Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 17, no. 5

PMC News

Paderewski Exhibit Finale

The “Paderewski – The Modern Immortal” exhibit at USC’s Doheny Library is going into its finals weeks. The exhibit’s festive opening—hosted by USC Dean of Libraries, Catherine Quinlan, on November 4, 2010—coincided with the sesquicentennial of Paderewski’s birth and launched a variety of events in Los Angeles and Paso Robles commemorating this great Polish pianist, composer, patriot, politician and humanitarian. Its closing on May 31, 2011, just a few weeks before Paderewski’s 70th death anniversary on June 29, will round off the Paderewski Year at the University of Southern California.

Organized around topics including Paderewski’s life in music, political career, links to California, and private life, the exhibit also features a short display on Poland’s history and Paderewski’s impact on popular culture. Many extraordinarily rare and never-before seen items—including personal possessions, correspondence, photographs, and Paderewski’s concert programs that are on exhibit—have been culled from the Paso Robles Collection held by the Polish Music Center at USC.

Read the latest review of the exhibit, written by public diplomacy scholar Paul Rockower, at levantine18.blogspot.com.

Violinist Jerzy Milewski and his wife, Aleida Schweitzer, were the most recent visitors to the Paderewski exhibit at USC. This Rio de Janeiro-based duet came to perform in several different venues in California during the second half of April. Like many others who saw the exhibit, the Milewski Duo were impressed by the sheer range of documents and the scope of artistic, political, and business enterprises that Paderewski handled so adroitly throughout his life. The musicians also visited the Paderewski monument that, since 2007, has graced the grounds of USC’s Thornton School of Music.

USC’s “Paderewski – The Modern Immortal” exhibit is scheduled to travel next to Paso Robles, where it will be on display at the Pioneer Museum during the 2011 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. This year’s Festival will be held November 10-13 in various venues around this charming Central Coast town that served as Paderewski’s American pied-à-terre for twenty-five years. Further plans for the exhibit, including showing it in Poland, are currently being considered.

“Paderewski – The Modern Immortal” is free and open to the public during library hours through May 2011 (for summer library hours, see www.usc.edu/libraries).


Recent Donations To PMC

New Voices Collection

More good news about the recently-launched New Voices Collection of scores and sound recordings of works by young Polish composers! Thanks to our Ambassador-at-large, composer Wojtek Blecharz (pictured at left), who once again has served as our intermediary in soliciting the donations during his recent visit in Poland, we have received the following items from the composers listed below:


  • Stanisław Bromboszcz: Mirror Music for Piano and Electronics
  • Stanisław Bromboszcz: Recitativo, Corale e Arioso for Vibraphone, Xylophone and String Trio
  • Agata Zubel: Cascando for Voice, Flute, Clarinet, Violin and Cello
  • Agata Zubel: String Quartet No. 1 for Four Cellos & Computer

Recordings and Video:

DVD: Sekwens [Sequence] a film by Robert Sowa with music by Ewa Trębacz

Dux CD 0746: Chamber Music by Stanisław Brombosz, including:

Przemiany [Transformations] for Cello & Chamber Ensemble (2005)
Recitativo, Corale e Arioso for Vibraphone, Xylophone and String Trio (2006)
Semi-sonore for Three String Ensembles (2007)
Mirror Music for Piano and Electronics (2007-2008)
Obrazy [Images] for Cello & Electronics (2009)

CD Accord ACD 123: Agata Zubel – Cascando, including:

String Quartet No. 1 for Four Cellos & Computer
Cascando for Voice, Flute, Clarinet, Violin and Cello
Unisono I for Voice Percussion and Computer
Unisono II for Voice, Accordion and Computer
Obciążenie dopuszczalne [Mazimum Load] for Percussion and Computer

CD Accord ACD 149: Poems, featuring Agata Zubel, soprano, and Marcin Grabosz, piano, including:

Aaron Copland: Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson
Alexander Scriabin: Vers la flame, Op. 72 (piano solo)

Alban Berg: Sieben Frühe Lieder
Paweł Szymański: Drei Lieder nach Trakl

Musica Pro Bono FMPB CD 003: Andrzej Krzanowski In Memoriam featuring Agata Zubel and Kwartet Śląski [The Silesian String Quartet], including:

Andrzej Krzanowski: Audycja VI [Broadcast No. 6] for Soprano and String Quartet

Wojciech Widłak: Sotto voce—Five Songs for Mezzo-soprano and String Quartet

Rafał Augustyn: Dedykacja [Dedication] for Soprano and String Quartet

Andrzej Krzanowski: First String Quartet (alternate version)

Aleksander Lasoń: Relief for Andrzej


During her recent visit in Los Angeles for a performance of Minotaur for horn and surround sound at the PMC concert “Polish Music: the New Generation” (photo at left by Brian King), University of Washington-based composer Ewa Trębacz donated to the Polish Music Center the following scores and recordings, which will also become part of the New Voices Collection:


  • things lost things invisible for ambisonic space and orchestra (2 copies of full score) – Ewa Trębacz, 2007
  • Minotaur for horn and surround sound – Ewa Trębacz, 2005


PRCD 1169-1170 (2 CDs): Works by Composers Nominated for the OPUS Media Prize 2008, including:

Ewa Trębacz: things lost things invisible for ambisonic space and orchestra (2007)

Lidia Zielińska: Siedem wysp Conrada [Conrad’s Seven Islands] for Instrumental ensemble and tape (2007)

Jerzy Kornowicz: Spiętrzenia [Piling Up] for Orchestra (2007)

Aleksander Nowak: Last Days of Wanda B. for String Orchestra (2006)

Zbigniew Bargielski: Nokturn w czerwieni i błękicie [Nocturne in Red and Blue] for Violin Solo and String Orchestra

Paweł Mykietyn: Symphony No. 2

Aleksander Lasoń: String Quartet No. 7

Ewa Trębacz: unpublished CD of solo and chamber works with electronics:

Minotaur for Horn and Surround Sound (2005)
Chordochromies for Harpsichord and Computer-realized Sound (2003)
Errai for Immersive Audiovisual Space (2009)
Spinning Zone for Percussion Trio and Computer-realized Sound (2002)

Ewa Trębacz: unpublished CD of works for large ensembles:

things lost things invisible for ambisonic space and orchestra (2007)
Aletheia for String Orchestra (2000)
Ephemerae for Symphonic Wind Ensemble (2005)
Il Fonte Adamantino (1996, rev. 2002) for String Quartet and Vocal Ensemble

Visiting USC in March 2011 for a performance of Juicy at the “Polish Music: the New Generation,” the Stanford-based composer Jarosław Kapuściński (photo at right by Brian King) donated the following scores to the New Voices Collection:


  • Jarosław Kapuścicnski : Juicy for Piano and Video (2010)
  • Jarosław Kapuścicnski: Oli’s Dream for Piano and Video (rev. 2010)
  • Jarosław Kapuścicnski: Where is Chopin? – Performance/installation for Disklavier and 3-channer visual projection (2010)

Other Donations

Donated by Hanna Kielich-Rainka, one of the organizers of the 2011 International Paderewski Conference in Warsaw, Poland:

Donated by Jarosław Janowski-Smoliński and Sebastian Smoliński:

  • A selection of issues covering the years 2008-2010 of a periodical, Notatnik satyryczny [A Satirical Notebook], edited by Jarosław Janowski-Smoliński.

As always, many thanks to all of our donors for their generous contributions to the Polish Music Center collection of scores, recordings and printed materials about Polish music and culture!


Summer 2011 Closures

If you are planning a visit to the Polish Music Center this summer, please be aware that the PMC will be closed on the following days:

  • Friday, May 13
  • Friday, May 20 – Wednesday, May 25
  • Monday, May 30
  • Monday June 20 – Tuesday, July 5

As always, please let us know that you will be visiting by calling us at (213) 821-1356 or emailing us at polmusic@thornton.usc.edu for an appointment. We appreciate your interest and look forward to meeting you!


First Conference On Polish Music

The Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) and the Institute for Music and Dance invite all interested parties to participate in the First Conference on Polish Music, held at the National Library in Warsaw on May 9-11. The meeting seeks to attract representatives of the many Polish musical circles—including composers, performers, musicologists, music journalists and critics, leaders of music institutions, cultural organizations, as well as students and music lovers. The entry is free and open to the public.

The agenda for the meeting will include a discussion of Poland’s music infrastructure, following a presentation of the Report on the State of Music in Poland. This discussion will cover all genres of music—including classical, jazz, alternative, folk, and popular—and will examine data regarding the degree of participation in musical events, the state of music publishing, legal issues (including copyright), access to music , the recording industry, music commissioning, and various other artistic activities. Specialists from France, Germany, Great Britain, the U.S., and the Czech Republic will present data on these issues from their respective countries and panel discussions on these topics are planned.

Registration information and other details of the Conference can be found at www.konwencjamuzyki.pl. The Polish Music Information Centre in Warsaw is the media patron of this Conference.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Stańczyk et al. Premieres

A collaborative work for ballet that was commissioned by the 2011 Łódź Ballet Meetings Festival was premiered in the Grand Theatre in Łódź on April 29, 2011. Entitled Spectacle in two unfulfilled acts, the music was composed by Marcin Stańczyk, Paulina Załubska, Artur Zagajewski and Krzysztof Knittel, with direction and choreography by Ewa Wycichowska.

On May 2, Divertimento Ensemble premiered a chamber opera by Marcin Stańczyk at the Festival Rondò 2011 in Milan, Italy. Entitled Le teste scambiate [The Switched Heads], the opera was commissioned by the Divertimento Ensemble and will be performed by the ensemble led by conductor Sandro Gorli. Vocal soloists are Lorna Windsor – soprano, Leonardo de Lisi – tenor, and Maurizio Leoni – baritone. Premieres of two other Divertimento-commissioned works took place during the program: Nicolas Tzortzis – IENT and Carlo Ciceri – La discesa. The concert was held in the Auditorium San Fedele and preceded by a discussion with the composers.

Marcin Stańczyk (b. Nov. 16, 1977) is a law graduate from the University of Łódź and completed studies in music theory and composition with Zygmunt Krauze at the Music Academy of Łódź. After graduating, he moved to Rome for 3-years postgraduate studies at the Accdemia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with Ivan Fedele. He has participated in the Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn (Netherland); masterclasses with Klangforum Wien and Trilok Gurtu during La Biennale di Venezia (2007-2008); composition courses at Voix Nouvelles 2009; Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt (2010); and Jerwood Opera Writing Programme (2010-2011). As a composer he has won 10 international composers competitions in Poland, Italy, Netherland, Romania, Germany, Japan, China and the US, and has been recipient of numerous scholarships, from such institutions as: Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (Young Poland 2007), Italian Government, Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, Aldeburgh Centre of Music, Witold Lutosławski Society (2011 scholarship). He also participates in the Young Composers Program established by the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre of Music (2007-2010). He works both at the Regional Administrative Court in Łódź as well as the Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra in Łódź and at the Academy Music in Łódź as a lecturer on contemporary compositional techniques and electronic music.

May 2, 2011 | 8:30 p.m.
Premiere: Marcin Stańczyk’s Le teste scambiate
Auditorium San Fedele – via Hoepli 3/B, Milan, Italy
Tickets/Info: www.divertimentoensemble.org

[Source: marcinstanczyk.com, paulinazalubska.com, cidim.it, eucemusic.org]

Grucka Premiere/Polish Nat’l Composers’ Competition

Marek Grucka, a young composer from Katowice, has received the First Prize and 10,000 PLN in the National Composers’ Competition hosted by the Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice. This year’s Competition was dedicated to compositions commemorating the Silesian Uprising of 1921, one of the most significant political developments in the newly reconstituted Polish Republic after World War I. Grucka’s 16-minute composition—Z tamtych dni [Days of the Past] for orchestra and chorus—utilized sections of Tadeusz Kijonka’s poem, Elegia katowicka,and a popular song of the Silesian Uprising, Czemu ty płaczesz, powstańcze?. This work will be given its World Premiere on May 21, at a special concert commemorating the uprising on Saint Anne’s Mound with Poland’s President, Bronisław Komorowski, in attendance. It will be performed by the Orchestra and Chorus of the Silesian Philharmonic, Jan Wincenty Hawel conducting, along with Wojciech Kilar’s Victoria.

The Second Prize and 6,000 PLN was given to Adrian Robak for his 23-minute, three-movement work, Silesia 1921. The Third Prize and 3,000 PLN was given to Nikolet Burzyńska, another Katowice-based composer, for her work Silesian Pyromagma. The jurors included Maestro Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk, director of the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, Prof. Eugeniusz Knapik, and Jerzy Kornowicz. The Silesian Philharmonic and the Marshall of the Silesian Voivodship announced the three winning composers and their work.

Saturday, May 21, 2011
National celebrations of the 90th anniversary of the 3rd Silesian Uprising
St. Anne’s Mound, Katowice, Poland
See the Philharmonic website for ticket information

 [Source: polmic.pl, xn--filharmonialska-f0b47l.pl Photo: facebook.com]

Legawiec Premiere

On Sunday, May 15 at 3:00 PM, the Polish Cultural Foundation in Clark, NJ will present the premier of Walter Legawiec’s Serenade for string orchestra, thanks to the initiative of Stephen Wolosonovich and artist friends of the Honoree. Foundation VP for Cultural Affairs, Josephine Cukier, will host the program, which is free and open to the public. The program will take place at the Foundation’s Skulski Gallery, a beautiful setting for concert honoring PCF’s “Artist in Residence,” Walter Legawiec, an honorary member of this organization for the last 25 years.

Both Walter Legawiec and Stephen Wolosonovitch, a violinist-teacher in Westfield, are graduates of the Juilliard School of Music. Legawiec’s compositions include many works for violin and piano or orchestra. His violin concerto, commissioned by Stephen Wolosonovitch, was presented at Kean College by the Polish Cultural Foundation with Mr. Wolosonovich as soloist and the Westchester Youth Symphony, conducted by Mr. Lionti. Legawiec has also written 3 sonatas, one of which Mr. Wolosonovitch performed at Carnegie Recital Hall in 1982 with Paul Kueter at the piano.

The May 15 program will also include 8 Rustic Dances, 5 early pieces for violin and piano, and Mazurkas for piano, all composed by W. Legawiec. Paul Kueter will be at the piano for Legawiec’s 1st Sonata for violin and piano and his Lonely Shepherd Girl. Paul Kueter’s Andante will also be played. This concert will be in a way a celebration of Walter Legawiec’s talents as a composer and the 40 year relationship between Legawiec, Kueter and Wolosonovitch. Also performing will be the well known pianist Carol Ann Mochernuk, who participated in the recording of Legawiec’s selected works made by the Cracow Opera Foundation in 1993.

Sunday, May 15th, 2011 | 3:00 PM
Legawiec premiere
Polish Cultural Foundation – Skulski Gallery
177 Broadway, Clark, NJ
Due to limited seating, reservations are requested – call the PCF office at 732-382-7197 or Josephine at 732- 574-1364

[Source: Press release]

NY Premiere Of Maciejewski’s Requiem

The Binghamton University Music Department marks the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe (VE Day) with a concert featuring the first New York performance of Polish composer Roman Maciejewski’s monumental Missa pro defunctis (Requiem) on Sunday, May 8, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. at Osterhout Concert Theater in the Anderson Center at Binghamton University. Scored for soloists, chorus and orchestra, only the opening Book One containing the settings of the Kyrie will be heard. The program is shared with Francis Poulenc’s Gloria. Performers include the University Symphony Orchestra, directed by Timothy Perry, and the University Chorus, directed by Bruce Borton. Soloists in the Maciejewski piece include soprano Kathleen Jasinskas, mezzo-soprano Cabiria Jacobson, tenor Richard Leonberger and baritone William Roberts.

Although this month’s concert may be the first live performance of the work in New York, it is not the first public hearing in New York. On the invitation of the founder of the Kosciuszko Foundation, Stefan Mierzwa, composer Roman Maciejewski appeared at the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York on May 5, 1961, and lectured on his Requiem, playing the piece as recorded on a reel-to-reel tape by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra at the 1960 contemporary music festival Warsaw Autumn.  [Czas, May 25, 1961, p. 3]

Maestro Timothy Perry, who completes his twenty-fifth season as director of the Binghamton University Orchestra this year, recently wrote to the PMC about the preparation for the concert:

Your office was very helpful almost two years ago when I was enquiring on Roman Maciejewski’s Requiem mass. I thank you again for your invaluable assistance…. I am particularly excited about Book I, which has (to my taste) the strongest unity of composition and can stand alone well in performance, particularly interesting with the Poulenc which dates from the same year (1959) and allows the audience to hear the spectacular Kyrie of Maciejewski followed by Poulenc’s setting of the Gloria.

The year 2010 marked the centennial of Maciejewski’s birth—read more about the composers’ anniversary in the February 2010 Newsletter. Following World War II, the composer relocated to Los Angeles where he lived for 25 years, during which time much of the Requiem was composed. Dedicated to the memory of all victims of war, the work is seldom performed because of the great number of performers that the piece demands. The May 8th concert presents a rare opportunity to hear this great Polish/American 20th century masterpiece.

Sunday, May 8, 2011 |3:00 P.M.
NY Premiere of Maciejewski’s Requiem
Binghamton University – Osterhout Concert Theater, Anderson Center for the Arts
State University of New York, Binghamton, NY 13902
Tickets: $10 general, $5 for seniors – available at the door
Information: (607) 777-ARTS

[Source: press release]

New Rules For Broadcasting Polish Music

In a follow up to developments reported in the PMC’s July 2010 Newsletter (original source: Polish Radio), Polish President Bronisław Komorowski has signed an amendment to the Law on Radio and Television regarding the protection of Polish language radio programs. One of its articles stipulates that the percentage of Polish-language music played on Polish radio stations be raised from the current obligatory 33% to 60%, to be played in the period from 5am to midnight.

The amendment has been supported by artists, producers, associations and record labels, with a letter of support for changes in the law signed, among others, by Mary Mary, Catherine Nosowska, Alfonso Staszczyk, Janusz Panasewicz, Monica, DJ Adamus, Smolik and Gregory Skawiński, plus many senior figures in the music industry, including the presidents of Universal Music Poland,Polish Sony Music, EMI Music Poland and Warner Music Poland. A Facebook profile—tak, dla polskiej muzyki! [Yes to Polish music]—was also set up where Polish musicians explain why ‘native music’ should be given more air-time.

[Source: cogo-news.eu]

Serocki Composers’ Competition

Entry into this year’s 12th edition of the Kazimierz Serocki International Composers’ Competition, organized by the Polish section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (PTMW), is now open to composers of all ages and nationalities. Compositions must be scored for symphony orchestra—use of tape and live electronics is not permitted. Postmark deadline for all entries is SEPTEMBER 1, 2011, sent to the postal or email address below:

ISCM Polish Section (PTMW)
ul. Mazowiecka 11/24
00-052 Warsaw, Poland
phone/fax: + 48 22 827-69-81
e-mail: ptmw@epistola.pl

Regulations for the competition are available here: www.ptmw.art.pl

The total value of prizes for the 2011 edition is 30,000 PLN (approximately 7,500 Euro). The awarded compositions will be performed in November 2011 in the Polish Radio Lutosławski Concert Studio, at a special concert organized by the ISCM Polish Section, European Penderecki Centre for Music and Polish Radio Channel 2. The concert will be broadcast and offered to all members of the European Broadcasting Union. This year’s competition is held under the patronage of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and the President of the City of Warsaw.

[Sources: submission, ptmw.art.pl]

Book Review: Szymanowski

Szymanowski. Muzyka jako autobiografia [Szymanowski. Music as an Autobiography]
Author: Bartosz Dąbrowski
Publisher: Słowo/obraz terytoria (May 2010)

In a new review for the English version of the bi-weekly cultural magazine, Dwutygodnik, poet, novelist, translator, literary and music critic Adam Wiedemann discusses a recent biography of Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937), who is considered the father of Polish modern music.

Below is an excerpt of the review, entitled “Homotonality” and published on 17 April 201:

To contemporary exegesists, [Szymanowski’s opera] King Roger is no longer a tough nut to crack (how does one describe and appreciate it while steering clear of the reef of homosexuality?), but a preferred subject in which Szymanowski’s emancipatory aspirations both achieved their fullest expression and were just as interestingly retouched. Following Tomasz Cyz’s exhaustive essay devoted exclusively to the piece (Powroty Dionizosa [The Returns of Dionysus], 2008), out comes a book by Bartosz Dąbrowski, Szymanowski. Muzyka jako autobiografia (Szymanowski. Music as an Autobiography), in which the theme finds its culmination.

The subtitle of the publication is a bit misleading. It is not music itself that is the subject of interest, but the numerous topics associated with it: lyrics, titles for program music, the circumstances in which pieces were composed, books he read, as well as the composer’s own literary attempts and correspondence. Dąbrowski’s thorough analysis shows that all of Szymanowski’s work (with the exception of his sonatas, études, and other examples of “pure music”) displays homosexual undertones or refers to homosexual imagery, often created from scratch by the composer himself.

Continue to read the review at www.biweekly.pl.

Bartosz Dąbrowski book Szymanowski. Muzyka jako autobiografia is available for purchase at merlin.pl.

[Source: biweekly.pl]

New Website For Ptaszyńska

Marta Ptaszyńska—Polish composer, percussionist, professor and former Paderewski Lecturer (2005)—has a new website. Available entirely in English, the site was created and designed by Julie Rafalski, webite & graphic designer, and includes extensive information about the composer and her works. Visit the site at: www.martaptaszynska.com.

Born in Warsaw, Ptaszyńska is the author of such well-known works as the Concerto for Marimba, Concerto for Saxophone, Winter’s Tale, Sonnets to Orpheus, and Moon Flowers, as well as numerous compositions for percussion (Siderals, Graffito, Spider Walk, Space Model, Letter to the Sun), which have been performed many times around the world.

Ptaszyńska has received commissions from orchestras including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, and the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra and from artists such as contralto Ewa Podleś, marimba virtuoso Keiko Abe, percussionist Evelyn Glennie, and harpist Alice Chalifoux. She has also received commissions from the National Chopin Institute in Warsaw, the Kościuszko Foundation in New York, the Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden, Germany, the Caramoor International Music Festival, the International Harp Festival, and the Rockefeller Chapel in Chicago. She was commissioned by the Warsaw National Opera to write two operas for children (Mister Marimba and Magic Doremik) and by the Grand Opera Theatre in Łódź to write the opera The Lovers of the Valldemosa Cloister for Chopin’s Bicentennial in 2010—a film of this opera was recently screened at the University of Chicago, where Ptaszyńska serves as the Helen B.& Frank L. Sulzberger Professor of Music and the Humanities. Her television opera Oscar of Alva, produced by the Cracow Television, received both audience and critical acclaim at the International Festival of Television Operas in Salzburg in 1989. Her opera for children, Mister Marimba, which was in the repertory of the National Opera in Warsaw from 1998 until 2006, has enjoyed phenomenal success and popularity for eight consecutive seasons with 114 performances. Her Holocaust Memorial Cantata gained international recognition when performed several times in 1993 under the baton of Lord Yehudi Menuhin.

Continue reading Ptaszyńska’s bio here.

[Source: press release]

New Music & Videos For Lachert

Piotr Lachert (b. 1938) is one of today’s foremost European post-modernist composers as well as highly respected pedagogue. Born in Poland and educated in Warsaw, Paris, Hannover and Brussels, he has been living in Pescara, Italy since 1991.

Earning Master Degrees in piano and chamber music, Piotr Lachert was a prize winner at the First Paderewski piano competition in 1961. He also won awards at the 1969 Łódź Poetry contest, was the International Biography Center’s “Man of the Year” in England in 1992, and received the Brussels “Trophée Royal” for theatre music (1992), the Italian Cultural prize “Ghironda” (1995) and the Belgian Sabam “Médaille et Diplôme d’Honneur” (1999).

Mr. Lachert’s compositions include: several musical theatre pieces; over 700 pedagogical piano music studies (his Méthode Créative boasts six printings); instrumental solo pieces including 20 sonatas; chamber music including a piano trio, string quartets, and Kauffolie for 36 pianos; orchestral music including concerti for violin, piano and for amplified clavichord; a ballet entitled Cie- and an opera entitled Aroke Tre. For a full biography and list of works, visit www.lachertfoundation.eu or www.cebedem.be.

New online videos available:

Most recent compositions:

  • La Jo Ya for violin and string orchestra, dedicated to Yaniv Segal ~ ca 11′
  • 30 Sonata for cello and piano (2010) – premiered by Fabbio Pellegatti, cello and Antonio Eduardo, piano, in Santos, Brazil on October 30, 2010
  • Sambuceto Trio, for clarinet, cello and piano (2010) ~ ca 13′

Upcoming performance:

  • Vino, Vino for 2 violinsBucarest, Romania – May 6, 2011Performed by violinists Daniel Mihai and Any Clara Mihai

[Source : press release, lachertfoundation.eu, cebedem.be]

Skrowaczewski In May

On Friday, May 13, National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, Poland (NOSPR) will perform with one of today’s most outstanding Polish conductors and composers, Stanisław Skrowaczewski. Audiences will hear Skrowaczewski’s Passacaglia immaginaria, written in 1996, and Symphony no. 8 by Anton Bruckner. The initial version of Bruckner’s monumental work was created in the years 1884-87. Following friends’ advice the composer shortened and amended his Symphony in C minor and this criticism and the necessity to revise the work led the composer to nervous breakdown. As a result the work remained a huge work, requiring a monumental cast of performers, and on that touches on the problems of human existence, human struggle with hardships and the composer’s own weaknesses. As with all Bruckner symphonies, influences of Bach, Beethoven and above all Wagner can be detected. Skrowaczewski has been awarded for his interpretations of the Symphonies of Bruckner with the Bruckner Society of America’s Medal of Honor (more on this in the Awards Section below), the Gold Medal of Mahler-Bruckner Gesellschaft as well as with the Award in Cannes in the category of ‘the best recording of symphonic music of 18th and 19th century.’

Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, composer and conductor, was one of the first donors to the PMC Manuscript Collection
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, composer and conductor, was one of the first donors to the PMC Manuscript Collection

Skrowaczewski, now 87 years old, will also make his long-awaited return to the home of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra this month, with concerts on May 26, 27 and 28. He will conduct Bruckner’s Symphony No.3, with a first half of Hartmann’s Gesangsszene with baritone soloist Matthias Goerne. The final concert on May 28 will be broadcast live on the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall.

According to his representation’s website, Intermusica, Skrowaczewski made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969, when Herbert von Karajan was Principal Conductor there. According to Michel Glotz (Karajan’s recording producer), Karajan “respected Skrowaczewski with great collegial affection and admiration”. Maestro Skrowaczewski regularly appeared with the orchestra over 17 seasons during Karajan’s tenure, during which time he introduced the orchestra to works by Lutosławski and George Crumb, as well as his own works. In his debut with the orchestra five decades ago, Skrowaczewski conducted the European premiere Elliot Carter’s Piano Concerto. He has also conducted the standard repertoire from Haydn and Mozart to Bartók and Stravinsky with the orchestra. His last performances with the orchestra were in 1986.

Forty years ago, in June 1971, Skrowaczewski received the following review from the Berlin Telegraf:

Skrowaczewski was again with the Berlin Philharmonic and one could only wish to see him more often here because of his ability to make a spontaneous contact with the orchestra. From the very beginning Skrowaczewski engaged himself in bringing out all the storm-like character and romantic breathing of Weber’s Euryanthe Overture and gave Dvorák’s Eighth Symphony a large, proper current of melodic flow. His musicianship and artistic temperament brought the house to a great ovation.

For more information about Skrowaczewski, visit the website of the 2004 Paderewski Lecture or the website of his upcoming biography, Seeking The Infinite by Frederick Harris, Jr.

[Sources: nospr.org.pl, intermusica.co.uk]

Maksimiuk’s 75th Birthday Celebration

Jerzy Maksymiuk, one of the most distinguished Polish conductors, is celebrating his 75th birthday this year. Hailed also as a composer and pianist, Maestro Maksymiuk has a special relationship with Sinfonia Varsovia, an ensemble that he has led and recorded with for many years. In fact, Sinfonia Varsovia continues the tradition of its parent institution, the former Polish Chamber Orchestra, a 24-member ensemble founded in 1972 that was first led by Jerzy Maksymiuk. Each year Maestro Maksymiuk is a much anticipated guest in Sinfonia Varsovia’s series of concerts dedicated to the city and its inhabitants. Over the years, the ensemble and the Maestro collaborated on recording well over a dozen CD albums featuring music by Chopin, Paderewski, Kilar, Górecki, Lutosławski, and Szymanowski. Among the many performances Maksymiuk gave with Sinfonia Varsovia in 2010, the festivals Chopin and His Europe and La Folle Journée in Japan were among the most memorable.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Sudden Rain | Between

On May 21-22, 25 and 28, the Polish National Opera will present two short chamber operas by rising Polish composers Aleksander Nowak and Agata Zubel. According to the website of the Polish National Opera | Grand Theater:

“We are witnessing the launch of a new Polish star in the world of composition. The only others to start with such bravado were Krzysztof Penderecki and Paweł Mykietyn”, wrote Andrzej Chłopecki about Aleksander Nowak.

Tomasz Cyz about Agata Zubel: “…when she first stepped on stage, audiences knew this was one of the greatest talents of Polish vocalism… And when it became obvious she not only could sing/express anything but also wrote music, there was no question that this was one of the greatest talents in Polish contemporary music as such”.

The two greatest composers of the young generation and one of the most talented theatre directors – Maja Kleczewska – have produced a very spectacular opera evening, perfectly directed, subtle, and unusually sensual. Sudden Rain is about a relationship and mutual lack of understanding. In Between, an opera without a libretto, some themes from Sudden Rain are processed in an abstract way, mainly through dancers’ movements. However, the themes and issues remain the same. “This is the result of a search for something between opera, dance, and theatre”, as Kleczewska explains.

Nowak and Sudden Rain are also the winners of TVP Kultura’s “Cultural Guarantee” Award for 2010 (see below).

[Source: teatrwielki.pl; Poster design: Adam Żebrowski]

Kulenty & Blaauw At Warsaw Phil

On May 13 and 14, Dutch trumpeter Marco Blaauw will perform the Concerto for Trumpet (2002) by Hanna Kulenty at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. In 2003, Kulenty’s Concerto won one of the world’s most prestigious music awards—First Prize at the 50th International Rostrum of Composers, under the patronage of UNESCO and the International Music Council.

Blaauw will be accompanied by Warsaw’s National Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Niklas Willen, one of Sweden’s most respected conductors. Under his baton to hear works by two composers born in 1865 in the north of our continent – the most famous symphonic poem of Jean Sibelius, entitled Finland, and Carl Nielsen’s Third Symphony. The concert will be preceded by an introductory lecture by prof. Agnieszka Chwiłek, a doctor of musicology from Warsaw University.

Marco Blaauw specializes in new music, and invents new sounds and performance techniques. He is a member of Cologne’s famous musikFabrik. His playing has inspired many contemporary composers, including Karlheinz Stockhausen. He gave the premiere of Kulenty’s Concerto in Katowice with the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) in Katowice on March 3, 2003.

[Source: filharmonia.pl]

Szymanowski & Panufnik At Wigmore

On May 9, the “Monday Platform at Wigmore” series will present a special evening of two works by Polish master composers—Karol Szymanowski and Andrzej Panufnik—along with classical works of Haydn, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Works on the program are: Haydn – String Quartet in C Op. 50 No. 2, Prokofiev – Piano Sonata No. 6 in A Op. 82, Szymanowski – Nos. 1–8 from 12 Studies, Panufnik – Nos. 7–12 from 12 Miniature Studies, and Shostakovich – String Quartet No. 3 in F Op. 73. The program will be performed by the Idomeneo String Quartet (Mark Derudder and Eugene Lee, violin, Reinoud Ford, cello, and Adam Newman, viola) and pianist Clare Hammond.

The Monday Platform, which is celebrating its 12th Anniversary Season at Wigmore Hall, is a joint initiative from five organizations that have the similar aim of supporting young professional musicians, and gives Wigmore Hall audiences an opportunity to hear the very best emerging young artists in a regular monthly series throughout the autumn, winter and spring seasons.

Monday, 9 May 2011 | 7:30 pm
Szymanowski and Panufnik at The Monday Platform
Wigmore Hall – 36 Wigmore Street, London
Tickets: www.wigmore-hall.org.uk and 020 7258 8200

[Source: polishculture.org.uk]

Concerts For John Paul II

In the wake of the announcement that John Paul II is to be beatified on May 1, 2011, many concerts were planned in honor of the late Pope, who was beloved by so many especially in his native Poland. As music was an important part of the life of John Paul II, music has also been used to celebrate his beatification. A listing of some of the worldwide concerts is below. For more information on the beatification process, see the informational interview conducted by the BBC.

Various concerts: Kraków, POLAND

Kraków has and will host many events related to the beatification. Some of the highlights include a concert on 17 April at St Catherine’s Church featuring soloist Małgorzata Pańko (mezzosoprano) accompanied by Sinfonietta Cracovia Orchestra under the baton of Gabriel Chmura. The Kraków Philharmonic also offered an oratorio concert on 29 April, at which Górecki’s Beatus Vir and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms was performed by soloist Adam Kruszewski. Górecki’s work for solo baritone, choir and orchestra was commissioned by then Cardinal Karol Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II) to mark the 900th anniversary of the martyr’s death of the Krakovian bishop Stanislaus. Also contributing to the beatification celebration are the Organum Choir, Pro Musica Choir and the Ricercar instrumental ensemble, who appeared together on 30 April at St Mary’s Basilica, as well as a concert on 1 May by Camerata Janáček Ostrava Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Elżbieta Woleńska (flute) and Michał Markuszewski (organ) as part of the Musical Meetings on Wzgórza Krzesławickie series. For a full listing of events in Kraków, please visit cracow.travel.

AMORE Infinito – Infinite LOVE
Fri, April 29, 8:00 p.m. | Sat, April 30, 9:00 p.m. | Sun, May 1, 5:30 p.m.
Chicago, IL | USA

The Paderewski Symphony Orchestra presented three concerts of “Songs He sang, Music He listened too, The most beautiful compositions dedicated to our John Paul II” at various venues in Chicago. The concert programs included Wojciech Kilar – Angelus as well as popular and classical music by Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Frank, and songs like “Barka”, “Black Madonna” and many more. Performers were: Paderewski Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wojciech Niewrzol; PaSO Choir & Children’s Choir; Olga Bojovic, soprano; Anna Siwiec-Sitkowska, soprano; Miroslawa Sojka -Topor, soprano; Jay Morrissey, tenor; Agnieszka Iwanska, jazz vocalist; and Jan Krol, vocalist

Concert to Honor the Beatification of Pope John Paul II
Sat, April 30 4:00 p.m.
San Francisco, CA | USA

The Knights of St. Francis in San Francisco presented a free public concert at the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi honoring the beauty of springtime, the unity and sanctity of life and the beatification of John Paul II. The Chorus of Sufism Reoriented and the Meher School’s Children’s Chorus offered songs celebrating themes of St. Francis’ life and John Paul II’s deep devotion to serving humanity.

Rejoice with Those Who Rejoice
Sun, May 1, 7:00 p.m.
New York City, NY | USA

The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York and St. Patrick’s Cathedral celebrate the historic beatification of John Paul II with a special tribute concert and poetry reading, “Rejoice with Those Who Rejoice,” featuring Anna Dymna and Andrew Nagorski, who will recall the Pope’s living words, Ulrik Spang-Hanssen in an organ concert and the joint choirs of the Polish Singers Alliance in America (District 7)

“Totus Tuus” Gala Concert
Sun, May 8th, 7:00 p.m.
Toronto, ON | CANADA

On May 8, the Catholic Youth Studio present Canada’s the “Totus Tuus” Gala Concert in honour of Blessed John Paul II and Saint Eugene de Mazenod – the founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Over 100 Canadian and international artists will take part in the gala. The first half of the concert will showcase light classical and popular hits performed by Jan Lisiecki, Kinga Mitrowska, Christopher Dallo, Kornel Wolak and the Quartetto Gelato. The second half of the concert will reflect on deep themes of the Divine Mercy Oratorio, performed by Zbigniew Malkowicz, Marek Balata, and other soloists from Poland. The Toronto Silver Symphony Orchestra and choir under the direction of Michael Newnham will accompany the artists. The concert takes place at Roy Thomson Hall.

Love explained all… [Milosc mi wszystko wyjasnila…]
Sun, May 15, 7:00 p.m.
Washington, D.C. | USA

The Kosciuszko Foundation in Washington D.C. and the Ambassador Theater present an evening of music and the poetry of Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla). Performers include: pianist Ivo Kaltchev, guitarist Tomasz Smok, and vocalists Lukasz Pinkowski, Katarzyna Drucker, and Barbara Papendorp, as well as Adam Adkins, Hanna Bondarewska, Danielle Davy, Stephen Shetler, and Lilia Slavova. Poets include Galczynski, Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska, Poswiatowska, Mickiewicz and others. For more information, email ambassadortheater@aticc.org or call (202)785-2320

[Sources: press releases, events.sfgate.com, torontonews24.com, telegraph.co.uk]

May At The KF

On May 4, the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York presents a Spring Concert, entitled “Love, Freedom, and Religion .” The concert will feature mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk with pianist Magdalena Baczewska in an evening of song cycles, Anton Dvorak’s Gypsy Songs and Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs, as well as selection of songs by Mozart and Rachmaninoff and a musical surprise – songs from Poland’s roaring twenties.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | 7:00 pm
Love, Freedom, and Religion – a recital with Marta Wryk
Kosciuszko Foundation
15 E. 65th St between Madison Ave and 5th Ave, NY, NY

This year the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Polish Theatre Institute are jointly celebrating the 220th Anniversary of the Polish Constitution of May 3rd, 1791 with a presentation of Za wasza wolnosc i nasza… (in Polish) at 3:00pm and In Pursuit of Liberty… (in English) at 7:00pm on May 7. Featuring: Nina Polan (Director of the Polish Theatre Institute), Małgorzata Staniszewska, and Dariusz Kazmierczuk, with music director and accompanist, Pablo Zinger. The program is partially funded by the New York State Council on the Arts.

Za wasza wolnosc i nasza… or In Pursuit of Liberty… is a tribute to the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791—the first of its kind in Europe—and presents its ties to the American Constitution, which predates Poland’s by only 4 years. The Constitution of May 3rd maintained its significance to Poles during the subsequent 123 years of partition between Prussia, Austria and Russia its independence in 1918, through  the German and Soviet Union’ s occupation, during World War II and post war domination of Poland by the Soviet imposed Communist Regime. The Constitution inspired all movements for independence and Solidarity until 1989 when Poland regained its freedom. Read more about the May 3rd Constitution here.

Conceived of and directed by Nina Polan, the show is performed in either English or Polish by 3 actor/singers, and consists of readings from both Constitutions, with poetry, music and popular songs from the 18th century to the 1980s, performed by 3actor/singers to piano accompanimentIt evokes a 19th century “salon”—with actors, singers and a pianist, in period costumes—and includes excerpts from the Forefathers, Pan Tadeusz, miscellaneus poems, and ballads as well as songs by Chopin, Paderewski, Niewiadomski and Moniuszko.

Saturday, May 7, 2011 | 3:00 pm (Polish) & 7:00 pm (English)
Presentation of Za wasza wolnosc i nasza… | In Pursuit of Liberty…
Polish Theatre Institute
112 West 72nd St. #8A, NYC, NY 10023
Reservations suggested – space is limited: Tel/Fax 212-724-9323 or email poltheatreinst@aol.com

On May 14, the Kosciuszko Foundation will present artists from the Metro Chamber Orchestra (MCO) in a special benefit concert for the orchestra. Featured on the concert will be MCO principal double bass player and former KF scholar, Paweł Knapik, serving as both composer and soloist in his Concerto for Double Bass (1993/2001), which was completed and orchestrated in the wake of the September 11th events with special support of the Arthur Foundation grant. Also in the program will be Kanpik’s Westbeth Capriccio for Double Bass solo (1999), a piece dedicated to the Kosciuszko Foundation in recognition of their generous housing grant in the historic Westbeth Building. MCO Concertmaster Una Tone will join assistant concertmaster Bruno Pena in works by Sarasate and principal flutist Jacquelyn Van Eck in music of Piazzolla. Violinist Agata Manka, the MCO’s longest serving member, will also be featured as a soloist. The soloists will be accompanied by the pianist Soyeon Park..

Saturday, May 14, 2011 – 7:30 pm
Metro Chamber Orchestra concert, featuring Paweł Knapik
Kosciuszko Foundation
15 E. 65th St between Madison Ave and 5th Ave, NY, NY
Tickets: www.thekf.org or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/169885

On May 26, the Kosciuszko Foundation presents the Chamber Players International as a part of the ensemble’s Concerts at Kosciuszko series. This concert features Grammy Nominee violinist Anastasia Khitruk and award winning pianist Olga Vinokur in a program of masterworks by Schubert, Ravel, Chopin, St. Lubin, plus a world premier.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 – 3:00 pm
Chamber Players International – KF series
Kosciuszko Foundation
15 E. 65th St between Madison Ave and 5th Ave, NY, NY

[Source: press release, thekf.org, themetrochamberorchestra.org]

Trzaska Tour

At the end of May, Polish jazz reed player Mikołaj Trzaska and his Trio ‘Ha-Tichona’ or Inner Ear will perform in Poland and the UK: Kraków (5/24), Łódź (5/25), Dublin (5/26) Birmingham (5/27), London (5/28) and Newcastle (5/29). In addition to Trzaska on saxophone and bass clarinet, the trio includes Olie Brice – double bass (Israel, Great Britain) and Mark Sanders – drums (Great Britain).

Born in Gdańsk, Mikołaj Trzaska is a virtuoso saxophonist, bass clarinetist and composer whose style grew out of yass: a socio-artistic movement that in the 80s/90s opposed the rigidity of Polish jazz environment. Together with Tymon Tymański and a group of other musicians who strived to set themselves free from any doctrine, they changed the image of Polish jazz music.

Trzaska was a co-founder of the most important yass groups – the legendary ensemble Miłość, as well as the equally creative group Łoskot. Although the impetus of yass faded away many years ago, Trzaska became the leader of the national improvisation movement. After the yass period he recorded a few concentrated and quiet albums and also collaborated with several poets. Today Trzaska is involved in many musical projects. He is the leader of the international Volumen Trio and a member of Resonance with Ken Vandermark, Magic with Joe McPhee and Shofar Trio with Raphael Rogiński and Macio Moretti, among others. But above all he expresses himself through the medium of radical contemporary free jazz, especially through collaborations with personalities of the world improvisation scene. He has recorded upwards of thirty albums.

In his new musical project “Ha-Tichona” [inner ear (Hebrew)], Trzaska has connected hasidic music with the spirit of free improvised jazz. The goal is to revive traditional Jewish music, which was a form of religious experience. Such improvisation, strongly influenced by hasidic melodies, intends to create a mystical state and restore music to its basic role of connecting communities in religious experience.

24 May – Kraków Alchemia
ul. Estery 5, 31-056 Kraków

25 May – Łódź Jazzga
Piotrkowska 17, 90-406 Łódź

26 May – Dublin Button Factory
Temple Bar Music Centre, Dublin 2, Ireland, UK
Presented by ArtPolonia, Lab for intercultural cooperation & exchange
tel: + 35(0) 7885416 | email: info@cfcp.ie

27 May – Birmigham Club Fizzles @ The Station
7 High St Kings Heath, Birmingham, West Midlands B14 7BB

28 May – London  Jazz Cafe POSK
238-246 King Street, W6 0RF, London

29  May – Newcastle Jazz @ The Bridge Hotel
23 Quayside Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 3

[Sources: polishculture.org.uk, trzaska.art.pl]

Chopin At London’s Southbank Centre

To celebrate the unveiling of a Fryderyk Chopin statue at the Southbank Centre, Alexander Ardakov performs Chopin’s music on May 18 in the Purcell Room. Ardakov is an international recitalist of exceptional versatility and musical integrity. This event is supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, the Polish Cultural Institute and the Polish Heritage Society

Alexander Ardakov has a deep affinity for the music of Chopin thanks in part to his Polish mother. A graduate of the Moscow Conservatoire and a prizewinner at the Viotti International Competition in Italy, Ardakov has been living in England since 1991 where, in addition to his performing career throughout the world, he is a Professor of Piano at Trinity College of Music in London. He has performed for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and has made several CD recordings, including Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Alexander Gibson. An international recitalist of exceptional versatility and musical integrity, he feels at home not only with the Russian classics but also with the composers of the Romantic period such as Liszt, Schumann and, of course, Chopin.

Other Chopin events at the Southbank Centre in May include pianist Maurizio Pollini performing various works by Chopin as a part of his “Pollini Project” on Wednesday, May 25, and pianist Lang Lang performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2 on Saturday, May 21.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | 12:00 pm
Alexander Ardakov Plays Chopin
Southbank Centre – Purcell Room
London, UK
FREE Admission (subject to availability)

Saturday, May 21, 2011 | 7:30 pm
Lang Lang, piano
Southbank Centre – Royal Festival Hall
London, UK

Wednesday May 25, 2011 | 7:30 pm
Maurizio Pollini, piano
Southbank Centre – Royal Festival Hall
London, UK

[Source: polishculture.org.uk]

Piotrowicz Opens Netaudio Festival

Penultimate Press presents the opening concert of the Netaudio Festival in London, featuring Robert Piotrowicz – modular synthesizer and computer, and Valerio Tricoli – revox tape recorder and electronics. Part of the duo’s “Amore Summer Tour,” the London concert will take place at the new music venue Cafe OTO on Friday, May 13.

Robert Piotrowicz is one of the most prolific artists in the Polish experimental and improvised music scene. He develops his own solo projects and collaborates with world’s leading sound artists and musicians. As an instrumentalist, he works mainly with his own live performance setup, developed around his electric guitar and analogue modular synthesiser. He is both an accomplished performer of his own music and experienced improviser in different instrumental configurations with other artists. His activities include electro-acoustic studio compositions, composing for theatres, participation in interdisciplinary art projects and sound installation.

 Piotrowicz has developed his trademark sound of intense dynamics seized indramatic and balanced form.

Valerio Tricoli works as a concrete music composer, improviser, sound installation artist, producer, sound engineer and curator. His compositions bridge musique concrète and conceptual forms of sound and are rooted in radical interest in how reality, virtuality, memory relate to each other during the acoustic event. In his insight, music, as a recorded or as a synthetically-modeled sound, is always hovering between the “here and now” of the event and the shady domain of memory – distant but at the same time present, like a déjà-vu experience.

Friday, May 13, 2011 | 8 pm
Robert Piotrowicz and Valerio Tricoli
Cafe OTO – 18 – 22 Ashwin St, London E8 3DL
Tickets: Book online

[Sources: polishculture.org.uk, cafeoto.co.uk]

Szymon Grab – DMA Recital

Organist Szymon Grab will perform the first in his series of recitals ultimately leading to the completion of his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in the Thornton School of Music at USC. The recital will take place on Tuesday, May 10th at Pasadena Presbyterian Church at 7:30 pm.

Since coming to USC from Legnica, Poland with the assistance of the PMC and Ars Musica Polonica, Grab has become an active member of Thornton as well as the wider Los Angeles music community. Continuing his development as an organ virtuoso under the tutelage of USC professors Cherry Rhodes and Ladd Thomas, he has served as organist and music director for several area churches. He has also performed for many Polish events, including concerts and masses. To learn more, read an interview conducted with Grab in the July 2006 Newsletter.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | 7:30 pm
Szymon Grab DMA Recital
Pasadena Presbyterian Church
585 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena CA  91101

[Source: press release]

Naziemiec & Derkevorkian Perform With Childs

On May 14th, multi award-winning composer/pianist Billy Childs will perform a concert combining his Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Ensemble with a string quartet featuring two former Thornton students and PMC performers: Polish violist Karolina Naziemiec and Armenian violinist Armen Derkevorkian. Other performers in the evening’s ensemble include: Larry Koonse – acoustic guitar, Bob Sheppard – sax, Carol Robbins – harp, Hamilton Price – bass, Marvin “Smitty “ Smith – drums, Maksim Velichkin – cello and Radu Pieptea – violin.

Around 2001, Billy had an idea for a group which would have, at its nucleus, piano, acoustic guitar, and harp. It was a sound partly influenced by Laura Nyro’s collaborations with Alice Coltrane (on Christmas and the Beads of Sweat) and partly influenced by a desire to merge the classical and jazz music genres. The Jazz-Chamber Ensemble was the result and the group consists of: piano, bass, drums, acoustic guitar, harp and woodwinds. Sometimes the core group is augmented by string quartet, woodwind quintet, or both.

The idea of a jazz chamber ensemble has always been close to Childs’ creative heart. He describes it, jokingly as “a weird combination of harp, string quartet, saxophone, jazz rhythm section – a kind of music that’s rooted more in third stream and fusion, a hybrid form.” A “hybrid form” that’s been tried at various times throughout jazz history, as far back as Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue, the “third stream” efforts of Gunther Schuller, George Russell and John Lewis and the Modern Jazz Quartet in the ‘50s and ‘60s and the fusion of ‘70s and ‘80s groups such as Weather Report and Return To Forever. Like the best of those efforts, Childs has followed his own path into a creative land of his own imagining. A land in which the free-flowing spontaneity of jazz shares comfortable, common ground with the far-ranging timbres and complex structures of classical music.

Saturday, May 14, 2011 | 8:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m. shows
Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Ensemble & String Quartet
Vitello’s Restaurant
4349 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA 91604
Tickets at www.ticketweb.com
Information: (818) 769-0905

[Source: press release]

An Evening Of Dobrzyński

The Board of Directors of Chicago’s Lira Ensemble—the current artists-in-residence at Loyola University Chicago—will present an evening of beautiful music by Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński, “The Polish Mozart,” on May 26. The Lira String Quintet will perform Dobrzynski’s Quintet in F Major, Op. 20 as prepared by Mina Zikri, conductor of the Lira Ensemble. All proceeds benefit the Lira Ensemble

Thursday, May 26, 2011 | Reception: 5:30 pm, Program: 6:30 pm, Polish Supper: 7:15 pm
An Evening of Dobrzyński – Lira Ensemble
Lutnia Continental Café
5532 West Belmont Ave., Chicago
Tickets: $100.00 (all proceeds benefit the Lira Ensemble – a portion of the ticket price is tax deductible)
Reservations are required by Monday, May 23rd: call (773) 508-7040

[Source: press release]

Kosinski Plays Paderewski Gala

The Paderewski Music Society in Los Angeles presents a Gala concert program—“The Legacy of Paderewski” on Saturday, June 11, 2011. The concert will feature Polish pianist Piotr Kosinski, First Prize Winner of the 2010 Paderewski Int’l Piano Competition in Los Angeles. During the 2010 competition, Mr. Kosinski triumphed over pianists representing 14 countries. This concert will be his West Coast debut as part of an American tour. Also on the program: celebrated actress Jane Kaczmarek, Paul Jan Zdunek as Paderewski, and a nine-minute documentary in which several luminaries recollect the Great Artist and Statesman, including the appearance of Ignacy Paderewski himself.

Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 6:00 PM
The Legacy of Paderewski featuring Piotr Kosinski
Zipper Hall – Colburn School, Conservatory of Music
200 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, between 2nd and 3rd Streets,
Information: call 818-456-7742 or 818-429-6688
Tickets: $30 (including reception)

  • Tickets purchased in advance will be available at a special Will Call pick up window with little to no waiting time
  • Checks: must be payable to Paderewski Music Society and received by June 8, 2011 at: 8504 Independence Avenue, Canoga Park, CA 91304
  • PayPal: paderewski.music.society@ijpaderewski.org

[Source: press release]

Pandolfi @ Nat’l Gallery Of Art

On May 1 at 6:30, the US National Gallery of Art will host pianist Thomas Pandolfi in the Gallery’s West Garden Court. The recital program includes music by Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann.

Pandolfi recently released a recording entitled Polish Masters—the album features the music of Paderewski, Łabuński, Chopin and Godowsky, and is available from www.buyclassicalmusic.net.

The National Gallery of Art is also offering free guided tours in Polish. The next tours will take place on Friday, May 13 and Friday, June 10. The hour-long tours available are:

  • 12:00 noon at the Rotunda of the West Building – artworks from 13th to 19th centuries
  • 2:00 p.m. at the East Building Information Desk – 20th-century art

In addition, it is possible to book free one-hour tours (in Polish) for groups, three weeks to four months in advance. For appointment, call the National Gallery at (202) 842-6247.

[Source: press release]


Minister Of Culture Honored

Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage, was among the recipients of the 2011 Lewiatan Award. Given by the Polish Confederation of Private Employers (PKPP) Lewiatan, the Lewiatan ‘Władysław Grabski’ Award recognized Minister Zdrojewski’s strong leadership which was “not only sensitive to the needs of Polish culture but also to the needs of business community and to the Minister’s ability to build a relationship between these two areas.” The other two recipients of Lewiatan Awards included actress Krystyna Janda and Aleksander Smolar, President of the Stefan Batory Foundation.

Polish Minister’s visit to Thornton

PKPP Lewiatan grants two annual awards – the Władysław Grabski Award and the Andrzej Wierzbicki Award. The Władysław Grabski Award is granted to a public figure who has made a significant contribution to the development of entrepreneurship. In honor of its namesake, this award goes to a person who takes efforts to build a sound and strong national economy. The Andrzej Wierzbicki Award is for a successful businessman who has been involved in actions for the benefit of the environment where he or she operates. The award is granted to a person who not only manages his or her enterprise efficiently but also feels the need to get engaged in the process of improving the business environment and to support good social and economic initiatives – a person with a vision of responsible business.

The Lewiatan Statue was designed by Gustaw Zemła, one of the best known Polish sculptors, author of the Silesian Insurgents Monument in Katowice, the Monument of Władysław Broniewski in Płock, the Fallen but Unconquered Monument in Warsaw, the Statue of John Paul II in Mistrzejowice and the Monte Cassino Monument.

[Source: mkidn.gov.pl, pkpplewiatan.pl]

Gwarancje Kultury

For the sixth time, Polish national television’s cultural station—TVP Kultura—has presented the winners of its “Cultural Guarantee” Award. The 2010 prizes were awarded in eight categories to the following laureates:

  1. Theatre: Director Wojciech Koscielniak and the Musical Theatre in Gdynia for Lalka [Doll]– an adaptation of a novel by Bolesław Prus
  2. Classical music: Aleksander Nowak for his piano concerto Król Kosmosu znika [King of the Cosmos Disappears. Concerto for Orchestra, Threads and Piano] and his chamber opera, Sudden Rain
  3. Jazz, rock and other…: The rock group L. Stadt for their album “El.P”
  4. Literature: Writer Radosław Kobierski for his historical novel Ziemię Nod [Land of Nod]
  5. Film: Director Paweł Sala for his debut film Matka Teresa od kotów [Mother Teresa of Cats]
  6. Alternative Culture and visual arts: The artist collective Penerstwo, comprised of Piotr Bosacki, Wojtek Bąkowski, Konrad Smoleński, Radosław Szlaga, Tomasz Mróz, Iza Tarasiewicz, Magda Starska
  7. Creative achievements in the development of children and young people: Writer Marta Lipczyńska for her children’s book Gil z pisma i wortalu Ryms [Gil from the letter and vortal of Ryms]
  8. New Hope Scholarship (a new category this year, honoring the most promising artist of the younger generation): Filmmaker Kuba Czekaj

[Sources: tvp.pl, aleknowak.com]

IJP Medal For Możdżer

Polish Army Veterans Association of America [SWAP] has honored Leszek Możdżer with their Ignacy Jan Paderewski medal, which is an expression of thanks for years of operation in the field of culture, musical excellence and the promotion of contemporary music in Poland and abroad. According to the diploma that accompanies the award, “This medal is awarded to those who cultivate the ideas of an eminent statesman, our countryman, Ignacy Paderewski, and continue his work of building the prestige of our country and working selflessly for the good image and reputation of Poland.”

[Source: facebook.com/leszekmozdzer]

Poznań Music Academy Celebrates 90 Yrs

The laureates of the International Composition Competition celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Poznań Music Academy have been announced by the jury, which included Lidia Zielińska, president, Jacek Domagała, Aleksander Lasoń, Jerzy Kornowicz, and Charlotte Seither.

The First Prize was not awarded. The two Second Prizes and 500 Euros were given to Christopher Hung Ming-kin from Hong-Kong for Ever Changing Veins of Stone and Alber Schiavo from Italy for Metamorfosi dei riflessi. A special mention was given to Li Bo from China for the composition Hesitate; Chase. In a special statement, the jury praised the students who performed the prizewinning works, noting the performers’ dedication, enthusiasm and musicianship. The competition was capped with a final concert on April 13, 2011.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Lezhneva/Sinfonia Varsovia Top French Charts

The debut album by Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva, accompanied by the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra under the direction of French conductor Marc Minkowski, has reached number one on the list of classical bestsellers in France, Universal Music Polska said on April 19. The album is also of special significance to the orchestra, as it is the first recording under Minkowski, who has served as the orchestra’s musical director since 2008. The album is produced by the French Naïve Classique label and is available on Amazon.com

Hailed by Le Figaro as “the new Callas,” the 21-year-old Lezhneva has already achieved great renown among audiences around the world. The singer’s first solo album is devoted entirely to opera repertoire by Gioacchino Rossini and contains arias from La Donna del Lago, Guillaume Tell, Semiramide, Otello, La Cenerentola and L’assedio di Corinto.

This is not the first time Lezhneva has worked with Minkowski. In 2008 she sang in J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor, BWV 232, recorded with Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble – an ensemble specializing in performances of baroque music that was established by Minkowski in 1982.

[Sources: cogo-news.eu, polmic.pl]


Warsaw Music Encounters

By Gary Fitelberg

The 25th Warsaw Music Encounters Festival [Muzyka Warszawskie Spotkania] takes place on May 7-15, 2011 under the auspices of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski, and the President of the City of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-WaltzSince 1986 this international music festival has delighted and enchanted audiences with both old and new music. The Festival is organized by the Warsaw branch of the Polish Composer’s Union (ZKP) in cooperation with Polish Radio, S.A.

This year’s festival will feature work by Warsaw’s most prominent contemporary composers, including commissions composed especially for the festival, as well as important works of rarely or never performed composers in exile such as Antoni Szałowskiego, Jerzy Fitelberg, Michał Spisak and Tadeusz Kassern.

On May 11, 2011, a concert performance of Jerzy Fitelberg’s eclectic and intriguing composition Concerto for Trombone, Piano & String Orchestra will be highlighted. Performers include: Andrezj Sienkiewicz – trombone, Grzegorz Gorczyca – piano and the National Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, with Krystof Slowinski – conductor.  Also on this program are Antoni Szałowski’s Muzyka na smyczki (1970), Tadeusz Kassern’s Koncert na orkiestrę smyczkową (1943), and Michał Spisak’s Concertino na orkiestrę smyczkową (1942).

Festival concerts will be held at the Royal Castle, Polish Radio – Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio and the Central Agricultural Library. Many concerts will be broadcast by Polish Radio, as well as by foreign broadcasting stations in cooperation with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in certain cases.

For a complete program schedule, please visit www.wsm.art.pl.

[Sources: polmic.pl, wsm.art.pl]

Łańcut Music Festival

2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the Łańcut Music Festival, presented by the Carpathian Philharmonic Orchestra in Rzeszów from May 21-29. Started in 1961 as the Days of Chamber Music, with the idea of bringing to life the stylish rooms of the beautiful Łańcut castle, this May tradition is carried on today by the State Philharmonic in Rzeszów and its director, Janusz Ambros. For a full history of the Festival in English, visit www.filharmonia.rzeszow.pl.

This year’s celebration will begin on May 21 with an opera gala, conducted by Vladimir Kiradjiev and sung by soprano Victoria Loukianets, tenor Philippe Do and baritone Zenon Kowalski. Over the following week, the Festival will continue with several concerts each day. Some of the featured performers include: Razek Francois Bitar – countertenor, Kulka Trio (Konstanty Andrzej Kulka – violin, Tomasz Strahl – cello, Krzysztof Jabłoński – piano), Kayah and the Royal String Quartet, Ingolf Wunder – piano, Peter Moor – trombone, Shlomo Mintz – violin, Barbara Kubiak – soprano, and Tadeusz Wojciechowski – conductor. Composer/conductor Krzysztof Penderecki and Sinfonia Varsovia will end the Festival on May 29, performing Penderecki’s Agnus Dei, Concerto for Viola (cello version), and Chaconne, as well as Dvořák’s Serenada, with soloist Rafał Kwiatkowski – cello.

For a full program, visit: www.filharmonia.rzeszow.pl.

[Sources: sinfoniavarsovia.org, filharmonia.rzeszow.pl]

Film Music Festival

The 4th Film Music Festival will be held in Kraków from May 19-22. Just like last year, all concerts will take place in the in the production hall of the ArcelorMittal Steel Mill (the former Nowa Huta Mill). In addition to concerts, the Festival will feature a number of workshops, meetings, and discussions with all the attending artists.

This year’s Ceremonial Opening concert on May 19 will feature the first European appearance of Japanese composer and pianist Joe Hisaishi, who will lead the Sinfonietta Cracovia, Wioletta Chodowicz – soprano, and the Pro Musica Mundi Choir. The program will include music from several films, such as Spirited Away, Hana-bi, Kids Return, and Summer, as well as computer and alternative music from Distant Worlds, Final Fantasy, and other computer games.

The Festival will conclude with a concert of works by a young Polish film composer and recipient of the Festival’s Best Film Score award, Bartosz Chojecki. The program of music from the composer’s recent score for Days of Honor will be presented on May 22. Performers include Anna Witczak – ethnic vocals, Jarosław Smietana – guitar, Dominik Wania – piano, Paweł Solecki – ethnic instruments, Wojciech Fedkowicz – solo percussion, and Michał Woźniak  – electronics.

According to the Festival website, this year marks the third time that the Film Music Festival was voted the Event of the Year in the “Resume 2010” poll held by the MuzykaFilmowa.pl portal. “A hat-trick! For the third time in a row, Krakow wins virtual laurels for an Event of the Year, beating, among others: London, Hollywood, Cimmeria and Hans Zimmer – whom we hope to see one day in the former capital of Poland. But we leave this up to the organisers of the next edition of the festival, which is unique, both on a Polish and European scale. For now, the fourth edition of the festival is on the horizon and it will surely provide us with a host of sensations, and will compete for laurels next year,” reads the justification.

A detailed program of the Festival and other information is available at: www.fmf.fm

[Source: rmfclassic.pl]

Ada Sari Int’l Festival

The 16th Ada Sari International Festival and 14th Competition of Vocal Art are being held in Nowy Sącz from April 29 – May 8, 2011. This year’s Festival continues the motto of the last year edition: The Vocal Art of Central Europe. Concerts take place in various venues in Nowy Sącz. The auditions and the concert of the laureates will take place in Lucjan Lipiński Hall of the Sokół Małopolska Cultural Centre.

Audiences will hear, amongother compositions, two oratorios: the Polish premiere of Saint Ludmila Op. 71, B. 144 by Antonín Dvořák (Apr 29), and Seven Gates of Jerusalem performed by NOSPR under the baton of the composer, Krzysztof Penderecki (May 5). Also on the schedule is an extraordinary vocal recital by an Austrian baritone Klemens Sander, laureate of the 2010 Ada Sari Vocal Competition, accompanied by pianist Marcin Kozieł (May 2), as well as concert entitled “Duke Ellington – Sacred Concerts” performed by the Academy of Music in Kraków Big-Band and Choir (May 8).

Other performers for the Festival include: Petr Altrichter (Czech Republic) – conductor, Kateřina Kalvachová-Šmídová (Czech Republic) – soprano, Jana Wallingerová (Czech Republic) – alto, Jaroslav Březina (Czech Republic) – tenor, Josef Zedník (Czech Republic) – tenor, Jozef Benci (Slovakia) – bass, Iwona Hossa – soprano, Izabela Matuła – soprano, Agnieszka Rehlis – mezzosoprano, Adam Zdunikowski – tenor, Wojciech Gierlach – bass, Jerzy Trela – narrator, Kraków Philharmonic Choir, Polish Radio Choir in Kraków, Wojciech Groborz – conductor, Katarzyna Sobek – soprano, Ilona Szczepańska – alto, and Piotr Kwinta – baritone.

For a full program and Festival/Competition details, visit www.adasari.pl.

Polish soprano Ada Sari (1886-1968) had a brilliant career, performing under the baton of some of the most brilliant conductors of her time throughout the most famous halls of the world. A consummate pedagogue, she continued teaching in her declining years, still having an excellent command of her voice. Halina Mickiewiczówna, Vittoria Calma, Bogna Sokorska, Maria Fołtyn, Barbara Nieman, Janina Głodzińska “Stano”, Zdzisława Donat, Jerzy Karolus, Urszula Trawińska-Moroz and many other outstanding figures of the Polish vocal artistry were tutored by her. Ada Sari was indeed the teacher who transplanted the great Italian singing school onto the Polish ground. The festival and the competition are a form of a tribute paid to this great artist and personality.

[Sources: karnet.krakow.pl, adasari.pl, mcksokol.pl]

Springtime With Chopin

The Fryderyk Chopin National Institute has organized a series of events during the months of March – June, entitled Springtime with Chopin [Wiosna z Chopinem].  Events include book signings and panel discussions with several distinguished authors and musicologists, as well as an art exhibit and a musical knowledge competition.

Two panel discussions are scheduled in the near future. On May 19, Professor Zofia Chechlińska, Grzegorz Michalski, and other guests will participate in a panel on the “Mysteries in Chopin’s Manuscripts.” On June 2, Chopin experts and Warsaw historians will talk about Warsaw in Chopin’s time during another panel discussion.

The Concert Hall of the Chopin Museum will be the site of two meetings with authors and book signing events. The first, on May 26, features Professor Irena Poniatowska and her book, Antologia. On June 30, authors Piotr Mysłakowski and Andrzej Sikorski will introduce their book Korzenie [Roots].

On May 27, Chopin fans under the age of 17 will have a chance to demonstrate their knowledge of Chopin’s life in a nationwide competition held. International Children’s Day (June 1) will also be commemorated by events held in Chopin’s birthplace of Żelazowa Wola and the Chopin Museum .

Earlier on the Festival schedule was a temporary art exhibit, Ufam, że zawsze będzie można coś dla Ciebie zrobić… [I trust that one could always make something for you…] at the Chopin Museum in Warsaw that was on display from March 25 until April 24.

 [Sources: polmic.pl, wiosnazchopinem.pl]

All The World’s Mazurkas

Easter Monday marked the start of the All the World’s Mazurkas music festival, which ran from April 25-30. Formal concerts are accompanied by improvised performances of all varieties of Mazurkas from around the world. Highlights also included a conference on “Rescued Music”, devoted to archival recordings of traditional Polish music, an exhibition of historic instruments in the Market Square and an all-night dance party.

Chopin wasn’t the first to discover the charm of traditional Polish dances. They were quite fashionable even in the seventeenth century in Germany and Scandinavia. In fact, one of the most popular dances in Sweden, Denmark and Norway are local versions of the Polonaise. In France the Mazurka takes first place through the Polish legionnaires, who conquered the heart of his dance score Parisian salons of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. From France the Mazurkas spread further – reaching Italy, Austria, reaching as far as the western ends of Europe: Spain and Portugal – on onto the colonies in the Azores, Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, and even Brazil and Mexico. Many were adopted into local cultures. In Poland, the rhythms of these dances were one of the most important elements of musical imagination of all classes of musicians, music lovers and dancers.

The mazurka tradition has grown into a colorful puzzle of classical and folk. This festival aims to bring all the varieties together on one stage, with bands from all over Poland and the world joining together to celebrate the influence of Polish rhythms on world music.

On Wednesday, April 27 traditional Ukraine’s Bożiczi from Kiev performed, followed by the next day by a performance by Kwadrofonik, a group creating its own definition of the “Polish Style” with an emphasis on the work of Karol Szymanowski.

On Friday, April 29 in Polish Radio’s Witold Lutoslawski Concert Studio hosted a concert of Kurpian songs performed “in crudo” and the Polish Radio Choir, conducted by Stanislaw Krawczyński and performing Kurpian songs by Karol Szymanowski and Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki. The final performance of the evening came from Monody—a male ensemble led by Adam Struga.

The “Music Rescued” conference on April 26 welcomed archivists and researchers and practitioners dealing with traditional music and dance presentation to a conference on Polish archival collections in the field. The goal was to create a map of the worldwide archives of music and dance, exchange information on available resources, reflect on the possibilities of digitization and plan for the creation of a nationwide network and online database of music and dance collections.

For more information, visit: www.festivalmazurki.pl

[Source: press information via culture.pl]

Misteria Paschalia

The annual Misteria Paschalia Festival takes place in Kraków during Holy Week and features a strong program of religious music, mostly from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. This year’s 8th edition was held from April 18-25, and its structure exhibited a transformation from past years. The “Mainstream” act (or section of the Festival), with its usual concerts so historically prized by the audience, was augmented by two new sections: “Trance” and “Debuts.”  This year’s Trance section featured a performance of the touching score for the silent film The Martyrdom of Joan of Arc, and Debuts features La Morra, a group of musicians from Basel, Switzerland, who presented a special program entitled “Lacrime di Leo—the Secret Music of Pope Leo X.”

This year’s Mainstream section featured such musicians as Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante, Ottavio Dantone and Accademia Bizantina, as well as Jordi Savall, Christina Pluhar, Emmanuelle Haim, and Christophe Rousset.

[Sources: polmic.pl, polmic.pl, cracowonline.com]


Milewski Duo In California

Violin virtuoso Jerzy Milewski and his wife, pianist Aleida Schweitzer, brought a treasure trove of musical treats to their performances throughout California in April. The two musicians met at the Warsaw Academy of Music and, since the early 1970s, have resided in Ms. Schweitzer’s native Brazil. Performing regularly as the Milewski Duo, they have been recognized throughout the world for their concerts featuring a broad spectrum of compositions and composers. Both Jerzy Milewski and Aleida Schweitzer are Professors at the Pro-Arte Music Seminary at the University of Rio de Janeiro and at the Federal University of Espirito Santo and have conducted master classes and workshops at West Virginia universities in Huntingdon, Morgantown, and Charleston. Together they are featured in over twenty CD albums, recorded in Europe and South America.

They were first heard in California on April 16 during the fundraising concert for the 2011 Youth Exchange Program of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. Held in the charming venue of the Pear Valley Winery function room, located among the undulating hills on Paso’s east side, the Milewski Duo presented a delightful program of Polish and American virtuoso salon music. The function room with its excellent Steinway grand was made available to the Festival for this important concert by Pear Valley’s owners, Tom and Kathleen Maas. Several wineries representing Paso’s Rhone Rangers poured wines for the audience before the concert, and a delicious buffet with a South American flavor was provided by Cass Catering.

The performers opened all of their concerts with a set of music by Polish composers, including Chopin, Paderewski, Wieniawski, and Młynarski. The last work in the group, Country in E by Krzesimir Dębski, drove the Pear Valley audience to applaud heartily to the brilliant passagework for solo violin.

George Gershwin’s Summertime and Joe Venuti’s Pretty Trix were instantly familiar and much appreciated. The Gypsy flavor of Halvorsen’s Ungarisch and Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen was delivered with assurance and panache, and were met with roaring approval from the listeners gathered for the various California concerts.

The last section performed by the Milewski-Schweitzer Duo was devoted to South American music. Besides Astor Piazzolla’s Adios Nonino, other composers’ names—Jacob do Bandolim, Flausino Vale, Zequinha de Abreu, and Waldir Azevedo—may not have been known to the audience. But their compositions—especially Bandolim’s Santa Morena and Abreu’s Tico Tico (the latter made especially popular by Carmen Miranda)—proved to be the favorites of Pear Valley listeners. A standing ovation elicited encores from the performers and encouragement from audiences and organizers alike to plan the next event for these virtuosic and entertaining musicians.

The Milewski Duo also made two other appearances in Southern California on their tour. On April 23 they were hosted by Alex and Jola Wilk, relatives of the late Stefan and Wanda Wilk who founded the Polish Music Center at USC. Alex and Jola are also strong supporters of Polish music and culture, and often lend their Anaheim Hills home to various events organized by local Polish societies. For the most part, the program for the afternoon was very similar to the Milewski Duo’s Pear Valley selections. But their last encore—Vittorio Monti’s celebrated Csárdás for Violin and Piano, which Mr. Milewski played in a truly Gypsy fashion—was by far the most successful moment of the concert.

When the Milewski Duo was heard a week later at the La Mesa residence of Mr. and Mrs. Zdzisław Juchum—a presentation made possible by an invitation from the Polonia United Club of San Diego—Monti’s Csárdás once again worked its magic and brought the house down. The “extra” feature of the April 30 concert in the San Diego area included the addition of a phenomenal string bass player, John Leftwich, to the Milewski Duo. Mr. Leftwich joined the violin-piano duet in Dębski’s Country in E and continued to add a sophisticated layer of bass texture to the following set of South American music. Piazzolla’s Adios Nonino and Abreu’s Tico Tico provoked the chorus of chanting, “Encore—encore” from the audience and the musicians were more than happy to oblige the assembled crowd well into the night.


Barenboim Surprises London

On April 8, pianist Daniel Barenboim gave a free recital in the Turbine Hall at London’s Tate Modern Museum of Art. Although 8,000 people applied for tickets to the concert that had been announced only 3 days prior, only 400 seats were available—however an additional 700 lively fans were in attendance, watching from the hall below on a live video relay screen.

Barenboim’s program consisted entirely of works by Chopin, undoubtedly related to his current recording project for Deutsche Grammophon (see more below in the Discography section), which was released on April 15.  According to a review in The Guardian, “the standing ovation began before Daniel Barenboim had played a note”—this quote also starts an article from the DG website about the surprise concert, which is excerpted below:

Barenboim, “one of the few musicians in the world today who could accurately be described as legendary” (The Times), began with an arrangement for soloist and string quintet of the slow movement of the First Piano Concerto, with members of his Berlin Staatskapelle flown over specially for the occasion: “Pinpoint intonation, pedigree ensemble work and innate musicality, mirrored on the keyboard by Barenboim, amounted to a breathtaking opening to the recital” (Gramophone online). It was followed by nocturnes, waltzes and, to conclude, an “understated yet supremely musical” performance of the great Barcarolle, “a joy to hear” (Gramophone online).

Periodically Barenboim chatted with his audience. He had accepted this invitation at short notice because he was “tickled” to be asked to play at such a venue. “Music should not be consigned to an ivory tower”, he insisted. “It is at the heart of life and should be made available everywhere and to everyone…Governments should put money into teaching music to all, from the kindergarten on.”

As noted in the quote above, Sarah Kirkup of Gramophone Magazine relayed a glowing review of Barenboim’s performance. In her review Kirkup also offered this poignant summary of the recital’s greater purpose:

His passion and commitment to music as an art form, and as a way of life, was admirable. And let’s face it, he didn’t have to be there at all… but he wanted to do this—and it showed….No, the acoustic was not ideal—the Turbine Hall is a cavernous space, and as such some of the music’s detail was lost—but surely this was beside the point? Or was it actually the point? Music doesn’t have to be performed in perfect conditions for it to be experienced and enjoyed. And perhaps there was no more perfect venue for a free recital advocating the universality of music than the Turbine Hall, a space currently dedicated to the work of avant-garde Chinese artist and activitist [sic] Ai Weiwei whose whereabouts are still unknown.

 [Source: deutschegrammophon.com, gramophone.co.uk]

Anderszewski / Zimmermann Euro Tour

Throughout the month of April, Polish-Hungarian pianist Piotr Anderszewski and German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann went on a recital tour of Europe, performing repertoire by Szymanowski, Schumann and Beethoven. The duo performed in the following venues in Italy, Poland, England and Germany:

Their program began with Beethoven’s aptly titled Spring Sonata, which is among the most delightful, joyful and engagingly melodic of all the pieces the composer wrote for both piano and violin. Playful and humorous, when performed by two communicative musicians, such as these, it is not hard to see why it is also one of the most popular. The program continued with Karol Szymanowski’s Myths, bringing the audience into an entirely different realm with its beguiling and mysterious impressionistic soundscape. The concert rounded off with Schumann’s Second Sonata in D Minor.

For a review of the first concert in Rome concert, visit seenandheard-international.com. To read a BBC Music Magazine interview with Anderszewski about this tour and about why he doesn’t often play chamber music, visit www.classical-music.com.

Piotr Anderszewski is recognized for the intensity and originality of his performance, winning several awards, including the Gilmore Award in 2002. He has appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston, Chicago and London Symphony orchestras, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Royal Concertgebouw. He has collaborated with a number of world-class ensembles, including the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic. His partnership with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra has been particularly fruitful, and as well as touring extensively with the orchestra he has recorded a disc featuring Mozart’s G major and D minor piano concertos. He has also made recordings with the Sinfonia Varsovia and, most recently, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

In addition to the European tour with Zimmermann, Anderszewski’s engagements in 2010-11 include recitals at the Zürich Tonhalle, London’s Barbican Centre, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. Anderszewski will also tour North America with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, playing and directing Mozart concertos from the keyboard. His orchestral engagements include concerts with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the SWR Sinfonieorchester, the Philharmonia and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

[Sources: culture.pl, anderszewski.net, polishculture.org.uk]

Penderecki Closes Beethoven Festival

The 15th edition of the Beethoven Festival closed on April 22 with a gala concert at the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw. This final gala was carried live by Polish Radio-Program 2, and TVP Kultura. The Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra was led by its artistic director, Krzysztof Penderecki, in performance of Penderecki’s Passion According to St. Luke. Soloists included Iwona Hossa – soprano, Thomas Bauer – baritone, Tomasz Konieczny – bass, Krzysztof Gosztyła – narrator, as well as the combined choirs of the National Philharmonic, the Podlasie Philharmonic, the Ukrainian National Choir and the Warsaw Boys Choir. This large-scale work was commissioned for the 700th anniversary of the Muenster Cathedral and premiered there in March of 1966. Sinfonia Varsovia most recent performances of Penderecki’s St. Luke’s Passion were given in Stuttgart, Germany, and Innsbruck, Austria, under the baton of Frieder Bernius.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]

Katarzyna Musial In Recital

Heard at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, accomplished Polish-Canadian pianist Katarzyna Musial delights audiences with her virtuosity as well as her mature, insightful and energetic interpretations. Her repertoire showcases many different styles which span from baroque to modern. On April 3, she performed a program including works of Fryderyk Chopin, Witold Lutoslawski, Olivier Messiaen and Modest Mussorgsky at the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York.

[Source: Press release]


New From Deutsche Grammophon

Frédéric Chopin: The Piano Concertos
Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 1849): Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op.21 and Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11
Daniel Barenboim, piano; Staatskapelle Berlin; Andris Nelsons, cond.
DG CD 4779520

Daniel Barenboim plays Chopin – The Warsaw Recital
Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 1849): Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op.21 and Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11
Daniel Barenboim, piano
DG CD 4779519

These discs, both released on April 15, 2011, are the product of a new partnership between internationally renowned pianist Daniel Barenboim and Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Records. They include a solo recital recorded in Warsaw and Barenboim’s first recording of the two piano concertos, with the Berlin Staatskapelle under Andris Nelsons, captured live at the Ruhr Piano Festival in July 2010.

[Source: deutschegrammophon.com]

Krystian Zimerman: Hommage à Grażyna Bacewicz, 1909–1969
Grazyna Bacewicz (1909 – 1969): Piano Quintets Nos. 1 &2; Piano Sonata No.2

Krystian Zimerman (piano); Kaja Danczowska, Agata Szymczewska (violin). Ryszard Groblewski (viola); Rafat Kwiatkowski (cello)
DG CD 4778332

Pianist Krystian Zimerman has returned to the recording studio after a five-year absence to celebrate the 100th birthday of the foremost female Polish composer of the 20th century, Grażyna Bacewicz. Below is an excerpt from a review by Calum MacDonald in the May 2011 issue of BBC Music Magazine:

The four-movement Piano Quintet No.1 (1952) displays Bacewicz’s textural refinement, elegant formal sense and creative transformation of folk-intonations and dance rhythms. Her Piano Sonata No.2 (1953) inhabits a similar ambience but with more impressionistic keyboard writing, a darker harmonic spectrum and greater sense of virtuosic display, and it proves a real display piece for Zimerman’s pianism. Piano Quintet No.2 (1965) uses more avant-garde techniques, but it’s never less than cogent and carries the listener in a kaleidoscopic stream of varied phrases, sounds and textures. Exemplary performances.

New from DUX

Grażyna Bacewicz. Music for Chamber Orchestra vol. II
Grażyna Bacewicz (1909 – 1969): Sinfonietta for string orchestra (1935); Symfonia for string orchestra (1946); Quartetto per 4 violoncelli (1964); Quartet for four violins (1949)
Konrad Bukowian – cello, Arkadiusz Dobrowolski – cello, Marcin Król – violin, Szymon Krzemień – cello, Barbara Piotrowska – cello, Radomska Orkiestra Kameralna – dyr. Maciej Żółtowski, Anna Skowronek-Gruszczyńska – violin, Lucjan Szaliński-Bałwas – violin, Satomi Tagashira – violin
DUX 0701

Marcin Gumiela Sacred Works
Chór i Orkiestra Opery i Filharmonii Podlaskiej w Białymstoku – dyr. Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski, Chór Opery i Filharmonii Podlaskiej w Białymstoku – dyr. Violetta Bielecka, Przemysław Kummer – bass, Piotr Zaporowicz – recitator
DUX 0753 [Series: Young Composers in Tribute to Fryderyk Chopin]

Krzysztof Baculewski. Choral Works
Krzysztof Baculewski (b 1950): Rilke-Lieder for soprano and baritone solo and 2 mixed choirs a capella (1994); Gloria for alto solo and mixed choir a cappella (1996); Nox ultima, nox beata a motet for mixed choir a cappella (1995); Prelude, Psalm and Meditation for choir, organ and tam-tam (2007); Miserere a motet for mixed choir a cappella (1999); Ozwodne i krzesane for mixed choir a cappella (2000); The Profane Anthem To Anne for soprano solo, quartet of soloists, mixed choir, string orchestra and continuo to the texts by John Donne (1993)
Concerto Pollacco, Tomasz Orlow – organ, Katowice City Singers’ Ensemble ‘Camerata Silesia’ – Anna Szostak, cond.
DUX 0769

Możdżer’s Komeda

Komeda Możdżera [Możdżer’s Komeda]
Music of Krzysztof Komeda
Leszek Możdżer, piano
Act Music [not yet released]

Available worldwide in June, this new solo album by Polish pianist Leszek Możdżer will have its Polish premiere at a unique concert on May 2 at Klubie Sfinks700 in Sopot, Poland. Tickets for the evening’s two sets are available for the price each audience member wants to pay (80, 100, 150, or 200 PLN), and all proceeds go towards sound equipment that has already been purchased for the recording. Visit www.mozdzer.com for more information.

[Sources: mozdzer.com, rmfclassic.pl; photo: last.fm]

Górecki/Royal Quartet On Hyperion

Górecki: The Three String Quartets
Henryk Górecki (1933-2010): String Quartet No. 1 ‘Already it is dusk,’ Op. 62; String Quartet No. 2 ‘Quasi una fantasia,’ Op. 64; String Quartet No. 3 ‘… songs are sung,’ Op. 67
Royal String Quartet: Izabella Szałaj-Zimak – I violin, Elwira Przybyłowska – II violin, Marek Czech – viola, Michał Pepol – cello
Hyperion CDA 67812 (2 discs)

Released in April, this excellent recording boasts of not only informative liner notes written by Górecki scholar Adrian Thomas but also a very reasonable price for a 2-disc set. It also marks another impressive step in the already successful international career of Warsaw’s Royal String Quartet, and the album is already attracting critical acclaim. The following is information from the Hyperion website:

Henryk Górecki’s intriguing string quartets, all commissions from the Kronos Quartet of San Francisco, signified a new creative phase in his music. The stark contrasts that had been at the heart of Górecki’s compositional thinking in the 1950s and 1960s re-emerged in his chamber music of the mid 1980s and are prevalent in these works. Fans of Górecki will be familiar with the compositional devices employed such as open fifths, sustained rocking motifs, and the juxtaposition of dissonance and consonance.

In these distinctive quartets both Beethoven and Szymanowski’s well documented influences on the composer are apparent as well as his fascination with the folk cultures of Southern Poland, with the frequent incorporation of folk-derived themes.

Following their acclaimed release of the Szymanowski/Rózycki String Quartets (CDA67684) the Royal String Quartet return for their second Hyperion recording. The young Polish Quartet, renowned for the championing of music from their homeland, display an astonishing range of colour, finesse and attack in these intelligent interpretations.

Below is an excerpt from Barry Witherden’s review for the May 2011 issue of BBC Music Magazine:

Notwithstanding the deliberate nod to Beethoven in its title, the Second Quartet, Quasi una Fantasia (1991), is full of frenetic, barbaric folk-dance, with a ferocity worthy of Bartok. Quiet reflections undermined by unease are displaced by melodramatic sweeps of melody increasingly infiltrated by those fearsome dances until, just under three minutes before the end, the yearning atmosphere returns with a ghostly appearance of Silent Night.

The monumental, unsettling, spellbinding Third Quartet was completed in January 1995, but Gorecki withheld the score for ten years. Predominantly slow, apart from dance-like figures in the third movement, it carries many echoes of his heartbreaking Third Symphony.

[Source: hyperion-records.co.uk]

The Voices Of Preisner

Preisner’s Voices
3CD set of various works by Zbigniew Preisner
Sony Music Entertainment (available through Amazon.com)

In late November 2010, Sony Music published Zbigniew Preisner’s Voices, a 3 CD album that features, among other items, theatre music Danse Macabre, published for the first time in Poland. The first CD, Preisner-Towarnicka, contains music from Preisner’s best-known films, the second CD, Voices, features performances of Preisner’s vocal works by Grzegorz Turnau, Hanna Banaszak, Cliff Richard, and Sarah Brightman, among other. The third CD, Danse Macabre, has 18 tracks featuring Mathias Eick (solo trumpet), and countertenors Marcel and Nikodem Legun with the Calisia Symphony Orchestra.

Requiem dla mojego przyjaciela
Zbigniew Preisner (b. 1955): Requiem dla mojego przyjaciela [Requiem for my friend]
Leszek Możdżer, piano, and other artists
Sony Music Entertainment (currently only available in Poland)

Also, on 4 April 2011, Sony Poland re-released Zbigniew Preisner’s album Requiem for my friend on CD and for the first time on vinyl. The album has been re-mastered by Martin Astle and repackaged by COG Design in London, with texts and annotations in Polish and English. The vinyl release is a limited edition double LP in a gatefold sleeve. Requiem for my friend is dedicated to the memory of Krzysztof Kieslowski, who died in 1996. The album was first released in 1998 on Erato Disques/Warner Classics and became a worldwide best-seller. The Sony release is currently only available in Poland, but there are plans for the album to be reissued abroad later this year.

Zbigniew Preisner (b. 1955) is Poland’s leading film music composer and is considered to be one of the most outstanding film composers of his generation. For many years Preisner enjoyed a close collaboration with the director Krzysztof Kieslowski and his scriptwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz. His scores for Kieslowski’s films – Dekalog, The Double Life Of Veronique, Three Colours Blue, Three Colours White and Three Colours Red – have brought him international acclaim.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl, preisner.com]


Born This Month

  • 2 May 1846: Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (d. 23 July 1909), composer
  • 2 May 1913: Florian DABROWSKI, composer and teacher
  • 5 May 1819: Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (d. 4 June 1872), composer – Father of Polish Opera
  • 12 May 1805: Jan Nepomucen BOBROWICZ (d. 2 November 1881), guitarist and composer
  • 17 May 1943: Joanna BRUZDOWICZ, composer living in France, 2003 PMC Paderewski Lecturer
  • 18 May 1905: Wlodzimierz ORMICKI, composer, conductor, music theoretician
  • 20 May 1903: Jerzy FITELBERG (d. 25 April 1951), composer, son of the famous conductor
  • 20 May : Juliana GONDEK, Polish-American mezzo-soprano and vocal pedagogue
  • 28 May 1836: Jan KARŁOWICZ (d. 14 June 1903), father of composer Mieczysław
  • 29 May 1903: Marian NEUTEICH (d. 1943, Warsaw), composer and cellist
  • 31 May 1932: Boguslaw MADEY, conductor and composer
  • 31 May 1913: Irena GARZTECKA (d. 14 November 1963), composer and pianist


Died This Month

  • 1 May 1948: Marcel POPLAWSKI (b. 1882), composer and teacher, studied law and engineering before turning to composition
  • 4 May 1896: Józef SIKORSKI (b. 1813), composer and music theorist
  • 6 May 1892: Nikodem BIERNACKI (b. 1826), violinist and composer
  • 10 May 1964: Hanna SKALSKA-SZEMIOTH (b. 29 April 1921), composer, student of Sikorski
  • 13 May 1958: Eugeniusz MOSSAKOWSKI (b. 1885), opera singer (baritone)
  • 21 May 1848: Felix JANIEWICZ (b. 1762), violinist, conductor, and composer
  • 21 May 2007: Adam FALKIEWICZ (b. 4 Jan 1980), composer
  • 23 May 1957: Alicja SIMON (b.1879), musicologist
  • 25 May 1917: Edward RESZKE (b. 1853), opera singer (bass), brother of Jan
  • 31 May 2006: Franciszek WYBRAŃCZYK (b. 28 May 1934), co-founder and former director of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, organizer and promoter of Polish and European music