Workshop’s objectives and methodology

Chopin’s mazurkas are – very often – rhythmically based on dance movements. Mazurek, kujawiak, oberek were dances, that Chopin danced himself and played for the dance, so he knew how to use music to communicate with the dancers. I think that the experience of dancing, a knowledge from the body might give a new key to understanding and performing Chopin’s mazurkas. The specific of whirling, irregular accents or “rubato” can became simple and natural, when we can dance them. All this experiences can be found in traditional polish mazurka music, transferred to XXI century by village masters.

Janusz Prusinowski

Thus, the program for concert can be complemented by a dance workshop, that can be adapted for general public and for musicians and students of music.

What will we learn and how will we do it on the workshop?

  1. With the objectives to understand the process of creating mazurka music and how the traditional instruments (fiddle, basy, baraban drum) communicate with the singers and dancers we will use various melodies and from mazurka dance family (oberek, mazurek, kujon, kujawiak):
  • We will say and shout simple Polish words, sing melodies, stamp and clap rhythmical patterns.
  • We will learn basic mazurek steps, dance individually, in circles and pairs, search for good contact with other dancers and react to live music.
  1. Then we’ll spin. Slower and faster, individually and in pairs. We’ll try to retrieve the children’ pleasure of spinning – and connect it to music, to melodies and rhythmical structures, already known. Perhaps we could dance to melodies sang by ourselves?
  2. Finally we will experiment with improvisation in dance – trying to express the variants of melody and slight, permanent changes in rhythm. This will be the point for rubato – experienced with the whole body. To experience, understand and express mazurka with the whole body is the main purpose of the workshops. To feel like dancing Chopin.


The fact that Chopin was Polish and spent the first half of his life in Poland, experiencing directly the music and dance from the village is indisociable with his own musical creations

The composer’s mother family backgroup was the Kuyavia region, that was one of the main Chopin’s leverages, together with the region of Mazovia in which he was born and with which its inhabitants’ character he felt identified and that, unsurprisingly, gives name to the mazurka music style. But during his years in Poland he travelled through most of the regions, where he payed attention to the popular music and dance manifestation. Their deep impression on this young fellow where well catched on his letters to his family, in example on the so-called Kuryerze Szafarskim, the Szafarnia courier, written during his holidays on the countryside. On these letters the composer explained his direct participation in several occasions. We took one little excerps from the very advisable CD-book The Sources of Chopin’s Music – Folk Music from the Archive of Polish Radio (Polskie Radio, 2013):

The leaps, the waltz, and the obertas began, but in order to encourage the farmhands, who where standing quitely and only jigging in place, I went to dance the first waltz with Miss Tekla  and at the end with Mrs. Dziewanowska. Later on, everybody became so merry that they turned about the courtyard until they dropped. […] I begin to accompany on the bass […] sawing away on the one-string, monochord […] dusty, old basetla.  […] 


Mapamundi Música | +34 91 611 71 17 (landline) | +34 667 970 290 (Araceli Tzigane's mobile phone, WhatsApp available)
C/ Cabo San Vicente, 2, 9º A, dcha, Alcorcón, 28924, Madrid, Spain

The artists


Miguel Ituarte & Janusz Prusinowski Kompania

From left to right, Miguel Ituarte, Michał Żak, Janusz Prusinowski, Piotr Zgorzelski, Piotr Piszczatowski, at the premier concert in Real Coliseo Carlos III in San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid), 29th of October of 2016.

Janusz Prusinowski

Janusz Prusinowski Kompania is the main representative of Polish traditional music, appreciated internationally both by the institutions and the public, in his facet of artist as much as in his activity in cultural management, ideologue and promotor of cultural initiatives that make visible and highlight the value of traditional rural Polish music and its worth for the current and urban generations. 

In example, Janusz is founder and promotor of contexts for culture, through his initiative of the Wszystkie Mazurki Świata, in Warsaw, that he founded and of which he is the artistic director, where he creates moments for the meeting between the old rural masters and the new generations of musicians interested in traditional music.

After twenty years working in this area, during the last years Janusz Prusinowski has achieve multiple acknowledgements and tours internationally on a regular basis with his Kompania. Outside the borders of their own countries, Janusz Prusinowski Kompania has performed in most of Europe, has given concerts in Canada, USA and Asia.

At the end of 2014 Janusz Prusinowski received the Gloria Artis bronze Medal, from the Ministery of Culture and National Heritage, that acknowledges a life's career devoted to the recovery, awareness and appreciation of the legacy of traditional Polish music, to the research of the old rural masters, as well as his initiative of the above-mentioned festival. In May 2015 he receives the Doroczna Nagroda Ministra Kultury in the category of traditional culture.

Miguel Ituarte

Miguel Ituarte was born in Getxo (Basque Country). He was musically trained at the conservatories of Bilbao, Madrid and Amsterdam. He studied with Isabel Picaza, Juan Carlos Zubeldia, Almudena Cano and Jan Wijn. He became familiar with the clavier thanks to Anneke Uittenbosch and ancient Iberian organs at the International Academy of Tierra de Campos created by Francis Chapelet.

Dimitri Bashkirov, Maria João Pires, Paul Badura-Skoda and Maria Curcio provided him teachings and advice.

Mr. Ituarte has received, among others, the 1st prize at “Jaén”, “Ferrol” and “Fundación Guerrero” international contests as well numerous awards for his performances of Spanish music (i.e. “Rosa Sabater”, “Manuel de Falla” and Fundación Hazen). He was finalist at the Santander International Contest in 1995.

In his programs concert he has often included some of the greatest works of keyboard instruments repertoire, ranging from Antonio de Cabezón to premieres of contemporary music. The composers José María Sánchez Verdú, Zuriñe Gerenabarrena Fernández, José Zárate, Jesús Rueda and Gustavo Díaz-Jerez have dedicated piano works to Mr. Ituarte. He recently worked on the recording of "The Well-Tempered Clavier" by Bach and presented the complete series of Beethoven sonatas.

He has performed in recitals in European countries and with orchestras such as the Concertgebouw Chamber of Amsterdam, Royal Philharmonic of London, Gulbenkian and many of Spain and South America ones. In January 2000 he opened the first Great Pianists Series at Auditori de Barcelona with "Iberia" by Isaac Albéniz.

About chamber music, he has performed with the Takaks and Ortys quartets; currently he works with the violinist Manuel Guillén and the soprano Cecilia Lavilla Berganza. As a member of the trio "Triálogoes" (with Manuel Guillén and Ángel Luis Quintana) he recorded the complete piano trios by Beethoven for the Spanish TV Channel Canal Digital. He has participated in the album “Música de cámara actual” by the label Verso, performing with accordionist Iñaki Alberdi works by Jesús Torres and Gabriel Erkoreka. The label Columna Música has released his version of Concert for piano and orchestra by Joan Guinjoan, with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and Ernest Martinez Izquierdo.

He teaches piano at Musikene (Higher School of Music of the Basque Country) since its creation in 2001.

Background and program

The musical program proposed by the Polish group Janusz Prusinowski Kompania and the Spanish pianist Miguel Ituarte explores and shows the relationships between rural traditional Polish music and the artistic expression of Chopin.

After a first meeting in Madrid in May 2015, Ituarte and Prusinowski´s team explores their mutual repertoires and decide to carry out the project. Thus, in a joint session they identified an initial common repertoire that was complemented by an artist residency in July 2016.

The program was presented on stage for the first time in Autum of 2016 at the Real Coliseo Carlos III in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, on the series Great performers, organized by the Community of Madrid.

"Are the kujawiak, the mazurkas, the oberek, polonaises and songs, ubiquitous in the work of Fryderyk Chopin, deeply rooted in the authentic rural music, or are they only distant echoes of those primitive melodies? A violinist village and a famous pianist, do they belong to two completely different dialects or do they speak the same musical words? We try to answer these questions with music. This concert is an exceptional experience. When a pianist and a rural band perform together, they apply laws of music and dance that are valid for both the music of the Polish countryside and to the work of Chopin. The mysterious rubato becomes a clear method of dialogue with the dancers, the sounds of mazurka find its sources in traditional folk songs. What is unique in the music of Chopin and in traditional rural music is, thanks to their mutual context, more visible; what unites them is worthy of the term "Polish Music"."

Janusz Prusinowski


We also quote Grzegorz Michalski, initiator and first director of National Fryderyk Chopin Institute ( and his words related to the concept that guides this project:


"I think the most important is the unbelievable skills shown by Fryderyk Chopin to register and transform his way the specific features of the music from the Polish countryside, despised by his contemporaries. The irregularities in the rhythm and intonation, barely noticeable, the peculiarities of the musical scale, the obsessive repetition of the motifs, all of them were eliminated in artistic adaptations because they were considered too simplistic, lacking of good taste and difficult to write down on the score. Nevertheless, those features were the most important for Chopin. And he was right! He was ahead almost one hundred years of his time in understanding the rural music. (…) We can feel privileged because we listen the music from Mazovia, Kujawy, Kurpie and Podlasie the way Chopin loved.”

Grzegorz Michalski

  1. Suite of village mazurkas from regions of Rawa y Radom
  2. Mazurka in F Major, Op. 68, No 3 (Fryderyk Chopin) and suwak from Bednarz brothers (Lublin region)
  3. Bębenek kołacze (sang mazurka from Radom region)
  4. Mazurka in G minor, Op. 24, No. 1 (Chopin) + “Chłopolek” – (song from Oskar Kolberg's notations)
  5. Mazurka in C major, Opus 24 n. 2 (Chopin)
  6. Jechał cić ja + Kujawiak “Koziołek" + kujawiak from Oskar Kolberg's publications, with melodies from Kujawy region
  7. Mazurka in A minor, Opus 17 n. 4 (Chopin)
  8. Kujawiak “Chłopolek” + kujawiak “Jaworowe Kółka” (melodies from Kujawy region)
  9. Polonese in F-sharp minor, Opus 44 (Chopin) + “Triana” (Isaac Albéniz)
  10. Zawierucha + Dobrzelin + Serce (melodies from Łowicz region)
  11. Mazurca in F minor, Opus 63 n. 2
  12. Chmiel (wedding song from Lublin region)
  13. Berceuse (Chopin) and Lullaby from Radom region
  14. “Mazurek pod ścianą” (from Rawa region) + Mazurka in C major, Opus 56 n. 2 (Chopin) + Mazurka by Kazimierz Meto (Rawa region) + Mazurk in D major, Opus 33 n. 2 (Chopin)