Music for everyone!
It is commonly believed that if something’s “for everything” it’s essentially worth nothing. However, the analysis of the first year of ICE Kraków Congress Centre’s operation from the musical standpoint proves that this statement might be a bit misguided. In 2015, the venue was visited by approximately 230000 people during over 200 events (and almost 290000 guests during 240 events since the opening ceremony on the 16th of October 2014). Half of them were various cultural events, from spectacular multimedia and musical shows to chamber concerts for small audiences. We might ask ourselves if the investment awaited since the 1970s is a hit? Did it become an integral part of the city and – more importantly – a business and cultural showcase of Krakow?
Those questions cannot be answered unequivocally; however, in 2015 the Congress Centre saw great names, famous bands, anniversaries and celebrations. The Auditorium Hall and Theatre Hall hosted local artists and ensembles, who performed both for local community, as well as for business and cultural tourists from all over the world. It can be said with full responsibility that everyone can find something for themselves in ICE Kraków. It was also noted by journalists working for Dziennik Polski, who praised the concerts, as well as overall musical activities in the Centre as a success in their ranking, aptly named “TOPY I WTOPY 2015” (“Successes and Failures”). The events that took place in the venue were also mentioned in the summary of 2015, published by Polityka.
Adaptability of the venue, as well as technical and technological conditions, coupled with great acoustics with customisable parameters, designed by experts responsible for venues such as the Disney Theatre in the United States and the Oslo Opera, are among the strengths of ICE Kraków. Thanks to the Centre, many artists have visited Małopolska for the very first time. What is more, many of them returned to Krakow, and others have already announced that they will visit the city in the upcoming months and years.
Looking at the events that took place in ICE Kraków during the last year, one can find a wide variety of events, i.e. classical concerts, including the premiere performance of a trumpet concerto composed by Krzysztof Penderecki with Sinfonietta Cracovia and the premiere performance of H.M. Górecki’s Sanctus Adalbertus during the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of Polish Music Publishing House. ICE Kraków also hosted a concert from the widely acclaimed Opera Rara series, presenting early European music. Lovers of jazz could meet and listen to the winners of Grammy Award – Herbie Hancock, Włodek Pawlik, Dianne Reeves and Chris Botti. Leszek Możdżer and Nigel Kennedy, two artists, acclaimed and appreciated all over the world performed at the Auditorium Hall. Krakow was also visited by opera stars, including Aleksandra Kurzak, who started a new series of musical performances – ICE Classic.
The Auditorium Hall also saw performances by many popular artists – the first performance of Justyna Steczkowska’s new tour, COMA Symfonicznie, Camel and Steven Wilson – as well as anniversaries of Skaldowie, Krystyna Prońko and the Polish Music Publishing House.
ICE Kraków hosted several festivals, organised in the city – Misteria Paschalia (Accademia Bizantina along with the Cappella Cracoviensis Chamber Choir and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin accompanied by RIAS Kammerchor), Film Music Festival (Scoring4Wajda, Shakespeare in Concert), and 8 concerts of the Sacrum Profanum Festival (These New Puritans, Bryce Dessner, Richard Reed Parry, Ólafur Arnalds and Alice Sara Ott, Sō Percussion along with Martin Schmidt, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Kate Moore and the Magic Mountain by Paweł Mykietyn).
Finally, the Auditorium Hall, which thanks to its 2000 seats is the largest concert hall in the Southern Poland, became the new location for the IDA World DJ Championships 2015, as well as the only concert of the legendary band KRAFTWERK in Poland.
It can be noted that the cultural and entertainment offerings of the ICE Kraków Congress Centre is extremely diverse. Even the name itself – International Conferences and Entertainment – reveals that animating entertainment in the city is one of its main goals besides organising congresses and conferences. We are now looking forward to what the future will bring. We already know that in 2016 Krakow will be visited by Brian May and Kerry Ellis, Canadian Brass, Mariza Mundo – Portuguese fado singer, Les Concert des Nations and Jordi Savall, Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble with Marc Minkowski and (again) Accademia Bizantina. More events will be announced soon. We can only hope that Krakow – the cultural capital of Poland – will always attract guests with its exceptional events. So far it’s never failed!