24th April 2021, 8 p.m.

Witold Lutoslawski Concert Studio in Warsaw

Broadcast on YouTube channel and

Hubert Rutkowski | piano
Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Piotr Sułkowski | conductor

Robert Schumann
Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54
Symphony No. 1 in B-Flat Major, Op. 38 “Spring”

Piotr Sułkowski – photo Mieczysław Wieliczko; Hubert Rutkowski –  photo Raimar von Wienskowski

“I am unable to write a concert for virtuosos, I must think of something else…” – those are the words Robert Schumann wrote to his fiancée Klara Wieck in 1839, when he came up with an idea to create a new type of a concert, so different from the ones that were so popular back then, the sole purpose of which was to showcase the soloist’s exquisite skills. The result of his Romantic revision of the classic genre was the one-part Fantasy in A Minor, op. 48, for piano and orchestra. In successive years, the author kept returning to his project, and in 1845, at the request of his publishers, he composed two more parts to his Fantasy (which had been considerably modified): Intermezzo and Rondo. All three parts comprised Concerto in A Minor, op. 54. During the premiere, commentators realised that the piece marked the arrival of new quality. A critic representing a Leipzig-based magazine “Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung” wrote: “We have all reasons to acclaim the composition and to consider it one of the composer’s greatest pieces, also because it breaks the monotony of the genre and because the fully autonomous orchestra part, composed with great affection and thoroughness, does not dominate the solo part, allowing it to be fully heard. Both parts, despite their autonomy, sound excellent together.”

The solo part of this flagship piece representing Romanticism will be performed by Hubert Rutkowski, an expert in this particular period in the history of piano music, also performed on historical instruments. He graduated from the Frédéric Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and completed a post-graduate course at Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg (later becoming its professor). He is known for performing pieces by Julian Fontana, a friend and student of Frédéric Chopin, and the ones by Teodor Leszetycki. He is an artistic director of the Chopin Festival in Hamburg as well as an initiator and director of the Teodor Leszetycki International Piano Competition held in the same city.

Schumann’s affection towards beautiful Klara can be heard in the first out of his four symphonies, called “Spring”, in reference to a poem by a Romantic poet Adolf Böttger that supposedly had been Schumann’s inspiration, and to the titles given to the four parts of the piece (later withdrawn). The piece was composed in one creative impulse, in only several weeks in early 1841. It premiered on 31 March of the same year under the baton of Schumann’s friend, Felix Mendelssohn. Our orchestra will perform it almost exactly 180 years after that event, with the concert being conducted by Piotr Sułkowski, executive and artistic director of the Warmia and Mazury Philharmonic in Olsztyn. He is also a highly-regarded opera conductor, cooperates with many Polish and foreign orchestras and teaches conducting at the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz. [pmac]

Organizer: Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Media patronage: TVP Kultura,

The organiser reserves the right to change the programme or the performers of the concert