Who to vote for?

I am just a silly foreigner living in Poland, whose father was in the AK and whose family fought at Grunwald, but I am bemused that a nation of some 38 million cannot come up with at least one presidential candidate who can speak English.

How can a non-English-speaking head of state really represent Poland in this very cosmopolitan world or earn the respect of so many well educated and travelled young people on whom the future of the nation depends?
Just the thoughts of a non-Polish-speaking foreigner.



Paderewski, the Bristol Hotel and me.


The Warsaw public`s indifference towards music I mentioned at the Chopin Open and the El Sistema concerts has now spread to Taste of the Classics, my dinner concerts at the Hotel Bristol. The next  event is on 1st July and only 4 people have booked so far.

Paderewski, whose 150th anniversary falls on 18th November, sometime prime minister of Poland, first international super-star pianist and builder and owner of the Bristol, was a life-long friend of my Bylicki great grandfather, whom he met whilst they were studing with Leschetizky in Vienna.  In turn, Bylicki was a great friend of  Marcellina Czartoryska, Chopin`s favourite pupil. Bylicki promoted Paderewski in his early years and Paderewski was a frequent guest at his home. Thus, for me, holding musical events at the Bristol has some meaning.

However, I am not a charity, as my bank statements prove. I wont be able to continue unless more people book now. How about you?

A thought for performers

  Joseph Hoffmann, the American pianist who was world renowned in the first half of the last century, valued spontaneity in performance far more highly than architecture. To achieve this, he practised the same piece in many different ways and relied on the moment of performance to determine his interpretation. This is something  he learnt from Anton Rubinstein the Russian pianist.   In his spare time he also invented shock absorbers and windscreen wipers for cars!!   Oh, and isn`t it marvellous that Elzbieta Penderecka adopted my ideas on music education in her recent interview in Gazeta Wyborcza!

Are men more musical than…?


Her finest hour! This evening Elzbieta Penderecka brought El Sistema to the Teatre Wielki. Disgracefully, the theatre was not full but those of us who were there, including the musical great and good, willingly rose for the ovations….well, I assume they did so willingly.

What a lot this orchestra has to teach us; most of all how to be musical ( I shall omit any reference to competence in playing especially in the wind)…and though a fiendishly difficult programme, the conductor did all from memory. Last night, Mark Minkowski couldn`t even manage a Beethoven symphony without the score to hang on to.

As a man, what intrigued me most about the orchestra was that 4/5s were male. Could this mean that the male of the species is more musical (and all that implies) than the female? A dangerous thought!…so, perish the thought. Worth pondering, though.

Minkowski 1 Svevo 6

So, I gave Mark Minkowski another chance. Last night I went to his concert with Sinfonia Varsovia of two Beethoven symphonies, the 3rd and 5th, at Studio 1.

A full house. 
Minkowski bounced on and began with the 3rd.
My conclusion after last week`s effort was confirmed. Superficial. A remarkable absence of drama and colour…all loud, fastish and not much music. Lack of rehearsal time?..the excuse someone offered last week.  Dont know. Dont care. I paid my 40 pln and would like it back.
It is clear why people like him…he is fastidious in thanking the players…no one is forgotten when the applause comes, everyone gets a solo “standing ovation”, even the double bass section…something he clearly enjoys.
I could not face similar treatment for the 5th so I left, went to my favourite cafe, Lokalna (for lack of any other in this part of Mokotow,) and discovered Italo Svevo`s “Emilio`s Carneval” which was lying on the window sill for sale.

This outstanding example of the Modernist novel is a must for any would-be artist who, after the first flush of youthful creativity, still believes that it is simply a matter of time before the grey cells produce the masterpiece so longed for but so little worked for….essential reading for the self-deluded. 

The copy is still there…I didnt have enough change on me, but at 28 pln it should be snapped up now…before I get back there myself.

Our obligations towards future generations: its all in the music


Rząd nie jest w stanie zapewnić działalności edukacyjnej kluczowej dla rozwoju pewnego siebie i innowacyjnego społeczenstwa obywatelskiego w Polsce. Dlatego też, my, ludność Polski musimy podjąć inicjatywę.


Organizacje pozarządowe muszą współpracować z biznesem a biznes musi współpracować z organizacjami pozarządowymi aby zapewnić każdemu dziecku szansę uczestniczenia w pro-aktywnym systemie edukacyjnym. W sercu tego programu musi znajdować się muzyka.


Czy Ty lub ktoś z Twoich znajomych ma dziecko, które zasługuje na lepszy start, lepszą szkołę, lepszą szansę?


Jak możesz pomóc?

Czy znasz liczącą się osobę związaną z biznesem, polityka, dyrektora, nauczyciela lub kogokolwiek, kto chce wpływać na przyszłość społeczeństwa? Co Ty sam możesz zrobić?

Wystarczy, że ułatwisz nam kontakt. Pomóż zbudować sieć aktywnych ludzi, którzy chcą zrobić coś dobrego.


Nasz program obejmuje następujące działania.



1.   Kursy dla nauczycieli: przygotowanie nauczycieli w niemuzycznych szkołach do używania muzyki w ich codziennej pracy. Program prowadzony we współpracy z Operą Narodową.

2.   Szkolenia typu “team building” i kursy kreatywności dla szkół z wykorzystaniem technik muzycznych i teatralnych szeroko stosowanych w brytyjskich szkołach i akademiach.

3.   Projekt Muzyczny Teatr Chopina, wspierany przez NIFC i Fundację Bre: rozwijanie programów edukacyjnych opartych o teatr muzyczny dla szkół oraz utworzenie Narodowej Akademii Teatru Muzycznego dla uczniów od 10 do 20 roku życia we współpracy z Operą Narodową. 

4.   Instrumenty dla każdego: kształcenie gry na instrumentach w szkołach oparte m.in. na modelu edukacyjnym London Symphony Orchestra.

5.   Muzyka w biznesie: orkiestra jako metafora zarządzania. Biznes może się sporo nauczyć od zespołów muzycznych. Czy Twój także?

6.   Comiesięczne koncerty dla całej rodziny.

7.   Smak Klasyków: dowiedz się czegoś więcej o muzyce w przystępny sposób. Comiesięczne spotkania w Hotelu Bristol Le Meridien.

Strona internetowa Polska Gra jest w tej chwili w przygotowaniu. W celu uzyskania dalszych informacji o którymś z naszych programów albo podjęcia dyskusji o możliwościach współpracy, prosimy o bezpośredni kontakt.


The state cannot fund the educational activities that are essential for the development of a confident, innovative and civil society in Poland. Thus, we, the people of Poland must take the initiative.

NGOs must work with business and business must work with NGOs to assure that every child has the opportunity to participate in a pro-active educational system. Music must be at the heart of this programme.
Do you or your friends have children who deserve a better start, a better school, a better chance?
How can you help?
Do you know a business leader, a politician, headmaster, teacher, people who want to make a difference to the future of society?  What can you yourself do?
Put us in touch. Help us to build a network of active, well-intentioned people.
Our programmes cover the following areas.
  1. Teaching teachers: preparing class teachers in non-music schools to use music throughout their teaching. A programme in collaboration with Opera Narodowa
  2. Team building and creativity programmes for schools using music and drama techniques widely used in British schools and academies.
  3. The Chopin Music Theatre Project, supported by NIFC and the Bre Foundation: developing music theatre educational programmes in schools and the development of a National Music Theatre Academy for 10 to 20 year olds in collaboration with Opera Narodowa 
  4. Instruments for Everyone:  instrumental playing in schools based on the London Symphony Orchestra educational model and others.
  5. Music in business: the orchestra as a metaphor for management. Business has a lot to learn from musical formations. Has yours?
  6. Monthly concerts for all the family.
  7. Taste of the Classics: learn about music the easy way. Monthly meetings at the Hotel Bristol Le Meridien.
Polska Gra`s web page is being established. If you would like further information about any of our programmes or would like to discuss how we could work together, please contact us directly.