The competition jury under the direction of Krzysztof Penderecki has selected the winners of the “A Warsaw Polonaise for an Independent Poland” composing competition from among 106 submissions. The winning compositions will be recorded and given a gala performance during this year’s La Folle Journée Festival and during the Warsaw Polonaise Procession.
Joining the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence, on an initiative of the head of the City Council – Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, supported by the Council of the Capital City of Warsaw, has announced an open composing competition in 2017. The topic of the competition was “A Warsaw Polonaise for an Independent Poland”. The work was to expand the body of Polish symphonic writing, thus emphasising the importance of the national celebration.
– On the 100th anniversary of regaining our independence, we are giving Warsaw’s residents several hundred cultural, educational and sports events. The polonaise competition is one of the most interesting of all of these, because not only does it involve artists, but also residents, whom we will invite to join us in performing the dance – said Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, president of Warsaw – I hope that this new polonaise will become a mainstay of high school prom parties in all Warsaw schools.
The Jury has decided
Submitted compositions were evaluated on 1 and 2 June by a commission headed by Professor Krzysztof Penderecki. The commission consisted of Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil, Agata Zubel, Paweł Mykietyn, Tadeusz Strugała, Paweł Szymański and Janusz Marynowski, director of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, a cultural institution of the Capital City of Warsaw.
The competition winners are:
1st prize - Emil Wojtacki (Cracow) / Polonaise
2nd prize - Paweł Siek (Lublin) / Polonez
3rd prize - Ireneusz Boczek (Cracow) / Polonez „Odrodzenie"
The Jury has also decided to award an honourable mention (outside of competition regulations) to the youngest competitor – Adam Józef Falenta of Toruń (born 17.12.2005), nickname: VISTULA.
– I am happy that the competition has turned out to be so successful – said Janusz Marynowski, director of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra. – It has aroused the creativity and skills of dozens of Polish composers. The role of promoting works written by Polish artists is very important for the Orchestra. We cannot wait for the first performance of the work and we hope that the winning polonaises will be performed frequently in concert halls in Poland and even beyond its borders.
The prizes have been funded by the Capital City of Warsaw – 50 000 zł (1st place), 30 000 zł (2nd place) and 20 000 zł (3rd place).
– The competition is a very worthwhile, much-needed initiative. It has set free the spirit of Polish tradition in participating composers. Many of the submissions have alluringly paid homage to the polonaise in their stylisations. Selecting the best one was not an easy task. The winner caught our attention through his creative use of 20th century composing devices combined with the clear-cut idiom of our national dance – was the unanimous opinion of the members of the jury.
When will we hear the winning compositions?
The three winning works will be recorded by Sinfonia Varsovia this August in the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio. The Orchestra will be directed by young Polish conductor Paweł Kapuła. Albums of the recorded works will be distributed to Warsaw’s high schools and music schools, libraries, musicology departments and music academies nationwide.
The first performances of the winning polonaises will take place on Saturday, 29 September at 1:00 p.m. during the 9th edition of the La Folle Journée Festival in Teatr Wielki – the National Opera. That concert will be special because of its conclusion – the audience will leave the Moniuszko Auditorium to the tune of the winning polonaises to join the Warsaw Polonaise Procession.
The Warsaw Polonaise Procession
On Saturday, 29 September, in Warsaw’s Teatralny Square, Warsaw’s residents will have an opportunity to recall the basic steps of our national dance under the direction of instructors from the “Promni” Folk Ensemble. Following a short workshop, everyone will join a procession which will dance to the tune of the winning polonaise on Senatorska Street, Krakowskie Przedmieście, Karaszewicza, Tokarzewskiego Piłsudskiego Square, Focha, Moliera and returning to Teatralny Square on which the “Promni” ensemble will dance the winning polonaise.
The competition was open to Polish composers of all ages, including those without a formal musical education. All composers could use the full symphony orchestra and the work could not be more than 10 minutes in length. In accordance with the objective of the organisers of the competition, the work was to convey the best traditions of the genre, while retaining utilitarian merit to enable the performance of the dance with a choreographic arrangement. The deadline for submissions was 1 March 2018. There were 106 submissions.