Since the beginning, many eminent specialists in the field of choral conducting have been involved in the history of choral activity in Kraków. Among ancient professors of the Conservatory were such choral conductors as Bolesław Wallek-Walewski and Bernardino Rizzi. In the history of the Higher State Music School, and then Music Academy, we find names of such great choral directors as Prof. Stanisław Wiechowicz, Józef Bok, Maria Kochaj, and Bronisława Wietrzny.
Bronisława Wietrzny was the first head of the Choral Department. She took on the challenge to create a unified criteria of choral conducting scoring. Through faculty meetings and long discussions a scoring project has been created, that remains obligatory until now. Senior lecturer Arkadiusz Basztoń, a distinguished teacher involved in the development of didactic system, was
a co-author of that project. Systematizing of the master theses’ thematic scope has been an important issue of research activity. A new concept, concerning the choice of appropriate subject matter, has been created. Referring to that concept, the interests of students and tutors were taken into account and a unified research activity concept of the Department was developed. Another important issue is the artistic activity of the Department. The faculty members have organized a conference dedicated to the Department founder, Stanisław Wiechowicz. During that conference, Prof. Maria Kochaj has given an acclaimed lecture on the above mentioned professor. A concert of Stanisław Wiechowicz’s a capella works has accompanied the conference. The Kraków Philharmonics’ ensembles as well as other chorals from Kraków have taken part in that event, which brought the local choral environment together.
Prof. Stanisław Krawczyński has been the following head of the Choral Department. During his tenure a number of valuable actions has been taken: creation of Kraków choral ensembles’ library database, which purpose is to facilitate access to some unique choral scores. A concert dedicated to Feliks Nowowiejski, one of the founders of Polish choral art, has been organized as well as a series of seminars led by choral conductors, concerning diverse issues of the conducting technique. Among other achievements, the creation of a choral conductor’s education model (focused on leading vocal as well as instrumental ensembles) should be mentioned. Integrated thematic scope
of the studies program has been developed. As a result of those actions, a unified model of the final examination has arised. It consists of two concerts: one of religious and one of secular music. Until now, among the most interesting performances should be listed: Orfeo and Euridice by Ch. W. Gluck, Dido and Aeneas by H. Purcell, Carmina Burana by C. Orff, and Sinfoniae Sacre by H. Schütz.
The faculty members participate in many Department’s activities, among others: creation of a new major, Musical Education in the field of Musical Art, and creation of programs’ minima.
The Choral Department is a unit of the Institute of Choral Conducting, Musical Education, and Dalcroze Technique. The faculty team consists of eminent choral conductors, pursuing artistic activity in Poland and abroad. The main activity is focused on research and education.
Apart from the eventful concert activity, didactics is a very important part of Department’s mission. It is focused on educational process of the future choral conductors, which prepares them for professional work’s assignments. Seminars organized by the Department bring support to the educational process as well. The faculty members and students have participated already in many seminars led by: Paul Esswood, a world-known countertenor, professor of the Royal Academy in London, Prof. Paolo Scattolin from Bologna Conservatory, Prof. Stefan Parkamn from Uppsala University, Dr Elżbieta Wtorkowska, and Prof. Jadwiga Tritt-Gałęsk. The seminars’ series brings an important contribution to the development of interest in the choral art.
The diploma concerts (as a part of the final examination) are held each year and the students of the final grade have the possibility to present their performance achievements in front of the audience.
The Department is also organizing numerous choral competitions and festivals: Cantate Domino, Cracovia Cantat, and Małopolska Competition of Christmas Carols are present on the cultural map of Kraków.
The performance activity of the Department consists of concerts given by the Interfaculty Music Academy Choir, Vocal Ensembles, and Chamber Ensemble of the Research Group. Among the most interesting performances stand: St. John’s Passion, St. Matthew’s Passion, Christmas Oratorio, Mass in b minor by J. S. Bach, Stabat Mater by A. Dvorak, European Premiere of Credo by
K. Penderecki under Prof. Dr h.c. Helmuth Rilling’s direction, Messiah by G. F. Haendel, The Creation by J. Haydn, Te Deum and St. Wojciech Hymn by K. Penderecki, Motets by J. S. Bach, Chichester Psalms by L. Bernstein, Requiem by M. Duruflé, Christmas Oratorio by C. Saint-Saëns, Rejoice in the Lamb by B. Britten.
Department realizes the didactic goals through tutelage of the Students’ Research Group, founded in 2002 at the initiative of various Departments’ students. The faculty members give lectures at national and international workshops and masterclasses as well as they become jury members of numerous music competitions.