Barbara Ryży – About Chamber Arts in Chamber Style
The 10th Anniversary of the Princess Daisy Chamber Arts International Ensemble Festival at Książ Castle
It has been a decade since unknown masterpieces worthy of princely halls and chambers resounded at the Książ Castle for the rst time.
In August 2004, the Princess Daisy International Chamber Music Interpretation Festival accompanied by Masterclasses in Chamber Music Interpretation was opened by a grand inaugural concert. The Festival was initiated by Marek Markowicz, an exceptional person, a musician of the Olsztyn Philharmonic Orchestra and Cracow Opera, a man with many vocations, passions and talents. Marek Markowicz was both an artist and a born organizer. So, when he envisaged a music Festival in his hometown in Lower Silesia, when he wished chamber music to return to the palace, its natural environment, he made his dreams came true.
For the past ten years, in the summer month of August, eminent musicians, professors and students from Poland and abroad meet at the Książ Castle to share the joy of music-making with their faithful audience that impatiently await them each year.
At the beginning, the formula of the Festival was not popular neither in Poland nor in Europe. Its origins are in the USA and its basic principle is simple, therefore perfect. The Festival organizers invite outstanding musicians, famous members of chamber music ensembles and a selection of music students keen on developing their skills and, rst of all, improving artistic expression. In the course of everyday hour-long rehearsals they prepare an earlier selected repertoire. Their e orts are crowned by concerts given by the professors and students which from the very onset of the Festival have become an important cultural event in Książ and the entire region.
The greatest value of the new formula consists in that it provides the participants with the opportunity to cooperate, exchange ideas, mutually inspire, fascinate and create, in other words, with the elements that are the essence of art. All this in a cosy atmosphere with chamber music as the main character.
Sharing music blurs the di erences between teachers and students. Together they can seek the best interpretation of a piece, its right tone, pitch, timbre; they enter into discussions andsometimes they disagree, thus becoming equal partners who share a passion for chamber music. This makes up the unique character of the Festival attended by such eminent and outstanding artists as Roman Totenberg, Bruno Canino, Bartłomiej Nizioł, Dominika Falger, Paul Gulda, Szymon Krzeszowiec, Mats Lidström, or representatives of the younger generation Agata Szymczewska i Jakub Jakowicz.
All participants emphasize the friendly and warm atmosphere which makes them feel like one big international family. Such family relations are as it were a natural characteristic of the Festival. When Marek Markowicz died two weeks prior to the opening of the second edition, his family decided to meet the challenge and continue his work. Marcin, his son, a violinist and composer, graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Music, who at that time did a post-graduate course with the world-famous violinist Roman Totenberg in Boston, took over the responsibility of an Artistic Director. Marcin’s sister Anna, then a student at the Drama Academy in Warsaw, and Marcin’s ancée Katarzyna Praszkier, who studied history of art in Warsaw, Mrs Markowicz today, took it upon themselves to organize the event. Barbara Markowicz, wife of the late initiator of the Festival, together with Zbigniew Czop, a friend of Marek’s, took over the Academy of Art in Zakopane, also set up by Marek Markowicz.
An unusual family with art inherent in their lives. Who was Marek Markowcz, the initiator, founder and spiritus movens of the Książ Festival, what was he like?
The Eternal Warrior
Marek Markowicz’s father lived at Stanisławów, in the Eastern Borderlands (now Ukraine). When WWII began, the family estate was con scated and the family was transported to Siberia.
Franciszek, Marek’s father, managed to escape. He covered hundreds of kilometres on foot. After the war, he settled in Mieroszowice near Wałbrzych. Soon, he was joined by the rest of the family. It was there that Marek was born in 1948, and later on his brother Paweł and sister Hania.
Marek’s father, an organ player and music lover, wanted his rstborn to have solid music education and sent him to the music school in Wałbrzych. Later, the family moved to Zakopane. Eventually, Marek completed his music education on double-bass in Cracow. His siblings were also taught to play instruments, Paweł – the cello, Hania – the ute.
Apart from music schools, Marek graduated from a hotel training college in Zakopane. He loved Zakopane and loved the mountains, and returned there whenever he could.
Later, he moved to Olsztyn. While working with the Olsztyn Philharmonic, he became friends with Marek Wierzbicki a cello player, and the brother of his future wife, Barbara. Her family also came from the Borderlands, from Volhynia and loved music, too. Barbara’s grandfather Jan Wierzbicki had fourteen siblings, many of whom were musicians. Jan himself played the violin; and endowed with a beautiful voice he sang in the Operetta Theatre in Lublin for a short period soon after the war. Although a dentist by profession, he could not live without music, his faithful companion. He sang with church choirs all throughout his life. Three of his children studied music: Barbara – the piano, Marek – the cello and for 15 years was the celloconcertmaster at the Mexican Philharmonic, and later on in Aguascalientes; Piotr plays the violin in the Musiktheater in Freiburg.
In 1990s, Marek Markowicz was o ered an attractive contract
by the Cape Town Opera. He refused to stay in Poland. At that time, as the rst cellist of the Cracow Opera, he travelled extensively round the world. He was always happy to return home. It was only in Poland that he felt at home. He loved the Tatra Mountains, roamed their length and breath alone, with friends or his family. A dedicated trekker, he began scoring points for the badge of the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society at the age of 13. He was a skilled climber and skier, and from 1983, a supporting member of the Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue (GOPR).
In the album with photographs from that period, I see a handsome, lean, long-legged young man out in the mountains, on summits, against a mountainous background. Always ‘in action’, always smiling, always surrounded by friends.
His was a multidimensional and versatile personality. Marek Markowicz enjoyed also the allure of solitude. He calmed down, kept his balance in lone sailing trips in the Mazurian Lake District, with a certi cate of competency of a yacht skipper in his pocket. He came to know all of the lakes. To complete the picture it is worth adding that he was a hunter and a bee-keeper, too – in his summer house near Cracow he set up an apiary which he run with passion and great professionalism.
In 1979, his son Marcin was born and in 1984, his daughter Anna. In mid-90s, Markowicz left the Cracow Opera and joined ‘Merkuryusz’, a Cracow journalists’ club where he organized music events. At the same time he formed and played with the La Rosa chamber music ensemble. His career in music ended following a car accident in which his arm was shattered in thirteen places. He did not give up. Instead, he mobilized his bend for organizing, and in 1996 organized the Groblicz Family International Violin Festival; the following year he founded the Zakopane Academy of Art, functioning to this day. The Academy’s goal is to organize international courses in music interpretation for young people, combined with teaching them other forms of artistic expression.
The Academy’s formula is the synthesis of the arts. Markowicz wanted to prove that music is not an isolated domain. He used to say that the Academy was set up at a certain place and time, so it was worth learning what went on in other domains of art at that time. To his Zakopane project he invited eminent professors and world-famous musicians and artists, among them Roman Totenberg, Paul Gulda, Robert Szreder, Jadwiga Gadulanka, Tomasz Strahl and Andrzej Bauer. How did he manage to lure artists of such fame to an unknown musical venture?
‘Dad was a charming personality’, reminisces Marcin Markowicz. ‘He knew how to win peopleover. For him nothing was impossible. When he wanted Roman Totenberg to come to Zakopane, he simply wrote him a letter. And Totenberg did come. Dad was like a volcano, always on the move, always in a hurry; he was a ghter who never gave up and was always determined to achieve his goal. He slowed down a bit in the mountains. Only when he was reading he seemed motionless; he was an avid reader and devoured books on a whole range of disciplines.’
The Academy in Zakopane ourished, so Markowicz continued to seek new challenges. It was his dream of many years to organize a periodic musical event in a place that bewitched him – the castle at Książ. Many years passed before that dream came true.
The rst International Chamber Music Festival at the Książ Castle combined with Chamber Music Interpretation Masterclasses was a great success, so with inexhaustible energy Markowicz threw himself into the organization of the second edition. But it was not to be. The Eternal Warrior departed on August 5, 2005, his and Barbara’s wedding anniversary. He was the soul of two Festivals never to be forgotten.
About the Festival
The legend of the 20th-century music Roman Totenberg, a world- -famous violinist of Polish origin and professor at the Boston Conservatory was the guest of honour at the 1st Festival. Totenberg taught a number of notable violinists, including Marcin Markowicz, whom he awarded a Totenberg scholarship to continue his post- -gradual studies.
When he came to Książ, he was 92 and full of energy equal to that of his students. In one of the interviews he said: ‘It’s a good thing that a festival has been organized here as this will boost up the prestige of this place. There is a joke here that every great festival in the world had such humble beginnings with just a few teachers and students. Success comes later.’
At a special concert the Maestro played the Piano Trio in C major by J. Brahms, with Paul Gulda on piano and Nikolay Gimaletdinov on cello. The second part of the evening brought the screening of lms devoted to Professor Roman Totenberg.
This was Professor’s last visit to Poland. He died at the age of 101 in 2012. Till the very end he was in touch with the Festival’s organizers, always full of admiration and encouragement. In one of his letters he wrote that the Festival was inspired by a wonderful castle and was an expression of the culture of the time. In his opinion, the young musicians were infused with the spirituality of cooperation with world-famous professors and the beautiful surroundings where they lived and collaborated. He wished that great and beautiful organization best of luck.
For the past ten years, Szymon Krzeszowiec and Piotr Janosik, members of the Silesian String Quartet, one of the best in Poland, and lecturers at the Academy of Music in Katowice have become
an academic and artistic hard core of the Festival and Masterclasses. They enjoy sharing their mastery with students as well as concert- -making, and although they work veryhard at Książ they cannot imagine not coming here. ‘Every year, I return here with great joy’, says Szymon Krzeszowiec, ‘and visits to the Książ Castle always are a great experience, not solely for art.’
Each year they are welcomed with joy and hope for new artistic experience emanating from their masterly performances. Both musicians are a constant added value of the Festival just like Paul Gulda who has been with the Festival from the very beginning.
An outstanding pianist, conductor and composer, Paul Gulda is a remarkable gure. Audiences adore him, students are ready to go through re and water after him, although there are some who fear the re in his eyes and his restless character. ‘Paul Gulda is a superb teacher’, says Marcin Markowicz, the Festival’s Artistic Director, ‘devoted to his students. A strong personality with a clearly de ned vision, however in spite of that, you can play Schumann’s Quintet with him for the fteenth time, and each time he’ll be seeking the crux of the matter.’
His expressive, very personal execution has a magnetic effect on the audience, makes them hold their breath, quickens the rhythm of their hearts. But at the same time Gulda is a loner and a dreamer, a subtle vibrant personality easily sensed by the public who thank him forthe shared emotions with a standing ovation after every concert.
The main attraction of the rst Festival was a guest performance by the brass wind ensemble from the Rydzyna Castle. Then there was the appearance of Princess Daisy herself who, as everyone knows, still lives in the castle; that time it was Anna Markowicz who made her appearance as Daisy when a documentary about the last owner of the castle was lmed by Dagmara Drzazga.
The Great Exam
The second edition of the Festival was devoted to the memory of its creator and director Marek Markowicz. There is an inscription on the memorial plaque: ‘…Let his beloved music always resound at Książ Castle’.
That year, beautiful chamber music in a minor key dominated in castle halls and chambers: Quartet No. 2 written by Marcin Markowicz and dedicated to his father will go down in the history of the Festival. ‘I wanted to surprise him, thank him for that Festival, so unique in Poland. I planned to present him with a nished piece. My friends were prepared, they knew I was writing something.
I began in April in Boston. The rst part was cheerful, joyous. Then all of a sudden in May came the news about Dad’s illness. I ew back to Poland immediately. My Quartet changed dramatically to become a tragic and painful account of his su ering. It was nished by the end of July but I still kept it as a surprise, because
I believed he would get better, come to Książ and listen to my composition dedicated to him. However, on the 4th of August some premonition told me to show it to him. He read it and was deeply moved. Next day, he passed away.’
Two weeks later, the premiere of the Quartet No. 2 took place at a Festival concert in the Maximilian Hall. Emotions contained in that piece: love, pain, liberation and hope mesmerized the audience who stayed silent after the last note died away before they exploded into a standing ovation.
The Festival was a great exam for the three young people who so unexpectedly took over the responsibility for such a huge event. They passed it with ying colours. Everyone helped them: teachers, students, local authorities and the Castle management. ‘Kasia was irreplaceable’, says Anna Markowicz. ‘She knew what and how to do things, whom to phone and what to say. We were inexperienced, we knew nothing. We did not know the Festival budget, we didn’t know anybody. Dad had everything in his computer and his notes but he would not let us see it. He was stubborn and to the very end he believed he would open the second Festival himself. So when fate decreed otherwise and we set about organizing the Festival, despite the tragedy there were humorous situations. I remember calling people from Dad’s notebook to ask them who they were and if they could help us. It ishard to believe that so many people trusted us.’
The opening concert was the rst proof that it was worthwhile to take the risk. It was a reward for the stress and sleepless nights, and a proof that the trust placed in them bore fruit.
They organized the two successive Festivals learning by their own mistakes, improving, changing, demanding more and more from themselves and from others guided by theirfather’s motto: ‘Do not just sit – act, do not be afraid’.
So they acted, did their best with the help of all those who also wanted the Festival to go on and expand.
Then Dominika Falger, a violinist from the University of Music in Graz and concertmaster of the second group of violins of the famous Wiener Philharmoniker joined the professorial circle lured by the unique formula of the Festival. Others followed soon, among them Piero Massa, a violist and Professor at the Conservatorio di Matera who for some time worked with the La Scala. A born Neapolitano whose joie de vivre and positive vibrations resound in the music he playes lovingly, expressively, suggestively, strongly. Massa learned how to play chamber music with the famous Amadeus Quartet. Now with great involvement and devotion he shares his knowledge and experience with students. Prior to the 4th edition, a seemingly small yet signi cant change in the name of the Festival was introduced. From then on it was to be known as the Princess Daisy International Chamber Music Ensemble Festival. To Marcin Markowicz, its Artistic Director, it re ects better the exceptional atmosphere of friendship and familiarity created by both students and professors as well as the audience. ‘As a broadly conceived concept of a group is the essence of the Festival, we wanted our audience to feel part of it, too. And that’s why we added ‘Ensemble’ to the name of the event, as in French ensemble, meaning ‘together’ or ‘group’.
They decided to base the Festival repertoire on the anniversary calendar of outstanding Polish and foreign composers. So, the Fourth Festival concentrated on the oeuvre of Karol Szymanowski his birth and death anniversaries falling in 2007. Anniversaries of Mozart, Schumann, Shostakovich, Mendelssohn and Schubert were celebrated during other Festivals.
As the number of students and audience grew, the Baroque Maximilian Hall could no longer seat the number of music lovers. Nowadays, additional seats are put in the hall. Students however, prefer to sit on the steps from where they listen to the concerts given by their friends and professors like in an amphitheatre.
The Artistic Director’s dream was to invite Bartłomiej Nizioł, a violinist of world standing, the concertmaster of the Zurich opera, winner of prestigious violin competitions and a symbol of the younger generation of Polish violinists. ‘I doubted he would accept our invitation because I was young violinist he never heard of. When he said he could come in 2008, I thought two years weren’t a very long time for a top world-class violinist. I was overjoyed he accepted the invitation. We felt honoured when he came to the 5th jubilee edition of the Festival. He turned out to be the most humble person I’ve ever met, easygoing, helpful, open, nice… Not at all a star, although one of the brightest.
We were extremely happy he t so nicely with the character and atmosphere of our Festival.’
Bartek, as everyone calls him here, came to Książ both to take part in the inaugural concert and to conduct virtuoso interpretation classes. Everyone admired his wonderful, heartfelt performance. Students love to work with him because as they say ‘it proceeds fast because Bartek plays suggestively and leads everyone.
We listen to him carefully and follow him’. Bartek considered the Festival a remarkable event where unusual things happen. From then on, he has been to Książ almost every year, eagerly awaited as an artist, professor and friend.
Another turning point came the same year with the arrival of actors from the National Theatre in Warsaw. Early on, Katarzyna, Anna and Marcin Markowicz planned to enrich the Festival formula with chamber music-related theatrical performances, to create works of art in interaction with the audience.
Jerzy Grzegorzewski, the late Director of many years of the Studio and National Theatres in Warsaw, is the patron of the Festival theatre workshops. Katarzyna Markowicz is related to Grzegorzewski so when he died in 2005, she thought about paying homage to his memory and artistic output by inviting his favourite actors
to Książ. The idea was put into e ect three years later. Beata Fudalej, Zbigniew Zamachowski and Wojciech Malajkat took part in the 5th edition of the Festival.‘
At the beginning they were skeptical’, says Katarzyna Markowicz. ‘It was the name of their master that attracted them. Beata Fudalej, whose work I admire and whom I thought inaccessible, just like Marcin thought about Bartek, refused even to think about directing anything in such a short time. Zbigniew Zamachowski said he would be able to come only to the evening dedicated to Jerzy Grzegorzewski. They all had serious doubts if it was possible to create even a short and at the same time artistically complete piece. Nevertheless, the audience fell for them after rst acting workshops and presentations.
Beata Fudalej’s students presented a selection of scenes from one-act plays by Chekhov with humour and brilliant dialogues – The Bear, The Proposal and The Anniversary. Musical illustration was provided by Marcin Markowicz. Wojciech Malajkat prepared fragments of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage.
They were shown in the Maximilian Hall which ideally re ected the climate of the play.
Next year, Zbigniew Zamachowski conducted workshops for singing actors. The songs added variety and enriched the Festival with sophisticated interpretations of the shortest music forms that combine the two parts of the Festival – the one devoted to music and that devoted to theatre.
Memorable was the staging of The Quartet for Four Actors, a play by Bogusław Schae er, a contemporary composer and playwright, which ideally corresponded with the Festival’s climate, directed by Beata Fudalej with mastery, subtlety, great humour, and scenic imagination. This is a story about actors and their work, a re ection on man’s condition in the chaos of modern world. This is a kind of a child’s play set in di erent conventions: the actors do acrobatics, sing, monologue, and carry dialogues of purely musical structures. Man is an instrument that can play and be played.
The audience liked The Quartet… so much that the spectacle had to be played a number of times. It lives on outside the Festival shown elsewhere with the same actors who met at Książ workshops.
Each year, master actors assist the Festival and students with their creative work. They are modest enough to say that their spectacles and presentations are just ‘open rehearsals’, mere sketches that require al lot of work. I would happily see such ‘sketches’ in Warsaw for they are both full of youthful enthusiasm and energy and have an unquestionable artistic value.
‘Do not just sit – act, do not be afraid’
Marcin Markowicz, the Artistic Director searched further, despite the fact that the Ensemble Festival won the approval of the audience, artists and Książ town authorities; even from the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland there came congratulatory letters signed by presidents. For a long time he wanted Jakub Jakowicz, whose expressive performances are known to audiences all over the world, to join the Festival. ‘As a violinist Kuba continuously searches and experiments’, says Marcin Markowicz. ‘Routine is unknown to him. He tries everything: he plays solo, with smaller and bigger ensembles such as the Zehetmair Quartet and Lutosławski Quartet and as a soloist with musica antiqua ensembles. He expects the same characteristics of his students, encourages them to look for a style of their own. His example is a great inspiration for them.’ Director Markowicz loves his music and that is why he wanted to hear the wonderful tones of Jakowicz’s violin in the Książ Castle.
The very busy violinist found time, came to Książ and stayed… for good. Besides Marcin Markowicz he has been the youngest Festival professor, although Agata Szymczewska will be the youngest as of the present edition. This extremely talented artist, winner of prestigious awards (in 2006, she won the First Prize and Gold Medal of the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań and in 2009, the London Music Masters award) who performs in famous concert halls over the world, came to Książ in 2010 as… a student. She enjoyed it so much that since then she has been to all editions that followed.
‘Agata is fantastic’, says Marcin Markowicz. ‘I’m very happy she joined us. She’s an extremely talented violinist and a perfect pal. She plays concerts and… soccer with us. This is our favourite pastime between rehearsals and concerts. Although petite, she pushes and shoves like a man, such is her energy and strength. She’s a sports fan, she watches all football matches as well as tennis, volleyball, boxing matches, not to mention ski jumps. She’s incredible.’ Not only the younger generation is fascinated with sports. When Bruno Canino, a legendary chamber music pianist who played with Itzhak Perlman,
Cathy Berberian, Jan Vogler or David Garrett, negotiated the conditions of his participation in the Festival’s seventh edition his only request was that there would be no rehearsals on Sunday, because he wanted to watch the Formula 1 transmission live on TV. Bartek Nizioł is a Formula 1 enthusiast, too.
Artistic Director Marcin Markowicz constantly strives at expanding the Festival’s repertoire. In 2010, the oboe was introduced, played by Sebastian Aleksandrowicz, Sasha to his friends, one of the best Polish oboists, a soloist with the Grand Theatre-National Opera in Warsaw, guest rst oboist with the Wrocław Philharmonic, soloist and chamber musician giving concerts in many countries. For the past two years Sasha has been also engaged in the organization of the Festival – his input is invaluable.
When Roman Mosler, a bassist joined the 8th edition, and a year later, Tomasz Januchta came, a Festival orchestra was formed to present compositions not heard at the Festival before, among them the purely orchestral Three Pieces in Old Style by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and the well-known piano quintet in A major The Forellenquintett by Franz Schubert.
Mats Lidström, a cellist of international fame who joined the professorial ranks in 2012, got bitten by the Festival bug just like other participants in the Książ Castle masterclasses and, as Marcin Markowicz put it ‘he ts perfectly the crazy Festival atmosphere. Students adore him.
He’s a fantastic teacher full of unusual interpretation ideas and his personality and playing are immensely inspiring’.
The Artistic Director of the Festival speaks warmly of everybody. No wonder, for he speaks about his maestros, friends, colleagues, about people he loves, respects and values, with whom for so many years he has cooperated to organize this unique musical event far from the chaotic world, in a high castle, above trees. He rarely speaks of himself and his compositions, convinced that music as a medium must speak for itself; much more interesting is what people nd in it.
This is what Mats Lidström had to say about Marcin Markowicz’s compositions: ‘In last year’s Festival, I was fortunate to play a work by Marcin. That experience prompted me to ask – no,demand! – to be scheduled also for this year to perform more music by Marcin. And that’s how good he is: one wants more. He is a musician’s composer. His music, its structure and substance – its beauty, too – sends a signal of honesty: it’s the real stu . He is a warm and friendly person with a great sense of humour, which only promise that his next piece will be great, too!’
His colleagues think highly of him for his versatility, knowledge, individual style and rich personality. ‘I met Marcin at Warsaw’s Academy of Music’ recalls Jakub Jakowicz. ‘We were in the same year. He was unlike the rest. He came from an educated family and that helped him to have his eyes wide open, he did more than just play the instrument. I was impressed with his knowledge and his hobbies: arts, theatre, cinema, photography, literature. He used to write music, knew the Tatra mountains inside out, played with highlanders’ folk bands. I still remember my astonishment when I saw him in an aural training class. He wrote the exercises in green ink rather then traditionally in pencil. He had that Cracow air, an unconventional personality and comportment. He invited me to a family slide show, took me to theatre performances, organized all sorts of events. At a very young age he took on the responsibilities of an artistic director of the Książ Festival.
Later on, when we started to play in the quartet, I saw how important music was for him. It is his way with the ups and downs, his addiction and remedy. He knows a lot of music and constantly wants more of it. His interpretations are a consequence of his knowledge about the structure of a piece, its harmony, knowledge of the history of music. Contact with his approach to music is a valuable experience.
I would say Marcin is a bit like his music: individual, intelligent, introvert, with powerful and complex emotions.’
Everybody likes him. He is kindhearted, friendly, open and spontaneous. It happened at one of the Festivals that during a break between rehearsals he played badminton so dynamically (he admits that whatever it is he always works as hard as he can) that he sprained his right arm and had to spend the evening concert ‘on the bench’.
Marcin Markowicz has learned a lot since the rst edition of the Książ Ensemble Festival ten years ago. He developed and matured along with the event. Today, he is a highly regarded artist and composer, excellent teacher and Artistic Director of the Princess Daisy Festival fully aware of his choices and actions. In everyday life he is a concertmaster of the Wrocław Philharmonic and the second violinist in the Lutosławski Quartet chamber ensemble.
Despite the great pressure of work, he cannot sit still. He conducts violin and chamber music classes in Zakopane, Matera (Italy) and, earlier, in Ankara (Turkey), Tongyeong (South Korea) and Singapore; he was twice member of the jury of the Grażyna Bacewicz Polish Violin Competition in Wrocław (in 2010 and 2012). Markowicz also composes lm and theatre music: for the 13th of August ’44 by Małgorzata Brama and Hot Water (Kipyatok) by Alex Casianov.
‘Marcin is versatile’, says Maciej Włodawski, a cellist in Wrocław Philharmonic and member of the Lutosławski Quartet. ‘Once it was a norm, today it is an exception. For us, musicians, he is a walking encyclopedia, knows a lot about music and composers. He enjoys arguing with us, often provokes discussions on various subject. He is a man of great passion as well as modesty which prevents him from jumping the gun. This is a great virtue in a quartet. He combines these traits. And he does it expertly. He is a born leader.’
‘Ensemble’, as was said before, means a group of artists and many other people thanks to whom the Festival came into existence, lives on and expands. ‘Ensemble’ embraces also audience without which no art can ourish. Audience, fans, admirers, sometimes art critics, in other words, recipients of all Festival artistic events constitute its integral part. There is no doubt that the regular, recognised by the artist enthusiasts have for years belonged to the Książ Castle ‘festival family’.
‘We missed chamber music in Wałbrzych’, says Róża Kuczera, who attends every edition of the festival. ‘From the very beginning I come here with my friends from the University of Third Age. The ve of us go together to concerts, art expositions, and the Wałbrzych Philharmonic. We thank Marcin Markowicz that after the Festival’s rst edition, after his father died, he took the plunge and together with his sister and ancee decided to continue the event. I remember very well the piece he composed for his father and admire the way he expressed his emotions through music.
We are enchanted with the kind of music presented at Książ each year, because you cannot listen to it in the Wałbrzych Philharmonic. Here we have music written by composers we did not know and this gives us a lot of satisfaction. Thanks to the Festival we got the opportunity to listen to famous musicians. Before, we had no chance to hear Bartłomiej Nizioł, Jakub Jakowicz, Szymon Krzeszowiec or the Silesian Quartet live. We love Paul Gulda for his inspired performances and the possibility he gives us to share music with him.
In my opinion, the idea to include a drama part was a very interesting one. I was deeply moved by Chekhov’s monologue rendered by Ania Markowicz. How aptly had she conveyed the Russian soul! I liked it very much. I hope the Festival will go on evolving. It is organization improves year by year. I think it is good that now it is hard to get concert tickets. These are exceptional, even elite artistic events so it is worthwhile to put some e ort to participate and share the experience.’
The duty of Director Katarzyna Markowicz is to coordinate organization of the entire event. With time, the Festival O ce has grown, although nowadays it still employs quite a small number of people. And their duties multiply with every edition. They have to deal with more and more tasks and things to arrange, including the seemingly smallest details that make up a consistent whole.
Recently, Anna Biernat has joined the Festival O ce as the person responsible for production. They call her ‘producer’ and at the same time add that all titles, including directorial or even professorial ones, are merely a required formality: they are of no signi cance as they all are one big festival family. ‘Ania Biernat is a sociologist’, says Katarzyna Markowicz. ‘I’ve known her since we met in the girl scouts. We ran summer camps together so we had the chance to prove ourselves in all sorts of circumstances. In the past, she used to lend us a friendly hand with many Festival projects. Her help is still invaluable thanks to which organization of the Festival runs smoothly and e ectively.’
As of 2013, the person to help Artistic Director Marcin Markowicz, in the selection of repertoire, professors, students and daily schedules of tasks and concerts is Grzegorz Skrobiński, a pianist, assistant at the Frederic Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and many times Festival participant. Not wanting to part with Książ and its exceptionally friendly and creative atmosphere, he joined the teaching sta . Skrobiński is responsible for the afternoon concerts introduced this year.
The drama section of the Festival is coordinated by Anna Markowicz, an actress in Warsaw theatres and Zbigniew Zamachowski’s assistant at the Academy of Drama in Warsaw. She is in charge of discussing organizational and artistic details with the professors, collecting student applications and analyzing them with the teachers, overseeing the division of groups who prepare their mini spectacles in the Książ Castle. She enjoys her job and is totally committed to it as to everything that is related to art and theatre.
Katarzyna Markowicz and her team of organizers teem with countless ideas and plans. She reels them o in one go hoping at the same time to nd means to bring them into life. Luckily enough, the authorities of Wałbrzych appreciate the role the Festival, unique in Poland, plays to promote the town and region by attracting more and more people to the Książ Castle. They contribute nancially and organizationally to support the Festival, happy to provide the local community with a cyclical artistic event of the highest standard.
Valuable art can always rely on support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The minister as well as the President of Wałbrzych and the Marshal of the Voivodeship of Lower Silesia are among members of the Festival honorary committee. As far as the friendly atmosphere is concerned, it is worth noting that the hosts and organizers of the Festival – the Municipal Council, the Książ Castle and the Wałbrzych Cultural Centre – saw the importance of the event and had con dence in its outcome from the very beginning. Their very sympathetic response, assistance and involvement in organization of every successive edition proved to be fundamental to the birth of the ‘festival family’ and greatly contributed to the joy of the Festival’s 10th Anniversary celebrations.
The Festival’s visual image and its pride are the high-class artistic lea ets, posters and prints designed mainly by Jakub de Barbaro, a well-known graphic artist from Cracow. People hunt them like valuable collectibles. Director Katarzyna Markowicz is very demanding as far as the artistic message of festival information is concerned and Jakub de Barbaro conveys it with great mastery in vivid, often humorous, graphic forms and shortcuts. For her, like for Marek Markowicz before, the synthesis of arts makes an added value that provides the audience with new ideas and emotions.
The Mad Whirl
Katarzyna Markowicz’s fascination with art is well-grounded. A graduate in art history she had a short spell with the National Museum. By a strange twist of fate she became the Director of the Princess Daisy Festival at the age of 21. The unexpected challenge and responsibility did not intimidate her. On the contrary, they gave her a boost.
She comes from a family of community workers, specialists in the arts and academics. Both her parents are psychologists, her father co-founded Synapsis – a centre that helps people with autism and their families, and is active in the organization Ashoka Poland-Innovators for the Public. Currently, he is involved in academic research at the Department of Psychology of the Warsaw University. Tomasz, her elder brother, a geologist, has also been bitten by the activeness and organizational bug, and indefatigably organizes mineral fairs and conferences. He is the co-founder of the Agate Summer Fair at Lwówek Śląski. His greatest dream – a museum of minerals and precious stones at Wieliczka Salt Mines – has ‘crystallized’ and is closer to realization.
One can venture to say that organizational skills and readiness to work for others came to Katarzyna Markowicz naturally. She strives after perfection and has a constant need to learn more. She completed a postgraduate course in cultural institutions studies to feel more con dent and effective in her activities. ‘The second Festival, soon after the death of Marcin’s dad’, she says, ‘was a haphazard project, everybody helped us: the town authorities, professors, students. I will never forget that atmosphere of friendliness, warmth and spontaneity. With the two next editions we learned by our mistakes and gradually got better and better. Now, I have a lot more con dence, but as the Festival gets nearer I invariably get ‘festival nerves’: whether all goes well, what if there happens something I have not anticipated or should have. For example, it is enough that a musician sprains his arm or leg because he played soccer with too much vehemence in his free time and we have a problem. Things happen. We are lucky to rely on the town’s President who helps us out also in such situations.’
Plans for a subsequent edition are made one year in advance, sometimes even two years prior to the event. When, for instance, a professor cannot come because of other commitments they invite him to to next editions. This is a huge e ort, there are hundreds of details to plan and carry out. I leaf through a yearly schedule meticulously planned month by month: meetings related to the budget, meetings with sponsors, with the media, elaboration of promotion materials, printing of posters, lea ets, billboards, invitations and tickets; booking of air tickets and hotels; xing stage design, costumes, lighting, stands… – this is just a fraction of the long list of ‘technical things’ to be done, not to mention the list of ‘artisticones ‘ equally long and divided into months. ‘This is a never-ending whirl’, says Katarzyna Markowicz. ‘We are constantly on the move. We live in Wrocław, Marcin’s mother is in Cracow, my parents in Warsaw.
We travel a lot: Marcin with concerts, as he’s also a guest concertmaster of the orchestra of the Beethoven Academy in Cracow, myself as the manager of the Lutosławski Quartet accompany him sometimes on concert tours in Poland and abroad. Travelling is also an integral part of my job in Teatr Polski in Wrocław. Whenever it is possible, we take with us our two-year old son Leon. You could say we lead a vagabond life. Well, such is the life of a musician and mine, an organizer of cultural events. True, it is not easy but we would not change it for anything else’.
The force of music is enormous just like the spirit of those, who make, cultivate and popularize it. For the past ten years, almost every August, I travel hundreds of kilometres to the Książ Castle to the Princess Daisy Chamber Arts International Ensemble Festival to listen and delight in brilliantly played unforgettable music that goes deep into my heart and soul. This extraordinary Festival, born of one man’s dream and created by the e orts of a small group of people, gathered an ensemble and ‘a family’, guided by love and passion for music, is magical. As magical as the Książ Castle and the good spirits of Princess Daisy and… Marek Markowicz.