Short History of The Vancouver
The idea of founding the VCS came to Iko
Bylicki's mind in late 1996 when he heard about the ten-year-old
prodigy, pianist Stanislaw Drzewiecki, the son of the famous Russian
pianist, Tatiana Shebanova, who was married to the Polish pianist,
Jaroslaw Drzewiecki. Presenting this family to a Vancouver audience
seemed like a great idea; however, this required some organizational
structure. It was natural to think about starting another Chopin
society, since the International Federation of Chopin Societies,
founded in Warsaw in 1985, was receiving quick recognition, and many
new Chopin societies were popping up around the world.
Sharing this idea with other Polish
enthusiasts resulted in The Vancouver Chopin Society being incorporated
on April 22, 1997 under the Society Act of British Columbia with
Tadeusz van Wollen as president, Eryk Sitkowiecki as artistic director,
Iko Bylicki as vice-president, Malgorzata Burczycka as secretary, and
Tadeusz Dukszta as treasurer. In the same year, the VCS officially
became a member if the IFCS. However, the first concert did not occur
until a year later, on April 19, 1998, in the Vancouver Playhouse.
Teresa Bobrowska, our current secretary, joined us after that first
Being able to continue and survive the very
first seasons and build the foundation for the Society was possible
because of the outstanding dedication of, among others, two ladies,
Elizabeth Czetwertynski, an incredibly charming old lady who was able
to bring around a hundred people for each concert since nobody could
refuse her convincing power, and Dr. Maria Bleszynski, whose financial
generosity rescued the Society from sinking a number of times.
The very first member of the Society was
Masanao Morimura, the Japanese scientist, who retired in Canada in the
nineties. He played piano very well and was extremely fond of Chopin's
music, and he was developing a web site about Chopin and writing a
book. He passed away on May 27, 2012, a few days after he had renewed
The first concerts were held in the Norman
Rothstein Theatre, but in the second half of the 1999/2000 season, the
board decided to move the concerts to the auditorium of the Vancouver
Academy of Music. In 2006, the board decided to move the concerts to
Magee Theatre, and since then, the concert series is presented in three
venues, the Vancouver Playhouse, the Chan Centre, and the Magee
Conductor Grzegorz Nowak became the VCS's
artistic director in 1999, holding the post through 2004. After Mr.
Nowak left Canada, Lee Kum-Sing, respected piano teacher, worldwide,
became the artistic director, and has remained so since.
And fifteen seasons after The Vancouver
Chopin Society was inaugurated, three members, Malgorzata Burczycka,
Teresa Bobrowska, and Iko Bylicki are still working on the board of the
VCS, feeling privileged to be part of such a competent and dedicated
board such as we have today.
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