Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 15, no. 1

2008 Highlights In Polish Music


Zygmunt Krauze celebrated his 70th birthday on September 19

Krzysztof Penderecki turned 75 on November 23, and this momentous anniversary was celebrated all year long throughout Poland. A new website has been created in his honor: www.krzysztofpenderecki.eu

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki turned 75 on December 6. The Polish Composer’s Festival in Bielsko Biała was dedicated to him, and he and Penderecki were feted at a special Festival organized by NOSPR

Stanisław Skrowaczewski celebrated his 85th birthday (Oct. 3) with a concert at the Minnesota Orchestra where he serves as Director

Awards & Honors

A disc of music by Krzysztof Penderecki, featuring Patrycja Piekutowska, violin and Beata Bilińska, piano (DUX 0582), was the first completely Polish production to receive the prestigious MIDEM Classic Award

Composer Zygmunt Krauze was awarded the highest state honor of the French Republic – Officier de la Legion d’Honneur

2008 Fryderyki Awards: Classical Composer of the Year – Paweł SZYMAŃSKI & Jazz Musician of the Year – Piotr WOJTASIK

Paweł Mykietyn’s Symphony no. 2 was chosen for the prestigious 55th International Rostrum of Composers (IRC) and was awarded the Polish Radio’s newly created Opus Award

Michał Nesterowicz won the 9th International Conducting Competition “Cadaques Orchestra” in Barcelona

Recipients of the 12th annual Award of the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN) in the category of music: Krzysztof Penderecki, Agnieszka Duczmal, and Zofia Helman-Bednarczyk

Winners of the annual “ZKP Award” from the Polish Composer’s Union were: music critic and theoretician Małgorzata Gąsiorowska and composer Tadeusz Wielecki

The Grand Prize in the 12th International Contemporary Chamber Music Competition (Kraków) went to Teresa Malik of Poland

English conductor Sir Simon Rattle is among the recipients of the 2008 awards given by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN) for the promotion of Polish culture abroad


Premiere of Hanna Kulenty’s Kisses & Crosses for piano and percussion was performed by Ensemble de Ereprijs  (Jan. 18)

Piotr Moss’ orchestral cycle Five Tableaus of Caspar David Friedrich was premiered in sections over the course of the Lamoureux Orchestra’s 2007-2008 season

Marta Ptaszyńska’s newest opera for children, Magic Doremik, was premiered at the National Opera (Jan. 18)

33 new works by Polish composers were premiered during the 26th edition of the “Musica Polonica Nova” Festival (Wrocław, Feb. 15 – 22), and 5 pieces had their Polish premieres

The 39th Polish Contemporary Music Festival “Poznań Music Spring” (April 6 – 13) featured World Premieres of works by Dariusz Przybylski, Mirosław Bukowski, Zbigniew Bujarski, Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil and Artur Kroschel

Gedymin Grubba’s Sinfonia Jubilate for orchestra, choir and soloists was premiered on June 19 in Warsaw’s Grand Theater-National Opera

Jerzy Maksymiuk’s …Jeno lotom nie wzbraniaj… was premiered by the Baltic Philharmonic on May 16, 2008 in Gdańsk, with the composer on the podium

Kielce Dance Theatre and Świętokrzyskie Philharmonic Orchestra premiered a new ballet with music by composer Krzesimir Dębski entitled Zdarzyło się w Jeruzalem[It happened in Jerusalem] on June 26

This year’s 51st annual Warsaw Autumn Festival of Contemporary Music featured the World Premieres of Krzysztof Wołek’s Un claro del tiempo (a Festival commission) and the interactive installation The Memory of a Looking Glass by Andrea Pensado and Greg Kowalski

Kronos Quartet premiered Hanna Kulenty’s String Quartet No. 4: A Cradle Song at Ravinia Festival on Sept. 3

Paweł Mykietyn’s Passion was premiered at the 43rd edition of the Wratislavia Cantans Festival on Sept. 8

Premiere of Wojciech Kilar’s Veni Creator for choir and string orchestra took place on September 13 at the World Expo in Saragossa, Spain

4th edition of the Polish Music Festival in Kraków saw premieres for Kilar, Chyrzyński, Maksymiuk, Długosz, and Nowak (details below)

Andrzej Jagodziński’s oratorio Herbert – internal voices was premiered at the Warsaw Philharmonic on Oct. 29

Aleksander Lasoń’s Called Back was premiered on Nov. 23 in Katowice at the Ars Cameralis Festival (commissioned by Marek Moś, director of the Aukso Chamber Orchestra)

PMC Performances

Polish Music Spring concert featured world-renown violinist and USC faculty member Midori and friends in an exciting program of music by Chopin, Lutosławski, Paderewski, and Penderecki on March 27 at USC’s Alfred Newman Recital Hall

A Celebration of the 90th Anniversary of Poland’s Independence & 2008 Paderewski Lecture was held on November 10 in USC’s Bovard Auditorium, featuring the music of Wojciech Kilar

The annual Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles (November 13-16) featured pianist Nikita Mndoyants, winner of the 2007 Paderewski Competition in Bydgoszcz


Polish Year in Israel – 2008/2009 – events relating to culture, science, economy, politics and tourism, aimed at strengthening bonds and encouraging cooperation between the two counties

Swiss saxophonist Laurent Estoppey celebrated his 10 years of collaboration with Polish-Canadian composer Piotr Grella-Mozejko by presenting  a quarter-century retrospective of Grella-Mozejko’s musical output in Vevey, Switzerland (Feb. 3)

The Alvarez Chamber Orchestra’s year-long celebration of Polish and British music culminated in the November concert “Northern Ayres: an Anglo-Polish Celebration”, featuring Zygmunt Krauze

Celebrations of the Marcella Sembrich 150th Anniversary Year continued all year long, with concerts, a symposium, and various events at the Marcella Sembrich Museum, the Kosciuszko Foundation, and elsewhere in NY

A Concert Tribute to Krzysztof Komeda featuring the Tomasz Stańko Quartet and Billy Harper was held in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art’s Jazz Score exhibit

Szymanowski’s operas Król Roger and Harnasie were performed by the American Symphony Orchestra and Wrocław Opera Chorus and soloists at the Bard SummerScape

Pianists Krystian Zimmerman and Rafał Blechacz, and vocalists Anna Radziejewska and Piotr Beczała represented Poland at the renowned Salzburg Festspiele

The Polish Radio Music Festival featured music by Stojowski and Wars (see below)

Krystian Zimerman performed Lutosławski’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, which was originally inspired by the pianist himself, with the San Francisco Symphony


Genes of a Creative Personality from Lwów. Conversations with Krystyna Moszumańska-Nazar by Małgorzata Wożna-Stankiewicz was published by Musica Iagellonica

The 3-volume work Karol Szymanowski i jego epoka [Karol Szymanowski and His Time] by Szymanowski specialist, Dr. Teresa Chylińska, was published by Musica Iagellonica

Bunt i Wyzwolenie [Mutiny and Liberation], a monograph about Krzysztof Penderecki, was published on December 3 by PWM


The Podlasie Philarmonic Orchestra (formerly known as the Białystok Philharmonic) made a historic recording of Zygmunt Stojowski’s cantatas A Prayer for Poland and Le Printemps, as well as the Suite in E flat Major, on DUX Records (0625)

Wojciech Świtała recorded “Chopin: 24 Preludes” for the National Frederic Chopin Institute, in its continuing effort to record all of Chopin’s music on the period instruments (apr)

2008 Fryderyki Winners: “Phonographic Debut of the Year”:Anna Mikołajczyk (Szymanowski: Songs – Vocal Recital), DUX; Outstanding Recording of Polish Music: Fryderyk Chopin – Preludia (Rafał Blechacz), Deutsche Grammophon; Jazz Album of the Year: Piotr Wojtasik – Circle (SO Jazz Records – Stowarzyszenie Orkiestra Jazzowa).  Full listing available here

DUX 0615: Szymanowski – Piano Works / Joanna Domańska, piano won Pizzicato’s “Supersonic Award”

The “Polish Spirit” recording (EMI Classics), performed by the Polish Chamber Orchestra under Jacek Kaspszyk, with Nigel Kennedy as soloist, won the ECHO Klassik 2008 Award

Szymanowski: Stabat Mater on Naxos Records (570724) was chosen as the Editor’s Choice of the British BBC Music Magazine in the “Choral Music” category for October 2008

We Remember…

Sławomir Kulpowicz (jazz pianist, composer and producer) – d. 7 Feb.

Dr. Stefan P. Wilk (physician, humanitarian, and co-founder of the PMC) – d. 25 March

Krystyna Moszumańska-Nazar (composer and pedagogue) – d. 27 September


Music Of Wars And Stojowski Continues To Shine

The legacy of two Polish composers—Zygmunt Stojowski (1870-1946) and Henryk Wars (1902-1977)—whose manuscripts and personal papers were donated a few years ago to the Polish Music Center at USC, is being kept alive by recent performances in Poland. The recognition of Stojowski’s oeuvre continues apace, with continuing performances and recordings of his compositions. The unique position of Henry Wars in the history of Polish music—he was arguably the most popular Polish composer of modern times—was also officially acknowledged, at a special concert in Warsaw earlier this fall.

Henryk Wars-Warszawski was posthumously decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta on 29 September 2008 by the decree of Poland’s President, Lech Kaczyński. The Order, established in 1921, is one of Poland’s highest civilian decorations, given in recognition of outstanding achievements in the areas of education, art, culture, civic work, service to Poland, and contributions to the development of international relations.

The ceremony took place in Warsaw on 5 October 2008, during the Eleventh Polish Radio Music Festival. The 2008 Festival was entitled “Emigranci” and dedicated to presenting music by Polish composers residing abroad. The concert opened with Zygmunt Stojowski’s Second Piano Concerto, Op. 32 in performance by English pianist, Jonathan Plowright (pictured at left with Wars’ grandson, Dennis Mitchell). Mr. Plowright has been a champion of Stojowski’s piano music for many years, performing at the PMC’s 2006 Paderewski Lecture-Recital (dedicated to Stojowski) and recording Stojowski’s solo compositions and piano concertos for the Hyperion label. Symphony No. 1 by Henryk Wars, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio and conducted by Michał Dworzyński, was the concluding item on the program.

In the official citation read by a special representative of President Kaczyński, Henryk Wars was singled out for his outstanding achievements in composition and his significant contributions to arts in Poland. The composer’s grandson, Dennis Mitchell (pictured at right), accepted the Order on behalf of the Wars family currently residing in Southern California, with these words:

On behalf of my grandmother, Elizabeth Wars, Henry Wars’ two children—Diana Wars-Mitchell and my uncle, Robert Wars—four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, and the rest of the Wars family, we thank you for this most wonderful honor. Tonight, you show that his music has never left your hearts and that for over seventy years his songs are still known throughout Poland by the young and old alike. With this wonderful tribute you’ve welcomed my grandfather back home to his beloved Poland. On behalf of my family, thank you so much.

Manuscripts of Henry Wars’ symphonic music, including his Symphony No. 1, Piano Concerto, a three-movement orchestral suite, City Sketches, overture Maalot for orchestra, and numerous other smaller ensemble works and sketches, were donated to the Polish Music Center in 2005 by the composer’s widow, Elizabeth Wars. Up to that point, Henryk Wars (known as Henry Vars in the United States) had been recognized primarily as the composer of dozens of enduring hit songs and numerous film scores, written in Poland in the 1930s and later in Hollywood between 1950 and 1970. The unknown symphonic compositions by Wars were an extraordinary find in the history of Polish music of the 20th century. This discovery was celebrated in June 2005 in Łódź, Poland, during the annual Film Music Festival, where Henry Wars’ symphonic masterpieces were given a world premiere by the Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Maestro Krzesimir Dębski and featuring soloist Marek Żebrowski in the Piano Concerto. In November 2005, a gala concert at Bovard Auditorium, USC, also celebrated the Vars manuscript donation.


Nat’l Phil And Wit, Grammy-Bound

A recording of the music of Karol Szymanowski featuring Antoni Wit conducting the Warsaw National Philharmonic and Choir, with Jarosław Bręka, Iwona Hossa and Ewa Marciniec as soloists, has received a Grammy Award nomination for the best Choral Performance. The album was released on NAXOS and contains the Stabat MaterVeni CreatorLitany to Virgin MaryDemeter, and Penthesilea. Wit is facing stiff competition from Sir Simon Rattle, Colin Davis, Charles Bruffy and Craig Hella Johnson.

The awards ceremony will take place on February 8, 2009, and will be broadcast on CBS. For more information about the nominations and Grammys please visit www.grammy.com.

[Sources: classicalmusic.about.commuzyka.onet.plwww.naxos.com]

Dębski’s New Theater Music

The Capitol Music Theater in Wrocław is preparing a stage adaptation of Stefan Żeromski’s book, Dzieje grzechu [History of Sin]. The premiere nights are scheduled for January 16-18. This musical theater drama will be directed by Anna Kękuś-Poks, with music composed by Krzesimir Dębski and song lyrics by Michał Zabłocki. The main roles will be played by Justyna Szafran, Konrad Imiela and Wojciech Medyński.

Dzieje grzechu was first published in 1908 and has since been adapted for film three times, twice before the war and again in1975. Both the book and the adaptations created social scandal, and many critics were very harsh on Żeromiski after the release of his work. The book tells a story of a woman’s tragic love, trial of faith and innocence, passion, deception and crime.

Capitol has prepared a dedicated website for the show, www.dziejegrzechu.pl, and also has some clips on the theater’s official page. You can view a “trailer” and hear a few songs by Krzesimir Dębski on these websites.

[Source: wiadomosci.polska.pl]

Tomaszewski Performs Stojowski

Violinist Tomasz Tomaszewski will start the new year by performing Zygmunt Stojowski’s Violin Concerto with conductor Piotr Borkowski and several orchestras in Poland. First, Tomaszewski and Borkowski will join the Podlasie Philharmonic Orchestra on January 30th at 7:00pm in the concert hall of the Philharmonic in Białystok. Other works on the program will be Tchaikovsky’s Overture-Fantasy from Romeo and Juliet and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Op. 36. Then, on February 6th at 7:00 p.m., they will go to Olsztyn and perform the Violin Concerto with the Warmińsko-Mazurskiej Philharmonic Orchestra. Glinka’s Overture to the opera Rusłan i Ludmiła and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 will also be performed that evening.

Tomasz Tomaszewski was born in 1951 in Czechowice Poland. He studied at the Warsaw Music Academy and graduated with distinction, then continued his studies at the Conservatories in Leningrad and Freiburg. Currently living in Berlin and serving as the Concertmaster of the Deutsche Opera Berlin, since 1983 Mr. Tomaszewski has been a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. Since 1988, he is the founder and director of the chamber orchestra “Chamber Soloists of the Deutsche Opera Berlin” and also the director of the music summer courses in Giucholazy which is supported by the Polish Culture Ministry.

Tomasz Tomaszewski has made extensive tours with the “Polish String Quartet” and has won many competitions, for example the ARD Competition in Munich 1976, Belgrade 1975 and Colmar 1977. He is a much sought after soloist with concerts in Poland, Germany, Japan, China, U.S.A., Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Norway and France, and his many recordings for radio and on compact discs show his great talent, ability and versatility. [Biographical information from the Int’l Music Academy of Cagliari]

Marcin Dylla: U.S. Tour

Following his success as the winner of the 2007 Guitar Foundation of America International Competition, Polish guitarist Marcin Dylla will be touring the U.S. through mid-March. Considered one of today’s leading guitar artists, Dylla will be appearing across the country, starting in Hartford, CT on Jan. 10and covering every corner of the country (including San Jose and Orange, CA) until he concludes his tour in Sarasota, FL on March 21. For a full list of concerts and details, visit www.marcindylla.com.

Eastern Kentucky University, where Dylla will perform on Feb. 1, gives the following biography of this performer’s stellar career on their website:

Dylla has graced the stage of distinguished concert halls across the globe, including Konzerthaus, Musikverein and Palais Lobkovitz in Vienna, Austria; Auditorio Nacional and Auditorio Conde Duque in Madrid, Spain; St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall in Russia; Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, N.Y.; Villa Hügel in Essen, Germany; and the Palazzina Liberty in Milan (Italy).
In addition to being invited to perform in virtually every major European and North American guitar festival, Dylla has been regularly invited to appear at international music festivals, including Festival Internazionale Settimane Musicali di Stresa (Italy), Don Quijote Music Festival (Paris, France), Burghofspiele Eltville (Germany), International Festival Musical Olympus (St. Petersburg), Inverno Musicale (Alzano, Italy), Central European Music Festival (Zilinai, Lithuania), Festival Internacional de Música (Toledo, Italy) and Musique Dans la Rue (Aix-en-Provence, France). In February 2007 he performed as a soloist with the Hermitage State Orchestra at the Hermitage Festival in St. Petersburg.

In 2006, Dylla received the singular honor of being selected by Cecilia Rodrigo, the daughter of renowned Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo, to perform one of her father’s newly discovered works at the Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Art in Madrid. In Fall 2007 he toured the United States performing Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” in a number of concerts with the Fort Collins Symphony and the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with various other orchestras in Europe and the United States, including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Radio Television Espanola (RTVE Madrid, Spain), St. Petersburg Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra Filharmonica di Torino (Italy) and the Essen Chamber Orchestra (Germany).

Born in Chorzow in 1976, Dylla received his first guitar lessons at the Ruda Slaska Music Conservatory in his native Poland. From 1995 to 2000 he studied at the Music Academy of Katowice with Adi Wanda Palacz. He then completed his studies with Oscar Ghiglia, Sonja Prunnbauer and Carlo Marchione at the Music Academies of Basel (Switzerland), Freiburg (Germany) and Maastricht (The Netherlands), respectively. [www.prm.eku.edu]

Art Inspired By Penderecki’s Operas

An exhibition entitled W przestrzeni Uniwersum, w labiryncie śmierci [In the space of the Universe, in the labyrinth of death] is available for viewing in the Polish Stage Design Center in Katowice until March 1, 2009. Images presented are visual representations of the operas and cantatas of Krzysztof Penderecki, one of Poland’s most prominent living composers. The exhibition is a part of celebrations of Penderecki’s 75th birthday.

The exhibition includes sketches, costumes and decoration elements from the Polish premieres of such works as Diabły z Loudun [Devils of Loudun], Czarna Maska [Black Mask], Ubu Rex [King Ubu], Raj uracony [Paradise Lost], and the Saint Luke’s Passion. These decorations were created by some of the best Polish designers, such as: Andrzej Kreutz Majewski, Ewa and Franciszek Starowieyski, Zofia de Ines, Waldemar Zawodziński, and Małgorzata Słoniowska.

[Source: wiadomosci.polska.pl]

Chopin Manuscripts Purchased By NIFC

The National Frederic Chopin Institute (NIFC) in Warsaw has purchased two priceless manuscripts of works by Chopin at Sotheby’s auction house in London. The first is of the Tarantella, op. 43, which is the only known original F. Chopin manuscript of this work. The second, Etude in F Minorfrom “Trois Nouvelles Etudes,” was previously considered lost. The total value of the two manuscripts is 590,000 British pounds. This purchase was possible thanks to the quick decision-making of Polish minister of culture, Bogdan Zdrojewski, who appropriated government funds for the purchase. The two manuscripts will join the collection of the Chopin Institute in Warsaw.

[Source: muzyka.onet.plwiadomosci.polska.pl]

Kraków Opera Grand Opening

With six trapdoors, several stage wings, a computer-controlled acoustic ceiling, and a moveable orchestra pit… Kraków now has an opera house and theatre complex that ranks with the best in Europe.

The long-awaited opening of the new Kraków Opera headquarters took place on the 13th of December. The Great Stage was inaugurated with Krzysztof Penderecki’s The Devils of Loudon, directed by Laco Adamik and conducted by Andrzej Straszynski. This choice of repertoire was guaranteed to test the capabilities of the opera house to the utmost. The gala opening was attended by the President of Kraków, Jacek Majchrowski, the Archbishop of Kraków, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, and several government ministers.

The modernistic building at 48 Lubicz Street, already a fixture on the cityscape of Kraków, was designed by Kraków architect Romuald Loegler and his associates Piotr Urbanowicz and Grzegorz Dresler. Construction began in 2004. The claret-colored walls of the opera house, the largest structure of the complex, with the Great Stage inside, are imposing to say the least. The grey building with its semicircular roof is uncannily reminiscent of the old Kraków Operetta, thereby keeping alive the memories of local opera lovers. The original building, which served as a horse riding school at the beginning of the twentieth century, has been incorporated into the modern Opera House in an especially creative way—it serves as the main entrance to the opera and ticket offices, and its upper floor holds the “Na Antresoli” Stage, whose foyer can be used as an Exhibition and Lecture Hall, and a gourmet restaurant. Besides the 700-seat Great Stage, which covers an area of 300 square meters, performance spaces also include the 200-seat “Na Antresoli” stage and a “Chamber Stage.” The ultramodern backstage equipment makes it possible to put on the most innovative performances.

[Sources: www.opera.krakow.plwww.polskieradio.pl]

New Director Of The Chopin Institute

Photo credit: MKiDN

Andrzej Sułek, the director of Łódź Philharmonic and respected music journalist, was appointed the new Director of the National Frederic Chopin Institute (NIFC) in Warsaw by Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN).

Andrzej Sułek is a graduate of the Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw. For many years he worked for Polish Radio Channel 2 and last year was appointed the director of Łódź Philharmonic. He is a member of European Broadcasting Union, for which he is coordinating the “Chopin 2010” program. He is also a juror for the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, an international stipend trust.

[Source: wiadomosci.polska.pl]

Lutosławski Book

A new book about Polish composer Witold Lutosławski was recently published. Lutosławski w pamięci [Lutosławski in Memories] by Grzegorz Michalski is a compilation of 20 interviews with fellow artists as they remember this great composer. Among those interviewed are Julia Hartwig, Krzysztof Zanussi, Krystyna Zachwatowiczowa, Andrzej Wajda, Marcin Bogusławski, Krystyna Witkowska, Halina Szpilmanowa, and Ryszard Kapuściński. The goal of these conversations was to bring to light a more private and personal side of Lutosławski.

The book was published by Słowo/Obrazy TerytoriaPublishers in Gdańsk and is available for purchase on their website.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]

A Gift From Polmic

Our friends at the Polish Music Information Centre (www.polmic.pl) are giving away free access to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. All you have to do is register an account with Polmic and you will get instant access to the largest most definitive music dictionary in the world.

H.M. Górecki at 75

Gorecki in his Katowice studio.
April 1998. Photo by Maja Trochimczyk.

Read a brief but interesting and informative article about Polish composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki by Michał Kubicki in his report for the Polish Radio news service. Although a reclusive man by nature, Górecki’s stunning Symphony No. 3 “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs” gave him international fame. The article H.M. Gorecki at 75 looks back at the composer’s career on this landmark anniversary and explores the experience of the founder of the Kronos Quartet, David Harrington, as he and his group premiere Górecki’s latest work, String Quartet No. 3 “Songs are Sung.”

Affabre Concinui In Canada

The Celebrity Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dr. Andrew Rozbicki presents the award-winning Polish chamber singers of Affabre Concinui at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.  The program, entitled “Viva Carnival,” will be presented on Saturday, January 31, at 4:00 and 7:30 p.m.

Affabre Concinui was formed in 1983 by alumni of two famous men’s choirs in the city of Poznań. Their repertoire consists of well over 300 works ranging from Renaissance to contemporary, including many pop musical standards. Masterpieces in terms of arrangement infuse the audience with enthusiasm. The name of the ensemble, Affabre Concinui, comes from Latin and means “perfectly attuned,” which is an artistic credo of the group.

Rowena Smith of The Herald in Scotland gave the group a 5 Star rating and likened the group to the King’s Singers in her review: “With tight, close harmony and the easy ability to swing a jazz rhythm, the six-man a cappella ensemble is perfectly at home in the pop side of the repertoire. Yet the group’s expertise doesn’t stop there, extending back to the scholarly realms of renaissance polyphony and the more obscure corners of the early music repertoire….immaculately blended and pitch-perfect delivery…jaw dropping arrangements…Half the fun lies in the incongruity of smartly suited performers delivering these pop songs in their ever-so-serious fashion, complete with additional musical effects….breathtaking.” (August 11, 2008)
More information and tickets are available at www.rozbicki.com.

Leschetizky Connections

Mr. Hubert Rutkowski, President of the Theodor Leschetizky Music Society in Warsaw (est. 2007), met with Mrs. Sheila Simpson, President of the Leschetizky Association of New York. The Leschetizky Association of New York is the oldest organization in the world, having been established by Edith Sullivan Golde in 1942. The meeting took place at Mr. Rutkowski’s recital in the Yamaha Concert Hall on 14 November 2008. Theodor Leschetizky was a Polish pianist, teacher and composer. He was best known for having taught some of the greatest pianist of the 20th century, including I. J. Paderewski and Mieczysław Horszowski. As Janos Cegledy, President of Leschetizky Society of Japan, said: “These days, almost all pianists have some connections with Leschetizky.” This most recent meeting between leaders of the American and Polish Leschetizky organizations promises greater and wider propagation of this important musician’s legacy in the new year.
we have a pic of Rutkowski.


Penderecki Cello Competition

The first edition of the Krzysztof Penderecki International Cello Competition took place in Kraków between December 14 and 21, 2008. It was one of the highest points of the celebrations surrounding Penderecki’s 75th birthday.

11 cellists from around the world were invited to play in the three rounds of competition. The repertoire required included works by Bach, Bocchrini and Penderecki, as well as a free choice short recital.The final results, as decided by Krzysztof Penderecki – honorary chairman, Zdzisław Łapiński – chairman, Julius Berger, Enrico Bronzi, Min Ya Hyun, Ivan Monighetti and Arto Noras, are as follows:

  • 1st Prize – Samuli Peltonen (Finland)
  • 2nd Prize – Wiktor Kociuban (Poland)
  • 3rd Prize – Magdalena Bojanowicz (Poland)
  • Special Prize for the best performance of Penderecki’s Concerto per viola (versione per violoncello) – Samuli Peltonen (Finland)

[Source: wiadomosci.polska.pl and www.pendereckicello.com]

Diamond Baton For Semkow

Jerzy Semkow, one of the greatest conductors in Poland today, has received the Diamond Baton Award. This honor is awarded by Polish Radio, for outstanding artistic creations and for the promotion of Polish music in and outside of Poland.

Jerzy Semkow, who celebrated his 80th birthday in 2008, is a graduate of the State Higher Music School in Kraków and later studied in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). He held positions with Leningrad Symphony, Moscow Bolshoi Theatre, Warsaw National Opera, Royal Opera in Copenhagen, Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Italian Radio and TV Orchestra RAI, and Rochester Philharmonic, as well as guest conducting all major international ensembles. He has recorded for Columbia, EMI, Fona, and Polish Records. In 2000, he received the French “Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” and, in 2005, an honorary doctorate from the Warsaw Music Academy.

[Source: www.polskieradio.pl and muzyka.onet.pl; Photo courtesy of Polish Radio]

Lutosławski Competition Results

The International Composition Competition “Lutosławski Award 2008” took place between December 12 and 14 in Warsaw. The jury consisting of Louis Andriessen (Netherlands), Yi Chen (China/USA), Ivan Fedele (Italy), Yuki Morimoto (Japan/Austria) awarded the following prizes:

  • 1st Prize: Juan de Dios Magdaleno (Mexico) – Memento Mori for violin and piano
  • 2nd Prize: Saoshi Ohmae (Japan) – Memories Once More for two pianos
  • 3rd Prize: Jimie LeBlanc (Canada) – The Breaking of the Circle for string quartet

Honorary mentions were given to Wojciech Ziemowit Zych (Poland), Fred Lerdahl (USA) and Franco Cavallone (Italy).

In all there were 106 valid entries from all around the world. The competition was co-funded by the Ministry of Culture and the City of Warsaw.

[Source: www.polmic.pl]

Polityka’s Passport Nominations

The popular Polish magazine Polityka [Politics] has announced nominations for its annual “Passport” awards. The Passports are given in the field of Literature, Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, Classical Music and Popular Music, to young artists who are original and who explore and cross artistic and geographic boundaries. This year’s artists chosen in the classical music category are Marcin Zdunik(cellist), Łukasz Długosz (flutist), and Artur Ruciński (baritone, voice).

The Passport Awards will be given during a special gala event in the National Theater-Grand Opera in Warsaw on January 13, 2009. To see a complete list of nominations in all categories, please visit www.polityka.pl.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl and www.culture.pl]

Zdunik Honored

Polish cellist Marcin Zdunik was announced the winner of the “New Talent” competition in Bratislava. The competition, organized under the patronage of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), is open to young artists under 28 years of age, and the first round is based on recordings. Zdunik was entered into the competition by Polish Radio Channel 2 and competed with 26 other artists from 18 European countries. To win the final round, Zdunik performed Witold Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto.

Marcin Zdunik is currently a student at the F. Chopin Music University in Warsaw with Prof. Andrzej Bauer. He has already performed in St. Petersburg, Prague, Dortmund, Bratislava and around Poland.

For more information about the competition, please visit www.rozhlas.sk.

[Source: wiadomosci.polska.pl, Photo courtesy of artist’s website]

Horak Wins Betteto Prize

Polish-Slovenian pianist Marina Horak was awarded the Betteto Prize for the year 2008. This award is bestowed by the Slovene Music Artists Association, in conjunction with the Slovenian Music Information Centre, for the best original achievements in the field of classical music. The award ceremony took  place on Monday, December 22nd at the Association of Slovenian Writers in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Piano Duos Competition Results

The Fourth International Piano Duos Competition was held in Białystok, Poland from 24-29 November, 2008. According to the news service of Polish Radio, this competition is the second most prestigious event of its kind, after the Piano Duo Competition in Miami, Florida.  The winners of this year’s event are as follows:

  • I Prize: Ping Lok Chau, Ting Lok Chau – China
  • II Prize: Victor Del Valle, Luis Del Valle – Spain
  • III Prize: Susan Wang, Sarah Wang – USA
  • IV Prize: Polina Girigorieva, Yulia Yurchenko – Russia
  • V Prize: Ebe Müntel, Jorma Toots – Estonia

Other awards given were given in the categories ofBest performance of the “Variations on Paganini’s Theme” by Witold Lutosławski and Best performance of Rondo C Major op.73 by Fryderyk Chopin. Both of these awards went to First Place winners Ping Lok Chau and Ting Lok Chau.

Kamyszew Recieves Maestro Award

Following the example of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who devoted his talents and life to elevating the people and culture of Poland, the goal of the of the Paderewski Association of Chicago is to raise the international community’s awareness of the achievements of Polish culture and to facilitate connections between Polish and American artists, artisans, entrepreneurs and the general public. In this spirit, the Association’s 2008 Maestro Award has been presented to Christopher Kamyszew.

Mr. Kamyszew is the founder of the Polish Film Festival in America (Chicago, IL) and its Honorary Chairman. The Polish Film Festival in America educates the public about contemporary Polish culture and builds international respect for Polish culture and heritage. Mr. Kamyszew is the second recipient of Paderewski Association’s Maestro Award—the previous recipient was Magdalena Abakanowicz, a renowned sculptor.

According to Urszula Lukaszuk, Marketing Coordinator for the Paderewski Association: “This award represents acknowledgement of artistic achievement and success in promoting Polish culture in the spirit of Ignacy Paderewski, who shared his talent and knowledge, whose personality inspired and still inspires, and whose patriotism and incredible humanitarian views define a caliber of which one must be worthy to receive this award.” [from the award press release]

The Award was presented during the Polish American Chamber of Commerce (PACC) annual Holiday Gathering at the Consulate General of Poland in Chicago on Thursday, December 11, 2008.  This year’s award was sponsored by Mr. Stanley Boduch.


Report: 2008 Festival Of Polish Music – Kraków

By Gary Fitelberg

The 2008 Festival of Polish Music took place in Kraków from November 9th through November 16th.  Many World Premieres took place, including: Wojciech KILAR – Te Deumfor solo voices, choir and orchestra; Marcel CHYRZYŃSKI – BEELDEN for recorder, harpsichord and tape; Jerzy MAKSYMIUK – Norwidiana for two sopranos, mezzo-soprano and orchestra; Magdalena DŁUGOSZ – Poza ciszą[Beyond the Silence] for tape; Aleksander NOWAK – Quantemporette for clarinet, cello, trombone and piano (commissioned by the festival). The program offered an outstanding group of performers, repertoire and venues, the full details of which are available on the Festival website: www.fmp.org.pl/en/index.php?pokaz=program08

The crowded events were jam-packed with enthusiastic aficionados who appreciate excellent classical music. The music received much media attention and the press gave rave reviews.  Tickets were in short supply and sold out early.

This music festival featured the best and brightest composers, performers, orchestras and soloists from Poland and abroad—both chamber and symphonic—providing an action-packed week of wonderful and enjoyable music.  If you were not able to attend this year or in years past, you should surely plan to do so in the very near future. Kraków is one of the best cities for experiencing culture and its charm and history is incomparable to any other in Poland and abroad.

The excellent organization of this fourth edition of the Festival of Polish Music could not have been possible without Program Director Andrezj Kosowski, Organizational Director Pawel Orski, Promoter Izabella Oles, numerous media patrons, patrons, sponsors, and an army of volunteers.

Gary Fitelberg is a music critic and historian.

Glowing Review For Anderszewski

Pianist Piotr Anderszewski performed a solo recital at the Chicago Symphony Center on December 7, 2008.  The recital featured Bach’s Partita No. 2 and English Suite No. 6, Janácek’s In the Mists, and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110, followed by an encore of Bartók’s Three Hungarian Folksongs from the Csik Districtand Schumann’s Romanze from Faschingsschwank aus Wien. Wynne Delacoma, a free-lance contributor the Chicago Sun-Times, includes the following words of praise in her review of the evening’s performance:

“There is something deeply comforting about the kind of perfection that Polish-Hungarian pianist Piotr Anderszewski brought to his program of Bach, Janacek and Beethoven… [D]uring the two hours or so that they are onstage, artists like Anderszewski manage to create a universe that seems utterly complete unto itself. There is a sense of inevitability in their performance, a feeling that the true essence of a composer’s intentions has been discovered. Especially when our daily lives are battered by forces beyond our control, it is reassuring to spend an afternoon in a world of such richly calibrated balance.”

Read more here: www.suntimes.com.


Karłowicz On Naxos

Mieczysław Karłowicz: Symphonic Poems (Volume 2)
Karłowicz (1879 – 1909): Powracajace fale [Returning Waves], Op. 9; Smutna opowiesc, “Preludia do wiecznosci” [A Sorrowful Tale, “Preludes to Eternity”], Op. 13; and Odwieczne piesni [Eternal Songs], Op. 10
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit, Conductor
Naxos 8.570295 (Vol. 1: Naxos 8.570452)

Bitterly criticized by contemporaneous Polish critics as examples of “modernist chaos,” these six symphonic poems, composed between 1904 and 1909, are splendid Neo-Romantic works showing both Karlowicz’s intense admiration for Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss, and the scale of his own achievement. Read more about this recording from the news service of Polish Radio: www.polskieradio.pl/thenews/culture/?id=96975.

Penderecki ‘Christmas Symphony’

Penderecki: Symphony No.2, Te Deum & Magnificat
Krzysztof Penderecki: Symphony No.2 “Christmas Symphony;” Te Deum; Lacrimosa; Magnificat; and Kanon.
Polish Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, with Krzysztof Penderecki, conductor
EMI 2176692 (2 discs)

Penderecki’s 2nd symphony, written for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, was originally intended as a multi-movement work but on Christmas Eve 1979 he decided to complete it in one movement. The composition makes frequent use of the tune of the Christmas carol Silent Night. The collection also includes three choral works (Magnificat, Te Deum, and Lacrimosa) and the early work Kanon.

Marcin Dylla DVD

Wawel o zmierzchu [Wawel Castle at Dusk]
Manuel Maria Ponce: Sonata Romántica. Hommage à Franz Schubert; Nicholas Maw: Music of Memory; Mauro Giuliani: Rossiniana, No. 1 Op. 119; Joaquin Rodrigo: Junto al Generalife
Marcin Dylla, guitar
Castello GT

Marcin Dylla is thought by many critics to be one of the greatest guitarists of our times, and rightfully so, since in the past 13 years he has won 19 musical competitions all over the world. This latest DVD was recorded live at the Wawel Castle’s Stefan Batory Court, a space not usually available for visitors. This is the first ever live DVD recorded at the Castle.

[Sources: www.castellogt.pl and muzyka.onet.pl]

New from DUX

Chopin, Complete Works for Piano Solo
Tatiana Shebanova, piano

Viva Vivaldi: Krzysztof Meisinger
Antonio Vivaldi: Concerto in D Major RV93 for guitar, strings and basso continuo; Trio in A Major RV82 for violin, guitar and basso continuo; Concerto in C Major RV425 for guitar, strings and basso continuo; Concerto in D Minor for guitar strings and basso continuo
Krzysztof Meisinger, guitar; Waldemar Kośmieja, violin; Katarzyna Tomczak-Feltrin, basso continuo (harpsichord); Małgorzata Węglerska-Posadzy , basso continuo (cello); Capella Bydgostiensis; Krzysztof Meisinger, conductor

Piotr Czajkowski
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 35; “Romeo and Juliet” Fantasy Overture
Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, violin; Silesian Philharmonic; Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk, conductor

Aleksander Tansman
Alexander Tansman: Cinq Pieces pour Violon; Violin Concerto; and Suite Baroque
Bartosz Cajler, violin; Podlasie Philharmonic and Opera Orchestra; Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski, conductor

Musical Heritage of the city of Gdańsk vol. 1
Christian Freislich: Lobe den Herrn meine Seele. Cantata for soprano, alto, tenor, bass, choir, orchestra and basso continuo; Johann Theodor Roemhildt: Ich freue mich dess, dass mir geredt ist RoemV 144. Cantata for soprano, alto, tenor, bass, choir, orchestra and basso continuo; Zeuch doch allerliebster Jesu RoemV 35. Cantata for soprano, violin and basso continuo; Ach dass die Hülffe aus Zion über Issrael käme RoemV 28. Cantata for soprano, alto, tenor, bass, choir, orchestra and basso continuo; Johann Jeremias du Grain: Alter Adam du musst sterben. Cantata for soprano, choir orchestra and basso continuo
Goldberg Ensemble

Polish Jazz From LA

Karolina Naziemiec – Introduction
C. Porter: Love for Sale; H. Carmichael: Skylark; J. Wasowski: Nie odchodź; G. Gerschwin: Summertime
Karolina Naziemiec – vocal, viola; Alan Pasqua – piano; Brian Bromberg – bass, piccolo bass; Alex Acuna – drums, percussion; Krzesimir Dębski – electric violin; Richard Smith – guitar; Carol Robbins – harp; Stas Zakrjevski, Anna Papikyan, Zina Kostyuchek, Brett Banducci, Issabela Thiroux, Maria Scherer, Elizabeth Wright, Joy Payton-Stevens – strings

Polish viola player and jazz singer, Karolina Naziemiec, joins together with many excellent Polish and American jazz musicians on her newly released debut, entitled Introduction. Recorded at B2 Studios in Los Angeles, the album was produced and released by the singer. Ms. Naziemiec is a graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music. Her new album has been made available free of charge for subscribers of Jazz Forum Magazine and it was highlighted in the December 2008 issue. To find learn more about Karolina Naziemiec and keep track of her engagements, please visit karolinanaziemiec.com.

Skowronski Plays Bloch Sonatas

DICHOTOMY: The Sonatas of Ernest Bloch
Ernest Bloch (1880-1959): Sonata No. 1 (1920), and Sonata No. 2 “Poème Mystique” (1924)
Vincent P. Skowronski, violin and Dana Brown, piano

A new release in the SKOWRONSKI PLAYS! Series, this recording features the only two Sonatas for violin and piano written by Ernest Bloch, as performed by Polish violinist Vincent P. Skowronski.  This album, which is to be released in early 2009, commemorates the 50th anniversary of Ernest Bloch’s death.

Mariusz Patyra CD

Cztery Pory Roku [Four Seasons]
Antonio Vivaldi: Four Seasons & Sonets; Agnieszka Osiecka: Sonet
Mariusz Patyra, violin; Krzysztof Kolberger, recitation; National Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra

The Four Seasons is one of the most recorded compositions in the musical repertoire. What makes this recording special is the inclusion of Sonets by Antonio Vivaldi, which serve as sort of a guide through the seasons, as well as Sonet by Agnieszka Osiecka, all recited by Krzysztof Kolberger. The recording was engineered by Andrzej Lipiński and released by Sony BMG Poland.

Tatra Mood Orchestra

Mieczysław Karłowicz
Karłowicz: works for voice, solo instruments and orchestra
Zofia Kilanowicz, soprano; Janusz Miryński, violin; Andrzej Bachleda-Księdzularz, recitation; Tatra Mood Orchestra; Agnieszka Kreiner, conductor

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]


Born This Month

  • 1 January 1927 – Juliusz LUCIUK, composer, musicologist
  • 1 January 1872 – Tadeusz JARECKI, conductor (d. 1955)
  • 1 January 1911 – Roman TOTENBERG, violinist and pedagogue
  • 2 January 1894 – Artur RODZIŃSKI, conductor, music director (d. 1958)
  • 2 January 1907 – Henryk GADOMSKI, composer and conductor (d. 1941, Auschwitz)
  • 3 January 1885 – Raoul KOCZALSKI (d. 1948), pianist and composer
  • 13 January 1921 – Wanda WILK, founder of the Polish Music Center
  • 17 January 1898 – Jerzy LEFELD, pianist and piano professor
  • 22 January 1944 – Vincent SKOWRONSKI, violinist
  • 23 January 1888 – Jerzy GABLENZ, composer (d. 1937)
  • 25 January 1913 – Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI, composer (d. 1994)
  • 25 January 1928 – Andrzej CWOJDZINSKI, composer and conductor
  • 28 January 1717 – Just Franciszek KASPER, priest, composer, conductor (d. 1760)
  • 26 January 1886 – Artur RUBINSTEIN, pianist (d. 1981)
  • 31 January 1926 – Stanislaw PRÓSZYNSKI, composer


Died This Month

  • 1 January 1953 – Ludomir RÓZYCKI (b. 1884), composer, pianist, member of the group Young Poland
  • 9 January 1842 – Józef KROGULSKI (b. 1815), pianist, conductor, voice teacher
  • 9 January 1981 – Kazimierz SEROCKI (b. 1922), composer, co-founder of the Warsaw Autumn Festival
  • 11 January 1935 – Marcellina SEMBRICH-KOCHAŃSKA (b. 1858), singer – coloratura soprano
  • 12 January 1934 – Pawel KOCHAŃSKI (b. 1878), virtuoso violinist, Szymanowski’s collaborator
  • 17 January 1969 – Grażyna BACEWICZ (b. 1909), composer, violinist, pianist
  • 19 January 1951 – Stanislaw GOLACHOWSKI (b. 1907), musicologist
  • 21 January 1618 – Krzystof KRAINSKI [Crainscius], preacher, author of a song collection (b. 1556)
  • 23 January 1946 – Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (b. 1877), composer, conductor, organist
  • 23 January 1921- Władysław ŻELEŃSKI, composer (b. 1837)
  • 26 January 1946 – Ignacy FRIEDMAN, composer and virtuoso pianist (b. 1882)