“Psalmodia” - the Choir of the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Kraków

The choir of the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Kraków was created in 1988 at the Liturgy Institute at the Faculty of Theology in the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Kraków. As a result of the decree of the Great Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, H. Em. Card. Franciszek Macharski, issued on 31st May 1996 it became the choir of the PAT in Cracow. On 19th June 2009 by virtue of the decision of Pope Benedict XVI the group became the Choir of the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Kraków.From its beginning, the choir has been conducted by maestro Włodzimierz Siedlik. Since September 2008 he has been assisted by two graduates of The Academy of Music in Kraków – Katarzyna Śmiałkowska and Marcin Wróbel. The accompanist is Marek Pawełek, also a graduate of the Academy of Music in Cracow, as well. The repertoire comprises pieces of both Polish and foreign composers of all epochs, and primarily those of Polish contemporary masters, such as Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Romuald Twardowski. Apart from a capella works the group performs also vocal-instrumental compositions.

The choir has been actively taking part in the promotion of the university, its home-town - Kraków and its country – Poland for over twenty years. Its performance added splendour to many ceremonies of the Church in Kraków. On many occasion, the choir has cooperated with the Polish Radio Choir in Kraków, the Krakow Opera, Koarol Szymanowski Cracow Philharmonic and Capella Cracoviensis and Polish Television. The choir also took part in Tyniec Organ Recitals, performed in “Music evenings in Salwator” cycle and supported the Friends of the Saint Brother Albert Care Centre Association “Ecce Homo” by performing numerous charity concerts within “Albertine concerts” cycle. The choir participated in many festivals and competitions, organized in places such as Legnica, Miedzyzdroje, Hajnówka, Łódź, Myslenice and Kraków, where it was awarded first prizes. In the course of time, the choir has visited Italy twice. For first time in 1996, during the 36th International Choral Music Festival in Loreto. It was also at that time that the visit in Vatican and a private audience with Pope John Paul II took place. In 2006 “Psalmodia” visited The Eternal City for the second time, with a pilgrimage to the tomb of the Holy Father. At the time of the journey, the choir performed in numerous Polish music concerts.

In September 2008 “Psalmodia” was accepted as a member of Polish and International Federation of Pueri Cantores and in July 2009, as one of eight groups, represented the Polish Pueri Cantores Federation on 35th International Pueri Cantores Congress in Stockholm. During this trip, they also performed in Malmö and Szczecin. Between the 7th and 15th October 2009 the choir took part in a concert tour organized on the initiative of choir members. The project known as “Polish Masters Music in the Cultural Capitals of Germany and the Benelux” has earned a government subsidy of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The enterprise comprised of a cycle of eight concerts and was organized with the aim to promote Polish choir music of such composers as: H. M. Górecki, W. Kilar, R. Twardowski, J. Świder, A. Koszewski, W. Kałamarz. During the tour the choir visited the following cities: Dresden, Jena, Essen, Brussels, Mannheim, Nuremberg and Leipzig.