Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 15, no. 10

PMC News

Paderewski Festival In Paso Robles

Once again the annual Paderewski Music Festival is scheduled to take place in the charming Central Coast town of Paso Robles, California from November 12-15, 2009. For the past few years this re-born Festival has grown considerably from a one concert affair to several days filled with music, sightseeing, wine-tasting opportunities and exhibits dedicated to the memory of this great pianist and Polish patriot who was also a Paso Robles landowner.

The opening night concert will be held on Thursday, November 12, in a stunningly beautiful function room of the newly-opened Vina Robles Winery. The Denali Quartet—a highly acclaimed, LA-based chamber music group—will present a concert of string quartets by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, and Johannes Brahms.

Santa Barbara-based pianist William Koseluk will present a recital of works by Edvard Grieg and Ignacy Jan Paderewski at the Cass Winery on Friday, November 13.

Winners of the 2009 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition will be featured in a free afternoon concert at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom on Saturday, November 14. That evening the entire city celebrates its heritage during the “Elegant Evening” event that features open houses of merchants, art galleries, and restaurants in the downtown area of Paso Robles.

At 8 p.m. the Paderewski Festival will present Polish pianist Hubert Rutkowski in the Festival Gala Concert. Rutkowski’s program features compositions by Chopin, Paderewski, Leschetizky, Fontana, and Gottschalk. This concert will be held in the historic ballroom of the Paso Robles Inn.

Other noteworthy events scheduled for this year’s Festival include tours of Paderewski’s vineyard, exhibits of his memorabilia at the Carnegie Library downtown and the Pioneer Museum, a champagne brunch at the Vinoteca Wine Bar on Sunday, special-themed menus in local restaurants and many other attractions.

More information on this year’s Paderewski Festival can be obtained from the Festival’s website (www.paderewskifest.com) or by contacting the organizers at: P.O. Box 272, Paso Robles, CA 93447, tel. (805) 237-2620 or e-mail: info@paderewskifest.com


Review: 2009 Paderewski Lecture-Recital

By Charles Bragg

October 4th, 2009, Newman Hall – USC. The program began with Paderewski’s Chant d’Amour (Op. 10 #2) for piano (performed by pianist Irene Gregorio), a miniature love story that began quietly but soon became passionate and ended with a romantic glow.

PMC Director Marek Zebrowski then presented a series of video vignettes of interviews with Henryk Górecki, talking about how and why he makes music, some examples of his orchestral music in wildly differing styles, and even video of Górecki playing a folk tune on his violin for some friends. If I carried anything away from this recital, it would be that Górecki is a most eclectic composer. As if to illustrate this point, Marek played a piece Górecki wrote for Wanda and Stefan Wilk, founders of the Polish Music Center, based on a musical rendering of each of their first names. It was as quiet and contemplative as some of the music to come was dissonant and driven.

Two pieces for violin (Joel Pargman) and piano (Ms. Gregorio) followed. The Variations(Op. 4) is a virtuoso piece, dissonant but not atonal, and very energetic, using a folk-like theme as its base. The Sonatina (Op. 8) was even more folk-like, and reminded me at times of bluegrass. Perhaps the hills of Appalachia are not so far from the Tatra mountains after all.

In a complete change of style, Amy Tatum played the Valentine Piece (Op. 70) for solo flute. Anyone who has ever gone birdwatching would immediately recognize first the short call notes, separated by long silences, and then the extended melody, as typical of a songbird’s repertoire. Next was a piece for flute and piano (Ms. Gregorio), For you, Anne-Lill (Op. 58), written for the flautist Anne-Lill Ree. The bell-like ostinato in the piano was accompanied by melodies on the flute, sometimes beautiful, sometimes raucous, giving one the image of a church tower being visited by a series of birds. It ended with the two musicians coming together in a more contemplative manner for a quiet ending.

The last piece was the String Quartet #1, “Already it is Dusk,” (Op.62), played by the marvelous Denali Quartet. The title is attributed to a 16th century choral motet that asks for deliverance from evil spirits, and the music alternates between peace and the struggle against evil. The middle movement is extremely dense and dynamic, demanding much skill from the performers. The last movement, Molto lento-tranquilissimo, reassures us that our prayers have been heard.


Charles Bragg is a native of Los Angeles and a life-long supporter and intermittent student of classical music. He was awakened to the existence of Polish music beyond Chopin when the college chorus he joined sang the Szymanowski Stabat Mater, which he still considers one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. He and his wife Alice are Friends of Polish Music at the PMC as well as volunteers for the LA Philharmonic and the LA Opera.


Warsaw Autumn Premieres & Chłopecki Article

The ‘Warsaw Autumn’ [Warszawska Jesień] Festival is organized by the Polish Composers’ Union (Związek Kompozytorów Polskich, or ZKP). It is the only festival in Poland with international status and on an international scale, that is dedicated to contemporary music; for many years it was the only event of this kind in Central and Eastern Europe. This year’s 52nd edition of the Festival (18 – 26 September 2009) was dedicated in large part to electro-acoustic music.

All of the Polish composer’s whose works were given their World Premiere at the 2009 Warsaw Autumn Festival are listed below.

September 18th:

  • Paweł Szymański – .Eals (Oomsu) (WA commission)
  • Sławomir Wojciechowski – Rope of Sands

September 19th:

  • Ewa Trębacz – Errai
  • Aleksander Nowak – Dark-Haired Girl in a Black Sports Car (WA commission)

September 21st:

  • Krzysztof Wołek – Elements
  • Mieczysław Litwiński – SOMNIVM (WA commission)

September 22nd:

  • Cezary Duchnowski – Marta’s Garden

September 24th:

  • Filip Matuszewski – ZuM (Deutschlandfunk Köln commission)
  • Karol Nepelski – PRIMORDIUM: Naturalia (WA commission)

September 25th:

  • Aleksandra Gryka – t.aÁmiper (WA commission)

September 26th (“Electronic Marathon”):

  • Sebastian Ładyżyński – trajectory 0.1a (finalist in the “Call For Sounds” competition)
  • Piotr Roemer  – Tango sonore (finalist in the “Call For Sounds” competition)
  • Anna Maria Huszcza – AB_synth schaevarius (finalist in the “Call For Sounds” competition)
  • Martyna Kosecka – Theme: Music of Tensions (finalist in the “Call For Sounds” competition)
  • Marcin Bortnowski – Four Quartets
  • Cezary Duchnowski – A Throw of Dice
  • Stanisław Krupowicz – Toplap Music
  • Marcin Rupociński – dCoding John
  • Stanisław Bromboszcz – Images

To find out more about these composers, their works, and the performers that gave the premieres, please visit www.warszawska-jesien.art.pl.


Below is an interesting discussion of the transformation of music creation and the experience of the listener in our modern era, written by Andrzej Chłopecki (pictured at right) and posted on the Warsaw Autumn website. This article has been re-printed by permission of Warsaw Autumn and the author.


Between twilight and dawn: culture on the crossroads

by Andrzej Chłopecki

President Barack Obama mentioned recently that he has a few Michael Jackson songs on his iPod. He didn’t say whether he ever went to a Jackson concert, nor whether he has one or two Jackson CDs on the shelf. He mentioned he has the songs on an iPod, without adding he downloaded them from the Internet: he probably thought it was obvious, hence superfluous, information. iPod is the world’s most popular music device, playing tracks compressed into MP3 format.

The turn-of-the-century technological revolution embraces social, political, and cultural life at all levels. We accept it as more or less natural. Yet it is worth reflecting on how it changes—irrevocably—our behaviour and sensibility. While waiting for hours at the post office to be connected by telephone with someone from another city was obviously irritating and tiresome, it did give us a feeling of a strenuously transcended distance. Today, we single-click to video call a person from the other hemisphere on Skype, and it feels like a preview of teleportation. The decorative telegraph form of old has been replaced by a text message, and the handwritten letter gave way to the e-mail. It is as if space and time had been colonised to the extent they present no more barriers or inconveniences. Yet there’s a drawback to this: we don’t seem to know the handwriting of our closest friends anymore… Something ends and something begins in culture and in music?

In European music since Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, the clock of fundamental aesthetic caesuras has been clicking every 150 years. After Greek Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, Gothic art – ars antiqua – was established around 1150; in 1300, ars nova followed; in 1450, the Renaissance; in 1600, the Baroque; 1750, the classic era that gave way to Romanticism; in 1900, it was the turn for Modernism, postmodernism and the avant-garde. In 2050 we will have a cyberculture of the world wide web. Each era has its time of preluding and its time of fading away. Are we witnessing the prelude to an era that is irrevocably approaching? Are we convinced that the fading away of the era in which we still exist, will not come to an abrupt, dramatic end So what is changing, and how?

Author = producer. The author, or creator, used to be a god, like Apollo, but chiefly a worker, an artisan, who would sometimes—as did Haydn—wear a livery. His uniqueness (he could do something others couldn’t) somehow distinguished him from the rest of the domestic servants. Then Romanticism gave us the cult of the genius and the masterpiece syndrome. Bach likely did not live to hear he was a genius, nor that his St. Matthew Passion was a masterpiece: these are Romantic terms. In the twentieth century, both ‘genius’ and ‘masterpiece’ are gradually becoming obsolete. Today, they are almost unused, which in itself is symptomatic. Hitherto, the author has always been a professional, exercising his craft on the commission of a community who in a way or another rewarded him, acknowledging that he could give it something it could by itself not produce. This pertains even to a fiddler playing at a provincial wedding. Today, computer software and the Internet as a medium of communication have pushed amateurs to spend most of the time when they’re not earning money on creation. Non-professional creation. The status of the author is becoming democratic unbelievably quickly. Not long ago, it was elitist by nature, requiring long years of study and confirmation through competition awards, prestigious commissions and performances. Today, under pressure from the populace of amateurs who spread their artistic production on the Internet, it is becoming thoroughly egalitarian. These amateurs, moreover, are often very educated (on the Internet) and have access to sophisticated computer tools that allow to express their artistic ideas in a very professional way; they often know exceedingly well the musical literature that they aspire to join. Amateur: it’s a proud notion. Passionate amateurs-hobbyists selflessly roam their preferred areas of culture and do so creatively; they can challenge the professionals and often, show their superiority. A revolt of the masses? No, ‘anybody can sing’, as says a popular Polish song. Are we dealing, therefore, with the twilight of the author in the meaning we have used for the entire history of culture to date? Is it the end of academics? It seems not.

The world wide web with the endless resources of creativity it stocks both legally and illegally is becoming a global warehouse of content and value, which for the democratic populace of amateur authors, consties a boundless material for remixing, composting, plundering and excreting in the shape of new reinterpretations. The amateur, however gifted and creative, exists only through the content that is available to him. By definition, he has no access to a renowned philharmonic orchestra or to a fellowship at the IRCAM, yet he does have access to the music that orchestra played, or to the works composed at that very IRCAM, that were subsequently uploaded on the Internet. So our amateur author is basing his creations on ‘plunderophony’. The subject matter for plundero phony is still created by academics – though the plunderophonic work can be plunderephonised again, opening the doors to an increasing recycling of creativity and a ‘secondary market’ of such works. Moreover, the easy access to synthesizers and remixing software allows for the creation of ‘own’, ‘original’ sounds, instead of ‘stolen’ and ‘plundered’.

Work = product. What is the musical work and how it exists, is a dilemma for music aestheticians, even though aesthetics are supposed to have died at the beginning of the twentieth century (according to Carl Dahlhaus). We know that the work, a.k.a. product, is not limited to the paper score – rarely used by amateur authors anyway. More and more rarely by professionals, too, and if used, often it is complementary with computer software, video recordings, electroacoustic layers recorded on CD. The work continues to be embraced by music publishing houses – but increasingly often by authors who relinquish the services of publishers. The communicational infrastructure of the Internet allows composers to free themselves from a publisher, when the entire information and communication can be put online. At a time when even ‘academic’ composers can do without a publisher as an intermediary and promoter (although music publishing houses apparently continue to prosper), works of any quality and value can appear on the internet as a downloadable file with no editorial constraints whatsoever.

This is a real revolution. There was a time when music publishers ruled supreme. They would agree or not to enroll a professional composer to their catalogue, promote his music, prepare performing material and offer his works for concert performances. Today, a professional (academic) composer can become his own publisher and promoter; and so can an amateur author (who has no other choice: Chester or Universal-Edition will never ‘buy’ him). The product appears online, available for free or for a fee. Uploaded, it becomes the property of all users who can exploit it as they wish: e.g., use it as a material for their own remixes. Recently, work protection has become a major issue: we need to reform copyright so that it can protect the work as an artistic product of the author and at the same time, make it universally available as a ‘common’ good in the current, unprecedented state of democratisation of cultural space. Can Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 be a common good? Yes it can, its copyright having expired and the heirs of Beethoven not cashing in royalties anymore. Can Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring be, too? Legally not, as it’s still under copyright, but…

Listener = consumer. The primary occupation of music listeners used to be attending concerts. Concert-going is far from disappearing or losing importance. Yet the very notion of ‘concert’ is changing, along with the space where it happens and the social status it possesses. Programmes of new music festivals feature an increasing number of installations, performances, multimedia undertakings, frequently organised not in venues that were designed to host concerts but adapted e.g. from post-industrial interiors. Sociologically, this is an important change. The very numerous young audience of the Warsaw Autumn festival is noteworthy, especially with regard to those ‘adapted’ spaces; that very audience seems far less keen on visiting a philharmonic hall, radio studio or music academy. The latter venues are often associated with culture that is ‘bourgeois’, elitist and not egalitarian. We still have the space of ‘concerts’ but now also that of ‘events’. With events, it is less relevant whether they fall under the brand of a prestigious festival or are organised by an ‘garage’ artistic subculture, as long as they offer an alternative perspective that is as attractive as the ‘philharmonic’ type.

Technological development in culture is a phenomenon that is bringing obvious advantages, but also taking something away forever. This is what happened to radio receivers and the culture of seeking and listening to stations on short waves: this was once an intriguing and exciting voyage into the unknown. We no longer fear that a 78rpm record might break, or an LP (recently rebaptised a ‘vinyl’) get scratched.

The qualitative change in recording with the advent of compact discs is not so much a factor of digital encryption (which is more a quantitative change), a new shape of the recorded object and the use of a different player, but more of a greater opportunity (compared to the space available on a standard LP sleeve) to comment on the music in the enclosed book let. It is often predicted that the CD era is drawing to an end: iPods, MP3s, computers hard disks with freely compiled content downloaded from the Internet servers are handier and take no room on the shelf. With CDs, however, it is a certain type of cultural behaviour that is expiring. We are bidding farewell to a tangible object that is being replaced by virtual ones.

The amazing opportunity of accessing absolutely everything, offered by the technology that is nicknamed Culture 2.0, is both enthralling and para lysing. Enthralling, because it democratically opens access to everything, triggering not only a receptive but also a creative potential in whoever seeks it, without asking for an entry ticket or an authors’ association ID. Paralysing, because it effectively deletes any resistance of material objects. Instead of going to the newsagent to pick up today’s paper, we can browse it on the Internet; instead of buying – when it’s available – a composer’s biography at the bookshop, we learn about him from an anonymous text on Wikipedia. This is, of course, a catastrophic vision that might seem utopian and unreal; yet we can imagine a future consumer of music (and not only) who doesn’t possess a single book or a single record at home, and has no need to look for anything on the shelf, having everything on his iPod, more than an old academic with thousands of books and records on his bookshelves. The modern consumer has more, but his possessions are qualitatively… different. He possesses something else.

Cultural space = institutions. Alongside the recent change of status of the author, work and listener, the space in which these entities exist also changes, and so does the function of cultural institutions. Festivals, cultural education, reflection on culture: all changes. We live in the era of blogs, Internet community sites, discussion forums. In this new space, not only everyone can be an author, but everyone can obviously be a critic, including a music critic. More and more often, passionate amateurs who express their opinions on culture, art, music, and boast an impressive knowledge, sensibility and experience, can move to the space of professional critics, even though they have no appropriate certification of their competences. It is an overwhelmingly positive phenomenon, and all syndicalist protests against it seem absurd. Modern democratisation has involved not only the market of art but also that of opinion. As on the democratic art market, there is a lot of rubbish and nonsense on that new democratic market of opinion – that’s the beauty of democracy after all – but it in no way means we should ignore it altogether. Some truly interesting things are emerging from this space that would never have happened if left to the discretion of ministerial grants and local councils’ commendations. This alternative, democratic space more and more often is raising to the level of ‘official’ culture.

At this year’s Warsaw Autumn festival, a laptop orchestra from Wrocław will perform. We have already had a concert with musicians located in vari ous cities of the world, communicating via the Internet, who could be seen and heard on a giant screen.

We can easily imagine a music festival that happens only on the Internet, composed of events organised in various places of our blasé globe, available for everyone to ‘consume’ at a mouse click. It could well be fascinating. As well as depressing, obliterating as it will the audience that gathers here and now in a single venue, applauding or wooing together. The said democratisation will effectively isolate individuals; instead of an auditorium’s community, we will have individuals participating in an event through the intermediary of a computer, and not through real, physical participation.

It is often argued that ‘real’ modern music is located outside the scores of composers with university degrees; that a symphonic concert with the nth symphony by an academic, or a chamber concert with the nth string quartet, or a recital with even the most avant-garde or post-modern songs for soprano and piano, are all obsolete phenomena. Modernity, we are told, happens elsewhere. At the concerts (‘events’ ) of DJs, progressive rock, improvised electronics, independent (from what ) ‘garage’ productions. This kind of production is increasingly penetrating the festivals of new music (that are, it is implied, somehow ‘dependent’ – but on what ). It is fashionable to say that the division between high and low culture is no more relevant: culture is supposed to be good or ‘alterna tively good’. Should it actually be so, our vision of European culture that was opened by Perotin the Great when he had his Viderunt omnes organum performed in the Notre-Dame in Paris, is shattered.

Cultural space also includes education. Speaking of musical education, we often are anxious that our children are no more able to sing, that school choirs are in decline, and that the musical literature is presented to children in an unattractive way. Surely, the situation is very bad. I have always been allergic to ‘popularisation’, having always preferred ‘accessibility’. When something is available, you’re free to take advantage of it or not – your choice. The civilisation that is nicknamed Culture 2.0 is finally giving us some great educational opportunities. Don’t learn! Don’t sing! Don’t remember! Here are some Haydn symphonies samples on the Internet: download to your iPod, remix and compose Symphony No. 105. Here are some other samples of birdsong: put them together in the form of a sonata, I’ll show you a rough sketch so that you know what the heck a sonata is.

Utopian? In any case I won’t live to see the year 2050 (I’d be a hundred years old…), which music historians in the year 2100 (there needs to be some time for reflection, arguments and counterarguments) will see as the beginning of a new era in the history of music: the cyber-global-network era. I’m neither happy nor sad about it. That new era will be no ‘ars’ (antiqua or nova, whatever), no renaissance, no baroque, no classicism or romanticism, no free-range avant-garde, and no tension between novel and post-novel. Its definition will not regard aesthetics or even culture but technology and communication in a web that will engulf one of the many globes of our galaxy. All people will become… authors, listeners and institutions alike. I do firmly believe, however, that the Warsaw Autumn Festival in the year 2050 will have its 93rd edition not only on the Internet but also at the National Philharmonic, the Witold Lutosławski Studio of the Polish Radio, the concert hall of the University of Music and at other venues that used to produce vodka, reed, where people played basketball and generated the highest electric tensions. So let’s prelude with hope and anxiety about the collapse of historical eras. Live it with sober minds and hearts. And… do switch off your iPods and listen to the singing of a natural nightingale. Not a synthetic one. And not one downloaded from the Internet to your iPod…

Andrzej Chłopecki, b. 1950, Polish Radio music commentator; lecturer in the Music Academy in Katowice; member of the Repertoire Committee of the “Warsaw Autumn” Festival; President of the “Friends of the Warsaw Autumn” Foundation; Chairman of the Programme Board of the Polish Audiovisual Publishers; member of the Programme Board of “MusikTexte. Zeitschrift für Neue Musik” in Cologne; a columnist for “Gazeta Wyborcza” daily. Author of the Polish Collection of the Warsaw Autumn – a 10-CD series released by POLMIC. In the autumn of 2006, he was the Programme Director of the “Velvet Curtain” Festival in Lvov and the Festival of Pawet Szymański’s Music in Warsaw. Recently decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Lithuanian Order of Merit, the Silver Medal “Of Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis”, and the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage Annual Award. He publishes and delivers papers and articles on contemporary music in Poland and abroad.[polmic.pl, 2007]

Dębski Concerto Premiere

The World Premiere of Krzesimir Dębski’s Violin Concerto No. 3 will take place at this year’s 13th annual Festival of Polish Composers (read more about the Festival below). The new work will be performed by violinist Konstanty Andrzej Kulka and the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra, with Dębski on the conductor’s podium.

Krzesimir Dębski is a prominent Polish composer who is also a virtuoso violinist, pianist, and a celebrated orchestral conductor. Equally at home in the world of jazz and classical music, Dębski is chiefly known in Poland for his numerous and highly popular film scores. His ever-growing catalogue of orchestral compositions currently includes two symphonies, an opera, ballet music, and eleven concertos for various solo instruments and orchestra. In addition, he is also famous as a songwriter and arranger, and composer of music for theatre.

Learn more about Dębski on his PMC composer page or the composer’s website.

Szymański & Mykietyn Us Premieres

Renowned San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet opens Symphony Space’s 2009/2010 season with its New York debut. The adventurous, globe-trotting program features U.S. premieres of Paweł Szymański’s Five Pieces for String Quartet  and Paweł Mykietyn’s String Quartet No.2—the two most original voices in contemporary Polish classical music—as well as New York premieres of Cuban-American Tania Leon’s Esencia, written for the Del Sol Quartet, and Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz’s String Quartet No.1.

Paweł Szymański’s (b.1954) music is sophisticated and disciplined, yet enthralls the listener with its emotional range. He has demonstrated a unique ability to twist and re-work traditional musical ideas – especially those from the Baroque period – into completely new and thrilling contexts. His music has won prizes in the UNESCO International Composers’ Rostrum, the Competition for Composers of Sacred Music, and the Benjamin Britten Competition, among others. In 2006 the “Festival of Pawel Szymański’s Music” took place, from which the Polish Audiovisual Publishers released a four DVD set.

Paweł Mykietyn (b.1971) startled the contemporary music scene at the age of 18 when he became the youngest composer ever commissioned for the Warsaw Autumn Festival. His music is impetuous, often aggressive in character, while making use of traditional melodic structures. He is a model postmodernist, free to derive inspiration and material from all available sources. His awards include First Prize in the young composers’ category in the UNESCO International Rostrum in Amsterdam, and the prestigious Polish OPUS award for his Symphony No. 2. In 2000 his 3 for 13 was presented at the Midem Classique in Cannes. Mykietyn also composes for film and theater, and has famously collaborated with Krzysztof Warlikowski for TR Warszawa.

U.S. Premieres – Szymański & Mykietyn
Thursday, October 1

6:30 PM
Underscore: Conversation with Pawel Mykietyn and Tania Leon, moderated by Laura Kaminsky, Symphony Space’s Associate Director
7:30 PM 
US premieres of Pawel Szymanski and Pawel Mykietyn, NYC premieres of Tania Leon and Gabriela Ortiz
Symphony Space, Leonard Nimoy Thalia 
1537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY
Tickets: advance $25, day of $30, Members $20

[Source: Polish Cultural Inst. NY]

Bacewicz UK Premiere & NLO Polish Festival

The New London Orchestra is taking part in Polska! Year, the cultural project promoting Poland in the UK. The first part of the Orchestra’s Polish Festival will be their Polska Music Concert on October 14, produced in association with the Polish Cultural Institute. The New London Orchestra will celebrate Grażyna Bacewicz’s centenary by giving the UK première of her Sinfonietta for Strings, written in 1935, in Cadogan Hall. The program also includes: Panufnik – Old Polish Suite, Szymanowski – Stabat Mater, Prokofiev – Classical Symphony, and Vaughan Williams – ‘The Wasps’ Overture. Performers include Caroline MacPhie – soprano, Natalia Brzezinska – mezzo-soprano, Gerard Collet – baritone, the London Chorus and Ronald Corp – conductor.

As well as the Polska Music Concert, the NLO will be releasing a recording of the music of Grażyna Bacewicz. This album, recorded in February 2009, represents the group’s 21st recording on Hyperion Records. Works include Bacewicz’s Music for Strings, 5 Trumpets and TimpaniSymphony for StringsDivertimento for StringsSinfonietta for Strings; and Concerto for String Orchestra. You can preview the tracks on the Hyperion website.

The New London Orchestra will also host Polish cellist Evva Mizerska on November 5, as a part of their Young Performers Concert Series. The NLO supports young artists through this series of monthly recitals by young prize-winners at the Foundling Museum, sponsored by the Musicians Benevolent Fund. All concerts start at 1pm and tickets are free with entry to the museum.

UK premiere of Bacewicz’s Sinfonietta for Strings
Polska Music Concert – New London Orchestra
14 October, 7.30pm
Cadogan Hall, London

The Poems Of Chopin

A new music-ballet project, entitled The Poems of Chopin, premiered in the Chorzów Cultural Center on September 12, 2009. This project was prepared by the Polish-Chinese Foundation for the Promotion of Culture, “Dong Feng,” is a part of the calendar of the Chopin Year 2010 celebrating the composer’s 200th birthday. In addition to Chopin’s music, the program also includes compositions by Górecki, Szymanowski, Tansman, Krzanowski and Bacewicz. The artists include: Silesian String Quartet, pianist Magdalena Lisak, accordion players Marek Andrysek and Daniel Lis, and the Leszek Kułakowski Jazz Trio.

On October 4, Polish artists will travel to China to perform The Poems of Chopin in several cities, including a special performance at the Polish embassy in Beijing celebrating the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Poland and China.

In this performance, Chopin’s repertoire is presented in traditional form by Magdalena Lisak and in jazz arrangements prepared by the leader of Polish 3rd stream jazz, Leszek Kułakowski. The Andrysek/Lis accordion duo, in addition to arrangements of Chopin’s compositions, presents Andrzej Krzanowski’s Taniec Góralski [Highlander’s Dance]. The Silesian Quartet’s contributions focus on 20th century Polish composers by presenting Bacewicz’s 4th String Quartet, Penderecki’s 2nd String Quartet and Szymanowski’s 2nd String Quartet. Ballet choreography was prepared by Leszek Stanek, dancer and choreographer from the Silesian Dance Theater. Stanek is joined by two more dancers: Anna Matysiak and Patryk Rybarski.

Upon the return from China the show is scheduled to be staged in Warsaw, possibly at the National Theater. For more information please visit poem.dongfeng.org .

[Sources: wyborcza.plpoem.dongfeng.orgdongfeng.org]

Moryto Premiere In Carnegie Hall

On October 18, conductor Monika Wolińska will lead the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York, performing the NYC premiere of Stanisław Moryto’s Stabat Mater. The concert is dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the artistic and impresario work of Janusz Sporek. The work will have its US premiere on October 10 at a “pre-Carnegie” concert in Maryland. Anna Kostrzyńska will be the solo soprano for these events.

Monika Wolińska was born in 1974 in Chełm, Poland. She is a graduate of the Feliks Nowowiejski Music Academy in Bydgoszcz. She has also studied with Antonii Wit, Gabriel Chmura, Kurt Masur and Pierre Boulez. Since 2003 she has served as the assistant conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the Chopin Music University in Warsaw. She has created archival recordings of works by Wagner, Strauss and Tchaikovsky as well as contemporary compositions for Polish Radio and Television and Süd – West – Rundfunk (SWR). She received her doctorate from the Chopin Music Univeristy in Warsaw and serves as the assistant to Krzysztof Penderecki.

October 18 | 2pm
Jan Sporek’s 20th Anniversary of Artistic Work in the US & Moryto Premiere
Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium
New York City, NY

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]

Happy Birthday, Szymanowski

Celebrate the birthday of Karol Szymanowski with two YouTube videos of Szymanowski’s music: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NClu-7OcRqU and www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8roEvPDL6A. The first is a very rare recording of the composer himself playing his own music. The second is tenor Ryszard Minkiewicz singing music from the final scene of Szymanowski’s ballet, Harnasie.

Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) was one of the greatest modern Polish composers. By building upon the achievements of Chopin and Moniuszko, he is credited with ushering Polish music into the twentieth century. His highly acclaimed body of works include the opera King Roger, the choral-orchestral setting of Stabat Mater, and four Symphonies. See his entire list of works here.

Szymanowski grew up on the family estate, Tymoszówka, located in the far eastern provinces of Poland—lands that became part of Soviet Russia after the October 1917 Revolution and resulted in the expropriation of the Szymanowski family from their ancestral home. By the time Szymanowski and his family moved to Warsaw in 1919, he was already a well-known composer with a substantial body of work to his credit. At the turn of the century he had studied composition in Warsaw, making friends with several young composers (like Ludomir Różycki and Apolinary Szeluto) and performers (like Artur Rubinstein and Paweł Kochański). A group of promising young composers with Szymanowski at the center became widely known as Młoda Polska [Young Poland], and their concerts were an important part of the newly-emerging musical life in Poland.

Szymanowski’s body of work and his unique historical position have given him the title of “Father of Modern Music in Poland.” Much of the great richness and diversity in Polish contemporary music can be directly linked to Szymanowski’s wide-ranging opus that encompasses late romanticism, impressionism, Orientalism, and the assimilation of Polish folk music elements into his later works.

Szymanowski At Disney Hall

On October 30-November 1, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will be performing Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with world-renowned conductor Christoph Eschenbach and Musical America‘s “2005 Instrumentalist of the Year,” violinist Christian Tetzlaff. Also on the program is Dvorak’s Carnival Overture and Symphony No. 9 “From the New World.”

October 30-November 1 | 8pm and 2pm
Los Angeles Phil plays Szymanowski

Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Min. Of Culture Launches Children’s Website

On September 9, the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN) launched a special educational website for children: www.kula.gov.pl

The new portal of MKiDN is dedicated to presenting history and culture to children in a light, funny and easily digestible fashion. It also serves as a great tool for creating the cultural awareness in young users of the internet and cultivating knowledge about Poland and its cultural heritage. The website also includes sub-sites for parents and teachers, which can help in preparing topic-specific lessons for kindergarten and grade school classes.

The website is presented in a nice cartoon-like design created by Joanna Zagner. Children are navigated through the website by one of the characters, male or female, and all the information is available by clicking on large pictures.

[Source: mkidn.gov.pl (photo), kula.gov.pl]

Kultura.UW Series

The motto of this fall’s “Kultura.UW” series, organized by the Warsaw University, is “Polish Music – inspirations.” The first concert was on September 25 at the Tyszkiewicz Palace and featured the chamber music of Krzysztof Penderecki from years 1953-2000 performed by Robert Kabara (violin) and Mariola Cieniawa (piano).

The next event in the series is a concert on October 10, featuring Mateusz Czech and Edward Wolanin performing works of Fryderyk Chopin. Later in October the audience will hear a cycle of concerts dedicated to harpsichord music. The cycle entitled “Wanda Landowska in memoriam” will start on October 16 and will continue until October 25.

For more information about Kultura.UW please visit the official website of the concert series at www.kultura.uw.edu.pl. Additionally, Warsaw University has launched a website dedicated to Chopin’s 200th birthday celebrations: www.chopin2010.uw.edu.pl .

[Sources: muzyka.onet.plkultura.uw.edu.pl]

Szymanowski Exhibition

The exhibition, entitled “Piękny jako ja” [Beautiful as myself], created in the context of the opera King Roger,is open for viewing at the Grand Theater – National Opera in Warsaw. The exhibition came back to Warsaw from Opera de Bastille in Paris, where it was shown during the premiere of Szymanowski’s opera, and from Bregenz, where it was shown during the Opera Festival.

The exhibition is a contemporary presentation of Karol Szymanowski and his greatest work, the opera King Roger. Theartistic design was done by Boris Kudlička; it is simple in visual form and uses electronics to present archival slides and short movie sequences. It also includes the basic biographical data of the authors of the opera and pictures of different stagings of the work.

The exhibition will be open until October 15, 2009 and is available to all patrons attending any of the presentations at the National Opera.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]

Warsaw Village Band News & Tour

Without any doubt, the Warsaw Village Band (or as they are known in Poland, Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa) has become Poland’s best known roots music export, and an ambassador of European culture. To describe their music you can use words such as: roots, folk, world, ethno… but for sure it’s modern music, played by modern people, inspired by tradition. In the cover article for fROOTS Magazine (No. 314/315, Aug/Sept 2009), writer Andrew Cronshaw presents the group as a part of the Polish folk revival scene. Entitled “Bringing the Village to Town,” the article is not only about the origins of the Warsaw Village Band but also an exploration of Polish folk music and its history. Visit the band’s website to read the article in full: www.warsawvillageband.net.

Although they now have recorded 3 albums, the Warsaw Village Band’s greatest power is in live performances. The group has played more than 400 concerts on 4 continents and more than 30 countries. From Tokyo and Taipei through Moscow, Tel Aviv, Algier, London, Paris, Lisbon to New York, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Seattle. Now, after almost 4 years of silence, WVB will be back in North America. Below are the tour dates for October and November:

10/29/2009 (Thu)  Minneapolis, MN – The Cedar
10/30/2008 (Fri) Milwaukee, WI – Alverno College
10/31/2009 (Sat)  Chicago, IL – OTSFM ( Old Town School of Folk Music)
11/1/2009 (Sun)  Cleveland, OH – Beachland
11/2/2009 (Mon)  Pittsburgh, PA – Synod Hall
11/4/2009 (Wed)  Toronto, On, CAN – Lula Lounge
11/6/2009 (Fri)  Boston, MA – Somerville Theater
11/7/2009 (Sat)  Washington, D.C. – National Geographic
11/8/2009 (Sun)  New York City , NY – World Music Institute, Highline Ballroom

Also in October…

Warsaw Village Band  in Belfast
Thursday 22 October at 8:00 pm
Spiegeltent, Custom House Square, Belfast
Belfast Festival at Queen’s

[Source: polskayear.pl]

Polish Rhapsody In Canada

The Celebrity Symphony Orchestra returns with a magnificent recreation of famous arias and songs conducted by the charismatic Maestro Andrew Rozbicki. This time, the CSO has invited phenomenal soloists from Poland, Germany and Canada: superstar coloratura soprano – Katarzyna Dondalskaone of the world’s foremost dramatic sopranos – Anna Shafajinskaia, Canadian rising mezzo – soprano – Marta Herman, tenor and rock star, leader of PIN Rock Group – Andrzej Lampert and first baritone with National Opera in Warsaw – Adam Szerszeń. The program includes beautiful opera arias, duets, quartet, selections by G. Verdi, G. Puccini, Moniuszko and old and new Polish songs (Anna Maria, Biały Krzyż, Powrócisz tu, Żeby Polska była w nas).

This thrilling concert will commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the end of communism in Poland and the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. Learn more here: www.rozbicki.com/Upcoming_Events/upcoming_events.html.

“Polish Rhapsody” concert
October 24 | 7:30 pm
 Living Arts Centre – Mississauga, ON, Canada
Tickets: 888.805.8888 or lac.boxoffice@livingarts.on.ca

Celebrating Chopin In Alberta

On October 10th, an anniversary year celebration concert featuring a program of Chopin’s Piano Concerti as they have rarely been heard before will be held at the University of Alberta. This concert is the fruition of a year’s worth of preparation, spearheaded by violinist Tatiana Warszynski. The Concerti will be presented in what Piotr Grella-Możejko calls a “slimmed-down arrangement”—for piano and string quartet—in his article for See Magazine (“Fryderyk … Have You Lost Weight?”). Tatiana Warszynski explains the choice to perform the works with a chamber ensemble rather than the expected symphony orchestra in the article as follows:

“Chopin played them with orchestra shortly before he left Warsaw for Paris to launch his international career,” Warszynski explains. “While in France, he usually performed these works in smaller settings. Actually, it was he who transcribed the orchestra part for chamber ensemble. Our performance will be a première of sorts. Here, the two concerti have never been done like that. He trimmed the fat, as it were, and only the essence remains. Believe me, the music is pure perfection!”

Zuzana Šimurdová, the only Czech pianist to be chosen to participate at the 2005 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, will perform the Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, and Mikolaj Warszynski, an internationally recognized interpreter of Chopin’s oeuvre, will perform the Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor. They will be joined by the Mazurka String Quintet—comprised of Guillaume Tardif and Tatiana Warszynski on violin, Aaron Au on viola, Joanne Yu on cello, and Rob Aldridge on contrabass—who are called the “cream of the crop of Edmonton musicians” by Grella-Możejko.

Saturday, October 10 | 8pm
Celebrating Chopin
Convocation Hall – Old Arts Building, University of Alberta

[Other sources: Polish Culture Society-Edmonton]

Polish Heritage Month In Chicago

The Polish Museum of America will celebrate Polish Heritage Month with an elegant concert of the art songs of Fryderyk Chopin and Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The concert is presented by celebrated Polish-born soprano Brygida Bziukiewicz, co-Founder of La Musica Lirica and adjunct assistant Professor of Voice at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Ms. Bziukiewicz will be joined by seven of her undergraduate and graduate students

Sunday, October 18 | 1 PM
Great Hall – Polish Museum of America
984 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642
RSVP: 773-782-2605 (8:30 AM – 4 PM) or 773-562-6059 (after 4 PM)

Kf’s “Tribute To Chopin”

“A Tribute to Chopin” is the theme of a chamber concert at the Kosciuszko Foundation on Sunday, October 18, at 3 pm. The program includes Chopin’s magnificent but rarely-heard Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 8; as well as his Polonaise for Cello and Piano. The rest of the program features Anton Arensky’s Trio in D minor and Schumann’s Violin Sonata in A minor. This concert is presented by the Kosciuszko Foundation in association with Chamber Players International. Performers include Grigory Kalinovsky, violin; Sophie Shao, cello; and Tatiana Goncharova, piano.

Sunday, October 18 | 3pm
Kosciuszko Foundation
15 East 65th St., New York, NY 10065


Gloria Artis Medals

Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski, awarded two golden Gloria Artis medals in September. The honored recipients are Elżbieta Chojnacka, who received her award on September 23 and Sir Simon Rattle, who received his medal on September 26.

Elżbieta Chojnacka is an outstanding Polish harpsichord player, specializing in contemporary music. She is a graduate of the State Higher Music School in Warsaw (now the Chopin Music University), and continued her education with Aimée van de Viele in Saint Len-La-Foret near Paris. She is a recipient of numerous music awards and is considered among her peers to be one of the greatest musical personalities in the world. Some of the most prominent composers have dedicated compositions to her, including: György Ligeti, Yannis Xenakis, Maurice Ohana, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, and Michael Nyman. Currently Ms. Chojnacka teaches contemporary harpsichord music interpretation at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Sir Simon Rattle is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London and is among the greatest living conductors in the world. He has been the leader of City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra. For over 20 he has been working with Berliner Philharmoniker, and currently he is the main conductor and artistic director of the orchestra as well as artistic director of the music festival in Salzburg. Thanks to his original interpretation of the works of Karol Szymanowski and Witold Lutosławski, Maestro Rattle has been critical to the popularization of the music of these composers around the world. His recording catalog includes complete recordings of all orchestral works by Szymanowski, while the same time he consistently includes those works in his programs. Sir Simon Rattle is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Knight Bachelor Title and Commander of the Order of the British Empire given by Queen Elizabeth II, as well as Shakespeare Prize awarded by Alfred Toepfer Foundation. Together with Berliner Philharmoniker, Simon Rattle was chosen as an Ambassador of Goodwill by UNICEF.

[Sources: mkidn.gov.plmkidn.gov.pl]

Ochlewski Competition Results

The 7th Tadeusz Ochlewski Composition Competition, which is run by Polish music publishers PWM, concluded on August 31. The jury consisting of Arkadiusz Kubica (violinist), Aleksander Lasoń (composer), and Andrzej Kosowski (PWM Editor in Chief) reviewed the 30 compositions entered into competition, which this year was dedicated to string quartets. The following awards were given:

  • 1st Prize – Michał Papara for Odyssey
  • Honorary Mention – Paweł Pietruszewski for  Tęsknota za Pieśnią [Longing after the Song]

Both compositions will be published by PWM and performed by the Silesian Quartet at a future concert.

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

ZKP Honorary Awards

The annual Honorary Awards given by the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) were presented during a gala at the Tyszkiewicz-Potocki Palace in Warsaw on September 23, as part of the 52nd Warsaw Autumn International Contemporary Music Festival.

The recipients include:

Eva Maria Jensen – for her organization of concerts and festivals with inclusion of works by Polish composers, especially in Denmark – including a Polish festival in Odense; and for articles and publications about Polish music in the Scandinavian and international press.

Dorota SZWARCMAN – for her long-time activities as a music critic; and for popularization of Polish music, including publication of Czas Warszawskich Jesieni. O muzyce polskiej 1945-2007 [Time of Warsaw Autumns. About Polish Music 1945-2007]

Joanna WNUK-NAZAROWA – for her long-time promotional activity towards the propagation of Polish contemporary music; for several hundred performances and recordings of Polish music done by the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra during her directorship; and for the creation and programming of the Premieres Festival in Katowice.

[Source: zkp.org.pl]

Polish Winners In Italy

Two Polish percussionists have received awards at the 7th Italian Percussion Competition in Fermo. Miłosz Pękala of the Hob-Beats Percussion Duo and Kwadrofonik Quartet fame has won the first prize in the Vibraphone category. In the same category, the second prize went to Wojciech Fiebig.

The competition took place between September 7-12 and categories were organized separately for Marimba, Vibraphone, Snare Drum, Drum-set, and Composition for Percussion. For more information about the competition and to look up winners in other categories, please visit the official website of the competition: www.santangelopercussioni.it.

[Other sources: culture.pl]

Int’l Competition For Young Violinists

Winners in the XI Karol Lipiński and Henryk Wieniawski International Competition for Young Violinists in Lublin are: Marianna Vasilyeva (Russia) in the senior group and ex aequo Mindy Chen (USA) and Mone Hattori (Japan) in the junior group

The competitions have been continually organized by the Henryk Wieniawski Society in Lublin since 1967. The 11th edition of the competition attracted over 100 entries in two age groups: Junior – up to 17 years of age, and Senior – from 17 to 25 years old. The participants came from around the world, including Korea, China, Japan, USA, Austria, Great Britain, Spain, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan, among others. The competition consisted of three rounds and the musicians were judged by a jury of 17 internationally acclaimed artists.

Other  junior group laureates include: Second prizes ex-aequo  Niklas Liepe (Germany), Arsenis Selalmazidis (Greece) and Anita Wąsik (Poland), and Third prizes ex-aequo – Irina Pak and Andrej Rozendent, both from Russia

The senior group 2nd Place winners ex-aequo were: Mizuki Chiba (Japan), Elvin Hoxha(Azerbaijan) and Sherniyaz Mussakhan (Kazakhstan). Third Prize senior winner was Ann Hou Saeter (Norway).

[Sources: rmfclassic.plwieniawski.lublin.pl]

Spisak Competition Results

The 3rd International Spisak Music Competition took place in Dąbrowa Górnicza, Poland between 5 and 14 September, 2009. The goal of the competition is the promotion of Polish contemporary music, in particular the music of Michał Spisak. The competition has three categories: flute, saxophone and accordion, and was open to all musicians under 29 years of age. The jury of the competition consisted of Joachim Pichura (chairman), Barbara Świątek-Żelazna, Mieczysław Stachura, Janos Balint, Antoni Wierzbiński, Krzysztof Langman, Claus Olesen, Bernard Steuer, Paweł Gusnar, Volodymyr Runchak, Jerzy Kaszuba, Krzysztof Olczak, Leon Markiewicz (secretary), and Zygmunt Tlatlik (artistic director of the competition).

The following awards were given:


  • I Prize – Bartłomiej Duś
  • II Prize – Piotr Wysocki


  • I Prize – Maciej Frąckiewicz
  • II Prize – Grzegorz Miszczyszyn
  • III Prize ex aequo – Leszek Kołodziejski and Eneasz Kubit
  • Honorary Mention – Konrad Salwiński


  • I Prize – Seweryn Zapłatyński
  • II Prize – Gabriele Bertolini
  • III Prize – Liao Yi-Hsien
  • Honorary Mentions – Joanna Świątek and Olga Leonkiewicz

In all there were 14 saxophone players, 21 accordion players and 39 flute players participating in the competition. For more information please visit www.spisak.idabrowa.pl .

[Sources: spisak.idabrowa.plmuzyka.onet.pl]

Amateur Piano Competition

The Frederic Chopin International Amateur Piano Competition was held between September 9 and 13 in Warsaw by the F. Chopin Society. This was the first attempt to organize an amateur competition in Poland, however competitions of this type have been successfully organized many times in other countries. In all there were 41 participants invited to perform in Warsaw, hailing from Poland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, USA, Great Britain, Sweden, Russia and Brazil. The jury of the competition consisted of highly esteemed Polish artists: Kazimierz Gierżod, Andrzej Jasiński, Bronisława Kawalla, Tadeusz Chmielewski, Zbigniew Lasocki, Józef Stompel, and Bogdan Czapiewski.

The following amateur musicians were honored:

  • 1st Prize – Svyatoslav Levin (USA)
  • 2nd Prize – Victoria Bragin (USA)
  • 3rd Prize – Thomas Yu (Canada)

Honorary Mentions in alphabetical order: Robert Finley (USA), Jun Fujimoto (Canada), Gil Jetley (Great Britain), Jun Kinoshita (Japan), Chuifun Poon (Hong Kong)

The award for the best performance of the work by Frederic Chopin: Svyatoslav Levin(USA)

Audience Award: Cezary Kozanecki (Poland)

[Sources: culture.plkonkurs.amator.chopin.pl]


XIV Festival Of Polish Composers

The Festival of Polish Composers, held annually under the auspices of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, first took place in 1996. Each edition has been devoted to a specific composers, including: Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Stanisław Moniuszko, Chopin, Karol Szymanowski, Zygmunt Konieczny, Andrzej Kurylewicz, Zbigniew Preisner, Mieczysław Karłowicz, Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Henryk Wieniawski, Grażyna Bacewicz, I. J. Paderewski, and Jan Krenz. This year’s festival is devoted to Krzesimir Dębski and the 100th anniversary of Mieczysław Karłowicz. It will be held from October 8-10 in the Silesian region of Bielsko-Biała, Poland.

Program of the Festival:

8 October

Dębski – Elegia
M. Karłowicz – Violin Concerto A major
K. Dębski – Violin Concerto Nr 3 (World Premiere)

Konstanty Andrzej Kulka – violin
Sinfonia Varsovia, K. Dębski – conductor
(pictured above)

9 October

Dębski – Concerto for flute piccolo
K. Dębski – Concerto for Alphorn
K. Dębski – Landscape
K. Dębski – Concerto per flute
K. Dębski – Canzonetta for saxophone

Kathriene DeJongh (USA) – flute
Marie-Terese Yan (Switzerland) – flute piccolo
Henryk Kalinski – alphorn
Greg Banaszak (USA) – saxophone
Morphing Chamber Orchestra (Wienna, Austria), K. Dębski – conductor

10 October

Dębski – Music for Film

Anna Jurksztowicz – vocal
Eva Quartet (Bulgaria) – vocals
Bielsko Symphonic Orchestra & Bielsko Choir
K. Dębski, conductor

[Source: culture.plwww.bck.bielsko.pl,]

Eventus Drum Festival

The 18th Eventus Drum Festival will be held in Opole, Poland, once again hosting the greatest names of the drumming world. The festival started on September 25 and will continue until October 18. During the festival there will be concerts, showcases, workshops and competition for young percussionists. This Festival is organized by the Polish Percussion Association and more information is available on their website, www.percussionfestival.pl.

One of the highlights of this year’s edition is a performance by Terry Bozio, a drummer known for performing on an incredibly complex setup of nearly 40 drums and 80 cymbals. Another star of the festival will be Steve Smith – an American drummer who incorporates jazz, swing, and be-bop with avant-garde and rock music, creating a very interesting fusion style. During this first appearance in Poland, he will perform with a band of musicians who on a daily basis perform with the likes of Carlos Santana.

This year marks the first edition of the Competition for Young Drummers. The winner of the competition gets the opportunity to go to Frankfurt and visit the largest international music tradeshow – Frankfurt Muskmesse.

[Source: culture.pl]

Piano Festival In Kraków

The International Piano Festival of the Royal City of Kraków will start on October 9 and will continue until October 18. This is the first cultural event in the history of the city to be entirely dedicated to solo piano music. The goal of the festival is not only to present the masters of the piano art but also young pianists who are laureates of international competitions.

The list of artists who will perform in Kraków is impressive and includes: Alexander Kobrin (Russia), Martina Filjak (Croatia), Masataka Takada (Japan), Michał Nesterowicz (Poland), Aimo Pagin (France), Marcel Stefko (Slovakia), Gabrielle Baldocci (Italy), Kevin Kenner (USA), Krzysztof Jabłoński (Poland), Piotr Szczepanik (Poland) and Mariangella Vacatello (Italy).

The concerts will take place in the most beautiful concert venues around Kraków, including: “Florianka” Hall, Auditorium Maksimum of the Jagiellonian University, Benedictine  Culture Institute, Białoprąd Mansion, Kraków Philharmonic and halls of the Kraków Music Academy.

The main organizers of the festival are the PianoClassic Artistic Society and the Kraków Music Academy. For more information please visit www.festiwalpianistyczny.pl .

[Source: culture.pl]

Feliks Nowowiejski Festival In Berlin

The Feliks Nowowiejski Festival will take place in Berlin between October 9 – 11, 2009. The goal of the festival is to familiarize the audience with the works of Polish composer Feliks Nowowiejski, who lived, worked and taught in Berlin from 1898 to 1909. He was very active in the cultural life of the city.

The Festival will be launched on October 9 by unveiling a memorial plate on the facade of the St. Paul’s Church in Berlin’s Moabit district, where the composer used to play. On the same day, in the Gedächtniskirche, Jan Nowowiejski (son of the composer) will perform an organ concert with Bogna Nowowiejska (granddaughter of the composer) and Prof. Elżbieta Karolak. On the second day of the festival, October 10, Jan Nowowiejski will talk about his father and perform his piano compositions in the hall of the Polish House  “Polonicum” in Berlin. On October 11, in St. John’s Basilica, Jan and Bogna Nowowiejski will perform organ works of the composer during a Polish mass. The festival will conclude with the performance by Japanese organist Hiroko Inoue and Polish cellist Ewa Gawrońska in the Gedächtniskirche. Admission to all concerts is free.

[Source: culture.pl]

Głogówek Beethoven Festival

The 2nd edition of the 2nd Beethoven Music Festival in Głogówek, Poland started on September 18 and will go until October 10. Historically, Głogówek has always been an important place in the musical life of Poland. Over the centuries numerous great composers stayed and composed here, including Mikołaj of Koźle, Bartłomiej Pękiel, Georg Brikner, Johannes Sedlatzek, Gerhard Strecke, Carl Zuschneid and even Ludwig van Beethoven.

The remaining two concerts of the festival include a performance by Campagnuollo Barok Ancamble directed by Martin Jakubik. On October 5 the group will present works by Beethoven, Mozart and Planitzky. On October 10 the audience will hear a collection of Polish vocal miniatures performed by some of the greatest Polish musicians, among them: Anita Maszczyk (soprano), Katarzyna Haras (mezzo-soprano), Maciej Bartczak (baritone), Adam Musialski (violin), and Beata Musialska (piano).

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]


Cellist Marek Szpakiewicz At LACMA

A capacity crowd at LACMA’s Bing Theatre was on hand for the recital of Polish-born cellist, Marek Szpakiewicz. Now a permanent resident of Southern California and on the faculty of Thornton School of Music at USC and Azusa Pacific University, Szpakiewicz presented a selection of works by Max Bruch, Ernest Bloch, Alexandre Tansman, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin last Sunday evening, September 27.

The program opened with Max Bruch’s celebrated Kol Nidrei, Op. 47, an appropriate and thoughtful choice for the eve on Yom Kippur holiday, and was followed by Baal Shem—Three Pieces from Hasidic Life, a 1923 composition by Ernest Bloch. Quatre pièces faciles written by a fellow Pole, Alexandre Tansman, as well as Leonard Bernstein’s Clarinet Sonata and Three Preludes by George Gershwin rounded up the program.

The common denominator for the entire recital was Mr. Szpakiewicz’s refined tone and deeply musical approach to each of his repertoire choices. Although not overtly virtuosic works, the expressive and mainly contemplative qualities of the pieces by Bruch and Bloch were given a decidedly sympathetic reading by the cellist. Tansman’s short suite gravitates in style to both the French colorists and more distant Baroque dance-suite form and, under Mr. Szpakiewicz’s bow, it gained in lightness and refinement, justly so.

Bernstein and Gershwin represented a livelier musical offering—the former with its Copland-esque angularity of melodic and rhythmic patterns, the latter with its jazzy inspiration. Originally conceived for clarinet and piano, Bernstein’s Sonata is also effective in the cello and piano arrangement made by Mr. Szpakiewicz. The closing Gershwin Piano Preludes provided an effective ending to the program, and Mr. Szpakiewicz’s adaptation for cello and piano was certainly inspired by Jascha Heifetz brilliant arrangement of the piece for violin and piano made in the early 1940s. The pianist for the evening’s performance, Jiayi Shi, provided a sensitive and attentive accompaniment, proving a perfect partner on this interesting musical adventure.


Sinfonia Varsovia’s Musical Voyage

The Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra has just returned from their “Queen Elisabeth Musical Voyage,” a project organized by the Queen Elisabeth College of Music. Piotr Anderszewski, Augustin Dumay, Maxim Rysanov, Jian Wang, Christopher Warren-Green and students of the Queen Elisabeth College of Music were just some of the artists with whom the Sinfonia Varsovia performed during a cruise aboard the “Silver Whisper” ship.

A week-long cruise of the Adriatic Sea allowed participants not only to experience the music first hand but also interact with the artists directly during open rehearsals, meals and parties. In addition to world-class artists, the College’s top students were also on hand to present their musical prowess. Symphonic concerts took place in different halls when the ship was in port and chamber music concerts were performed on board the ship.

In total the cruise included 11 world class soloists, 14 students of the Queen Elisabeth College of Music, the Vlaams Radio Koor [Flemish Radio Choir] and the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra. The musicians performed seven concerts in seven ports of the cruise, including: Venice, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Bari, Split, and Trieste. The program included works by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin, Pergolesi, and Rachmaninov. The orchestra was lead by the world class conductor and director of the London Chamber Orchestra, Christopher Warren-Green.

[Sources: culture.plmuzyka.onet.pl]

Plowright & Rutkowski At Hussum

Pianists Jonathan Plowright, former Paderewski Lecture-Recital headliner, and Hubert Rutkowski, future Paderewski Festival headliner, both participated in this year’s Rarities of Piano Music Festival at Schloss vor Husum in Germany. The Festival ran from August 14-22, 2009. Mr. Rutkowski gave masterclasses as a part of the Festival’s ever-growing outreach. Mr. Plowright performed the opening concert of the Festival, playing works by Bach-Borwick, Bach-Fryer, Mompou, Busoni, Niewiadomski and Poulenc. Due to the increased demand for concert tickets, a second concert date with Plowright was added.


New Nowak Disc

Aleksander Nowak “Fiddler’s Green”
Aleksander Nowak: Last Days of Wanda B.; Songs of Caress; Sonata “June-December”; Fiddler’s Green
Piotr Pławner, violin; Jacek Maksymiuk, piano; Urszula Kryger, mezzo; Lasoń Ensemble (Krzysztof Lasoń, violin; Stanisław Lasoń, cello; Piotr Sałajczyk, piano); AUKSO Orchestra, Marek Moś, conductor;  New Music Orchestra and Camerata Silesia, Szymon Bywalec, conductor

This new album helps to establish composer Aleksander Nowak (b. 18 Dec. 1979) at the forefront of Polish modern classical music, amongst his compatriots such as Paweł Mykietyn and Hanna Kulenty. The recording is co-produced by Śląskie Towarzystwo Muzyczne and Polskie Radio Katowice.

WVB Infinity

Warsaw Village Band: Maja Kleszcz – vocals, cello; Magdalena Sobczak–Kotnarowska – vocals, dulcimer; Sylwia Swiatkowska – vocals, violin, suka, fiddle; Wojtek Krzak – violin, violin 7/8, nyckelharpa, drums; Piotr Glinski – baraban drum, percussion; Maciej Szajkowski – frame drum
Barbés Records, available at www.jaro.de

Infinity is the latest recording of the Warsaw Village Band, Poland’s best known roots music export. David Luhrssen of the Sheperd Express says this about the album:

While exploring the roots of Polish music, the Warsaw Village Band discovered that they run deeper than most suspect, connecting with the klezmer music of Poland’s Jewish community and running further east. The Polish kingdom at one time stretched to the Black Sea, making it a terminus of the fabled Silk Road.

Not content with the past, WVB bring their influences into the present, working electric guitars and Polish rapper DJ Feel-X into their ancient-modern mix. The band’s high-energy drones and primal rhythms occasionally conjure up impressions of an Eastern European Velvet Underground in their John Cale period.

Read more reviews of the album here: http://www.rockpaperscissors.biz/index.cfm/fuseaction/current.articles/project_id/405.cfm

New Sinfonia Iuventus Recording

F.J. Haydn Cello concertos, Minuets
Joseph Haydn: Minuet no. 1 in C Major; Cello concerto in C Major; Minuet no. 6 in D Major; Cello concerto in D Major; Minuet no. 11 in D Major
Ivan Monighetti, cello; Sinfonia Iuventus

New Skowronski

Skowronski Plays! Dichotomy  – The Sonatas of Ernest Bloch
Ernest Bloch: Sonata No. 1 [1920] and Sonata No. 2 “Poème Mystique” [1924]
Vincent P. Skowronski, violin and  Dana Brown, piano

From the program notes…

Without a doubt, this venture into the powerfully seething music of Ernest Bloch is for those of “sound” mind and body. ERNEST BLOCH (1890-1959) is an American composer of Swiss origin who eventually became a permanent citizen of the United States of America in 1924. Enjoy the spectacular music put forth in these two sonatas which are fantastically presented here by Messrs. Vincent P. Skowronski, violin and Dana Brown, pianist. NOTE: The year 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of Mr. Bloch’s birth, and we duly mention and observe this fact by virtue of this recording.


Born This Month

  • 3 October 1882 – Karol SZYMANOWSKI, composer, pianist, (d. 29 March 1937)
  • 3 October 1923 – Stanislaw SKROWACZEWSKI, composer and conductor
  • 4 October 1910 – Eugenia UMINSKA, violinist
  • 6 October 1885 – Karol STROMENGER, teacher, composer, publicist, music critic (d. 1975)
  • 9 October 1924 – Regina SMENDZIANKA, pianist
  • 10 October 1910 – Henryk SWOLKIEN, music critic, composer
  • 14 October 1910 – Lech MIKLASZEWSKI, children’s song writer, author of popular radio music shows for children, music publicist (d. 1992)
  • 16 October 1867 – Ferdynand HOESICK, music critic, publisher (d. 13 April 1941)
  • 18 October 1879 – Grzegorz FITELBERG, conductor, violinist, composer (d. 10 June 1953)
  • 20 October 1819 – Karol MIKULI, pianist, composer, conductor, Chopin’s student (d. 21 May 1897)
  • 20 October 1935 – Henryk SWOLKIEN, composer, publicist, music promoter (d. 1990)
  • 25 October 1868 – Michal SWIERZYNSKI, composer, conductor (d. 30 June 1957)
  • 30 October 1904 – Alfred GRADSTEIN, composer, activist (d. 29 September 1954)


Died This Month

  • 1 October 1990 – Andrzej KRZANOWSKI, composer, accordion player (b. 1951)
  • 1 October 1861 – Tekla Justyna KRZYZANOWSKA, pianist, Chopin’s mother (b. September 1780)
  • 7 October 1854 – Adolf CICHOWSKI, Chopin’s friend, officer and civil servant (b.1794)
  • 17 October 1849 – Fryderyk CHOPIN, composer and pianist (b. 1 March (also listed as February 22) 1810)
  • 17 October 1938 – Aleksander MICHALOWSKI, pianist, composer, Tausig’s student (b. 5 May 1851)
  • 18 October 1962 – Maria SZCZEPANSKA, musicologist (b. 13 May 1902)
  • 21 October 1837 – Michal Józef GUZIKOW, folk musician (b. 1806)
  • 27 October 1991 – Andrzej PANUFNIK, composer and conductor (b. 24 September 1914)
  • 30 October 1912 – Jan Karol GALL, composer and conductor (b. 18 August 1856)
  • 31 October 1952 – Adolf CHYBINSKI, musicologist (b. 29 April 1880)