Has anyone ever told you that you can’t do something? “It’s CRAZY” they said, “you’re not READY. You can’t do it.” Well, F*** that!
This is the story about being STUBBORN as you’ve never experienced it before, about beating the lockdown and proving that even the impossible can be achieved with CREATIVE POSITIVITY.
Let me take you back in time to a very boring morning in May 2020. Waking up late and still sleepy, I turned on the coffee machine and could barely make myself open a breakfast oat bar. Nothing better than to start another day of lockdown in style, I thought.
I run through the day’s activities in my mind: no violin teaching today (face to face lessons were banned and most of my students didn’t really believe in continuing online; neither did I to be honest).
I even opened my diary (oh these good old habits) to confirm: today – blank, tomorrow – blank, next week – blank (let me tell you in advance, all of my concerts for the year were cancelled so I might as well give my pretty diary back to the shop where I got it from).
PERFECT, I thought, no need to wash my hair today, Oh joy.
Where is all of this going? – I asked myself. I couldn’t push myself to spend another day watching another Netflix boxed set with a glass of Rose at the end of it as a reward for surviving.
Let me tell you something about myself (I promise I’ll be quick!). I was born in Poland in a town with a name that even most Polish people struggle to pronounce. Early on I felt like I either take things in my own hands or nothing will ever happen to me. SO I DID: first securing place in a boarding music school almost 200km from home and later auditioning for the even more competitive Royal College of Music in London.
All together that’s 20 years of violining, at least four-five hours of daily practice and two part-time jobs to support six years of study in another country. AFTER ALL OF THIS I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DEFEATED BY A PANDEMIC? WE’LL. SEE. ABOUT. THAT.
People ask what inspired me to create an online competition that went global during worldwide pandemic in 2020. It’s simple: an elephant coffee cup and a comfortable sofa. Oh, and I decided that if I couldn’t do anything for myself I would do EVERYTHING I COULD to help others.
On 1st July 2020 I asked ALL COMPOSERS out there (no matter what age or nationality) to submit a four—six minute piece for baroque violin and harpsichord. I simply shared a post on Instagram, Facebook and voilà!
My fiancé and I made a bet on how few would actually take part in the competition, but the results LEFT US SPEECHLESS. When I saw compositions being submitted from Poland, Israel, Austria, Mexico, Iran, Peru, Sweden, Thailand, Canada, US, Indonesia and counting…I burst into tears.
The prize was to turn three winning pieces into professional films. EASY…right? Except by the time we had everything organised we were under another lockdown.
Following changing restrictions, replacing self-isolating film crew (while on the road), finding last-minute heaters, smoke machines, harpsichords and lights. OH and our DIRECTOR was stuck in Switzerland.
DID I TELL YOU IT WAS JANUARY 2021 ALREADY?
That time of year it’s pretty cold OBVIOUSLY. Normally you could comfort yourself with a nice warm drink… but our kettle kept cutting out the fuses and blowing the lights…
LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING: you’re strong and you can do it. Persevere and you will overcome any obstacle life throws at you.
This project was possible because of thousands of miracles and a handful of dream makers who all voluntarily came together in the process: Nick Hardisty, Simon Helbling, Suzzette Ortiz, Luke Priadi, Tzuri Baharier, Kaustubh Pote, John Mouratis, Cameron Hills, Thomas Allery, Vassil Nachev, Rebecca Breen, Edmund Taylor, Siobhan Cha Cha and Michelle Perkins.
When I think about it all I can only scratch my head and ask HOW? How did the NATIONAL RADIO in ARGENTINA come across our recording? OR another in THE NETHERLANDS? AND THEY WANTED TO play MY recordings? WOW.
Now you can watch our three winning composition competition videos yourself:
Ostinato in 7: A piece with a sense of heroism and about overcoming adversity.
Yellow: I hope that you’ll be able to hear joy, swallows chattering whilst performing their dance in the sky and OPTIMISM for the future.
The Spectre: The meaning behind the piece’s title is about ghostly spectres from the past that haunt us during our daily lives.
Would you believe that a competition created at home on the sofa, with no budget and limited by national lockdowns during a worldwide pandemic could ever take place and EVEN be successful?
Let me know in the comments what you think about the movies!
Ada Witczyk is a Polish-British violinist, winner of international competitions and #compositioncompetition founder. Ada enjoys inspiring audiences in new and innovative ways, especially filmed productions and using period instruments.
Image courtesy of Simon Leonardo.