2023 POLIN Music Festival

Kilka przytulonych postaci, na środku kwadrat z napisem Polin Music Festival: 24-26.02.2023.
fot. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

Five concerts, Polish premieres of outstanding pieces and unique records—after a two-year break forced on us by the pandemic, we have the pleasure to invite you all to join us for POLIN Music Festival on-site. It will be an honour to host, among others, David Krakauer, Michael Guttman, Jing Zhao, Alexey Botvinov, Śląski Quartet, Bastarda Trio and the orchestras: Sinfonia Varsovia and the Polish Radio Orchestra in Warsaw.

  • 24-26 February (Friday - Sunday), joint ticket to all the concerts (available for purchase from 22 February): combo ticket: 250 PLN, SOLD OUT
  • 24 February (Friday), 7PM – Sinfonia Varsovia / Krakauer / Guttman / Zhao , tickets: 100 PLN / 80 PLN, SOLD OUT
  • 25 February (Saturday), 6PM – Śląski Quartet / Bastarda Trio (ticket is valid for both concerts), tickets: 100 PLN / 80 PLN, BUY A TICKET >>
  • 26 February (Sunday), 4PM – Karol Rathaus Ensemble, tickets: 30 PLN, BUY A TICKET >>
  • 26 February (Sunday), 6PM – Odessa Classics@POLIN, tickets: 100 PLN / 80 PLN, BUY A TICKET >>

“As far as the eye can see, a vast sea of fire. It seems the end of the world is upon us,” noted Marian Berland who hid in the bunker at the corner of Muranowska and Niska Streets. These words poignantly express the extent of suffering of the civilian population during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Our new temporary exhibition will be devoted to precisely that. However, these words seem fitting in different contexts, too.

After a two-year-long break caused by the COVID pandemic, we are yet again able to invite our audience to experience the music together with us during POLIN Music Festival. It would seem like a perfect cause for celebration, and yet… the Festival’s opening concert coincides with the first anniversary of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, and our neighbours just across the eastern border continue to perish… How can one enjoy art while the bodies of migrants seeking shelter are still being discovered along the Polish-Belarussian border? How do we fulfil the 11th commandment, recalled by Marian Turski standing by the Wall of Death at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. “Thou shalt not be indifferent” whenever a crisis takes on new forms—humanitarian, economic, climatic. A sea of fire surrounds us, and yet we do strongly believe that music can offer us support and shelter. It can inspire us to act.

Evenings of premieres

Traditionally, POLIN Music Festival will open with a concert of Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, conducted by Maestra Margaryta Grynyvetska, born in Crimea and with artistic ties with Odessa. The concert will feature three Polish premieres: ”The Fretless Clarinet”—an autobiographical clarinet concert by David Krakauer, one of the most talented clarinettist in the history of klezmer music, “Double concert” by Philip Glass performed by two soloists well-known by our Festival audience: Jing Zhao (cello) and Michael Guttman (violin) and, last but not least, “Maria’s City” – a piece by Zoltan Almashi dedicated to the city of Mariupol.

The second day of POLIN Music Festival will be an evening of premieres of records. We will host Śląski Quarter on whose performances and repertoire choices subsequent generations of contemporary music lovers are being groomed. Śląski Quartet boasts nearly 150 premieres of Polish and foreign quartets, annual nominations to music awards, concerts at most prestigious music venues and its own festival. It is the second ensemble in history to perform all 17 string quartets by Mieczysław Wajnberg. This impressive box of seven (!) discs, released by CD Accord, will have its concert premiere during POLIN Music Festival.

The second premiere box this evening will be the 3-disc release titled “Nizozot” by the Bastarda trio (published by Audiocave). In 2020, we presented the first part of the saga on our stage: a musical interpretation of the Modrzyce dynasty’s heritage. Now Bastarda returns to expand its story to include the work of the Hasidic Shapiro and Koźnice dynasties. "Nizozot" are musical tales of joy and sorrow, of violent struggle and pure spirituality, of life in the full spectrum of sensations and emotions. Stories that are, as it were, the essence of Hasidism—always oscillating between anticipation of the end of the world and a joyful, ecstatic affirmation of life.

Commemorating Karol Rathaus

On Sunday, we invite you to an afternoon concert. At 4PM, music of a distinguished Polish-Jewish-American composer Karol Rathaus will be performed by Aleksander Hałat and the Karol Rathaus Ensemble. The ensemble made the world phonographic premiere of two works by Rathaus in 2021. Last year, their second album was released and the trio has been expanded to include more guests. Michael Guttman, who shares a personal history with the composer, will also perform during the afternoon concert.

The final sounds of this year’s Festival will once again transport us to Ukraine. Two years ago, as part of POLIN Music Festival virtual edition, Alexey Botvinov played for us from Odessa. This outstanding pianist is the founder of the Odessa Classics festival. Ever since the war broke out, Botvinov has been running his festival ‘in exile’: performing at Europe’s most prestigious concert venues, he reminds us of the fact that Ukraine is still alive. On Sunday evening, the Odessa Classics will perform on our stage. The Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by its artistic director, Michał Klauza. Alexey Botvinov will perform, for the first time in Poland, 'Ave Maria' Piano Concerto No. 3 by Alemdar Karamanov—an outstanding composer with links to Crimea. The concert will open with the Polish premiere of Paul Ben-Haim’s Symphony No. 1. It was the composer’s intention that this very piece would be the first symphony of the future Jewish state. The programme for the evening will be completed by the Polish premiere of the “Yiddish Concerto”, composed especially for Michael Guttman by Laurent Couson.


Logo POLIN Museum


Logo of Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland

Patron of POLIN Museum Music Scene:

Logo of Jankilevitsch Foundation


Logo of Ukrainian House in Warsaw in blue and yellow colours

2023 POLIN Music Festival program >>