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The project refers to one of the key properties of contemporary European society: a synthesis between national identity, derived from cultural distinctness, and the idea of a community of cultures. Over the centuries, European nations have crystallised the need to stress the distinctness of their history, language and tradition, yetin antiquity, the foundations were laid for a common European culture – foundations that were never abandoned. A key time in these processes was the 19th century, when modern nations, under the pressure of political, social and civilisational change, rediscovered their cultural identity, though not losing universal values. National ‘schools’ were formed in the arts, yet individuality and personal expression were also greatly valued.

The turn of the 20th century brought a reevaluation and deepening of internationalist processes. And that century was marked by the conscious reception of cultures and the strengthening of ideas of community. Music, which is our project’s chief object of reflection, is a singular medium. On one hand, it employs a universal language; on the other, it is subject to strong local differentiation. The music of Chopin, as our project’s point of departure, is a perfect example of this dichotomy. Its ‘national’ distinctness helped forge its universality. In Paris, Chopin wrote the musical idiom of Poland into the artistic discourse of Europe. Conversely, his pupil Thomas Tellefsen, on returning home from Paris, laid the foundations for the Norwegian idiom that would be established by Edvard Grieg. Tellefsen and Grieg also initiated the reception of Polish music in Norway, continued by such figures as Andrzej Panufnik and, above all, Witold Lutosławski. The latter created in Norway a work of groundbreaking significance and remained a friend of the outstanding composer Arne Nordheim.

The aim of the project is to show those ties, to present artists, their music and concert work, to offer reliable scholarly studies and aesthetic reflection, to promote cultural diversity in analogous areas (concert music, salon music, song, music in the home, folk music – compiling programmes and disseminating knowledge) and to educate (workshops, publications). Another strand of music reception analysed in our project is artistic and literary output. Chopin’s music is reflected in the writings of Stanisław Przybyszewski, who promoted in Poland the work of Edvard Munch – an influence on Wojciech Weiss. This strand will be developed by an exhibition in Warsaw, while the Trondheim exhibition focuses on the ChopinTellefsen relationship. The project has an interdisciplinary character. The Institute can draw on a versatile staff and team of specialists, as well as promotional potential, developed through work on the festival ‘Chopin and his Europe’, the Chopin Museum and the Internet Chopin Information Centre, as an additional attribute, made available for the purposes of the project, multiplying the contribution from the EEA programme.

The Institute is planning to transfer 166,000 EUR of EEA funds to its partners, against their own contribution of approx. 264,000 EUR. The Institute will pursue a number of activities convergent with the project’s theme, enhancing the project and increasing its synergy.The project will be documented by concert recordings, 2 books, an exhibition catalogue, festival programme, website, virtual display, GPS app, and educational and promotional materials. The project will last for 3 years, culminating in 2014, with opening events in 2013 and closing events in 2015.

Outline plan:

2013 – key strands:

– Paris as a cultural meltingpot
– Chopin and Tellefsen (conference and concert in Paris, Ingrid Dalaker’s book Thomas Tellefsen in Norwegian and French musical culture)
– preparation of exhibitions: ‘From the Romantic search for national and cultural identity to modernist reevaluation.
Chopin – Tellefsen – Grieg / Przybyszewski – Weiss – Munch’ at the Chopin Museum in Warsaw; ‘Between national identity and a community of cultures: Fryderyk Chopin and Thomas Tellefsen’ at the Ringve Museum in Trondheim
[besides the project, in 2013 the NIFC will pursue a number of activities on similar themes, e.g. the festival ‘Chopin and his Europe: from Chopin to Lutosławski’ and an academic conference on changes in the Polish national discourse (11th Scholarly Conference by NIFC)]

2014 – key strands:

– Polish and Norwegian musical identity – Chopin and Grieg (conference in Oslo, concerts and workshops in Fredrikstad)
– exhibition ‘Folk musical instruments of Chopin’s times’ at Żelazowa Wola
– special Norwegian Polish programme of the festival ‘Chopin and his Europe’ – 12 concerts, incl.
‘Between North and South’– recital of national songs
‘Presentation of sources: Polish and Scandinavian folklore’
– conference and workshops on ‘Roots music: Poland and Norway’ (Radziejowice)
– repeat of symphony concerts in Trondheim
– opening of exhibitions in Warsaw and Trondheim and accompanying events (concerts, workshops, seminars)
– GPS app for mobile devices, ‘In the footsteps of Polish and Norwegian composers (Chopin, Tellefsen, Grieg, Nordheim, Lutosławski)’

2015 – key strands:

– continuation of exhibitions in Warsaw and Trondheim
– conference in Oslo ‘Cultural heritage and dialogue’
– conference book (papers from 4 conferences)
– closure of project