History of the Auditorium

The extensive neo-Gothic building of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, situated at ul. Wojewódzka 33, is the object of the project entitled “Redevelopment of the Monumental Facility of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice “. The building was erected in 1899-1901 according to the design of Albert Weiss. It served as the school of construction crafts. In the 20’s of the 20th century, the building housed the Silesian Sejm. The first session of the Sejm was held on 10 October 1922.


According to the preserved source materials, the Auditorium was adorned with unusually rich polychrome paintings when it housed the Silesian Sejm in the years 1922-1929. These decorations depicted human figures, numerous emblems, and various ornaments. The paintings were created somewhere between 1904 and 1907 by Emil Noellner, a painter and an architect from Wrocław. After the war, the polychrome paintings were painted over several times. They have been meticulously restored during the implementation of the project.


The restored polychrome wall painting of the Saint Hedwig of Silesia, the patron of Silesia, deserves a particular attention. The painting has a symmetrical three-sectional layout. On the left, one can see The Oleśnica Castle and on the right the church of the Saint Lawrence in Mikulczyce. In the centre of the painting, one can see the Saint Hedwig. She is holding the miniature of the church and a compass in her right hand and in her left hand she has a scroll with an architectural drawing. Two persons are sitting at the foot of Saint Hedwig: on the left an architect with a pencil in hand and the books, and on the left a mason with a trowel, a steel square, and a crowbar. Behind those persons, two shields are placed with a compass and a triangle, a trowel, and a hammer painted on them. Above the shield, one can see an emblem-like crowned eagle. This polychrome painting has a rich symbolical meaning which relates to the construction crafts guilds.


A publication entitled “A New Polyphony of Art and History” has been published as a part of the project. The author of the text is Professor Ewa Chojecka. The publication is devoted to the history of the building of the Academy of Music in Katowice, particularly the Bolesław Szabelski Auditorium. The article focuses mainly on the paintings in the Auditorium which have been rediscovered during the renovation. The detailed description and explanations of symbols featured in the renovated polychrome decorations can be found in the publication.


You can read the publication here.


1. The Bolesław Szabelski Auditorium after completion of renovation and restoration works.


2. Aula im. Bolesława Szabelskiego w trakcie prac remontowo-konserwatorskich


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Academy of Music in Katowice
ul. Zacisze 3, 40-025 Katowice (office no. 3)