Dawid Kusz was born in 1979 in Rzeszów, Poland. He joined the Dominican Order in 1998 and was ordained a priest in 2005. He graduated with honors from the Academy of Music in Krakow with a degree in Composition, Interpretation and Musical Education on the Arts Education track with a focus in conducting vocal and vocal-instrumental ensembles as well as teaching music and theory. In 2014, he earned his doctorate in conducting from the Academy of Music in Krakow. In 2012, he began to study composition under Professor Zbigniew Bujarski, an area he graduated in under Professor Józef Rychlik in 2016. He conducted the choir and orchestra at World Youth Day in Krakow (2016) and during the 800th Jubilee Mass for the Order of Preachers (2017). He is an adjunct professor at the Intercollegiate Institute of Church Music (Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow). He is also a member of the Archdiocese’s Commission on Liturgical Music.
Ite in Mundum: The Premier of Dawid Kusz OP’s New Album
Father Dawid Kusz, an well-known and respected Dominican composer of liturgical music, crafted a new album that has just been released by the Dominican Liturgical Center Foundation. The album includes carefully selected pieces from his body of work over the last eight years. The concert premiering this work took place in Krakow on Thursday, July 25.
“It has been 11 years since my last album release, Hail Mary,” writes Father Kusz in the introduction. “I listen to my last album as I write these words, remembering the wonderful atmosphere that surrounded the recording of Hail Mary. I also recall Song of Hope, which was released three years prior, in 2005. I will never forget the positive emotions and exuberance we experienced recording it. Although I lost contact with some of those involved in these projects because of the passage of time and change in pace of life, I can listen to their voices again, and think back to the special, shared moments. It was a really good time,” he added.
Ite in Mundum includes pieces composed for a variety of occasions including the Holy Mass, celebrated by Pope Francis in the Lateran, which concluded the Jubilee Year honoring the 800th anniversary of the Dominican Order (“Alleluia”), the Holy Mass celebrating the 130th anniversary of the Krakow Academy of Music (“Acclaim Praise to You, Word of God”), and recurring Advent Liturgical Music Workshops organized by the Wroclaw Liturgical Vocal School, Missa Vroclaviensis, which received a new instrumental cover for the recording.
In addition, the album Ite in Mundum, includes works written for concert performances, such as a three-part Gloria, which was a nod to the work of English composer John Rutter. The Gloria was composed for the anniversary of Dominican Schola at the Cathedral in Zywiec, Poland. He also wrote “The Shepard Has Left Us” and “Adoramus Te, Christi” for the Lublin Festival of Lenten Singing in 2018. Other songs from Ite in Mundum, such as his Salve Regina and Tota Pulchra Est Maria,are sung by well-known Krakow choirs, including Psalmodia and Camerata Jagellonica. Father Kusz notes that, “although [the repertoire] is difficult and demanding,” it can be used in the celebration of the Mass.
The album was recorded mid-year in the remarkable church of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Krakow, under the careful watch of skilled producers.
“The recording was an amazing adventure,” described Father Kusz. “The actions, gifts, and emotions of many people combined together. We were aware that we were creating something new and very personal; something that future generations would listen to.”
The official premier of the album was part of the Extraordinary Music Workshops on Thursday, July 25, at the Dominican Basilica in Krakow. “In my opinion, the music in the concert was extremely diverse in terms of mood, which reflects a truth,” sayed Miłosz Kowalewski, a student from Gdansk, Poland, who attended the workshop. “There was peace, melancholy, but also joy. The sounds that filled the church affected me so deeply that I was moved to tears. I love being able to experience God’s beauty through art,” he recalled.
The church welcomed local sacred music lovers and tourists to the concert in addition to workshop attendants. “I don’t go to Church,” said one young man to a Dominican brother, “but tonight was an amazing experience! Do you play this music more often?” he asked, after he entered the concert because he heard the music from the street.
The album is available for sale online. Starting in August, it is available through iTunes, Google Play, Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal.