Warsaw is celebrating Chopin’s birthday with a 170-hour birthday party and round the clock performances of his music. It’s estimated that about 25,000 people will be attending the party this week.
You could have heard jazz star Grazyna Auguscik as she improvised over Chopin melodies, or an unknown young pianist playing nocturnes at 3am to curled-up couples and solitary night-owls. Nearly 300 musicianssigned up to play at “The Longest Birthday”, the idea for which came from the doubt surrounding the composer’s actual date of birth.
Church records put it at 22 February, but Fryderyk Chopin and his family always said it was 1 March. In any case, it was 200 years ago, and Poles are determined to celebrate. The government has designated 2010 Official Chopin Year, and a “celebrations committee” is co-ordinating events around the world.
Another big draw in Warsaw this month is the opening of a new multimedia interactive museum in the center of Warsaw. Culture Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski hailed it as “the most modern biographical museum in Europe and even the world.” The museum is housed in the Ostrogski Palace, home of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute which was renovated and expanded to house the new exhibit. Read more here and here.