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Sacrum Profanum 2024


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New music in the Old Theatre


We are approaching each venue in a multi–faceted and multidimensional manner – and the space of the Old Theatre is a particularly great example of this pursuit. We are going to play music where no music is usually played. Join us on a journey through time and space guided by music focusing on love, diversity, relationships and tensions, starring the Polish Radio Choir, Pepol/Krzewiński and Górczyński/Kiwer and Wiak.


Michał Pepol and Kuba Krzewiński seek an answer to the seemingly simple question: what does romance sound like in the 21st century through the ears of contemporary composers? The answers will be found in their performative programme on love spanning Fukuoka, Lucier and Kora.


After the oversaturation of Romanticism, composers of the past century shied away from great emotions; however, the 20th century has come to an end, which means that the composers can once again tell stories of romance and directly allude to feelings, passion and lust in their pieces. Tension, distance, as well as closeness – or lack thereof – are the essence of the duets by Kuba Krzewiński and Alvin Lucier, although each of the composers tells their stories in a different way. Compositions by Nina Fukuoka and Kora presented by Michał Pepol in solo performances frame the concert, showcasing love and passion in a more literal and obvious form. Fukuoka’s piece deals with the special relationship between a musician and their instrument juxtaposed with BDSM practices. Pepol complements it with a tasteful rendition of Kocham cię, kochanie moje by Maanam. The keystone of the entire programme is the highlighted performative aspect used by the artists to expand the metaphorical and meaningful nature of the music. 


Michał Górczyński is going to bring his latest project Roboty–duety, created with a professional robotic arm. In the later part, the robots will be replaced by Kraków–based artist Wojtek Kiwer and his custom–made modular synthesizers. The joint improvisation will be interpreted by dancer Dominika Wiak.


The idea for the project came to the artist after working for six months on an art scholarship project thanks to the grant from the Capital City of Warsaw and a collaboration with ABB. Robots as sound–producing machines enable building musical stories. The artist explores the relationship between movement and the sound it produces. The dynamics of the sublime gestures developed through years of practice determine the performer's technique. This technique also applies to contemporary robots with all their imperfections, limited programming capabilities and mechanics. The interaction between musician and machine will be replaced by live improvisation. In the later part, Górczyński will be joined by Kraków–based artist Wojtek Kiwer and his custom–made modular synthesizers. The joint improvisation will be interpreted by dancer Dominika Wiak.


Rhythmic and meditative – the two varieties of minimalism will be showcased by the Polish Radio Choir performing American and Lithuanian compositions by Eastman, Cage, Lang and Digimas.


In recent years, minimalism was showcased during the Sacrum Profanum Festival as a meditative genre, in line with Oliveros' deep listening philosophy; however, this year we will also go with the rhythmic variety with its numerous repetitions. Both of these genres will be presented by the Polish Radio Choir performing numerous American and Lithuanian compositions. We will go back to the music of Julius Eastman, a rebellious black gay man, presenting his piece for women's choir. We will also hear the pieces by two other famous Americans – the rebellious John Cage and the inspired David Lang, both of whom greatly appreciated choir music. On the other hand, our love for the Lithuanian variety of minimalism meant that we could not resist adding a piece by Dominykas Digimas to this set.

6:00 p.m.
John CageFive for five voices (1988) 5
Dominykas Digimas Oscillations for two sopranos and two altos (2020) 6
Michał Górczyński – new piece* for clarinettist and robotic arm (2023) 20
Modrzejewska Hall
Nina Fukuokaon_the_other_side – scene for a violinist for violin (2018–2023) 10
Alvin LucierLove Song for two violins (2016) 13
Large Stage
Julius Eastman Colors for a cappella choir (1973) 20
Michał Górczyński / Wojtek Kiwer / Dominika Wiak – improvisation (2023) 20′
BE Zone
Kuba KrzewińskiContre No. 1 for violin and cello (2017) 15
Kora, Michał PepolKCKM for cello and electronics (2022) 4
David Lang for love is strong (after The Song of Songs) for a cappella choir (2008) 11
Kuba Krzewiński – violin
Michał Pepol – violin, cello
Michał Górczyński – clarinet
robotic arm – keyboard, ukulele
Wojtek Kiwer – modular synthesizer
Dominika Wiak – dance
Polish Radio Choir
Szymon Bywalec–conductor
Venue: The Helena Modrzejewska National Old Theatre
* The project is carried out with the support of the grant of the Capital City of Warsaw.