Krakow, the city of music

Krakow’s Old Town historic area resounds with music of every kind as street musicians vie for your attention and spare change at every corner.


More demanding audience may choose between frequent concerts and recitals of classical music and diverse musical offerings of numerous clubs. There is also no shortage of shops selling CDs and audiocassettes in downtown Krakow where the latest releases of the world’s top acts are available as soon as they are launched in Paris or Berlin. Radio stations mostly fill the local airwaves with recent international hits and their domestic counterparts, though a few specialize in jazz or classical tunes. The Old Town’s huge central Grand Square often serves as an open-air concert venue when some ensemble (usually a pop band) takes up the makeshift stage by the Town Hall Tower.

Krakow's musical trends

Single personality towers above the local musical scene - Mr. Krzysztof Penderecki who ranks among the world’s greatest living composers of modern classical music (while his wife Elzbieta is arguably Poland’s most influential impresario nowadays). Nonetheless the latest works are rarely performed in Krakow, and even renderings of the 20th-century classics happen rather seldom as the well-known 19th-century and earlier music is the king in the city’s concert halls.

In the early-21st century Poland’s mass audience seems firmly tuned in to pop acts that take inspiration from the musical traditions of various peoples in the Central-East Europe. Yet it has little bearing on the city’s vibrant club scene divided between varied DJ sets, alternative pop and indie rock, hip-hop, blues, reggae, traditional rock and still more traditional jazz that occurs most popular with club operators.

Most popular  venues for music in Krakow

Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra plays regularly in its Filharmonia concert hall at 1 Zwierzyniecka street where also most foreign orchestras, ensembles and soloists perform on their visits to the city as well as the city's other musicians. The hall also resounds occasionally with pop music.

For decades, the Krakow Opera Company had to make use of the immense stage and plush auditorium of the Teatr Slowackiego theater at Sw. Ducha Pl. which often provides shelter to varied musical events. Since December 2008 the brand-new, purpose-built opera house at Lubicz street has become the city's main venue for operatic productions as well as operetta shows and ballet performances.

Krakow’s classical-music orchestras, ensembles, choirs, etc. usually give concerts in smaller halls such as Florianka at 8 Basztowa street. Also, they often lease the city’s Gothic churches, famed for their splendid acoustics, for a night or two. Throughout summer there are frequent open-air concerts - in gardens, the Old Town's beautiful courtyards, on squares, etc. 

Krakow’s clubs are plentiful but usually not large - few can seat more than 100 and those with a seating capacity of 200-300 are considered really big. Recorded music is the staple, with live performances two or three nights a week.

Some Krakow DJs gain local fame, while club celebrities from other Polish cities and from abroad spin here occasionally too. Krakow's DJ-produced 'club music' is restricted practically to Friday and Saturday nights and it largely boils down to house though some places do try diversify into breaks, jungle, drum'n'bass, nu jazz, progressive, and whatever.

Tags: | Poland | Krakow | Music | Nightlife |


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