It was on 3rd May 1952 that Radio Free Europe broadcast its first Polish-language programme from its new seat in Munich, where the University of Munich’s Scholl Siblings Institute for Political Science (GSI) is now located. Radio Free Europe was a US enterprise aiming to counteract the repressive policies of communist regimes in countries dependent on the Soviet Union. RFE was initiated by the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE), founded in 1949, a private organisation cooperating with the US government. The first broadcasting stations, conceived as substitute broadcasters responding to the audience’s needs, began their operations in New York in the summer of 1950. From the spring of 1952 the broadcasts were prepared and recorded in Munich, which became RFE’s main seat. During the more than forty years of its existence, the RFE Polish Service was a tool for counteracting the propaganda, rectifying false information, presenting true historical facts, and providing comprehensive news from Poland and the world. The anniversary celebrations, prepared in cooperation with the University, are an excellent opportunity to recount RFE’s history and present its iconic editorial seat, considered as a bastion of solid journalism.
Radio Free Europe’s Polish Service 70th anniversary celebrations, held between 2nd and 9th May in Munich, will include, among others, a photographic exhibition, a film show, and a jazz concert dedicated to the music of Zbigniew Seifert, featuring two outstanding Polish saxophonists, Leszek Żądło and Adam Pierończyk.
Sax player and eminent Polish jazz musician Leszek Żądło, collaborating in the past with Radio Free Europe, has lived and worked in Munich since the 1970s. Considered as one of the greatest artists in the Austrian and German jazz scenes, Żądło has collaborated with such jazz celebrities as Dexter Gordon, Art Farmer, Janusz Muniak, and Zbigniew Seifert. As leader of the Leszek Zadlo Ensemble, Leszek Zadlo Quartett, the Polski Jazz Ensemble, and the European Art Ensemble, he has given performances in more than 40 countries worldwide and recorded over 100 albums. He shares his knowledge and abilities with other musicians as a teacher at music academies in Würzburg, Munich, and Cracow. The Polish passport was restored to him after the fall of communism, and the Minister of Culture decorated him with the Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis. The ‘Solidarity’ trade union also presented him with a special award in gratitude for financial support and the jazz broadcasts presented by Radio Free Europe’s Polish Service. During the RFE anniversary concert, Leszek Żądło will perform with two excellent German jazz musicians: Tom Hauser (bass) and Johannes Jahn (drums).
The second part of the anniversary concert features an international band led by saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Adam Pierończyk, internationally critically acclaimed as one of Europe’s most interesting and creative musicians and one of the greatest innovators in the Polish jazz scene. Pierończyk has more than 20 albums to his name, for which he has received numerous accolades including 18 Fryderyk nominations and 2 Fryderyk Awards. In 2005-2006 he was the artistic director of Jazz aux Oudayas and Jazz Au Chellah festivals in the Moroccan capital Rabat, and in 2011-2015 – of the Sopot Jazz Festival. He has given performances worldwide, sharing the stage with such stars as Sam Rivers, Archie Shepp, Miroslav Vitous, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, and Tomasz Stańko. The Munich concert will be Pierończyk’s first presentation of Zbigniew Seifert’s music. In this premiere event, he will be accompanied by two German artists: guitarist Philipp Schiepek and bassist – cello virtuoso Henning Sieverts.
The concert, organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in cooperation with the Zbigniew Seifert Foundation, will be dedicated to the figure and music of Zbigniew Seifert, an eminent Polish violinist and a world-famous jazz artist. After emigrating from Poland, Seifert settled in Munich in the 1970s. It was in that city that he worked and gave concerts. In the times when official Polish art was expected to implement the ideas of ‘real socialism’, Seifert’s music became synonymous with freedom and spontaneity.
The concert will be held on 3rd May at 7 p.m. at the Münchner Künstlerhaus.
LESZEK ŻĄDŁO TRIO:
Leszek Żądło - sax
Tom Hauser - b
Jay Lateef - dr
ADAM PIEROŃCZYK TRIO:
Adam Pierończyk - soprano and tenor sax
Philipp Schiepek - g
Henning Sieverts - b, cello
‘Co-financed from the funds of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.’
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is a national institution of culture whose mission it is to build lasting relations with foreign partners with a view to presenting Polish culture and initiating international cultural exchange. The Institute has implemented cultural projects in 70 countries on 6 continents, including the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Israel, Germany, Turkey, the United States, Canada, Australia, Morocco, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, China, Japan, and Korea. The Institute’s 38 strategic programmes have reached 60 million viewers to date. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is an organisation of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.