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Organ concert by the 1st organist at Krakow’s Wawel Royal Cathedral

 The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Wellington invites the Polish Community to a one-off special concert by Witold Zalewski, the organist at the Wawel Royal Cathedral in Krakow, who will perform at St Mary of the Angels in Wellington. The evening will see the launch of excerpts of Karol Wojtyła’s poem “Thinking My Country” into Te Reo Maori.
Following the 5pm Mass on Sunday, 12 November 2017, we will have an opportunity to hear the compositions of J. Bach, L. Vierne, C. Franck, M. Surzynski and B. Przybylski performed by the first organist of the Wawel Royal Cathedral in Krakow Witold Zalewski. Zalewski will play on one-of-a-kind instrument available in Wellington – the Maxwell Fernie Organ – originally built in 1958 by George Croft and Son Limited from Auckland to the tonal design and pipe-scaling of Maxwell Fernie who also supervised, both in England and New Zealand, the voicing of the pipes and the construction of the instrument. In 1984 the instrument was extensively rebuilt and extended by the South Island Organ Company of Timaru, once again to the specifications designed by Maxwell Fernie and under his careful supervision. It is the only organ of its type in New Zealand and was at the heart of the organ revival movement in this country.

Witold Zalewski is a graduate from the Academy of Music in Krakow. He undertook organ classes conducted by Prof. Jan Jargoń. Since 1995 he has been the 1st organist at Krakow’s Wawel Royal Cathedral. As a soloist he regularly gives concerts at some of the most important festivals in Poland and abroad. He has performed at such places as St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York’s Manhattan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem as well as in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Jerusalem, Irkutsk, Istanbul and Moscow. He is a lecturer at the Intercollegiate Institute for Church Music in Krakow where he runs classes in liturgical practice and the organ. In 2012 he was awarded PhD in art. Since 1998 he has been a member of the Church Music Committee at the Metropolitan Curia in Krakow. He was the organist during papal pilgrimages. In 2011 he was honoured by Pope Benedict XVI with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal.

Just before the concert there will be a launch of a limited publication with excerpts of Karol Wojtyła (later known as Pope St John Paul II) “Thinking My Country” with original translation into English by Jerzy Peterkiewicz and for the first time translated into Maori language by Mike Ross, Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). The publication is prepared cooperatively by Wai-te-ata Press, Centre for Literary Translation, both of VUW and the Polish Embassy.

The evening will be a celebration of Poland’s Independence Day (99th anniversary on 11 November) and Poland – New Zealand friendly relations through the visits and influence of St John Paul II.