Founded on 1 July 1953, the Stanisław Hadyna Song and Dance Ensemble ‘Śląsk’ is one of the most recognisable artistic brands in Poland and around the world. Śląsk was the brainchild and the magnum opus of Stanisław Hadyna and Elwira Kamińska, who laid the foundations for the ensemble’s splendour and success. The premiere of the first programme took place on October 16, 1954 in the Silesian Theatre in Katowice. Its renown and artistic mastery have been successively built by all the generations of accomplished artists and excellent teachers that have worked for it ever since its inception. Today, Śląsk is a cultural institution with immense performance capabilities, which appears in approximately 200 concerts each year. More than a hundred people perform in the choir, ballet and orchestra. Hailed as the Great Ambassador of Poland in the world, Śląsk has given more than 9 thousand concerts for more than 27 million people in 44 countries on five continents. Its repertoire features about a dozen spectacles, from extravaganzas showcasing the Polish folklore in all its glory, through educational concerts, to presentations of classical and sacred music. Regardless of venue or grandeur, the ensemble can take on any artistic challenge and execute it with aplomb. The types of presentations include gala, vocal-instrumental, orchestral, educational and dance concerts. In addition, it can meet the needs and requirements of individual clients for unusual, occasional shows. In pursuit of new forms of artistic expression, the Śląsk Ensemble can also offer innovative repertoires. Śląsk has recorded more than a dozen albums, including 11 released as part of the ‘Śląsk’ Gold Collection (Złota Kolekcja ‘Śląska’) series, five of which have had Gold and two Platinum certifications, and several have been nominated for the ‘Fryderyk’ Polish Music Award. Apart from the concert schedule, Śląsk is also involved in a rich variety of educational and tourist programmes. In May 2017, it was named a Cultural Institution of the Local Government of Śląskie Voivodeship under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. It is based in a historic Palace and Park Complex in Koszęcin. The neoclassical palace complex is one of the largest of its kind in Poland and has been entered into the Register of Historic Monuments.
The ensemble’s concert activities are supplemented by its Education Department, whose aim is to disseminate and promote cultural values. The department focuses on designing professional offers and tasks relating to artistic and cultural education. It helps develop and foster public awareness, and disseminate the cultural legacy of the region of Górny Śląsk (Upper Silesia). Through its educational/artistic activities and training courses, it contributes to the expertise and qualifications of the participants – teachers, instructors of amateur artistic ensembles, organisers of cultural activities, students, senior citizens, children and young people. It promotes and fosters the authentic properties of the musical culture of the region of Śląsk. It also organises and coordinates educational and artistic activities, contributing to a higher level of awareness regarding strong bonds and a sense of belonging to local community. The Education Department organises, in Koszęcin, thematic and artistic exhibitions, recitals of ensembles and soloists, conferences and training sessions, educational workshops and sightseeing tours of the palace and park complex. The department makes perfect use of the splendid infrastructure of the ensemble for creative educational activities, organising national and international events such as summer art camps, folklore festivals, song and dance competitions, educational concerts and arts workshops.
The Stanisław Hadyna Song and Dance Ensemble ‘Śląsk’ is conscious of its special role in promoting national and folk culture, both in Poland and internationally. Having the ambition of reaching out to the farthest corners of the world, it prides itself on serving as an ambassador of Polish culture. The hard work and dedication of all its personnel and international contacts gained during its many years of concert tours around the world have resulted in its admirable position as a partner of numerous international cultural enterprises. Being a modernly run cultural institution with a broad range of performance capabilities, including concert and educational activities, Śląsk has attracted huge and varied audiences and multiple recipients that grew as the ensemble developed. The fostered international cultural cooperation is evident on multiple levels. On the one hand, it guarantees a steady supply of concert invitations, and on the other hand it welcomes participation in a variety of state occasions and events, including collaboration with establishments of public administration, such as embassies, consulates and institutes of culture. Śląsk has also always been in touch with centres of Polish diaspora worldwide. It has for many years been taking part in a variety of international conferences and fairs in order to both maintain and obtain ties with international artist management agencies, festival organisers and diplomatic offices. Its participation in international cultural fairs facilitates artistic exchange of comprehensive concert productions and helps being up-to-date with today’s developments and trends in arts. All of these endeavours make it possible to showcase the Polish culture on the international arena in front of a wide range of audiences, organisers and representatives of management agencies and, as a consequence, to initiate contacts necessary to obtain invitations for concert tours worldwide.
Director of the Ensemble: Zbigniew Cierniak
Deputy Director: Tomasz Janikowski
Artistic Director: Jarosław Świątek
Ballet Director: Michaił Zubkow
Choir Director: Krzysztof Anczyk
Orchestra Director: Danuta Smyła