The Karol Szymanowski Music Days Festival

The Karol Szymanowski Music Days Festival is held in Zakopane and is, apart from the Evenings with Karol Szymanowski’s music festival held in Katowice, the only annual festival in the world devoted to the composer’s works.

The Festival was co-founded by Maciej Pinkwart, the long time curator of the Karol Szymanowski Museum in the Villa Atma (a historic chalet in Zakopane, a one time residence of the composer which now houses his museum). Mr. Pinkwart is strongly involved in the public and professional musical activities in Zakopane. It is through his initiative that the Karol Szymanowski Music Society was launched; he was also a member of its first Executive Committee, and, since 2005, has been its honorary member.

The first Festival took place March 4-6, 1977, and was organized by Atma in collaboration with the Zakopane Chapter of the Association of Polish Musicians (SPAM). Since 1980, the Karol Szymanowski Music Society has been responsible for the organization of the Festival. Initially, a three-day festival was held every March, and in 1983, it became an autumnal event. Since 1988, it has taken place every summer, and has grown to be an international event that hosts 7 to 10 concerts. It is now held in the second part of July.

Most of the Festival events (performances of small chamber music ensembles and solo recitals) are hosted in the Villa Atma, while concerts featuring larger ensembles are held in other Zakopane locations such as:

  • Count Władysław Zamoyski City Art Gallery
  • Ryszard Orski Gallery
  • Jasny Pałac Guest House

Symphonic concerts are presented in the hall of Cinema Sokół, in the Church of the Holy Cross, and the Church of the Holy Family

In the tradition of bringing together audiences and people from the world of the arts, the Festival program always includes so-called posiady góralskie, informal gatherings which are held in Biała Izba Związku Podhalan, the headquarters of the Tatra Highlanders Association. The posiady include musical interludes performed by the Tatra Highlanders folk music ensemble, which adds unique charm to these events.

Past participants of posiady include:

  • Composers: Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Eugeniusz Knapik, Sławomir Czarnecki, among others
  • Musicologists, including Teresa Chylinska, Ewa Jensen (Denmark), Mieczysław Tomaszewski, and Leon Markiewicz;
  • Performers- Andrzej Bachleda, Blanka Bednarz (USA), Maciej Łukaszczyk (Germany), and others
  • Writers and music activists: Piotr Szalsza, Andrzej Kosowski, Adam Rozlach, among others


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