The Warsaw Movement
In dark and threatening times, music offers some respite in the Polish capital
In Warsaw, the capital of an increasingly nationalist and fervently catholic Poland, music offers some daily respite through levity and creativity.
Along the River Vistula there are numerous theatres, conservatoires, music and dance schools, philharmonic societies and music festivals. There is one for jazz lovers and one for electronic pop enthusiasts, one for lovers of contemporary music and one for Mozart, and naturally one dedicated to Poland’s cultural hero.
The prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition, in fact, is the most important piano competition in the world for pianists and is an event broadcast live on television across the nation.
Once every five years (the most recent edition was held in October 2021) the competition transforms Warsaw into the world capital of classical music and visitors arrive from as far afield as Japan and South Korea as Chopin mania takes hold.
Music penetrates every corner of Warsaw. Piano concertos are held every Sunday in Łazienki Park, in the cafes along the city’s most famous street Krakowskie it is not unusual to hear a young graduate play a Polonaise. It is also possible to sit on one of the city’s marble benches that, at the press of a button, play Chopin’s nocturnes.