Young Polish pianists play Chopin in Lithuanian palace striking holiday vibes

Bringing as many as 13 up-and-coming young Polish pianists to Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Grand Piano Festival “Chopin en Vacances” was inaugurated on Friday at the Tyszkiewicz family palace, also known as Užutrakis Manor (Užutrakio dvaras), near Trakai.

Now gently sweeping over and anon vehemently striking the keyboard of the white grand piano poised to summon the music of the greatest classics, the youthful Poles keyed the audience into holiday vibes.

The timeless pieces of Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy, Szymanowski and even Domenico Scarlatti were played throughout Friday and Saturday — the first two days of the festival. As the Polish public broadcaster TVP’s Wilno (Vilnius) branch reported, it has been the first time the festival called in Lithuania and its manor houses.

Beata Kazimierska-Korsak, deputy head of the main organiser of the festival, that is, the “Dobrzyń Land” Heritage Protection, Tradition Cultivation, Culture Support and Local Development Foundation, told TVP that “a manor house has become this kind of a place towards which one is drawn, to which one hastens for high culture, where people come together, where people enjoy meeting one another and listen to music.”

As the name indicates, “Chopin en Vacances” revolves around the holiday atmosphere of relaxation. The participating young bright things are not pitted against one another, they do not enter the fray keyed up about awards and titles; contrarily, they are part and constituent of the convivial atmosphere. It is in this ambience that the capital idea of the event finds its fulfilment, namely, to introduce young Poles to the landmarks and memorials of Polish history and culture in Lithuania.

As Michał Korsak, the head of the “Dobrzyń Land” Foundation, said: “This is not a competition. People visit us simply to play, having no need to stress out over competing with their very friends. That’s when and why they may play their music from the heart.”

For her part, pianist Natalia Wolanin expressed her gladness with the opportunities provided by the festival. “I am out-and-out curious about the cultural life here in Lithuania, whether Chopin’s music is played here, how is it received, what are the Lithuanians’ thoughts about this music and culture that brings us [Poles and Lithuanians] together. Yup, that makes me extra glad that I can be here.”

“To play in such a magnificent castle overlooking a lake with the beautiful weather outside… I will remember it forever after,” confessed Krzysztof Wierciński, another pianist.

On Friday and Saturday, the Polish pianists played at the classicistic Tyszkiewicz family palace. Designed by Józef Hauss and erected at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, the edifice was inhabited by the Tyszkiewicz family until the outbreak of WWII. Young Polish pianists will return to Lithuania at the turn of July and August.


July 31, 17:00, Bystrampol (Kučiai): Aleksander Opolski and Kamila Sacharzewska

August 1, 13:30, Poławeń (Palėvenė): Mikołaj Ólafur Frach and Jan Nicewicz

The festival’s strategic partners are the Polish Nobility Association, the Management of the Trakai Historical National Park and it is carried out in partnership with the Embassy of Poland in Vilnius.

The “Chopin en Vacances” project is co-financed by Poland’s Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport.