Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 11, no. 8

PMC News

Looking Ahead To Fall

The celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the Polish Music Center continue this fall. We have several exciting concerts in store, featuring fantastic performers and informative speakers. Admission to all events is free. Come join us and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Polish music, from the Renaissance to today!


Early Polish Music concert

As a part of the USC Music at Noon concert Series, the Polish Music Center presents a talented array of Thornton School of Music students performing little-known music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

United University Church sanctuary
USC University Park Campus
Hoover Ave. & Jefferson Blvd.
14 September 2005, Noon


The Szymanowski Project: Songs of the Mad Muezzin 
/ a theatrical multimedia fantasy /

The Polish Music Center is sponsoring a new project by USC Vocal Arts graduate student Timur Bekbosunov in which he explores the dangerous and esoteric world of mystical-erotic desire found in the songs and writings of Karol Szymanowski. See www.madmuezzinproject.org for more information on this interesting multimedia event.

Arnold Schoenberg Institute (ASI) auditorium
USC University Park Campus
Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Ave.
24 September 2005 at 7:00 pm
25 September 2005 at 3:00 pm
Admission is free, but due to limited seating, a reservation is required –

Call (213) 384-8291 or email your reservation request to: info@madmuezzinproject.org.


Annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital

The Paderewski Lecture-Recital is an annual event which honors the achievements of the great statesman and musician, I. J. Paderewski (pictured at left) , by bringing great modern Polish musicians to USC. This year’s event features composer and percussionist Marta Ptaszyńska, who will be in residence on the USC campus for a week, working with students. Prof. Ptaszyńska will share her views about composing as well as personal annecdotes about Paderewski. The musical program will feature her newest piece, Pianophonia, as well as the American premiere of Elegia for solo viola, performed by some of the finest musicians in the Los Angeles and San Diego area.

Newman Hall
USC University Park Campus
Trousdale Parkway & Childs Way
14 October 2005 at 8:00 pm
Reception to follow


Henry Vars Gala Concert

Vars with his big band in Lwów, 1941, courtesy of the Vars Family archives

Celebrating the recent donation of the Henry Vars Manuscript collection to the Polish Music Center as well as Polish Independence Day. The PMC and the USC Big Band, led by Shelley Berg, will join forces to present a program of Vars’s catchiest tunes from the 20’s and 30’s.

Bovard Auditorium
USC University Park Campus
Trousdale Parkway
11 November 2005 at 8:00 pm
Reception to follow

There will be more details about these events in upcoming Newsletters. Please contact the Polish Music Center at (213) 821-1356 or polmusic@usc.edu with any questions.


Celebrating Polish Foklore

Some of the oldest and best known Polish folk melodies have acquired a new life. Six young performers (who sing and play a variety of instruments) found a new and exciting way to update the music of Polish countryside. By exploring the rich legacy of Polish folklore and combining ancient instruments with techno-modern sound generation techniques, the Warsaw Village Band hit the jackpot of appreciation among the audiences all around the world. Since their inception in 1997, the Warsaw Village Band’s repertoire consists of folk dance melodies, popular ballads and rustic songs. The instrumentation (drums and fiddles, including the 16th century traditional Polish suka, whose strings are stopped, lyra-like, by the fingernails of its player) and the exuberant voices combine to produce a unique experience of sheer joy and spontaneity.

Stéphane Fougčre, a reviewer for the French magazine Ethnotempos, had summed it best: “Warsaw Village Band has such vitality and freshness that it would be stupid not to be seduced by it,” and the Rheinische Post/Germany in a January 2004 review praised the artistic approach of this uniquely talented group: “The success of the WARSAW VILLAGE BAND stems from its musicians’ great love for their national musical heritage and their will to preserve the old musical traditions. For these musicians, however, preservation does not mean restoration but. . . the transportation of the old songs spirit into the here and now. Polka gets a shot of Techno, and despite the acoustic instruments, the band conjures up sounds that have electronic impact.”

Seasoned veterans of many concert stages and featured performers on a variety of television broadcasts, the Warsaw Village Band are also have a series of CD recordings, including Kapela ze wsi Warszawa [The Band from the Village of Warsaw], People’s Spring, and Uprooting. With tracks such as Polka from Sieradz Region, Lament, When Johnny went to Fight the War, and their artistic homage to Józef Lipiński or Kapela Mariana Pelki, the Warsaw Village Band have conquered the public with their imaginative music making and garnered many prestigious awards, including the BBC3 World Music Award in 2004.

The musicians say that “Our activity not only concentrates on music, but also focuses on everything which is associated with Polish roots, especially what is condemned to be forgotten, and yet can inspire and enrich contemporary culture. Our passion is traveling to small villages and visiting old musicians who tell us about their tradition, customs and ancient habits which are passing away. They hand down to us the part of this tradition in form of music, which is the base and main inspiration for our further works.”

The Los Angeles area premiere of Warsaw Village Band will take place on August 18th at 8:00 PM at the Skirball Cultural Center, as part of the Sunset Concert Series. Further information on the concert can be obtained by calling Skirball at (310)440-4500, ext: 4976, or e-mailing extern@skirball.org. The Polish Music Center is organizing a group to attend this concert, and as a group we will receive free parking for up to 10 cars (carpooling is preferred) – please let us know if you would like to join us by emailing polmusic@usc.edu. The WVB will also play two shows on August 19th at the California Plaza in Downtown LA at noon and 8:00 pm, as a part of the Grand Performancesseries. All concerts are offered with free admission.


Poles at “Music Without Borders”

The International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) World New Music Festival 2006 will be held in Stuttgart, Germany from 14 to 30 July 2006. The title “Grenzenlos” [Without Borders] is an hommage to the great variety of different cultures which all are integrated in the festival either by the ISCM itself or by other countries related to it.

The Polish nomination committee for the event (Maciej Zieliński (chair), Edward Sielicki, Jarosław Siwiński and Adam Sławiński) has recommended the following pieces for performance:

  • Symphony for mixed choir and symphony orchestra by Marcin Błażewicz
  • Khadn for strings and percussion by Monika Kędziora
  • HeartPiece – Double Opera by Krzysztof Knittel / John King
  • The Study of space II for string orchestra by Bartosz Kowalski-Banasewicz
  • Assieds-toi, Mariette for soprano and instruments by Artur Kroschel
  • E-motion for two button accordions and electronic media by Ryszard Osada

The 2005 ISCM Festival was held from 15 – 24 April 2005 in Croatia with the theme of “Music of the Cities”. The following compositions by Polish composers were featured this year: Bend by Krzysztof Wolek, Adieu, for out-of-tune pianino and orchestra by Zygmunt Krauze (composer and solist), Symphony of the Circles by Bartosz Kowalski-Banasewicz, and Histoire III, for harpsichord and tape by Krzysztof Knittel.

Scholarly Honor For Ptaszyńska

Marta Ptaszyńska (pictued above) has been appointed to the Helen B. and Frank L. Sulzberger endowed Professorship at the University of Chicago. Ms. Ptaszyńska has been on the faculty at Chicago since 1998. Also an active composer and performer, she has continued to create beautiful new works during her time at Chicago, several of which will be performed at the PMC’s Paderewski Lecture on 14 October 2005. Ms. Ptaszyńska will be the honored guest lecturer for this event.

Wit’s Directorship Extended

Polish Minister of Culture, Waldemar Dąbrowski, has extended the appointment of Antoni Wit (pictured at left) as a director of the Warsaw National Philharmonic until 2010. Anotni Wit, one of the greatest Polish conductors, was first appointed as the director in 2002. Before that time, he was the director of Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz (1974-1977), Orchestra and Choir of the Polish Radio in Kraków (1977-1983), Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra (1983-2000) and Orquesta Filarmonica de Gran Canaria (in Las Palmas). Wit has recorded over 100 albums. In 2004 his rendition of Penderecki’s St. Luke’s Passion was awarded the Classical Internet Award and was nominated for a Grammy.

Monsieur Chopin In Chicago

Monsieur Chopin, a new play featuring the romantic story and music of the Polish pianist-composer Frédéric Chopin, will have its world preview premiere at Chicago’s Royal George Theatre on August 30, 2005. Monsieur Chopin marks the second in a trilogy about composers and their music, which was preceded by George Gershwin Alone and will culminate with BeethovenGeorge Gershwin Alone will have its final performance on Sunday, July 31, 2005, following a year-long residency at the same theatre.

Created by the same team that brought George Gershwin Alone to life, (Hershey Felder, author and Joel Zwick, director) Monsieur Chopin begins at Frédéric Chopin’s salon at 9 Square d’Orléans in Paris. Monsieur Chopin will teach a piano lesson that actually took place on 4 March, 1848, just days after the February 1848 revolution. As Monsieur Chopin’s piano lesson unfolds, he reveals secrets about the art of the piano and composition, as well as secrets about himself. Considered by his contemporaries, and now by history, as the true “Poet of the Piano,” Monsieur Chopin features some of the pianist-composer’s most beautiful and enduring music.

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was born in Żelazowa-Wola just outside of Warsaw, Poland to a French father and Polish mother. At the age of two, the family took up residence in Warsaw and by the age of seven, the young master had his first composition published. He played regularly for royalty and was feted as one of Poland’s true geniuses. He began musical travels through Europe in 1829 and by 1831, he arrived in Paris where he became the most sought after piano teacher and salon pianist of his day. In 1836, at Paris’ Hotel de France, he met the country’s most famous novelist, the authoress George Sand. Six years older than Chopin, Sand was the sensitive, elegant and reserved artist’s opposite in every possible way. However, it was only a matter of time before a romance blossomed and Sand became the most loving and giving partner that Chopin would ever have. Chopin died of a long-term illness on October 17, 1849 in Paris at the age of 39. Frédéric Chopin’s incalculable contribution to the world of music will forever be a life-long study for anyone who comes in contact with the most beautiful music which he gave the world.

Hershey Felder is an actor and Steinway Concert Artist and former Scholar in Residence at Harvard University’s Department of Music, as well as composer. Mr. Felder comes from a traditionally classical musical and theatrical background, appearing in stage roles on Broadway, Off-Broadway and regionally. His studies on Chopin have taken him across the world and include studying the composer’s history, period history, manuscripts and living in Chopin’s still existing residences. Included in the creative process, is a scholarly relationship with the United States’ foremost author and professor of Chopin Studies, Jeffrey Kallberg. Mr. Kallberg is both a Professor of Music and Chairman of the Music Department at the University of Pennsylvania.

Monsieur Chopin
Royal George Theatre, 1641 North Halsted Street, Chicago IL
Performance schedule: Tuesday-Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m., beginning August 30, 2005
Tickets: theater box office at (312) 988-9000, or Ticketmaster at (312) 902-1500 or www.ticketmaster.com

Symphony For The Warsaw Uprising

Krzysztof Aleksander Janczak is the composer behind the creation of a work in commemoration of the Warsaw Uprising, which will be premiered on Sunday, July 31st. Sunday’s concert will take place on the Krasiński Square in Warsaw. It will be preceded by a mass with Cardinal Józef Glemp. The piece will be performed the Białystok Philharmonic under direction of Marcin Nałecz-Niesiołowski.

Janczak’s idea for the symphony was approved by the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising, which commissioned the piece. The musician said, “I do not imagine any form of compensation for the composition – creation of this symphony was a matter of principal for me”. “Symphony of the Heroes of the Warsaw Uprising is,” according to he composer “a tribute to an older generation. The creation of the work was inspired by my grandmother’s stories. She was a liaison officer during the Uprising. In preparation for the writing process, I spent many hours in the museum; I read a lot of books and memoirs of the participants.” The work is in four movements. “The sound of the symphony is a combination of European classical music of the 20th century and film music that also fascinates me.”

Krzysztof Aleksander Janczak was born in 1983 in Warsaw and currently is a student of Musicology at the Warsaw University. He is an author of music to Polish and international short films presented in Cannes, Taipei and Los Angeles. He is also a co-creator of the Teges Tanges Quartet, which specializes in the tango compositions of Astor Piazzola.

Kord To Direct Warsaw National Opera

Kazimierz Kord (pictured above) has been appointed as the new musical director of the Warsaw’s Grand Theater-National Opera by the Polish Minister of Culture. Kord’s operatic experience includes working with the New York Metropolitan Opera in San Francisco, London’s Covent Garden and Munich’s Staatsoper. At the Warsaw National Opera last year he prepared Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame [Queen of Spades]. During the 1960’s he was the artistic director of the City Music Theater in Kraków, then he became the director of the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, and from 1977 to 2001 he was the artistic director of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. His debut as the new musical director of the National Opera will be a performance of Moniuszko’s opera Halka on 25 September 2005.

New Philharmonic In Słupsk

The City Board of Słupsk has agreed to change the name of the orchestra from State Chamber Orchestra to Synfonia Baltica Philharmonic. The orchestra has met the criteria for some time now, having all of the requisite instrumental sections and over 50 instrumentalist members. The Słupsk State Chamber Orchestra was created in 1976 and four years later the current director, Bohdan Jarmołowicz, was appointed. The biggest success of the orchestra was a Grammy award nomination for a recording with saxophone player Greg Banaszak. Synfonia Baltica Philharmonic in Słupsk is the 14th philharmonic orchestra in Poland.

Michael Nyman In Poland

Between the 6th and 9th of July, English film composer Michael Nyman was in Poland recording the music to a Polish movie entitled Jestem [I am], directed by Dorota Kędzierzawska. He personally conducted the 30-person Sinfonia Varsovia as well as recorded the piano tracks for the score.

Michael Nyman is regarded as one of the greatest film composers in the world. He is most famous for his score to Jane Campion’s The Piano, but also for his cooperation with Peter Greenaway. Dorota Kędzierzawska admited before the visit, “We didn’t have high hopes but we decided to show Jestem to Michael Nyman. I still can’t believe that very soon this extraordinary composer will come to Warsaw to record music to my movie. Sometimes even the biggest dreams come true.” The film will premiere at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia.

Baltic Phil Hosts Giergiew’s Orchestra

The legendary Ensemble of the Marinski Theater in St. Petersburg, under the direction of Walery Giergiew, will be hosted by the F. Chopin Baltic Philharmonic at their Baltic Festival in Gdańsk. The Ensemble will perform Musorgski’s Khovanschtchysna overture, Borodin’s 2nd Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony. The concert will take place on 11 August 2005 at 7:00 pm in the Arch Cathedral in Gdańsk-Oliwa.

Walery Gergiew, Russian Maestro and artistic director of the Marinski Theater in St. Petersburg, is considered to be one of the greatest living conductors. He is admired around the world for the incredible art, energy and passion of his conducting. From the opera house instrumental ensemble of the Marinski Theater he created the best Symphony Orchestra in Russia. Just like Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is considered one of the best in USA, the Marinski Theater Orchestra has no rival in Russia.

Omsky In Beverly Hills

Saturday, August 6th at 8 pm

Internationally renowned Polish cellist Jakub Jerzy Omsky, Professor of Cello at the Beverly Hills International Festival and Masterclasses and accepting position of Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at the Wichita State University will perform Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme” for cello and orchestra at the Beverly Hills International Music Festival. The great Rococo Variations, a staple of cello repertoire since it was first performed in 1877, is one of the most difficult virtuoso pieces ever written for cello. Last time Omsky played this piece it was at a sold out performance at the famous Chautauqua Festival with maestro Uriel Segal. Limited space, reserve your ticket early!

Beverly Hills International Music Festival
Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church
505 N. Rodeo Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA
Info and tickets: DMG Music Association, Inc.
Phone: (310) 779-7622
E-Mail: dmgfest@aol.com

Silesian Opera Summer Tour

Two ensembles of artists from the Silesian Opera have started their summer tournée around Europe. It will include 80 performances of Nabucco and Aida by Giuseppe Verdi in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Denmark.


Ochlewski Composers Competition Winners

The Ochlewski Composition Competition is sponsored by Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne (PWM), Poland’s largest music publisher. On June 6th, the jury of the competition (Alina Mleczko – saxophone player; Krzysztof Meyer – composer; Andrzej Kosowski – chairman of PWM) reviewed all 13 entries in this year’s 3rd edition of the competition, which was for compositions written for alto saxophone. The first prize was given to Konstrukcja by Dariusz Przybylski and special mention to Psikus by Robert Koska. According to competition’s regulations, the two honored compositions will be published by PWM in the series Contemporary Music Anthology.

Nominations For Norwid Award

On June 14th 2005 the nominations for the Cyprian Kamil Norwid award were announced. This award, established in 2001 by the local government of Mazovia, is presented in four fields – literature, visual arts, music, and theatre. Among those nominated in the music category are:

  • Jacek Kaspszyk, conductor, for his interpretation of Lutosławski’s 2nd and 4th Symphonies with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, during the 47th Warsaw Autumn festival in 2004
  • Włodzimierz Kotoński, composer, for his composition Polish Madrgials for soprano and an ensemble of period instruments
  • Jacek Laszczkowski, tenor, for his participation in the “Ode to Europe project – A Musical Season of the United Europe in Warsaw Chamber Opera”

The winners of the award will be announced on the 24th of September, 2005.

First Prize For Białystok Choir

The choir of the Białystok Polytechnic, under the direction of Wioletta Miłkowska, received the first prize in category of the mixed choirs and the second prize in the category of the folk song at the International Music Festival in the Spanish town of Cantanigros. The jury expressed special commendation for the choir’s performance of the required composition of the Catalonian composer Cristofol Taltabull. The festival in Cantanigros is one of the more prestigious events of this type in Europe. It is international in character and this year marked the 23rd edition of the festival.


AVEC Et Sans Reviews

According to a recent review from the Chicago Daily Herald regarding master violinist Vincent P. Skowronski’s new release, AVEC et SANS, “The artist’s technical mastery of the violin along with his often mystical ability to communicate” enables AVEC et SANS to provide “an aura of musical magic.”

In the following observations of AVEC et SANS, found in the July/August 2005 edition of American Record Guide, a consensus emerges. According to ARGreviewer Joseph A. Magil, in regards to the technical presentation and interpretation of the extremely difficult Sonata No.1 in G Minor by Eugène Ysaÿe, “Skowronski has a firmer grasp of Ysaÿe’s elusive idiom than most violinists I have heard perform this work.” In reference to the execution of Sergei Prokofieff’s Solo Sonata in D Major, the same Magil proclaims that, “Skowronski’s performance is revelatory.” To complete the disc, Ms. Saori Chiba, the magnificent Japanese pianist, joins Mr. Skowronski for renditions of Sergei Prokofieff’s March from his opera, The Love of Three Oranges; Maurice Ravel’s Pavane for Deceased Princess; Erik Satie’s Choses Vues à Droite et à Gauche; and Robert Schumann’s Sonata No.1 in A Minor which beautifully conclude the program. SaysAmerican Record Guide, “This is a very fine recital.”

AVEC et SANS is the seventh in a continuing series of SKOWRONSKI PLAYS! Recordings, available at www.skowronskiplays.com.

Szymanowski & Anderszewski

On August 2nd, a Virgin Classics recording of Karol Szymanowski’s Piano Sonata No. 3; Métopes; and Masques, will be released in the United States. This recording features Piotr Anderszewski on piano.

Buy this CD or listen to track excerpts at www.amazon.com.

New Recordings On Acte Préalable

Marian Sawa (1937-2005) – Missa Claromontana
Missa Claromontana is the last work of Marian Sawa, the great composer and organist who died on Apr 27 2005. This CD also features other works by Sawa, such as Regina caeli for mixed choir and organ, Partitę Wielkanocną-Zwycięzca śmierci, Fantazję Śląską “Te Deum”, Fantazję “Święty Boże” and Fantazję Jasnogórską. These last four pieces for solo organ were performed by Marietta Kruzel-Sosnowska, whose abilities with Sawa’s works are unparalled. Many of Sawa’s compositions are dedicated to her. She also premiered many of the pieces. The remaining 3 organ works on the CD (Passacaglię, Gaude Polonia and Modlitwę Łomżyńską) are performed by Leszek Mateusz Gorecki.

This recording is perfectly crafted, from point of view performance, sound engineering (by Piotr Grinholc) and preparation of liner notes. It should also be mentioned that Acte Préalable has 11 titles with Sawa’s works in its catalogue, 5 of which were recorded by the composer himself.

Marian Sawa (1937-2005) – Dzieła organowe – Special Edition

This is a 4 CD collection of 30 works with organ accompaniment by Marian Sawa, released to commemorate the recent death of Sawa, composer and organist. All of the works are performed by Warsaw musicians known for music promotion.

Claribel – Dwa Światy [Two Worlds]

It is in the spirit of this age of ever-popular re-arrangements of classical works that this album of the excellent Polish clarinet quartet, Claribel, was released. The arrangements, some completed by the members of the ensemble, as well as the performances are both tastefully executed, making this a perfect recording for lovers of crossover music.

Barbara Kaszuba (1984) – My Music

A review of compositions by the young, talented, and award-winning composer/pianist/violinist Barbara Kaszuba. The performers of her chamber pieces on this recording are equally talented musicians from the young generation of Polish artists, such as Stanisław Drzewiecki, piano. The last piece, Na wierchowej polanie, is an exceptional performance by Agnieszka Duczmal’s orchestra, Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra “Amadeus”.

To purchase these and other great recordings of Polish music, visit www.kki.net.pl/~acteprealable.

Chopin DVD

A unique double-DVD entitled Frederic Chopin, A Life to Remember is now available, presented and performed by the internationally renowned pianist and Chopin authority Alan Kogosowski. Entertaining, educational and absorbing, this stunning production also benefits from the addition of beautiful and historically authentic images, which add yet another dimension, making this a unique ‘Chopin Experience’.

This ground-breaking series was recently broadcast over six weeks on television in New York, and was highlighted as ‘outstanding’ by the New York Times. The production provides illuminating introductions about each work given by the performer himself, showing what to listen for, musically and technically, as well as revealing the context of the piece in the composer’s life.

Filmed live in concert at London’s Gibson Hall, Kogosowski performs over thirty of Chopin’s most beloved and key works. Chopin’s music is one of the high points in the history of human endeavour. It is an enduring legacy, as relevant today as ever, demonstrating the nobility of the human spirit, of what we are capable, and the kind of expression to which we should strive.

For more information about this double-DVD set, please see www.kogosowski.com.


9th “Opera Viva” Festival

24 July – 10 August

The festival at the Kraków Opera is focused on opera repertoire and events vary from performances of full operas to concerts of selections of famous arias from well know works. Detailed program of the festival: www.polmic.pl.

6th Summer Philharmony Aukso – Wigry

27 July – 7 August

This festival is organized by Aukso Music Foundation from Warsaw, with help from local artistic and government institutions in Wigry. Many great performers were invited this year including flute player Jadwiga Kotnowska, oboist Mariusz Pędziałek, laureate of the International ARD Competition in Munich, viola player Ryszard Groblewski and also Grzegorz Turnau. During the concerts the audience will hear many highlights of international classical repertoire as well as Polish music. Polish composer Zygmunt Krauze will be the guest of honor.

For the detailed concert calendar go to: www.polmic.pl.

Forum Musicum

1-31 August

The third edition of the Forum Musicum is taking place in Wrocław throughout August. This year the calendar includes 60 concerts, happening every day.

  • Main concerts – Mondays to Saturday at 8:00 pm
  • Night concerts – Saturdays at 10:00 pm
  • Organ Recitals – Sundays at 12:00 noon
  • Forgotten City – Sundays at 6:00 pm: instrumental miniatures performed in the most beautiful but most neglected stairwells of the old town.

Also, on Monday through Friday at 12:00 noon, the half-an-hour “concerts for lunch” performed by young artists will take place in St. Martin’s church.

For the full program of the festival go to: www.polmic.pl.

60th International Chopin Festival in Duszniki Zdrój

5-13 August

In 1826, at the age of sixteen, Frederic Chopin came to this spa resort to recuperate after an illness. While convalescing he gave several concerts. In commemoration of this visit, the town holds an annual Chopin Festival in early August. The event attracts world-famous pianists and serves as a springboard for talented up-and-coming artists.

Winners of four Warsaw Chopin Competitions, the latest edition of Van Cliburn Competition, the Moscow Peter Tchaikovsky competition, the 2005 Tel Aviv Rubinstein Competition and the Margerity Long Competition in Paris will be performing on this year’s festival in Duszniki Zdrój. The organizers have planned 15 piano recitals, a chamber music concert with the “Amadeus” orchestra, under the direction of Agnieszka Duczmal and with Konstanty Andrzej Kulka and Karolina Janoszewska.

The program of this anniversary edition of the festival presents not only excellent artists performing in Poland for the first time, but also players who are remembered from previous editions as well as the Warsaw International Chopin Competition, such as: Stanisław Bunin, Philip Giusiano, Kevin Kenner and Dang Thai Son. Of great interest are the recitals by the recent winners of international competitions: Grigori Sokolov, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Ayako Uehara (the only woman to win the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow), Colleen Lee, Dong Hyek Lim, and Eldara Nebolsina, first prize winner of the 1st S. Richter International Piano Competition in Moscow and the International Piano Competition in Santander (1992). Also highly anticipated is the recital by Joyce Yang, a Korean player studying at the Juliard School of Music; Ms. Yang will be performing for the first time in Europe after winning the prestigious Van Cliburn competition. Poles will be represented by Piotr Machnik, a winner of last year’s Maria Canals Piano Competition in Barcelona. He is one of the few Polish players who have won the first prize at an international competition in recent years.

Alongside the festival there is also a cycle of masterclasses, this year led by Dang Thai Son and Bernard Ringeissen. Among the attendees will be young Polish laureates of the Chopin National Piano Competition in Warsaw, who will also perform a recital in Duszniki.

The festival will also hold an exhibition of the history and achievements of the last 60 years, as well as publish a catalog of photographs, many of which will not be included in the exhibition.

The renovation of the Chopin’s manor is nearly finished. This year, for the first time, the audience will enjoy the concerts in fully air conditioned and restored interior of the manor.

For the program of the festival go to: www.infochopin.pl (English) or www.diggitek.pl (Polish).

European Jan Kiepura Festival in Krynica

13-17 August

Jan Kiepura Festival in Krynica is the largest summer festival in Poland and eastern part of Europe. For two weeks in one of Poland’s most known health spa towns, the audience will be able to admire their favorite stars of music, film and television during many recitals, concerts, operas and movie screenings.

Polish tenor Jan Kiepura appeared in nearly every important opera house in the world, including Covent Garden, the Paris Opéra, La Scala, the Opéra-Comique, the Chicago Opera, the Berlin State Opera, the Teatro Colón, and the Metroplitan Opera during his phenomenal opera career. He also made 23 films between 1932 and 1952, often partnering with his wife, Marta Eggerth. From the mid-1940s, he specialized in operetta; he and his wife sang a version of The Merry Widow that took Broadway by storm. His golden timbred voice and overall generosity towards the public made Kiepura very popular, and he is memorialized by this festival.

For the program of the festival go to: www.polmic.pl.

5th Festival “Sinfonia Varsovia for it’s City”

20 August – 4 September

The 5th edition of the Sinfonia Varsovia festival will take place in Warsaw under the patronage from the president of Warsaw, Lech Kaczyński. Similar to the previous editions, the concerts will take place in various districts of Warsaw, such as: Mokotów, Białołęka, Śródmieście, Ursus, Praga North, etc. The concerts will be performed in concert halls, churches and open air venues. This year’s conductors include Jerzy Maksymiuk, Jan Krenz, Łukasz Borowicz, Volker Schmidt-Gertenbach and Krzysztof Penderecki. It is a tradition that these concerts promote young and talented Polish soloists and artists. Admission to all the events is free.

For a program go to: www.polmic.pl.

13th International Festival of Early Music “Song  of Our Roots” in Jarosław

21-28 August

This year during the 8 festival days, the audience will hear Polish and international performers such as: Brothers Studyci from Uniew and Maisternia Pisni from Lwów, Monserat Figueras, Arianna Savall and Jordi Savall from Spain, Ghazi Makoul from Lebanon, Jamal Ouassini from Morocco, Fabio Tricomi and Stefano Albarello from Italy, Katarzyna Szmitko, Voci Unite and Władysław Kłosiewicz from Poland, Kantika and Kristin Hoefener from Germany, Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen and Battalia from Finland, Choir Byzantion from Romania, Likurgos Angelopulos from Greece, Jeremy West and William Carter from Great Britain and Robert Hugo from Czech Republic. www.mateusz.pl/goscie/jaroslaw/organ_en.htm.

For the Festival program go to: www.polmic.pl,

The International Organ Music Festival

When: June 24 – August 23
Where: Oliwa

Up for hearing the best solo organ players in the world playing the great Oliwa Cathedral Organ? Concerts take place every Tuesday and Friday at 8:00 pm.

9th International Summer Festival “Toruń – Music and Architecture”

When: June 26 – August 28
Where: Old Town Toruń

Every Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 pm, audiences will be able to hear concerts in the beautiful spaces of the buildings of Old Town Toruń. The music selection will span from the Renaissance to Contemporary. Detailed program of the festival: www.polmic.pl.

Summer Concerts in Łazienki Królewskie

When: July 2 – August 27
Where: Łazienki Królewskie, Warsaw

Every Saturday at 5:00 pm, artists present many chamber and solo works from the broad range of music literature. Recently, emphasis has been put on presenting pieces by Polish composers. Featuring young and talented Polish musicians and ensembles. Concerts take place and are presented by the Warsaw Music Society. For detailed program visit:www.polmic.pl.

Chopin concerts in Łazienki Królewskie

When: May – September
Where: Łazienki Królewskie, at the Chopin statue, Warsaw

These concerts have been organized by “Stoleczna Estrada” and the F. Chopin Music Society since 1959. The Chopin recitals, performed by Polish as well as international artists, are presented every Sunday at 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm by the statue of Frederic Chopin in Łazienki Królewskie beginning May and ending September. For July’s schedule please visit: www.polmic.pl.

12th International Festival Of Organ Music: “Organ of the Arch-Cathedral”

When: July 3 – September 18.
Where: John the Baptist Arch-Cathedral in Warsaw

The festival is organized by the foundation “Festival of Sacred Music”. The artists participating in the event this year include many virtuosos of international organ arts such as: Daniel Zaretsky (Russia), Rudolf Scheidegger (Switzerland), Emmanuele Cardi (Italy), Adriano Falcioni. For the calendar of the concerts go to: www.polmic.pl.

Chopin Around The World

The Chopin Festival in the Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa has a long-standing tradition, as it was organized for the first time in 1930. This year’s Festival will be held from 7-28 August 2005. Chopin’s works are interpreted by well-known pianists, as well as by young artists who are now entering into the world of great art.

This year the festival celebrates the creation, 75 years ago, of the first Chopin Committee, which organized the Festivals between 1931 and 1936, and also the 25th edition of the Valldemossa Chopin Festival, which was revived in 1981. After a quarter of a century of performances by great pianists of international renown as well as new talents, and of exhibitions by contemporary artists, the Festival has become one of the most appealing gatherings of piano music and art.

For more information, visit www.festivalchopin.com (Spanish or English) or email info@festivalchopin.com.

The 21st Chopin Festival in Gaming, Austria is an international festival of classical and romantic music featuring internationally renowned soloists and musical ensembles in historic buildings of a former monastery located at the foot of the Alps. The Festival will take place from 18-21 August 2005.

For more information, visit infochopin.pl (English) or www.chopin.at (German), or email office@chopin.at.

The 46th Chopin Festival in Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic is held annually in the third week of August (20-27 August 2005). It lasts 8 days and is a universal cultural event including various arts projects. Leading interpreters of Chopin’s music from the Czech Republic and from abroad are invited to perform here. The festival includes 3 symphony concerts, recitals, nocturne, matinée and special concerts. This year, Natalia Sawościanik, piano and Tadeusz Strugała, conductor from Poland will be participating.

For more information, visit www.chopinfestival.cz (German, Czech or English) or email info@chopinfestival.cz.

Internet News

Polish News


Visit Polish News, America’s leading bilingual illustrated monthly, for news about all areas of Polish-American life. Featured this month is an interview with Polish soprano Maria Knapik, entitled “Singing became the passion of my life…” by Irena Horba (available in both Polish and English, with English translation by Katarzyna Miszta).

Calendar of Events

AUG 1: Lutosławski at the BBC Proms Music Festival. Program: Chain I. Cadogan Hall, London, U.K.1:00 pm. www.bbc.co.uk/print/proms/whatson/0108.shtml

AUG 3: Live jazz concert with the Komeda Project (Krzysztof Medyna – saxophones; Andrzej Winnicki – piano; Russ Johnson – trumpet/flugelhorn; Michael Bates – bass; Dave Anthony – drums; Guest appearance – Anna Podolak – vocal). 7 PM – before the screening of Polanski’s film Knife in the Water. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, NYwww.polishculture-nyc.org/pci.htm.

AUG 4 & 6: Piotr Anderszewski, piano, performs at the Verbier Festival in Verbier, Switzerland. Program includes Janacek, Bach and Szymanowski. See www.anderszewski.netfor details.

AUG 6: Jakub Jerzy Omsky, cello at the Beverly Hills International Music Festival. Program: Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme”. Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, 505 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, CA. 8:00 pm. Tickets: (310) 779-7622 or dmgfest@aol.com.

AUG 6: Polish guitarist Henryk Chrostek will perform at the Paul Harrigan And Friends World Youth Day Kick Off Concert. 8:00 pm. Holy Redeemer Catholic Church – School Auditorium, 2411 Montrose Ave., Montrose, CAwww.paulharrigan.com.

AUG 9: Piotr Anderszewski, piano, will perform a recital of Szymanowski, Chopin and Bach in Geneva, Switzerland. Cour de l’Hôtel de Ville, 8:30 pm. See www.anderszewski.netfor details.

AUG 7: The Bartosz Hadala Group, led by Bartosz Hadala on piano, will perform jazz standards and originals at the NYDAI Art Nights series. 7:30 PM at Club Europa, New York City, NYwww.nydai.org.

AUG 10: Derison Duarte, piano, will present a program of Chopin works as a part of a larger program at the Beverly Hills International Music Festival. Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, 505 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, CA. 8:00 pm. Tickets: (310) 779-7622 or dmgfest@aol.com. Presented with the support of the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles

AUG 19: Magdalena Kozená, mezzo soprano, and Malcolm Martineau, piano, will perform songs by Ravel, Britten, Szymanowski, and Shostakovich as part of the Edinburgh Festival. Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland. 11:00 a.m. www.eif.co.uk.

Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki. Photo by Vladek Juszkiewicz

AUG 24: Górecki at the BBC Proms Music Festival. Program: Symphony No.3, ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs‘. Featuring Susan Bullock, soprano, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and David Atherton, conductor. Cadogan Hall, London, U.K.1:00 pm.http://www.bbc.co.uk/print/proms/whatson/2408.shtml.

AUG 27: In preparation for her debut at Carnegie Hall, lyric coloratura soprano Anna Kostrzynska wil perform songs and arias of Chopin, Bellini, Bizet, Moart, Puccini, Strauss and Verdi. Grace Ford Salvatori Auditorium, 637 Lucas Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. 6:00 pm. Information & reservations: Czeslawa Bauer, Tel: 310-396-2165, E-mail: bogawa2000@yahoo.com.

AUG 30: The play Monsieur Chopinwill be opening at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL. Performance schedule: Tuesday-Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Tickets: theater box office at (312) 988-9000, or Ticketmaster at (312) 902-1500 or www.ticketmaster.com. See above for details.


Josefowicz in S.F.

On Friday, July 15th, world-renowned violinist Leila Josefowicz dazzled the “Summer in the City” audience at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall. Looking 19 at 29, this dimuntive woman, mother of a five-year-old, gave off a huge sound out of her 1724 Guarneri violin. Leila began playing the violin at the age of three and after this first quarter century is an exemplary musician. Tossing her golden air to the vibrant notes, and allowing her Polish soul to flow out, sparks flew from her fingertips as she played Ravel’s Tziganewhile moments before her countenance had been more angelic as Chausson’s Poeme, Op. 25 filled our hearts. Meeting her was equally delightful, since she comes across as a vivacious teen, who is having the time of her life! And well she should. Her recordings are impressive, her fans numerous and her future can only unfold in a most spectacular way! I was happy to see the glow in her eyes and hear the warmth in her voice as she recalled her extremely successful Recital in Warsaw. BRAVO Leila!

From a review by Caria Tomczykowska of San Francisco


On Thursday, July 14th, the jazz quartet Mingus-Mingus played at the Club Tropical in Los Angeles to a receptive audience. The two Polish members of the group, Piotr Rodowicz and Kazimierz Jonkisz may not be household names in the U.S. yet, but they are two of the most accomplished jazz musicians in their native Poland. Mingus-Mingus founder Rodowicz took home the grand prize at the Dunkierque Jazz Festival in 1984, and later played with Bob Moses and Joshua Redman while studying at Berklee. Drummer Kazimierz Jonkisz, who has accompanied Larry Coryell, Roy Hargrove, John Hicks and countless others, won his first soloist award in 1967 at the age of 18 and is widely regarded as the best jazz drummer in Poland. Also including L.A. based trumpeter John Daversa and the ubiquitous tenor sax of Chuck Manning, Mingus-Mingus pays loving tribute to the music of Mr. Charles Mingus.


Born This Month

  • August 4, 1879 – Józef REISS, musicologist, Polish music expert (d. 1956)
  • August 7, 1935 – Monika (Izabela) GORCZYCKA, musicologist (d. 1962)
  • August 8, 1946 – Mieczysław MAZUREK, composer, teacher, choral conductor
  • August 8, 1897 – Stefan ŚLEDZIŃSKI, conductor, musicologist
  • August 10, 1914 – Witold MAŁCUŻYŃSKI, pianist, student of Lefeld
  • August 11, 1943 – Krzysztof MEYER, composer, musicologist
  • August 17, 1907 – Zygmunt MYCIELSKI, composer, writer
  • August 18, 1718 – Jacek SZCZUROWSKI, composer, Jesuit, priest (d. after 1773)
  • August 20, 1889 – Witold FRIEMAN, composer, pianist
  • August 21, 1933 – Zbigniew BUJARSKI, composer
  • August 22, 1924 – Andrzej MARKOWSKI, composer and conductor
  • August 23, 1925 – Włodzimierz KOTOŃSKI, composer
  • August 28, 1951 – Rafał AUGUSTYN, composer, music critic
  • August 29, 1891 – Stefan STOIŃSKI, music etnographer, organizer, conductor (d. 1945)
  • August 30, 1959 – Janusz STALMIERSKI, composer


Died This Month

  • August 15, 1898 – Cezar TROMBINI, singer, director of Warsaw Opera (b. 1835)
  • August 15, 1936 – Stanisław NIEWIADOMSKI, composer, music critic
  • August 17, 1871 – Karol TAUSIG, pianist and composer, student of Liszt (b. 1841)
  • August 21 1925 – Karol NAMYSŁOWSKI, folk musician, founder of folk ensemble
  • August 22, 1966 – Apolinary SZELUTO, composer and pianist
  • August 23, 1942 – Wacław WODICZKO, conductor (b. 1858), grandfather of Bohdan, conductor
  • August 27, 1865 – Józef NOWAKOWSKI, pianist, composer, student of Elsner, friend of Chopin
  • August 29, 1886 – Emil ŚMIETAŃSKI, pianist, composer (b. 1845)


Krystyna Tarnawska-Kaczorowska

On June 11 2005 at the age of 72 Mrs. Tarnawska-Kaczorowska died. She was a musicologist and music theoretician. Her main areas of interest centered around contemporary Polish music. She organized and prepared symposium materials for such composers as: Tadeusz Baird, Witold Lutosławski, Florian Dąbrowski, Stefan Kisielewski, Zygmunt Mycielski, Konstanty Regamey, Roman Berger, Roman Palester and Andrzej Panufnik. She published many books and was a contributing writer to many Polish music periodicals such as: Teksty, Pokaz, Opcje, Dysonanse, Ruch Muzyczny, Muzyka, and Zeszyty Naukowe. She was a member of the musicologist section of the Polish Composers Union (ZKP), Polish Contemporary Music Society, International Musical Signification Project (Helsinki) and International Association for Semiotic Studies.

Aleksiej Sułtanow

The laureate of 1995 Chopin Competition, Aleksiej Sułtanow, died in his home in Fort Worth, TX on July 4. He was 36 years old and for 4 years now has been paralyzed due to a series of strokes. According to his doctor he died in his sleep, most likely from a heart attack. Sułtanow was born in 1969 in the capital of the Uzbekistan, Taszkient. He started musical education at the age of 3. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory where he was a student of Lew Naumow. In 1989 he won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in the US. In 1991 he married an American cellist, Dace Abele, and settled in Fort Worth, TX. In 1995, he won an ex-aequo second prize at the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw together with Philip Giusiano of France. The first prize was not given. He also received the Audience Award that year. Until he fell ill, Sułtanow performed around the world, including many concerts in Poland.