Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 1, no. 7

News of Competition Results!

III Witold Lutoslawski International Competition In Composition:

No FIRST Prize was awarded!

Tied for SECOND Place: Pierre Michel Bedard of France for “Symphonie pour orchestre” and Aleksander Szczecinski from Ukraine for “Flute Concerto.”

SPECIAL MENTION: Tobias Peter Schneid, Germany for “Symphony of Covert Portraits.”Three hundred and one symphonic scores from throughout the world were submitted, of which two hundred forty-six were deemed eligible. Kazimierz Kord, director of the National Philharmonic, Warsaw served as Chairman of the jury.

46th Annual Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition in New York:

FIRST PLACE WINNER: Deborah Lee, 19 year-old student of Ann Schein at the Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore, Maryland).

SECOND PLACE: Inna Faliks, 16 year-old student of Emilio del Rosario. Niles North High School in Skokie, IL.

THIRD Place: Shirley Yoo, 20 year-old student of Raymond Hanson, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore).The Chopin Piano Competition took place at the Kosciuszko Foundation on May 11-13th. The first prize winner received $2,500 for further piano study and will be presented in two performances: Chopin Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj, Poland in August and in a performance in Colorado in September. Second prize winner received a scholarship of $1,500 and $1,000 went to the third prize.

THE FIFTH AMERICAN NATIONAL CHOPIN COMPETITION was held March 12th in Miami, Florida. Fourteen participants competed for over $75,000 in cash prizes, concert engagements and an opportunity to represent the U.S. in the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw in October.

FIRST PRIZE: Jon Nakamatsu, 26 year-old from Los Gatos, CA received $15,000 cash award and a 13-day Concert Tour that included recital debuts in the Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center, NY on April 25 and the Terrace Theater in the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. on May 3rd. He also won two $1,000 prizes for the best Mazurka and Polonaise.

SECOND PRIZE: Andrew Armstrong, 21 year-old pianist from Detroit, Michigan. Also won $1,000 for the best Concerto performance.

THIRD PRIZE: Peter Miyamoto, 25 year-old from San Francisco won $6,000.

FOURTH PRIZE: Gabriela Montero, 25 year-old Venezuelan-born was awarded $3,500.

FIFTH & SIXTH PRIZES of $2,500 and $2,000 each were won by Melanie Hadley and Katherine Lee, respectively.This American Chopin Piano Competition is open exclusively to American pianists, native born or naturalized. The four top winners are sponsored by the Foundation for participation in the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw. They were also presented in an official pre-Warsaw performance at the Embassy of the Polish Republic in Washington, D.C. on April 27th.


THE XIII FRYDERYK CHOPIN INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION will take place in Warsaw, Poland from October 1 – 22nd. Out of 258 applicants (the largest number of entries in the competition’s history), 140 pianists qualified for the competition. They come from 33 countries with Japan and Poland having the largest number of 23 each. The chairman of the jury, Professor Jan Ekier, will be serving for the third time in this capacity. Others in the jury include Bella Davidovich, Halina Czerny-Stefanska, Lidia Grychtolowna, Hiroko Nakamura, Adam Harasiewicz, Piotr Paleczny.The top three winners will receive cash awards of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000. In addition $4,000 each will be granted for the best performance of a Polonaise, Mazurka and Concerto.

Calendar of Events

July 20-27, 1995: 4th PIANO FESTIVAL “CHOPIN CHEZ GEORGE SAND” will be held at La Chatre – Nohant, France. Master classes will be conducted by Jan Ekier (Poland), Marc LaForet (France), Adam Wibrowski (France), Fabio Bidini (Italy), and Akiko Ebi (Japan). In addition to daily recitals several seminars will be conducted by professors from France and Italy (Dr. Christian BourDr. Arnaud DerennesProf. Renzo Mantero).

The Polish premiere of Joanna Bruzdowicz’s opera, “The Penal Colony” after Franz Kafka took place June 9, 10 and 12th in the Teatr Narodowy in Warsaw. The composer brought American Christopher Martin to direct this presentation. Meir Minsky is music director with scenography by Wieslaw Olko. The opera is scheduled for an appearance in New York city in the fall.

AMERICAN WOMEN COMPOSERS MIDWEST sponsored a program, “Poland’s Music: The Feminine Voice – a flowering of creativity by its astonishing women composers.” at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago on Friday, June 9, 1995. In conjunction with the museum’s preview opening of its new exhibition “Women in Art,” this program was made possible by grants from the Polish National Alliance and AT&T. Special guest: Marta Ptaszynska, one of Poland’s leading composers. The choice of guest composer was very apt, since Marta seeks inspiration from paintings and several of her compositions were an outcome from her choices in art.

Did You Know That…

There is an interesting Polish connection in Haiti? In 1873 three thousand Polish soldiers were sent to Haiti to squelch the revolution against the authorities. The Polish soldiers, who had failed in their own struggle for freedom from the occupying forces in their own country, had been exiled. They soon learned the truth and sided with the rebels. The three hundred that survived intermarried with the native Haitian girls and preserved and nurtured the traditions of their homeland. An interesting part of this story, as related to me by Los Angeles architect, Jerzy Pujdak (who visited the island many years ago) is that not only do these descendants have Polish surnames, but several of them still use some Polish phrases (especially, when cursing). The music connection here is that one of the religious songs used during mass is set to the melody of a Polish folk song, “Goralu, czy ci nie zal?” (Highlander, are you not sad?). This same melody is widely used in Mexico and churches both in Haiti and Mexico are named after the Virgin Mary (Matka Boska Czestochowska), after the famous church in Czestochowa where the Poles won victory over the Swedes in the 17th century.


Newest release “Rarely heard solo piano music” features Gorecki’s Sonata no. 1 and 4 Preludes. Koch Int’l. Pianist David Arden also plays works by Arvo Part and Galina Ustovolskaya.

Grzegorz Nowak, who can boast of more than 30 recordings with the New York Philharmonic, is the new music director of the Edmonton Symphony in Canada. The Polish Music Reference Center just received a cassette and CD of Three Bach Concertos for Keyboard. Arti Recordings PD 3001. NOWAK conducting the Warsaw Philharmonic and Piotr Folkert, piano.

In June the best sellers List at Tower Records showed that Gorecki’s “Third Symphony” was still holding in popularity.No. 1 in vocal (non-opera) was the disc, “Evocation of the Spirit: Works by Gorecki and Part.” Robert SHAW and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers. Telarc. No. 7 was “Ikos: Music by Gorecki, Part and Tavener.” Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, England.

Featured Artist of the Month

Marek Szpakiewicz

Marek is a cellist from Poland studying with famed Professor Eleanor Schoenfeld at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles. He began his cello studies when he was 6 years old in Lublin, Poland. He came to the United States a few years ago to study at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, MD. From there he was awarded a summer fellowship to study at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara and then on to USC.Before coming to the U.S. he was a winner of several competitions in Poland and performed as a soloist in recitals and with orchestras in Poland and Holland. He has recorded for Polish Radio and Television.

In recent months he won several competitions in the Los Angeles area. He won the Young Artists’ Competition which resulted in his performance of the Dvorak “Concerto” with the Pasadena Orchestra under the direction of Wayne Reinecke (May 19, 1995). He was also the first prize winner of two separate competitions (Pasadena and Orange county) sponsored by Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity. His latest triumph was with the Phi Beta Fraternity (PI IOTA chapter) where he tied for first place with Roberto Cani, a violinist also studying at USC. They were awarded $300 each and a recital on June 25th where Marek Szpakiewicz performed the Zoltan Kodaly “Solo Sonata for violoncello” and a Bach “Prelude.”

Marek also participated in the biennial Piatigorsky Seminar held at USC. This year’s master classes were headed by famed Siegfried Palm, Zara Nelsova and Harvey Shapiro.



KAZIMIERZ WILKOMIRSKI, Poland’s outstanding cellist, conductor, composer and teacher passed away on March 7, 1995 at the age of 85. Several excellent miniatures for cello should be explored.

Born This Month

  • Tadeusz Baird (July 26, 1928)
  • Wojciech Kilar (July 17, 1932)
  • Artur Malawski (July 4, 1904)
  • Henryk Wieniawski (July 10, 1835)
  • Marta PtaszynskA (July 29, 1943)

Anniversaries in 1995

205th: Szymanowska (Dec 14, 1790 – Jul 25, 1831)
185th: Chopin (Mar 1, 1810 – Oct 17, 1849)
160th: Wieniawski (Jul 10, 1835 – Mar 31, 1880)
135th: Paderewski (Nov 6, 1860 – Jun 29, 1941)

115th: Wieniawski (Mar 31, 1880)
110th: Zarebski (Sep 11, 1885)

Anniversaries in 1996

120TH: Karlowicz (Dec 11, 1876 – Aug 2, 1909)
95TH: Laks (Nov 1, 1901 -)

165th: Szymanowska (Jul 25, 1831)
55th: Paderewski (Jun 29, 1941)
15th: Serocki (Jan 9, 1981)
15th: Baird (Sep 2, 1981)
5th: Panufnik (Oct 27, 1991)

Anniversaries in 1997

100th: Tansmzn (Jun 12, 1897 – )

125th: Moniuszko (Jun 4, 1872)
60th: Szymanowski (Mar 29, 1937)
40th: Malawski (Dec 26, 1957)

SUMMARY: The only Polish composer’s Centennial to celebrate in the next few years is Alexandre Tansman’s. In addition to the composer’s guitar pieces and the “Piano Trio,” one could schedule performances of his:

  • SONATA no. 3” composed in 1932. Difficult. In three movements: fugue, nocturne and toccata.
  • QUATUOR a CORDES no. 8“. Melodious with a sense of rhythmic charm and decisive string writing. Med-difficult.
  • SEPTUOR” (fl, ob, cl, bsn, tpt, vla, vcl). Difficult. Playful, sometimes devilish syncopations and expressive melodic lines. Three movements. Dedicated to Bela Bartok.Tansman scores available from Theodore Presser. (Notes taken from their catalog).