Ad Libitum at Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn

go to content

Founded by eminent composer-improviser Krzysztof Knittel in 2006, originally as an educational project (a conference and workshops), during the 17 years of its history the Ad Libitum International Festival of Improvised Music has so far hosted more than 400 artists, including such stars and legendary groups as Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, Anthony Braxton, Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennink, Barry Guy, Maya Homburger and London Jazz Composers Orchestra, as well as Alexander von Schlippenbach and Globe Unity Orchestra (in its original lineup with Tomasz Stańko), all of whom have performed at the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio. Since Wojciech Krukowski’s tenure, Ad Libitum’s other venue has been the Laboratory Building at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, which has seen performances by Peter Brötzmann, Evan Parker, Maja Ratkje, Iva Bittová, Joëlle Léandre, John Tilbury, Eddie Prévost, as well as numerous outstanding improvisers, from Stańko to Mud Cavaliers, Zygmunt Krauze’s Music Workshop, Zdzisław Piernik, Szábolcs Esztényi, and Rafał Mazur. Guests representing other disciplines of art at the festival have included Tadeusz Sławek, Bogusław Kierc, and Mirosław Bałka. 

Ad Libitum is more than a festival. It is a live laboratory for the creation of new artistic situations, collaborations of artists who have never performed together before, belonging to different generations and musical environments: the worlds of jazz, composition, free improvisation, performance, and new media art. It is one of the few international platforms for creative contacts of this kind, a great need for which has been felt and expressed particularly among young Polish artists. Ad Libitum is also a presentation and promotion of improvisation art in all its rich traditions. This art, which has been part of music history in all periods, is flourishing today in many coexisting forms of musical practices, techniques, and genres. Finally, the workshops that have accompanied our festival from the start aim to support creative attitudes among the young generation of musicians. 

Joanna Grotkowska 

Improvisation develops creative powers, imagination, intelligence, and emotional sensitivity, as well as shaping the discipline of analytic thinking and teamwork skills. 

Krzysztof Knittel