THE ACADEMIC CHOIR
OF ADAM MICKIEWICZ UNIVERSITY
IN POZNAN, POLAND
The origins of one of the most important academic choirs in Poland – the Academic Choir of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan - date back to 1966. For thirty years of its artistic work, the group of students under Prof. Stanisław Kulczyński and his successors’ baton had been winning awards at sundry festivals, e.g. in Middlesbrough, Llangolen, Spittal, Gorizia, Tampere. The Choir had been giving successful concerts in the whole Europe bringing freshness of sounds, enthusiasm, modern Polish choral compositions and high quality of performance.
Although the current Academic Choir refers to those traditions, in fact, it is an entirely new choir established in 1996 by a well-known composer and choirmaster, Jacek Sykulski. Since then, the group has been dynamically developing appearing on many stages in Poland and abroad. It sang not only in Europe (in Latvia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the Ukraine) but also on the Asian continent (in China, Taiwan, Japan) and in North America (in Canada, the USA).
Within those ten years of work with Jacek Sykulski, the Choir performed in such places as: the Vatican (during the ceremony of granting the Holy Father John Paul II a title of Doctor Honoris Causa of Poznań University, 2001), the Capitol in Washington D.C. (performance at Senator Hillary Clinton’s invitation, 2002), Ground Zero in New York City (a concert in the ruins of the World Trade Center, 2002), St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City (2002), Notre Dame in Montreal, Canada (2002), Berlin Haus des Rundfunks (2003), National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan (2005), Tokyo City Hall in Tokyo (2005), Konzerthaus in Berlin (2006), Berliner Dom (2006).
The AMU Academic Choir participated in many prestigious artistic undertakings. In 2000, it performed at the Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina International Contest of Sacred Music in Rome where it was awarded the First Prize and the Gold Medal. In 2002, as the only non-Canadian choir, it sang during the 17th World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada, and in 2003, it performed in Berlin at the concert commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Having entered into cooperation with the Academy Award winner, Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, the Choir gave a series of concerts performing his music during the Festival of Dialogue of Four Cultures in Łódź, Poland (2005), the celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of "Solidarity" in Gdańsk, Poland (2005), and the 50th Anniversary of Poznań June Uprising in Poznań, Poland (2006). In the course of the latter event, the Choir performed also two more monumental pieces. First, it provided music for the inaugural holy mass performing "Missa 1956" – a piece commissioned from Sykulski by the President of Poznań. And then, it participated in the unique world premiere of Ça ira – spectacular opera composed by Roger Waters, former leader of the legendary group Pink Floyd. In that superproduction directed by Janusz Józefowicz the Choir members presented not only their vocal but also acting skills.
It is also the Academic Choir that has initiated a series of joint concerts with choirs from other countries, called "Bridges of song". So far, on the stage of the Adam Mickiewicz University Concert Hall there appeared the Taipei Male Choir from Taiwan, academic choirs form Boston and Harvard, and the Ensemble of Soloists form the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
Apart form many cultural undertakings, the Choir can also boast of a considerable number of CD recordings. The most important of them are: "Tribute to USA" recorded on the occasion of the first anniversary of September 11, 2001; "If ye love me" – that includes hits of pop music in a cappella arrangements; and the newest production – "Missa 1956" recorded with the Poznań Boys’ Choir, the Academic Karol Szymanowski Symphony Orchestra form Katowice, Poland, and several soloists.
"Bringing joy through singing" – this is an artistic creed, an overriding idea that pervades both the conductor and all Choir members. They are convinced that their music is a universal language intelligible to everybody, regardless of their religion and place of residence. It is music from heart to heart!
translated by Joanna M. Lewicka
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