take place at the Edward Aldwell Center from January 3 – 7, with the participation of musicians and music experts from around the world, and will include lectures, workshops and masterclasses.
Agmon said that the program will not include concerts, as she feels that “master classes are the best festival,” emphasizing that the aims of center are educational, promoting senstivity and artistry in playing which is combined with an understanding and knowledge of the theoretical and analytic aspects of music. Among the featured speakers will be: Prof. John Rink, Prof. Carl Schacter, Dr. Asaf Zohar, Prof. William Rothstein, Prof. Halima Goldberg, Prof. Eytan Agmon, Prof. Alexander Tamir, and Prof. Roger Kamien. Poland will be represented by the pianist and teacher Prof. Andrzej Jasinski who was the teacher of Christian Zimmerman and Krzysztof Jablonski. The symposium will take place at Navon Hall, at the Givat Ram Campus, Jerusalem and entrance is free.
The Israel Conservatory of Music Chamber Music Center presents “Reverberating Heritage,” a series of piano recitals placing Chopin in the context of other composers, reflecting his relationship to his predecessors and his own contribution to musical tradition, with its emphasis on compositions for the piano. The first concert in this series, “Invitation to the Dance” will take place on January 16, at the Einav Cultural Center in Tel Aviv, with pianists Daniel Gortler and Victor Stanislavsky performing Waltzes, Polonaises and Impromtus by Chopin, Schubert, Schuman, Strauss and Brahms.
An introductory lecture by Dr. Ron Regev, “Between Warsaw and Paris, Longings and a Revolution,” will take place on January 15, at 11:30, at the Israel Conservatory, 193 Ben Yehuda Street, Tel Aviv. Raz Benyamini, the Conservatory’s Musical Director, announced that the series will include a special concert performed by the acclaimed Polish pianist Karol Radziwonowicz on June 26, 2010.
For the adventurous music lovers, Joanna Stachyra, new director of the Polish Institute, recommends following Chopin to Poland, where the celebrations will include concerts, a revitalization of places connected to Chopin and the opening of a museum dedicated to the composer on March 1. Stachyra notes that the museum will be the first of its kind in Poland, an interactive museum in which each visitor will receive an individual guide to the exhibits, designed according to age, interests and previous knowledge. The festivities will begin with a series of special birthday concerts organized by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute taking place between February 22 and March 1, encompassing both possible birthdates and featuring world renowned performers such as: Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Piotr Anderszewski, Leif Ove Andsnes, Rafał Blechacz, Dang Thai Son, Evgeny Kissin, Garrick Ohlsson, Janusz Olejniczak, Murray Perahia, Ivo Pogorelich and Yundi Li, accompanied by Frans Brüggen’s Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antoni Wit. To accompany the traveller in search of Chopin, The Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Poland has published “Chopin’s Poland” a comprehensive illustrated guidebook to places associated with Chopin.
Chopin Events and Venues:
Einav Cultural Center, 71 Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel Aviv
Top image credit: Shadow of pianist Victor Stanislavsky playing Chopin/Photo: Elizur Reuveni