20th Ensemble Festival
August 27 - September 03, 2023
Creative Work House – Radziejowice Palace

Classical music concerts
Jazz improvisations
Theater performance

About Festival

The Ensemble Festival has been running continuously since 2004 and provides a meeting platform for three strands of the arts – chamber (classical) music, theatre and jazz. We run music and theatre workshops, during which Festival participants work together with eminent professors to perform selected works. All works are presented during concerts and acting shows open to the public. Our Festival has a unique formula. Each musical ensemble includes both professors and students. This enables a partnership between titled musicians and budding adepts. This form of work enables discussion of the creative interpretation of works by people with different experiences and from different cultural backgrounds. The young actors work in small ensembles under the guidance of established professors. The Ensemble Festival takes place in the magical Creative Work House – Radziejowice Palace. Students and graduates of music academies from Poland and abroad, as well as from Polish state theatre academies, are invited to participate in the Festival.

Marek Markowicz

Musician, art animator as well as creator, initiator and organiser of, among others, the Zakopane Academy of Arts, Ensemble Festival (initially called the Princess Daisy International Ensemble Chamber Music Festival) and the Groblicz Family International Violin Competition in Krakow.

A passionate mountaineer, sailor, beekeeper and traveller, he combined these diverse fascinations.

The first edition of the Ensemble Festival was held – like the seventeen that followed – at the Książ Castle in Wałbrzych in 2004. Marek Markowicz died shortly before the inauguration of the second Ensemble Festival, on 5 August 2005, as a result of a sudden illness.

Marek Markowicz podczas otwarcia I Festiwalu Ensemble / during opening the 1st Ensemble Festival (2004)
Marek Markowicz podczas otwarcia I Festiwalu Ensemble / during opening the 1st Ensemble Festival (2004)

Paul Gulda (pianist): Memento Marek

When I think of Marek Markowicz, I turn back to the first letters we exchanged…

When I think of Marek Markowicz, I turn back to the first letters we exchanged… It was in 1998, when he invited me to teach piano at his first major initiative, Zakopiańska Akademia Sztuki (ZAS). Since it was intended to put special emphasis on 20th century music, I had to admit I knew little about Poland’s modernist genius Szymanowski at the time; but I described my other various and widespread enterprises and fields of interest to Marek. To all this Marek answered in what he called his “Afrikaner-Deutsch“: “Am wichtigste ist, der Lehrer ein Renaissance-Mensch mus sein – und Sie sind.“ [“The most important for the teacher is a man of Renaissance to be, and you are”].

Needless to say, the Renaissance style was also the way Marek spent his own days: very much alive, very much aware of the times, always curious, always on the move, and ready to open new avenues, learn new things.

He strongly believed there was a connection between different arts and crafts, and in a very Zakopane way, he also believed this to be connected to nature, philosophy, the Good Life, good fun. Marek introduced me to many aspects of Polish lifestyle (many hours after official teaching hours…) that, between us, we called: Marxism-Tobaccoism.

Like a true Renaissance man, he also had a great reverence for the Old Masters: it was Marek who brought Roman Totenberg back to Poland, who invited Ida Haendel and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki to meet with young participants of ZAS.

Always on the move! On the mountain paths of the Tatra mountains, walking fast with his long legs, puffing cigarette smoke – and even faster that time when we searched for a group of students in the thick fog on Kasprowy… Running down the steps of the hotel where ZAS was operating at the beginning; getting things organized for concerts, then standing in front of the audience, announcing the program with heart and good humor. Jumping behind the wheel of his Maluch car after ZAS 2003 and driving all the way from Zakopane to Pszczyna to show the castle there and explain his newest idea, which turned out to be his last one: Princess Daisy International Chamber Art Festival. When I close my eyes to see Marek again, he is always moving, always con moto ed agitato

Except for that last visit I paid him in Cracow, July 2005. It was clear, something was seriously different, because Marek was sitting still. Soon after, Marek left us, but he left his mark behind: two high profile Festivals that contribute in a unique way to the cultural landscape of Poland today. Grateful and indelible memories in the hearts of those young people he helped to grow and progress.

And last, but not least, the next generation within his own family, Ania, Kasia, Marcin, who have turned Marek’s vision into reality that is here to stay. Marek would be happy and proud. Renaissance: Rebirth. Permanently.

The Creative Work House in Radziejowice is a state cultural institution run by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. The place is bustling with life, with more than sixty artistic events taking place here every year. Visitors have the opportunity to attend classical and jazz music concerts, performances and exhibitions. Master classes for instrumentalists and vocalists are also held here, in collaboration with, among others, the Fryderyk Chopin National Institute. Radziejowice is visited by artists taking up new professional challenges here. The twenty-six hectares of land include the Palace, Castle, Larch Manor, Swiss Villa, Smithy, Foursquare, Katharsis Building and New Art House.

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