Chinese pianist opens Poland’s Chopin bicentennial

January 8th, 2010 - 2:16 am ICT by IANS  

Warsaw, Jan 8 (DPA) Chinese pianist Lang Lang gave a concert Thursday in Warsaw that kicked off a year of nationwide Chopin celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the Polish composer’s birth.
“Chopin’s music is so fresh. You think that you have the feeling and the thought … but later you learn there’s so many other elements,” Lang Lang, famous for his facial contortions and dramatic gestures whilst playing, said.

President Lech Kaczynski and Parliament Speaker Bronislaw Komorowski were in attendance at what the culture minister called “the most important artistic event” of the century.

A pillar of the Chopin celebrations was for “each generation to get to know Chopin”, and to improve Poland’s image and spread its culture, said Culture Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski in a speech before the concert.

The Chinese virtuoso - who also kicked off Chopin celebrations in China - kicked off the concert with the Grand Polonaise Brillante, which Chopin began composing in his last months in Warsaw, and finished in Vienna in 1831. The performance also included Franz Liszt’s Missa Solemnis.

Poland’s Chopin bicentennial is to include the opening of a new museum dedicated to the leading Romantic composer, born in the village of Zelazowa Wola March 1, 1810, as well as hundreds of concerts, a ballet premiere and educational youth projects.

Similar events will be staged across Europe and Asia, with special events scheduled in Paris, where the composer lived after leaving Warsaw.

The charismatic Chinese pianist defended the facial expressions and energetic movements he makes while playing, saying it was a “natural thing” that he had been doing since the age of five.

Polish celebrations will also include the 16th International Chopin Piano Competition; concerts at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall and the Polish National Opera; and a touring festival that will play 1,200 concerts worldwide.

The Chopin Museum will open in March in the Polish capital as part of a Chopin Route that will outline significant landmarks in the composer’s life.

A Chopin centre near the museum is set to launch in February. It will include a library, conference room and offices.

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