Our places: the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music

By Emilia Campagna

September 14, 2023

Theresia is making its debut visit to Poland, the most easterly European country we have ever travelled to. The orchestra players will be hosted at a true temple of music, the European centre named after the great 20th century Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.

Our next residency will take place at the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music, an institute dedicated to music that organises and hosts more than hundred artistic and educational events a year, including concerts, art exhibitions, lectures, chamber and symphonic music workshops, and instrumental master classes.

The centre is housed in a large, modern architectural structure that officially opened in 2013 and is located near Lusławice, a village in southern Poland which Penderecki had chosen as his home and workplace since the 1970s.

We have to thank the creation of the Centre to the composer himself, who sadly passed away in 2020, who said at the opening press conference: “Here, in the small town of Lusławice, an important place has been created that will have a cultural influence on the entire region.”

The first seed of what Penderecki saw as a “musical campus” was his own residence, a mansion abandoned after World War II, which the composer bought in the 1970s when it was dilapidated and in ruins, and which he completely renovated. Amidst acres of undulating farmland and Penderecki’s arboretum of rare trees, the site was frequently visited by Polish and international artists.  Penderecki once said: “It is actually like a campus, and these exist throughout the world, and especially in the United States, where I travelled numerous times as a lecturer. I think that there is a great need for this kind of places here in Poland, too.”

Penderecki Manor in Lusławice
Penderecki Manor in Lusławice

The mission of the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music is to inspire the most talented young musicians to develop their skills in pursuit of genuine artistic excellence. The Centre’s campus is a meeting place for young musicians with composers and seasoned artists, as well as with outstanding personalities in the cultural field. It is an extensive education hub at all artistic stages from the development of practical performing and interpretation skills, to the history of the styles, forms and genres of European music, to attributing aesthetic qualities of a piece and placing it in a cultural context.

Aside from its educational mission, the Centre also organises concerts and festivals with a strong emphasis on the next generation of artists. So, it was with great honour that we accepted the invitation to take part in the All’Improvviso Festival who set up this residency. The invitation came from Artistic Director Artur Malke, whom we met through REMA, which is proving to be an excellent network for the promotion of historically informed musical performances in Europe. (On a side note, the REMA network is currently open to new members, so we highly recommend all types of early music organisations to apply.)

This project includes three concerts in which the orchestra will be conducted by Dirk Vermeulen. The music programme features two works by Mozart (Eine kleine Nachtmusik KV 525 and Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major KV 216), Haydn‘s Symphony No. 8 in G major Hob. I:8 Le Soir, and Lipiński‘s Symphony in B flat major Op. 2 No. 3. The soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto will be the young and talented Sulamita Ślubowska.

Following a rehearsal period of five days at the Penderecki Centre, our Polish tour stops at the Ruins of the Victoria Theatre on 22 September in Gliwice, a second concert at the Penderecki Centre on 23 September in Lusławice, and finally at the National Theatre and Opera in Warsaw on 24 September as part of the ‘La Folle Journée de Varsovie’, the cities annual music festival, this year aptly themed around ‘the night’.

We are hugely looking forward to exploring these places and meeting new audiences!

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About Emilia Campagna

Journalist and musician, Emilia is a blogger for Theresia