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Tradition / Chopin Institutions / Organisations / Fryderyk Chopin Institute



Fryderyk Chopin Institute


The NIFC Fryderyk Chopin National Institute is a state cultural institution established by an act of the Polish Parliament of the 3rd of February 2001, dedicated to preserving the  Fryderyk Chopin cultural legacy. The Institute carries out a range of activities aimed at popularisation of knowledge about Fryderyk Chopin and his music, through publication of books and other material, organisation of conferences, piano competitions and concerts, cooperation with Chopin institutions and organisations all over the world, collection of  archival material and assembling museum collections, as well as the supervision of  the use of Chopin's image and name in advertising, and running the CIF Chopin Information Centre on the Internet at the  www.nifc.pl web site.  Details about the work and organisation of the Institute are set out in the statute conferred on the Institute by the order of the Minister of Culture [1] on the 21st of July 2005. On the basis of this Act of Parliament and the statute, the Institute Programming Board was created, whose members are appointed by the Minister of Culture for a period of five years. The Board is a consultative and advisory body and its responsibilities include the assessment of plans and reports put forward by the Director of the Institute, as well as defining the type of projects, and the supervision of the fulfilment of the tasks assigned to the Institute. The members of the Programming Board include eminent representatives from the world of science and art, including musicologists and pianists. Matters connected with the protection of Fryderyk Chopin's personal interest, and in particular the use of the composer's image and name for commercial purposes, are supervised by the Fryderyk Chopin Image and Name Protection Chapter which bring together authorities from the fields of musicology, piano music performance, and politics. This Chapter was established in January 2002.

The NIFC Fryderyk Chopin National Institute provides a continuation and a link to the IFC Fryderyk Chopin Institute - the first Chopin institution of this kind in Poland. The IFC was created in 1934 and during its early years of existence it was mainly engaged in the sphere of editorial work (The Complete Works of Frederic Chopin edited by Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Ludwik Bronarski and Józef Tuczyński) and the organisation of the museum collection which consisted of the acquisition of archive materials, printed music, books and (analogue) gramophone records, etc. In 1950 the IFC Institute changed its name to the Fryderyk Chopin Society and widened the scope and range of its  activity considerably.

The NIFC editorial projects comprise scholarly and popular science publications that promote knowledge about the life and work of Fryderyk Chopin in Poland and abroad. The section of scholarly publications features a series of books (editor Artur Szklener) containing post-conference materials, presentations of papers delivered at the annual NIFC international Chopin conferences, attended by Chopin experts from all over the world. Another example is provided by a large scale innovative publication project entitled The Works of Chopin. A facsimile edition  prepared by Zofia Chechlińska. It is a collection of the composer's manuscripts of music notation with a knowledgeable expert commentary in six languages (Polish, English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese). All volumes are printed by the Bernardinum Publishing House.

The NIFC Institute also operates in the field of audio recording. In 2005 a pioneer CD series was started, called Real Chopin, which aims to present all compositions as The Collected Works of Fryderyk Chopin. The recordings feature performances on the pianos of his time: the Erard of 1849 and the Pleyel of 1848, played by eminent pianists such as Fou Ts'ong, Tatiana Shebanova, Wojciech Świtała, and Janusz Olejniczak. Two CDs from this series containing music played by Nelson Goerner, were granted the prestigious "Diapason d'Or nouveaute" award: they are the Ballades, 3 Nocturnes  (NIFC 2006), and Pieces for Piano and Orchestra (NIFC 2008) accompanied by the 18th Century Orchestra under Frans Bruggen. The art direction and organisation of the whole of the Real Chopin series is the work of Stanisław Leszczyński.

The concert  activity of the Institute is mainly centred around Chopin and His Europe, the International Festival of Music, which was started in 2005. It is designed to promote and popularise music by Chopin, performed by the best pianists from all over the world. Together with the National Philharmonic and the Polish Radio, the  NIFC also organises Chopin music concerts of which Birthday Concerts, on the 1st of March of each year, have become a permanent feature in the events calendar of the capital city of Warsaw.

Since 2006 the Institute has  acted as organiser of the Fryderyk Chopin Polish Piano Competition and the Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition,  of which the latter is the most remarkable event of its kind in Poland and enjoys world renown and great prestige. The earlier competitions were organised by the Fryderyk Chopin Society, the Polish one starting with the first competition in 1968 and the International Competition from 1960.

The Institute monitors all Chopin investments and undertakes the administrative supervision of all Fryderyk Chopin museums - at the composer's birthplace  in Żelazowa Wola and in Warsaw, at the Ostrogskis Palace in Okólnik 1, and at the Chopins' drawing room in the palace, now housing the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakowskie Przedmieście 5. Since 2006 it has been the responsibility of the NIFC to run the library, the sound library and the picture library, which previously were a part of the Fryderyk Chopin Society.


Ewa Sławińska-Dahlig
English translation: Magda Mierowska




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