Fryderyk Chopin, oil on canvas, 5' x 85' by Florian Durzynski
(1902-69); Commissioned by the Works
Progress Administration, Federal Art Project; Frederic Chopin School
auditorium, 2440 West Rice Street,
Press Release, February 10, 2010
Contact Izabela Roman at 847.609.5539
A special program in a special venue on a special date kicks off the
Chicago events of the Chopin &
Paderewski Year 2010 on Monday, February 22 at 1 p.m.
at the Chopin Elementary School Auditorium,
2440 West Rice Street, Chicago, Illinois. This unique event
is presented for the students of the Chopin
School by The Organizing Committee for Chopin & Paderewski 2010
celebrations and The
Association, in collaboration with the Paderewski
Symphony Orchestra and the Warsaw
Chicago Sister Cities International.
The great composer Fryderyk Chopin was born in Poland on February 22,
1810 (the date is sometimes
given as March 1) and this event celebrates the 200th anniversary of
Young students of the Music Academy of the Chicago-based Paderewski
Symphony Orchestra, under the
direction of Barbara Bilszta, together with actors from the Little Star
Children’s Theater Workshop invite the
audience to observe a re-creation of the salon in the 19th century Polish
home of Chopin and to listen to
Performers will enact Chopin as a boy, a teenager, and then finally
as a mature young man, performing
his piano compositions. Chopin’s “guests” will sing
his songs, dance to his mazurkas, and relate
fascinating stories about their host, citing fragments of letters, poetry,
and articles penned by the
Guest speakers include Chopin School Principal Antuanette Mester; a
representative of the Consulate
General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago; as well as a representative
of the City of Chicago.
The Chopin Elementary School, which operates as a magnet school within
the Chicago Public Schools
system, serves kindergarten through 8th grade students providing academically
or socially focused
instruction for nearly a century. Erected in 1917, the building houses
a beautiful auditorium, which has
two WPA era murals completed in 1941 by Florian Durzynski (1902-69)—one
lyrical mural depicts
This is the first event in a series to be held in Chicago to celebrate
the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s
birth and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ignacy Jan Paderewski
(b. 1860)—two of Poland’s renowned
composers and musicians.
Chopin is... not a part of Poland, but precisely, the heart of Poland.
—Boris Pokrovsky, founder of the Moscow Chamber Opera Theater.
It is difficult to write of Paderewski without emotion. Statesman,
orator, pianist and composer, he is
a superlative man, and his genius transcends that of anyone I have ever
known. Those of us who love
Poland are glad that she can claim him as a son, but let her always
remember that Ignacy Jan
Paderewski belongs to all mankind.—Charles Phillips,
The Story of a Modern Immortal, 1934.
While Chopin performed in public perhaps only 30 times, Paderewski thrilled
crowds of thousands
internationally with his recitals spanning over 50 years. His renown
was worldwide in a time when public
solo recitals were a new form of artistic expression. He was above all
a masterful interpreter of Chopin
and is recognized for the definitive edition of Chopin’s Complete
The Paderewski Association was formed to raise awareness of the accomplishments
of Ignacy Jan
Paderewski—his contributions to music as well as world events
of the 20th century.
The Paderewski Symphony Orchestra, established in 1997 as a chamber
ensemble, now numbers
over 260 professional musicians and brings Polish music to Illinois
audiences in an array of venues.
Chicago Sister Cities International celebrates 50 years of its program,
which comprises 28 cities
worldwide. Established in 1960 upon the signing of the first cultural
exchange agreement with Warsaw,
Poland, the Program honors this anniversary in 2010.