„Patri Patriae”, the All-Poland Composers’ Competition, was initiated on 16 October 1991 by the then Karol Szymanowski State Music Grammar School in Katowice to commemorate the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, „The Father of our Homeland”. The idea arose in August that year out of the reflection following the VI Worldwide Youth Day in Częstochowa. The intention of this competition was to promote talented pupils from music schools and instil into them the values taught by the Holy Father. The initiative of the State Music Grammar School in Katowice was taken up by The Centre of Artistic Education, as well as the Katowice branch of the Polish Composers’ Union. From the very beginning the honorary patronage of the Competition has been under the Metropolitan Archbishop of Katowice, the Mayor of Katowice and the Vice-Chancellor of the Music Academy in Katowice.
The first Composers’ Competition in 1992 was open to solo works, chamber pieces or compositions for a choir. The jury, composed of Eugeniusz Knapik, Aleksander Lasoń and Jerzy Sieczka and under the chairmanship of Witold Lutosławski, assessed the works. First prize was won by Aleksander Gabryś, second prize - by Damian Wiśniewski, and honourable mentions were earned by Kamil Bartnik, Jakub Burzyński, Aleksander Kościów and Marek Różycki. The winners presented their pieces of music during the concert at Christ the King Cathedral in Katowice on 16 October 1992 and in Mary the Virgin Offertory Parish Church in Wadowice on 20 October that year.
The second Composers’ Competition took place in 1998, when the participants composed an instrumental solo work or a chamber piece. The jury, composed of Eugeniusz Knapik, Aleksander Lasoń, Andrzej Dziadek and Jerzy Sieczka, under the chairmanship of Wojciech Kilar, awarded first prizes to two competitors, Dagmara Jack and Klaudia Pasternak. Second prize was won by Piotr Bosacki, third prize by Barbara Kaszuba, and three honourable mentions were given to Adam Falkiewicz, Beata Golec and Piotr Pogoda. The awarded works of art of the First All-Poland Composers’ Competition were sent to Pope John Paul II, to Vatican by way of the Archbishop of Katowice, and the best works of the Second Composers’ Competition were personally bestowed on the Holy Father by the young artist during the private audience at the Vatican in December 2001.
The theme of the third competition in 2002 was a piece of work for a female choir with solo voices, a string orchestra or a chamber orchestra with an optional use of one solo instrument. The jury, composed of Wojciech Kilar (chair), Eugeniusz Kanpik, Aleksander Lasoń and Andrzej Dziadek assessed the competitors in two age groups: school pupils and university students. The prizewinners in the pupils’ age group were: Dawid Jarzyński and Dariusz Przybylski – First prize /ex equo/, Łukasz Pieprzyk – Second prize, Paweł Kozłowski and Michał Ossowski – honourable mentions. In the students’ age group Monika Bartkowska was awarded first prize, Renata Hajnos second prize and Paweł Hendrich third prize. In addition, the award was given to Marcin Miłosz Grzegorczyk, the youngest participant in the competition.
The fourth edition of „Patri Patriae”, the All-Poland Composers’ Competition was announced after the death of John Paul II in 2005. In that way the organizers of the Competition took a decision to commemorate among youth the life and teachings of this Great Pole and cultivate in young artists the belief in the sacral meaning and significance of art. The participants in this Competition composed chamber orchestra works or electronic works with a possible use of one acoustic instrument. On 19 May 2006 the jury of the Competition, composed of Wojciech Kilar (chair), Eugeniusz Knapik, Jerzy Kornowicz, Aleksander Lasoń, and Felicja Bieganek (secretary), decided on awarding the participants. In the pupils’ age group: Nikolet Burzyńska - First prize, Robert Niepostyn - Second prize, Sebastian Waberski - Third prize; honourable mentions: Joanna Drobisz, Kinga Machaj, Mieczysław Bartłomiej Unger. In the students’ age group: Nikodem Pospieszalski - First prize, Łukasz Pieprzyk - Second prize, Dawid Jarzyński - Third prize; honourable mention: Jakub Polaczyk.
The 5th edition of the Competition was a jubilee one and international for the first time. The adjudication took place on 18 February 2010. The subject of the 1st International Composition Competition was a piece for a solo instrument, a female choir a cappella with possible use of female solo voices, a chamber orchestra with possible use of one solo instrument or a chamber orchestra with female choir. The jury composed of Wojciech Kilar - chair, Jerzy Kornowicz, Eugeniusz Knapik, Aleksander Lasoń and Felicja Bieganek - secretary decided to give awards to the following participants: in the pupils’ age group: Wojciech Michno – First prize, Andrzej Filipek – Second prize, honourable mentions: Paweł Robak, Grzegorz Woś. In the students’ age group: Nikolet Burzyńska and Mieczysław Unger – First prize ex equo, honourable mentions: Marek Grucka, Sebasitan Waberski.
In the 2nd International Competition „Patri Patriae”, in 2014, the jury composed of Eugeniusz Knapik, Aleksander Lasoń, Jerzy Kornowicz and Felicja Bieganek (secretary) awarded and honoured with mentions as far as 12 participant. In the first age group the prizewinners were: Jakub Montewka (First prize for the work Il Sinfonietta for a chamber orchestra), Dominik Puk (Second prize for the work Prolepsis. Pieśni o Słońcu i duszy for female choir and chamber orchestra to words by Karol Wojtyła), Przemysław Kadłubek (Third prize for the work Salve Regina for a female choir a cappella); honourable mentions: Artur Dobija, Krzysztof Łowiec and Michał Malec. In the older age group the prizes were awarded to: Grzegorz Jurczyk (First prize for the work Góry mgłą złączone for a solo guitar), Stanisław Rzepiela (Second prize for the work Pieśń o bogu ukrytym for a female choir and orchestra), Jose Luis Gomez Aleixandre (Third prize for the work Reflections - Concertino for a clarinet and string orchestra), honourable mentions: Żaneta Rydzewska, Przemysław Adam Scheller and Sebastian Waberski.
Prizewinners’ concerts of the „Patri Patriae” Competition, held on 16 October initially, on the anniversary of Karol Wojtyła's election to the papacy, and later, since April 2005, have always been a great event for the whole school community and great experience for the participants. The awarded works of art were presented in the concert halls of the Karol Szymanowski State Grammar Music School IInd degree in Katowice, the Music Academy in Katowice, at Christ the King Cathedral in Katowice, the Wadowice Basilica and the Henryk Mikołaj Górecki Silesian Philharmonic Hall in Katowice. The performers of the awarded works were, among others, the Henryk Mikołaj Górecki Silesian Philharmonic Hall in Katowice, Silesian Chamber Orchestra and Silesian Philharmonic Choir conducted by Massimiliano Caldi, Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej [The New Music Orchestra] conducted by Aleksander Lasoń; „Camerata Silesia”, the Ensemble of Katowice Town Singers conducted by Anna Szostak, the Higher Seminary Liturgical School in Katowice, the School Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Jan Miłosz Zarzycki and Szymon Bywalec, the School Female Choir conducted by Mirosława Knapik. There were also soloists, including Henryka Januszewska, Edward Lubaszenko, students of the Music Academy, and often the prizewinners themselves.
„Patri Patriae”, the All-Poland Composers’ Competition, is the most prestigious artistic offering of the Karol Szymanowski State Music Grammar School IInd degree in Katowice. Felicja Bieganek, who initiated the competition, remains the main organizer.
Updated: April 2017