IFCS

International Federation of Chopin Societies Member of The UNESCO's International Music Council

History

The idea of establishing an international organization uniting Chopin Societies all over the world came about in the 1970's. The initiative was taken by British musicologist Arthur Hedley, Polish pianist Jerzy Żurawlew, founder of the International Chopin Piano Competition, and Czech pianist František Rauch. In April 1984, while the 50 th anniversary of creating the Frederick Chopin Institute in Warsaw was being celebrated, an agreement was drawn up between Chopin Societies and Organizations throughout the world. This agreement was achieved as a result of the initiative of the then board of the Frederick Chopin Society in Warsaw and its president, Prof. Elżbieta Artysz. Thus began the creation of the international Chopin organization. On the 17 th October 1985, the 136 th anniversary of Chopin's death, representatives of 19 Chopin Societies met in Chopin's birthplace in Żelazowa Wola to sign the founding act of the International Federation of Chopin Societies, with its seat in Warsaw. The first General Assembly followed immediately, at which membership was granted to twenty Societies from fourteen countries, and Dr Theodor Kanitzer was elected as the President of the Organization. For the first time in history, a worldwide cultural organization was formed with activities devoted to the dissemination of the works of a single composer. On 25 th November 1989, at the General Assembly of UNESCO in Paris, the Federation was admitted as an associate member to the International Music Council of UNESCO. This event was a token of special recognition for the Federation and its rich artistic and scientific activities.

In the course of time, the International Federation of Chopin Societies expanded, admitting newly-created Chopin Societies from all over the world. By 2007, the Federation had grown to 38 Chopin Societies from 24 countries.

During the 27 years of its history, the Federation together with its affiliated members has been involved in activities disseminating Chopin's music. For several years concerts, festivals, competitions and masterclasses devoted to the Polish composer have been held all over the world. Among the most important festivals are the regular ones in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Duszniki-Zdrój (Poland), Gaming (Austria), Hasselt (Belgium), Mariánské Lázné (Czech Republic), Nohant (France), Paris (France) and Valldemossa (Mallorca, Spain). All of them are major musical events in their respective countries and attract many thousands of music-lovers.

The Federation is also engaged in scientific activity. Numerous conferences and lectures given by outstanding musicologists are periodically organised, concerning various aspects of the life and work of Fryderyk Chopin. Several exhibitions were also held, such as: "Chopin Travels Across Europe" and the exhibition at Ostrogski Castle, organised in 1990 by the Warsaw and Valldemossa Chopin Societies. Autographs, documents and souvenirs of Fryderyk Chopin and George Sand collected by the Valldemossa Museum were put on display. Its inauguration was honoured by the presence of the H.M. Queen Sofia of Spain.

An important element in the Federation's work is to co-ordinate associated Societies' activities through the organization of General Assemblies and Board Meetings, when projects of common artistic and publishing undertakings are discussed. Since 1986, the annual magazine "Chopin in the World" has been published in Warsaw, containing in-depth articles on the life and work of Chopin, as well as reports on activities of several Chopin Societies all over the world. In Vienna, another periodical: "Wiener Chopin—Blätter" is published.

Following the Federation's initiative, the UNESCO International Music Council declared 1999 as Chopin Year. Thanks to numerous projects of Chopin Societies affiliated to the Federation, Chopin's music could be heard by listeners in the farthest corners of the globe. Apart from concerts, festivals and competitions, the 150 th anniversary of the composer's death was commemorated by organizing exhibitions, courses of Chopin's music interpretation, lectures, conferences and the 2 nd International Chopin Musicological Congress: "Chopin and His Works in the Context of Culture", of which the Federation was one of the co-organizers. In St. Madeleine's Church in Paris, the funeral service of Fryderyk Chopin was re-enacted, during which Mozart's Requiem was performed. This event was organized by the Société Chopin a Paris.