Warsaw Autumn [Warszawska Jesień] is the largest international Polish festival of contemporary music. Indeed, for many years, it was the only festival of its type in Central and Eastern Europe. It was founded in 1956 by two composers, Tadeusz Baird and Kazimierz Serocki, and officially established by the Head Board of the Polish Composers' Union. It is an annual event, normally taking place in the second half of September and lasts for 8 days. The first festival took place in 10–20 October 1956. In 1957 and 1982 there was no festival.
The first years of the festival, reaching back to the late 80's, was a period of particular magnificence. From the beginning of its existence the festival's program foundations were clear. The festival's leading aim was (and is) to present new music from Poland and around the world.
The Polish Composers' Union still plays a large role in the organisation of the festival, and the director of the festival is currently Tadeusz Wielecki.
- Cynthia E Bylander, The Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music, 1956-1961: Its Goals, Structures, Programs, and People, The Ohio State University, 1989. PhD thesis.
- Lisa Marie Jakelski, The Changing Seasons of the Warsaw Autumn. Contemporary Music in Poland, 1960-1990, Berkeley: University of California, 2009. PhD thesis.
- Lisa Jakelski, Making New Music in Cold War Poland: The Warsaw Autumn Festival, 1956-1968, University of California Press, 2016, 272 pp.