“Poland and Turkey should improve cooperation in many fields,” said Grzegorz Schetyna, Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs during a visit to Ankara. Afterwards, he participated in a gala with business representatives. He later met with the President of Turkey Recep Erdogan. Grzegorz Schetyna reminded his audience about last year’s 600th anniversary celebrations of diplomatic relations between Poland and Turkey. “Poland and Turkey share a common history. There are many historical similarities between our countries and many areas where our cooperation flourishes. However, there are also fields, in which we wish to improve our cooperation,” Schetyna stated. Poland’s head of diplomacy was accompanied by a group of entrepreneurs and the Minister of Agriculture. The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that he is counting on an increase in trade relations. “Like our Turkish colleagues say: we have all the ingredients to make good Halva, so let’s do it.” According to Cavusoglu it would be quite easy to to double trade exchange. Currently this amounts to about $5bn. The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs claims that investments are not at a satisfactory level. Grzegorz Schetyna also laid flowers at the Ataturk mausoleum in Ankara, and met the Turkish president.
For a few months now Poland has a new reason to be proud. The source of this newly arisen excitement is the new building of the National Polish Radio Symphonic Orchestra (NOSPR) in Katowice, a true architectural jewel in Poland’s crown even on an international scale. Though it was initially founded in 1935, this new investment cost PLN 265 million (€66 million) and has brought a fresh, astonishing design to the city. There are two entrance squares that surround the main building joined by a catwalk which heads to a fountain. The architects also developed an amphitheatre and a park with a marvellous labyrinth inside. Apart from the red-bricked façade, the most important and the most impressive part of NOSPR is, of course, the hall itself which contains 1,800 seats for guests and an additional 220 seats for the orchestra and choir. The shape of the hall resembles a vineyard and has all the qualities of the most famous orchestra halls in the world, including an exquisite acoustics and majestic décor.
Andrzej Wierciński has won the “Fryderyk Chopin National Piano Competition”, the preliminary round of which recently took place at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. Eight finalists performed one of Chopin’s piano concerti, E minor or F minor, accompanied by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Jacek Kaspszyk. The jury, led by Piotr Paleczny, chose 20-year-old Andrzej Wierciński as the winner. He studies at the Academy of Music in Katowice and is mentored by Wojciech Świtała. His winning performance of concerto E minor received a standing ovation. First prize means that Wierciński is automatically guaranteed entry into the “17th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition” in October without having to participate in the preliminary round in April 2015 when 160 pianists from all over the world will be try to get a place in the tournament.
Six million people in Poland do not read at all. This means that the average Pole shares his country with six million illiterates who wish to push their bad tastes on everybody else. Unfortunately, we live in a world which is designed to fulfil their needs. Within the last year 58% of Poles did not read a single book. One in five did not read even one piece of writing. These people make do with knowledge delivered to them in the form of flashing TV images or internet memes. How can this be changed? “It would be good to associate literature with pleasure,” says Jacek Tomczuk, author of “Escape from Wisdom” (Ucieczka od mądrości), an article in which he attempts ro answer the question why Polish people do not read.
Goran Bregović claims he has no regrets. “I was and still am a lucky man. When I was seventeen I used to play in a striptease joint and I saw more naked women there than everyone my age would have seen in a whole year,” the Bosnian composer explains. On 20 June together with Kayah he will perform at Life Festival Oświęcim 2015 which will be his first public show since 1999. This year Goran is celebrating his 65th birthday. In conversation, he talks about his gloomy thoughts on the Ukrainian conflict, reveals his secret on how to achieve success and explains why funerals are not always sadder than weddings. His comeback was something no one expected. His collaboration with Kayah spawned “Kayah & Bregović” released in 1999, which sold 700,000 copies. The album is well known for such hits as “Śpij, kochanie, śpij”, “Prawy do lewego”, “To nie ptak” i “Nie ma, nie ma ciebie”, and was also released in several other European countries. In Italy, for instance, the album went to seventh in the charts. The music was a mixture of Balkan, highland and Gypsy styles with elements of pop. This year’s concert will host many well-known guests whose names are soon to be revealed. The idea behind the Life Festival Oświęcim is to build peaceful relations above and beyond political and cultural boundaries, fight racism, anti-Semitism and war. Another important goal is to remove the spell that was cast on Oświęcim with the establishment of the German concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Last year, art and culture was the worst paid sector according to a study conducted by Sedlak & Sedlak. Half of employers earned less than PLN 3,000 per month gross. The salary of 25% of the best-paid workers in art and culture exceeded PLN 4,000 gross per month. On the other hand, 25% of the employees with the smallest salary did not even make PLN 2,300 per month. In comparison, the IT sector had the highest wages in 2013, and employees with the best salaries earned no less than PLN 9,166; the lowest were at least PLN 4,000 gross per month. The gap between salaries for men and women employed in the art and culture sector was negligible. Women employed in this sector earned a mere 1.6% more then their male colleagues. The average salary for managers in art and culture was PLN 4,000 gross per month, while the best paid employees earned more than PLN 6,000. The average pay of an expert worker amounted to PLN 2,900, with middle-ranking employees earning PLN 2,274 per month.
“Urban Pianos” is a new Warsaw initiative, in which 11 pianos painted by street artists, can be found on different corners of the city, such as Plac Zbawiciela or skwer Hoovera. The pianos were created for the people of Warsaw so everybody is welcome to use them. The most important part of the initiative are pedestrians’ reactions to the instruments. People break their stride, play or even take pictures of the pianos. Spontaneous jam sessions have even started taking place. These interactions and ‘concerts’ were the main goal of the initiative. Organisers want to fight clichés and boost people’s creativity. The initiative is sponsored by a well-known beer producer.