Following the 3-day brass course at Bytom Music School I travelled from Bytom to Žywiec, a small town in south-central Poland, with Kornel Wieczorek, principal trumpet of Silesian Opera and trumpet teacher at the Witold Rowicki National Music School in Žywiec.
Žywiec was first mentioned in a written document in 1308 so it is a place full of history. A major feature of the town is the Old Castle built in the mid-14th century and is surrounded by a beautiful 260,000 square metre landscape park established in the 17th century. For those who are less culturally inclined the town also houses the Żywiec Brewery, established in 1852 and bought by Heineken International in the 1990s.
A pride and joy of the town must be the Witold Rowicki National Music School. Named after the eminent Polish conductor Witold Rowicki the school boasts state-of-art facilities, excellent accommodation for guest artists and a wonderful concert hall just perfect for hosting chamber concerts and recitals.
During the afternoon I gave a workshop to the trumpet students who presented a range a repertoire from baroque to modern classics. It was clear that the students enjoyed and benefitted from having Kornel Wieczorek as their teacher and they all enthusiastically performed their pieces and very responsive to new musical ideas. Fortunately, their English was far superior to my Polish!
After the workshop Barbara Pakura (piano) and I gave a recital in the concert hall which was a delight given the excellent acoustics of the hall. The programme also included a world premiere of The Boy King by Jeffery Wilson who composed the piece for me in 2015.
Post-concert Barbara and I were driven back to to Zywiec where I met my good friend Arkadiusz Garus who kindly drove the 90 kms to Krakow. On arrival in Krakow I met Thomas Slusarczyk and Bronislaw Niezgoda, the Director of Music at Kolbuszowa Music School, and we completed the final stage of our journey to Kolbuszowa by driving a further two hours to be ready for the start of our 2-day brass course the following day.
Just before we arrived at the hotel in Kolbuszowa we were stopped by the police for reasons of ‘traffic control’ and made to wait by the side of the road for 15 minutes! Given the road was deserted and Bronislaw was driving remarkably sensibly it was a strange incident but at least we made it to Kolbuszowa…eventually!