Chopin’s birthday tribute
PR dla Zagranicy
Saturday, March 1, is the final day of the week-long celebration of the 204th anniversary of Chopin’s birthday. In line with a long-standing tradition, the composer’s birthplace of Żelazowa Wola will be the venue of a recital, broadcast live on Polish Radio 2 at noon.
The acclaimed Japanese pianist Akiko Ebi, a prizewinner at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1980, is the soloist. Chinese pianist Yundi, the winner of the 2000 Chopin Competition, is the soloist in the gala Chopin Birthday concert at the National Philharmonic on Saturday night.
Chopin’s birthday is celebrated with a wide-range of events starting on 22 February because the exact date of the composer’s birth continues to be the subject for debate.
An entry in the record of births of the parish church in Brochów near Żelazowa Wola, where he was baptized, as well as a birth certificate signed by the composer's parents give the date of 22 February 1810. In the composer’s family home, however, Fryderyk's birthday was celebrated on March 1 and it is this date that is now recognized as the date of Chopin’s birth.
This year, Chopin’s birthday celebration coincides with the bicentenary of the birth of Oskar Kolberg, the famous ethnographer and composer, born on 22 February 1814.
His multi-volume work on the folk music and culture of 19th-century Polish lands has served as a source of inspiration for successive generations of Polish composers, including such household names in 20th century music as Witold Lutosławski and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki.
An exhibition on Kolberg’s life and work is on at the Chopin Museum in Warsaw. It documents the close links between the Chopin and Kolberg families, who lived for five years in the same house, on what is now Warsaw University campus. Oskar Kolberg’s elder brother was Chopin’s school friend and his younger brother painted one of the best known portraits of the composer. (mk/pg)