Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 17, no. 8

PMC News

Paderewski Festival Fundraiser

Polish-born pianist Krystian Tkaczewski will appear in an exclusive recital on September 18 in Paso Robles, where he will present virtuoso works by Paderewski, Chopin and Rachmaninoff. This deluxe event will take place in a stunningly modern private residence featuring breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. A gourmet brunch prepared by Chef Jacob Lovejoy and Cass Catering will compliment the music. All proceeds from the concert will benefit for the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, California, which is scheduled for November 10-13, 2011.

Described as a “Polish Virtuoso” by the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City, Mr. Tkaczewski enjoys an active performing career in Europe and the United States. Born in 1980 in Tarnów, Poland, he received his Master of Arts diploma from the Academy of Music in Wrocław in 2004 after studying with Olga Rusina. He continued his piano education at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School in the class of Oxana Yablonskaya and received a graduate diploma in 2007. Currently, Mr. Tkaczewski is pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Hartford.

Krystian Tkaczewski is a winner of international piano competitions in Greece, Italy, Spain, Morocco, and the United States. He has appeared with the Hartford Symphony, the Polish National Radio Orchestra, the Wrocław Philharmonic, and the Tarnów Chamber Orchestra, among others. He is a scholarship recipient from the Wrocław Academy of Music, Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the City of Tarnów, and the Music Club of Hartford. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in April 2007. A keen interpreter of Chopin’s music, Mr. Tkaczewski has performed at a variety of Chopin-themed festivals in Austria, Macedonia, and Poland, as well as at Chopin’s birthplace of Żelazowa Wola.

Reservations and information can be obtained by contacting the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles by phone: (805) 769-4622, e-mail: info@paderewskifest.com, website: www.paderewskifest.com, or mail: P.O. Box 272, Paso Robles, CA 93447.

Recent Gifts To PMC

During our summer visit in Poland, we received several important donations to the Polish Music Center library. We are very pleased with the continuing support of many individuals and institutions, who continue to assist our mission of promoting Polish music in California and beyond.

After a late June meeting with composer and conductor Paweł Łukaszewski in Warsaw, we received the following items:

1. Musica Sacra CD with the Warsaw-Praga Cathedral Choir conducted by Paweł Łukaszewski. This disc includes music by John Taverner, Arvo Pärt, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Péteris Vasks, and Wojciech Kilar; Musica Sacra Edition 003

2. Paweł Łukaszewski—Sacred Music CD, including Veni Creator, Messa per voci e fiati, Organ Concerto, Gaudium et Spes, and Symphony No. 2. Musica Sacra Edition 013

3. Paweł Łukaszewski—Sacred Music II CD, including Vesperae pro defunctis, Stabat Mater, and Icon. Musica Sacra Edition 029

4. Paweł Łukaszewski—Muzyka kameralna CD, including Pearl of Wisdom, Moai, Haiku, Capriccio for P.P., Quasi Sonata, Dwa preludia, W mojej Ojczyźnie, III Kwartet smyczkowy, Souvenir I, and Aragena II. Musica Sacra Edition 007

5. Paweł Łukaszewski—Missa pro Patria CD, including Koncert na organy i orkiestrę smyczkową, O Adonai, Recordationes de Christo moriendo, Dwa motety wielkopostne, and Missa pro Patria. Acte Préalable AP 0009

6. Paweł Łukaszewski—Antiphonae CD, including Antiphonae per coro misto a cappella, Ave Maria, and Beatus Vir. Acte Préalable AP 0029

7. Vocal-instrumental works CD by Tadeusz Baird, Marcin Błażewicz, Wojciech Łukaszewski, and Marian Borkowski. Musica Sacra Edition 011

8. A Wojciech Łukaszewski CD, including Nazywam ciebie morze, Tysiąclecie, Tryptyk ludowy, Pieśń o żołnierzach z Westerplatte, Nike, Mazowsze, and Oda na Gdańsk, featuring Polski Chór Kameralny and Częstochowa Philharmonic. Musica Sacra Edition 004

9. A Laudate Dominum CD, featuring works by Zoltán Kodály, Benjamin Britten, Marian Borkowski, Stanisław Kwiatkowski, Irena Pfeiffer, Stanisław Moryto, Idzi Ogierman Mański, Kazimierz Wiłkomirski, John Rutten, Paweł Łukaszewski, and Łukasz Farcinkiewicz. Musica Sacra Edition 027

10. A book Moja muzyka published by Polihymnia, Lublin 2006, containing the CD and extensive analysis of Paweł Łukaszewski’s Symphony No. 2Festinemus amare hominess.

The Polish government continues to be a strong supporter of the Polish Music Center and the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. During meetings with several government officials, the following items were donated:

From Deputy Director Urszula Ślązak of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN):

Czesław Miłosz: Poezje wybrane, a book in Polish and English of poems by Nobel Prize-winning poet whose centenary is celebrated in 2011

Szlakiem kultury [Cultural Trail], a bilingual describing the financial details of the “Culture and Cultural Heritage” programs by region and dicipline

And from Mariusz Brymora, Deputy Director of Public and Cultural Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MSZ):

Rok Chopinowski – Światowe Obchody [The Year of Chopin – World Celebration], a 2-disc multimedia presentation dedicated to the performances and programs that took place around the world during the Chopin Year 2010

Drs. Danuta and Tomasz Sztencel, organizers of the Muzyka na szczytach [Music On the Heights] Festival in the mountain resort of Zakopane, attended the final concert of the 2011 Paso Robles-Tarnów Exchange program held at Paderewski’s manor house in Kąśna Dolna on July 2. After the performance they generously donated the following items to the PMC:

Muzyka na szczytach 2009 CD recording of selected chamber music concerts from the September 2009 Festival;

Muzyka na szczytach 2010 CD recording, featuring selections from works by Roman Maciejewski, Luigi Boccherini, Juliusz Zarębski, Felipe Villanueva, Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński, Maurice Ravel, Robert Schumann, Max Bruch, and Dariusz Przybylski, made during the September 2010 Festival;

Muzyka na szczytach – Music On the Heights, Zakopane 19-25 IX 2010—Festival Catalogue

Jerzy Stankiewicz, President and Artistic Director of the International Festival of Contemporary Music “Days of Kraków Composers” donated two catalogues to the PMC library after the unveiling of the Paderewski monument at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków on June 24:

Międzynarodowy Festival Muzyki Współczesnej – 22. Dni Muzyki Kompozytorów Krakowskich (Kraków, May 22-30, 2010)

Międzynarodowy Festival Muzyki Współczesnej – 23. Dni Muzyki Kompozytorów Krakowskich (Kraków, June 11-19, 2011)

Jarosław Janowski, who visited the Polish Music Center in May with his son, Sebastian, attended the June 26 Lutosławski Studio concert in Warsaw where the Warsaw Camerata Orchestra presented premieres of works commissioned for the centennial celebrations of Czesław Miłosz. After the concert, Mr. Janowski presented PMC representatives, Krysta Close and Marek Zebrowski, with three reprints of Paderewski-themed cartoons from the 1920s:

Ignacy Paderewski (a 1937 drawing by Edward Głowacki from the Szpilki magazine – at left)

Pierwsza Szopka Warszawska (a 1922 drawing by Zbigniew Pronaszko)

Józef Piłsudski oraz Ignacy Paderewski na Zamku w Warszawie (by Maja Berezowska; undated)

Zbigniew Jurkiewicz, Mayor of the Royal Town of Ciężkowice located just a few miles from Paderewski’s former estate of Kąśna Dolna, attended the closing dinner of the 2011 Paso Robles-Tarnów Youth Exchange Program at the Galicja Restaurant in Ciężkowice’s historic City Hall. We are very grateful for his support of this international program of cultural cooperation that brings together Paderewski’s favorite communities in Poland and California. Mayor Jurkiewicz donated the following materials to the PMC library:

Ciężkowice—Człowiek i Natura 2010 [Ciężkowice—Mankind and Nature, 2010]

Muzeum Przyrodnicze—Gmina Ciężkowice [Natural History Museum, Ciężkowice]

Zwierzęta „Czerwonej Księgi” Pogórza—Królewskie Miasto Ciężkowice[The Red Book of Animals from the Carpathian Foothills—The Royal Town of Ciężkowice]

Following our visit to the Paderewski Museum of Polish Emigration currently housed in the charming Podchorążówka [former military school barracks] on the grounds of the Łazienki Palace in Warsaw, we received the following items from the Museum’s curator, Xymena Pilch-Nowakowska:

Poles in America—400 Years – a bilingual book and a DVD by Czesław Czapliński

Czarodziejski świat Łazienek [The Magical World of Łazienki] – a DVD presentation

Lars Hoefs, a dear friend and frequent collaborator for a variety of PMC concerts during the past several years, donated to our library the following scores:

Samuel Kossowski: Polonez z Introdukcją na wiolonczelę i fortepian

Kazimierz Wiłkomirski: Mazurek na wiolonczelę i fortepian

The distinguished British oboe virtuoso and conductor, Nicholas Daniel, donated the Opera Omnia Vol. III recording of works by Witold Lutosławski (CD Accord 166). One of the items on this recording features Mr. Daniel’s performance of Lutosławski’s Double Concerto for Oboe and Harp in a double role of soloist and conductor of Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra.

Young Polish pianist, Katarzyna Borek, donated her CD Ignacy Jan Paderewski—Works for Piano Solo, following her performance at Paderewski’s manor house in Kąśna Dolna on June 29. Paderewski’s towering Variations and Fugue in E-flat Minor, Op. 23, were the highlight of Ms. Borek’s recital presented in honor of Paderewski’s 70th death anniversary. The same work can be found on Ms. Borek’s recording, made and produced by the Young Poland 2010 Prize program of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

After a June 26 meeting in Warsaw with Polish pianist Maciej Grzybowski, the Polish Music Center received the following recordings from the artist:

Paweł Szymański—Works for Piano, on the EMI Classics label

Dialog—a CD of pianist Maciej Grzybowski performing works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Alban Berg, Paweł Mykietyn, Arnold Schoenberg, and Paweł Szymański, a Universal Music/Polska release

Arkadiusz Aries Niezgoda, Polish composer and guitarist, is a former resident of Southern California and a friend of the Polish Music Center. He now resides in Poland and just sent us his newly-published CD, Recuerdos de California (Soliton). This album of solo guitar music is complemented by a bonus track featuring cellist Irina Chirkova. More information is available at: www.soliton.pl

Poland’s E.U. Presidency – Culture

Polish Music Resonates Across Europe… and Beyond!

Music has always been one of Poland’s leading exports. The Polonaise, Poland’s stately national dance, was already popular across Europe well over three hundred years ago. Before Chopin immortalized the Polonaise in his music, the form appeared in compositions by Bach, Telemann, Mozart, and Beethoven, among others. Now, with Poland’s presidency of the European Union Council in effect from July 1 until the end of 2011, all sorts of governmental organizations have sprung into action to promote Polish music and musical culture, both in Poland and throughout Europe and beyond. The following is a calendar listing of only the classical music-related projects. If you are planning a trip abroad in the coming months, consider adding any of the following attractions to your “to-do” list!

Pre-inauguration celebrations began on June 26, when Szymanowski’s ballet Harnasie, Op. 55, and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings, Op. 40 were presented at a gala concert in the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. Maestro Paweł Przytocki led the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic of Kraków, a co-organizer of the event with the Polish Embassy in Paris and the Polish Institute in Paris.

Following the all-day inauguration concert in Warsaw on July 1 (details available in the June 2011 Newsletter), celebrations moved to Beijing, China for the International Karol Szymanowski Festival (August 5-9). Performers included: Barbara Kubiak – soprano, Yue Shi – soprano, Agata Schmidt – mezzosoprano, Yuqiao Song – mezzosoprano, Cheung Chau – cello/conductor, Sławomir Dobrzański – pianist, Blanka Bednarz – violin, Anna Maria Staśkiewicz – violin, Maria Masycheva – piano, Sinfonietta Polonia and the Chinese National Symphony Orchestra Chorus, among others. Programs with titles like “Slavonic Inspirations and European Vanguard” and “History of Friendship” included music by Szymanowski, Chopin, Xia Guan and Paweł Kochański. (See more details below)

Also in early August Poznań’s Grand Theatre presented a show “The Unknown Szymanowski” in Berlin, featuring incidental music by to Molier’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme by Szymanowski, Richard Strauss, and Jean Baptiste Lully. The same program will be presented on September 9 in Madrid.

On August 24, the “I, Culture” Orchestra will present their debut concert at the Solidarity of the Arts Festival hosted by the Gdańsk Philharmonic. Composed of over one hundred young musicians from the so-called “Eastern Partnership Countries” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and the Ukraine), the ensemble will perform works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Szymanowski under the baton of musical director Paweł Kotla. This orchestra embodies the concept of recognizing Poland’s political and cultural ties to countries that aren’t yet in the European Union, but whose imprint on European culture is profound. This concert follows a three-week period of rehearsals and workshops conducted by members of such prestigious ensembles as London Symphony Orchestra, Opera de Lyon, the Philharmonia Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera. After the Gdańsk concert, the I, Culture Orchestra will embark on an extended tour, performing in Kraków, Kiev, Berlin, Brussels, Stockholm, London, and Madrid over the remainder of 2011.

On September 4, the Catholic Cathedral in Moscow will host the Early Music Ensemble “Capella Czestochoviensis” led by Tomasz Wabnica. Sacred music by composers Jan Engel, Jakub Gołąbek, and Marcin Józef Żebrowski are on the program. On September 15, the Gdańsk Philharmonic Orchestra will be heard at the Church of St. Nicholas in Kiev. This concert features Szymanowski’s First Violin Concerto, which was written in his family estate of Tymoszówka in the Ukraine during the years of World Word I, as well as works by Kilar and Lutosławski.

Poland-Germany: 1000 Years of Art and History” will be celebrated by a concert featuring works by Bach, Teleman and Penderecki in Berlin on September 21. Sinfonia Varsovia will be conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki, with soloist Albrecht Mayer. Presidents of Poland and Federal Republic of Germany are expected to attend.

The Poznań Boys’ Choir will perform at the St. Alexander’s basilica in Kiev on September 30. Entitled “In the Garden of Light,” the program will include music by Mikołaj Zieleński, Claudio Monteverdi, J.S. Bach, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Zbigniew Preisner, and Jacek Sykulski. The Polish choristers will be joined by the Dzvinochok Boys’ Choir from Kiev for some of the selections. The same program will be repeated October 2 in Minsk. Also in Minsk, a chamber orchestra program of works by Szymanowski, Lutosławski, Paweł Strzelecki, Jerzy Kornowicz, and works by local composer, Dmitry Lybin will be heard on October 5 at the Belorussian Philharmonic Hall.

Polish and Japanese musicians and actors will present a spectacle based on Karol Szymanowski’s music at Teatro Réplika in Madrid on October 6 and later move on to the Cinema Theatre in Tokyo. The idea behind the program is to introduce Szymanowski’s music to the audiences in Spain and Japan and spotlight its connections to other arts and cultures.

The National Edition publication of Chopin’s complete works will have a gala introduction in London at a special concert in Westminster Cathedral on October 9. Cellist Andrzej Bauer, violinist Jakub Jakowicz, and pianist Jan Krzysztof Broja will perform the Chopin’s chamber works, including the Polonaise, Op. 3, Grad Duo Concertante, Op. 16, Sonata, Op. 65, and Piano Trio, Op. 8. The same program will be presented on November 3 at the Polish Library in Paris and on November 4 at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Musica in Madrid.

On October 25 at London’s Cadogan Hall, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra led by Christopher Austin will perform compositions by Górecki, Lutosławski and Szymanowski. The concert titled “Polish Contemporary Music across Europe with Friends” will feature Danish cellist Jakob Kullberg and Italian-Venezuelan violinist Giovannin Guzzo. This concert, co-sponsored by Polish Music Information Centre, will also be presented in Brussels, Moscow and Minsk.

A concert commemorating the tenth death anniversary of composer Witold Szalonek will be held on October 12 at the Joseph-Joachim-Konzertssal in Berlin. Co-organized by the Music Academy in Wrocław, Polish Music Publishers (PWM) and the European Oboe Academy, the program will feature one of Europe’s preeminent oboists, Kazimierz Dawidek, who was a friend and musical collaborator of the composer. A commemorative CD of works performed at that concert is also planned for the future.

The “Gaude Mater 2011” project will present Polish sacred music in London, Moscow, Paris and Kiev in October.  On October 21, the National Philharmonic of the Ukraine in Kiev will present a concert of sacred music by Stanisław Moryto, Marek Jasiński, Romuald Twardowski, Paweł Łukaszewski, and Andrzej Panufnik. The ensemble will be led by Nikolai Dyadiura with soloists, Katarzyna Suska-Zagórska (soprano) and Dariusz Siedlik (baritone). Later in the month, Camerata Silesia and organist Monika Dąbrowska-Beuzelin will perform music by Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Andrzej Krzanowski, Józef Świder and Julisz Łuciuk in Paris, London and Moscow.

Film music by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek will be featured in an October 26 concert at the Flagey Cultural Center in Brussels. Kaczmarek’s music will then go on tour to Paris and several other European cities, and for each city the composer has chosen specific concert repertoire to reflect the given region of performance.

During the month of October, the Szymanowski Quartet will perform in Beijing, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Tokyo, presenting music by Karol Szymanowski and conducting workshops spotlighting Polish contemporary music.

On November 3 and 6, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing will be the site of an unusual concert, “Chopin for Five Pianos,” a musical project that was premiered September 12, 2010 at the World EXPO in Shanghai. For this new and innovative take on the acclaimed Polish composer, classical pianist Katarzyna Borek is joined by four jazz pianists: Joanna Duda, Sławek Jaskułke, Paweł Kaczmarczyk, and Paweł Tomaszewski.

On November 10 at St. James’s Church in London, the King Singers will present music by Bartłomiej Pękiel, Mikołaj Zieliński, and Krzysztof Penderecki, as well as the World Premiere of Tenebrae Responsoria by Paweł Łukaszewski. Poland’s Independence Day—November 11—will be celebrated with a concert at Salle Pleyel in Paris. Sinfonia Varsovia will be led by Grzegorz Nowak in works by Szymanowski and Mendelssohn, and pianist Rafał Blechacz will be the soloist in Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 2.

Maestro Roman Rewakowicz will lead an all-Szymanowski program at the Minsk Philharmonic Hall on November 12, when the Belorussian Symphony Orchestra and State Choir will perform the concert version of Szymanowski’s ballet Harnasie. Also featured on the same program is Szymanowski’s Concert Overture and Symphonie concertante, with piano soloist Jan Krzysztof Broja.

Composer Elżbieta Sikora and librettist Agata Miklaszewska have teamed up for an exciting commission from the Baltic Opera: an opera about Marie Curie-Skłodowska. The world premiere performance of Madame Curie—featuring ten soloists, choir and a dancer—will take place at the UNESCO Auditorium in Paris on November 15.

On November 17 at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, the Studio for New Music Ensemble led by Igor Dronov will present Russian premieres of works by Andrzej Panufnik, Aleksander Nowak and Witold Lutosławski. Szymanowski’s String Quartet no. 2 will also be on the program, together with works by Alfred Schnittke and Edison Denisov.

Maestro Jerzy Maksymiuk will lead Sinfonia Varsovia in a program of Szymanowski, Beethoven and Mozart at the Teatro del Canal in Madrid on November 28. The soloist in Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 will be Maria Machowska. Also in Madrid, the Royal String Quartet will perform both of Szymanowski’s string quartets in concerts at the Teatro del Canal on December 2 and 4.

[Sources: culture.pl/kalendarz-swiat, polmic.pl, szymanowskifestival.pl]


Mykietyn Premiere & Interview

The World Premiere of Paweł Mykietyn’s Symphony No. 3 for alto and orchestra, set to text by Mateusz Kościukiewicz, was the highlight of the all-day inaugural concert celebrating Poland’s ascension to the Presidency of the EU Council, held in Warsaw on July 1. The piece was commissioned by the National Audiovisual Institute (NInA), the government body in charge of designing and implementing the Cultural Program of the 2011 Polish EU Presidency under the theme of “Art for Social Change.” The piece was performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction Reinbert de Leeuw, with Jadwiga Rappé as soloist. The performance was broadcasted live by Polish Radio 2 and Biweekly. Hear an excerpt at www.youtube.com.

According to Biweekly, Paweł Mykietyn is one of the most important composers currently working in Poland. Born in 1971, he debuted (La Strada) at the 1993 International Festival of Contemporary Music “Warsaw Autumn” while he was still a student. In 1995, his 3 for 13 was awarded first place in the young composer category by the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. A year later, Mykietyn’s Epiphora for piano and tape received the same award at the 4th International Rostrum of Electro-Acoustic Music in Amsterdam. In 2000, Mykietyn received a prize for artistic excellence awarded by Polityka, Poland’s largest weekly. In 2008, his Symphony No. 2 won the OPUS Public Media Award. He has composed music for several of Warlikowski’s plays. Mykietyn also writes soundtracks—the most recent ones are for Skolimowski’s Essential Killing, Wajda’s Sweet Rush and Szumowska’s 33 Scenes From Life [33 Sceny z Życia].

In a fascinating interview with Biweekly’s Editor-in-Chief and music writer, Tomasz Cyz, Mykietyn has this to say about his new Symphony:

One caveat: I don’t split music into two genres we call “serious music” and “entertainment music” in Poland, the rough equivalents of “classical” and “pop music”, respectively. In my opinion these terms are nothing more than misnomers. But just as I was once processing classical and baroque conventions – a result of my fascination with the music of Paweł Szymański – I am now doing something similar but with pop music. But it’s all unplugged, there’s no electronics to speak of, and the orchestra tries to imitate electronic sounds using traditional instruments, while in the rhythm layer we have references to hip-hop and trip-hop.


Ever since I wrote Passion in 2008, I’ve felt a need to write bigger, longer pieces. The instruments were a secondary concern for me, the most important part was writing music with Jadwiga Rappé in mind. Her vocals, the freaky rhythms we talked about, and Kościukiewicz’s lyrics might combine into something truly unique. Paradoxically, a rock singer wouldn’t be a good fit in such a project.

Read the entire interview at www.biweekly.pl.

[Source: biweekly.pl]

Przybylski Operetta Premiere

The genre of the operetta is still making (sound) waves, partly due to an international project called “Jugend und Musik und Museum” [Youth and Music and Museum] that strives to bring young listeners to the enchanted world of this once popular entertainment form. In the Austrian resort town of Bad Ischl, where social and musical elites mingled happily during the bygone days of the fin-de-siècle, the tradition of providing this form of happy musical entertainment continues during their summer Lehár Festival of operetta. This year, four young composers from Poland, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia were invited to present their one-act shows.

The Polish contribution was Two Mice and a Cat, a one-act operetta with music by Dariusz Przybylski (right) and the libretto by Łukasz Szwed. The performers—Joanna Jakubas, Alexander Pinderak, Wojciech Gierlach and the Mazovian Theatre Orchestra, led by Jiří Petrdlíka—had been invited to bring the work from their Jan Kiepura Musical Theatre in Mazovia. The work was world-premiered on July 30 at the Lehár Festival in Bad Ischl.

The libretto is a charming tale of the world of mice, an orderly environment where they happily coexist with people. This convenient arrangement is disrupted by the appearance of a new tenant—a clever cat, seen by mice as a perennial foe willing to force them out of their house and home. Will the conflict end tragically or happily? Will the parties be able to overcome their inbred instincts? How will their lives go on? These—and possibly other existential questions—may be answered as this spectacle returns for a run at the Kiepura Theatre this fall.

[Adapted by MZ from: polmic.pl]

The Holocaust And Music

In the third issue of the Muzykalia / Judaica journal, the relationship between music of the Holocaust and the processes of memory as it is expressed in music and musicology is discussed. Subjects discussed include: Sephardic music, The motive of Jankiel in Polish culture, Chopin and his encounters with Jewish music; Jewish culture vs. modernism, Culture vs. the Holocaust (S. Laks – pictured at left), Klezmer music, Music in Contemporary Israel, and more. Articles are mostly in Polish, with a few in English and German included as well.

Published since 2008 as an effort of the De Musica Society in Warsaw, Muzykalia / Judaica is the only Polish magazine entirely dedicated to Jewish musical traditions. Assoc. Professor Michael Bristiger of the Committee on Art Academy of Sciences serves as Editor-in-Chief.  The magazine is available at: www.demusica.pl (Muzykalia XI / Judaica 3).

In related news, America’s National Public Radio (NPR) recently reported on the tradition-shattering performance of Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll by the Israel Chamber Orchestra in Bayreuth, Germany on July 25th. Not only was Wagner considered openly anti-Semitic, his music served as “the soundtrack to the Holocaust; it was played at Nazi death camps.” Thus, his music has long been unofficially banned in Israel, and for Israeli ensembles. However, Maestro Roberto Posternosto—“described as ‘a Jew from a family of Holocaust survivors whose grandparents were dispatched to Auschwitz and 80 percent of his family killed.’—bucked this tradition, and described the reaction thus:

“I’ve conducted for more than 25 years all over the world,” he says, “and I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Everybody was so emotional — and many people came from Israel for the performance. After we finished the Wagner, there was such a great moment of silence, and then a standing ovation.”

Read more at www.npr.org.

[Sources: polmic.pl, npr.org]

Biweekly Composer Focus: Wojtek Mazolewski

Music is the best way for me to make contact with the world. I strive to pursue ideals, but in life it often doesn’t work. In music it can work, this beautiful world of feelings and emotions transferred through pure energy. In this way I share the best with others.

– Wojtek Mazolewski

From an article by Biweekly’s Agnieszka Le Nart:

Wojtek Mazolewski (born 1976) – composer, musician, double bass player and bass guitarist. Founder of Pink Freud and the Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet. The Gdańsk native has been making music for as long as he can remember and has proven a compulsive creator of new sounds and new bands to bring forth those sounds.

He started off with a determinedly punk rock style in his youth, he’s grown to become one of the most significant musicians on the contemporary jazz scene in Poland and a pioneer of Yass, a locally-bred style of music distinguished by an emphasis on improvisation, blending elements of jazz, punk rock and folk. It’s a very skilled form of improvisation, a measured musical discipline spiked with a dose of spontaneity and a burst of energy. After all, jazz was the punk rock of its era so it makes sense that as “Mazol” matured, he turned to broader forms of rebellion within the stringent confines of musical classification.

Continue reading at www.biweekly.pl.

[Source: biweekly.pl, Photo: dominikstaniszewski.pl]

Polska On Youtube

Jake Justice is a young American composer who is currently collaborating with the PMC in order to maintain his connection to Polish culture. Inspired by his two years living in Poland, his piece Polska for solo piano is available on www.youtube.com. Jake is currently a student at Brigham Young University and is pursuing a major in Media Music studies. Jake has played the piano since age three and has been composing music since the third grade.

Civil Society, Innovation And Music

In his latest commentary on the state of arts education in Poland, Chairman of Fundacja Nowa Orkiestra Kameralna Richard Berkeley calls for a “National Performing Arts Educational Centre for Schools: an inspiring flag-ship example, an education power house for the whole country.” The article, published in Biweekly, begins thus:

Investing in human capital for innovation are buzz words. Politicians love them. They use them willingly and with palpable smugness, but it is hard to understand quite what they mean when they do. Obviously, it involves spending money, EU money, possibly even on training programmes advertised to make participants more flexible, productive, even innovative. But what are they actually trying to achieve?

Most training programmes have little long term value, simply because people do not learn to change the habits of a life time through the short immersion method. Would anyone be expected to play tennis to any standard after a two day training programme? Of course not. Why, then, do politicians and some business leaders pretend that they can change long established working practises and attitudes by “investing in human capital” rather than addressing the source of the problem? There is a double deception which needs to be addressed.

In early June the Polish Chamber of Commerce, Krajowa Izba Gospodarcza, organised its second innovation congress. Two days were spent discussing innovation: the concept of innovation and the urgent need for innovation. The great and good of the nation from the President of the Republic to the youngest entrepreneur all said their bit about innovation….. Yes, we must develop innovation but, even so, we are not doing badly, not badly at all (if only we really knew what “innovation” means!).  It was only when Prof. Michal Kleiber, President of the Polish Academy of Science, the penultimate speaker of the final session took the stand that the audience became noticeably uncomfortable. He pointed the finger of blame, and the academics and politicians didn’t like it. The implication must surely be that there is too much paternalism and protectionism within academic circles and politicans` calls for reform are not sincere.

To continue reading the article, visit www.biweekly.pl. Other commentaries by Richard Berkeley can be found at berkeley.blog.pl, www.reuters.com, and in the July 2010 PMC Newsletter.

[Source: press release, biweekly.pl]

Mischakoff & Poland

A Book Review by Gary Fitelberg

Mischa Mischakoff : Journeys of a Concertmater
By Anne Mischakoff Heiles
Harmonie Park Press (2006)

“Warm and painstakingly researched biography…Includes many photographs and an enticing CD of rare recordings.” – Strad Magazine

This biography documents the contributiona to classical music made by the eminent violinist Mischa Mischakoff, as recounted by his daughter, Anne Mischakoff Heiles, herself a string musician. Two important chapters are devoted to Polish music history: one about Mischa Mischakoff’s season in Warsaw (1921-22), and another about the relationship between Mischakoff and the famous Polish conductors Leopold Stokowski and Artur Rodziński, entitled “Standing up to Stokowski.”

As concertmaster of the Bolshoi Ballet, Mischakoff forged a very close bond with cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and, from that time, their individual paths became fundamentally intertwined.  Both Bolshoi Ballet virtuosos escaped from Russia to Poland. This journey is documented in the autobiography The Cellist by Gregor Piatigorsky as well as in the biography of Gregor Piatigorsky: The Life and Career of the Virtuoso Cellist by his protégé and disciple, Terry King. (See a review of King’s book in the April 2011 Polish Music Newsletter)

Both Mischakoff and Piatigorsky first contacted their former colleague at the Bolshoi Ballets, conductor Grzegorz Fitelberg, for assistance with their poverty and refugee status. Fitelberg was the former conductor of the Warsaw Philharmonic 1909-1911 who continued to conduct the ensemble on occasion. Fitelberg suggested that the two speak together with Emil Młynarski, then director of the Warsaw Opera House (Teatr Wielki) and Warsaw Conservatory.  Młynarski had much influence as he had been assistant conductor of the Opera from 1897-1903 and had helped organize the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, which he conducted until 1905.

Despite their appearance as two “decrepit-looking Russian musicians” upon arrival on Młynarski’s doorstep, they were extended room and bath. Together, Młynarski and Fitelberg also secured employment and income for the refugees and Mischakoff and Piatigorsky enjoyed the 1921-22 season in Warsaw.

During this time, Mischakoff used the Polish-French variants of his original name Mischa Fishberg – Michał Fibere (spelled variously as Fiber or Fièber). On a photograph of Emil Młynarski, conductor and composer, dated September 5, 1922, shortly before Mischakoff emigrated from Warsaw reads as follows: “To the superb violinist and sympathetic artist Mr. Fiber as a token of his remembrance for his concerts at the Warsaw Philharmonic.” He later changed his last name to Mischakoff at the suggestion of a publicist.

Adding a very special contribution to the scholarship of this time period is the research conducted by Joseph A. Herter, biographer of Polish composer Zygmunt Stojowski (PMHS Vol. 10). A chart of Mischakoff’s concert performances in Warsaw during 1921-1922 was compiled by Herter based upon statistics from the four-volume Polish Encyclopedia published by PWN and Encyklopedia Warzsawa (Warsaw, PWN 1975).  It is available in Herter’s article on Mischakoff entitled “Mischa Mischakoff-Concertmaster of the Warsaw Philharmonic” in the Polish Music Newsletter (February 2004), which was later republished as Dwutygodnik Ruch Muzycny 49, No. 1 (January 2005), pp34-38.

Some of Mischakoff’s other Polish collaborators in Warsaw included Eli Kochański, Kornel Korwin-Szymanowski, Henryk Melcer, Bronislaw Huberman, Artur Rodziński and many more.

Mischakoff in the 1920s. [Collection of Anne Mischakoff Heiles. Used by Permission.]
Mischakoff served as concertmaster under the colorful characters of conductors Leopold Stokowski and Artur Rodziński at the Philadelphia Orchestra. His sojourn there was brief due to personality rather than professional issues.

There was a great professional admiration by Mischakoff for these two Polish conductors. In Stokowski by Paul Robinson (Toronto: Vanguard Press, 1977), Oliver Daniel wrote that “Mischakoff considered Stokowski the easiest conductor with whom to work, because Stokowski always knew what he wanted to accomplish, was always in control, and knew how to communicate concisely.”  See also Daniel’s Stokowski: A Counterpoint View (New York: Dodd, Mead 1982), p. 301.  Daniel based his remarks based on an article in the Musical Courier on March 25, 1933.

During a rehearsal shortly before Easter in 1929, Stokowski complained about the quality of the string tone in an important and difficult passage from Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor.  He asked members of the string section to play the measures one by one in front of the rest of the orchestra. At this point, dejected and humiliated, Mischakoff stood up and resigned.

Despite such setback moments, Mischa Mischakoff was widely considered the world’s finest concertmaster in the mid-twentieth century and called “Toscanini’s third hand” by critics and conductors alike, and he enjoyed a seven-decade career in the first chair. Mischa Mischakoff : Journeys of a Concertmater chronicles this long career and Mischakoff’s contribution to classical music as concertmaster, soloist and virtuoso—from Russia to Poland and eventually the top orchestras of America.

Gary Fitelberg is an author, biographer, historian, music critic and musicologist. 

Sinfonia Varsovia Recital Series

From July 2 – August 28, Sinfonia Varsovia is hosting the “Letnie Recitale na Grochowskiej” series of recitals in its hall on Grochowska Street in Warsaw (pictured above). Performed by up-and-coming stars of the Polish classical music scene, the programs promise to be very interesting. Recitals include such composers as Wieniawski, Stravinsky, Liszt, Lutosławski, Brahms, Karłowicz, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich.

The performers are outstanding soloists and ensembles, including: cellist Bartosz Koziak (July 16), pianist Krzysztof Stanienda (July 23), Trio Daroch (Ju;y 30), pianist Katarzyna Borek (July 31), pianist Maciej Grzybowski (Aug 6), soprano Eliza Szulińska (Aug 7), violinist Maria Włoszczowska (Aug 14) and others. The series highlights winners of the Sinfonia Varsovia Foundation Stipend: cellist Marcin Zdunik and pianist Aleksandra Świgut (July 2), marimba player Marianna Bednarska (July 3), and violinist Marta Kowalczyk (Aug 13).

[Sources: pwm.com.pl, facebook.com, sinfoniavarsovia.org, Photo: kultura.wp.pl]

Sarnecki Quartet – Jazz In CA

During August, the Rafał Sarnecki Quartet will perform throughout Southern California. The Quartet is comprised of: Rafał Sarnecki – guitar, Josh Nelson – piano, Dave Robaire – bass, and USC Thornton graduate Dan Schnelle – drums.

Born in Warsaw, Rafał Sarnecki is one of Poland’s pre-eminent jazz guitarists from the younger generation. He started to gain recognition after his success at the “International Jazz Guitar Competition – Guitar City 2002” in Warsaw, where he received First Prize. In 2005 he moved to New York where he received a coveted scholarship at the prestigious Jazz and Contemporary Music program at the New School University in Manhattan. In 2008 he finished his undergraduate degree from The New School with Academic Honors. In 2010 he received his MA degree in jazz performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music, also in New York.

August 12, 2011 | 9 pm
Rafał Sarnecki Quartet in Los Angeles
Blue Whale – 123  Astronaut E S Onizuka St., Suite 301
$10 cover

August 13, 2011 | 7 pm
Rafał Sarnecki Quartet in San Diego
Polish Arts And Culture SocietySan Diego, CA

August 14, 2011 | 7 pm
Rafał Sarnecki Quartet in Riverside
Poles in Inland Empire – Riverside, CA

[Source: press release via polishfilmLA.org]

Wrocław Phil Choir At Proms

The Wrocław Philharmonic Choir was the first Polish choir to perform at the legendary BBC Proms Festival and appear in the Royal Albert Hall in 2009. That sold out performance of Haydn’s Creation led to an immediate re-invitation to appear at the 2011 festival.

The Wrocław Philharmonic Choir will perform on August 28 at 7:00 p.m., when the huge vocal ensemble will join forces again with the Gabrieli Consort and Players to perform Mendelsohn’s Elijah, conducted by Paul McCreesh. The concert is supported by the Polish Cultural Institute in London and the European Commission Representation in the UK as part of Cultural Programme of Polish EU Presidency 2011.

Sunday, August 28, 2011 | 7:00 p.m.
Wrocław Philharmonic Choir at Proms
Royal Albert Hall – Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP

[Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute]

Marian Hymns Of Poland & US

On August 14, the Lira Ensemble—the only professional performing arts company in the United States specializing in Polish music, song, and dance—presents “A Concert of Polish & American Marian Hymns” in celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Częstochowa. The concert will be performed by the Lira Singers at St. Isaac Jogues Church in Niles, Illinois.

Sunday, August 14, 2011 | 3pm
A Concert of Polish & American Marian Hymns
St. Isaac Jogues Church – 8101 W. Golf Rd, Niles, IL
Admission: $20/$10 (children), Parking/reception: Free

[Source: press release]

Chopin At Sundays Live

On Sunday, August 28, L.A. Phil cellist Daniel Rothmuller and USC professor of piano Bernadene Blaha will perform during the “Sundays Live” series at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Their program includes Chopin: Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op.65 and Brahms: Cello Sonata in E Minor, Op.38.

Los Angeles Philharmonic associate principal cellist Daniel Rothmuller has made numerous solo appearances with the Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with such accomplished conductors as Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, Andre Previn, and composer Witold Lutosławski, under whom he gave the West Coast premiere of the renowned Polish composer’s Cello Concerto. Daniel earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Indiana University.

Bernadene Blaha is a senior lecturer in keyboard studies at USC’s Thornton School of Music. She has performed in concert and as a soloist with orchestras throughout North America, Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Recent seasons have included appearances with the Hamilton and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestras; the Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Houston Symphony Orchestras; and a tour of western Canada with the Calgary Philharmonic.

Begun in 1948, Sundays Live is the longest-running music broadcast in Los Angeles. It presents weekly classical chamber music concerts and recitals by premier professional artists from Southern California and around the world.

Sunday, August 28, 2011 | 6:00PM
Rothmuller and Blaha at Sundays Live
LACMA – Leo S. Bing Theater
5905 Wilshire Blvd. (just east of Fairfax), Los Angeles CA
Free admission

[Source: Chamber Music Newsletter]

“Poland… Why Not?” Pop Concert

The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland presents “Poland… Why Not?” in Los Angeles on August 15. As reported in last month’s Newsletter, Poland… Why Not? is a novel music collaboration project, as well as an engaging star-making process. The concert will feature Polish celebrities Natasza Urbańska – actress, singer, dancer and TV host, and Patricia Kazadi – singer, actress and TV host. The Poland… Why Not? project is organized by Rokket Music.

Monday, August 15th, 2011 at 7.00 pm
Poland… Why Not? Concert
Dragonfly Bar – 6510 Santa Monica Blvd., LA, CA 90038
Free admission!
Please RSVP at elisa.yastic@rokketmusic.com by August 14th, 2011

[Source: press release]


2011 Sembrich Vocal Competition Winner

Report by Jo Louise Winters (American Council for Polish Culture):

Alicia L. Dutka, American Council for Polish Culture Chairlady of the Council’s Annual Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition Committee, announces that the winner for 2011 is Julie-Anne Hamula, soprano. Serving with Mrs. Dutka on the Committee are Robert Dutka and Jaroslaw Golembiowski. Entry requirements for this competition are: male or female, up to the age of 32 years, U.S. Citizen of Polish descent who has pursued or is currently pursuing higher education study in voice.

Julie-Anne Hamula of Binghamton, NY, whose extensive opera appearances in the United States, Costa Rica and Mexico have won her high praise in the press, e.g. “warm tone”, “agile phrasing”, considerable vocal energy” and “technically sound, rich performance”, and also a significant number of other distinctive awards. Ms. Hamula received a 2011 CareerBridges Encouragement Award, the Fielder Grant for Vocal Careers and the Phyllis Bryn-Julson Award at the Civic Morning Musicals Competition in Syracuse, NY. This year she was also a semi-finalist in the Palm Beach Opera Competition, a finalist in the Liederkranz Competition General Opera Division, and finalist for the Dallas Opera Guild Competition and the Fielder Grant for Vocal Careers. Ms. Hamula attended Westminster Choir College for her B.M. in voice performance and completed her Master of Music at the University of Texas.

In appearances with the Tri-Cities Opera, Ms. Hamula sang Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffman, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Gilda in Rigoletto. She has also sung the title role in Carlisle Floyd’s Susanna with The Butler Opera Center in Austin, TX and Pamina (Die Zauberflote) in Costa Rica, Mexico and Austin.

Ms. Hamula is scheduled to appear in full recital at the Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Concert on July 14, 2011 at St. Stanislaus Church, Slavic Village, Cleveland, Ohio. The Concert is scheduled as one of the outstanding events that will be taking place during the 63rd Annual Convention of the American Council for Polish Culture, which is being hosted by the John Paul II Polish American Cultural Center in Cleveland. During the Concert Julie-Anne Hamula will receive the ACPC’s Sembrich award of $1,500.

Marcella Kochanska Sembrich, who was born in Poland in 1858, was that rare occurrence in mankind, a total musical personality. She was a skilled violinist, an excellent pianist and one of the most brilliant representatives of the vocal art of all time. Sembrich made her American debut in 1883, the second night of the first season of the new Metropolitan Opera House, as Lucia, following appearances in the greatest opera houses in Vienna, France, Russia, Germany and Spain.

[Source: ACPC press release – polishcultureacpc.org (July 1, 2011)]

Polish Finalist At Alea III

Polish composer Norbert Palej is one of the six finalists in the Alea III International Composition Competition at Boston University. His work, Divertimento for large ensemble, will be performed alongside five other competition winning works on October 9, 2011 at 7.00 p.m. at the Tsai Performance Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Theodore Antoniou, the Artistic Director of the competition will conduct the concert that will also include compositions by Juan José Bárcenas (Mexico), Carlos de Castellarnau (Spain), Stylianos Dimou (Greece), Ayaz Gambarli (Azerbaijan), and Aaron Jay Myers (United States).

Originally from Kraków, Poland, Norbert Palej has been increasingly recognized for his “first-rate and genuinely original work” (American Composers Orchestra), and a musical language that generates “visceral excitement” (The Boston Globe). Norbert Palej has been Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Toronto since 2008. He also serves as the director of the University of Toronto gamUT chamber orchestra, and as coordinator of the annual New Music Festival. He holds composition degrees from Cornell University (D.M.A.), The Juilliard School (M.M.), and the New England Conservatory (B.M.). He studied conducting at the Academy of Music in Kraków (Poland) and at The Juilliard School in New York. Palej is also an active concert pianist. Recent commissions include operas for the Tapestry New Opera and the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, a string quartet for the Penderecki String Quartet, a percussion concerto for Evelyn Glennie, and a choral work for Soundstreams Canada, featuring the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Polish Chamber Choir, and the Toronto Children’s Chorus. His music has been heard in Canada, USA, Poland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Great Britain, and Costa Rica. [Continue reading Palej’s bio here]

The ALEA III International Composition Prize was established at Boston University to promote and encourage the creation of new music by young professional composers of all nationalities under 40 years old. Unperformed and unpublished works of all styles and esthetic directions are eligible and may be scored for any combination of single orchestral instruments, guitar, voice and/or electronics utilizing from 1-15 musicians. Compositions range between 6 and 15 minutes in duration and are submitted by March 15 of each year.

[Sources: polmic.pl, aleaiii.com, norbertpalej.com]


Polish Music In China: Int’l Szymanowski Fest

The International Karol Szymanowski Festival is taking place between August 5-9 in Beijing, China, with the theme “Karol Szymanowski – an artist before his time.” The Festival is organized by the Fundacja Muzyczna APOLLO, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Beijing, Chinese National Symphony Orchestra – International bureau, CEA China-Europa-America International Culture & Trade Ltd. (Berlin) and Laiyin Suny Arts Center (Beijing), with co-financing from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. It is a part of the celebrations of the Polish Presidency of the E.U. Council that are taking place in Asia.

Chamber Music Concert “Slavonic Inspirations and European Vanguard”

A recital of songs for voice and piano by Karol Szymanowski presented by soprano Barbara Kubiak and pianist Sławomir Dobrzański inaugurated the Szymanowski Festival on August 5 in the Resource Center space of the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing. Inspired by Slavic cultures, as well as the composer’s Etudes, which placed Szymanowski at the center of the European vanguard, the program includes: Etude B flat Minor, Op. 4 No. 3; Four Polish Dances for piano, Op. 47;  “Daleko został cały świat,” Op.2; The Swan song, Op. 7; “Roxanna’s Song” from King Roger; Twenty Mazurkas, Op. 50 (No. 1, No. 13, No. 14, No. 18); Twelve Kurpie Songs, Op. 58; Twelve Etudes for piano, Op. 33.

Barbara Kubiak graduated from the The Jan Paderewski Music Academy in Poznań and went on to make her stage debut in Poznań’s Grand Theatre as the First Dame-role in Mozart’s Magic Flute in 1986 and since, she has been permanently associated with this company. She also performs abroad, however, taking the role of Abigaille in Verdi’s Nabucco at the Beijing Music Festival and Aphrodite at the Opera Festival in Pafos in Cyprus. She cooperates with the Grand Theatres in Poznań and Łódź, the Wrocław Opera and the Baltic Opera in Gdańsk – frequently traveling abroad with these operas to give performances in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France and Great Britain. She has recorded two operas by Verdi: Nabucco and Il Trovatore, as well as Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater and Mahler’s 8th Symphony.

A versatile pianist and teacher, Sławomir Dobrzański frequently performs a soloist and chamber musician across Europe, South America, China, and throughout the United States. As a soloist, he has performed with such orchestras as the National Philharmonic in Warsaw, the Warsaw Chamber Orchestra “Leopoldinum”, “Connecticut Virtuosi” Chamber Orchestra, the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, and the Chopin Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra. Dobrzański has recorded solo and chamber music by Witold Lutoslawski, Karol Szymanowski, Fryderyk Chopin, Stefan Kisielewski, Artur Malawski (complete piano solo music), Feliks Rybicki, Carl Tausig and Johannes Brahms for Polish Radio and Television. He is also an author of the first English language biography of the acclaimed 19th century pianist and composer Maria Agata Wolowska-Szymanowska (PMHS Vol. 9), published in 2006 by the Polish Music Center at USC in Los Angeles. Currently, Dobrzański is Associate Professor of piano and piano literature at Kansas State University, where he also serves as the Chair of Keyboard Studies. He is a graduate of the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw.

‘The Egg’, more formally known as the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) is one of the most spectacular examples of Beijing’s ultra-modern architecture. It contains an Opera House, Concert Hall, Theater and ‘The Fifth Space’ which houses a Resource Center as well as other smaller halls and galleries, assigned for chamber music and artistic events.

[Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute]

“Sacrum & profanum”

The Festival continued with a symphonic concert entitled “Sacrum & profanum” on August 6 in Beijing’s NCPA Concert Hall. Performers for the concert include: Barbara Kubiak – soprano, Yue Shi – soprano, Agata Schmidt – mezzo-soprano, Yuqiao Song – mezzo-soprano, Erdemutu – tenor, Keqing Liu – baritone, Cheung Chau– conductor, Sinfonietta Polonia and the Chinese National Symphony Orchestra Chorus. The concert featured three compositions by Szymanowski—Stabat Mater, Op. 53; Love Songs of Hafiz, Op. 26, and Songs of the Infatuated Muezzin, Op. 42—as well as Chinese composer Quan Xia’s Requiem for the Earth Love.

Love Songs of Hafiz was inspired by thirteenth century Persian poetry, translated by Hans Bethge. The rare melody and clear instrumentation mark the heights reached by European orchestral song at the end of the Romantic period.

By contrast, Szymanowski’s later works included oriental-inspired elements and a new sound aesthetic in terms of tone. One such piece is the “Pieśni muezina szalonego” [Song of the Muezzin], inspired by the songs of muezzins during Islamic holy days. This work is characterized by a strong erotic element—an impassioned sense of love, which borders on idol-worship and serves as a means of transposing love onto a God-like figure.

A different religious context is reflected in the Stabat Mater, written by Szymanowski after the tragic death of his niece, Alusa. The composition refers to the Mary’s grief during the crucifixion. The piece has been hailed as one of Szymanowski’s most accomplished works.

The last piece in the concert’s program—Reqiem for the Earth by Chinese composer Guan Xia—is a memorial for the more than 69,000 victims of the Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008. Many millions of people also lost their homes in the earthquake. The composer strived to include classical elements of Western requiems alongside characteristics typical of Chinese music.

The piece is made up of four parts, entitled as follows: “Looking at the Stars”, “Heavenly Wind and Earthly Fire”, “Unbound Love”, and “The Wing’s of Angels”. Each piece describes a different scene – meditations over nature [and] great love; the type that gives hope to people and strength in the face of adversity…and lends itself to an idealised world. The composition makes use of a special type of flute, the so-called ‘flute quiang’ used by a minority of peoples in the Quiang province of Wenchuan. A traditional requiem normally finishes with a silent ‘extinguishing’. In Chinese requiems, the opposite is true. The ending is meant to convey strength of sprit and the might of the Chinese. [Guan Xia]

[Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Photo: Michał Włoch]

“A Symphony or a concerto?”

The symphonic concert on August 7 featured pianist Maria Masycheva with Sinfonietta Polonia and conductor Cheung Chau performing Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 4 Symphonie Concertante, Op. 60 for piano and orchestra as well as Symphony No. 2 in B-major, Op. 10. The concert takes place in the Beijing Concert Hall—China’s first professional concert hall and currently one of the main Chinese performance spaces for international classical music.

The concert’s title—“A Symphony or a concerto?”—refers to the Symphony No. 4, which exhibits elements of both a symphony and a concerto. The piece, with its tripartite nature, was written by Szymanowski to include both solo parts, very much informed by a concerto style, as well as strong orchestral themes. The first part is light and lyrical, followed by a more sentimental nocturne, whilst the third part is lively and folkloric. The piece is characterized by its energy and dynamism.

The Symphony No. 2 in B-major is regarded as one of Szymanowski’s most accomplished orchestral works and one of the most important pieces in the history of Polish symphonic music. It represents a more accomplished technical phase within the composer’s repertoire. Although the style of the composition is stylistically closer to Late Romanticism, one can still “clearly start to hear Szymanowski – with his individual ‘blurring’ of the string verse and placing it in a high register, in his ecstatic exhausting [of the melody], through the great waves of emotion, from the quick change from lyricism to rapture, from drama to sudden calm” claims Tadeusz A. Zieliński.

[Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute]

“History of Friendship”

On August 8, the Polish-American group Atma Trio (Sławomir Dobrzański – piano, Blanka Bednarz – violin, Cheung Chau – cello) performed a chamber concert showcasing the collaborative musical works of Karol Szymanowski and Paweł Kochański. The program consisted of works that not only reflect the two artists’ friendship, but also the fruits of their musical collaboration. There were compositions by Szymanowski: Myths for violin and piano, Op. 30 and Nocturne & Tarantela, Op. 28. There were also works by Szymanowski that were transcribed for violin and piano by Kochański: selection from the ballet Harnasie and “Roxana’s Song” from the opera King Roger (featuring cello and piano transcription by Andrzej Orkisz and Jerzy Lefeld). And finally, songs for violin and piano co-composed by Szymanowski and Kochański: Danse sauvage and L’Aube .

Paweł Kochański, an accomplished violinist and composer, very much inspired Szymanowski and helped the composer in developing his own individual style. He took part in assisting Szymanowski with many of the latter’s compositions and also transcribed his orchestral works for violin and piano. He was also the first to perform the violin parts for many of his friend’s public performances.

15 years after composing his Myths, Szymanowski himself admited: “[…] Along with Paweł we created a new style, a new expression in violin playing in Myths and the Concerto, albeit also one that was completely fitting with the era.”

The concert program also included the chamber piece Trio in G minor, Op. 8 by Frederick Chopin, which the composer began in 1828 whilst still a teenager. The work was later published in Lipsk in 1832 and is composed of four parts. The first part has a sonata allegro form, the second is an interesting combination of a meneut and a mazurka, whilst the slow third part is an adagio. The last part of the piece is based on a Polish national dance called the Krakowiak. The piano part dominates in a piece that also utilizes violin and cello.

This concert also included narration, provided in Chinese by Cheung Chau and in English by Blanka Bednarz and Sławomir Dobrzański.

“Chopin & Szymanowski – Polish Musical Genius”

The final Festival concert on August 9 featured a symphonic program dedicated to two of Poland’s most accomplished composers. It took place in China’s Forbidden City Concert Hall, which was built in 1942 and completely restored in 1997. Performers included Sinfonietta Polonia led by Cheung Chau, with soloists Anna Maria Staśkiewicz, violin and Maria Masycheva, piano. The program included Fryderyk Chopin’s Grande Valse Brillante in E-major, Op. 18 (transcribed for orchestra by Zdzisław Szostak) and Concerto in E minor for piano and orchestra, Op. 11, as well as Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35.

Among his eighteen waltz’s, Chopin only published a mere eight. The first of these was the Waltz in E-major, composed in 1833. In accordance to Chopin’s other works, the piece carried the title of Grande Valse Brillante and is an example of forming simple dance styles with excelled compositional skill. With an orchestral arrangement by Zdzisław Szostak, the piece is one of the composer’s most often performed works.

The Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35 was composed by Karol Szymanowski for his closest friend, the accomplished pianist Paweł Kochański. The violinist also helped prepare the concerto and was the first to perform it in a concert given in New York. The piece is regarded as the first modern work of its kind. The composer chose not to use the aesthetics of nineteenth century—romanticism within the major-minor system—instead replacing dramatic expression with emotive expression, endowing the compositions with expressionist tones. The innovative musical language of Szymanowski is based on contrasts between the emotional lyricism of the violin parts and the dramatic inclusion of the orchestra. From its first performances, the piece was a critical and commercial success. A Parisian reviewer recalls in 1925 that: “You could say that [in this concert] the landscape is constantly changing—like in a film”

Closing the evening will be Chopin’s Concerto in E minor for piano and orchestra, Op. 11, which follows the classical style of Wolfgang Amadeusz Mozart. The middle larghetto is set in the form of a nocturne, whilst the final part is a clearly influenced by the dynamic Krakowiak.

[Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute]

Transatlanyk Film & Music Festival

From August 5-18, 2011, the first annual Transatlantyk International Film and Music Festival will take place in Pozńan, Poland. Both legendary and up-and-coming artists, as well as representatives from all film and music professions, will participate in competitions, masterclasses, film screenings and concerts of music from around the world.

The creator and director of this Festival is Oscar-winning Polish film composer, Jan A. P. Kaczmarek. In 2010 the composer opened his own European film institute—Instytut Rozbitek—also based in Pozńan. Inspired by the Sundance Institute, the Rozbitek Institute and subsequent Transatlantyk Festival are dedicated to the development of new work in the areas of film, theatre, music and new media.

According to Kaczmarek, the Transatlantyk Festival will:

 “…provide a new artistic platform aimed at building a stronger relationship between society, art and the environment through music and movies. It strives to inspire discussions on current social issues. Transatlantyk will be Glocal*, Open and Bold.

*…local in actions and identity, while at the same time global in terms of understanding the consequences and context of its actions.

The Festival will also include Transatlantyk Film Music Competition. On August 9-10, there will be an Instant Composition Contest during which participants will view a short film and improvise a piano solo, on the spot, in front of a live audience to be judged by an international jury. On August 12, during the Festival’s closing gala, the first winner of the Young Composer Award will be announced from amongst the following 10 finalists: Monika Cybulska (Poland), Natali Drosou (Greece, Poland/Great Britain), Natalia Villanueva Garcia (Columbia/Austria), Vasco Hexel (Germany/Great Britain), Krzysztof Janczak (Poland/France), Matthijs Kieboom (Holland), Garth Neustadter (USA), Arturas Saskinas (Lithuania), Moritz Schmittat (Germany/Great Britain), and Mikołaj Stroiński (Poland/USA).

[Sources: transatlantyk.org, culture.pl]

Chopin & His Europe

The 7th edition of the ‘Chopin and his Europe’ International Music Festival will take place from August 16 – September 1, 2011 in Warsaw. This year’s theme is “From Mahler to Liszt and Noskowski,” and most concert programs are focused on the sources of Chopin’s inspiration in other European composers from the baroque era onwards.

As with previous editions, this year the Festival presents an impressive cast of exceptional personalities of the piano word, such as: Elisabeth Leonskaja, Dina Yoffe, Ingrid Flitter, Plamena Mangova, Janina Fiałkowska, Alexander Lonquich, Denis Matsuev, Dmitri Alexeev, Alexei Lubimov, Nelson Goerner and Janusz Olejniczak. Also featured are the great individualities of the last Chopin Piano Competition: Yulianna Avdeeva, Evgenij Bozhanov, Daniil Trifonov, François Dumont, Leonora Armellini and also Paweł Wakarecy and Irene Veneziano. Another important pianist on the program is Jan Lisiecki (16), whose international successful career started during the 4th edition of the Festival. The success of the recording of Lisiecki’s performance of Chopin’s piano concertos during the Festival resulted in a recording contract with the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon.

Apart from the recitals, symphonic and oratorio concerts, outstanding chamber concerts will take place. Martha Argerich will return to the Festival on Aug. 17 for a performance of the Piano Quintet by Juliusz Zarębski. Argerich will share the stage with winners of Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition, Bartłomiej Nizioł (I violin) and Agata Szymczewska (II violin), and the Busoni Competition, Lilya Zilberstein (piano). Another chamber concert will be devoted entirely to Polish music (Aug. 25) with a program of works by Józef Krogulski, Zygmunt Noskowski, Andrzej Panufnik, Krzysztof Penderecki and featuring José Gallardo (piano), Janusz Wawrowski (violin), Anna Maria Staśkiewicz (violin), Artur Rozmysłowicz (viola), Katarzyna Budnik (viola), Bartosz Koziak (cello), Marcin Zdunik (cello), Kornel Wolak (clarinet), Jan Krzeszowiec (flute), Grzegorz Mondry (horn) and Tomasz Januchta (bass).

The organizers have invited many highly valued choirs and orchestras, such as Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Russian National Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, Collegium Vocale Gent & Accademia Chigiana Siena and Camerata Silesia. Among the conductors invited to the festival there are such world-famous personalities as: Philippe Herreweghe, Vladimir Jurowski, Mikhail Pletnev, Jacek Kaspszyk, Augustin Dumay and Howard Shelley (last two artists will also perform as soloists).

Historical performances will again have an important place in the festival program. Festival organizers the Fryderyk Chopin Institute has enlarged its collection of pianos by a unique Erard piano from 1838, thus this year four period pianos will be available for the pianists, as opposed to three in previous years. For the first time in Poland the music of Brahms, Liszt and Noskowski will be played on these historical instruments.

For the ceremonial ending of the festival, a concert of solidarity with Japan after the tragic earthquake has been prepared. On September 1 in the Church of the Holy Cross, pianist Janusz Olejniczak and Camerata Silesia with the Katowice City Singers’ Ensemble will present an extraordinary and very rarely played composition written by Liszt: Via Crucis. The program of this concert will also include two pieces by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu performed by Akane Sakai and Jakub Waszczeniuk.

For a full program of concerts, visit chopin.nifc.pl.

[Source: chopin.nifc.pl]

Warsaw New City Festival

The 4th New City Summer Festival will take place in Warsaw from July 30 – August 14, 2011. The main goal of the festival is to present Polish music from all different ages of Polish history. In addition to presentations of known works of famous Polish composers, the world premiere of the Concert for Bassoon and String Orchestra, op. 5, by Witold Rowicki (1914-1989)—founder and former conductor of the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra—will also take place. Works of Frederick Chopin, Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński, Mieczysław Karlowicz and Ignacy Jan Paderewski will also be performed during the program.

Organized by the Warsaw Camerata Orchestra and FNOK, the Festival is not only a musical event, but also an opportunity to meet artists and composers. Composer and conductor Maciej Zoltowski, singer Richard Berkeley, and lutist Jerzy Zak will present pieces from their newest CDs. Other performers include Camerata Vistula, Warsaw Camerata Orchestra, Anna Karasińska – soprano, Wachnik Trio, Anna Wróbel – cello and Leszek Wachnik – oboe, among others.

[Source: polmic.pl

Augustyn Featured In Denmark

Celebrating their 60th and 80th birthdays respectively, Polish composer Rafal Augustyn and Danish composer Ib Nørholm will be the central figures of the 2011 Rudersdal Sommerkoncerter Festival. The Festival will be held from July 28 – August 20 at several locations around Copenhagen, Denmark.

Rudersdal Sommerkoncerter was launched last year to great success. This year, 10 concerts will be performed by the best Danish and foreign ensembles, including the Polish ensemble Airis Quartet—winners of the “Danish-Polish Friendship Prize” at the 2010 International Contemporary Chamber Music Competition in Kraków—who will perform string quartets by Augustyn (No. 1), Nørholm (No. 3, “Fra mit grønne herbarium”), and Szymanowski (No. 2). The Festival will feature music of various eras and styles—from Baroque compositions by Vivaldi and Handel to the romantic works of Schumann and Brahms, plus the newest works of this year’s featured composers, Nørholm and Augustyn, and ending in a festive concert of traditional klezmer music.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Festival Of Musical Gardens

From July 15 – Aug. 14, 2011, the 11th Festival of Musical Gardens [Festiwal Ogrody Muzyczne] is taking place in the great courtyard of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The subject of this year’s program is the creations of Polish artists who have engraved themselves into the history of European culture.  This year’s Festival is made possible by support from the Presidential Polish Culture Program in the European Union.

Throughout the festival, there will be 9 concerts and over 20 audiovisual projects, including 5 operas, 5 ballets, and 13 films about art and cultural productions.  The Festival will feature exceptional foreign guests including tango vocalist Silvana Deluigi, actress Isabel Karajan, the vocal ensemble Karuzela Group, and the classical-pop vocal group the Swingle Singers.

Entitled “Pole, Hungarian – Two Brothers,” the inaugural concert of the Festival included pieces by Polish and Hungarian composers of the 20th century such as Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly, Witold Lutosławski, and Karol Szymanowski.  The concert was performed under the baton of Tadeusz Wojciechowski by the Polish Symphony Orchestra Iuventus with soloist, the prominent Hungarian pianist Balint Zsoldos.

Other performers will include the Daroch Trio, mezzosoprano Anna Radziejewska and the Chopin Gypsy Orchestra, among many others. Operas to be performed during the Festival include Pasażerka by Mieczysław Weinberg and King Roger by Karol Szymanowski.

For a full program of the Festival, visit polmic.pl.

[Source: polmic.pl, ogrodymuzyczne.pl]

Chopin Summer Recitals

The months of July, August and September are devoted to the well-established concert series featuring Chopin’s music at the manor house in Żelazowa Wola and in Łazienki Park in Warsaw. Young pianists are featured on Saturdays throughout the summer and early fall in the park—this tradition of performing en plain air under the Chopin monument in Łazienki Park dates back to 1959. On Sundays, well-known pianists perform at Chopin’s birthplace at Żelazowa Wola in the peaceful Mazovian plains West of Warsaw. Continuing another long tradition, each Sunday afternoon ther are two concerts—one at noon, another at 4 p.m.—presenting some of today’s greatest pianists from Poland, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Romania, Lithuania, Slovenia, the Ukraine and South Korea.

Every year at the beginning of August, crowds of music lovers come to International Chopin Piano Festivals in Duszniki-Zdrój to listen to the most outstanding pianists from around the world. The Festival has taken place in Duszniki-Zdrój since 1946 as a celebration of Fryderyk Chopin’s stay and concert in Duszniki-Zdrój in 1826. Audiences can listen to the best interpretations of his works and those of other composers played in the same concert room in which Chopin once played. All most eminent pianists awarded with the most prestigious prizes of international pianist contests have so far taken part in the Festival. These include: Halina Czerny-Stefańska, Stefan Askenaze, Światosław Richter, Stanisław Neuhaus, Garrick Ohlsson, Piotr Paleczny, Dang Tahai Son, Krystian Zimerman, Arkadi Volodos, Yundi Li and Rafał Blechacz.

[Source:chopin.nifc.pl, pl2011.eu]


Górecki/Rivera In Colorado

On July 7 and 8, soprano Jessica Rivera and the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, conducted by Michael Christie, performed Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Symphony No.3 ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’ in Boulder, CO. Entitled “Rediscovered Masters,” the program also included Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing and Weinberg’s Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes. The concert was a part of the Colorado Music Festival and was held in the Chautaqua Auditorium.

An excerpt from a review by Kelley Dean Hansen for The Daily Camera:

[T]hose who braved the rain to go to Chautauqua Auditorium Thursday evening were rewarded with a deeply moving, heartfelt, and mesmerizing interpretation by the Colorado Music Festival orchestra. The Grecki [sic!] symphony is only effective with a soprano soloist who is capable of great nuance, and music director Michael Christie turned to a familiar face from his triumphant performance of Golijov’s “Ainadamar” in 2007, Jessica Rivera. Her impeccable control and subtlety lent the three Polish-language texts, with a similar theme but from different sources, an appropriately subdued tragedy that was infused with unmistakable hope.

Continue reading this review here.

[Sources: boosey.com, dailycamera.com]

Kapuściński Performs In SD

In response to the 2011 theme of the San Diego Museum of Art’s Summer Salon SeriesWhat does a city need?–performers on the evening of July 28 considered the idea of Economy and Social Consumerism. On this theme, Polish composer and pianist Jaroslaw Kapuściński presented an intermedia recital featuring four of his works for piano: Mondrian Variations (1992), Catch the Tiger! 2.0 (2001), Oli’s Dream (2008) and Juicy (2009).

As seen at the PMC’s Polish Music: the New Generation concert in March 2011, Kapuściński creates media compositions in which projections of videos and computer-generated graphics are controlled as he plays piano. Abstract or figurative, lighthearted or political, his material is meticulously woven into a contrapuntal texture of sounds, images and words.  At the heart of it lies a concern with clarity – a paradox: what is inherently multidimensional and complex, is presented through a lens of unity and simplicity.

[Source: sdmart.org]

Education Through Music L.A. Benefit

On Sunday, July 31, the Mythos: A Journey Through Today’s Voices benefit was held at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. The program included selections by film, videogame, and concert composers including Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki and USC Thornton professor Morten Lauridsen, as well as Eric Whitacre, John Corigliano, John Williams, Danny Elfman, Gernot Wolfgang, Christopher Tin, Gerard Marino, Garry Schyman, and World Premieres by USC Thornton professor Neal Desby, Jeremy Howard Beck, and Austin Wintory.

Many of the artists who performed will be well known to PMC audiences, including members of Midnight Winds (Amy Tatum – flute, Jennifer Johnson – oboe, Andrew Leonard – clarinet, Maciej Flis – bassoon and Allen Fogle – horn) and pianist Robert Edward Thies, as well as Ayana Haviv – soprano, Angie Solomon – soprano, Steve Erdody – cello, Charissa Barger – harp, Sidney Hopson – percussion, and the Chorus of Los Angeles Premiere Singers. 100% of the evenings’ proceeds went to benefit Education Through Music-Los Angeles.

Education Through Music – Los Angeles (ETM-LA) began in the Fall of 2006 to provide and promote the integration of music into disadvantaged schools to enhance students’ academic performance and general development. ETM-LA believes every child deserves a well-rounded education that includes music. It forms long-term partnerships with inner-city elementary schools and helps the schools embrace music as a core subject by involving all members of the school community.

[Source: press release]


Acte Preablable – World Premiere Recordings

Dariusz Mazurowski – electronic music
Dariusz Mazurowski (1966): Pseudaria, Divertimento

In the circle of Nadia Boulanger
Antoni Szałowski (1907 – 1973) – Sonata pour hautbois et piano; Grażyna Bacewicz (1909 – 1969) – Sonata for oboe and piano, Sonatina for oboe and piano, Sonata da camera; Jerzy Bauer (1936) – Dualisty
Mieczysław Pawlak, oboe; Barbara Trojanowska, violin; Elżbieta Tyszecka, piano

New works for flute by Poznań-based composers
Barbara Kaszuba – Geysir; Maria Ćwiklińska – Variations on a Polish folk songs for 2 flutes; Artur Kroschel – Traverse modulation; Janusz Stalmierski – Three shepherds
Ewa Murawska, flute; Áshildur Haraldsdóttir, flute; Gro Sandvik, flute

Zygmunt Noskowski – Chamber works 3
Zygmunt Noskowski (1846-1909): Trois pieces pour violon et piano op. 24; Chansonnette d’Ukraine op. 26 no. 2a; Berceuse op. 11; Sonata for violin and piano in A minor
Jolanta Sosnowska, violin; Donát Deaky, piano

Koszewski – Szeligowski – Panufnik: Piano trios
Andrzej Koszewski (1922) – Trio for violin, cello and piano (1950); Tadeusz Szeligowski (1899-1963) – Trio for piano, violin and cello; Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991) – Piano trio
Poznańskie Trio Fortepianowe: Laura Sobolewska – piano, Anna Ziółkowska – violin, Dagny Czarnecka – cello

Zygmunt Stojowski: Complete Works for Violin and Piano
Zygmunt Stojowski (1870-1946): Sonata for violin and piano no. 1 in G major, op. 13; Sonata for violin and piano no. 2 in E major, op. 37; Romance for violin and piano, op. 20; Mélodie for violin and piano; Aubade for violin and piano
Irena Kalinowska-Grohs – violin and Barbara Pakura – piano

Soyka Sings Miłosz

Soyka śpiewa Miłosza
Songs to text by Czesław Miłosz: Stary człowiek ogląda TV; Na cześć księdza Baki; Piosenka pasterska; Zapomnij; Który skrzywdziłeś…; Po osiemdziesiątce; Jasności promieniste; Brat Naszego Boga
Stanisław Soyka – vocals, piano, guitar, violin; Janusz Yanina Iwański – guitar (3,4,7); Przemek Greger: guitar (3,4,5,7); Czesław Mozil: vocals (2), akordeon (2,7)
Universal Records Polska

A recording of settings of texts by Nobel Prize-winning poet, Czesław Miłosz, made by Stanisław Sojka – Polish jazz and pop singer, pianist and composer. Released for the 100th anniversary of Miłosz’s birth.

Read a review in English at biweekly.pl. Read a preview in Polish at cgm.pl.

[Sources: biweekly.pl, soyka.pl]


Born This Month

  • August 4, 1879 – Józef REISS, musicologist, Polish music expert (d. 1956)
  • August 7, 1935 – Monika (Izabela) GORCZYCKA, musicologist (d. 1962)
  • August 8, 1946 – Mieczyslaw MAZUREK, composer, teacher, choral conductor
  • August 8, 1897 – Stefan SLEDZINSKI, conductor, musicologist
  • August 10, 1914 – Witold MALCUZYNSKI, pianist, student of Lefeld
  • August 11, 1943 – Krzysztof MEYER, composer, musicologist
  • August 17, 1907 – Zygmunt MYCIELSKI, composer, writer
  • August 18, 1718 – Jacek SZCZUROWSKI, composer, Jesuit, priest (d. after 1773)
  • August 20, 1889 – Witold FRIEMAN, composer, pianist
  • August 21, 1933 – Zbigniew BUJARSKI, composer
  • August 22, 1924 – Andrzej MARKOWSKI, composer and conductor
  • August 23, 1925 – Wlodzimierz KOTONSKI, composer
  • August 28, 1951 – Rafal AUGUSTYN, composer, music critic
  • August 29, 1891 – Stefan STOINSKI, music etnographer, organizer, conductor (d. 1945)


Died This Month

  • August 15, 1898 – Cezar TROMBINI, singer, director of Warsaw Opera (b. 1835)
  • August 15, 1936 – Stanislaw NIEWIADOMSKI, composer, music critic
  • August 17, 1871 – Karol TAUSIG, pianist and composer, student of Liszt (b. 1841)
  • August 21 1925 – Karol NAMYSLOWSKI, folk musician, founder of folk ensemble
  • August 22, 1966 – Apolinary SZELUTO, composer and pianist
  • August 23, 1942 – Waclaw WODICZKO, conductor (b. 1858), grandfather of Bohdan, conductor
  • August 27, 1865 – Józef NOWAKOWSKI, pianist, composer, student of Elsner, friend of Chopin
  • August 29, 1886 – Emil SMIETANSKI, pianist, composer (b. 1845)