On 19 May, Mariola Cieniaw, one of the most renowned Polish pianists of her generation, performed in a concert held at Cairo's historic Manasterly Palace. Born in Gorlice (Poland), Cieniaw graduated from the Academy of Music in Cracow and continued her studies at the Hochschule of Music and Theatre in Hanover (Germany).
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Cieniaw garnered a number of awards and prizes in piano competitions, such as the Karol Szymanowski Piano Competition in Łódz (Poland), the International Piano Competition in Palm Beach, Florida (USA), the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Palma Majorca (Spain) and the Chopin Piano Competition in Uoln (Germany).
Cieniaw frequently performs as a soloist across Poland and in international music festivals. She is active in promoting cross-cultural relations between different regions of Poland, carrying music across all geographical and social borders — activities for which she was awarded prestigious local recognition.
19 May was Cieniawa's first concert in Egypt. Performing at the Manasterly Palace, organised by the International Music Centre (IMC), she joined a series of renowned pianists handpicked by Egyptian internationally renowned pianist Ramzi Yassa who is also the centre's artistic director.
Mariola Cieniawa, Poland performs at Cairo's Manasterly Palace. 19 May 2013 (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)
Whether at the Mansterly Palace or at the Prince Mohamed Ali Palace, which briefly hosted the IMC's events during the Manasterly's renovation period, the IMC presents high quality concerts — mainly piano recitals, but also opening its doors to small ensembles, choirs and orchestras.
Since its founding in 2002, the IMC has presented many world class pianists, such as the French-Cypriot Cyprien Katsaris, the French-Iranian Nima Sarkechik, Anastasia Terenkova from Yuan Sheng and Wang Jue from China, Kim Youngho from South Korea, Andrei Gavrilov from Russia, along with Britain's Cropper Welsh Roscoe Trio, along with a multitude of other talents.
The IMC also gives a platform for Egyptian artists, such as pianists Mohamed Shams and Magda Emara, cellist Hassan Moataz, soloists from the Cairo Opera Company, the Cairo Celebration Choir, Egyptian music ensembles and conductors such as Ahmed El-Saedi, Nayer Nagui, Hisham Gabr, Sherif Mohie Eldin and Nader Abbassi, among others.
The IMC's activities are best described by Ramzi Yassa in the centre's programme notes: "Meeting the Masters at Carnegie Hall or Théâtre des Champs-Élysées is a privilege. To witness their performance at Manasterly is a unique experience."