Do I need a visa to visit Poland?
If you are an American citizen, you do not need a visa to enter into the Republic of Poland for the duration of the festival. You need a valid passport (at least six months before the expiration date). Similarly citizens of any European Union country, as well as citizens of Japan, and S. Korea don’t need visas. However, if you are from other countries (including international students currently studying in the US), you should check with the Embassy or Consulate of Poland in your country of origin. In many situations a visa is not required, but in some instances it might be. It is your responsibility to find out if a visa is required in your situation, and if so, you should plan accordingly to obtain one well in advance. You may need an official invitation or letter of acceptance from the festival. Please contact us and we will send it to you or to the Polish consulate in your country.
If I have never been to Poland before and don’t speak Polish, will I be lost?
No, you will not be lost. More and more people speak languages other than Polish, English being most common. We provide a complimentary transportation from the airport at the beginning of the festival. If you arrive late we will give you a detailed information how to get to the festival location. We can arrange transportation for a reasonable fee back to the airport / train station at the end of the event. During the festival you will be provided with transportation to important events free of charge.
How much money should I bring and what currency is easy to exchange in Poland?
You will have to pay your participation fee of EUR 1000 (about$1300) upon arrival unless you prefer to wire it to our account (additional cost involved). You will need some money for bus fares, museums entry fees, extra snacks and drinks and shopping. Prices in Poland are a little lower than in western Europe. Most participants bring about $200 – $300 for spending but you will be fine with less since your accommodation and meals are included in your participation fee. Polish currency is called ‘Zloty’ and exchange rates is about $1=3.50 zl or 1 euro=4.60 zl (check current exchange rates). You can easily exchange Euro, US dollars and other European currencies. It is difficult to exchange Japanese yen or Korean Won. Credit cards are accepted in many restaurants and stores except fast food or small grocery stores.
What kind of practice facilities are available during the festival?
There are grand and upright pianos available at the Malachowski Palace and at the Naleczow Cultural Center for lessons, concerts and practice. There are additional practice instruments in Kazimierz Dolny. Participants will obtain the schedule of festival activities and their lessons upon their arrival and will be able to sign up for practice times that don’t conflict with their other activities. Every student will have access to about three hours of practice time a day, and more may be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Who will perform during the festival?
All participants will have the opportunity to perform in public recitals at the Malachowski Palace recital hall and Dom Architekta in Kazimierz Dolny. Students who prepared a concerto movement will be selected to perform with the Festival Chamber Orchestra. Concerts are very well-attended by the local community, foreign guests, participants and faculty, and the media. Final concert draws much more audience than the hall can hold and many people have to enjoy music while sitting outside in the garden. In concert, students typically perform standard repertoire, many include a work by a Polish composer.
How many private lessons will I receive?
We make every effort to provide you with a private lesson with as many members of our faculty as possible. The number of private lessons available to each student varies from year to year depending on the total number of participants, but on average each participant will receive five private lessons. Lessons are open to observers.
How can I check my e-mail in Poland? What about making and receiving telephone calls?
There is at least one internet cafe in town. Some hotels have a wireless internet connection as well. Receiving telephone calls during festival is relatively easy. You may be called at the hoteI where you will stay. It is recommended that you use telephone cards to make international calls, because calls from a hotel are expensive. You can bring an international calling card from your country or buy them in Poland. You may be able to use your cell phone if you come from Europe.