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In the quest of discovering the unknown history of Fryderyk Chopin’s journey to Great Britain, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Manchester, in cooperation with a plethora of high-profile partners, has the privilege of presenting an unprecedented virtual exhibition to a wide audience in the United Kingdom:  

“Like Chopin – Mysterious Story in Manchester.”

Very few composers across the globe elicit as many strongly positive emotions as Fryderyk Chopin. Not only is his music globally famous; his entire life attracted attention from people from almost every corner of the world. A myriad of myths and mysteries has sprung up around Fryderyk Chopin’s life. Some of them are of the anecdotal kind, others are in essence as mysterious as the creative ingenuity of the composer itself. By no means was Chopin an elusive figure, however his musical wit is the epitome of pianism for thousands of composers and creative designers from various modern industries.  

Fryderyk Chopin has been one of the most vivid beacons of Polish culture. His creative passion in bringing to light phenomenal tunes and unique concepts in music inspired artists and designers from various disciplines requiring creative minds.  

Our virtual exhibition “Like Chopin – Mysterious Story in Manchester” is an attempt to look closer at all the intricacies and secrets surrounding the composer’s second journey to Great Britain, particularly in Manchester.

Therefore, Ladies and Gentlemen, with full openness to unlimited creativity we gladly invite you to dive into the uncovered story of Mysterious Chopin in Manchester and find the opportunity to be like Chopin or simply like Chopin once again. 

Michał Mazurek Consul General – Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Manchester

Monument of Fryderyk Chopin is currently placed at the heart of Manchester, near where Polish composer gave his historical concert. Due to a combined effort by dedicated Polish and British admirers of the impeccable music of the composer, the statue is an impressive reminder of the uniting role played by culture. Fryderyk Chopin has been one of the most influential ambassadors of Polish culture and a shining example of the perpetual creative mode – so characteristic of our Polish soul.

Ladies and Gentleman, I am honored to present to you our virtual exhibition. 

Patryk Gowin Vice-consul Head of Public and Cultural Diplomacy Section – Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Manchester

Creativity, creative tension, art, unfettered thought all are the phenomena inextricably bound up with the Polish sense of existence. Whether we think about art, music, science or entrepreneurship – there always appears this precise, unique spark of creative thought in the Polish cultural space. Chopin as an epitome of Polish highbrow culture has been something more than the world recognised composer. He has been the guiding spirit of Polish citizens in their quest to discover new solutions in various realms. He has been playing a perpetual inspirational tune for many prolific authors, desiginers and composers. 

Thus, I am glad that so many people joined us and, thanks to this combined creative effort, we may proudly invite every viewer to dive into Mysterious Chopin’s story.  Enjoy viewing –Be Like Chopin.

Marcin Wąsowski, Head of Research and Publishing Department, The Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Warsaw

Fryderyk Chopin’s visit to Manchester took place during a second journey of the composer to Great Britain. Jane Wilhelmine Stirling and her sister Katherine Erskine were the key driving forces initiating the voyage. Fryderyk Chopin ultimately spent 7 months in Great Britain, arriving on 20th of April and departing on 23 of November 1848. During his stay in Britain the composer gave music lessons. In addition, he performed exclusively several times for aristocratic circles. He had the opportunity to meet Queen Victoria and the novelist Charles Dickens. Chopin’s concert at Manchester took place on 28th of August 1848. Besides the Polish composer, soloists Marietta Alboni, Amelia Corbari and Lorenzo Salvi also performed. They impressed the audience by singing Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi arias. We can trace from Chopin’s letter to his friend Wojciech Grzymała genuine recollections of that event: “I received a very good welcome; 3 times I needed to play an encore; The venue was impressive.” Two days after the concert the Manchester Guardian published press coverage outlining the finesse, sensibility and expressiveness of Chopin’s style.

Barbara Kuras-Potoniec. Director of Polish School at Preston

In the image of Chopin’s journey to England, in 1848, I found what I experienced myself when I arrived in England: the admiration of nature, the kindness and trust we were endowed with, but at the same time the merciless rain, the problems with interpreting and conveying thoughts and emotions in a new language, and eventually the feeling of loneliness and longing for the motherland…  

” Piano Poet” – Fryderyk Chopin is, undeniably, the most outstanding Polish composer and pianist, whose contribution to the promotion of Poland around the world is second to none. We can proudly identify with the Master’s character, knowing how respectful he was to the values in which he grew up, as well as to the Polish traditions which were revealed throughout his musical work and all his life

Ryszard i Beata Kowalscy Honorary Ambassadors of Gdańsk

The idea for a monument to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Fryderyk Chopin originated from Marek Stella-Sawicki and Andrew Meeson (of the Polish Heritage Society) and the sculptor Robert Sobocinski, but it took the vision and determination of the late Norman Armstrong- Kersh, with support from the Consul General, Piotr Nowotniak, to bring it to Manchester.

 A Committee comprising: Christian Wewer (Chairman), Norman Armstrong- Kersh (Treasurer), Beata Kowalska (Secretary), Sir Netar Mallick, Dr Graham White, Dr Andrzej Rozycki and Richard Kowalski was brought together by the Consul General and immediately set about turning the idea  into a reality.  Robert Sobocinski designed the monument which depicts Chopin seated at his piano with references to his Revolutionary Etude and his enigmatic Muse. The huge sculpture was cast in bronze at Robert’s workshop in Poznan, Poland and transported to Manchester where it was erected in front of Centurion House, near to the John Rylands Library and Spinningfields.  The Monument was unveiled with great pomp and circumstance on 16th September 2011 by the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, HE Mrs Barbara Tuge Erecinska.

Barbara Czyżnikowska Director Project Polska

The world we live in is rapidly changing. Advances of global connectiveness have broaden the social fabric of our local communities. As individuals we have now multiple and changing cultural identities. Although our channels for interconnectedness have increased, our self-confidence to express our cultural diversity without the feeling of being threatened has lessen in some circumstances. Culture must henceforth be placed at the heart of community relationships as an enabler to increase trust and social cohesion through an identity inclusive to all. Learning about each other cultural heritage represents opportunities for dialogue based on sharing what we have in common beyond a focus on differences that can only be a source of conflict, ignorance and misunderstanding.  

Gosia McKane
Director Merseyside Polonia

The magnificence of Chopin’s music is the ability to resonate the deepest strings of our Polish soul and at the same time to speak a universal language that connects all of us.

Bartlomiej Kowalczyk Founder of Polish Business Link

Chopin’s creativity and innovation helped him to achieve worldwide success. The same applies to take for instance business. Future enterprises will have to adapt technology and will continually improve and innovate as forms of perpetual creative entities. I founded Polish Business Link in 2012 to support Polish & diverse business entrepreneurs in their ambition of growing a business in the UK.

Reece Williams Community Engagement Manager Manchester City of Literature

“Culture is about ‘how we do things’ and when we explore culture through music and literature, we learn that we have so much in common, irrespective of the culture we represent. Great music and great literature cut through our differences and speak to the things that we all have in common.”

Wioletta Serocka Director of Polish School at Blackburn

The Art Contest organized within the frames of the “Like Chopin – Mysterious Story in Manchester” campaign was a perfectly crafted idea to engage pupils in discovering more facts about Frederic Chopin’s life and music. Chopin was a significant figure in the Polish cultural pantheon, however what is worth emphasizing is that the Like Chopin campaign is discovering the story in our British Neighborhood and is strictly related to Polish – British relations. I am proud that pupils from our school participated in this phenomenal project. Huge thanks to all the creative young artists and founders of this initiative.

Sylwia Orzech Director of Polish School at Melton Mowbray

Frederic Chopin was a marvelous Polish composer about whose life and art it is worth reminding young generations worldwide. Thanks to Chopin’s music pupils around the world are able to hear and feel what exactly is hidden within the Polish romantic soul. Moreover, Chopin’s music enables the listener to directly understand the composer’s longing for the homeland. Therefore, this virtual exhibition plays a significant role in reminding us of the beauty of Chopin’s music and creativity.     

Anna Szymańska Director of Polish School at Accrington

Chopin’s piano writing was technically demanding and expanded the limits of the instrument, his own performances noted for their nuance and sensitivity. His major piano works also include mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes, polonaises, the instrumental ballade, études, impromptus, scherzos, preludes and sonatas, some published only posthumously. Among the influences on his style of composition were Polish folk music, the classical tradition of J. S. Bach, Mozart, and Schubert, and the atmosphere of the Paris salons of which he was a frequent guest. His innovations in style, harmony, and musical form, and his association of music with nationalism, were influential throughout and after the late Romantic period.

Agnieszka Wenda Director of Holy Jan Kanty Polish School at Nottingham

Fryderyk Chopin’s creativity is a perfect example of eternal existence and unfettered impact of art on our common experience. Composer’s music has perpetual influence on international highbrow culture. In other words plays a role of cultural magnet appealing to everyone. As Poles we are proud that Frederic Chopin is inextricably linked to Polish identity.