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Print Edition> Lifestyle
UPDATED: May 17, 2010 NO. 20 MAY 20, 2010
Playing Together

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the world-renowned Polish composer Frederic Chopin. Throughout the world, a range of activities will be held to commemorate the great maestro. Tadeusz Chomicki, Polish Ambassador to China, talked to Beijing Review reporter Yu Yan about China's celebration of the anniversary, as well as cultural exchanges between Poland and China.

Beijing Review: The Polish Parliament has declared 2010 the Year of Chopin. China will jointly hold a series of commemoration activities with Poland. How do you view the celebrations?

Tadeusz Chomicki, Polish Ambassador to China

Tadeusz Chomicki: On March 1 this year we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Chopin—the greatest Polish composer and a world-renowned maestro. This unique artist and his great music will be remembered all around the world throughout this year.

One of the most interesting characteristics of Chopin's music is the amazing way in which he transformed national and folk sources of Poland into truly international art of the highest quality. His work, which is deeply rooted in the soul and tradition of Poland, has crossed national boundaries and became the universal expression of passion, love and sorrow for generations of people all over the world. Now Chopin's music is undoubtedly recognized as a world cultural heritage and provides a sustainable and renewable source of power and inspiration for artists and their audiences.

Celebrations for Chopin's 200th anniversary in China will place great emphasis on Polish-Chinese cooperation. Our Minister of Culture Waldemar Dabrowski officially announced the opening of the global Chopin Year celebrations on December 7, 2009, in Beijing.

In China there are more than 70,000 pianists. Among them are many talented and world-famous artists. There is hope that through all these events and concerts, more Chinese will know and fall in love with Poland.

Chopin's music is very popular in China. How do you feel about this?

Poland and China share many similarities, explaining why so many Chinese music lovers have been touched and inspired by Chopin's music. Just like Chopin, Chinese musicians have a strong passion for their nation and culture. The Chinese and Polish will not give up music for language or national barriers, as music is an excellent way for bonding countries around the world and bringing them closer to each other.

Is there cooperation between China and Poland in promoting Chopin's music in China?

The Institute of Adam Mickiewicz of Poland and the National Theater of China will launch a music drama named Chopin in June 2010. This is the first joint project and plays a very significant role in building relationships between China and Poland. We have especially close ties with the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA), where Minister Dabrowski officially announced the opening of the global Chopin Year celebrations.

Furthermore, the NCPA will host concerts by 14 world-famous pianists. Our exhibition, named Chopin, was also held there on May 15. We also have a strong relationship with China's Central Conservatory of Music and our embassy donated a bronze sculpture of Chopin to the school on March 25. We hope all these efforts help to introduce Poland to China and that Chinese people will come to love Poland.

SPECIAL GIFT: Chinese pianist Lang Lang (second left) and other guests from China and Poland unveil a bust of Chopin, a gift of Poland to the National Center for the Performing Arts, on December 7, 2009 (XINHUA)

The Shanghai Expo is now open. Will the Poland Pavilion have special activities related to the 200th anniversary of Chopin?

An interesting undertaking will be a concert of Polish music played on traditional Chinese instruments on May 22.

During the Expo, interesting movies will be shown in the Poland Pavilion, such as an animated film presenting the history of Poland, a film on migration processes in Poland and a film on the Polish economy.

Visitors entering the Poland Pavilion will be welcomed by the main Polish motto of the 2010 Expo: Poland is Smiling. Chopin is the keynote to our cultural program at the Expo, and the entire program will be a tribute to our great composer on the 200th anniversary of his birth.

In 2010, concerts of Chopin music have also been organized worldwide. Also in Shanghai, Chopin's music shall resonate during the whole of the Expo.

One of the key undertakings will be the concert 4Cities4Chopin on September 4, organized simultaneously in Shanghai, Warsaw, Paris and London. Polish artists will present different interpretations of Chopin in classics, rock and jazz. The premise behind the concert is to invite the audience to discover the music of the most outstanding Polish composer in an entirely new, contemporary context. The invited artists are outstanding interpreters whose performances have delighted the audience all over the world.

Altogether, six cultural projects connected to Chopin's music will take place in Shanghai during the Expo.

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