Chopin’s Music Conquers the Hearts of Young Americans
On December 2, 2020, at the historic residence of the first US President, George Washington, in Mount Vernon, Virginia, a unique concert will take place – combining space technologies with the timeless beauty of Frédéric Chopin’s music.
After the success of the American premiere of Adam Ustynowicz’s film “Chopin. The Space Concert” at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, viewers of Washington D.C and Virginia will watch the new version of the film, intended for a young audience. The outstanding Polish-American pianist Tomasz Robak will play eight Chopin’s masterpieces, illustrated with the most beautiful photos of our planet taken from the panoramic dome of the International Space Station.
The dome was installed in 2010 by the crew of the STS-130 Endeavour. The expedition commander was Colonel pilot George D. Zamka – NASA astronaut with Polish roots. The astronaut and the Polish film director decided to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Frédéric Chopin’s birth on board of the ISS by playing ten of his most beautiful pieces, recorded by the world-class pianist Karol Radziwonowicz with the accompaniment of the Sinfonia Viva Orchestra. The crews of Endeavour and the Space Station (including Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and Russian cosmonauts) agreed that it is Chopin’s romantic music that most fully reflects their emotions during the space expedition: a feeling of awe and wonder with a hint of longing for a lost paradise.
Outstanding guests who will come to Mount Vernon and viewers who will watch the concert online will watch the premiere screening of the new 30-minute version of the film intended for schools. The concert opens with Prelude in A major with the message of George D. Zamka – “You are the future!” – addressed to young people all over the world.
The place of the event is of exceptional importance in the history of Polish-American relations. It was here that President Washington hosted in 1798 Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz – Tadeusz Kościuszko’s adjutant and friend. After returning to Poland, Ursyn Niemcewicz devoted time and funds to educating gifted youth. His greatest “discovery” was a brilliant young pianist and composer, who at the age of 8 delighted the Warsaw audience – Frédéric Chopin.
The creators of the concert want to inspire young people to learn science combined with art through the beauty of the images of the Earth and the sounds of Chopin’s music. The concert in Mount Vernon will initiate a joint Polish-American educational program developing talents and expanding the limits of the imagination of children and youth. The organizers would also like to recall the contribution of Poles and Americans of Polish origin to the development of astronautics and space research. It is worth mentioning that the lunar rover used by the Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 crews was the work of professor Mieczysław Bekker – a graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology. The rocket fuel of the lunar lander was created by Werner Kirchner, an excellent chemist and fighter pilot from Polish squadrons fighting in England during the WWII.
The project is led by the support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.