About the culture
Update date: 12 December 2013

About the culture

Contrary to popular belief, The Silesian Voivodeship can be proud of its rich cultural life: numerous art schools, famous people of art and science and, above all, interesting folklore. The Bielsko-Biała City Theatre, opened in 1890, is the oldest of Melpomene's establishments functioning in the region. Somewhat later, theaters in Bytom (1903), Katowice (1907) and Cieszyn (1910) opened their doors, and in 1930 another was launched in Częstochowa. On 14 June 1945 in Katowice, the Silesian Opera inaugurated its opening with a premiere of Halka. In the same year it moved to Bytom, which remains its residence since then. In Gliwice flourishes Silesian Operetta, whose team performs not only on the home stage, but also tours regularly in all theaters of Upper Silesia. The Silesian Philharmonic launched in May of 1945. Several years later (1953) Śląsk Song and Dance Ensemble was created, under the direction of Stanisław Haydn and Elwira Kamińska, with headquaters located in Koszęcin (which, together with ballet rehearsals, is available to visitors). The Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music opened shortly after the war. Among its alumni are: famous composers Edward Bogusławski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Jan Wincenty Hawel, Wojciech Kilar, Witold Szalonek and Józef Świder, as well as notable pianists such as Krystian Zimerman and Lidia Grychtołówna. In 1969, the Academy lanuched the Jazz and Popular Music Institute, its alumni include Stanisław Sojka, Krystyna Prońko, Ewa Uryga, Lora Szafran, Mieczysław Szcześniak, Paweł and Łukasz Golec.

Fine arts have been developing dynamically as well. In 1947 in Katowice, a department of the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wroclaw was opened, and five years later a faculty of the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow was launched. Famous figures associated with these universities include graphic designers Zenon Moskwa, Jerzy Dutkiewicz, Marian Oslislo, Roman Kalarus, and painters: Roman Nowotarski, Jerzy Duda-Gracz and Andrzej Urbanowicz. In 1956 in Katowice, an avant-garde group ST-53 held its first exhibition, among the group's members were Konrad Swinarski, Walter Napieralski, Urszula Broll, Klaudiusz Jędrusik, Zdzisław Stanek. Functioning since 1993 in Racibórz Amun Foundation brings together disabled artists, mouth and foot painters, from all across Poland.

It is impossible to overvalue the influence of Kazimierz Kutz on the reception of Silesian culture and traditions among Poles. His return from Warsaw to Silesia in the 1960s resulted in a series of movies about Upper Silesia. These were: Salt of the Black Earth (1969), Pearl in the Crown (1971), The Beads of One Rosary (1979), I Shall Always Stand Guard (1983) and Death as a Slice of Bread (1994). The cast consisted of amateurs, native dialect-speaking Silesians, as well as stars of Polish screen such as: Zbigniew Zamachowski, Krzysztof Kolberger, Marek Kondrat, Franciszek Pieczka and Jan Englert. The soundtrack music for Kutz movies was created by famous composers: Wojciech Kilar and Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz. Contest Po naszymu, czyli po śląsku (In our own way, ie. in Silesian) is held and organized annually by Radio Katowice since 1993. The jury members include prof. Dorota Simonides, prof. Jan Miodek and Kazimierz Kutz. During the grand final gala the title of the Silesian of the Year is awarded in adult and youth categories. Every year, the title of the Honorary Silesian of the Year is given to a person distinguished in merit to the Silesian dialect and traditions. The winners of this award include: ethnographer and musicologist prof. Adolf Dygacz, Archbishop Alfons Nossol, actor Franciszek Pieczka, football player Gerard Cieślik composer Wojciech Kilar, nephrologist and endocrinologist prof. Franciszek Kokot, Archbishop Damian Zimoń and Maria Pańczyk, the competition's organizer of many years.