Icons of Europe This fleur-de-lys represents the aims of Icons of Europe asbl.  The fleur-de-lys figure has been used as an ornament or emblem by almost all civilisations of the old and new worlds.

A Statement by the President of IFCS

The following article was written by
Prof. Theodor Kanitzer, the President of the International Federation of Chopin Societies, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of IFCS, 17 October 1985.

"Ten years have passed since that memorable day 17th of October 1985 when representatives of 20 Chopin societies from many countries around the world gathered on the 136th anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin's death in the house where he was born in Zelazowa Wola, Poland, in order to sign the founding document of the International Federation of Chopin Societies. A period in which enormous changes have taken place in the world and above all in eastern Europe.

The Federation laid down some ambitious goals in its statute. It aims to encourage the spreading and deepening of the knowledge of the personality of Fryderyk Chopin and his works, and wherever possible to promote international artistic and academic activity.
Since the foundation of the Federation, considerable successes have been accomplished despite the problems encountered by a worldwide organization liaising with societies which have to work under varying and often difficult political, cultural and financial conditions. Here, a dominant role was played by the Warsaw Chopin Society TIFC and some representatives of Chopin societies in several countries.

Chopin in 1831, a portrait of unknown origin.An academic symposium "Chopin and Romanticism" 1986, Chopin interpretation courses in Warsaw in Germany (Darmstadt), Austria (Grafenegg castle), an international musicology summer camp in Poland and numerous talks, above all by musicologists, organized by the societiesin Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia, as well as the cooperation with academies, libraries and individual specialists show the diversity of activities in the academic field. The Warsaw Chopin Society also made some exhibitions available to the Federation such as "Zelazowa Wola", "Artur Rubinstein", "Chopin on his paths in Europe" and others. Individual societies compiled exhibitions themselves, which are also available to all the sister societies. However, the festivals and competitions provide the most representative form of work for the Chopin societies everywhere in the world. The major festivals are held regularly in Ghent (Belgium), Marianske Lazne (Czech Republic), Mallorca (Spain), Gaming (Austria), Leipzig, Cottbus (Germany), Paris (France) as well as Duszniki and Antonin (Poland) and rank amongst the most importantmusical events in the countries concerned reaching a music audience of many thousands of people.

The large number of competitions which take place is astonishing not only in Europe, e.g. Darmstadt, but also in the USA, East Asia and Africa, thus encouraging many young musicians to devote themselves to the works of the great master. Naturally, all member societies organize concerts, sometimes regular series of concerts, commemorative concerts, jubilee events, often combined with social gatherings of the members. There are also trips to the Chopin memorial sites in Poland, France, Spain and other countries, apart from the festivals held by sister societies. In the past years the Warsaw secretariat of the WCS organized academic talks by leading Polish musicologists and Chopinologists in the stylish concert hall in the house of the Polish music pub-lishing company PWM, which was also reported in "Chopin in the World".

An important element of the activity of our Federation is to inform the member societies and their mem-bers about the events taking place in the various countries. Serving this purpose is the magazine "Chopin in the World" published in English, produced in Warsaw by an international publisher, and also the German language "Wiener Chopin-Blatter" which are published in Vienna. Furthermore, there is a great deal of informative material which is compiled by the individual societies and passed on to the sister societies.

Following an unpleasant dispute with the new management of the Warsaw Chopin Society TIFC, the IFCS together with its secretariat moved to the splendid building of the Polish music publishing company PWM in the centre of Warsaw.

With the founding in December 1993 of Akademia Chopinowska, a society for professional Polish musicologists, instructors and musicians to which many of the most prominent personalities belong, an important partner organization has emerged for the Federation which will play a great role both in F. Chopin's homeland and abroad.

The founding of the Federation in 1985 and the increased activities this generated among the individual member societies caused the founding of further societies in several countries. There were over 20 member societies before the Federation was founded, today there are already over 40 societies and the trend is continuing.

Our worldwide association received special recognition by the acceptance of the International Federation of Chopin Societies as an associated member of the UNESCO International Music Council which took place on 25th November 1989 at the Council's 23rd General Assembly in the Paris UNESCO House. This was the first time that an inter-national association devoted to a famous composer was accepted in this eminent worldwide organization."

Source:  The Vancouver Chopin Society.