Chopin Without Piano

Swarthmore College

2015
$273,400

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Chopin Without Piano, produced by Centrala, Warsaw, conceived and written by Michał Zadara and Barbara Wysocka, directed by Michał Zadara, Chopin performed by Barbara Wysocka. Photo by Natalia Kabanow.

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Chopin Without Piano at FringeArts, produced by Centrala, Warsaw, conceived and written by Michał Zadara and Barbara Wysocka, directed by Michał Zadara. Chopin performed by Barbara Wysocka. Photo by JJ Tiziou. Courtesy of Swarthmore College.

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Chopin Without Piano, produced by Centrala, Warsaw, conceived and written by Michał Zadara and Barbara Wysocka, directed by Michał Zadara. Chopin performed by Barbara Wysocka. Photo by Natalia Kabanow. Courtesy of Swarthmore College.

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Lost Pianos at Swarthmore College. Photo by JJ Tiziou. Courtesy of Swarthmore College.

Swarthmore College brought the North American premiere of Chopin Without Piano to Philadelphia, featuring an interpretive theatrical and musical piece that revealed new insights into Fryderyk Chopin as both a historical figure and a masterful composer. Performances at both Swarthmore and FringeArts reimagined the distinct character of Chopin's orchestral writing of two piano concerti using dramatic spoken text constructed from fragments of Chopin's letters and biographies, and Polish writers' commentaries on Chopin. Acclaimed Polish actress, Barbara Wysocka, who conceived the work with the Centrala theater company in Warsaw, Poland, performed the monologues in Polish with English subtitles. The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia performed the orchestral score, led by Polish conductor Bassem Akik. A concert grand piano was physically present on stage but was never played, representing Chopin's displacement from his homeland, while underscoring themes of absence and alienation that will unfold in the monologues.


Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.