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About us

In 1976, Leonard Bernstein carried out at Harvard University a series of six lectures entitled The Unanswered Question. The composer of the West Side Story proposed at that time a controversial thesis that classical music is for a person as natural a language as the speech we use every day. We cannot prove scientifically that Mr Bernstein’s thesis is right but our intuition infallibly tells us that music does help understand people divided since the Tower of Babel and today still often at loggerheads with each other. I strongly believe taht it is the music through which we can achieve the harmony of WORDS even the ones which when set too close to one another provoke surprisingly intense dissonance. The power and logic of music can reassure us that sooner or later each dissonance will find a proper solution. Not to be groundless, let us use the following example:

I, CULTURE Orchestra is being created by young and extremely talented musicians precisely from these countries. During their everyday encountres new harmony is born. We can only wait until it spreads outside the walls of the concert halls.


Paweł Potoroczyn
Director of Adam Mickiewicz Institute

I, CULTURE Orchestra consists of outstanding young musicians from Poland and the Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Formed in 2011, the Orchestra exists to use the act of performing music to bring together people from these countries, some of which have long histories of tension and war. By rehearsing, tuning, touring and performing together these young musicians communicate and learn to trust each other in ways that resonate beyond any concert hall.


Each year hundreds of musicians apply for a place in the Orchestra, whose success is rooted in the universal principles of solidarity, integration and friendship. As an educational project, the Orchestra enables talented young people to grow artistically under the tutelage of leading international conductors, soloists and orchestral players. To date over 500 young musicians have been part of I, CULTURE Orchestra.


The Orchestra was initiated in 2011 by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute – a national cultural institution promoting Poland and Polish culture abroad under the brand A flagship project of the International Cultural Programme of that year’s Polish EU Presidency, the I, CULTURE Orchestra’s primary focus has always been to use culture as a means to deepen the EU’s relationship with the countries of the Eastern Partnership.


Now under the musical direction of Ukrainian conductor Kirill Karabits, the Orchestra’s musical pursuits have always been of such a high standard that it’s been able to attract international soloists such as Khatia Buniatishvili, Truls Mork, Alice Sara Ott, Simon Trpceski and Arabella Steinbacher. Previous conductors of the Orchestra have been Sir Neville Mariner, Pawel Kotla and Illych Rivas.


In the past four years I, CULTURE Orchestra has given 29 concerts in 22 cities including many of the leading venues and festivals in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The 2015 tour will include Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Georgia and Spain.


“What was so impressive about I, Culture’s delivery was its subtlety, restraint and plain-speaking eloquence”.

The Guardian