Intl pianists decorated for Polish culture merit

Nelson Goerner (L) and Dang Thai Son (R) have received the Golden Gloria Artis Medals for Merit to Culture. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

Argentinian pianist Nelson Goerner and Vietnamese pianist Dang Thai Son – “the best ambassadors… of Polishness” – were decorated with the Golden Gloria Artis Medals for Merit to Culture.

Both pianists accepted the medals from deputy culture minister Wanda Zwinogrodzka and praised by Artur Szklener – the head of Fryderyk Chopin Institute (NIFC) an institution dedicated to researching and promoting the life and works of the eminent Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin.

“You are not only the best ambassadors of music but also of Polishness,” said Mr Szklener in the presence of the Vietnamese ambassador Vu Dang Dzung and the Argentinian embassy secretary Miguel Angel Cuna.

Mr Szklener said that although both artists were born far apart, in different cultural settings, different time and are differed by childhood experience that bonded their fates with Poland, it is “difficult to find masters of piano art who would have so much in common.”

“It is the globally recognized piano mastery, exceptional subtleness, precision of artistic interpretation, unmatched versatility, exploration of instruments’ possibilities with reaching out to the first half of 19th century, priceless pedagogical activity and, most importantly for us Poles, the love for Polish music,” Mr Szklener said.

The head of the NIFC also recalled the fact that both artists frequently participated in the prestigious “Chopin and his Europe” international music festival that has been organised in Warsaw since 2005 by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, presenting European music within the context of its links with the life and work of the Polish pianist.

“I am deeply moved and utterly surprised, because I never expected such a distinction. Words fail me at expressing the depth of my feelings,” said Nelson Goerner, adding: “I came to Warsaw in 1995 and, since then, I keep coming back to Warsaw regularly.”

Nelson Goerner is a multi award-winning pianist playing regularly in the largest music halls of Europe, Japan and the US. Mr Goerner, among others, performs for the London BBC Proms, partakes in the Salzburg Festival, La Roque d’Antheron and Verbier, in addition to being a regular performer at the Polish Chopin and His Europe Festival.

Dang Thai Son is the first Asian pianist to win the First Prize in the International Fryderyk Chopin Competition. Initially being taught piano by his mother, he finalised his official musical education at the Moscow Conservatory.