Spółdzielnia Muzyczna

Photo: Klaudyna Schubert

In 2013, a group of Kraków-based instrumentalists shared stage as part of the European Workshop for Contemporary Music, conducted by maestro Rüdiger Bohn. Having then played together at Darmstadt’s Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, the musicians—persuaded by Martyna Zakrzewska, Mateusz Rusowicz, and Piotr Peszat—established an independent body.

I’ve been working with Spóldzielnia Muzyczna contemporary ensemble since the group’s very beginnings in 2014. They made me believe, first and foremost, that one can pursue contemporary music in Poland - that scores can be produced cogently, through careful thought, and by making use of comprehensive sets of instrumental skills and techniques. Also, I owe them a lot of experience in the fields of interpreting electroacoustic music as well as pieces involving multimedia, and of organising concerts, workshops, or other modes of collective activity. I am convinced that with Spóldzielnia, we’re able to discover what is yet unknown, to rediscover what is already in existence, and above all: to team up successfully, to everyone’s joy and satisfaction.

Piotr Peszat, Spółdzielnia Muzyczna composer

Recording the video part for Piotr Peszat’s piece ‘try to watch this without crying’, at the Sacrum Profanum festival back in 2018.


A couple of events held in a community centre by one of the town’s exit roads and in a then neglected and declining theatre-slash-cinema marked the beginnings of Spółdzielnia Muzyczna contemporary ensemble (literally ‘Musicians Associated'), a group who specialise in performing new music.

Spółdzielnia Muzyczna have been featured repeatedly at the town’s as well as the country’s most important music events, including the International Festival of Contemporary Music ‘Warsaw Autumn’, Kraków’s Sacrum Profanum, Audio Art, ELEMENTI, and aXes, Musica Moderna in Łódź, NeoArte in Gdańsk, and the Festival of Traditional and Avantgarde Music ‘KODY’ in Lublin.

Spóldzielnia Muzyczna were quick to earn themselves a reputation for being one of the country’s most progressive, even radical new music ensembles, consistently pursuing their vision. Hearing them play at the Sacrum Profanum festival, I felt that they have what it takes to be in the same league as Ensemble Modern or Klangforum Wien. There’s youthfulness as well as maturity, individuality as well as collective spirit, plus the courage to survey diverse territories and cultures. I am proud to see an ensemble like that grow in the town of Kraków.

Robert Piaskowski, cultural promoter

Rehearsing for The Golden Dragon
by Péter Eötvös, at the opera rara festival in 2021.

In 2020 the group performed at the Młodzi Muzycy Młodemu Miastu 2.0 festival in Stalowa Wola, so contributing to one of Poland’s formative cyclical contemporary music events being reinstituted after a hiatus of forty years. 

Kraków 2021

In the 2019/2020 season the ensemble presented their original programmes of 20th- and 21st-century classics with the ‘ARS MODERNA’ series hosted by the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Kraków. 

The ensemble currently comprises twelve members.

That I ended up in Spóldzielnia, it was not quite by accident, but rather at an opportunity. I have been with them since the ensemble’s debut appearance back in December 2014. Over that period of nearly seven years, we repeatedly realised there is hardly anything we can’t do. We’re able, it turned out, to erect a wooden structure fifteen feet high, explore an air raid shelter, go through a concrete wall without the required tools or skills, give a decent performance, and get Senior Citizens Club ladies in their eighties to join us in beating music out of disused oil drums. It is, as I see it, something close to the perfect ensemble; nothing better than that occurs naturally.


Jakub Gucik, Spółdzielnia Muzyczna cellist

Warming up before performing Dzięki, Leszek by Jacek Sotomski during the 2017 edition of the International Festival of Contemporary Music ‘Warsaw Autumn’.


To me, the case of Spóldzielnia proves that determined efforts can get you far. We have built the ensemble with practically nothing to build upon. Together we learned to work in a team supposed to contain an assortment of personalities. The group is not just a working environment—it is a true organism, positively fit and healthy past these seven years we have spent with each other so far. We got to know our natural abilities, and we put them to artistic, technical, organisational, and social uses. These have been times at once difficult and beautiful. I’m happy to see that we never lost our freshness and joy, and that we never stopped believing in what we do.

Paulina Woś, Spółdzielnia Muzyczna violinist

In the summer of 2018, Spółdzielnia Muzyczna took part in the Ensemble Academy Freiburg, a master class for contemporary chamber music, where they learned from ensemble recherche.

In their hometown of Kraków the group themselves pursue several educational activities within the field of new music: while instrumental workshops as well as competitions for young composers have taken place, what remains the ensemble’s largest-scale pursuit in this domain is the series titled ‘Open Your Ears. Here and Now’—that is, live and illustrated lectures on the most prominent and inspiring artists of, and approaches to, musical composition, given so far in twenty-three original, individually themed editions.


In their programmes Spółdzielnia combine pieces from the greatest figures of 20th-century music with compositions by established and emerging leaders of younger generations, also embracing experimentation and multimedia. 

The ensemble’s repertoire covers such composers as Giacinto Scelsi, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, Morton Feldman, Franco Donatoni, George Crumb, Georges Aperghis, Salvatore Sciarrino, Gérard Grisey, Paweł Szymański, Hanna Kulenty, Cezary Duchnowski, Trond Reinholdtsen

It was such a great joy to work with the amazing performers of Spóldzielnia Muzyczna during our big production at ‘Warsaw Autumn’. Their positivity, ability, and commitment are a gift to any collaborator or composer!

Trond Reinholdtsen, composer

… Matthew Shlomowitz, Artur Zagajewski, Alexander Schubert, Johannes Kreidler, Brigitta Muntendorf, Jagoda Szmytka, Piotr Tabakiernik, Marta Śniady, Christophe Bertrand, Jarosław Płonka, Jacek Sotomski, Piotr Peszat, and Paweł Malinowski.

I remember well the first concert of Spóldzielnia, given in a near-suburban community centre, and I’ve been following their development since, to my great delight. Today I can say that all these years have produced a wonderful friendship between us. Working with the group has been a unique experience, one very dear to me. Whenever we’re rehearsing or collaborating otherwise, I can feel a deep mutual trust and I’m excited about the possibility of making fantastic things together.


Paweł Malinowski, composer

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