Chopin’s music represents Polish culture worldwide

Published: November 12, 2021

A celebratory concert was held at Expo 2020 Dubai

The Independence Day celebrations at Expo 2020 Dubai were a unique opportunity to showcase the rich heritage of Polish culture. The highlight of this special day was the evening Gala Concert featuring the music of Fryderyk Chopin, Stanisław Moniuszko and Mieczysław Karłowicz. The 3rd prize winner of the 18th Chopin Competition, Martín García García, and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrzej Boreyka have performed on the stage of the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre.

The most famous creator of Polish culture in the world is Fryderyk Chopin who began learning the piano at the age of five, with his mother as a teacher. The first printed work was a polonaise in the key of G minor – in 1817. The poet of the piano is loved all around the world, especially in Asian countries. Evidence of this is the fact that in Japan the monthly magazine 'Shopan' has been published for almost three decades, in China the master level of piano playing is referred to as the Chopin level, and in South Korea the image of Chopin appears on the covers of music textbooks. The figure of Fryderyk Chopin appears at almost every turn – so much so that the International Astronomical Union has named a crater on Mercury after him.

Apart from Chopin, other Polish musician names recognised around the world are Karol Szymanowski, Zbigniew Preisner, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Krzysztof Komeda. However, Poland is more than just classical and contemporary music, our metal and jazz scenes are also very popular.

Chopin Competitions

The Chopin Competitions are some of the most important and prestigious musical events in the world. It is through them that the greatest pianists are discovered and the oeuvre of the brilliant composer comes to life via new, often surprising, renditions. The first Competition was held in 1927 at the initiative of the Polish pianist prof. Jerzy Żurawlew. At the time, the Warsaw Philharmonic saw performances of 26 pianists from 8 countries. Over the years, the renowned jury of the Chopin Competitions has had as members some of the most important creators of Polish culture, including distinguished Polish composers such as Karol Szymanowski and Witold Lutosławski. The events have always attracted the attention of music lovers and music communities, but also of people who do not normally come in contact with the music of Fryderyk Chopin. On 20 October 2021, the name of the winner of the 18th Chopin Competition has been announced.

The prize went to the Canadian pianist Bruce Liu. The main and special prizes were awarded by a 17-member international jury led by prof. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń. As many as 500 pianists applied to participate in the Competition – 12 of them reached the finals. In total, all participants of the 18th Chopin Competition performed almost 2000 renditions of the compositions of one of the best pianists of the Romantic period. It would take about 100 hours to listen to them in one recital.

Chopin's music at Expo 2020 Dubai

On Independence Day, the laureate of the 18th Chopin Competition performed on the stage of the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre. The Spanish pianist Martín García García won the 3rd main prize and the award of the National Philharmonic for the best concerto performance. During the Gala Concert at Expo 2020 Dubai, he was accompanied on stage by the National Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Andrzej Boreyka – a conductor and Artistic Director of this esteemed institution of Polish culture. The concert programme included the Overture to the Opera "Paria" by Stanisław Moniuszko. It is one of the finest orchestral works of this remarkable composer and the last one he managed to complete. The libretto was based on Casimir Delavigne's tragedy, and it was written by Jan Chęciński. The festive evening was crowned with the Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 by Fryderyk Chopin, which premiered on 17 March 1830 in Warsaw. What is interesting, this composition consists of three parts, and the inspiration for one of them, entitled Larghetto, was the composer's first love. The repertoire of the Gala Concert was completed with the Serenade for Strings, Op. 2 by Mieczysław Karłowicz. The premiere of this piece dates back to 1897 Berlin.

Expo 2020 Dubai is an excellent opportunity for Poland to promote its culture and tradition. These efforts are supported by the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, which organises our participation in the World Exhibition. The Agency has prepared a comprehensive economic programme consisting of over a dozen activities and has planned nearly 1000 events throughout the six months of the World Exhibition. These include acting and acrobatic performances, fashion shows, Chopin concerts held three times a day at fixed times, and temporary exhibitions by Polish regions and institutions. An important event will be the exhibition of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute ("The Amazing Land of Quarks, Elephants and Pierogi"). This national institution of culture makes a major contribution to the development of cultural cooperation and exchange between Poland and other countries. So far, in its 20 years of operation, it has held a total of 6,000 events for 55 million people in 70 countries. Its activity is based on the values of Polish culture – tradition, European roots, history, transformation and geographical location. Another important event promoting Polish culture and tradition during Expo 2020 Dubai will be National Polish Day (7 December 2021) for which a concert of Polish music is planned.

The Strategic Partner of the Poland Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and the Patron of the project "Chopin at Expo 2020 Dubai" is PKN ORLEN. The Content Partners were the Fryderyk Chopin Institute and the National Philharmonic.

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