Waldemar Dąbrowski

General Director of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

Waldemar Dąbrowski

Graduate of the Department of Electronics at the Warsaw University of Technology. He was awarded scholarships by The British Council, Goethe Institute and the U.S. Department of State. He also completed the Executive Program for Leadership Development at Harvard University.

He was co-founder and manager of theRiviera-Remont Club Centre (1973-1978), which gained popularity due to its unique cultural projects. Its guests included Michelangelo Antonioni, Julio Cortázar, Nikita Mikhalkov, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Krzysztof Kieślowski and other outstanding artists.

His university activities resulted in a proposition to take up the position of Deputy Director of the Cultural Office at the Warsaw City Council, which he held during the years 1979-1981.

In 1982, together with Jerzy Grzegorzewski, he became manager of the Studio Art Centre in Warsaw, a leading cultural institution in those times, for which he established an autonomic management office, promoting leading artists of Polish theatre, music and art.

Together with Franciszek Wybrańczyk, he founded the reputed orchestra Sinfonia Varsovia, whose music directors amongst others were Jerzy Maksymiuk and Yehudi Menuhin. He was the producer of over 70 performances at the Studio Theatre, including the famous staging of Tamara, which was the first theatre performance in Warsaw financed with private funding. During that period, the Studio Theatre went on numerous tours all over the world, participating in the most important theatre festivals.

In 1990 he became Deputy Minister of Culture and Art – the President of the Board of the Cinematography Committee. He held this position for four years, carrying out a thorough reform of Polish cinematography.

He was also the initiator of the Festival of Stars in Międzyzdroje, an annual summer event, which became an arena for the presentation of the most eminent achievements in various artistic fields.

Out of his initiative, golf was reactivated in Poland as a sport. From 1992 till 1996 President, and later up to now - Honorary President of the Polish Golf Association.

During the years 1994-1998 he was President of the Polish Agency for Foreign Investment (PAIZ), which under his direction was distinguished for achievements in European promotional investments in Chicago in 1997.

In 1998 he became General Director of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera.

During the years 2002-2005, he was Minister of Culture of the Republic of Poland. His greatest achievements include the passing of the cinematographic bill resulting in the establishment of the Polish Film Institute.

In 2004 he set up the programme CHOPIN 2010. He gave a new shape to the Fryderyk Chopin Institute and he ascribed to it the responsibility for the newly built Chopin Museum and Żelazowa Wola, managed up to that time by the Fryderyk Chopin Society. Thanks to this, four investment programmes were implemented, and as a result the following have been achieved:

  • the new multimedia Fryderyk Chopin Museum in the Ostrogski Palace in Warsaw;
  • the modern building of the Chopin Centre (the headquarters, amongst others, of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, the Fryderyk Chopin Society, and the International Federation of Chopin Societies);
  • the estate in Żelazowa Wola has gained an entirely new appearance and the surrounding park has been thoroughly renovated.
  • the previous splendour has been restored to the church in Brochów – the place of Chopin’s christening.

As Minister of Culture he founded the Book Institute in Cracow, whose mission is to popularise exceptional literature and writers in Poland and abroad, as well as to organise study visits for translators. He also established the Theatre Institute and the Audiovisual Institute in Warsaw. He also initiated the inclusion of the Culture sector in the operational programmes of the National Development Plan for 2007-2013, which, amongst others, made possible the initiating of over 200 new investments in the cultural field.

In October 2008 he was re-appointed General Director of the Polish National Opera.

In January 2008 he was nominated Chairman of the Chopin 2010 Celebrations Committee by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski.

In November 2010 in Munich he was elected a board member of the Opera Europa, an organisation for professional opera companies in Europe.

In April 2012 Waldemar Dąbrowski accepted the minister of culture’s proposal to appoint him the ministerial plenipotentiary for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.

Distinctions, Orders and Decorations

      • L’ordre de la Légion d’honneur and Commandeur des Arts et Lettres awarded by the French Government;
      • Honorary Knight Commander of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire granted by Queen Elizabeth II;
      • Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern und Schulterband awarded by the president of the Federal Republic of Germany;
      • The title of Meritorious to Warsaw awarded by the Warsaw City Council;
      • A honorary doctorate from Keimyung University  in Daegu, Republic of Korea (November 2009);
      • A Golden Gloria Artis Medal for Merit to Culture granted by the minister of culture of Poland;
      • Officer Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta granted by the president of Poland;
      • Commander of the Order of Polonia Restituta granted by the president of Poland;
                • The NIPTEL Polish Media Award (September 2010);
                • The Honorary Felix Warszawski Award for accomplishments in theatre (October 2010);
                • On 1 March 2011, during the concert closing the Chopin Year at the Warsaw Philharmonic, he was awarded a golden Gloria Artis Medal for Merit to Culture by Bogdan Zdrojewski, minister of culture and national heritage for the efforts he put into the preparation and organisation of the Chopin bicentenary in Poland and abroad.