Closing chords of the Kolberg Year 2014 - miniatura

Closing chords of the Kolberg Year 2014

12 December 2014

On 11 December 2014 Polish Radio's Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio in Warsaw will host the closing gala of the Kolberg Year. This year has been filled with a vide array of celebrations marking the bicentenary of birth of the great folklorist and ethnographer. Drawing on traditional culture, the initiatives will undoubtedly go on after the Kolberg Year finishes.

At midday Professor Małgorzata Omilanowska, minister of culture and national heritage of Poland, will present the Oskar Kolberg Awards For Merit to Folk Culture for the 39th time. Also to be presented during the gala are 2014 Gloria Artis Medals For Merit to Culture.

The Oskar Kolberg Award For Merit to Folk Culture has been presented since 1974. It has always been the most important Polish distinction for involvement in folk culture. This year's winners include artists boasting great achievements in folk plastic arts and handicraft, instrumental music, singing, dance, and literature. The award is a recognition of these individuals' and ensembles' long-lasting, consistent efforts aimed at preserving and celebrating traditions and genuine values of regional folk culture in its material, social, and artistic aspects. Among the recipients are also individuals who devoted their time and energy to document and stimulate traditional culture, whose creativity, inventiveness, and persistency has contributed to raising public knowledge and artistic sensitivity, as well as understanding of and respect for the national and regional cultural heritage.

The awards have been funded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, the Cepelia Polish Art and Handicraft Foundation, and local authorities of the Mazowieckie province.

This year's edition of the awards was organised by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, National Centre for Culture, Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw, Open-Air Museum of Rural Architecture in Radom, Oskar Kolberh Museum in Przysucha, and Polish Radio 2.

The second part of the gala will feature the performance "Orszak weselny/Żałobny rapsod" (Wedding Procession/Funeral Rhapsody) directed by Darek Błaszczyk, and written by Jaceka Hałas and Darek Błaszczyk. The performance gathers the Jarzebina Vocal Band of the village of Kocudza, Men's Vocal Band of the village of Godziszów, Tęgie Chłopy Band featuring Stanisław Witkowski, Wind Ensemble of the village of Zdziłowice, Brodacze of Sławatycze, and Jacek Hałas, who has also arranged music for the show.

At 7 pm the performance will be performed again, this time to the public. You may also listen to it live on Polish Radio 2.

The year 2014 marks the bicentenary of the birth of Oskar Kolberg. The Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw, Oskar Kolberg Institute, Forum

of Traditional Music, Polish Ethnological Society, Open-Air Museum of Rural

Architecture in Radom, Polish Radio, Folk Artists Association, Art Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Composers’ Union, Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, and the National Audiovisual Institute in Warsaw have carried out a wide array of concerts and educational, promotional, and publishing projects to mark the jubilee. The most notable efforts include the official inauguration of the Kolberg Year in Przysucha and Warsaw, a website devoted to the folklorist, an interactive guide around places with Kolberg significance in Poland, digitalisation of Kolberg's manuscripts and publications for public use, renovation of his gravestone in the Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków, a report on traditional music culture today, and exhibitions on Kolberg's work in the context of 19th century history and culture.

The Kolberg Year abounded in excellent performances, concerts, festivals, workshop sessions, competitions, recordings, and radio programmes. We have reminded Poles of this great figure and his legacy, walking the way from pencil to smartphone. We have also proved that today's Poland has its Kolbergs as well: a range of ethnographers and ethnomusicologists examine traditional culture today. We have also proved that folk culture is alive, interesting, dynamic, and genuine.

A comprehensive round-up of the Kolberg Year will be ready in February 2015, as many of the jubilee projects are still going on.

The Kolberg Year Celebrations Office is run by the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw. The anniversary has been celebrated under the auspices of UNESCO. The celebrations have been financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

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