MUSICA SACRA CHOIR was founded in 2002. Since 2004 it has functioned as the choir of the Warsaw-Praga Cathedral. It specializes in sacred music of all periods, with a special emphasis on the Romantic and modern repertoire. It has been acclaimed for its performances of Gregorian chant, as well as gospel and jazz. It has also participated in the performances of large-scale vocal-instrumental works.
Working closely with several artistic agencies, MUSICA SACRA has taken part in numerous prestigious events including the Festival of Polish Culture in Italy, the Festival des Cathedrales in France, Wratislavia Cantans, Laboratory of Contemporary Music in Warsaw and the ‘Gaude Mater’ International Festival of Sacred Music in Czestochowa. It has given concerts for PWM Edition (Polish Music Publishers), the Music Academy in Warsaw, the Bialystok Philharmonic Orchestra, the Finance Academy and Yamaha Promusica.
Recent highlights have included a series of performances of the jazz chorale setting of Stabat Mater, with the participation of the outstanding Polish jazz pianist Wlodek Pawlik. After a series of 16 concerts in Poland, the work was performed at the Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica in Rome during the Polish Cultural Festival and released on the choir’s debut CD (Musica Sacra Edition 001), which was dedicated to Pope John Paul II and received the prestigious ‘Fryderyk’ award of the Polish recording industry (2005). Two other CDs by MUSICA SACRA also won ‘Fryderyk’ awards: Liebeslieder-Walzer featuring music by Brahms and Mendelssohn (MSE 002, with the Ravel Piano Duo and the pianist Marcin Lukaszewski) and Masterpieces of Choral Music (MSE 003, a selection of works by Górecki, Kilar, Tavener, Pärt and Vasks). The Choir’s latest CD is a live recording of Marian Borkowski’s Dies Irae, with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Piotr Borkowski, during a concert at the Witold Lutoslawski Polish Radio Concert Hall in November 2006 (MSE 011).
MUSICA SACRA has given first performances of works by Witold Lutoslawski, Stanislaw Moryto, Joël Merah (France), Boris Alvarado (Chile) and Daniel Luzko (Paraguay).
The ensemble’s honours include the Award of the town of St Quentin (for the best performance of a contemporary work) at the Concours Europeen de Choeurs et Maitrises de Cathedrales in France (2006). At the beginning of 2007 the choir was invited by the Paderewski Symphony Orchestra to take part in the performances of Stanislaw Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor at the Rosemont Theatre in Chicago.
MUSICA SACRA functions as part of the MUSICA SACRA group which also comprises the ‘Musica Sacra’ International Composers’ Competition, the ‘Musica Sacra’ International Festival in the Warsaw-Praga Cathedral and the ‘Musica Sacra Edition’ label. The group’s activity is coordinated by the ‘Musica Sacra’ Association, whose Artistic Director, Pawel Lukaszewski, is also the Conductor of the choir. Sebastian Gunerka is Assistant Conductor and Joanna Lukaszewska the vocal coach.
„… The mood of contemplation was deepened by the Musica Sacra Choir conducted by Pawel Lukaszewski. The ensemble deserves high merit not only for its perfect interpretative skills but above all for its vocal competence and aesthetic refinement of the balanced and intense sound of all the parts. The mostly neotonal, religious works by contemporary composers performed during the concert constituted a certain logical whole and led the audience from the state of contemplation to that of a thanksgiving adoration.’
Katarzyna Musial, ‘Muzyka21’, January 2005