Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 15, no. 9

PMC News

2009 Paderewski Lecture-Recital

The Polish Music Center at USC presents the annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital on Sunday, 4 October 2009, at 3:00 pm at USC’s Alfred Newman Recital Hall. Co-sponsored by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in L.A., this year’s event features Polish composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, who visited the USC campus in 1997 to conduct his famed 3rd Symphony. PMC Director Marek Zebrowski will give a multi-media presentation about the life and music of Górecki, and some of Los Angeles’ most talented musicians will perform chamber music representing the full range of Górecki’s career. Performers include: the Denali Quartet, Irene Gregorio – piano, and Amy Tatum – flute. A reception will follow the concert. Please join us for an evening honoring one of Poland’s greatest living composers.

2009 Paderewski Lecture-Recital featuring Henryk Mikołaj Górecki
Sunday, 4 October 2009 | 3:00 pm
Alfred Newman Recital Hall (AHF), USC
3616 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA
Free Admission
Parking: PSX at Gate #3, $8
Directions to campus

Minister Sikorski In Paso Robles

Radosław Sikorski, Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, paid a short visit to Paso Robles in early August. His private stopover was scheduled between official appearances in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Minister Sikorski was interested in becoming acquainted with the legacy and ties to Paso Robles of Ignacy Jan Paderewski—pianist, composer, and humanitarian, and the first Prime Minister of Poland in the years following World War I.

A private dinner in honor of the Minister’s visit was hosted by Steve and Alice Cass, owners of the Cass winery where the 2006 “Paderewski Reprise” that re-started the Paso Robles Paderewski Festival was held. At dinner the Minister met with local political leaders, including the San Luis Obispo County Supervisor, Frank Mecham, and the current Mayor of Paso Robles, Duane Picanso. Also present were members of the Paderewski Festival Board, whose contributions to maintaining cultural and commercial ties to Poland were also a part of the informal agenda. The Minister was accompanied by Robert Kupiecki, Poland’s Ambassador to the United States, Marcin Knapp, Embassy Chief of Protocol, Paulina Kapuścińska, Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles, and Małgorzata Cup, Consul for Culture and Press at the Consulate of Poland in Los Angeles.

Left to Right: Steve Cass with daughter Kristen, son Bryan, Alice Cass, Minister Sikorski, Consul General Paulina Kapuścińska, and Polish Ambassador to the U.S., Robert Kupiecki. Photo credit: Paso Robles Magazine

The evening began with informal introductions over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a recital of works by Paderewski and Chopin given by Marek Zebrowski, Artistic Director of the Paderewski Festival. Over a gourmet dinner prepared by Chef Jacob Lovejoy, Paderewski Festival Director Joel Peterson gave the Minister a detailed précis of the Festival’s history in Paso and plans for this year’s concerts.

Several members of the local press were on hand to document the evening. Writing for the Paso Robles Magazine, Melissa Chavez gathered the following interesting quotes from the Consul General and the Minister:

“I’m very privileged to be the host of his trip in California,” says Consul General Kapuscinska. “We came for two reasons: For one, it is a city where Paderewski used to live. Second, is that we have such a wonderful American community supporting the Paderewski Festival.”… “Poland is known as a country that has fought for freedom and made good use of it,” says Minister Sikorski, a former political refugee and Solidarity supporter. “And America, being a country that’s always promoted democracy around the world…we can help each other in that way.”

Local politicians seem to agree with the Minister’s positive outlook for cooperation. San Luis Obispo County Supervisor and former Paso Robles Mayor, Frank Mecham, has been very involved in the Paderewski Festival and subsequent opportunities for cultural and economic exchange between Poland and California that have arisen. Josh Petray of the Paso Robles Press captured Supervisor Mecham’s enthusiasm for this effort in his article “Polish dignitary visits Paso Robles” from August 10th:

“There are so many parallels between our countries that it’s very easy to talk to them and very easy to engage where we can become better partners in a lot of ways.”… “It’s an honor to have them here and a thrill to be here tonight,” Mecham said of the special visit. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our whole area. Who knows where it’s going to go from here.”

Minister Sikorski and Consul General Kapuścińska discuss with Paderewski Festival Board President, Joel Peterson (left), and Supervisor Mecham (right).

After resting overnight in downtown Paso Robles, the Minister was invited for breakfast at the residence of one of Paso’s greatest Paderewski fans, Mr. Hy Blythe. Afterwards, Minister Sikorski departed for Southern California, to speak at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley.

[Sources: “Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs visits Paso Robles” article in Paso Robles Magazine (not available online), Paso Robles PressPolish Embassy]

Recent Donations

During his recent trip to Poland, new friend of the PMC Oscar Williamson acquired a copy of the program for the Chopin and His Europe Festival and has donated it to the PMC collection. This program is over 350 pages long, and is full of detailed information in Polish and English about the composers and performers featured in the Festival, which took place from August 16-31, 2009. This program will be an invaluable resource for researchers at the PMC.

Also, outgoing Consul General Paulina Kapuścińska has donated two different versions of the Fryderyk Chopin edition of the “Composers and the Art of their Time” series to the PMC. Of the two versions, one provides extensive liner notes by Irena Poniatowska in English and one in Spanish. Created by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the “Composers and the Art of their Time” series also highlights Szymanowski, Lutosławski, and Music of the Polish Baroque. Consul General Kapuścińska’s donation is just one of the many fruitful and generous collaborations that have taken place between the PMC and Consulate during her long tenure in Los Angeles. We will miss her attention to and support of the arts in L.A. as she moves on to her next post.


Penderecki’s Premiere For Peace

On Tuesday, September 1, the World Orchestra for Peace came together for an extraordinary concert in Kraków marking the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII. The concert featured the World Premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Prelude to Peace, commissioned by the orchestra especially for the occasion.

The World Orchestra for Peace (WOP) is an expression of harmony on all levels. It was founded in 1995 by Sir Georg Solti to reaffirm, in his words, “the unique strength of music as an ambassador for peace.”  Its 95 players come from orchestras in 35 different countries, many of them concert masters and section leaders in their own right, and the orchestra has no existence outside the very special occasions that call it into being. For this concert, the players had only 72 hours to rehearse with colleagues they rarely see.

Below are excerpts from the CNN report on the event:

In a note for the program for Tuesday’s concert, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan—a former honorary patron of the orchestra—writes that the group represents “a practical demonstration of humanity’s potential for harmony, tolerance and cooperation.”

“Listening to the beautiful music performed by this Orchestra helps us to connect with our fellow human beings across different languages, cultures and traditions,” says Annan. “The existence of this orchestra reminds us that peace in our world is possible.”…

“We are playing because we’ve got something to say and music can bring that over. When you play a beautiful piece of music with the emotion and the passion that Gergiev and 95 of the best musicians in the world bring to it, people say they can feel there is something at work here. It sounds daft but music has that power” [said WOP Director Charles Kaye].

This concert was broadcast live both on Polish television and CNN.com. Highlights of the concert are available for viewing here.

[Sources: CNN articlewww.worldorchestraforpeace.comwww.bbcmusicmagazine.com]

Penderecki Premiere In Łódź

On August 29th in the Grand Theater in Łódź, Krzysztof Penderecki premiered his new work, Kadisz. Łódzkim Abramkom, którzy chcieli żyć. Polakom, którzy ratowali Żydów [Kadisz. To Abramek’s from Łódź, who wanted to live. To Poles who saved Jews]. The work was written in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the liquidation of the ghetto in Littzmanstadt (the name for German-occupied Łódź).

The 20-minute work for orchestra, male choir and solo voices uses the biblical text, Kadisz Jatom [grieving prayer], and poems of Abram Cytryn. The work consists of three parts. The first part consists of the soprano, performed by Olga Pasiecznik, singing fragments of Cytryn’s poetry. The second part is based on Old Testament texts in the form of narration, performed by actor Daniel Olbrychski. The third part is the Kadisz Jatom, sung by cantor Alberto Mizrahi, and is musically based on melodies and traditional forms found in Galicia, Ukraine and Romania.

[Source: Gazeta WyborczaGazeta Wyborcza]

Us Premiere: Operetta

Well, the thing about revolutions is that we don’t see them coming.
− Michał Zadara, director of Operetta

A fashion-conscious count pines for a young beauty and wants to dress her. The young beauty just wants to go around naked. A rival suitor proclaims his love. There’s a duel! There’s a ball! A Marxist revolution staged by pickpockets! A camel falling from the sky!

Music, fashion, dancing, and chaos—and a cast of 22—dominate this wild fable of the 20th-century’s elite running out of ideas. The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, with the support and on the initiative of the Polish Cultural Institute, presents the North American professional debut of Operetta, a major work by Polish literary giant Witold Gombrowicz(1904-1969), re-envisioned by Michał Zadara, one of the most innovative Polish theater directors of his generation (and a Swarthmore College graduate). Each production of Operetta is scored anew; and for this latest staging, Poland’s multiple-award-winning jazz pianist Leszek Możdżer composed an eclectic score that ranges from heart-wrenching ballads to punk rock. An operetta is the romantic comedy of opera, and Gombrowicz adopted the form for this, his final play, in order to present 20th-century transitions to totalitarianism in a grotesque way. Now, Zadara’s adaptation of the prophetic musical farce explodes the form—and our expectations.

In an interview in Time Out New York, Chair of the Swarthmore College Theater Department, professor Allen Kuharski, described Gombrowicz as “Poland’s counterpart to Jean Genet, but with Joe Orton’s sense of humor. Gombrowicz’s most powerful political weapon is his humor.” Village Voice critic Charles McNulty called Gombrowicz’s works “unbeatable sources of absurdist adrenaline”; and Louis Begley, writing in the Washington Post, deemed the Polish writer an “eccentric genius.”

Other artists involved in this production are – Choreography: Tomasz Wygoda; Stage scenery: Magdalena Musial; Costumes: Julia Kornacka; Lights: Ewa Garniec; Video: Lea Mattausch; Musicians: Dariusz Kaliszuk, Rafal Karasiewicz, Cybulka Marzena, Katarzyna Mirowska, Ewa Mizerska, Katarzyna Ruda, Magda Sniadecka Skrzypek, Elzbieta Wolenska; Stage Performers: Ewelina Adamska, Krzysztof Boczkowski, Arkadiusz Brykalski, Jacek Gebura, Michal Juzon, Ewa Klaniecka, Ryszard Klaniecki, Rafal Kronenberger, Piotr Malecki, Miroslaw Owczarek, Bartosz Picher, Michal Pietrzak, Cezary Studniak, Justyna Szafran, Marek Szczygiel, Tomasz Sztonyk, Marek Szydlo, Tomasz Sztonyk, Lukasz Wójcik, Bogna Wozniak.

Tue.-Sat., 7:00 PM & Sat.-Sun., 3:00 PM
Post-show discussion: Sept. 10
Philadelphia Live Arts Festival
The Wilma Theater
265 South Broad St., Philadelphia PA 19107


1:00 PM, Free admission
Panel discussion with Rita Gombrowicz, Michał Zadara, and Thomas Sellar,
Moderated by Prof. Allen Kuharski
The University for the Arts
Arts Bank
601 South Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19147
tel. 215.413.1318

[Source: Polish Cultural Inst. NY]

US Premieres For Penderecki & Hans

With generous support of the Polish Cultural Institute NY, the internationally renowned Cello Octet Amsterdam (COA) will make its New York debut at (Le) Poisson Rouge on September 8. The group will present an adventurous program featuring U.S. premieres for composers Krzysztof Penderecki – “Agnus Dei” from his Polish Requiem, Olga Hans – Piesni sloneczne [Songs of the Sun], and Terry Riley – ArchAngelsArchAngels, a protest piece written after the U.S. attack on Iraq following the events of 9/11, was composed especially for the Cello Octet Amsterdam. Arvo Pärt ‘s O Antiphonen and Cristobal Halffter’s Fandango will also enjoy their New York premieres at this performance. Read more about the composers at lepoissonrouge.com.

The Dutch ensemble Cello Octet Amsterdam (formerly Cello Octet Conjunto Iberico) is a unique ensemble that has quickly become one of the most renowned on the international music scene, with 13 CDs and over 60 premieres to its name. The group was founded in 1989 by Elias Arizcuren, who served as their conductor until 1997. Since then, Polish cellist Robert Putowski has served as principal cellist and artistic director. The unique configuration of the ensemble demands specially written music, and the Octet has inspired many great composers to write pieces for them, including Arvo Pärt, Terry Riley, Mauricio Kagel, Theo Loevendie, Franco Donatoni, and Luciano Berio. Below is a sampling of what reviewers say about COA:

“Riding the wave of distinction as the world’s only full-time cello octet, [COA] has been busy quelling skeptics and winning friends since 1989.” – Los Angeles Times

“Total technical perfection, intensity and colorful interpretations.” – The Strad, London

” The richness of their sound, their expression and the technical mastery of this ensemble are unimaginable.” – El Pais, Madrid

September 8, 2009, 9:00 PM
Cello Octet Amsterdam play the music of Penderecki, Pärt, Riley, Halffter, & Olga Hans
(Le) Poisson Rouge 
158 Bleeker St. at Thompson St., New York, NY

[Source: Polish Cultural Institute NY]

Conversations With Chopin

During the 2009-2010 season, Jeffrey Siegel’s “Keyboard Conversations” series will explore the repertoire of Frederic Chopin, through 4 concert installments: Chopin for Lovers, Chopin the Patriot, Chopin the Storyteller, and Chopin and the Future. These concerts will be presented in venues throughout the U.S., including Escondido, Livermore, Merced, Modesto, and Palm Desert in California. Please see www.keyboardconversations.com/schedule.html for a full schedule of all venues and dates.

American pianist Jeffrey Siegel enjoys a flourishing career and has appeared with every major American orchestra as well as in the leading music capitals of the world. His enthusiasm is contagious, his credentials are world-class, and his virtuosity is astounding. Join Jeffrey for a season full of informative and entertaining Keyboard Conversations, four full concerts with the stories behind the music’s creation. These experiences begin with an insightful and entertaining prologue on the music and its composer, are followed by a full performance of the works, and end with a lively question-and-answer session.

[Sources: Polanki Newsletter, September 2009 issue – Polish Women’s Cultural ClubArtist’s websiteWI Luteran College website]

Fontana Joins Chopin In Warsaw

Prof. Cecilio Tieles Ferrer has been invited to present his thesis Julian Fontana; The Introducer of Chopin in Cuba in Warsaw, as a part of the worldwide celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Frederick Chopin in 2010. This is recognition of the many years of dedicated research the Prof. Tieles has conducted as well as recognition of Julian Fontana‘s importance in the life, music and legacy of Chopin.

Quintophoniq Project

Quintophoniq is a joint project of friends, including Tomasz Gołębiewski, Concertmaster of the Łódź Philharmonic and Leszek Kułakowski, a visionary of Polish jazz. The collaborating artists will include Krzesimir Dębski, Krzysztof Herdzin, Leszek Kułakowski, Adam Manijak, Paweł Serafiński, Maciej Strzelczyk, Michał Urbaniak and Jan Walczyński, who are composing works for violin duos and jazz trios. The project will combine the classical violin sound with the typical textures of a jazz trio ensemble.

Performers will include the Q4Q Duo of Małgorzata Korpysz & Tomasz Gołębiewski, members of the Łódź Philharmonic who have for many years participated in such ensembles as the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra or the Rubinstein Quartet. Their continuing love of traditional chamber music by the well-known masters will expand to include experimental jazz works by the best-known Polish jazz violinists, Krzesimir Dębski, Michał Urbaniak and Maciej Strzelczyk. The Q4Q Duo will collaborate with pianist Leszek Kułakowski and the Hammond Organ virtuoso, Paweł Serafiński.

Tomasz Gołębiewski, Małgorzata Korpysz, and Krzesimir Dębski

The Quintophoniq Project will also include members of the Leszek Kułakowski Trio (Leszek Kułakowski, piano; Jacek Pelc, drums; and Piotr Kułakowski, bass). This group has concertized throughout the world mainly as a jazz ensemble, but their leader’s interest in classical music has also resulted in numerous experiments in the area of chamber and symphonic music. The Quintophoniq Project will make its debut appearance on 27 February 2010 at the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic in Łódź. Other concerts will include the philharmonic halls of Lublin, Gdańsk, Rzeszów, and Wałbrzych, and other cities.

[Sources: Quintophoniqpolmic.pl]

Jutrzenka Celebrates 75 Yrs

Thanks to its dedicated and loyal members, and choral director Izabella Kobus-Salkin, South Brooklyn’s Jutrzenka Singing Society #226, the female chorus of the Polish Singers Alliance of America, will acheive 75 years of existence this September.

Jutrzenka’s 75th anniversary celebration will take place on September 20 in the Imperial Room of the Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th Street, from 12-5 p.m. Eddie Dziuba will supply music for listening and dancing pleasure. For reservations, call Adele at 718-748-3699 or Mary at 917-856-7677.

Jutrzenka members will also celebrate by singing the 6:30 p.m. Mass on September 5 at Our Lady of Czestochowa in South Brooklyn. The Mass will be dedicated to the memory of Jutrzenka’s late supporting member, Mary Donderewicz, who passed away on May 17. During the Mass, the chorus will remember all deceased members and supporters, including their most recent follower, Gerard Sussillo, who died July 11.

Additionally, on September 27 at 3 p.m., Jutrzenka will participate in a gala concert at the Polish Center, 92 Waverly Street in Yonkers, NY in celebration of Polish music and musicians as a prelude to Polish Heritage Month. The concert is dedicated to the memory of St. Padre Pio, Pope John Paul II, and Ann Duchynski-Cherko. For reservations and information, call 718-543-1273or 646-724-0487.

WWII Commemoration Mass

The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles and the Polish American Congress, Southern California Division, are presenting a Holy Mass to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Outbreak of WWII on Sunday September 6th at 3:30 p.m. It will be held in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles’ beautiful and immense downtown cathedral. Sacred and patriotic music will be provided by organist Szymon Grab and selected vocalists. The principal celebrant will be Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Solis, who serves as vicar for the Archdiocesan Office of Ethnic Ministry.

Sunday September 6th, 2009 – 3:30 p.m.
Holy Mass to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Outbreak of WWII
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
555 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA
Cathedral Parking – $5.00

For further information, contact:
Ms. Malgorzata Cup – Consul for Culture: 310/442-8500 ext. 109 or malgorzata.cup@msz.gov.pl
Mr. Andrew Ettinger – President Polish American Congress, So. CA Division: 323/240-8525, (fax 323/464-6444)

Support Polish Film Fest At Europa Concert

The Laserium at Hollywood & Vine is featuring Polish singer/songwriter Ilona Europa on September 17, 18 and 19.  With the promotion code “AF1178,” 25% of your ticket price will be donated to the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles when tickets are purchased online here.

High-Energy singer-songwriter Ilona Europa and Producer/DJ Josh Harris blend their hottest Rock/Electronica/Pop/Euro-dance music with lasers, video-multimedia and visuals at the Laserium. Billboard Charting Ilona Europa layers vocals in over three octaves producing mesmerizing hooks that stick with you for days. Ilona Europa’s producer Josh Harris slices and dices, adds live keys and spins the discs in real time.

September 17, 18 and 19
Laserium at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood, CA
Purchase tickets here with promotion code AF1178


13th Int’l Contemporary Chamber Music Competition

Polish pianist, Barbara Drążkowska, has won the Grand Prix of the 13th International Contemporary Chamber Music Competition in Kraków. The award was given after the final gala concert at the Kraków Philharmonic Hall on August 22, 2009. In all, there were 46 ensembles and soloists qualified to perform and compete in Kraków: 17 soloists, 18 duos, 11 larger ensembles. The competition was open for artists under 30 years of age. The jury—consisting of Jan Pilch (chairman), Elena Braslavsky, Paweł Mykietyn, Paul Patterson, Christine Michaela Pryn, Marta Ptaszyńska, Tadeusz Wielecki—gave the following awards:

GRAND PRIX of the XIII International Contemporary Chamber Music Competition: Barbara Drążkowska(Poland) – piano

Marek Stachowski Special Award for the best performance of the work by Polish composer: SONUS Quintet: Marta Bielawska (Poland) – violin; Katarzyna Mazur (Poland) – violin; Błażej Michna (Poland) – viola; Kinga Staniszewska (Poland) – cello; Magdalena Kantor-Michna (Poland) – piano

Special Award of the Polish Institute in Prague for the most promising Polish artist: Tandemonos Duo: Anna Górecka (Poland) – violin; Zofia Konieczna (Poland) – violin

Sound New Award for the outstanding Polish performer: Barbara Drążkowska (Poland) – piano

Soloist Category:

  • I Prize: Barbara Drążkowska (Poland) – piano
  • II Prize: Francesca Thompson (Great Britain) – recorder
  • III Prize: Akino Kamiya (Japan) – marimba
  • Honorary Mentions: Maciej Zimka (Poland) – accordion; Maciej Piszek (Poland) – piano; Matteo Cesari (Italy) – flute; Piotr Gławatskich (Russia) – marimba

Duo Category:

  • I Prize: Duo L’Iris: Akino Kamiya (Japan) – percussion; Yoko Kojiri (Japan) – piano
  • II Prize: Brassimo: Bartosz Bury (Poland) – trombone; Krzysztof Mucha (Poland) – tuba
  • III Prize: Haniszewska – Kandulski Duo: Sandra Haniszewska (Poland) – violin; Tomasz Kandulski (Poland) – guitar
  • Honorary Mentions: Brilliantpianato Piano Duo (Poland); duet of Łukasz Wójcicki (Poland) and Agnieszka Sucheniak – Wójcicka (Poland); Tandemonos (Poland)

Trio, Quartet, Quintet Category:

  • I Prize: Flügelschlag – Quartett: Barbara Rieder (Germany) – piano; Sebastian Bartmann (Germany) – piano; Akos Nagy (Hungary) – percussion; Claudius Heinzelmann (Germany) – percussion
  • II Prize: Loco Trio : Piotr Szabat (Poland) – violin ; Jan Stokłosa (Poland) – cello; Aleksandra Soboń (Poland) – piano
  • III Prize: Cracow Brass Quintet: Bartosz Gaudyn (Poland) – trumpet; Michał Warzecha (Poland) – trumpet; Paweł Dziewoński (Poland) – French horn; Paweł Cieślak (Poland) – trombone; Jakub Urbańczyk (Poland) – tuba

Established in 1997, the festival is organized by the Stowarzyszenie Instytut Sztuki  [Culture Institute Association] and focuses on promotion of young and talented musicians as well as popularization of contemporary Polish music.

[Source: www.instytutsztuki.plculture.pl]

Rutkowski/Fontana Take First Prize

Polish pianist Hubert Rutkowski has won the Grand Prix in the 3rd edition of the “Forgotten Polish Music” Recording Competition held by Acte Préalable, with his World Premiere Recording of the piano works of Julian Fontana. The CD, released on Acte Préalable, can be found here: AP0160. This recording is the 5th volume of the “Chopin’s disciples” series.

[Source: Artist’s website]


Warsaw Autumn Festival

The 52nd edition of the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music (18 – 26 September 2009) is dedicated in large part to electro-acoustic music. In all the program of the festival will feature 23 world premiere performances and 23 Polish premiere performances.

This year’s program features performances by renowned electronic and computer music centers from around the world. Paris’ IRCAM will show Machinations, a multimedia show by Georges Aperghis. The DXARTS Studio from Seattle (University of Washington) will make use of the 20-second reverberation of the High Voltage Hall to enhance its concerts of “ambisonic” music. During the musical marathon at the Tęcza Studio hall, the Loudspeakers Orchestra from Lisbon will perform the electronic works of pop and rock precursors, on 42 loudspeakers located around and above the audience, as well as work from the text&sound and glitches&noise currents. There will be a full concert dedicated to electronic music pioneer and legendary composer of contemporary music Pierre Henry, who will travel to Warsaw for the occasion.

Live electronics and improvised music will also be featured on the program, with artists such as Tomasz Stańko, saxophonist Evan Parker and percussionist Jim Black. Electronic operas will also appear on stage, including Cezary Duchnowski’s Marta’s Garden and Miguel Azguime’s Salt Itinerary.

Independently, as per the tradition of Warsaw Autumn, instrumental music (with or without electronics) will be presented. Among this year’s major events are the world premiere of Paweł Szymański’s new orchestral composition, the St. Mark Passion of Paweł Mykietyn, and the concerts of the Asko | Schönberg Ensemble with works by Karlheinz Stockhausen. The London Sinfonietta will also perform works by Jonathan Harvey and Georges Aperghis, who is a focus of this year’s Warsaw Autumn.

For more information about the festival please visit the official website at www.warszawska-jesien.art.pl

[Source: warszawska-jesien.art.pl]

Wratislavia Cantans 2009

As every year, the 2009 Wratislavia Cantans festival celebrates the beauty of vocal music, choral music and the oratorio tradition in buildings of great historical beauty in Wrocław and the Silesian region.

The form of the festival has expanded in recent years.  In the past, there were so many concerts in ten days that even the most passionate music-lover might suffer from cultural overload! So the festival has spread its wings; it now centers around three intensive weekends and there are fewer concerts on weekdays. Hopefully this new arrangement will be more convenient for both local concert-goers and Wratislavia Cantans’ many visitors.

Once again the festival is a thrilling mix of invited foreign and Polish ensembles of the very highest caliber; international collaborations, especially with Wrocław’s acclaimed ensembles are, an important feature of the festival.  The festival pays homage to G.F. Handel in his anniversary year, with performances of two of his finest oratorios: John Eliot Gardiner’s acclaimed Monteverdi Choir makes a welcome return to the festival with the vivid and dramatic Israel in Egypt, whilst the deeply spiritual Theodora is given over to the festival director Paul McCreesh and his renowned Gabrieli Consort and Players.

Mahler’s vast Second Symphony will be played under the baton of Jacek Kaspszyk and the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir. There are numerous recitals in both Wrocław and throughout lower Silesia, including Andreas Scholl, Bernarda Fink and the acclaimed Kronos Quartet, making its Festival debut.

The final weekend will have a pronounced Italian flavor, as Giovanni Antonini and his Il Giardino Armonico perform with mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink. The festival will close with a spectacular outdoor performance featuring Aleksandra Kurzak, the Festival Symphony Orchestra and Choirs from The Singing Poland project supported by Wrocław Philharmonic Choir. We will hear some of G. Verdi’s and G. Rossini’s greatest opera arias under the baton of Paul McCreesh.

For a complete program of the festival and artist information please visit www.wratislaviacantans.pl

[Source: wratislaviacantans.pl]

Sacrum Profanum 2009

The 7th edition of this adventurous festival will take place in Kraków between September 13 and 19. The concerts are held in unusual spaces, such as the Factory Hall, the Engineering Museum and the Łaźnia Nowa Theater. The list of artists is impressive and includes top names and ensembles from around the world. Among the invited guests are: The Cinematic Orchestra, Sinfonia Cracovia, Chris Cunnigham, Asko | Schoenberg, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Recherche, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Aphex Twin+Hacker and more.

For a complete calendar of the concerts as well as information about tickets and artists please visit the official website of the festival www.sacrumprofanum.com.

[Source: sacrumprofanum.pl]

Music On The Mountaintops

The festival, organized by the Mieczysław Karłowicz Society in Zakopane during Karłowicz’s anniversary year, will open on September 24 and will continue until September 27.  From Friday to Sunday there will be three concerts a day, all of them performed by highly esteemed artists. The list of performers includes: Kronos Quartet (USA), Cracow Clarinet Quartet, Kwartet Dafo, Ewa Pobłocka, Joanna Kozłowska, Olga Lemko, Eyal Kless (Israel), Ewa Grzywna-Groblewska, Rafał Kwiatkowski, Nami Ejiri (Japan), Vadim Gluzman (Israel/USA), Vassily Sinaisky (Lithuania), Robert Morawski, Bogumiła Dziel-Wawrowska, Urszula Kryger, Ryszard Groblewski, Marcin Zdunik, Katarzyna Jankowska, Janusz Wawrowski, Janusz Widzyk, Emmanuel Pahud (Switzerland), Eric Le Sage (France), Arkadiusz Adamski, Artist Group XVII of Łukasz Górewicz, Zenon Brzewski, and the Warsaw String Orchestra.

The venues include churches, hotels around Zakopane and the Zakopane Center for Education. The concerts will be accompanied by contemporary dance showcases, film screenings, photo, painting and instrument exhibitions as well as many other non-musical activities.

The festival is co-organized by the Zakopane City Hall and Zakopane Promotion Office. For more information please visit www.karlowicz.org/festiwal.html

[Source: karlowicz.org]

43rd Piano Art Festival

The festival, presenting the masters of the piano art, will start on September 5 and will continue until September 11 in Słupsk, Poland. The week-long festival traditionally presents some of the most prominent Polish pianists in a very wide range of repertoire.

To celebrate the 100th birthday of Grażyna Bacewicz, the Lutosławski Piano Duo will perform her Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra. During the same evening, Stanisław Drzewiecki will perform Fryderyk Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1 in E Minor Op. 11. Both performances will be accompanied by Sinfonia Baltica and conducted by Bohdan Jarmołowicz. Grażyna Bacewicz and Chopin will be featured several times during the festival, in both traditional (Bartłomiej Kominek, Prima Vista Quartet, Sinfonia Baltica) and jazz interpretations (Andrzej Jagodziński Trio).

The festival will also feature some of the most talented among the young generation of pianists during the Estrada Młodych [Youth Stage] presentations. This year these concerts will feature winners of the International Young Pianists Competition “Arthur Rubinstein in memoriam”.

Some of the outstanding artists invited to participate include: Emilia Sitarz, Bartłomiej Wąsik – Lutosławski Piano Duo; Stanisław Drzewiecki; Bohdan Jarmołowicz – conductor; “Sinfonia Baltica” Orchestra; Elżbieta Karaś-Krasztel; “Prima Vista” String Quartet; Andrzej Jagodziński Trio; Joanna Ławrynowicz; Beata Bilińska; Marta Boberska – soprano; Tomasz Krzysica – tenor; Przemysław Firek – bass; “Collegium Maiorum” Choir; Koszalin Philharmonic Orchestra; and Ruben Silva – conductor.

For more information please visit www.stsk.eslupsk.pl.

[Source: culture.pl]


Winning Reviews For Kurkowicz/Bacewicz

Grażyna Bacewicz: Violin Concertos 1, 3 & 7
Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969): Concerto No. 7 for Violin and Orchestra (1965), Concerto No. 3 for Violin and Orchestra (1948), Concerto No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra (1937), Overture (1943)
Joanna Kurkowicz, violin; Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; and Łukasz Borowicz conductor.
Chandos 10533

Some of the early reviews of violinist Joanna Kurkowicz’s new release of Bacewicz’s Violin Concertos Nos. 1, 3 & 7:

  • Andrew Clements of the Guardian enthusiastically hailed this recording: “…superbly played selection… It is an interesting collection, and Joanna Kurkowicz is a keenly alert soloist in all three works… They are wonderfully idiomatic works, colourfully scored and always interesting.”
  • Norman Lebrecht of La Scena Musicale wrote:”… [Bacewicz’ music] speaks with unerring agreeable directness. Joanna Kurkowicz expounds some extraordinary solo monologues, opening up the composer’s inner world like August sunflower…”
  • Dorota Szwarcman of Polityka wrote: “…Kurkowicz interprets this music with fierceness but also with lyricism in the slow movements, delights us with beautiful sound. The orchestra collaborates with her respectfully…”  [Transl. by J. Kurkowicz]
  • According to Records International: “…This [recording] will go a long way toward establishing Bacewicz as rightfully belonging to the ranks of her contemporaries Lutoslawski and Panufnik…”

Upcoming Rutkowski On Naxos

From Naxos News, August 15, 2009—On 5 July 2009 at theWitold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio in Warsaw, the young Polish pianist Hubert Rutkowskicommenced recording a fascinating album for Naxos. Ewa Guziołek-Tubelewicz and Joanna Szczepańska are the recording engineers.

The forthcoming disc, his Naxos début recording, features rarely heard music by Chopin’s pupils:

Thomas D.A. Tellefsen
Le petite mendiante op 23
Valse Des-dur op 27 R*
Quatre Mazurkas op 3
Impromptu in G major op 38

Carl Filtsch
Romanze ohne Worte (Romance sans paroles) R
Barcarolle Ges-dur
Mazurka es-moll R
Impromptu Ges-dur
Impromptu b-moll
Das Lebewohl von Venedig (Adieu)

Karol Mikuli
Deux Polonaises op 8 (No 1 g-moll, No 2 As-dur) R
Dix Pieces pour Piano op 24, book 2 (No 6 Mazurka A-dur R, No 7 ‘Alla Rumana’ R, No 8 Etude H-dur R, No 9 Cantilène Es-dur, No 10 Impromptu g-moll R)

Adolf Gutmann
Nocturne As-dur op 8 no 1
Le Réveil des Oiseaux, Idylle op 44

R = recorded. The other works will be recorded on 18 and 28 September 2009.

Hubert Rutkowski chose works by Chopin’s pupils which have individual characteristics and were not written simply in imitation of Chopin’s music. He remarks, ‘Of course Chopin’s pupils composed under the great inspiration of their master. We can hear it. But my project also tries to show their own original musical voices. There are influences of Schubert and Mendelssohn, as well as Norwegian, Rumanian and Polish folk music.

‘My favorite music, for example, includes the Valse Des-dur by Tellefsen, Romanze ohne Worte, Impromptu b-moll by Filtsch, Polonaise No 1, all Dix Pieces pour piano op 24 book 2 by Mikuli, and the Nocturne As-dur by Gutmann.’

Biographical information about the composers from the first recording session is available online at www.naxos.com.

[Source: www.naxos.com]

Rafał Blechacz New Release

Chopin Piano Concertos
Fryderyk Chopin: Piano concerto no. 1 in E Minor Op. 11; Piano Concerto no. 2 in F Minor Op. 21
Rafał Blechacz – piano, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Jerzy Semkow – conductor
DG 477 8088 5

This is the third recording on the legendary Deutsche Grammophon label by Rafał Blechacz, winner of the 2007 Chopin Competition in Warsaw. After the immense success of the first two CDs, Blechacz recorded both piano concertos of Fryderyk Chopin, in celebration of the composer’s upcoming 200th birthday anniversary. As before, Deutsche Grammophon has prepared a special Polish release of the CD, which includes a Polish version of the booklet, to go on sale in Poland on September 18th. Worldwide release is scheduled for October 5th.

Joining the pianist on the recording is the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, hailed as the best orchestra in the world by Gramophone Magazine (Dec 2008). The ensemble is conducted by the great Polish maestro, Jerzy Semkow. The concert was recorded live in the Concertgebouw Hall.

English translations of Władysław Stróżewski’s liner notes for this recording were provided by the Polish Music Center at USC.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]

New from DUX

Pękiel, Gorczycki
Bartłomiej Pękiel: Missa pulcherrima; Sub Tuum raesidium and Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki: Stabat Mater; Dignare me, laudare te; Gaude Maria Virgo; Tota pulchra es Maria; Rorate caeli
“Octava” Vocal Octet

Ewa Podleś and Polish Radio Orchestra
Ludwig van Beethoven: Twory Prometeusza; Joseph Haydn: Arianne on Naxos cantata; Gioacchino Rossini: Barber of Seville overture; Tankred; Italian in Algiers overture and aria; Giuseppe Verdi: Troubadour; Gaetano Donizetti: Lucretia Borgia
Ewa Podleś – contr-alto; Polish Radio Orchestra; Łukasz Borowicz – conductor

Jadwiga Sarnecka Piano Works
Jadwiga Sarnecka: Piano Sonata in E flat Minor Op. 9; Etude in F Minor “Quasi un dolore”; Quatre impressions Op. 12; Impression, Tranquillo; Impression, Vivo. Con sentimento e passione; Ballad no. 4, Tranquillo molto cantando
Marek Szlezer – piano

Kamień Pomorski Cathedral Organ vol. II
Nicolaus Bruhns: Grand Prelude in E Minor; Johann Sebastian Bach: Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott, Vater; Prelude and Fugue in E flat Major; Fughetta super Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott, Schöpfer; Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott, Schöpfer (arrangement); Prelude and Fugue in A Minor; Johannes Brahms: 11 Choralvorspielen für Orgel (excerts); Jehan Alain: Ballade en mode phrygien; Berceuse sur deux notes qui cornent; Marian Sawa: Taneczne Obrazki
Józef Serafin – organ

Roland Dyens: Tango en skai; George Gershwin: Porgy and Bess (excerpts); Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story (excerpts); Sergio Assad: Cancao; Astor Piazzola: Alevare; Milonga del Ángel; Libertango; Soledad; Concierto para Quinteto
Krzysztof Meisinger – guitar; Anna Pietrzak – guitar; Capella Bydgostiensis; Bernard Chmielarz – conductor


Król Roger Shocks And Awes Austria

Król Roger, Szymanowski’s major operatic work, played at the Bregenz Festival in Bregenz, Austria in July and August. Sir Mark Elder conducted the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Polish Radio Choir from Krakow and the Camerata Silesia Singers Ensemble from Katowice. It was the premiere performance of a co-production between the Bregenz Festival and the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona.

According to the Festival website:

The opera King Roger sprang from Karol Szymanowski’s (1882-1937) fascination with the culture of the Mediterranean, to which he travelled a number of times between 1911 and 1914. A melting pot of very different peoples and religions, the region also seemed to him to be a place of homoerotic freedom.

The confluence of the Christian, Arabic and ancient pagan worlds is evocatively suggested in Szymanowski’s King Roger by the exquisite wealth of colour in the orchestration, the sensuous harmonies and a number of oriental-sounding melodies. King Roger oscillates between Byzantine plainsong, impressionistic tone colour, Arabic-style melisma, late Romantic pathos and highly expressive vocal writing.

Although the production looks to have been quite gory in its set and costume design, Shirley Apthorp of the Financial Times gives both the music and performance a glowing review:

In the pit, Mark Elder makes the Vienna Symphony Orchestra play with all the other-worldly allure the piece demands. He achieves both polish and transparency, hinting at anarchy but never letting his forces get out of hand.

A first-rate cast guarantees the evening’s success. Scott Hendricks is gripping in the title role, Olga Pasichnyk eerily perfect as Roxana, Will Hartmann must be one of the very few tenors on the planet who can both sing all the notes and get away with the declaration “My God is as beautiful as I am”, and John Graham-Hall’s Edrisi is strong and warm and compelling.

[Sources: www.bregenzerfestspiele.comwww.polskieradio.euFinancial Times, photo: operachic.typepad.com]


Born This Month

  • 1 September 1900 – Kazimierz WIŁKOMIRSKI, cellist, conductor, teacher (died in 1990)
  • 5 September 1924 – Krystyna MOSZUMAŃSKA-NAZAR, composer
  • 5 September 1938 – Piotr LACHERT, pianist, composer, pedagogue
  • 6 September 1916 – Tadeusz DOBRZAŃSKI, composer and conductor
  • 7 September 1943 – Elzbieta STEFAŃSKA, harpsichordist
  • 9 September 1921 – Andrzej DOBROWOLSKI, composer (died in 1989)
  • 9 September 1923 – Andrzej BACHLEDA, tenor
  • 13 September 1896 – Tadeusz SZELIGOWSKI (died 10 January 1963), composer
  • 14 September 1937 – Jan ASTRIAB, composer
  • 14 September 1914 – Michał SPISAK, composer (died 29 January 1965, Paris)
  • 16 September 1895 – Karol RATHAUS, composer, pianist (died 21 November 1954, New York)
  • 16 September 1891 – Czesław MAREK, composer, pianist
  • 18 September 1919 – Edward BURY, composer and theory teacher
  • 18 September 1928 – Adam WALACIŃSKI, composer and music critic
  • 18 September 1883 – Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (died 1 January 1953), composer
  • 19 September 1938 – Zygmunt KRAUZE, composer and pianist
  • 22 September 1940 – Edward BOGUSŁAWSKI, composer
  • 23 September 1912 – Irena PFEIFFER, composer, conductor.
  • 24 September 1914 – Andrzej PANUFNIK (died 27 October 1991)
  • 30 September 1942 – Andrzej DUTKIEWICZ, pianist and composer
  • 30 September 1947 – Jan OLESZKOWICZ, composer


Died This Month

  • 13 September 1977 – Leopold STOKOWSKI (born 18 April 1882), conductor and composer
  • 15 September 1895 – Jan KLECZYŃSKI (b. 8 June 1857), pianist and music critic
  • 15 September 1944 – Bronislaw WOLFSTAHL, composer, pianist, conductor (b. 22 July 1883)
  • 18 September 1857 – Karol KURPIŃSKI (b. 6 March 1785), composer and conductor
  • 26 September 1944 – Seweryn BARBAG (b. 4 September 1891), musicologist.
  • 29 September 1954 – Alfred GRADSTEIN (born 30 October 1904), composer, and social activist
  • 27 September 1943 – Waclaw GIEBUROWSKI (born 6 February 1878), priest, choral conductor and musicologist
  • 28 September 1939 – Halina SZMOLC-FITELBERG (born 25 December 1892), dancer (Diaghilev ensemble, Grand Theatre)
  • 28 September 1956 – Walerian BIERDAJEW, conductor and teacher (b. 7 March 1885)
  • 29 September 1861 – Tekla BADARZEWSKA-BARANOWSKA (b. 1834), composer of “The Maiden’s Prayer”