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Krakow's street artists, a folk ensemble
Folk musicians in traditional village costumes of the Krakow region are the endangered species among the numerous street artists in the Old Town historic districts. 

Krakow, the city of music 

Krakow’s Old Town historic area resounds with music of every kind as street musicians vie for your attention and spare change at every corner. More demanding audience may choose between frequent concerts and recitals of classical music and diverse musical offerings of numerous clubs. There is also no shortage of shops selling CDs in downtown Krakow where the latest releases of the world’s top acts are available as soon as they are launched in Paris or Berlin. Radio stations mostly fill the local airwaves with recent international hits and their domestic counterparts as well as pop evergreens, though a few specialize in jazz or classical music. The Old Town’s huge central Krakow main square (Rynek Glowny) often serves as an open-air concert venue when some ensemble (usually a pop band) takes up the makeshift stage by the Town Hall Tower.

Note: Every full hour a Krakow trumpeter plays the city's famous medieval bugle call (hejnal in Polish) from the tower of St. Mary's church overlooking the central square - always four times, towards four directions of the world.

Listen to the Krakow bugle call   

Krakow's musical trends 

Single personality towers above the local musical scene – Mr. Krzysztof Penderecki who ranks among the world’s greatest living composers of modern classical music (while his wife Elzbieta is arguably Poland’s most influential impresario nowadays). Nonetheless the latest works are rarely performed in Krakow, and even renderings of the 20th-century classics happen rather seldom as the well-known 19th-century and earlier music is the king in the city’s concert halls. 

In the 21st century Poland’s mass audience remains firmly tuned in to pop performed by the British and American acts as well as the native ones. The latter often take inspiration from the musical traditions of various peoples in the Central-East Europe. Yet it has little bearing on the city’s vibrant club scene divided between varied DJ sets, alternative pop and indie rock, hip-hop, blues, reggae, traditional rock and mainstream jazz popular with club operators.

Auditorium Maximum of Krakow's Jagiellonian University
Centrally situated Auditorium Maximum of the Krakow university, 35 Krupnicza street,
often doubles as a music hall for 1,200. 

Most popular venues for music in Krakow

Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra plays regularly in its Filharmonia concert hall at 1 Zwierzyniecka street where also most foreign orchestras, ensembles and soloists perform on their visits to the city as well as the city's other musicians. The hall also resounds occasionally with pop music.

For decades, the Krakow Opera Company had to make use of the immense stage and plush auditorium of the Teatr Slowackiego theater at Sw. Ducha Pl. which often provides shelter to varied musical events. Since December 2008 the brand-new, purpose-built opera house at Lubicz street has become the city's main venue for operatic productions as well as operetta shows and ballet performances. 

The Krakow Chamber Opera has its playhouse at 15 Miodowa street in the Kazimierz district. 

Krakow’s classical-music orchestras, ensembles, choirs, etc. usually give concerts in smaller halls such as Florianka at 8 Basztowa street. Also, they often lease the city’s Gothic churches, famed for their splendid acoustics, for a night or two. Throughout summer there are frequent open-air concerts – in gardens, the Old Town's beautiful courtyards, on squares, etc.

Since 2014 the city has been endowed with two modern venues for large-audience entertainment - Krakow Arena and ICE Krakow congress center. At the former, seating capacity of up to 18,000, concerts alternate with sporting events. The latter boasts three halls - they may seat 2,000, 600, and 300 respectively - with reportedly superb acoustics which allows for three concerts (or conferences) to take place simultaneously.

Krakow clubs are plentiful but usually not large – few can seat more than 100 and those with a seating capacity of 200 or more are considered really big. Recorded music is the staple, with live performances two or three nights a week. 

Some Krakow DJs gain local fame, while club celebrities from other Polish cities and from abroad spin here occasionally too. Krakow's DJ-produced 'club music' is restricted practically to Friday and Saturday nights and it largely boils down to house though some places do try diversify into breaks, jungle, drum'n'bass, nu jazz, progressive, and whatever.  

Musical Yearly Events in Krakow 

February: Sources and Inspirations International Percussion Festival, Shanties International Festival of Sailors’ Songs
March: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Festival. 
Holy Week: Misteria Paschalia festival of classical music.
April:
 
‘The Old and The Young’ International Jazz Festival.
May: Festival of Krakow Composers, Orthodox-Church Music Meetings, Days of Mendelssohn's Music. 
June: Selector Festival (electronic music),
Summer Festival of Opera and Operetta, International Festival of Military Bands, Jewish Culture Festival.
July:
Festival of Polish Music, Summer Jazz Festival, Tyniec Organ Recitals, Summer Organ Concerts, Crossroads Festival of Traditional Music, Benedictine Music Summer.
August: Music in Old Krakow’ International Festival, Summer Academy of Music, Tyniec Organ Recitals, Summer Organ Concerts,
Coke Live Music Festival, Contemporary Chamber Music International Competition, 'Cracovia Danza' Festival of Court Dance.
September:
Sacrum-Profanum Festival, Cracow Jazz Autumn, Young Artists in Krakow Festival.
October: Film Music Festival, 7xGospel, Unsound Festival, Student Song Festival, Krakow Ballet Meetings.
November:
Zaduszki’ Jazz Festival, Organ and Harpsichord Music Days, Audio Art Festival, Days of Church Music.
December:Jazz Juniors’ International Competition of Young Jazz Bands
.

Click to see updates on current and upcoming events.

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