Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Music Lovers,
Hard as I find it to believe, it is already for the thirty-first time that I have the pleasure, honour, and great joy to welcome you – lovers of Fryderyk Chopin’s music and all the piano enthusiasts – in Duszniki-Zdrój and invite you warmly to the recitals presented during the 78th International Chopin Piano Festival.
I am deeply convinced that this year’s Festival concerts will meet with your great interest and prove to be major events; that the emotions and experience of contact with the invited artists and their art will long remain in your memory. The names of those artists guarantee that our concerts will uphold the highest artistic standards.
The Festival opens with a recital by Francesco Piemontesi, called the ‘Wizard of Sound’. Similarly extraordinary emotions also await us in the following evenings, featuring such excellent, much-loved pianists as Federico Colli, Lukas Geniušas, Yulianna Avdeeva, and Anna Geniushene, as well as violinist Hina Maeda, and – last to perform this year – Kate Liu. I would like to attract your special attention to the cello recital by Camilla Thomas, who will be accompanied by pianist Julien Brocal. At the Chopin Manor, you will have the opportunity to hear a unique instrument by Antonio Stradivari, to whose sound Chopin listened shortly before his death when its then owner and his friend, cellist August Franchomme, played excerpts from the Sonata in G Minor, Op. 65 for the dying composer, Franchomme’s music is also included in the concert’s programme. This extraordinary evening may well prove to be one of the Festival’s most moving moments. This year’s Duszniki Festival coincides with the 110th birth anniversary of Professor Jan Ekier – pianist, composer, and educator, author of the Chopin National Edition, who was also my own unforgettable Master. He died nine years ago. I am one of the many pianists who owe the development of their skills and artistic personalities to Professor Ekier. Let me now therefore, from the Festival town of Duszniki, express our profound gratitude on behalf of all his pianist pupils.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there are indeed few places in the world (if any) where the crème de la crème of young generation pianists can all be heard, and their artistic personalities revealed, within the period of just a few days. They have all won main prizes in numerous prestigious competitions held worldwide over the recent months. The opportunity to meet them is unique to the Duszniki Festival, including its current 78th edition.
Our afternoon recitals will thus host excellent young artists, many-time winners of the first and other main prizes in the latest editions of great international piano competitions recently held in Bydgoszcz, Tel Aviv, Geneva, Paris, Helsinki, Dublin, Utrecht, Calgary (Canada), and Warsaw. These extremely talented pianists are Mateusz Krzyżowski, Kevin Chen, Giorgi Gigashvili, Hyuk Lee, Piotr Pawlak, Illia Ovcharenko, Yukine Kuroki, and Jakub Kuszlik. The have embarked on extremely dynamic careers, and it will certainly be worthwhile to remember their names.
Equally interesting is the programme of ‘Nocturne’, the traditional night meeting with artists, hosted this time by the Gdańsk-based actor Maciej Konopiński.
This year’s Festival Masterclasses will be taught by outstanding teachers: Professor Lidia Grychtołówna, a phenomenal personality in the Polish piano scene, and the eminent Berlin-based pianist-educator Eldar Nebolsin. The course participants are, as usual, finalists of the latest edition of the three-stage National Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition organised by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw.
Let me therefore now join you in focused listening, so that together we can relish and enjoy all the artistic emotions and nuanced moods flowing to us from the Chopin Manor stage.