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Boys' Choir of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Cracow was founded in 1951 as an initiative of Józef Suwara – a pedagogue, musician and music aficionado. At the beginning the choir gathered about 70 boys of various age. The repertoire included a cappella pieces and oratorios, mostly by Polish composers. After Suwara’s death in 1967, the choir was lead for next 28 years by his assistant, Bronisława Wietrzny. During this period the ensemble specialized in performing new masterpieces of Krzysztof Penderecki (Lucas Passion, Matins, Magnificat), performing concerts in many European countries, as well as in Lebanon and Syria. The recording of Lucas Passion was awarded with Grand Prix du Disque. In 1991-1993 the Boys' Choir was conducted by Stanisław Krawczyński, and since 1993 – by Lidia Matynian, the deputy rector of the Academy of Music in Cracow.
Besides Penderecki’s masterpieces, the choir’s repertoire includes pieces like Credo (1st European performance in 1998), Benedictus for boys choir a cappella (1st performance in 2003) and great vocal and instrumental masterpieces: J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, G.F. Haendel’s Judas Maccabeus, G. Mahler’s Symphony no. 3, C. Orff’s Carmina Burana, B. Britten’s Spring Symphony, A ceremony of carols, G. Holst’s Planets, A. Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher. The choir performed for the first time works of composers bound with Cracow: Henryk Jan Botor, Wojciech Widłak and Paweł Moszumański. The choir co-operates with Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir on a permanent basis, performing also with the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw, Sinfonia Varsovia, Capella Cracoviensis, Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, Tarnów Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra and Choir of the Academy of Music in Cracow.
In 2002-2008 the choir participated in operas: La Boheme and Tosca by G. Puccini, Macbeth by G. Verdi and Hansel and Gretel by E. Humperdinck. The choir took part in several Polish festivals: Polish Music Festival, Organ Music Days, Vratislavia Cantans, Warsaw Autumn, Music in Old Cracow; and abroad, in England, Austria, Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, Iran, Lebanon, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Italy. In the framework of one of the Kraków 2000 Festival projects, the choir performed the famous medieval masterpiece found in Spain: Codex Calixtinus.
For many years, the Cracow Philharmonic Boys' Choir has collaborated with artists of Piwnica pod Baranami cabaret: Jacek Wójcicki, Grzegorz Turnau, Beata Rybotycka and Zbigniew Preisner. The choir recorded a soundtrack composed by Zbigniew Preisner to Agnieszka Holland’s movie Secret Garden, participated in the 1st performance of Requiem for my friend by Z. Preisner at the Grand Theatre in Warsaw and recorded Preisner’s carols.
The choir took part in an open-air Farewell Concert for John Paul II in Cracow, and on the occasion of the first anniversary of his death, the choir participated
in the first performance of Joachim Mencel’s jazz cantata to Karol Wojtyła’s poetry Love explained it all (Miłość mi wszystko wyjaśniła).
The choir has supported the great Polish charity event, Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy, by participating in jazz concerts.
Lidia Matynian graduated with honours from the Academy of Music in Krakow . Since 1984 she has conducted classes in choral conducting, as well as vocal ensembles and the Academy’s choir at the Krakow Academy of Music. Between 1999 and 2012 she was Vice Dean, Dean and Vice Rector for Student Affairs, and currently she is the Director of the Institute for Choral Conducting, Musical Education and Eurhythmics.
As choirmaster she performs and prepares parts for vocal and instrumental works. She participated in the Bachakademie Stuttgart seminars conducted by Helmuth Rilling and dedicated to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (Mass in B minor, Christmas Oratorio, St. Mathew Passion), Antonín Dvořak (Stabat Mater) and Krzysztof Penderecki (Credo – first performance). Along with the Academy’s choir she performed at numerous festivals, including the Ada Sari International Vocal Artistry Festival and the Organ Music Days. In 1993, she was appointed conductor of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Boys’ Choir in Krakow. The ensemble has travelled throughout Poland and abroad (Austria, Russia, Germany, Sweden) with a repertoire of oratorio and choral works. With Lidia Matynian as its conductor the Boys’ Choir participated in the premiere performance of Krzystof Penderecki’s Credo and Benedictus. Lidia Matynian has also made recordings with choir ensembles and some of the most renowned Polish orchestras, such as Sinfonia Varsovia and Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, of archive and film music by Zbigniew Preisner.
Bruno Żak De Carvalho
INSPECTOR, ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR
Magdalena Żak de Carvalho
© Filharmonia Krakowska 2010