The Duszniki International Chopin Piano Festival was first organized in 1946 by Ignacy Potocki. In the post-war period it had a repolonization meaning.
Initially, the festival, with its national reach, promoted only Fryderyk Chopin's works and Polish pianists. Until 1954 only Polish artists performed on the stage. In 1955, for the first time, a foreign pianist, Chinese Fou Ts'ong played during festival. He won the Third Prize at the 5th International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he also studied in the piano class of prof. Zbigniew Drzewiecki.
Since 1961 works by other composers have appeared in the programs of recitals and concerts. The first concert not containing works of the patron of the festival was the performance of the Wroclaw Philharmonic Chamber Choir "Cantores Minores Wratislavienses" under the direction of Edmund Kajdasz on August 10, 1976 uring which the Choir performed only songs by Stanislaw Moniuszko. On August 15, 1981, the first piano recital took place, during which there was not one Fryderyk Chopin’s piece. Then, the pianist Joaquin Achucarro performed a program of Bach-Busoni, Beethoven, Debussy, Granados and Albeniz.
The original festival event is "Nocturne", a candlelit evening concert, where almost all the artists participating in the festival perform. The concert is accompanied by a lecture by a distinguished expert on Frederic Chopin's work. The idea of "Nocturne" was born after 22 years of annual lectures and talks, which took place since the beginning of the festival. In the framework of the International Chopin Piano Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj are also organized exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, posters and photographs, plays, para-theatrical and operatic events, musical film shows, and lectures illustrated with music, which were held by the Wrocław chapter of the Polish Artists-Musicians’ Association and dedicated to Chopin related issues, scientific sessions on Chopin, the National Courses in Interpreting Chopin’s Works (since 1977), performances by winners of national piano competitions and courses, the Young Performers’ Presentations held in the morning, the Duszniki Debuts, open-air performances of folk ensembles, debates with the participation of celebrated artists, jazz and CD/DVD concerts.
The Artistic Director of the festival was chosen for the first time in 1973. The position of Artistic Director took over the pianist Jerzy Jankowski from Wroclaw and the organizer of the event was the Musical Society of Lower Silesia.
Between 1975 and 1992, the position of Artistic Director of the International Chopin Piano Festival in Duszniki-Zdrój took over the conductors:
Between 1975 and 1985 Tadeusz Strugała, who gave the festival an international name and initiated a series of concerts "Dusznickie debiuty".
In the years 1986 - 1987 Marek Pijarowski.
Between 1988 and 1992 Jerzy Swoboda.
Since 1993 the Artistic Director of the oldest piano festival in the world is the outstanding pianist Piotr Paleczny.
Since 1990, the festival is organized by The Foundation of the International Chopin Piano Festival in Duszniki-Zdrój, that was set up on the initiative of Andrzej Merkur associated with the festival for many years, a resident of Duszniki working for the Municipal Office Department of Culture and Art.
In 2001, at the initiative of Andrzej Merkur and Piotr Paleczny, The Foundation of the International Chopin Piano Festival in Duszniki-Zdrój began creating the Chopin Center. Since 2002, in this Center master classes have been held, led by eminent pianists-pedagogues, among others: Domique Merlet, Alexei Nasiedkin and Yevgeni Mogilevsky. The course is completed with a lecture on the Polish inheritors of the Chopin tradition delivered by Stanisław Dybowski.
For Stanislaw Dybowski extensive article (being a source of knowledge for this article) on the history of the International Chopin Piano Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj please visit: www.festival.pl
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