Emmy Award-winning filmmaker’s Marian Marzynski newest documentary is Do You Speak Chopin?. Marzynski’s love letter to Chopin is centered around the “Chopin Olympics” of the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland. Held once every five years, the Competition is one of the most highly anticipated events in classical music. Past prize winners include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Mitsuko Uchida, Gabriela Montero, Yundi Li, and Daniil Trifonov.
In 2015, Marzynski attended the 17th competition with WFMT program director David Polk and host Lisa Flynn. They observed the final four rounds of the competition in October, after 16 jurors adjudicated dozens of the best pianists in preliminary rounds held from April 13–24, 2015. Polk and Flynn broadcast performances from the competition, which can you stream here.
Marzynski gathered footage throughout the competition including interviews with contestants and judge Garrick Ohlsson, who placed first in the 1970 competition. He also visited sites throughout Warsaw, such as Chopin’s birth home and the Chopin Boutique B&B. Enjoy the entire film below.
The film premiered at the Arts Club of Chicago on September 27, 2016 before it was aired on WTTW October 2, 2016. WFMT has also produced a radio version, broadcast October 5, 2016 and October 10, 2016, which you can hear below.
Collaborative arts programming is made possible by the Richard and Mary L. Gray Artistic Collaboration Fund.
Additional support was provided by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago