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With eyes fixed on the past

When we think ‘Armenia’, ‘music’ and ‘nostalgia’, the only person that comes to the mind is Tigran Mansurian. The first festival day will make the audience more familiar with the works of the composer, who is celebrating his seventy-fifth birthday this year. Not only will Tigran Mansurian meet with the audience, but he will also perform his own works. Two years ago, Tigran Mansurian composed a piece for one of the most remarkable cellists in the world, Anja Lechner. It is called Quasi parlando which can be translated as ‘almost speaking’. During the opening concert, the composer will allow the cello not only to sound like the human voice, but to actually replace it. Mansurian and Lechner will play some music that converts the specific intonations and phonetics of the Armenian language into the sounds of instruments. The audience will also have the opportunity to listen to the first juxtaposition of Mansurian’s compositions with those of the second central character of this year’s Nostalgia, Elliott Carter. The young but already acclaimed NeoQuartet will play the two composers’ respective String Quartets no. 2.

A composer and symbol

The compositions of Elliott Carter, to whom the second festival day is dedicated, sound best set against the cityscape of New York. Within this cityscape, we will listen to the stories of one of the most interesting composers of the past century, recorded in a musical documentary called A Labyrinth of Time. This image of the composer will be complemented with discussions about the music avant-garde, and finally, with a performance by pianist Maciej Grzybowski. The four-time nominee for the Paszporty Polityki award will play Carter’s Sonata and Night Fantasies considered the milestones of the composer’s oeuvre. He will juxtapose these avant-garde pieces with the ascetical sounds of Tigran Mansurian’s piano compositions inspired by Armenian music.


Screamers is a documentary about the members of the alternative metal band System of a Down who, using lyrics and shrill guitar riffs, call for the remembering of the Armenian Genocide committed by Turks. The film and a thematically related meeting will be an introduction to the final festival concert. The l’Autunno Chamber Orchestra, the Adam Mickiewicz University Choir and several soloists, conducted by Adam Banaszak, will perform the Polish premiere of Tigran Mansurian’s Requiem. The piece is dedicated to the memory of the Genocide in which, according to different estimates, from four hundred thousand to one million people were killed, and which forced another five hundred thousand Armenians to leave their country. Tigran Mansurian, the son of two of these refugees, wrote Requiem as the voice of remembrance and nostalgia of one of the largest diasporas in the world. The Orchestra and the Choir will also perform Sound Fields, a musical experiment by Elliott Carter which came as a surprise to the connoisseurs of the ninety-nine year old composer’s oeuvre.

The meetings and film shows will take place in the Malta Foundation head office at 44 Ratajczaka Street. Admission is free. Free admission passes for the concerts at the Dominican Fathers Church in Poznań are available from Centrum Informacji Miejskiej (CIM), at 44 Ratajczaka Street. The programme detailing all the films, meetings and concerts is available in the Programme tab.