UNESCO City of Music

since 2023

It is music and the institutions promoting it that have turned Bydgoszcz into a city with exceptionally vibrant cultural life. Therefore, large-scale investments have been undertaken to promote culture. Three multimillion projects are currently underway – notably all of them related to music.

The Opera Nova is going to be extended with the fourth circle holding a new chamber music hall with nearly 500 seats as well as a screening room. Moreover, the Philharmonic Hall is just about to extend its premises. The existing hall will be connected with a new one, housing a small concert hall with 350 seats, a stage for a 30-member orchestra and a 30-singer choir.

Additionally, the F. Nowowiejski Music Academy in Bydgoszcz is to have a new campus constructed on a 3 ha plot featuring 4 concert halls, recital rooms, orchestra pits, a stage for opera and organ rooms as well as classrooms and student dormitories.

The cultural potential of Bydgoszcz remains as yet untapped and constantly evolves. The Philharmonic Hall in Bydgoszcz has risen to fame thanks to its acoustics and is considered to be one of the best in Europe. It is in this hall where one of the most prestigious piano contest in Poland takes place, namely the International I.J. Paderewski Piano Competition. Also, the Opera Nova, located at the bank of the Brda river, has been attracting the best soloist and musicians while the Bydgoszcz Opera Festival has become not only a brand recognized worldwide but also the largest review of diverse music genres ranging from opera, operetta to musical and ballet. Every year the Opera invites the most interesting theatre groups from all over the world.

Annually, Bydgoszcz offers nearly 100 festivals, reviews and cyclical events, many of which revolve around culture.

The most important festivals include:

The Bydgoszcz Opera Festival – an international and also the largest in Poland review of various musical genres ranging from opera, operetta to musical and ballet.

The Bydgoszcz Music Festival – an international festival organized by the I.J. Paderewski Philharmonic Hall. It has been staging classical music, both early and contemporary since 1963.

The International DRUMS FUSION Festival – the largest and the only festival in Poland dedicated entirely to percussion instruments and percussion virtuosos. Thanks to this festival Bydgoszcz has its entry in the Guinness World Record Book – in 2016 during the 10th  edition a record was set in playing the world largest drum. There are also two Polish records broken (2022 and 2023) in the category of “the most people playing recycled instruments”. DRUMS FUSION was the first festival in Bydgoszcz to introduce an ecological, reusable festival mug.

The International Contemporary Music and Visual Arts Festival Mózg – a multicultural event for artists interested in all contemporary music genres, performance, audio and video installations, in which music plays an underlying role.

The I.J. Paderewski International Piano Competition and A. Rubinstein International Piano Competition.

There is no shortage of jazz music festivals in Bydgoszcz: the most important are Bydgoszcz Jazz Festival andBydgoszcz Jazz Academy (project by The Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music and Municipal Cultural Center in Bydgoszcz). Since 2013, within the frames of BJA, the academic teachers – well-known and respected masters of instruments – are presented, as well as the effects of their work with talented students, achieving remarkable results under their supervision.

The Chamber Music Festival “Muzyka u Źródeł” as well as the Bydgoszcz Baroque Scene, featuring both more traditional and up-to-date arrangements of baroque music rank among some of the most interesting initiatives. Also, the Fonomo Music & Film Festival devised an original formula combining film, music, image and sound. The Municipal Centre of Culture in Bydgoszcz features every year a several dozen of various music events, among many other, the Folk and Traditional Music Festival Ethniesy.


Anna Tarnowska
Deputy Director for UNESCO and International Programs
Municipal Cultural Center in Bydgoszcz
tel. 791-484-334

Facts and Figures

Bydgoszcz ranks among the largest Polish cities. It is located at the meeting point of five regions, each of them with diverse culture and history. The city has always been ambiguous and therefore intriguing and attractive.

The Brda River lies at its heart and life seems to revolve around water. That is the way it has always been here. The river used to give work to those toiling on barges, it used to drive industrial development, and as a tributary of the Vistula River that also crosses Bydgoszcz, it  used to link the city with other places in Poland and Europe.