For nearly half a century, the International Festival of Organ, Choral, and Chamber Music has been an integral part of Gdańsk’s musical culture, leaving an indelible mark on the region’s rich musical traditions. As the festival prepares to celebrate its 46th edition, music enthusiasts from around the world are eagerly anticipating the enchanting performances that will take place beneath the starry vault of St. Mary’s Basilica in Gdańsk. This year’s festival promises to be a captivating experience, offering a diverse range of organ compositions, vocal music, and innovative improvisations that will leave attendees spellbound.
The festival’s centerpiece is the historic and monumental 46-voice organ, a true work of art that has captivated audiences year after year. Known for its exceptional sound, this magnificent instrument has become a symbol of the festival and a testament to Gdańsk’s musical heritage. Its awe-inspiring presence sets the stage for unforgettable performances that transport listeners to a world of musical splendor.
Spanning the months of July and August, the festival will feature nine concerts, each presenting the organ in a unique and captivating manner. From early music to Romanticism and contemporary works, attendees will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a wide array of organ compositions. Additionally, two concerts will showcase the mastery of organ improvisation, pushing the boundaries of musical expression. The splendid interior of St. Mary’s Basilica further enhances the experience, creating a mesmerizing ambiance that touches the depths of the soul.
The festival boasts an impressive lineup of talented artists who will grace the stage with their exceptional performances. Opening the festival is Andrzej Szadejko, a renowned organ player, composer, and conductor from Gdańsk. The program also features solo recitals by Anna Przybysz and Jakub Garbacz, as well as internationally acclaimed artists such as Olivier Eisenmann from Switzerland and Johannes Unger from Germany. Notably, the festival will also introduce a unique collaboration between Bogusław Grabowski, the festival director, and Maciej Sikała, a jazz saxophonist, where the saxophone and organ will intertwine in harmonious improvisations, creating a one-of-a-kind musical experience.
Beyond instrumental works, vocal music compositions will also take center stage. Soprano Anna Mikołajczyk-Niewiedział, accompanied by the Collegium Musicum Chamber Choir conducted by Janusz Wiliński, will enchant the audience with their enchanting performances. The festival truly offers a diverse musical journey, catering to a wide range of tastes and preferences.
The pinnacle of the festival will be the commemorative concert on 15th August, honoring the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The world-renowned Schola Cantorum Gedanensis Polish Chamber Choir, conducted by the esteemed Maestro Jan Łukaszewski, will fill St. Mary’s Basilica with their angelic voices, creating an ethereal atmosphere that resonates with spiritual reverence. As the 46th edition draws to a close, attendees will be treated to a unique presentation of ‘Ex Tempore,’ a proprietary project by four talented musicians from Toruń. Combining the sacred and the profane, medieval chants will blend with the innovative sounds of the organ, electric violin, and clarinet, culminating in a multidimensional and unforgettable musical experience.
The 46th International Festival of Organ, Choral, and Chamber Music in Gdańsk promises to be a celebration of musical excellence and a testament to the enduring power of music. The festival’s rich history and its iconic venue, combined with the exceptional performances by renowned artists and the diverse repertoire, ensure that attendees will be transported to a realm of artistic brilliance. As the festival’s closing concert approaches, music enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to immerse themselves in the magical world of music, embracing the profound emotions and transcendent beauty that only this extraordinary festival can offer.