© Copyright 2019

July 8-24

Exploring the world of Chopin, discovering Polish culture, and tracing the journey of Chopin and George Sand in Majorca.

Description

Frederic Chopin and George Sand- the names conjure up the image of one of the most illustrious artistic couples of the nineteenth century.  For the Chopintour 2020, co-directors Adam Wibrowski and William Wellborn have organized an exciting tour exploring Polish culture, visiting important sites in the life of Chopin, and tracing the journey of Chopin and Sand in Majorca.  Throughout the tour there are numerous concerts, both public and privately-arranged for our group, and professors Wellborn and Wibrowski offer stimulating and informative lectures illustrating the significance of the various locales, and explaining their relevance to the life and music of Chopin. 
  •   Chopin birthplace in Zelazowa Wola
  • Important Chopin sites in Warsaw
  • The beautiful city of Gdańsk
  • The stunning Malbork Castle
  • The striking city of Kraków
  • Valdemossa in Majorca

Chopin's birthplace in Zelazowa Wola

Church of the Holy Cross; where Chopin's heart is buried
Łazienki Park, with statue of Chopin

On our travels from Gdansk and Warsaw we visit the villages of Szfarnia, Waplewo, and Sanniki, all notable for Chopin’s travels with school companions during his youth.  We’ll hear a private concert in the Szafarnia Palace, and have the extraordinary opportunity to learn the steps of the mazurka from an authentic group of Polish folk dancers and musicians in Sanniki.  Our most important stop in this region of Masovia is Zelazowa Wola, the national treasure that is the Chopin birth house and museum. Throughout the landscapes of the deep countryside we experience directly the folk music and dances that had such a profound and lasting impact on the music and creative spirit of Chopin.

Chopin Sites

in Warsaw

Church of the Holy Cross; where Chopin's heart is buried
Łazienki Park, with statue of Chopin

The Polish capitol of Warsaw is also full of significance for the story of Chopin.  Our stay here includes visiting the marvelous collection at the Chopin Museum, Holy Cross Church, the vibrant Old Town, and discovering former Chopin residences in the city.  A special highlight is sure to be the beautiful Lazienki Park, with its striking Chopin statue, and hearing one of the Sunday afternoon outdoor concerts, always a much-anticipated event in the musical life of Warsaw.

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The beautiful city of Gdańsk

From Majorca, we fly to northern Poland to follow Chopin’s steps in this region. Our north to south traversal begins with the picturesque Baltic port of Gdansk, a city that was once part of the famed Hanseatic League.  Here we enjoy many beautiful sites and vistas, including the towering fourteenth-century St. Mary’s Cathedral, the magnificent organ at Oliwa, and an outing to the neighboring seaside town of Sopot.  Also of great interest is the nearby Malbork Castle, a truly imposing medieval structure that is the largest brick castle in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 Malbork Castle

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Polish Folk Dancers

The Historic City of Krakow

The sleek, new, high-speed train brings us southward to our final destination, the fascinating city of Krakow.  A visit to Wawel Castle brings us to the heart of Polish history and culture, as does the grand Rynek Glowny, the Renaissance city square in the heart of Old Town.  Sukienice, or the Cloth Hall, is still a major area for shopping, as it has been for hundreds of years. Krakow is a city full of historic churches and museums, with something for almost any taste.  There is the Stained Glass Museum, the National Museum, which houses Chopin’s Pleyel piano and the famous Michelangelo painting “The Lady with the Ermine,” and even the Krakow Pinball Museum!  At the center of the Old Town is St. Mary’s Basilica, with its famed trumpeters who appear each hour on the hour, a constant tribute to the strength and character of the Polish spirit. A Chopin concert at the Jewish Cultural Center with pianist Andrew Yang rounds out our musical journey through the country that is still the land of Frederic Chopin.

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Majorca

”I am in paradise,” wrote Chopin to his friend Julian Fontana upon arriving in Majorca.  Our own Majorcan journey begins, as did Chopin’s, in the lovely city of Palma.  Here we visit its imposing Palace and Cathedral, and bask in the beauty of the Mediterranean.  Palma provides the base for our excursions exploring the rugged natural scenery of the island. A short ride on the historic narrow-gauge train brings us across the island to the adjacent towns of Sóller and Porto de Sóller. The train station in Sóller provides a true surprise:  a small collection of ceramics by the famed Spanish artists Picasso and Miro. The climax of our visit to Majorca is a trip to Valdemossa, where we visit the important Chopin collections, and have a private concert in the monastery that housed Chopin and Sand on their fateful journey in the winter of 1838-39. 

Chopin Tour 2020: July 8-24 Poland and Majorca

William Wellborn is an internationally-recognized pianist, teacher, and lecturer, and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Association of Professional Musicians. He is a faculty member at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and records for the Marco Polo and Cambria Master Recordings labels.  A scholar of historic pianists, he created and hosted the popular San Francisco radio program “Piano Legacy.”  His concert tours and teaching have taken him to North and South America, Europe, and Japan. 

 

Polish-born pianist Adam Wibrowski is a recently retired professor of piano of the Paris National Conservatory and an internationally celebrated piano educator.  Founder and director of the acclaimed In Search of Chopin tours, he created the Austrian International Piano Seminar and Krakow Piano Summer programs, and is head of the European Piano Program.  In addition to adjudicating at international competitions such as the Gina Bachauer, the Artur Rubinstein, and the Gilmore Festival, his professional activities include recitals, workshops, masterclasses, and lectures throughout Europe, the US, and the Far East. Wellborn and Wibrowski have been organizing and leading European tours together for nearly twenty years.

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Wawel Castle