Migratory musicians at the Polish royal courts during the seventeenth century

Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska (PI)

Migratory musicians at the Polish royal courts during the seventeenth century

The present state of research into musical life at the courts of Polish kings of the Vasa dynasty (1587–1668), including the participation of foreign musicians and those native musicians who travelled abroad, is presented in my book Muzyczne dwory polskich Wazów (The musical courts of the Polish Vasas), Warszawa 2007. It contains a ‘Dictionary of musicians’, which includes entries for over 120 foreign composers, singers, instrumentalists, dancers, music printers, librettists, instrument makers and so on who were active at the Polish royal courts mainly during the first half of the seventeenth century. Taken together with the contributions of various authors relating to musicians who visited Poland during the last decades of that century, this forms a good base for continuing the very fruitful research thus far undertaken in Italian libraries and archives, and for starting new research in Minsk and St Petersburg as well. The main goal of such research is to collect the largest possible amount of information for a database of foreign and migratory musicians active within the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania during the seventeenth century. The information entered into the database by the international body of participants in the project Music migrations in the early modern age: the meeting of the European East, West and South (MusMig) will enable users to find documented facts (with sources specified) relating to those musicians and their output, to follow musicians on their journeys in different parts of Europe, to identify the people (including other musicians) who they met on their way, and to see the consequences of such cultural encounters.


In the papers which I am going to prepare and present during workshops and conferences connected with the project, I will try to answer questions about the possible significance of the presence of migratory musicians at the Polish royal courts for musical culture in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania, and in Central and Northern Europe as a whole. Contributions presented at the conferences (including one to be organized by me and other Polish participants of the project in Warsaw in 2015) will be published in print and also made available on the MusMig website.


I will also prepare scores of music composed in the Polish royal chapel during the seventeenth century by foreign musicians active there and by local composers who were influenced by them or used in their works what they had learned on their travels (including works by Asprilio Pacelli, Franciszek Lilius, Marcin Mielczewski and Kaspar Förster the younger). That sheet music will form a basis for recordings and for performances in special concerts by Polish and foreign early music ensembles. Part of it will be published

Jolanta Guzy-Pasiak (PM) - since 2014

presentation of the MusMig project, technical assistance in prepration of  the data base records

Piotr Maculewicz (PM) - 2016

organization of concerts during the conference in Warsaw in 2016