Honorary Committee

Jadwiga Czartoryska

Krystian Zimerman

Daniel Barenboim

Paul Van Nevel

Jean Tubery

Alain Duault

Paweł Łukaszewski

Jacek Kaspszyk

Concerts 2009

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Concerts in Paris and Warsaw

Programme booklet of the concert. Royal Castle, Warsaw, 7th October 2009 .


Robert Coles

Cultural attaché of Embasy of the United States in Poland Chuck Ashley with Robert Coles.

Lilianna Stawarz, Agata Sapiecha, Mark Caudle, Robert Coles

Programme booklet of the concert ‘Tomas Jefferson a Paris’ held at the Polish Embassy in Paris on 14th October 2009

Two years ago, at the invitation of Lady Blanka A. Rosenstiel, I visited her splendid estate in Charlottesville, Virginia. In the morning the day after my arrival, I was introduced to a tall and extraordinarily handsome gentleman, Robert Coles – the fifth great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson. This man with a mop of fiery-red hair proved to be a delicious companion for conversations after dinner. Lady Blanka mentioned that he impersonated his ancestor Thomas Jefferson on the stage in an extremely convincing manner. During our talk, I learnt from Rob Coles that Jefferson had been a great music lover and himself played the violin, accompanied on a harpsichord by his wife Martha. Also their children frequently took part in the family concerts, performing on various instruments. During our meeting, Robert Coles presented me with a book entitled Thomas Jefferson as a Musician and Violinist, which inspired me to stage two verbal-musical spectacles dedicated to the figure of Thomas Jefferson. I also learnt about Jefferson’s close friendship with the great Polish hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko and was intrigued to find out that – apart from similar political and philosophical interests – they also shared a musical sensitivity. In the National Library of Poland in Warsaw, I discovered the manuscripts of several small pieces for harpsichord composed by Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

The Royal Castle in Warsaw seemed to be the most suitable venue for a verbal-musical evening of this kind. In Paris, I settled on the Polish Embassy salon, since Thomas Jefferson resided in Paris as the US ambassador. The Andrzej Markowski Foundation, of which I am the president, programmed the music, selected the musicians, found sponsors and organised the events. It was crucial for me that the music in this spectacle should be performed by most eminent artists, and that the programme should consist of compositions that Jefferson was most fond of performing and listening to. The first part of the evening was a concert of chamber music, the second – a presentation of the figure of Thomas Jefferson. The musicians were: Izabella Starzec – harpsichord, Agata Sapiecha – violin and Marc Cudell – viola da gamba, while Aleksander Laskowski played the role of narrator and host. Eminent guests included: Princess Jadwiga Czartoryska – President of the Honorary Committee of the Andrzej Markowski Foundation, Chuck Ashley – Cultural Attaché of the US Embassy, Hanna Reiter – wife of the head of the Center for International Relations in Warsaw, former Polish ambassador to the United States, Janusz Reiter, Roland Dubois – President of France Telecom Poland, Andrzej Kosendiak – current director of the Wratislavia Cantans Festival, as well as Bogna Markowska – Andrzej Markowski’s wife, with her daughter Katarzyna. The US Embassy sponsored the publication of the programme, whose wonderful artwork will certainly earn it a place in historical archives.

In Paris, the Andrzej Markowski Foundation collaborated with the Bibliotheque Polonaise de Paris, headed by Danuta Dubois. The concert was introduced by His Excellency Polish Ambassador to France, Tomasz Orłowski, and the honorary guests included: Count and Countess Hubert and Isabella d’Ornano, Jean-Francois Bujon d’Estaing – former French Ambassador to the US with his wife, Ulisses Gosset – Director of France 24, and representatives of the main sponsor – SAFRAN. The unforgettable evening at the Embassy ended with a splendid reception for all the invited guests.

Robert Coles’ extremely original performance as Thomas Jefferson met with tremendous success both in Warsaw and in Paris. I am genuinely happy that in this way I was able to make the figures of Thomas Jefferson and Tadeusz Kosciuszko more familiar to the Polish and French audiences.

Małgorzata Markowska