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poland flag  Poland Celebrates World Accordion Day

World Accordion Day Concert - Andrzej Krzanowski in Memoriam

The students of Academy of music in Gdansk presented a concert on the 25th of May 2010, 5.30 PM at the Chamber Hall of the Academy of Music in Gdansk.

The concert was dedicated to music of renonwed Polish composer Andrzej Krzanowski, a composer and accordionist who died 20 years ago. In addition to the performances, the program also included a presentation on his life and musical output presented by Prof. Elzbieta Rosinska.

The musicical program consitsted of the music of Andrzej Krzanowski:

  • Prelude (Michal Kosinski)
  • Chorale (Zaneta Rutkowska)
  • Signal (Pawel Ratajek)
  • Kathedral (Edyta Kolibowska),
  • 4th Programme for reciter, siren, cymbals, accordion and tapes (Szymon Chylinski - accordion & reciter, Pawel Okuszko - percussion, Ariel Ludwiczak - tapes, Katarzyna Chylinska - siren).

Among his hundreds of compositions for many instruments, Krzanowski composed the Test Piece for the 1978 CIA Coupe Mondiale held in Lodz, Poland. Pictured left are the son and wife of the late Andrzej Krzanowski attending a concert held in his memory in Carnegie Hall, New York on January 13, 2008.

Krzanowski studied composition with Henryk Mikolaj Górecki at the National Higher School of Music in Katowice in 1971-5 and accordion with Joachim Pichura. His accordion debut occurred in 1967, followed by concerts of modern accordion music and participation in a number of festivals, including 1st International Accordion Festival in Digne-les-Bains, Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Musikprotokoll in Graz, 15th International Festival in Pontino, Gaudeamus Music Week, Gulbenkian Contemporary Music Festival in Lisbon, Musica 83 in Strasburg, and many others. Krzanowski made his debut as a composer at the Young Musicians for a Young City festivals in Stalowa Wola in 1975 and 1976, and at Music Meetings in Baranów in 1976, where he presented a voice, instrumental and stage cycle "Programs 1-4".

Krzanowski embarked on his teaching career at the National Higher School of Music in Wroclaw in 1975, to continue as a lecturer at its equivalent in Katowice in 1976. 1984 and 1986 found Krzanowski teaching at the Darmstadt courses, followed by an assignment at the Time of Music Summer Academy in Viitasaari, Finland, in 1987.

In 1984 Krzysztof Penderecki commissioned Krzanowski's "Symphony No. 2". In 1986 Krzanowski was the beneficiary of the Witold Lutoslawski scholarship, and in 1988 received a Scottish Arts Council grant.

Among Krzanowski's many awards and prizes is the Chairman of the Council of Ministers' Award for works for children and teenagers as well as a number of awards earned at composing competitions, notably the 2nd prize at the 19th Young Competition of the Polish Composers' Association for his 1976 "Canti di Wratislavia for orchestra" in 1976; the same year, the 1st award at the Artur Malawski Composing Competition in Krakow for "String Quartet No. 1" (version 2) from 1976; twice the 3rd prize at the Carl Maria von Weber International Composing Competition in Dresden for "String Quartet No. 1" and "String Quartet No. 2", awarded in 1978 and 1979, respectively; mention at the Composing Competition in Stalowa Wola in 1978 for "Con Vigore", his same-year concerto for eight performers; 1st award at the Composing Competition of the Music Section of the Polish Radio and Television in Warsaw in 1979 for "Fugue" for accordion quintet composed four years earlier; 3rd prize at the 1980 Artur Malawski Composition Competition for "Alkagran or a Place on the Right Bank of the Vistula River for accordion quintet" from the same year; 1st prize at the First International Competition of Accordion Compositions in Digne-les-Bains in 1981 for his same-year piece "The Wind Carries the Echo Across a Wood Clearing (version 2) for accordion and amplified harpsichord", and mention at International Competition of the Gaudeamus Foundation for "Three Meditations for accordion" from 1979; 1st prize at the 1985 Composing Competition in Kamien Pomorski for his same-year composition for organ solo, "Relief III", and, the same year, 2nd prize for "Three Etudes for accordion" from 1985 and 3rd prize for "Capriccio for accordion" from 1983 at the 1st National Competition of Accordion Compositions in Rzeszów; in 1986, mention at the Composing Contest to commemorate 25 years of the Poznan Music Spring Festival for "Where the Rainbow Ends for percussion and bass clarinet" from 1985, and 2nd prize at the 4th International Competition of Accordion Compositions in Ancona for "Three Etudes for piano"; 2nd prize at the International Composing Competition in Digne-les-Bains in 1987 for "Over the Rainbow for viola, percussion and accordion" from 1985-7.

While Andrzej Krzanowski composed symphonic and chamber music as well as pieces for voices and instruments, it was accordion music that he focused on. Krzanowski truly elevated this downgraded, popular instrument, extracting from it new possibilities and unexpected beauty. Krzanowski himself was an accordion virtuoso, having studied accordion alongside composition at the National Higher School of Music in Katowice. He appeared as an accordionist at many international festivals and taught accordion twice at the prestigious International Summer Courses of New Music at Darmstadt. A number of Krzanowski's compositions feature accordion.

Krzanowski's composing debut took place at the Young Musicians for a Young City festival in Stalowa Wola in 1975 and 1976 and at the Music Meetings in Baranów Sandomierski in 1976, where he presented a voice, instrumental and stage cycle "Programs", later complemented by two more pieces by the same title. The "Programs" performed in Stalowa Wola were in a way flagship works of the new chapter of Polish contemporary music, opened by Krzanowski, Eugeniusz Knapik and Aleksander Lason, all making their debuts at Stalowa Wola. All three were named the '51 Generation in reference to their year of birth or, alternatively, the Stalowa Wola Generation from the location of the "cult" festival. All three stood in opposition to the vanguard of the fifties and the sixties, and their compositions were referred to as "the new romanticism", yet each one retained his own autonomy. Of the '51 Generation, Krzanowski was the one most closely connected with the vanguard. The composing language of his "Programs", while characterized by romantic emotionalism, veering towards no less than exuberant expressionism, is nonetheless modern and akin to that of the vanguard. The "Programs" were composed for voices and instruments to texts by Jacek Bieriezin, Zbigniew Dolecki, Marian Stanclik and Slawomir Mrozek, and contain quotations from works of composers of past centuries, such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Karol Szymanowski. Alongside traditional instruments the composer used less common sources of sound, for instance sirens and whistles, and gave accordion an important role to play. Krzanowski also made use of the tape and applied visual effects.

What:  World Accordion Day
When: 6th May
Why: a unified global effort to celebrate and promote the Accordion
Where: World Wide!
Contact: Harley Jones - CIA Public Relations Officer e-mail:

Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) - General Secretary

Kimmo Mattila - Kyrösselänkatu 3, FIN-39500 Ikaalinen, FINLAND
Phone: +358 3 4400221, Fax +358 3 4589071 E-mail:

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