Warsaw Music Encounters is an annual festival of early and new music created in 1986. The Festival, founded and directed by the composer Władysław Słowiński, is organised by the Warsaw Branch of the Polish Composers’ Union and co-organised by Polish Radio Programme 2. Since its inception, the Festival has received the most significant financial support from the Capital City of Warsaw. Over the years, WarsawMusic Encounters has become a major element of the Capital’s yearly cultural offer. Besides the festival is financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and supported by ZAiKS Author’s Association.
Warsaw Music Encounters is one of the most important festivals of early and new music, but also the first and the only one that has made it a principle to combine these two on a regular basis. Thanks to this principle, the Festival provides an opportunity for many early music enthusiasts to get acquainted with contemporary works and discover that they “don’t bite” after all. The position in the Festival is also confirmed by the ever growing interest of Polish and foreign musicians who submit their programme offers. For many years now, the Festival has featured excellent performers and exciting repertoires, “gaining momentum” with every new Festival year and meeting the tastes of a growing number of listeners.
In accordance with the programme formula contained in the Festival’s subheading "Early Music - New Music", the Festival presents important early and new music compositions and promotes the most recent works by contemporary composers, written for the large part specially for this Festival, which also contributes to its unique character.
Since 2010, the Festival has also begun to present jazz music – an untypical but exciting combination. Among the featured jazz artists, there was the legendary String Connection in 2010, the outstanding German Thärichen’s Tentett in 2011, IN 2013 spirited jazz pianist Marcin Masecki, who made deconstruction of Scarlatti’s Sonates, in 2014 – We4 band with harmonica and vibraphone at the Forefront and in 2015 Atom String Quartet, the leading Polish jazz group and one of the most interesting string quartets of the world.
The Festival’s programme principles allow for a peculiar “interpenetration of cultures”, as the presented contemporary works frequently reflect some aspects of the early music compositions, whereas the jazz pieces contain influences from both. This can often prove inspiring and creative.
Among the Festival performers we should mention, apart from leading Polish artists, such orchestras like: Lviv's Chamber Orchestra, Kiev's Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Iuventus, Polish Radio Orchestra, Amadeus Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra or Wratislavia Chamber Orchestra; ensembles as The King’s Singers, Musica Antiqua Köln, Musica Reservata de Barcelona, More Hispano-Vicente Parrilla, Discantus, Alla Francesca, La Morra, Moscow Kremlin's Choir, Concerto Italiano with the cembalist Rinaldi Alessandrini and Musica Nova; soloists, including the violinist Alena Baeva, pianist Friedrich Hoericke and the cellist Ivan Monighetti and coductors: Agnieszka Duczmal, Krzysztof Słowiński or Jan Stanienda.
And this year many new works by the Polish composers and other works performed by e.g.: “forever young” Sinfonia Iuventus conducted by Krzysztof Słowiński with Daniel Wnukowski on piano, Wratislavia Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jan Stanienda with Wojciech Błażejczyk on the electric guitar, Ars Nova Early Instruments’ Ensemble with Renaissance ball reminiscences, Ptaszyn Wroblewski Sextet, Wilanow String Quartet with Julia Samojło on piano, songs by the Warsaw composers of different ereas. There will be also two fringe events: concert of the Integro trio and Haiku from Romania – the poetry of photography adorned by music (improvised work by Esztenyi, Latecki, Wielecki and Zemler).
Warsaw Music Encounters is a festival directed towards music lovers from Warsaw, but also towards tourists willingly spending time at the Festival concerts. Another group of target listeners are the secondary school students, both from Warsaw and other places in Poland. Every year organized school groups travel to Warsaw specially to attend the Festival concerts.
The Festival admittedly does not map out new trends in music and does not cause scandals, but it is an enjoyable and exciting way of spending time and an opportunity to listen to engaging compositions, both well known and quite new ones. It also provides a chance to meet many interesting personalities, outstanding composers and talented artists.
The Festival concerts are to be held in the Royal Castle, the Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio and the Władysław Szpilman Polish Radio Concert Studio.