Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Archive Anecdotes

Snippets from the city's archives

Oct 30, 2015

Two hundred years ago, on 30 October 1815, a Polish musician and impresario, Feliks Janiewicz, presented Edinburgh’s first Music Festival. Janiewicz moved to Scotland in the early 1800s and was to exercise a strong influence on the world of music in Scotland for over three decades until his death in 1848.

A man of many talents, he worked as a violinist, conductor and composer while also organizing cultural and charity events. He travelled widely around England, Ireland and Scotland as a member of the group of people who established the London Philharmonic Society in 1813. Additionally, he ran his own store with musical instruments, and also a publicity business.

In 1815 he was approached to co-organise the first music festival in Edinburgh. This took place from 30 October to 5 November 1815 and was hugely successful. Apparently the guests who visited Edinburgh for the occasion occupied every single vacancy in all the guest houses and hotels in the city.

Feliks Janiewicz lived in Edinburgh at 84 Great King Street in the New Town.When he died in 1848 he was buried in Warriston Cemetery where his grave exists to this day.

Acknowledgment: Adapted from an article by Jaromir Gasiorek on the website of Polish Scottish Heritage.



In 1816  'An account of the First Edinburgh Musical Festival, held between the 30th October and 5th November, 1815' was published.

A copy of this is held by the National Library of Scotland and can be downloaded from the NLS website.


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