15.08.2023, 20:15 PM

THE POLISH CHAMBER CHOIR "SCHOLA CANTORUM GEDANENSIS" is an outstanding, fully professional ensemble whose hallmarks are its unique sound, supreme technical skills and depth of feeling, as well as a truly broad repertoire. It has won acclaim not only in Poland’s most renowned concert venues but also in many prestigious music centres across Europe, in North America and Asia. The ensemble was founded in 1978 in Gdańsk on the initiative of Ireneusz Łukaszewski, who became its first artistic director. In 1983, his duties were taken over by his brother Jan Łukaszewski. The Choir has also established a high reputation for its performances of contemporary music, having given world premieres of over 700 works, including those by such composers as Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar and Krzysztof Penderecki. Along with other Polish composers (Augustyn Bloch, Krzysztof Meyer, Edward Pallasz, Juliusz Łuciuk, Andrzej Koszewski and Paweł Łukaszewski) and several foreign composers, Kilar and Penderecki are among those who have dedicated their works to the ensemble. Thanks to its excellent quality of sound and interpretation, and perfect command of the ‘vocal instrument’ in the most demanding of works, the Choir has been invited to perform with such leading orchestras as Sinfonia Varsovia, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, Divino Sospiro, Neue Düsseldorf Hofmusik, Concilium musicum Wien, Sinfonia Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Venice Baroque Orchestra and outstanding choral conductors such as Eric Ericson, Uwe Gronostay and Stephen Layton. It has also been invited to numerous prestigious festivals, such as the Warsaw Autumn, Wratislavia Cantans, Soundstreams, Music in Old Kraków, Poznań Musical Spring. Foreign tours have taken the Choir to three continents, from Japan, through Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Spain, to the United States and Canada. The discography of the Polish Chamber Choir comprises over 80 CDs, about 20 of which have been nominated for the Fryderyk Award of the Polish recording industry and five of which have received this prestigious accolade. The Choir has also recorded for Polish and foreign radio and television stations, The recordings of the Polish Chamber Choir have demonstrated not only its perfection in meeting all the technical and musical demands of a score, but also its charming, instantly recognizable timbre, which is often compared to that of the finest violins or the most beautiful birdsong. The Polish Chamber Choir under Jan Łukaszewski was the first choir in the world to have recorded Penderecki’s entire output for unaccompanied choir. In 2010 and 2014, these albums received Orphée D’or awards from the French Academie du Disque Lyrique. The choir gave the world premiere of the second version of Penderecki’s ‘Missa Brevis’, and performed many of his works in the composer’s presence, including some under his baton. In 2013, the Polish Chamber Choir joined forces with the Swiss instrumental ensemble Musica Fiorita, under Jan Łukaszewski, in a project featuring 55 extant motets by the Gdańsk composer Andreas Hakenberger (1574–1627). A 2-CD album with these works was released in 2018 on the Naxos label. The Polish Chamber Choir is a cultural institution of the City of Gdańsk. A member of TENSO (the European Network for Professional Chamber Choirs), Since 2006 the Choir has organized the ‘Mozartiana’ International Mozart Festival, being one of its featured ensembles. This year the choir celebrates its 45th anniversary.

JAN ŁUKASZEWSKI is an outstanding conductor, a highly regarded teacher and an accomplished organizer of musical life. Since 1983 he has directed the Polish Chamber Choir "Schola Cantorum Gedanensis", with which he has given almost 700 premieres and made several hundred recordings for radio and television, as well as over 80 CDs. Twenty two of the latter were nominated for the Fryderyk Award of the Polish recording industry, five received this prestigious accolade, and two received Orphée D’or awards from the French Academie du Disque Lyrique. He has conducted several thousand concerts in Poland, almost all European countries, the United States, Canada, China and Japan. He has sat on the jury of the ‘Musica Sacra Nova’ International Composers’ Competition and conducted the performances of prize-winning works. Jan Łukaszewski was born in the Gdańsk district of Oliwa. Its picturesque park is the venue of the ‘Mozartiana’ International Mozart Festival, which he initiated in 2006 and has served as its artistic director. The event’s final concerts under his baton have attracted many leading soloists and renowned European instrumental ensembles to the historic Oliwa Cathedral, and have been broadcast to many European countries. The list of composers who have dedicated their works to Jan Łukaszewski includes such outstanding names as Krzysztof Penderecki, Wojciech Kilar, Augustyn Bloch, Edward Pałłasz, Paweł Łukaszewski, Andrzej Koszewski, Krzesimir Dębski, and Juliusz Łuciuk. He has worked closely with the singers Julia Lezhneva, Simone Kermes and Emma Kirkby. As an orchestral conductor, he has performed with Sinfonia Varsovia, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, and Venice Baroque Orchestra. It was in collaboration with these household names in the musical world that numerous concerts of the highest calibre were given and excellent recordings were made. Jan Łukaszewski conducted the Polish Chamber Choir in the world’s first recording of Krzysztof Penderecki’s entire a cappella choral output and, in partnership with the Swiss period instrument ensemble Musica Fiorita, they have made a pioneering recording of the complete set of 55 extant motets by Andreas Hakenberger, a Gdańsk composer who flourished from the late 16th into the early 17th century. A conductor of rare distinction, Jan Łukaszewski feels equally at home in the choral and oratorio repertoire and is able to delve into the intentions both of composers from previous periods, such as Hakenberger, and those who have been active in recent decades, such as Penderecki. The hallmarks of his art of conducting are the perfection of intonation, the ideal vocal balance and precision in reading a composer’s score, all this blended with a creative courage of interpretation. He has gained a reputation for masterful performances of texturally, harmonically and rhythmically complex contemporary pieces. A professor of musical arts, Jan Łukaszewski has several prestigious honours to his name, including the Gloria Artis Silver Medal of Cultural Merit (2008), the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Reborn Poland (2018) and an award from the Board of the ZAiKS Authors’ and Composers’ Association (2020). In 2021, following a decision by the Council of the Phonographic Academy, he received the Golden Fryderyk for outstanding artistic achievements. In 2023, Jan Łukaszewski celebrates the 40th anniversary of his work as director and conductor of the Polish Chamber Choir.

BOGUSŁAW GRABOWSKI – organist and composer born in 1955 in Sopot. Today, he is a full professor at the Stanisław Academy of Music in Gdańsk (aMuz), where he teaches e.g. organ performance, harmony in practice, liturgical accompaniment, organ improvisation, as well as the structure of the organ with musical acoustics. He is the founder of the Department of Church Music aMuz, which he headed for many years. Moreover, he gives lectures at numerous universities of the theological profile. He is a specialist in organ designing, construction, and maintenance. He cooperates with many organ building companies, offering them consultations and preparing expert opinions. The instruments built to his own proprietary designs include e.g. the organ at the Department of Church Music aMuz, or the instrument at the Sanctuary of God’s Mercy in Gdańsk. Before he became the chief organist at the St. Mary’s Co-cathedral Basilica in Gdańsk in 1985, he had been a member of the committee in charge of the project of constructing the organ in the Basilica (at the stage of technological acceptance of the instrument he was the head of the Polish body of the international commission which approved and accepted the built instrument). He is an animator of musical life in Gdańsk and Pomerania, where he has already organized more than 1000 concerts within the framework of international festivals and concert cycles (e.g. the Organ Evenings at St. Mary’s, or Music at the Sanctuary of God’s Mercy in Gdańsk). He is the director of the International Festival of the Organ, Choir and Chamber Music, held annually basis at St. Mary’s Basilica in Gdańsk. He has given concerts at almost all major Polish centres of musical life, and abroad in Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, the USA, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, and Russia. He has recorded a dozen-or-so CDs of e.g. organ music (Poland, Germany, USA), and his own compositions featuring choirs and symphonic orchestras, as well as improvisations.