Wroclaw Poland – European Capital of Culture 2016

Wroclaw is the capital of Lower Silesia in Poland. In 2016 it will be European Capital of Culture.

Here’s our top 10 random facts about the city:

Wroclaw Poland European Capital of Culture 2016

1) The city is renowned for its international music festivals such as Wratislavia Cantans.

2) The city has a particular affiliation with jazz music and holds the Singing Actors’ Jazz Festival and Jazz All Souls’ Day.

3) The launch of Era New Horizons Wroclaw saw the city become a hot spot on the film festivals’ map.

4) The city has a multicultural heritage with Polish, German, Czech, Austrian and Jewish influences found almost everywhere throughout it, particularly in terms of architecture and food.

5) Dwarves drawn on the walls of the city became a symbol of the backlash against the armed militia and dark days of the 1980s.

6) The city has had about 50 different names.

6) Wroclaw is referred to as the Flower of Europe.

7) The city developed throughout the Middle Ages and many sources suggest that by 1000 A.D. Wroclaw was already a sizeable settlement.

8) By the 13th century the city was an established centre of international trade.

9) In August 1939 the city became a main concentration point of Hitler’s military units that were invading Poland.

10) The city’s slogan for 2016 will be: “Spaces for Beauty”.

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Russian Orthodox Church & Cultural Center in Paris

Russian architects, Arch-group, and French studio, Sade Sarl, have won an international competition to design a Russian Orthodox church and cultural centre adjacent to the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris. The cultural and spiritual centre will include a large public garden with a surrounding glass wall of multimedia screens which will be open to the public. A glass canopy will partially cover part of the garden, joining the stone cultural centre and church with nine golden onion domes.

Russian Cultural Centre Paris

The design of the church will be influenced by the Russian Orthodox churches built between the 14th and 16th centuries. The church will have five onion domes, three naves, and lateral sanctuaries. Large slabs of white limestone will be imported from Russia for the building. The interior will boast traditional wall paintings in the style of Andrei Rublev.

It is expected that the project will be financed by the state, church, its contractors and sponsors.

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Final Fantasy at Krakow’s 4th Annual Film Music Festival

This May music from Final Fantasy will come to Poland at the 4th Annual Film Music Festival in Krakow. Arnie Roth will conduct the Choir and Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall with a special guest appearance from Masashi Hamauzu, composer of the Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack.

4th Film Music Festival, Electrolytic Tinning Plant of ArcelorMittal, Choir and Orchestra of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall, Kraków, Poland
At 8:00 PM  on 20th May 2011
Tickets, priced 30 and 60 PLN, available at www.eventim.pl

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The Soviet Dream – Lev Danilkin, Francis Spufford & Orlando Figes

I’m personally quite excited about this… This April Southbank Centre in London will mark the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first manned space flight with a talk exploring the Soviet Union of the 1950s and 1960s featuring three writers – Lev Danilkin, Francis Spufford and Orlando Figes (a personal favourite).

The Soviet Dream will look into how the Soviet Union attempted to implement a planned economy that would outstrip capitalism, making communism the economic model of the future. Lev Danilkin is Yuri Gagarin’s official biographer, and has edited several key reviews of contemporary Russian literature. Francis Spufford’s book Red Plenty is part novel, part historical investigation of the communist dream and the key characters within it. While Orlando Figes, one of the most distinguished historians of 20th-century Russia and author of Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia, will chair the event.

The Soviet Dream, London’s Southbank Centre, 13 April 2011, 7:45pm

Click here to buy tickets and find out more

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Double Portrait – Zoran Music & Ida Barbarigo

From 13th April to 12th June the intertwined artistic lives of husband and wife painters Zoran Music and Ida Barbarigo will be explored in an exhibition comprising some twenty-five works as well as photographs and ephemera at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art.

Zoran Music and Ida Barbarigo met in Trieste in the spring of 1944, when Barbarigo was persuaded by a friend to visit an exhibition of paintings by an artist whom she described as ‘a handsome chap’. After this, Ida found that she kept on bumping into him and soon ‘very shyly he plucked up the courage to ask for my telephone number, to call me sometime’. However, romance was soon put on hold. The area was, at the time, occupied by Nazi forces and in October 1944 Music was arrested – reputedly taken as a spy and accused of collaborating with dissidents. He was questioned and attempts were made to recruit him to the SS. When he refused, he was sent to Dachau.

Zoran Music Canale Della Giudecca
Zoran Music Canale Della Giudecca

Zoran Music (1909-2005) was born in Gorizia on the Italian-Slovenian border into a Mitteleuropa world shaped by the Austro-Hungarian empire. In his youth he spent time in many different countries. The family was evacuated during the First World War to the Austrian province of Styria. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in the 1930s, then travelled to Spain in 1935, where he stayed until the civil war broke out, copying works by Goya and El Greco in the museums. He also spent time on the Dalmatian coast, where the rocky hills of the Karst would have a profound influence on his palette.

Music moved to Venice first in 1943 and he returned there in 1945 after his internment in Dachau. He found on his return that he was ‘dazzled by the Venetian light, by the cast sky and the huge horizon around the lagoon. I couldn’t believe I was free and that I could work freely without having to cut up my drawings and hide them under my shirt’. The lifelong effect of his experience of a concentration camp was not immediately obvious in his painting – ‘when I came out of the camp and went back to Venice, I painted pictures that were full of light and happiness and gaiety’. However, the effect was there indirectly as he found, when he came to paint the bare hills around Siena, that ‘these whitish mounds reminded me of the piles of corpses that had been part of everyday life at the camp.’

‘Without Dachau,’ Music felt, ‘I would have been a merely illustrative painter. After Dachau, I had to go to the heart of things.’ Music had drawn secretly during his time in the camp, but only a handful of the 300 drawings he made there survived and it was not until the early 1970s that he approached the subject again. ‘All of a sudden,’ he explained, ‘I had to return to Dachau. What emerged was the series We Are Not the Last. The jumbled landscapes of corpses in these works are harrowing, but also reflect the ‘terrible beauty’ and ‘tragic elegance’ that Music found in such scenes, and which was to haunt him for the rest of his life.

Ida Barbarigo (1925-) was born into a family of Venetian artists stretching back to the 16th century. Her father, Guido Cadorin, was also a successful painter. Barbarigo (although born Ida Cadorin, she later adopted the pseudonym Barbarigo) studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Venice, an experience she found ‘both useful and useless. Those who naturally know how to draw do not need to learn, and those who go to learn are not born artists.’

The couple married in 1949. Although Barbarigo did not believe in marriage or want to start a family, she ‘simply wanted to establish a noble, true bond with a person I truly admired’. They remained happily married, a relationship based on mutual trust and respect, but continued to lead quite separate lives. They maintained separate studios and, until shortly before Music’s death, even separate apartments, meeting to dine together and to discuss the day’s events each evening. Barbarigo was Music’s muse and the subject of many of his paintings; the sharing of ideas and techniques is also clear in their work, but this degree of separateness allowed them both to develop and flourish as artists in their own right.

For the first time, the story of these two connected yet distinct artists, which provides a fascinating reflection on their tumultuous times, will be told in the UK. The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same title by the curator, Giovanna Dal Bon, available from the Estorick shop for £35.

Double Portrait – Zoran Music & Ida Barbarigo

39a Canonbury Square, London N1

13th April to 12th June 2011

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Croatia’s 58th Pula Film Festival in July 2011

The International Programme of the 58th Pula Film Festival will open at Kastel on 9th and finish on 23rd July 2011 with evening open-air screenings daily at 9.30 pm.  During the first part of the festival (until 15th July), films from the International Programme will be presented at the Valli Cinema during the festival.  While during the second part of the Festival (from the 16th to the 23rd of July), films from the PoPular Programme can be  watched in the Arena.


The festival was first held in 1954 and is the oldest and most popular Croatian film festival with an impressive 73,000 visitors last year.  This year’s programme is anticipated to include, Lead and Daria by Branko Ivanda, Kotlovina by Tomislav Radic, Koko and the Ghosts by Daniel Kusan, The Little Gypsy Witch by Tomislav Zaja and The Translator by Biljana Cakic-Veselic.  Several other independent productions will also be screened.

For more information visit www.pulafilmfestival.hr

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Transilvania International Film Festival 2011

Transilvania International Film Festival

Founded in 2002, the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF) was the first international feature film festival to take place in Romania.  Over the last nine years, TIFF has become a well-known brand in Romania, not only due to the outstanding films screened every year, but also for the effective organization, sparkling atmosphere and density of events, from seminars, workshops and panels, to fabulous concerts and crazy night-long parties.

Transilvania International Film Festival 2011

This year’s festival will take place between 3rd and 12th of June 2011 in Cluj and 15th to 19th of June in Sibiu.

The programme is yet to be announced but visit www.tiff.ro for more information.

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2011 Fringe Festival in Prague

Edinburgh isn’t the only city to host a Fringe Festival dedicated to comedy, theatre, music and dance.  Praha (Prague) also holds a nine-day Fringe Festival which this year will start on 27th May and finish on 4th June 2011.  Events will take place in nine venues in the beautiful Mala Strana area of the city.

Over the past 10 years Fringe Festival Praha has hosted works by local, national and many international companies who fly in annually for the event.  Most shows are very visual, some are in English, some in Czech, most last for an hour, and all are designed to entertain, delight and, at times, even challenge.

For more information visit Fringe Festival Praha.

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The Garden Festival 2011 Line-Up

That’s right, one of the most talked about festivals is back this summer!  The sixth annual Garden Festival will be held between the 6th and 13th of July.  A variety of acts have confirmed and include: Larry Heard, Art Department, Robert Owens, Soul Clap, Motor City Drum Ensemble with Sir Norman Jay, Tensnake and Greg Wilson, Crazy P, Mark E, Future Disco and PBR Streetgang.  We’re eagerly anticipating further line-up announcements.

The Garden Festival

Plus, don’t forget the Argonaughty boat parties which this year will include acts such as, Futureboogie, Resident Advisor, Hang the DJ vs PBR Streetgang feat. Tensnake, El Diablos vs Crazy P, Faith, The Pool Boat feat. Matty J, Ben Terry and Greg Wilson!

The Garden Festival

The countdown to beats on the waves at a certain sun-kissed and pine-shaded Croatian peninsular has begun!

For more information visit www.thegardenfestival.eu

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Moscow’s Chekhov International Festival Returns to UK

This April Moscow’s Chekhov International Festival returns to the UK with a  new production of The Tempest.  Cheek by Jowl’s Russian sister company brings to life this disturbing masque of power, control and illusion. With powerhouse performances and innovative interpretations of classic texts, Barbican Artistic Associate Cheek By Jowl continues to inspire audiences season after season at its London home in Silk Street Theatre.  Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod’s internationally renowned Russian ensemble were previously seen at the Barbican in Twelfth Night, Three Sisters and Boris Godunov.

The Tempest Cheek by Jowl Chekhov International Festival at The Barbican

7th to 16th April 2011

Performance Time: 19:15 (also 14:00 on 9th and 16th April)

Performed in Russian with English surtitles

Tickets from £21

For more information visit www.barbican.org.uk

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