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.