Inspired by the discovery of a long-lost concert program, performed in secret against all odds, the Forbidden Concert Project was created to shed light on a little-known area of WWII history.
During WWII, the citizens of Poland dared to defy Hitler's orders by organizing, attending, or performing concerts of Chopin's music, while risking punishment of torture or death. Why?
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photo credit: Upadły Fortepian - Fallen Piano by Aleksander Janicki
"the oppression grew harsh. They denied us our language in schools, and in courts of law. They denied us our culture, our traditions, our history, our pride. The only thing they couldn't deny us was the music of Chopin. And yet, it was precisely there you can find everything that they denied! You can find echoes of past glories, traditions, songs and dances, prayers, pride, soul. That was Chopin's gift to the nation."
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Renowned International Concert Pianist, Diplomat and Prime Minister of Poland
The image at the top depicts a piano that has been denied its voice. This particular piano was created in 1847 during Chopin's lifetime by his favorite piano maker, Pleyel.
Fortunately, I discovered this photo of an art installation in Kraków called Upadły Fortepian (Fallen Piano) by the remarkable Polish artist Aleksander Janicki. He took inspiration from Cyprien Norwid's poem, Chopin's Piano, to create this dramatic work.
The piano has been silenced, but its message speaks volumes. It's strong emotional impact and complexity of references were perfect for the Forbidden Concert Project.
In addition, there was a happy coincidence - the initials of the logo "FC"
echo the same initials of Fryderyk Chopin.
- Robyn Carmichael
Pianist and Founder