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SPECIAL WEEKENDS AND EVENTS of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016


The framework of the European Capital of Culture celebrations in Wrocław consists of four big projects, the first of which, Bridge Builders, took place in June 2015, and the remaining three will measure time in 2016: The Awakening (opening ceremony of the European Capital of Culture) on 17 January, Flow (halfway point) on 11 June and Sky Web (closing ceremony) on 17 December. The rhythm of the entire year will be marked by a dozen weekends and periods focused on key events of the programme. They will provide an opportunity to see, touch and get involved in the most interesting cultural activities, taking place in the city.

12 weekends of culture, prepared specially for residents and tourists;
12 unforgettable occasions to celebrate and experience culture and art;
12 pretexts to rediscover the cultural identity of Europe, Poland and Wrocław;
12 diverse opportunities to create and experience art;
Each of the 12 programmes was created for entire families and groups of friends – everyone will be able to find something for themselves.

Each weekend will feature a selection of interdisciplinary events aimed at a wide audience. The accumulation of events provides an ample opportunity to spend a whole day with art and culture, starting with a visit to a gallery, then going to a concert or performance, then having fun during animation workshops. Everyone can create their own unique route, taking advantage of the diverse cultural offer of the programme.

|15-17.01.2016| Awakening – winter fiesta for the opening of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016
The winter opening fiesta will last for three days in the middle of winter. Exhibition openings, concerts and official celebrations side by side with the Market Square teeming with life and the “fiery” Słodowa Island (special installations with fire will be organised there) will warm up all the residents of the city and the invited guests. The carnival celebration will begin in clubs, cafes and art galleries around Wrocław. The programme includes openings of two exhibitions: a presentation of works of Eduardo Chillida, artist from the Basque Country, which is a tribute to the European Capital of Culture San Sebastián and 25 Years of the Mies van der Rohe Award presenting the best examples of European architecture. During the Mercouri / Xenakis gala concert at the National Forum of Music, one of the best concert venues in Europe, Wrocław will pay homage to Melina Mercouri, the originator of European Capitals of Culture and the legendary Iannis Xenakis, Greek contemporary music composer. The culminating point of the weekend will be Sunday afternoon, when the outstanding Awakening performance will take place in Wrocław’s public space. Four processions will march on the city streets, telling its story. The project is carried out by Chris Baldwin in cooperation with Philippe Geffroy, French visual artist and creator of spectacular machines. Four Spirits of the city: the Spirit of Many Faiths, Innovation, Rebuilding and Flood, will wake up in four distant districts and march to the Market Square. Their march and the following meeting in the centre is a poetic metaphor of the emergence of Wrocław – the microcosm of Europe. Hundreds of performers from Wrocław and Poland will participate in the event.

|23.02.2016| Ennio Morricone concert
Two important events will take place in Wrocław on this Tuesday in February. Wrocław will host Ennio Morricone, Italian composer and creator of soundtracks for six hundred films, including The Best Offer, The Mission and Cinema Paradiso on his world tour commemorating the 60th anniversary of his professional work. This unique concert will take place in the Centennial Hall, and the famous composer will be accompanied by a group of two hundred choir singers and musicians. On the same day, the Czechoslovak New Wave film review – an event devoted to one of the most creative phenomena in post-war history of European cinema and an integral part of the Prague Spring cultural revolution in the 1960s – will begin. Over thirty movies will be presented, including works by Štefan Uher, Věra Chytilova, Miloš Forman, Evald Schorm, Jan Nemec, Hynek Bočan, Ivan Passer, Jiři Menzel, Juraj Jakubisko.

|22-24.04.2016| Wrocław as the Capital of Literature
On 23 April 2016, literature will rule all around Poland, but especially in Wrocław, which on that day will assume its reign as UNESCO World Book Capital City. In a carefully adapted house on the Market Square, the Ossolineum will open an innovative educational institution – the Museum of Pan Tadeusz, where we will have an opportunity to see the original manuscript of the epic poem Pan Tadeusz, written by Adam Mickiewicz. Later, we will embark on a journey in the footsteps of contemporary world literature, read by celebrities in churches and temples during the European Literature Night. The Lviv Month will let us unveil the secrets of
Ukrainian literature and many meetings will provide opportunities to listen to the most important writers, translators and literary critics. The glazed Goethe-Institut Pop Up Pavilion will be installed in Wolności Square – over the course of the next months it will serve as a stage for concerts, exhibitions and lectures, and the MIASTOmovie film review will shed a new light on the challenges the modern cities have to face. On the same day, Wrocław will also begin its transformation into Bibliopolis, a Library City, where reading can happen everywhere.

|30.04-3.05.2016| Wrocław – The European Capital of Jazz and Guitar
The International Jazz Day celebrated on 30 April and the annual guitar celebration organized on 1 May in the Market Square in Wrocław motivated organisation of a weekend fully devoted to music. One of the oldest festivals in the world, Jazz on the Odra, and the last instalment of Melting Pot Made in Wrocław will prepare us for the intensive weekend. On the occasion of International Jazz Day, the whole city will become a great jazz stage: concerts will take place in the National Forum of Music and in Impart, on boats and barges, there will be a jazz parade, a picnic on Pergola with big band duels, night jam sessions in clubs and pubs and much more. The final concert of the Thanks Jimi Festival in Centennial Hall will culminate in the Guitar Guinness World Record attempt, which Wrocław has been holding for many years. Thanks to the European Capital of Culture title, we will be present in several places around Europe at the same time, and we are going to surpass the number of 10,000 guitarists playing Hey Joe together. Also in Centennial Hall and Pergola, Polish music stars will perform during the biggest rock festival in Wrocław – the 3-May Festival. At the turn of April and May, the CLARIMANIA International Clarinet Festival 2016, an event devoted to woodwind instruments, will also take place in the city, giving the residents the opportunity to participate in concerts, master classes, lectures and exhibitions. During the Circulations: Stories of the Body performative festivalmany exceptional dance teachers and performers will teach us how the body can tell stories and stimulate experiences.

|10-12.06.2016| Halfway point and Flow. A great performance on the Odra River and its banks

The halfway point of the events connected with the celebration of the European Capital of Culture will be celebrated by a great open-air event titled Flow, presenting the history of creation, destruction and reconstruction of Wrocław. The Odra River and the surrounding parks, buildings and bridges will become a centre of many performative events. Over the day, dozens of performances, happenings and cultural encounters will take place along the river banks, between the Ostrów Tumski, University Library and the main University building. On Słodowa Island, we will build a rocket sculpture, where residents will place pieces of paper with their wishes and dreams written down – they will be displayed during the closing ceremony in December 2016. In the evening, we will hear a concert by an orchestra of musicians from the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Israel, performing a symphony composed by young creators from those countries. The event will be accompanied by video-mapping and hundreds of activities in the heart of the city. During that time, we will also host the European Partner School Convention and three festivals. The first one is the small Art of Improvisation Creative Festival, presenting the most valuable phenomena and trends in the art of improvisation. The second is the Festival of Vilnius Culture, during which a medieval hamlet will be built in the Market Square, a place for presentations of traditional craft, unique handicraft products and tastings of Lithuanian cuisine. The third, Beyond Borders: A Festival of Iranian Cinema will be accompanied by a presentation of works created during art workshops. During that weekend, there will also be an opening of the Wacław Szpakowski 1883–1973. Rhythmical Lines exhibitionpresenting works of one of the pioneers of abstract art, unknown to a wide audience in Poland, who lived and worked in Wrocław.

|17-19.06.2016| Culture and Sport – Wrocław’s good traditions
In June 2015, on the occasion of the announcement of the European Capital of Culture programme, we connected an important cultural event with the Night Half-Marathon for the first time, when the city organized a performance featuring a concert by Andrea Bocelli, transmitted by  TVP 2 (2nd channel of Polish National Television), and the Bridge Builders performance took place on the bridges along the route of the run. The success of this event inspired us to combine an opera performance and the Night Half-Marathon as key events for a weekend in June. The most spectacular will be The Spanish Night with Carmen – Zarzuela Show, based on excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen. It will be performed on a gigantic stage at the Wrocław Municipal Stadium, where a group of 500 artists, including the orchestra, ballet, choir and soloists from the Wrocław Opera will appear and perform alongside vocal and dance ensembles from Wrocław and Lower Silesia. At the same time, during the Wrocław Underwater Festival, we will have an opportunity to see performances, video art presentations, exhibitions and concerts. During Bike Days: The Bicycle Film Festival, lovers of cyclist culture will watch films about bicycle riding, discuss life without cars and ride through the city together. The grand finale of the meeting of various children’s artistic groups from across the world, Brave Kids, and City Coalition: Szczecin – an campaign promoting the right to creativity and interrelations between the city, region and ideas – will also take place in the city. During the conclusion of the Gallery Building project, we will see a presentation of modernisation of degraded monuments of Wrocław post-war modernism, and thanks to Eklektik Session 2016 we will experience music on the border of various styles. The programme includes a concert of the Eklektik Orchestra.

|24.-26.06.2016| Wrocław Day and its stars: David Gilmour and Leszek Możdżer

St John’s Day is a unique day in the Wrocław calendar, an annual celebration of the city and its residents. In 2016, it will be accompanied by an amazing concert by David Gilmour, rock star and former guitarist for Pink Floyd, and Leszek Możdżer, a world-famous Polish composer and jazz pianist. This unusual meeting of musicians of two generations, two genres and two kinds of musical expressions will be accompanied by three festivals. During the White Festival, everything will be turned into impeccable white. Costumes, all props, vehicles, and the participants will be covered in a thin layer of clay, which will dry out and make them white. The 20th Chamber Music Festival “Arsenal Nights”, organised since 1997, is addressed to the fans of broadly understood chamber music. It will also be the second weekend of the Wrocław Underwater Festival and the opening of the 14th edition of SURVIVAL Art Review, an artistic event presenting contemporary art in public space. And in stairwells of art-nouveau houses, historic backyards and often dilapidated squares, there will be a series of unconventional chamber concerts with elements of happenings, titled the Forgotten City. The weekend will also be an opportunity to see two exhibitions: Marc Chagall and European Avant-garde Painters, presenting works from Chagall Museum in Vitebsk, Belarus, where the painter was born and the Permanent Exhibition of Polish Contemporary Art from the National Museum in Wrocław, in the Four Dome Pavilion, including works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Jerzy Bereś, Władysław Hasior, Tadeusz Kantor and Alina Szapocznikow.

|22-24.07.2016 / 29-31.07.2016| Film and music
The events taking place during these two weekends will focus mostly on film and music. A special edition of T–Mobile New Horizons, the biggest film festival, will be
expanded to include the Masters of European Cinema programmea series of film reviews presenting the history and diversity of cinematography of the Old Continent. We will present films that shaped the history of European cinema, the New Wave of the 1950s and 1960s and their followers, as well as Basque cinema. During Singing Europe, we will participate in a meeting of many choirs from all over Europe and the final concert at the Wrocław Municipal Stadium will be an opportunity for everyone to join them. Film and music can coexist in a variety of ways, for example film operas. We will present two of them: Lost Highway with the libretto written by a Nobel Prize laureate, Elfriede Jelinek and music by outstanding contemporary composer Olga Neuwirth, based on the cult film by David Lynch, and River of Fundament, the latest project created by the multidisciplinary artist Matthew Barney. He was inspired by Ancient Evenings, a controversial novel by Norman Mailer, describing a man’s journey from death to his rebirth. During the first weekend, a premiere of the performance Story of a Soldier: Stravinsky with Zbigniew Zamachowski will take place. The performance will be part of the project Excluded Voice, a cooperation between socially excluded groups and professional artists. There will also be an event for booklovers: The National Rally of Book Club Members in Poland on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the movement’s creation, during which numerous workshops and concerts will be accompanied by meetings with authorsAnd we will hear the world book anthem for the first time, with the text of the poem Poet’s Hair by the most famous Wrocław poet, Tadeusz Różewicz, serving as the lyrics.

|2-4.09.2016| A weekend with photography
September’s weekend with photography comprises one of the most important photography festivals in Poland and two exhibitions. This year’s TIFF Festival organized under the motto Rivers and Roads will be devoted to travel, migration and the issues with mobility. We will see an exhibition of works by Łukasz Rusznica and by Jon Cazevane, curated by Mikiko Kikuta, inspired by his artistic residency in Japan as part of the European Eyes on Japan programme. An exhibition of photographs by Catherine Balet titled Looking for Masters, presenting the evolution of the medium, will demonstrate us a new way of looking at photographs created by the masters of the art: from the self-portrait from 1839 to the latest Instagram trends. A similar view of the history of the medium will be presented in the Photography Never Dies: The Story of the Past and the Future of the Medium exhibitionwhich will allow us to see works by famous artists and curators such as Erik Kessels and Loretta Lux, as well as archival daguerreotypes juxtaposed with contemporary amateur photographs published on Instagram and Flickr. Yet another event during that weekend will be Po.rozumienie / Über. einkommen / Under.standing, part of the international OpenHUB Europe project, which assumes active participation of the audience, shared activities and inclusion of art brut and outsider art artists. Traditionally, September is also the month of the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans, one of the most important and prestigious music events in Poland. During the 51st edition of the festival, we will hear important European works performed by the most exceptional artists.

|14-16.10.2016| International Theatre Olympics
The weekend in October will be marked by a variety of theatre, visual arts, film, literary and music events. During the Theatre Olympics, an international theatre festival presenting achievements of the greatest creators from across the world, we will host eminent guests such as Eugenio Barba, Peter Brook, Tadashi Suzuki, Theodoros Terzopoulos, Robert Wilson, Krystian Lupa, Valeri Fokin and Jan Fabre. An accompanying programme, Shakespeare Lives in Film, will present adaptations of Shakespeare’s works, from big productions featuring famous film stars to independent films. At the same time, the performances of Lower Silesian Theatre Platform will be presented on all stages in Wrocław as part of a festival of theatres from Wrocław and Lower Silesia. The Puppet Theatre will host an exhibition of works by Jadwiga Mydlarska-Kowal, an exceptional stage designer, who created the most famous performances by Wiesław Hejna together with the artist. The weekend will also mark the beginning of the Eugeniusz Geppert Competition, a cyclical event devoted to young painters and Play with Glass – European Glass Festival, a professionally prepared presentation of the European glass art, organized in Poland for the first time. The Bruno Schulz Festival – a festival combining urban games, slams, happenings and concerts with meetings with authors and discussions about literature, culture and art, will represent literature in October. The most important award for Polish literature and for works translated into Polish – the Angelus Central European Literature Award – will be also presented. During the Festive Music. Weihemusik event, the music lovers will hear the first post-war performance of Weihemusik (Festive Music) by Hermann Matzke, a result of cooperation between young creators from Poland and Germany. Musicians will perform symphony pieces by Johannes Brahms, Karol Lipiński and – of course – the Weihemusik.

|9-11.12.2016| European Film Awards
December will be focused on cinema, with the most notable example being the European Film Awards gala, during which the most eminent film distinctions awarded on the Continent will be presented. The idea behind the awards is to promote European cinema and European filmmakers. Members of the European Film Academy (currently numbering around 3000) will select the best European film and will grant the awards for European film creators in over a dozen categories. The first Polish winner of the year was Krzysztof Kieślowski for A Short Film About Killing, and in 2014 Paweł Pawlikowski was honoured for Ida. Every second year, the gala is organized in Berlin and in even-numbered years – in other large European cities. The 29th gala will take place in Wrocław. Also in December, during WROsound, an event presenting the most interesting Lower Silesian music, we will hear debuts, premiere albums, and retrospectives of the most distinguished groups and bands for the genre.

|16-18.12.2016| Sky Web – the closing ceremony of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016
The last weekend of events will conclude the celebrations of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016. The show, presented by the Flow Quartet, will sum up and close the year, but at the same time it will serve as a symbolic new opening. This performance will take place in the Centennial Hall for an audience of thousands. The Sky Web will merge the themes and elements of the three previous performances into a conclusion, serving also a commentary for the whole celebration in Wrocław, an evaluation, but also a perspective for future development of the city.
An orchestra of musicians from Germany, Israel, the Czech Republic and Poland together with an immense choir will create the framework for the performance illustrating the main theme of the events of the year: Wrocław is a European city and belongs to all who have lived and left their mark here. The list of international participants will include artists from Germany, France, Israel, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Czech Republic. A slightly different look on Wrocław will be presented in the exhibition Wrocław Architecture in the 20th Century, a comprehensive presentation of Wrocław architecture from the 20th century. The city will be presented as a dynamic combination of layers, constantly intertwining and alive, yielding to multidimensional analysis and interpretation, without making distinctions between German Breslau and Polish Wrocław.


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