International Festival of Sacred Music „Gaude Mater”, organized in Częstochowa for over 20 years, is a music showcase of the city and the region. Since its very beginning, its main aim is presentation of the music of three greatest monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Thanks to the intercultural dialogue and appearance of beauty of music from different parts of the world, a listener opens the mind to other denominations and learns being tolerant. At time of feuds and conflicts based on world outlook it is particularly valuable. Cognition is the first step to acceptance of dissimilarity and diversity, which influences the colour of the culture in a positive way.
Częstochowa with the Monastery of Jasna Gora, the aim of millions of pilgrims from the whole world, is a natural place for presentation of sacred music. A spiritual capital of Poland, with hospitable walls of local temples, attracts tourists form Poland and abroad.
The second important mission of the Festival is promotion of Polish music. Each year in the programme there are concerts with Festival’s premieres, containing pieces written to Festival’s order or for the Festival directly. The Festival has been awarded with many prizes for promotion of Polish composers and Polish sacred music in the international prominence (Prize of Saint Friar Albert, nomination for TOTUS Award). Such concerts have brought more than 200 premieres within 20 years. Each year the composers receive an order for a new liturgical mass, which is performed for the first time during the Liturgical Inauguration of the Festival.
For ten years the Festival’s programme includes promotion of music from Jasna Gora. This comprehensive collection of baroque pieces, which preserved in archives of Pauline Fathers Monastery in Jasna Gora, is promoted by concerts, radio and television recordings, CDs and scores publications systematically.
Promotion of Polish composers is „Gaude Mater” Festival’s priority, the same concerns supporting of young artists. Together with „Musica Sacra” Institute in Warsaw the Festival organizes International Composers Competition for a sacred piece with Latin text for a mixed a cappella choir. Each year the young composers from the whole world take part in this contest. The awarded pieces’ premieres take place during the Festival in Częstochowa, they are recorded here and Publisher on CDs. The Festival cooperates with the most outstanding European choirs: „The Holst Singers”, „Jauna Muzika” and „Schola Cantorum Gedanensis” and thanks to such partnership the awarded pieces are also performed during the concerts in London, Vilnius and Gdańsk.
The Festival can be named as an interdisciplinary event owing to its accompanying events: art exhibitions, theatre and ballet spectacles, scientific sessions and seminars and Etnight.