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The Choral Academy is a project whose aim is to promote singing, including a coherent development programme for choirs – from kindergarten to professional ensembles. Making sure that singing is present in the life of every person from an early age is the main mission of this project.

The Choral Academy meets diverse expectations of various age groups, as the needs of children, adults, amateurs and professional singers are different. Given that choral singing is the best form of singing in everyday life, benefitting individuals artistically, but also socially and psychologically, it is primarily the choirs that are the way to accomplish the main mission of the project, also supporting choral conductors and young singers.

The detailed objectives of the project include, among others, increasing the number of children's choirs at pre-school and school age as well as improving the artistic level of already existing ensembles; enabling choirs and choristers to share experiences during joint projects; improving the performance skills of young singers, first of all by organising trainings, workshops and lessons with the best theoreticians and world-famous singers and conductors; organising joint performances of young singers with professional musicians; organising workshops and training for conductors; publishing materials (textbooks and sheet music) necessary to work with choirs at various levels; commissioning a new repertoire for choirs.

All the tasks are carried out around a theme adopted for a given year, at the same time they concern universal topics related to choral methodology. The Choral Academy also includes activities undertaken as part the other choral projects of the National Forum of Music – Singing Poland and the Polish National Youth Choir. The supervisor of the project is Prof Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny serving as its Programme Director.

Projects descriptions

One of the branches of the Choir Academy project is the continuation of the activities of the National School Choirs Development Programme "Singing Poland" launched in 2006 and originated by Andrzej Kosendiak. From the beginning, the programme has been co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Singing Poland supports the development of pre-school and school choirs by subsidizing school choir classes, providing supervision to choirs and conductors, organizing workshops, competitions and concerts, as well as commissioning compositions for children's and youth choirs. Cooperation with universities of music educating conductors in both artistic and didactic terms is of particular importance in achieving the project's goals.

In the years 2006–2014 the Singing Poland programme was run by the National Centre for Culture, and supervision was provided by the International Festival. Wratislavia Cantans. Since 2015, by the decision of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the programme has been included in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage project Choral Academy, run by the National Forum of Music.

Over 200 choirs participate in the project. Each year, around 40 concerts are organized across Poland, including two final concerts with the participation of selected choirs from a given edition, dozens of trainings for conductors, as well as many regional choral competitions verifying the level of ensembles participating in the project. Direct supervision over the conductors participating in the Choir Academy and their choirs is provided by regional curators: choir masters, teachers, specialists in working with children and youth. An extremely important role in the creation and development of this project was played by Grażyna Rogala-Szczerek, who in the years 2001–2014 was the coordinator of the activities of Singing Wrocław, in the years 2006–2014 the coordinator of the national programme Singing Poland, and in the years 2014–2016 the national curator of the project Choral Academy.

Since 2015, the programme director of the Choir Academy, Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny, has been responsible for the programme Singing Poland and the direction of its development.

Polish National Youth Choir (PNYC) is an artistic and educational project aimed at choristers between 18 and 26 years of age: students of vocal schools and conservatoires, and the best singers of Polish choirs. It is financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and run by the National Forum of Music. It was established in 2013 as an independent two-module training project dedicated to singers and conductors. From 2015, it has been part of the Choral Academy project.

Each PNYC edition includes two 7-10-day sessions devoted to a specific topic. Quartet, sectional and tutti rehearsals as well as tutorials, lectures and workshops are held as part of individual sessions and are conducted by specialists in their fields. All these activities are crowned with a concert during which young people can present the results of their work. One of the educational sessions is always devoted to a cappella music, and the other to work on a vocal-instrumental piece, rehearsed together with a professional orchestra. A characteristic feature of the project is to invite guest conductors and singing teachers from Poland and abroad to collaborate on subsequent editions. Young people can work with the greatest authorities on music. During each of the editions, choristers also take part in concerts. Thanks to that, they can use in practice the knowledge gained during the PNYC session and learn how to rehearse for the concert, and thus can prove their skills in the professional music world. An important advantage of the project is its nationwide reach – both in the recruitment of participants and the choice of concert venues.

In previous editions, the participants worked with such conductors as: Paul McCreesh, Jacek Kaspszyk, Andrzej Kosendiak, Benjamin Bayl, Jacek Sykulski, Werner Pfaff, Benjamin Shwartz, Christoph Poppen, Roger Treece, Marcin Tomczak, Bartosz Michałowski, Bob Chilcott, and Marcin Wawruk.
Katarzyna Oleś-Blacha, Agnieszka Rehlis, Ewa Vesin, Anna Lubańska, Jarosław Bręk, Marta Brzezińska, Nicholas Mulroy, Marek Bałata, Karolina Pasierbska, Sissy Handler (MisSiss), Anna Mikołajczyk, Ewa Marciniec, Derek Welton, Tom Williams, Eamonn Dougan, Robert Nakoneczny, Richard Bannan, Dominic Peckham, Tori Longdon, Joanna Tomlinson, Robert Evans, Henryk Böhm, , Fulvio Bettini, Elisabeth Irvine, James Gilchrist, Joanna Zawartko-Kołodziej, and Rebecca Lodge supervised the work of young choristers. The lectures were given, among others, by Jan Miodek, Marek Dyżewski, Marta Kierska-Witczak, Jolanta Szybalska-Matczak, Bartłomiej Madejski, Artur Tworek, Małgorzata Pawłowska, Olga Ksenicz, Tomasz Sztonyk, Małgorzata Szeptycka, Anna Krotoska, Małgorzata Szczerbowska, Joanna Misiek-Zbierska, Ryszard Daniel Golianek, Bogusław Bednarek, Małgorzata Rudnicka, Cezary Morawski, Mikołaj Rykowski, Roger Treece, Marek Bałata, Natalia Stawicka, Bartłomiej Barwinek, and Olaf Krysowski.

During the six editions, the choir performed in such cities as: Kraków, Wrocław, Poznań, Rzeszów, Katowice, Warsaw, Białystok, Łódź, Gdańsk, Malbork, Olsztyn, Lublin, Sandomierz, Częstochowa, Radom, Zielona Góra, Gorzów Wielkopolski (Poland), Lisbon (Portugal), Ostrava (the Czech Republic), Berlin, Cologne (Germany), as well as taking part in prestigious festivals: Wratislavia Cantans, Singing Europe and Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival.

Contact

Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny
Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny
Artistic Director of NFM Choir and Artistic Director of Choral Academy
Joanna Brylowska
Joanna Brylowska
Manager of Choral Academy
phone: + 48 71 715 98 22
mobile: + 48 727 010 237
Ira Terebenets
Ira Terebenets
Choral Projects Specialist / Polish National Youth Choir
phone: +48 71 715 97 14
mobile: + 48 661 519 423
Dorota Małolepsza
Dorota Małolepsza
Project specialist / Singing Poland
phone: +48 71 715 98 36
mobile: + 48 728 447 024
Wioleta Bruzi
Wioleta Bruzi
Choral Academy Assistant
phone: + 48 71 715 98 14

NFM – City of Wrocław institution of culture co-managed by:

Wdrożenie e-usług w Filharmonii im. Witolda Lutosławskiego we Wrocławiu - etap 2 współfinansowany jest przez Unię Europejską ze środków Europejskiego Funduszu Rozwoju Regionalnego w ramach Regionalnego Programu Operacyjnego dla województwa dolnośląskiego na lata 2007 - 2013 oś priorytetowa 6. Wykorzystanie i promocja potencjału turystycznego o kulturalnego Dolnego Śląska (Turystyka i Kultura), działanie 6.5. Działania wspierające infrastrukturę turystyczną i kulturową.