Viola Organista

Viola Organista today

The premiere recitals of viola organista (on 18 October 2013 in Cracow, during the International Royal Cracow Piano Festival, and on 21 October at Conrad Festival) were a spectacular artistic success and received a lot of publicity in the media. The video report from the viola’s first concert has been watched by more than 3 million people on YouTube. The news about the construction of viola organista was presented by the most popular media all over the world, including BBC, The Telegraph, France 24, Deutsche Radio Kultur, Corriere della Sera, MSN, Oman Daily Observer, Hindustan Times, Taipei Times.

During 2014-2020 years, Sławomir Zubrzycki with his viola organista performed over 90 recitals in 19 countries included recitals at Stockholm Early Music Festival, Mänttä Music Festival, Wratislavia Cantans, Ghent Festival of Flanders, Kotor Art Festival, Polish Music Days in Turkey, Ohrid Summer Festival, Milano Classica, Gaudete! Festival Internazionale di Musica Antica in Vercelli, Bucharest Early Music Festival, Summer Festival of Early Music in Prague, Kristupo Festivaliai in Vilnius, Copernicus Festival and  Polish Music Festival in Cracow, European Renaissance Music Festival  Clos Luce in  Amboise,  Les Nuits de Septembre in Liege, Days of Early Music in Bratislava, Kromer Biecz Festival, Recital at da Vinci exhibition at Kalmar Castle, Sweden, Musikfestspiele Saar, Germany, Festival van Vlaanderen Kempen, MIM, Bozar, Belgium, festivals in Treviso, Valvasone, Abbiategrasso, Vigevano, Pavia – Italy, Flautus Festival Sion – Switzerland, Stavanger Konzerhaus – Norway, Budapest, Székesfehérvár, Veszprém – Hungary, Bratyslava – Slovakia, Zagreb – Croatia, concerts Leonardo 500; w Metz, Reims – Francja, Geneva University – Switzerland.

In 2015 two albums of viola organista were released. Solo album, “Viola organista – The da Vinci sound” is unique in many ways: it is not only the first-ever recording of “da Vinci’s instrument” recital, but also the first Polish music project funded by music lovers from all over the world by a global crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. The album contains eight Baroque works (including the only work composed for the keyboard-bow instrument, Sonata for Bogenklavier by C. Ph. E. Bach) and, as a bonus, the music by the Leonardo da Vinci – who placed his music work on the painting “Portrait of a musician”. The CD has been nominated for the Fryderyk awards 2016 and for the International Classical Music Awards – ICMA 2017 – in Baroque Instrumental category.

To the second production Zubrzycki was invited by Icelandic singer Björk, who released an acoustic version of her latest album “Vulnicura”, for voice, viola organista and string quartet. The album is available in two versions: CD and vinyl.

Simultaneously with the concert activity, further works were carried out on the development of a new model of the instrument. The constructor-performer was looking for extended tonal and expressive possibilities of the instrument, corresponding to the requirements of the constantly expanded repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. At the same time, he re-analyzed Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches and other historical sources. Work on writing the book “Leonardo da Vinci. The History of a Certain Instrument ”, co-authored by Magdalena Zubrzycka, also brought a lot of new important information about the further history of Leonard’s invention.

In 2021, the viola organista opus 2 was created in the private workshop of Sławomir Zubrzycki.