A strategic cooperation with London Sinfonietta, a series of concerts for young adults – Electro Sinfonietta, film scores of Abel Korzeniowski, grand galas featuring the stars of classical music, and the anniversary picnic for Cracow residents – these are but a few highlights of what the directorial duo—Agata Grabowiecka and Katarzyna Tomala-Jedynak—prepared for the 30th anniversary of the municipal orchestra.
25 May 2024 marks 30 years since the Kraków City Council established the Orchestra of the Capital Royal City of Krakow Sinfonietta Cracovia. However, this year the celebrations will not be limited to this single date. The orchestra scheduled a range of events in such a way that everyone can find something to enjoy.
The 30 years of Sinfonietta Cracovia is not an ordinary story – it is a tale of an ensemble born out of passion for music. In the early 1990s, several among the most gifted alumni of the Academy of Music in Krakow founded the ensemble of Young Krakow Chamber Musicians. Thanks to the support of the authorities in the world of culture, including Krzysztof Penderecki and his wife Elżbieta, the ensemble was awarded the status of a municipal institution of culture. Since the very beginning, the orchestra was considered to be an ensemble with a distinctive sound that does not shy away from artistic challenges.
This challenge drives the orchestra to this day. The programme of the anniversary year includes Sinfonietta Varsovia performances with the biggest stars of classical music who fill up concert halls all over the world. In February, Krakow will host the Berlin Piano Trio composed of the members of the Berlin Philharmonics, in September Sinfonietta Cracovia will be performing alongside South Korean violinist Kim Bomsori, and in October with Mari Silje Samuelsen, Norwegian violinist exuding unique virtuoso energy and Max Richter’s muse.
In the anniversary year, Sinfonietta Cracovia will also reinforce the pillars of its activity: new music and film music. The Sinfonietta Nova series will gain a resident curator in the person of Andrew Burke, artistic director of the London Sinfonietta—the ensemble that leads the musical pulse of Europe. During a series of concerts in Teatr Łaźnia Nowa (in February, April and October) the Krakow orchestra will be joined by musicians from London. Both ensembles specialize in contemporary music. Their joint interpretation of new music may prove exciting both for the audience and the performers themselves. Moreover, the orchestra decided to bestow the title of the honorary conductor to Dirk Brossé, the authority in the area of film music, head of World Soundtrack Awards and Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra with whom Sinfonietta Cracovia will embark on an autumn tour to the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
The jubilee will culminate with the festive gala Penderecki | Korzeniowski that, once again, will merge two worlds: the world of film music and contemporary music. The idea behind the concert relies on two currents: the legacy of Krzysztof Penderecki (the patron and mentor of the orchestra) and the works of his student, Abel Korzeniowski, the ambassador of Polish culture and one of the most accomplished Poles in Hollywood, who became eminent in the field of film music after collaborating with Tom Ford and Madonna. During the concert we will hear his film scores, as well as a piece composed especially for Sinfonietta Cracovia which the composer will conduct in person, sharing the pulpit with the first conductor, Katarzyna Tomala-Jedynak.
In the words of Sinfonietta Cracovia director, Agata Grabowiecka, “It is a concert combining the orchestra tradition with the openness to the new, showcasing the Professor’s work in a different, more approachable context. But above all, merging musical worlds constitutes an invitation for new audiences.”
Creating space for new audiences is also the mission of the new series that Sinfonietta Cracovia will launch in March together with Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, inviting to its space teenagers and students searching for musical encounters. The Electro Sinfonietta series will combine string instruments with electronic, multimedia, as well as artificial intelligence tools.
“Sinfonietta Cracovia is an orchestra open to the future—we are not afraid of expanding our repertoire or new formats. We want to understand the young audience and show them that they can feel comfortable in the world of classical music, which is why we initiate the meetings of the youth council and conduct audience surveys. This is particularly important in the context of the new orchestra venue, the Krakow Music Centre, currently under construction,” Agata Grabowiecka explains.
In June we can enjoy opera arias performed by Marcelina Román, classics performed by virtuosos working with the ensemble (including Daniel Stabrawa), and for the whole family, Sinfonietta Cracovia will organise a musical picnic in the green surroundings of the Nowa Huta Cultural Centre.
30 years of Sinfonietta Cracovia is a jubilee that can be celebrated by all: both dedicated music lovers and those who have just begun their adventure with classical music.
Selected anniversary concerts:
9 June – Anniversary concert: Sinfonietta & Friends – Cracow Philharmonic
30 June – Anniversary musical picnic – open air stage, Nowa Huta Cultural Centre
22 September – Inauguration of the season: Kim Bomsori – Cracow Philharmonic
7 October – Stars with the Sinfonietta: Mari Samuelsen – ICE Krakow Congress Centre
1 December – Stars with the Sinfonietta: Michał Nesterowicz – Cracow Philharmonic
19 December – Film music with Sinfonietta: Penderecki | Korzeniowski – ICE Krakow Congress Centre