I try not to look back, I’m always thinking about new projects.
— Andrzej Kosendiak
At the end of September this year, Andrzej Kosendiak, director of the National Forum of Music in Wrocław, was awarded the Silesia Cultural Prize for his role in the development of cultural life in Wroclaw and the region. In this interview with Wroclaw In Your Pocket, he tells us a bit about himself, his institution, cultural life in Wroclaw and the value of art and the creative process. He also invites everyone visiting Wroclaw to enjoy the concerts programmed around Christmas and New Year’s.
Interview by Wroclaw In Your Pocket
Translation from Polish to English by Gabriela Mańkut
Wrocław IYP: Tell us a bit about yourself?
Andrzej Kosendiak: No, I don't like to describe myself. But if I had to present a short profile, I would say: My name is Andrzej Kosendiak, I am a musician, manager, teacher, I'm particularly fascinated with 17th and 18th-century music, which I most often perform and record as a conductor.
How did you get involved with music?
At the beginning it was not like I was involved in music, it was music that got involved with me. It was something that happened very naturally: my mother sent me to music school, I began learning to play the piano, then the flute. I think it was pretty late, only during my university studies, when I felt that music could be truly fascinating, and it has remained like that until today.
How would you describe your role at the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw?
This is the adventure of my life. I've been here from the very beginning, from the moment when the idea of building the hall and the institution was shaping up. We could say to some extent that it is my child. The National Forum of Music was never just the idea of an object, an edifice. From the beginning, I wanted it to become a tool. Even more! A catalyst for change in the artistic and cultural life of Wrocław. So both, the building and the programme for the development of musical life in the city, were built parallelly.
What would you say is the biggest challenge in your job?
Everything that is ahead of me. I try not to look back, I'm always thinking about new projects. Sometimes doing something big and spectacular is easier than accomplishing something small but very important. Sometimes I create new ideas together with my co-workers, other times it happens that life presents them to me. I don't understand people who get angry at the world when they cannot implement any of their ideas. Not everything can be done here and now, sometimes you have to wait, find allies, change the conditions around you to make it possible. Sometimes it is worth giving up something and trying to implement another good idea. After all, there is no limit on good ideas!
What can you say about cultural life in Wrocław?
Wrocław is my hometown, a place where I feel at ease. This is a human-scale city. A city large enough for artistic, social and business life to flourish, and at the same time small enough that people, initiatives, events, projects aren't anonymous. It is certainly one of the most important European centres of music and culture - because of its history and present. Openness is a particular feature of the city and its residents. Openness to others and to everything interesting that is happening in Poland, Europe and around the world.
What would you recommend to tourists visiting Wrocław?
Certainly to visit the National Forum of Music and listen to a concert. But, of course, Wrocław has many places worth seeing - the Old Town, the Market Square, Ostrów Tumski, the Centennial Hall with the park surrounding it, as well as other cultural institutions. I think it has good restaurants. The opportunity to spend an interesting or crazy evening, there are many places for young people, where they can have fun. But really, please come, see for yourself. It's best to experience it firsthand.
What is, in your opinion the role of art and culture in our everyday life?
This is a question about the meaning of humanity - what does it mean to be human? We are part of nature and the natural world, but we also have the ability to create values, works, we are capable of creativity. Man tries to understand the world by learning about it through science. Man tries to express who he is, precisely by creating, through art. The sphere of culture, art, perhaps helps a man to answer the question of who he is.
What would be your dream performance at the NFM?
I think that we are in such a place in which these dreams are practically realized. They are a reality. A lot of outstanding bands, many soloists were already with us. Interestingly, everyone who's been here wants to come back to perform again. The National Forum of Music is perceived as a venue worth coming to, where it's worth playing. At the moment our task, or mine, consists in scheduling a calendar of concerts with the participation of these outstanding artists, whom we could only dream of performing in Wrocław a few years ago. Today, they often come on their own initiative or through the agencies that represent them. Thanks to the prestige and status the NFM has today, they want to come.
What is your favorite place in Wroclaw during the Christmas season?
What events you recommending during the holiday season at NFM?
During the holidays in Poland, we do not go to concerts, we spend Christmas with our family. But the time just before Christmas and just after the holidays is very lively and intense. In order to feel the atmosphere of the upcoming holidays, on December 21st you can listen to the Christmas concert featuring pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi performed by the NFM Choir and the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra. Immediately after Christmas, on December 28th, feel invited to an evening with The Most Beautiful Christmas Carols featuring the NFM Boys' Choir, the "Con Brio" and the West Side Sinfonietta / NFM Salon Orchestra. We will welcome 2019 with two New Year's Eve concerts (30 and 31 December) featuring great artists: Agnieszka Duczmal, Krzysztof Jakowicz and NFM Wrocław Philharmonic. Exceptionally long in 2019, the carnival period will begin with the NFM New Year Gala (January 4-6). The concerts will take us to a magical world full of fairies and sorceresses. The local Wrocław audience is really moved and amused with us, so we are also waiting for you!