Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 13, no. 11

Polish Independence Day

Stojowski In And On The Air

A radio broadcast featuring the life and music of Zygmunt Stojowski (1870-1946) as well as several concerts on both sides of the Atlantic take place during the first two weeks of November.  On Sunday, November 4, cellist Lars Hoefs and pianist Marek Zebrowski perform the Polish post-romantic’s Concertstück for Cello and Orchestra at the Polish Consulate in New York (see below for more concert details). The following day, November 5, marks the 61st anniversary of the death of the composer who spent the last 41 years of his life in New York City.

On Polish Independence Day, November 11, several musical events are scheduled.  The first is an afternoon lecture and piano recital at the National Gallery in Dublin, Ireland.  Joseph A. Herter speaks on “Polish Music as a Voice of War during the Great War” prior to a concert of piano works by Chopin, Stojowski and Paderewski given by British pianist Jonathan Plowright (pictured at right).  Both were last year’s speaker and performer at PMC’s Annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital. Why Ireland? The Irish Polonia, now 280,000 people strong, accounts for 5% of the Irish population. See below for lecture and recital details.

In Stojowski’s native Poland, the Białystok Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus perform the composer’s Suite in E-flat for Orchestra and the cantata Modlitwa za Polskę (Prayer for Poland). The cantata, written in 1915 and first performed at Carnegie Hall in 1916, is being performed according to the new edition prepared for PMC by John M. Hein and Joseph Herter; the full score and parts are available on loan from PMC. Visit www.filharmonia.bialystok.pl for more concert details.

On Polish Radio’s Channel 2 at ten o’clock in the evening, an hour-long program on Stojowski hosted by Messrs. Kacper Miklaszewski and Joseph Herter musically closes Independence Day in Poland.  In addition to a performance of Stojowski’s patriotic Variations on the Kościuszko Krakowiak ‘Bartoszu, Bartoszu’, the program also hears Stojowski student, pianist Arthur Loesser perform Paderewski’s Legenda and Polish soprano Maria Bogucka (1884-1957) sing one of Stojowski’s songs accompanied by the composer’s widow, Louisa Stojowska.

All fitting tributes to this deserving eloquent Polish composer and fervent Polish-American patriot!


Independence Day In Music


The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles requests the honor of your presence at the Polish Independence Day Concert, featuring Krzesimir Dębski, composer, conductor, pianist and violinist.  The program will include music from film scores by Krzesimir Dębski, Krzysztof Komeda, Henryk Wars and many others.

Thursday 8 November 2007, 7:30 P.M.
Program of Polish film music 
Herbert Zipper Hall at the Colburn School of Music
200 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Admission is free
Details: www.losangeleskg.polemb.net


Pianist Jonathan Plowright and scholar Joseph A. Herter will bring Poland to Ireland this Independence day, as a part of a several month-long series about “Modern Polish Art and Culture” at the National Gallery of Ireland.  View a calendar of the whole series here.

Saturday 10 November 1-5pm
Chopin Master Class with Jonathan Plowright
Shaw Room, National Gallery of Ireland
Six young pianists chosen from music schools all over Ireland will participate in a Chopin Master Class with Jonathan Plowright. Open to the public.

Sunday 11 November at 2:30pm
“Polish Music as a Voice of War during the Great War” – Joseph A. Herter, lecturer
Shaw Room, National Gallery of Ireland

Sunday 11 November at 3pm
Jonathan Plowright in Concert
Shaw Room, National Gallery of Ireland
Three Giants of the Polish Romantic Tradition: Chopin, Paderewski and Stojowski.
Tickets available at the door.


In honor of Poland’s Independence Day and Veterans Day, Krzysztof W. Kasprzyk, the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York, will preside over a special ceremony honoring Jan Karski, the legendary World War II Polish Underground courier, who was the first person to bring news of the Holocaust directly to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and English Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1942-43. The dedication will be followed by a concert of orchestral Polish music held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Sunday November 11 
3:00 pm: Dedication of Jan Karski Corner
Polish Consulate General NY, De Lamar Mansion, Madison Avenue and East 37th Street
7:30 pm: Concert of Polish Music 
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 460 Madison Ave.


The Symphony Orchestra of the I.J. Paderewski Music Academy in Poznań will present a program of Paderewski music, including his Polish Fantasy.

Sunday November 11, 7:00 pm
Polish National Philharmonic, ul. Jasna 5 00-950 Warszawa
Krzysztof Jabłoński, piano and Marcin Sompolski, conductor
Contact: www.filharmonia.pl


Artistic and official Polonia celebration of one the most important days in the Polish history.

Sunday November 11, 12:30 pm (Mass at 11am)
Church of the Nativity of Our Lord, 240 W. Fell St.
Contact: poloniasf.orgpoloniasfo@yahoo.com

Szymanowski Year

 Szymanowski Coins

The Polish National Bank (NBP) will release three collectible anniversary coins to celebrate the 125 th birthday of Karol Szymanowski. There will be a 200 PLN gold coin, a 10 PLN silver coin and 2 PLN coin. NBP will auction these coins on Polish online auction service, Allegro, and also at the concerts of the Lublin, Kraków, Warsaw, Gdańsk, Opole and Bydgoszcz Philharmonics. The proceeds will go to the “House of the Senior Musician” Foundation. The organization is collecting funds to build an assisted living center for elderly musicians. View the coins on the official website of NBP.

Szymanowski Premiere Staging

The Kraków Opera will perform a world premiere staging of Karol Szymanowski’s operetta Loteria na Mężów czyli narzeczony nr 69 [Husband Lottery, Fiancée no. 69]. There are two shows planned on November 5 and November 12, 2007 on the Kraków Opera Stage. The operetta was finished in 1909 and is the only “light” musical work that Szymanowski ever wrote. The original libretto was written by Julian Krzewiński-Maszyński and was titled Główna wygrana [Grand Prize]. Unfortunately the complete libretto did not survive and some of the spoken numbers were lost. The contemporary text was written by Wojciech Graniczewski . Please visit the Kraków Opera’s website for more information.

Harnasie And Sonata To Hear

Violinist Vincent P. Skowronski’s recent release, Skowronski Plays! Avec et Sans – Volume II – Live in Concert is gaining recognition, particularly regarding several Szymanowski works which are presented on the disc. The following is excerpted from a review by Erik Eriksson of the Northeast Wisconsin Music Review (Vol. 4, number 5):

An antidote to perfunctory, antiseptic and self-regarding violin playing, this Vincent P. Skowronski plays with an intensity that places him among those artists who invariably put music first, plunging into scores with an abandon that cannot fail to take hold of one’s imagination… Most significant on this disc are two works by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. Here, his Taniecz Harnasiow (Dance of the Mountaineers) and early Sonata in d minor (1904) are tremendous; each receives a terrific performance. The two-movement arrangement of the Dance drawn from the composer’s opera/ballet Harnasiow [sic] is breathtakingly atmospheric, and wonderfully played with attentive support and  panache  by pianist Ms. Saori Chiba (also a positive presence in the Bloch and Engel).  The sonata has been transferred to CD from an earlier LP and, thus, the performances are still so powerful, so exquisitely-shaded and so meticulously crafted that, without doubt, pianist Donald Isaak and Skowronski are utterly at one during their performance while making the listener feel that the composer’s intent has been completely realized.   YES, definitely recommended!


Opera Premiere For Pawlik

A new opera by Włodek Pawlik entitled Via Sancta – Ojcu Świętemu [Sacred Way – Dedicated to the Pope] was premiered in the Grand Theater-National Opera in Warsaw on 15-16 October 2007. It is a contemporary opera sacra in three acts based around the texts by Karol Wojtyła, the future Pope John Paul II, including a fragment of his early play Hiob [Job] from 1940. The premiere was performed with the composer on the piano, Cezary Konrad on drums and Paweł Pańta on contrabass. Spoken words were performed by Krzysztof Kolberger and Teresa Budzisz-Krzyżanowska. Additionally, the performance involved the Chamber Choir and String Orchestra of the National Opera and vocal soloists Elżbieta Wróblewska (mezzo-soprano) and Adam Kruszewski (baritone).

Włodek Pawlik, in addition to being one of the most prominent Polish jazz pianists, is a composer of symphonic, film, jazz, vocal and chamber music. He has 15 album releases to his credit and is a laureate and/or finalist of numerous international jazz competitions, including the Krzysztof Komeda Scholarship. He recently completed a score for a film by Peter Greenaway entitled Nightwatching.

Polish Composers 1918-2000

A new publication about Polish musical culture has been released, entitled Polscy kompozytorzy 1918-2000 [Polish Composers 1918-2000]. Bringing together contributions from150 different authors of Polish and non-Polish origins, this 2-volume offering not only familiarizes the reader with achievements of almost 1,300 different Polish composers but also serves as a compendium of knowledge about 20th century Poland. The book is in two volumes. The texts in Volume I: Essays examine the stylistic character of Polish music in 20th century in the broader context of the major events and socio-political situations of the period. Among the contributing authors are such greats as Norman Davies, Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, Włodziemierz Kotoński, Witold Lutosławski, and Janusz Żarnowski. Volume II: Biographies includes biographical information about nearly 1,300 Polish composers, including characteristics of their works, lists of compositions, bibliographies, discographies, etc.

To purchase the book please contact Gdańsk Music Academy.


Sinfonia Iuventus

On October 1, 2007 Polish Minister of Culture, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski has created the first officially sanctioned Polish Youth Orchestra under the name of Sinfonia Iuventus. The idea for such an ensemble came from internationally renowned Polish conductor Jerzy Semkow. The orchestra will give young, graduating musicians a start in the professional world of orchestral music. It is intended to attract the many talented artists who, after graduating from Polish music academies, would be likely to leave Poland for other European and non-EU countries. The orchestra will accept musicians under 25 years of age and the members will be able to perform with the ensemble for up to five years. This short rotating schedule is necessary to assure that each year fresh graduates will have a fair chance to enter the ensemble. For the first season the orchestra will be housed in the Grand Theater-National Opera.

Grzegorz Fitelberg Film

“When he was talking about music he was on fire. He was devoted to music and lived for music, and most of it all for Polish music. How he was able to spread his zeal upon composers, artists, and performers,” wrote Jaroslaw Iwaskiewicz about Grzegorz Fitelberg.

The figure, life and output of this distinguished conductor will be presented to us in a new film by Stanislaw Janicki “Fulfullment: A Story about Grzegorz Fitelberg in Two Parts with an Epilogue.” The film is produced by Silesia Film in conjunction and sponsorship of the Musical Foundation of the Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors. The premiere will take place at a press conference prior to the competition on November 15, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. at the Silesia Film Art Centre.

Screenings are planned for studio cinemas throughout Poland during November.


Chopin & Friends Festival

The International Chopin & Friends Festival in New York showcases innovative artists who emulate Chopin in uniting the traditional and the modern, the young and the mature, the national and the universal, and all the art forms. New York Dance & Arts Innovations, Inc. (NYDAI) is the founding sponsor of this popular fall celebration and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York is the honorary patron.

Musical offerings of this festival are as follows:

Recital by Mieczyslaw Swiecicki “ The Prince of Romance” 
Saturday, 3 November, 6:30pm 
Featuring Mieczyslaw Swiecicki, vocal; Agata L. Manka, violin; and Hadala Bartosz, piano
New Dance Group Arts Center
Details: www.nydai.org/fest2007/festival_event3.asp

The Emotionalists 
Sunday, 4 November-15 December, 1pm 
A performance by Krzysztof Medyna and Andrzej Winnicki from Komeda Group
Orange County Suny Hall
Details: www.nydai.org/fest2007/festival_event4.asp

Gala Concert and Exhibition 
Sunday, 4 November, 3pm 
Marek Zebrowski, piano & Lars Hoefs, cello
Program: Chopin, Stojowski, and Paderewski.
Consulate General of the Republic of Poland 
Details: www.nydai.org/fest2007/festival_event5.asp

Fitelberg Conducting Competition

The 8th edition of the Grzegorz Fitelberg International Conducting Competition will take place in Katowice between November 16 and 25, 2007. There were 209 applications from around the world but only 40 of the applicants were invited to present their skills. Of the forty, five were Polish conductors. The Fitelberg competition is one of three main international competitions held in Poland. The other two are the Chopin piano competition in Warsaw and Wieniawski violin competition in Poznań. The competition takes place every four years in Katowice. The winners of previous editions include: Claus Peter Flor, Chikara Imamura, Michael Zilm, Makoto Suehiro, Victoria Zhadko, Massimiliano Caldi, Aleksandar Markovic and Modestas Pitrenas.

This year the jury consists of: Tadeusz Strugała – chairman (Poland), Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk (Poland), Juozas Domarkas (Latvia), Patrick Fournillier (France), Piotr Gajewski (USA), Marek Pijarowski (Poland), Jerzy Salwarowski (Poland), Jin Wang (China), Andreas Weiss (Germany), Victoria Zhadko (Ukraine), Bernard Polok – secretary (Poland). For more information please visit www.konkursfitelberg.art.pl

Paderewski Piano Competition

The 7th edition of the International Paderewski Piano Competition starts on November 4 and will end on November 18, 2007 at the Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz. The jury this year consists of: Piotr Paleczny-chairman (Poland), Zhaoyi Dan (China), Bernd Goetzke (Germany), Andrzej Jasiński (Poland), Daejin Kim (Korea), Alexei Orlovestski (Russia), Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń (Poland), Jerome Rose (USA), Jacques Rouvier (France), Lee Kum Sing (Canada), Regina Smendzianka (Poland), Jerzy Sulikowski (Poland) and Yuko Yamaoka (Japan). You can view a live feed from the competition hall on the internet either on www.konkurspaderewskiego.pl or www.itv24.com.pl . For more information please visit the official website of the competition, www.konkurspaderewskiego.pl .

Śląsk – A National Institution

The Polish song and dance ensemble “Śląsk” will receive the status of a national cultural institution from the Ministry of Culture. Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski, Polish Minister of Culture, has signed an agreement with local authorities, who to date were financing the ensemble. “Śląsk” will be only the third institution in the Silesian region to receive this prestigious status. The other two are the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Silesian Museum. With this status comes not only the prestige, but also financial stability through Ministerial funding.

“Śląsk” was created in 1953 in Koszęcin by Stanisław Hadyna. The ensemble’s repertoire focuses on traditional Silesian dance and song but also includes other Polish songs and dances as well as numbers from opera and classical music repertoire. During last year alone, “Śląsk” gave over 160 performances around the world. The upcoming year also looks very busy for the group, with a European tour including Austria, Slovenia, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden on the schedule. Later in the year they will visit Slovakia, Japan and Holland. You can find out more about the ensemble by visiting www.zespolslask.home.pl .

Rubinstein Material Returned

According to Playbill Arts writer Kevin Shihoten, the following materials have been donated to Juilliard School of Music:

Heirs of pianist Artur Rubinstein have donated a large collection of manuscripts, manuscript copies, and published editions taken by the Nazis from the Polish-American’s Paris apartment and recently returned by the German government.

The collection of 71 items was given back to Rubinstein’s four children last year by New York Consul General Dr. Hans-Jürgen Helmsoeth in an action the German government has acknowledged to be the first time Jewish property kept in the Berlin State Library has been returned to the legal heirs.

Read the entire article here: www.playbillarts.com/news/article/7202.html

Polish Jazz In India

At the end of November, Polish pianist Krzysztof Herdzin will bring Polish jazz to India, via the Jazz Utsav Festival in Mumbai. Concerts are presented free from 7pm-10pm for 3 days at several venues around Mumbai. For a full schedule of performers, visit: www.allaboutjazz.com/php/news.php?id=15681 .

Krzysztof Herdzin is one of the most exceptional pianists, arrangers and composers of the younger generation in Poland today. Some say he has “the ability to play anything”… K. Herdzin is a classically trained pianist, used to playing mainstream, bebop, fusion, funky, pop; conducting orchestras; arranging, composing jazz and classical tunes; and leading and producing CD’s and TV shows.

Krzysztof Herdzin is one of very few artists who successfully combine exploring classical, jazz and popular music fields. He appeared in several orchestral concerts: Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor. K.H. recorded chamber music pieces for the Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich, performed with clarinetist Wojciech Mrozek and famous polish flutist Jadwiga Kotnowska, collaborated with Yehudi Menuhin’s “Live Music Now” fund based in Germany.

Spotted by jazz talent scouts Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski, Janusz Muniak, Kazimierz Jonkisz and a “legend” of Polish jazz Zbigniew Namyslowski (1996 – 2002), Krzysztof Herdzin has learned the practical aspects of performing in their ensembles. He has taken part in many television productions for both public and private television stations in Poland. K.H. has been a staff member and lecturer at numerous music workshops and held the function of artistic director of prestigious concerts and he recorded 6 CD’s as a leader, and as a sideman, composer, arranger and conductor has taken part in recording almost 100 albums. K.H. orchestrated and arranged music by famous Polish composer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, on the movie Finding Neverland, which won an Academy Award in 2005.

Kurpiński/Bogusławski Anniversary Celebration

On the 150th anniversary of Karol Kurpiński’s death and the 250th anniversary of Wojciech Bogusławski’s birth, the Polish National Opera is presenting Superstition, or the Cracovians and the Highlanders in late October and early November. The following description is from the Opera company’s website:

The folkloristic 3-act opera “Superstition, or the Cracovians and the Highlanders” of Karol Kurpiński, additionally subtitled “theatrical show with singing in three acts”, was composed to a libretto by Jan Nepomucen Kamiński. The world premiere of this opera took place at the National Theatre in Warsaw on 16 June 1816. In the 19th century, the opera was dubbed “The New Cracovians”, as Kurpiński’s “Superstition…” is an adaptation of an earlier four-act opera called “The Presumed Miracle, or the Cracovians and the Highlanders” by Jan Stefani, to a libretto by Wojciech Bogusławski (staged 22 years earlier, in 1794, at the National Theatre in Warsaw). The writer of the libretto for Kurpiński’s opera preserved the theme of Bogusławski’s libretto, but cut the show to three acts. Kurpiński’s “Superstition” became hugely popular and outshone the original work. This opera became a key work in the process of “folklorization” of Polish opera music in the first half of the 19th century as well as being Kurpiński’s most national work.

New Sound Facilities In Łódź

A new complex consisting of 16 recording studios and control rooms, two performance halls (2,500 and 1,200 person capacity) and multiple offices and guest rooms has been built in Łódź. The total size of the facilities exceeds 13,000 cubic meters. The complex is named Toya Studios and is housed in the old Pałac Dźwięku [The Sound Palace] of the Łódź film studios. Wherever possible, the owners kept the original, excellent acoustic characteristics created in the 60’s. The renovation and construction took over 3 years and cost over 10 million PLN (over $4 mil). You can find out more about the studios at www.toyasound.com.


Kocyan One Of 50 Greatest

Wojciech Kocyan interpreting Paderewski during the 2007 Paderewski Celebration at USC. [Photography by Doug Spice, property of the Polish Music Center USC]
“A recording by Polish musician and part-time [Loyola Marymount University] faculty member Wojciech Kocyan, professor of piano, has been chosen by Gramophone Magazine as one of the 50 greatest classical recordings ever made. The decision came as a complete surprise to Kocyan, who received a call from London just two weeks before the magazine was to be published. He was told “there would be a good review,” but had no idea he would receive such distinction.The critics of the magazine esteemed Kocyan’s work to the level of those such as Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Rubenstein, and Sergei Rachmaninoff for its “world class artistry.”

‘I am very honored to be on the list which includes some of the greatest artists in history and recordings going as far back as 1915, in all genres,’ Kocyan said. ‘Considering how many recordings are produced every year and how many brilliant artists deserve recognition, I feel like I won a lottery. I certainly appreciate the healthy measure of good luck involved in all of this.’”

[from the Loyola Marymount University website.]

Also in the September 2007 issue of Gramophone Magazine, in the ‘Neglected Recordings’ feature:

Small label [DUX] and unknown pianist deliver world-class artistry and first-rate engineering. Wojciech Kocyan not only stands ground allongside Pollini, Ashkenazy and Richter, but he also offers original insights that totally serve the music. If you see this disc, grab it.

Fitelberg Poster Competition

By Gary Fitelberg

A total of 203 works were sent to the All-Poland Poster Competition promoting the 8th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors in Katowice, announced together with the Fine Arts Academy in Katowice and the Katowice Artistic Exhibitions Bureau. The objective of the competition was to obtain designs of posters from distinguished artistic and promoting certain qualities, taking into account the characteristic features and symbols of the competition, as well as the competition patron. This shall serve the promotion of the 8th International Competition for Conductors in Poland and abroad, in competition publications, in the media and on the Internet.

The following professors were invited to the jury: Henryk Chyliński, Eugeniusz Delekta, Tadeusz Grabowski, Michał Jędrzejewski, Michal Klis, Grzegorz Przyborek, Jan Szmatloch and Florian Zieliński, Ph.D., as well as Presidents Mirosław Jacek Blaszczyk and Bernard Polok on behalf of the Musical Foundation of the Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors. The chairman of the jury was prof. Michał Jędrzejewski.

A total of twelve designs out of 203 were qualified to be included in the final evaluation stage. After careful consideration, the jury of the competition determined the following winners:

  • Stefan Drobner from Łódź – First Place (PLN 5,000)
  • Andrzej Maciejewski from Szczecin – Second Place (PLN 4,000)
  • Karolina Podoska from Gdańsk – Third Place (PLN 3,000).

The final twelve selected works included also the works by Karolina Gladysz from Rybnik, Tomasz Jędrzejko and Michał Kacperczyk from Łódź, Łukasz Klis from Wrocław, Piotr Przybyla from Sosnowiec, Cédric Quissola from Paris, Jerzy Skakan and Radosław Szaybo from Warsaw, and Milena Szkup from Lowicz. The announcement of the competition results and handing in the awards took place during the opening of the 19th Biennial of the Polish Poster.

Three post-competition exhibits of the posters were planned. The first one took place from September 7-23, 2007 at the Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice . The second one took place from October 7-28, 2007 at Ruda Śląska, Municipal Culture Centre, Gallery “Fryna.” The third will take place on November 14, 2007 through December 2, 2007 at the Silesian Castle of Arts and Entrepreneurship in Cieszyn.


Poland In Film And In Music

A Review by Krysta Close

INLAND EMPIRE is an epic film by the celebrated Hollywood director, David Lynch.   Although its title may suggest eastern regions of Southern California, a great deal of the film’s action takes place in Poland. This complex and fascinating feature was shot on location in Łódź, showing its mysterious streetscapes and interiors, ranging from the elegant palaces of textile manufacturers to the factory workers’ apartments. Several prominent Polish actors—Krzysztof Majchrzak, Karolina Gruszka and Peter Lucas—are among the star-studded cast that also includes Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons and Justin Theroux. Another prominent Pole, Marek Żydowicz, CAMERIMAGE Film Festival Director, was also an executive producer of the film.

In addition to the strong Polish visual component, the film’s soundtrack contains several compositions by the most famous Polish composers, including excerpts from Bogusław Schaeffers’ Piano Concerto, Witold Lutosławski’s Novelette, and Krzysztof Penderecki’s The Dream of Jacob. David Lynch also appears as composer of several tracks on the album, including such scene cues as Ghost of LoveRabbits ThemeWoods VariationCall From the PastMansion Theme, and Walkin’ on the Sky. (Soundtrack is available on www.amazon.com) The director’s collaboration with pianist and composer, Marek Żebrowski, also forms a part of INLAND EMPIRE’S soundtrack with a cue entitled Polish Night Music No. 1.

In fact, the long-standing musical collaboration between David Lynch and Marek Żebrowski has led to a separate CD recording, called Polish Night Music, scheduled for wide release later this month. The music on this highly suggestive album (“to be played after dark,” according to cover instructions) stems from several freely-improvised sessions, recorded in David Lynch’s Hollywood studio over the past several years. The point of departure for all improvisations, including tracks such as Night – a city back street or Night – a landscape with factory, is a short description or a poem, written by Lynch and “enacted” on the spot by the performers. The result is moody and haunting music that captures the spirit of the moment, probing the wide-ranging boundaries of imagination of the two musicians. Lynch, performing on a KORG synthesizer, lays the basic foundation of sound and mood upon which Żebrowski’s pianistic flourish provides the color and harmony.





Since 2006, David Lynch and Marek Żebrowski have also performed different versions of Polish Night Music in live concerts (pictured above), improvising for audiences all over the world, including New York City, Łódź, Washington DC, Paris, Gdańsk, Los Angeles, and Milan. (Read a review of the New York concert here: www.downtownexpress.com/de_180/davidlynch.html) Critics and audiences present at these events were impressed by the instantaneous musical evocations of abandoned factories, rain-soaked cobblestone streets at twilight, and solitary individuals traversing desolate landscapes. For those brave enough to follow such plot twists and turns, the Lynch/Żebrowski Polish Night Music CD will likely evoke similar, film-like imagery, accomplishing its goals by means of its mesmerizing sound.

Sonic Rebellion Collection

Sonic Rebellion: Alternative Classical Collection
Includes K. Penerecki’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, performed by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Antoni Wit cond., and many others (see website for composers and performers)
Naxos 8570760

“John Cage’s father once advised him: If someone says can’t, that shows you what to do. It s a safe bet that the 16 iconoclastic composers on this aptly named Naxos of America compilation would agree wholeheartedly with that defiant sentiment. Sonic rebels one and all, they have consistently challenged accepted notions and standards of composition, performance, and even sound. Some have dedicated themselves to the subversion of existing musical forms; others have rejected those forms outright and created new ones of their own. Their anti-authority stance has been rooted as much in the social as the personal, directed at the dissonant trajectories of the century past as well as present. Faced with the uncertainties and complications of modern life, the onrush (some might say onslaught) of technology, and the growing instability both between and within nations, these artists have chosen to communicate their personal visions in a musical tone and language that is controversial, often confrontational, and always compelling.”

[From Naxos Direct website]

Coming Soon – Magin

Miłosz Magin (1929-1999): Piano Works II
Miłosz Magin: Piano Sonata No.1; Petite Suite Polonaise; Toccata, Chorale & Fugue; Sonatine; Piano Sonata No. 4; Tango
MacEvoy-McCullough Ryan, piano
World Premiere Recording

Ryan MacEvoy McCullough, a piano performance student at Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, has recorded a CD of the music of Polish composer Miłosz Magin. Ryan was the gold medal winner in Paris at the 2005 Miłosz Magin International Piano Concerto and has frequently performed the music of Magin, which is well received for its energy and unique sound.

Polish Spirit

Polish Spirit
Nigel Kennedy, violin and the Polish Chamber Orchestra, Jacek Kaspszyk cond.
Music by Chopin, Młynarski and Karłowicz
EMI 3 79934 2

In his review for the London Telegraph, Matthew Rye gives his compatriots a reason why they should remember another fellow countryman, virtuoso violinist Nigel Kennedy. Although born in Britain, Kennedy has been living in Poland for some years now, and has become a true champion of all Polish music and musicians, from jazz to classical. In his latest release, Kennedy highlights two rarely heard Polish Romantic masterpieces, the violin concertos of Emil Młynarski and Mieczysław Karłowicz. According to Rye, “Kennedy brings reams of silken tone coupled with a real feeling for its emotional character.” Read the whole review here: www.telegraph.co.uk

Kronos Quartet DVD

Kronos Quartet – Polish Quartets
Witold Lutosławski: String Quartet; Paweł Mykietyn: 2nd String Quartet; Krzysztof Penderecki: Quartetto per archi no. 1; Henryk Mikołaj Górecki: 3rd String Quartet  “Pieśni śpiewają”
Kronos Quartet: David Harrington, John Sherba, Hank Dutt, Jeffrey Zeigler

This is a live concert recording from the 2nd Polish Music Festival in Kraków in November 2006. This release includes works from the 1960’s (Penderecki and Lutsoławski) as well as newer compositions by Górecki (1994/95) and Mykietyn. Featuring the world premiere performance of Mykietyn’s 2nd String Quartet commissioned by Polish Music Festival. As a bonus the DVD includes interviews with David Harrington, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Paweł Mykietyn.

Fontana Premiere Recording

Julian Fontana (1810-1869) – Piano Works 1
[Chopin’s Disciples (V)]

Fontana: Premiere Fantasie Brillante sur des motifs de la “Somnambule” de Bellini Op. 14; A la Mazurka; Caprice Op. 1 No, 1 “Marche funebre”; La Havanne – fantasie sur des motifs Americains et Espagnols pour le piano Op.10; 12 Reveries sur piano en deux suites Op. 8; Elegie Op. 7; Trois Mazourkas pour le piano Op. 21; Souvenirs de l’Ile de Cuba. Deux Fantasies pour le piano Op.12; Ballada Op. 17
Rutkowski Hubert, piano
Acte Prealable AP0160

This recording is now available through US distributor, Spinning Dog Records!


Kurkowicz Covers Musical Ground

Violinist Joanna Kurkowicz was busy during the month of October, promoting music from all over the world. On October 17-21, she played the US Premiere of the Concerto for Violin and Tabla “Svara Yantra.” Ms. Kurkowicz commissioned this piece from Shirish Korde, an American composer of Indian descent. She gave four performances of the piece as soloist with the Boston Philharmonic. Audience response was overwhelming, with standing ovations each night and excellent press reviews. In an article entitled “Colors of India cascade from violin, tabla, and Philharmonic,” Boston Globe correspondent Matthew Guerrieri described the musical excitement of the 2nd movement of “Svara Yantra” as “Kurkowicz’s scurrying violin riding Chatterjee’s intricate drumming over Technicolor splashes from the orchestra.” (Read the entire article here: www.boston.com) Musical examples of the piece are available on her website, www.joannakurkowicz.com .
Also, on October 22, renowned Polish composer Zygmunt Krauze visited Tufts University in Boston for a recital and a lecture. The composer performed some of his solo pieces and then was joined by Ms. Kurkowicz and her group for his Piano Quintet. Other performers were Sarita Uranovsky, violin II; Scott Woolweaver, viola; and Emmanuell Feldman, cello.

“Musica Ex Machina”

The Ensemble Boswil is an upcoming generation’s project, where the members are highly talented students and graduates from Swiss Conservatories. The ensemble was founded in 2005 by Bettina Skrzypczak, Polish composer and member of the board of the Artists’ House Foundation Boswil. The conductor and some of the musicians change each year.

With the concert premiere on October 13, in the Old Church of Boswil, the Ensemble Boswil has started its third tour through Switzerland. The next stops are: Sun, 14 October, Zurich; Mon, 15 October, Lausanne; Sat, 20 October, Basel; Sun, 21 October, Villigen (Swiss Research Centre, Paul Scherrer Institute). The ambitious program including live-electronics for the first time, has as a motto “Musica ex machina” and consists of six pieces:

Karlheinz Stockhausen: Kontra-Punkte  (1952/53)
Conlon Nancarrow (arr. Ivar Mikhashoff): Study Nr. 12 
Michael Jarrell: …more leaves… (2000) for viola solo, ensemble and live-electronics
Iannis Xenakis: Thallein (1984)
Tristan Murail: Désintégrations  (1982) for large ensemble and tape

The soloist for the piece by Michael Jarrell is Tomoko Akasaka, winner of the third prize at the International ARD Music Competition in Munich 2004.

Krauze in NY

On Thursday, October 25, Polish composer and pianist Zygmunt Krauze presented what he calls “The Last Recital” in Cornell University’s Barnes Hall in Ithaca, NY. This is a theatrical piano recital with amplification.Theatrical elements are realized through gestures, movements around the piano, short texts and generally by the special way in which the music is performed. The program consists of an uninterrupted one-hour performance of modernist works by Stockhausen, Messiaen, Cowell, Webern, Andriessen, Harrison, Lutoslawski, and Ligeti, interspersed by interludes of fragments of Bach, Haydn, Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Szymanowski, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and others. Among the works performed are such classics of musical modernism as Cowell’s Aeolian Harp, Stockhausen’s Klavierstück IX, and Webern’s Variations, op. 27, as well as two pieces by Krauze, Stone Music and Gloves Music An exciting program which takes the listener outside of the expected realm of classical music for piano.


Born This Month

  • 1 November 1901 – Szymon LAKS , composer, violinist (d. 1986)
  • 2 November 1876 – Eugeniusz MORAWSKI, composer, conductor (d. 1948)
  • 3 November 1915 – Henryk JABLONSKI, composer
  • 4 November 1857 – Stanislaw NIEWIADOMSKI, composer (d. 1936)
  • 6 November 1860 – Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI , pianist, composer, statesman (d. 1941)
  • 23 November 1933 – Krzysztof PENDERECKI , composer, conductor
  • 24 November 1932 – Andrzej KURYLEWICZ, composer, jazz pianist
  • 24 November 1899 – Jan MAKLAKIEWICZ , composer, teacher (d. 1954)
  • 26 November 1896 – Józef KOFFLER, composer (d. 1944)
  • 27 November 1893 – Stanislaw WIECHOWICZ, composer, choral conductor (d. 1963)
  • 28 November 1928 – Jan FOTEK, composer


Died This Month

  • 1 November 1947 – Wladyslaw POWIADOWSKI, choral conductor, teacher (b.1865)
  • 2 November 1929 – Stanislaw BARCEWICZ, violinist, teacher (b.1858)
  • 2 November 1881 – Jan Nepomucen BOBROWICZ, guitarist (b.1805)
  • 3 November 1888 – Józef BRZOZOWSKI, composer, cellist, conductor, teacher (b.1805)
  • 5 November 1946 – Zygmunt STOJOWSKI , composer, pianist, teacher (b. 1870)
  • 9 November 1856 – Aleksander MARTIN, composer, violist (b. 1856)
  • 11 November 1912 – Józef WIENIAWSKI, pianist, teacher, composer (b.1837)
  • 15 November 1853 – Józef NIEDZIELSKI, voice and violin teacher (b.1793)
  • 15 November 1986 – Aleksander TANSMAN , composer, conductor, pianist (b. 1897)
  • 14 November 1860 – Feliks NOSKOWSKI, pianist, teacher (b.1874)
  • 26 November 1855 – Adam MICKIEWICZ, romantic poet, texts used by many composers (b.1798)