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.
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
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
Source: The Vancouver Chopin Society.