Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 17, no. 9

PMC News

2011 Paderewski Lecturer: PAWEŁ ŁUKASZEWSKI

It is clear that Polish composer Paweł Łukaszewski belongs to this company of titans…

I found myself amazed at each subtle harmonic surprise, at each stunningly apt underlining of a phrase… Do not hesitate.

Ronald E. Grames—review of 2008 Hyperion recording in Fanfare Magazine

Composer and conductor Paweł Łukaszewski was born in 1968 into a family of musicians in Częstochowa, Poland. His compositions—especially his extensive catalogue of sacred choral music—has their roots in the neo-mediaeval tonality and spiritual tradition espoused by such composers as Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Arvo Pärt, John Taverner and Morten Lauridsen.

Working within what the composer describes as a “renewed tonality,” Łukaszewski achieves surprisingly rich and subtle expressive results. The use of major and minor modes in Łukaszewski’s music serves only as a point of departure for his highly subjective musical style which, especially in the realm of vocal compositions, is inspired by texts he is setting to music.Łukaszewski’s highly individual musical language, rhythmic vitality, careful formal layout in all of his works, as well as his profound understanding of the liturgical texts in the Catholic rite combine to produce music that is strikingly traditional yet fully modern.

Several of Paweł Łukaszewski’s compositions will be heard at the 2011 Paderewski Lecture-Recital, an annual event presented by the Polish Music Center that features a modern Polish composer. This year’s Paderewski Lecture will take place on Thursday, October 6, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. at Newman Recital Hall on the USC Campus. This event is free and open to the public.

The composer will travel to Los Angeles on a travel grant from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute‘s 2011 “Kultura Polska Na Świecie” [Polish Culture Worldwide] program to work with students from the USC Thornton School of Music and deliver his Paderewski Lecture. Mr. Łukaszewski’s lecture, entitled “My Sacred Music – Composer’s Credo,” will be followed by a performance of selected vocal and choral works.

 Baritone Dan Gibbs, a master’s degree student in the studio of Professor Rod Gilfry at the USC Thornton School of Music will present two songs for voice and piano based on poems by Czesław Miłosz—the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate, whose centenary is being celebrated this year. Soprano Sewan Howsepian Salmasi, a DMA student in the studio of Professor Elizabeth Hynes at the USC Thornton School of Music will perform Łukaszewski’s Four Haikus for voice and piano to texts by Basho, Buson, Kyorai, Saimaro, Issa, and Taigi, translated into the Polish by Agnieszka Żuławska-Umeda. Pianist Grace Chung, a master’s degree candidate in the Thornton Keyboard Collaborative Arts program will perform as accompanist.

Finally, Thornton Associate Professor of Practice of Choral Music, Maestro Nick Strimple will lead the Vocal Ensemble of the Polish Music Center in Łukaszewski’s O Adonai, Two Lenten Motets, and Angelus Domini. Describing the 2008 recording of Mr. Łukaszewski’s choral works on the Hyperion label (CDA67639), English reviewer Patric Stanford remarked on the “… remarkably expressive quality” of the Antiphonae and likened Łukaszewski’s music to “pure magic.”

Paweł Łukaszewski began his musical journey by studying cello in his native city of Częstochowa and graduating with distinction in 1987. He continued cello studies at the Warsaw Academy of Music and graduated with a diploma in 1992. Afterwards he studied composition with Professor Marian Borkowski in Warsaw and choral conducting with Ryszard Zimak at the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz. By 2007 Mr. Łukaszewski completed his doctorate in composition degree and currently he holds a title of professor at the Chopin University in Warsaw. Over the past decade Mr. Łukaszewski was invited as visiting professor to universities in Chile and Argentina, and has held a series of lectures in France, Germany, Spain, and Norway.

Mr. Łukaszewski’s compositions have been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including the Tadeusz Baird Young Composers’ Competition, the Young Composers’ Forum in Kraków, the Warsaw Music Academy Competition, the Adam Didur Composers’ Competition, and the Florilege Vocal de Tours Competition in France. He was also given the Częstochowa City Award in 1995, was decorated with the Cavalier’s Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order in 1998, the Saint Albert Brother Award in 2006 and the Silver Gloria Artis Medal and Primate of Poland Award in 2011. Recordings of Mr. Łukaszewski’s works won the prestigious Fryderyk Awards in 1999, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2011, and he has been named the City of Warsaw scholarship recipient in 2010.

Finding a wide appeal among the audiences and performers, Paweł Łukaszewski’s compositions have been heard at over one hundred festivals in Poland and abroad and recorded for over seventy different labels, including Hyperion, Acte Préalable, Polskie Nagrania, DUX, Musica Sacra Edition, and Signum Records. Over fifty of his compositions were published by Chester-Novello, PWM Kraków, Edition Ferrimontana, Edizioni Carrara, Lorenz Corporation, and Choris Mundi. Mr. Łukaszewski’s music was featured in performances throughout Europe as well as in Argentina, Chile, China, Israel, Cuba, Canada, South Korea, Peru, Uruguay and the United States.

Since 1995, Mr. Łukaszewski has served as the Secretary and the Program Director of the Laboratory for Contemporary Music International Festival, and since 2000 he has been president of the Musica Sacra Society. Mr. Łukaszewski is also a member of the ZAIKS Society and the Board of the Polish Recording Academy. He serves on the boards of international festivals, including the Gaude Mater Sacred Music Festival in Częstochowa, and as jury member for composition competitions in Arrezzo, Moscow, Bucharest, Katowice, Bydgoszcz, Legnica, Warsaw, and Częstochowa. In addition to his activities as composer, Mr. Łukaszewski directs the Cathedral Choir of the Warsaw-Praga and heads the Musica Sacra Publishing Company.

Mr. Łukaszewski’s choral works include the cycles Beatus vir (1996-2001), Antiphonae (1995-1999), Veni Creator (2004), Stabat Mater (1994), Pięć żałobnych pieśni kurpiowskich [Five Funeral Songs from the Kurpie Region] (2009), Responsoria tenebrae (2010), and Lamentationes (2011). The catalogue of his vocal-instrumental compositions includes Vesperae pro defunctis (1995/2011), Via Crucis (2000), Messa per voci e fiati (2004), Magnificat & Nunc dimittis (2007), Miserere (2008), and Missa de Maria a Magdala (2010) and three large-scale symphonies.

Mr. Łukaszewsk is also a prolific orchestral composer, including Arrampicata (1992), Winterreise (1993), Organ Concerto (1996), Concerto for Orchestra (1997), Sinfonietta (2004), Divertimento (2006), Trinity Concerto (2007), and Utopia (2008).

Over the past two decades, Mr. Łukaszewski has received numerous commissions from such diverse organizations and performers as Theatre des Cinq Diamants, Polish Radio, Musica Viva Association, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso, Akademie Klausenhof, Kobe Chuo Chorus, Polish Composers’ Union, Britten Sinfonia, Contemporary Music for All, Kultur-Insel, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, The King’s Singers, and Wrocław Philharmonic.

Thursday, October 6, 2011| 7:30 p.m.
2011 Paderewski Lecture-Recital: featuring Paweł Łukaszewski
University of Southern California – Newman Recital Hall (See AHF on map)
3616 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA
Admission: FREE, Parking: $8
Enter USC Gate #3 at McCarthy Way & Figueroa St (Parking Structure X)
Info: 213. 821.1356 | polmusic@thornton.usc.edu

[Sources: hyperion-records.co.uk, lukaszewski.org.uk, Photo: nickstrimple.com]

Gifts to PMC

Our friends and partners at the Polish Music Information Centre in Warsaw recently sent us another priceless gift—the Sound Chronicle of the 2009 Warsaw Autumn Festival. This is a set of 10 CDs and a booklet with detailed information on concerts, composers, programs, and other Festival-related matters. These chronicles of one of the most prestigious contemporary music festivals are a great resource for students, faculty and researchers from all over the world who are using the Polish Music Center. Thank you, Mietek Kominek and all of our collaborators at POLMIC!

Bruzdowicz in the Polish Music Center at USC.
Photo: Maja Trochimczyk, 2001

Another friend of the Polish Music Center and former Paderewski Lecturer, Joanna Bruzdowicz-Titel sent the scores of three of her piano compositions to our library:

  • Erotiques pour piano seul (1966)
  • Sonate d’Octobre – In memoriam 16 Octobre 1978 élection du Pape Jean-Paul II (1978)
  • 16 Tableaux d’une Exposition Salvador Dalí (2004)

We are looking forward to programming at least one of these works at a special PMC concert next spring. Thank you, Joanna!

Barbara Berska, Deputy Director of Poland’s National Archives, donated a beautifully-produced and very informative volume, Pamięć państw i narodówLista światowa Programu UNESCO Pamięć Świata [Memory of States and Nations—World Register of UNESCO Program, Memory of the World] to the Polish Music Center.

This attractive, hard-bound volume contains information about various archives and important manuscript collections around the world and will certainly become a solid reference resource to students, faculty and other researchers using our library. Thank you, Director Berska!

Gary Fitelberg—relative of prominent Polish composers Grzegorz Fitelberg and Jerzy Fitelberg (father and son)—has initiated the Grzegorz Fitelberg & Jerzy Fitelberg Music Collection at the PMC. This collection will serve as a resource for Fitelberg scholars by eventually housing PDF copies of all of the works by this family of composers.

The first two works now available are:

  • Grzegorz Fitelberg: Sonata for Violin & Piano No. 2, Op. 12
  • Grzegorz Fitelberg: Symphony, Op. 16

Thank you, Gary – we look forward to growing this unique collection!


Warsaw Autumn Premieres

As is the tradition of Warsaw Autumn Festival of Contemporary Music (WA 2011), this year’s 54th edition will feature many World Premieres during its run from September 16-24, 2011. Several of these new works were commissioned by the Festival. Below is a listing of all of the works by Polish composers that will be premiered during the Festival week.

On September 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Polish Radio’s Lutosławski Concert Studio, Paweł Hendrich’s Emergon αß (WA commission) will be premiered by Cologne’s musikFabrik ensemble with guests: Carl Rosman, contrabass clarinet; Dirk Rothbrust, percussion; Paweł Hendrich, computer; and Sian Edwards, conductor. On September 20 at 7:30 p.m., also in the Lutosławski Concert Studio, Agata Zubel’s Ulicami ludzkiego miasta [The Streets of Human City] (a Deutschlandfunk commission) will be premiered by the European Workshop for Contemporary Music with Rüdiger Bohn, conductor. On September 24 at noon, Zorka Wollny and Artur Zagajewski’s creation Oratorio for Orchestra and Warsaw Citizens’ Choir will be premiered “spontaneously” by the Akwarium Big Band and the Warsaw Citizens’ Choir, with Ryszard Borowski conducting. During the final gala concert of the Festival on September 24 at 7:30 p.m., Breaking News (WA commission) by Aleksander Nowak (right) and Andrzej Krzanowski’s Symphony No. 1 will have their world premieres. The final gala will be performed by Agata Zubel, soprano; Jadwiga Rappé, alto; Sylwester Smulczyński, tenor; Piotr Sałajczyk, electronics; and the Warsaw Philharmonic and the choir of the Podlasie Opera & Philharmonic in Białystok with Lucas Vis, conductor.

This year, the Festival has focused on young audience members with a new series of concerts and events entitled “Little Warsaw Autumn.” As a part of this series, Patryk Zakrocki’s sound installation Melodeusz (WA commission) will be presented in the Old Guardhouse in Łazienki Park all day throughout the Festival. On September 18 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Michał Moc’s S.A.N.D (WA commission) will be premiered by the percussion group/artistic collective Ritmodelia and cellists Magdalena Bojanowicz and Michał Pepol, with Michał Moc creating audience animation and Bartłomiej Orlicki creating visuals.

In addition to the fantastic program of the Festival itself, Warsaw Autumn always highlights several fringe events happening concurrently around the city, and these events also include several premieres. On September 19 at 4 p.m., Paweł Buczyński’s Shachrit will be given its World Premiere during a concert organized by the Warsaw branch of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP). Performers are: Sebastian Aleksandrowicz, oboe; Grzegorz Gorczyca, piano; Kamil Walasek, viola; and Tomasz Woźniak, trumpet. Other works on this all-Polish program include: Artur Cieślak – Odcienie ciszy [The Hues of Silence], Piotr Moss – Eledy III – Chants lointains, Sławomir Czarnecki – Interludia Sabałowe [Sabała’s Interludes], Aleksander Kościów – Postlude I, Aldona Nawrocka – Capriccio, and Maciej Zieliński – Lutosławski in memoriam.

Another ZKP fringe event is a series of two concerts organized by the Youth Circle of the Polish Composers’ Union. The first program—built around the theme of Homer’s Odyssey—features young organist/composer Dariusz Przybylski (left) performing an entire program of premieres, including his own compsition. World Premieres include: Dariusz PrzybylskiPrologue, Eunho ChangSanjo V-Fantasia, Kanstantsin YaskouMapa wiecznego powrotu Odyseusza [Map of the Eternal Return of Odysseus], Ralph BernardyTaso, Alexander CampkinBolts of Fire, Jagoda SzmytkaOpen the box #2, Bohdan SehinA jak żeglarze ziemi cieszą się widokiem… [And the sailors enjoying the view of the earth…], and Tomasz Jakub OpałkaEpilogue. These will be performed on September 20 at the Evangelical Reformed Church. The second concert in the series will take place at the Mazovian Regional Center for Culture and Arts on September 22 at 4 p.m. It will include World premieres by Jakub Polaczyk (right)– Chroset I: Mikrons, Jarosław Drozd Przeźrocze paranoi [Slides of Paranoia], and Katarzyna Dziewiątkowska-MleczkoUrban project. Also on the program: Mateusz Ryczek’s Strzępy snu [Shreds of Sleep], and Marcin Piotr Łopacki’s String Trio and String Quartet

To learn more about the Festival overall, see the Festivals Section below.

Wratislavia Cantans Premieres

During the 46th International Festival Wratislavia Cantans—held from September 2–17, 2011—works by Paweł Łukaszewski (b. 1968) and Paweł Szymański (b. 1954) will be given their World Premiere in Wrocław, Poland. Both compositions were commissioned by the Festival.

On September 11, the Festival will hold a concert in commemoration of the World Trade Center tragedy in 2001 during which Paweł Łukaszewski’s Lamentationes will be premiered. This 16-minute composition is based on the text of Prophet Jeremiah’s Lamentations. The work will be performed by Wrocław Philharmonic Choir (pictured below), conducted by Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny. Also on the program are works by Josef Rheinberger (1839–1901).

On September 16, Paweł Szymański’s Phylakterion will be given its premiere. Also on the program: Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933–2010) – Euntes ibant et flebant, Andrzej Krzanowski (1951–1990) – Salve Regina, and Paweł Szymański – In Paradisum deducant te angeli and Miserere. The concert will be performed  by the Zespół Śpiewaków Miasta Katowice Camerata Silesia [Singers’ Corps of Katowice and Camerata Silesia] and the following instrumentalists: Krzysztof Karpeta – cello; Tomasz Daroch – cello; Robert Fender – cello; Wojciech Fudala – cello; Malwina Lipiec – harp; Arkadiusz Kuc – percussion; Tomasz Rawski – percussion; Bartłomiej Merta – percussion; and Anna Szostak – conductor.

Chester Novello, one of Szymański’s publishers, provides this insight into the composer’s compositional approach:

The modern artist, and this includes composers, finds himself tossed within two extremes. If he chooses to renounce the tradition altogether, there is the danger of falling into the trap of blah-blah; if he follows the tradition too closely, he may prove trivial. This is the paradox of practising art in modern times. What is the way out? Since you cannot fully free yourself from the trivial, you need to play a game with it, treat is as a material allowing you to stick to certain elements of the convention, while keeping it at bay through the use of quotation marks, metaphors and paradoxes. Such treatment may result in a tangle of means leading to eclecticism. Censured and rejected in avant-garde times, and, to a large extent, rightly so, eclecticism is now coming back under the guise of postmodernism. However, there are many methods to stay out of eclecticism despite playing games with tradition. An important method for me is to violate the rules of the traditional language and to create a new context using the elements of that language. (“Studio” 1996 No. 9)

The International Festival Wratislavia Cantans is a celebration of oratorio and cantata music that has been taking place in Wrocław, Poland for 46 years. Paul McCreesh has been the Festival’s Artistic Director since 2006 and will continue in this position until 2012, when conductor Giovanni Antonini will take over. Andrzej Kosendiak serves as General Director of the Festival.

For more information about Wratislavia Cantans, please see the full article below in the Festivals section.

[Sources: wratislaviacantans.pl, lukaszewski.org.uk; Photo: filharmonia.wroclaw.pl]

Premieres At Sacrum Profanum

Five top composers of the youngest generation. Five top groups.
Five world premieres in masterful interpretations.
All in honour of Czesław Miłosz.
Only in Krakow.
Only at Sacrum Profanum.

Filip Berkowicz, Artistic Director of the Sacrum Profanum Festival

The theme of this year’s 9th Sacrum Profanum Festival is “Made in Poland – Miłosz Sounds” and, in honor of this theme and the century of the Nobel Prize winner’s centenary, five Polish composers have accepted the invitation to compose pieces inspired by selected texts by Czesław Miłosz. These works will have their World Premiere at the Festival, which will run from September 11-17 in Kraków.

Paweł MykietynDwa Wiersze Miłosza
[Two Verses by Miłosz]
Premiere: September 11, 2011 – Tinning Plant of ArcelorMittal
Performers: Ensemble Modern with Brad Lubman, cond.

Aleksandra Grykaeinerjedeneither
Premiere: September 12, 2011 – Museum of Urban Engineering
Performers: Alarm Will Sound with Alan Pierson, cond.

Wojciech Ziemowit ZychPostgramatyka Miłosza…Teraz szukajcie go w gajach i puszczach słownika [Postgrammar by Miłosz]
Premiere: September 14, 2011 – Museum of Urban Engineering
Performers: Asko | Schönberg with Etienne Siebens, cond.

Agata ZubelAforyzmy na Miłosza[Aphorisms of Milosz]
Premiere: September 15, 2011 – Museum of Urban Engineering
Performers: Agata Zubel, soprano, with Klangforum Wien and Clement Power, cond.

Jagoda Szmytkaelectrified memories of bloody cherries
Premiere: September 16, 2011 – Museum of Urban Engineering
Performers: Bang on a Can All-Stars

The concerts of the Made in Poland – Miłosz Sounds project will be broadcasted by Programme 2 of Polish Radio to member countries of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union). They will also be recorded by the National Audiovisual Institute and prepared for publication in CD/DVD form.

[Sources: pwm.com.pl, culture.pl, sacrumprofanum.com]

Moss Premiere

On September 16, Piotr Moss’ …et seul le silence après eux will be given its World Premiere as part of the French festival Septembre musicale de l’Orne at the cathedral in Vimoutiers. The work is written for soprano solo and orchestra and set to the text of Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński, translated into French by Jean Louis Bauer. Commissioned by the Festival, the new work is dedicated to the memory of Polish soldiers who perished in Normandy during World War II.

The performers included the Cyprian soprano, Zoé Nicolaidou, as well as the L’Ensemble Orchestre de Basse-Normandie under the direction of Jean Deroyer. The Moss premiere will share the program with Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in Stein’s chamber orchestra version. The concert was repeated the following day at the Church of Saint-Eustache in Paris.

A third performance will take place on October 10 with the orchestra in Mondeville, France, where the work will be recorded and released on CD.

[Sources: Joseph Herter, institutpolonais.fr]

Meyer Premiere

Krzysztof Meyer‘s Concerto for Guitar, Tympani and String Orchestra had its World Premiere on August 20, 2011 in Poznań, Poland during the course of the Guitar Festival of the Polish Guitar Academy. Commissioned by the Polish Guitar Academy, the Concerto was presented by the guitarist Lukasz Kuropaczewski and the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Agnieszka Duczmal at the Dominikanie in Poznań. There was also a preliminary performance one day prior to the premiere at the Cathedral of Gniezno.

The composer, born in 1943 in Kraków, has dedicated his Concerto to Łukasz Kuropaczewski, who intends to perform the work many times, including in Łódź in mid-November.

Krzysztof Meyer comments on his work as follows: “I worked on this composition from late 2010 until early 2011. The Concerto is comprised of five symmetrically arranged movements (fast – slow – fast – slow – fast), whereby the final movement has the most weight.

[Source: sikorski.de]

Łukaszewski In Residence At Warsaw Phil

The Warsaw National Philharmonic has invited composer and conductor Paweł Łukaszewski (b. 1968, Częstochowa) to be composer-in-residence for the 2011/2012 season. On September 30 and October 1, the opening concerts of the Warsaw Philharmonic season will feature Łukaszewski’s Symphony No. 1 “Symphony of Providence,” with Maestro Antoni Wit on the podium. Dedicated to the memory of Bohdan Wodiczko, this concert will feature the following soloists: Agata Szymczewska – violin, Anna Mikołajzyk – soprano, Agnieszka Rehlis – mezzosoprano, Jaroslaw Bręk – baritone.

The composer-in-residence program of the Warsaw National Philharmonic was only initiated last year, with Paweł Mykietyn serving as its first honoree. This series provides an opportunity for younger but already established Polish composers to have their music highlighted by the nation’s premiere philharmonic orchestra.

[Source: filharmonia.pl]

‘Contemporary Music Does Not Bite’

The Polish Society for Contemporary Music is organizing a series of meetings with composers entitled “Contemporary Music Does Not Bite” [Muzyka współczesna nie gryzie]. Organized by composer Jarosław Siwiński, these far-ranging discussions are open to the public and will take place on the first Saturdays of the next three months: September 3, October 1, and November 5. Guest composers include Krzysztof Knittel, Romuald Twardowski and Aleksander Kościów. Małgorzata Kołcz—a double bass player, humanist and the organizer of such musical events as Warsaw’s Nowe Miasto Summer Festival and the June 2011 concert of world premieres, “Musical Landscapes of Czesław Miłosz”—will moderate the 90-minute discussion sessions.

The cycle of meetings will include multimedia presentations as well as the use of traditional instruments, and the subsequent discussions will cover the broad range of subjects connected to contemporary musical culture. The goal is to make contemporary music less abstract for audiences by demonstrating how modern technologies can influence composers’ creativity. Discussion topics may include Knittel’s exploration of the unusual properties of the iPhone (a device he utilizes quite often in his compositions) and the laser harp, as well as methods of collective improvisation. Twardowski may share his colorful tales of the “golden years” of the Polish twentieth century avant-garde and his experiences of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. Mr. Kościów—the youngest of the three composers—may address questions of whether or not music conveys anything, the consequences of stylistic variety and mixing genres, and whether imagination as such could be taxed.

All meetings begin at 5 p.m. at Lokal Użytkowy on Brzozowa 27/29 Street in Warsaw’s Old Town quarter. This interesting initiative is sponsored by the Cultural Office of the City of Warsaw and the ZAiKS Authors’ Society, and the Polish Music Information Centre in Warsaw is the media patron.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Music & Politics Conference

The Polish Music Information Center (POLMIC) has organized the annual meeting of the International Association of Music Information Centers (IAMIC) in Warsaw and Radziejowice from September 20-25. Since 1998, POLMIC has been a member of this prestigious society that comprises of 48 national information centers from all over the world. The honor of hosting the conference proves the importance of POLMIC among the members of the group. The meeting will address administrative issues as well as the role of national centers in shaping the public life of their respective societies. This annual meeting takes place during Poland’s presidency of the European Union, which will contribute to the agenda and context of the discussions.

One of the conference’s special topics will be the issue of contemporary music. Under the heading “Music and Politics,” it will be discussed at a day-long session on Saturday, September 24 at the Ballroom of the Tyszkiewicz-Potocki Palace on Krakowskie Przedmieście 32. Several distinguished guests have confirmed their attendance, including the president of Croatia, composer Ivo Josipovitch, Hugo De Greef—the advisor to the Minister of Culture of Flanders, and Hakko Pekka, the cultural attaché of the Embassy of Finland in the United States. Androulli Vassiliou, the deputy of the EU Cultural Commission and Vyatautas Lansbergis, a musicologist and Euro-deputy will also attend. Composers Frederic Rzewski, a long-time spokesman of politically engaged music, and David T. Little are expected at the conference as well. Representatives of Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage will also be on hand. The conference is open to all interested parties. For more details visit: www.iamic2011.pl

[Source: polmic.pl]

PWM-Sikorski Partnership

In July 2011, Polish Music Publishers (PWM) concluded an agreement with another distinguished music publisher—Hans Sikorski Internationale Musikverlage GmbH & Co—to become its sole representative in Poland.

Sikorski Publishing was established in 1935 and is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. It has an extensive catalogue of 20th century composers, including Sergey Prokofiev, Aram Khachaturian, Dmitri Kabalevsky, Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Arvo Pärt, among others. Music by Krzysztof Meyer—a distinguished Polish composer living in Germany—is also in the Sikorski catalogue. According to the agreement, all orchestral materials for concert and stage works will be available in Poland exclusively through PWM’s services.

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

Recent Szymanowski Projects

“Unknown Szymanowski”

On September 9, the Stanisław Moniuszko Poznań Opera Theatre  will premiere a new opera project entitled “Unknown Szymanowski” in Madrid, Spain. The project serves to promote the acclaimed Polish composer abroad and was organized by Poznań’s Teatr Wielki under the auspices of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council.

The project is an intermezzo to Moliere’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme [The Bourgeois Gentleman /The Middle-Class Aristocrat/The Would-Be Noble], and, in addition to works by Karol Szymanowski, music by Richard Strauss and Jean Baptiste Lully will alsobe featured. The concert will explore the far-reaching influence that Szymanowski’s music has had on the wide cultural context of Europe.

The open-air nature of this performance of this “everyman” tale allows for an interactive and participatory performance, while the touring nature of the play ensures that each performance is continually formed anew.

[Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute]

Karol Szymanowski “Music Without Borders”

The Karol Szymanowski “Music Without Borders” project focuses on a universal language of the contemporary world, capable of connecting beyond all divisions—the language of music—by presenting a series of concerts to be given by the Fryderyk Chopin Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra of Gdańsk. Scheduled in Brussels, Minsk and Kiev, the performances are conducted by the ensemble’s artistic director, Kai Bumann. Soloists for the program are violinist Agata Szymczewska and organist Zbigniew Kruczek. The first concert will be held at the Tchaikovsky National Academy of Music in Kiev on September 15.

The I Violin Concert Op. 35 by Karol Szymanowski makes up the axis of the musical performance. This highly emotional piece dedicated to Paweł Kochanowski is considered to be the composer’s greatest triumph. Performing the piece is the 2006 winner of the Henryk Wieniawski violin competition, 26-year-old Agata Szymczewska.

The concert program also includes works recently composed by Polish composers. The program opens with a Polonez composed by Wojciech Kilar for Andrzej Wajda’s film, Pan Tadeusz. Kilar, one of the most renowned Polish composers in the world, has written music for over 130 films. Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra is also included. The composer used Polish folk melodies from the Mazowsze collection of Oskar Kolberg for this skillful arrangement.

[Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute]

Spisak Competition

Named after composer Michał Spisak (1914-1965), a native son of the town of Dąbrowa Górnicza, the 5th International Spisak Music Competition will be held on September 5-14, 2011. Open to performers under 29 years of age, this year’s Competition covers three brass instrument categories: trumpet, French horn, and trombone. There are three rounds in the Competition; during the finals, the soloists will be accompanied by the Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra led by Sławomir Chrzanowski. All auditions are open to the public.

The Competition will begin with a gala concert on September 5 at the Basilica of Our Mother of Angels in Dąbrowa Górnicza. Divertimento by Mikołaj Górecki—a work that was world-premiered by the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio on June 12, 2011 in Poznań—will be among the works performed that night. The program also includes Andante and Allegro by Michał Spisak, Le grande tango for Cello and Orchestra by Astor Piazzolla, and selections from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky. The program will be performed by the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal.

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

Biweekly Composer Focus: Jagoda Szmytka

Jagoda Szmytk (b. Legnica, Poland, 1982) is a composer and sound-space artist. She studied composition in Wrocław, Graz, and Frankfurt under the tutelage of Krystian Kiełb, Cezary Duchnowski, Beata Furrera, Pierluigi Billone, and Gerhard Müller-Hornbach, then began her post-graduate studies under Wolfgang Rihm in 2010. Szmytka is the recipient of numerous scholarships from Polish, German, and Austrian foundations. She has taken part in master workshops conducted by Helmut Lachenmann, Mark Andre, Georg Friedrich Haas, Vinko Globokar, Mauricio Sotelo, and Tristan Murail.

Szmytka’s music has been performed by contemporary music specialists including Orquesta de Radio Television Espanola, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Grup Instrumental de Valencia, Ensemble Interface, Kwartludium, Smash Ensemble, Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, Wrocław Percussion Group, Ulrich Krieger, Daniel Lorenzo, Łukasz Długosz, Anna Kwiatkowska, Elżbieta Woleńska, Małgorzata Walentynowicz, Scott Voyles, Mauricio Sotelo, Jean Deroyer, andArturo Tamayo. It has been programmed at festivals such as the Warsaw Autumn Festival, the KODY Festival (Lublin), Musica Polonica Nova and Musica Electronica Nova (Wrocław), Acanthes (Metz), ENSEMS (Valencia), Donaueschinger Musiktage (Off-Programm), Tokyo Experimental Festival, Audio Art (Kraków), Mediascapes (Graz), and the Interfering Rostrum for Electro-Acoustic Music (Lisbon). She has worked in such institutions as Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) Karlsruhe, Experimentalstudio des SWR Freiburg, Frankfurt-LAB, and Kunsthaus Graz. In the spring of 2011, Szmytka received the prestigious “Staubach Honoraria” award, thanks to which her new composition for Ensemble BESIDES will premiere at the Summer Courses in Darmstadt in 2012.

Monika Pasiecznik of Biweekly begins her article about Szmytka’s category-defying career thus:

Western culture has developed a well-defined hierarchy of the senses in which smell, touch, taste, and hearing occupy a distant, marginal place. In contrast to sight, which is associated with thinking, hearing has never been regarded as a fully-qualified tool of cognition and philosophy, as it is in Jewish culture, for instance. The borders were demarcated on one hand by the cultural paradigm and the frame of mind it engendered, and on the other by our physiological capabilities. Our perception of reality depends, after all, on the parameters of human perception: the range of audible frequencies, the sharpness of our sight, the acuteness of our smell. Those who display special cognitive predispositions have always been treated as shamans, saints, or madmen.

The Western order of the senses is not justified by any objective state of affairs. The senses, after all, can be honed; technology itself has had a noticeable reorganizing effect on our perception, while art continues to put our senses to the test. The arbitrariness of the boundaries and our irresistible compulsion to differentiate is demonstrated by the evolution of particular artistic disciplines: in the history of aesthetics, the distinctions between painting, music, and literature have shifted time and time again.

One contemporary artist that challenges us with this problem is Jagoda Szmytka. Her intellectual, aesthetic, and sensual experiences are myriad. In her work, she employs a variety of media and material, building layered and rhizomatic semantic-aesthetic fields. She does not discern between sound and image, philosophical idea and touch. This places her among the likes of Skriabin, Schönberg, Messiaen, Stockhausen, to name but a handful of composers who displayed synesthetic predispositions. Synesthesia was unfathomable to Descartes, who established the primacy of the eye and word (writing) in Western culture. Colour, sound, touch, movement, and thought: all of these were thought to be mutually contradictory.

“Sound is (for) more than the ear — it is also for the body, for the eye, and for thinking.”

Continue reading this article at www.biweekly.pl.

[Sources: biweekly.pl, polskamusic.pl]

Fitelberg Competition 2012

At a press conference on August 30 in the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, the Silesian Philharmonic officially opened the call for entries for the 9th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors (GFICC). The Competition, which will take place in November 2012, is open to conductors of all nationalities born after 1976. The Jury, chaired by professor Antoni Wit, will consist of eminent Polish and foreign conductors and musicians.

Further information, such as the Competition rules and application (due by May 15, 2012) are available on the Competition website, www.konkursfitelberg.pl, as well as the organizer’s website, www.filharmoniaslaska.pl.

In June, the Closed Competition for a Poster Promoting the 9th International Grzegorz Fitelberg Competition for Conductors was adjudicated. After assessing the 53 posters submitted for the competition, the jury awarded the 1st prize to Professor Józef Hołard (pictured at right).

[Sources: polmic.pl, konkursfitelberg.pl; Photo credit: Krzysztof Lisiak]

Poland-Germany: 1000 Years Of Art & History

From September 23, 2011 to January 9, 2012, Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau will house approx. 800 exhibition items detailing the spiritual and scientific development of Poland and Germany. Entitled “Poland-Germany: 1000 Years of Art and History,” this exhibition reveals a shared cultural past of the two bordering nations. The exhibition opening gala on September 21 will include a performance by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra at the Universität der Knute.

Some 250 paintings, 30 sculptures, 60 historical volumes, 80 manuscripts, 60 etchings, 70 documents, 100 craft items and 150 photographs, film, music, and printed matter will be on display. Items on loan are from such institutions as the National Museum in Warsaw, the Łódź Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Vatican Library. A particular highlight is a painting entitled “Prussian Homage” by historic military painter Jan Matejko, on loan from the National Museum in Kraków. An extensive catalogue in both Polish and German will also be included.

Martin-Gropius-Bau has a history of hosting exciting exhibitions that touch on major themes of cultural history. The museum is engaged with both the latest archaeological finds and the international contemporary arts scene. The building itself is classified as a historical monument, opening with great pomp in 1881.

The project was developed and financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland and the Commissioner for Culture and Media of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is organized by the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Martin-Gropius-Bau and Berliner Festspiele. Presidents Bronisław Komorowski and Christian Wulff are patrons of the exhibition.

[Sourcs: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, berlinerfestspiele.de]

Chopin & The Vocal Nocturne

A new article by pianist and scholar Harrison Gradwell Slater, entitled “Chopin and the Vocal Nocturne,” has been published. The text of “Chopin and the Vocal Nocturne” is available for free download on www.harrisonslater.com. The full text plus a 90 min. CD providing examples of the influence of vocal nocturnes (Nocturne: The Piano Music of Chopin) as performed by the author is available on www.amazon.com.

For two centuries, the piano music of Chopin has evoked vocal quality to listeners, and scholars have looked to vocal genres that may have influenced his oeuvre. The rich tradition of the vocal nocturne, lasting over a century, was first documented in Slater’s 1993 article “Mozart and the ‘Duetto Notturno’ Tradition,” written for Mozart-Jahrbuch, and is the subject of a forthcoming monograph, The Vocal Nocturne in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century. Cultivated by more than a hundred composers, the vocal nocturne tradition played an important part in the transition of Italian and French vocal music to the newly developing style of the piano.

For the first time in his newest article, a detailed list is provided of Chopin’s use of the vocal nocturne tradition in his nocturnes, and in his other piano music. The composer’s extensive use of the vocal nocturne in his oeuvre leads the author to conclude that the genre was so embedded in Chopin’s conception as to be considered a “structural element” in his compositional process.

[Source: Author]

Łukaszewski Around Europe

Paweł Łukaszewski’s oratorio, Via crucis will receive its Lithuanian premiere on September 11, 2011 in Vilnius, Lithuania, at a concert commemorating the 10th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center. This hour-long composition is based on the Catholic Way of the Cross liturgy with texts taken from the Holy Bible. The fourteen traditional excerpts were extended by an additional, fifteenth section that symbolically represents the Resurrection. The concert will take place in the Church of the Ascension of Our Lady in Vilnius, with performers including the Jauna Muzika Choir of the City of Vilnius, the Lithuanian Symphony Orchestra led by Robertas Šervinikas and soloists Piotr Olech (countertenor), Edmundas Seilius (tenor), Nerijus Masevičius (baritone) and Valdas Bagdonas (actor). The concert is organized by the Polish Cultural Institute in Vilnius and the Pax et Bonum Society. Concert details are available at: www.lenkukultura.lt.

Łukaszewski’s Veni Creator was recently performed, along with Łukaszewski’s Symphony No. 2—Festinemus amare hominess, during the International Festival of Sacred Music in Riga, Latvia. These works were performed in concerts on August 16 and 17 by the State Choir of Latvia and the Liepaia Symphony Orchestra, led by Maris Sirmais.

Łukaszewski’s Veni Creator, completed in 2005, was written to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and commissioned by Akademie Klausenhof in Germany. According to the composer, rhythm is the most important underlying aspect of his Second Symphony, and it reaches its apogee in the fourth movement. Also completed in 2005, it was commissioned by the Choir Festival Universitas Cantat in Poznań. Scored for two soprano soloists, two choirs, two pianos and orchestra, the work is dedicated to the memory of Pope John Paul II.

Antiphonae, a 7-part choral cycle by Paweł Łukaszewski and published by PWM and Chester-Novello, was presented in performances at the Oringen Festival in Burg Riom, Switzerland. These works were incorporated into the opera Mikael, premiered on July 15, and repeated in performances throughout the months of July and August 2011.

[Sources: lenkukultura.lt, lukaszewski.org.uk]

Maksymiuk & Mania

The rebirth of Mania. The history of a cigarette factory worker—the 1918 silent film that kickstarted the career and fame of Polish actress Pola Negri—begins on September 4 at the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw. This screening/concert event features music newly composed for the occasion by maestro Jerzy Maksymiuk, and performed by Wrocław’s Leopoldinum Chamber Orchestra.

Polish movie superstar Pola Negri as Mania – world tour of silent film with live music” is a project of Filmoteka Narodowa created as part of the Polish Presidency in the Council of the European Union. The screenings will continue to be performed in major European capital cities: Paris (Sept. 12), Madrid (Sept. 29), London (Oct. 13), Kiev (Oct. 29) and Berlin (Nov. 8).

Learn more and see clips at www.nitrofilm.pl and www.maniafilm.pl.

[Sources: maniafilm.pl, leopoldinum.art.pl]

Dikanda – US Tour

Dikanda exert an unshakable fascination on their listeners. What they play, one senses, is genuine; every note comes from the heart and is offered with a deep-seated fervor.
— Schwarzwälder Bote, Michael Kienzler

World renowned folk music ensemble Dikanda will tour the Central and Eastern US from Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 25, 2011. They will perform in Chicago, Wood Dale, Madison, Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids, Bloomington, and New York. For tour schedule and venue details, visit: www.polishculture-nyc.org

Impetuous rhythms, ethnic sounds, captivating music, Dikanda’s concerts are a unique journey through the music of the world, a spontaneous meeting full of energy, charisma, genuine passion, joy and emotion for the audience. The group was founded in 1997 in Szczecin, Poland, and is comprised of Ania Witczak – vocal, accordion, Kasia Dziubak – violin, vocal, Kasia Bogusz – vocal, Daniel Kaczmarczyk – percussion, Piotr Rejdak – guitar, and Grzegorz Kolbrecki – double bass.

Fascination with traditional music and hard work have allowed the members of Dikanda to cultivate their own style and original sound. Their musical spaces emerge from what they call “Music of the Four Sides of the East.” The artists seek their inspiration in the sounds of Poland, Belarus, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and in Jewish, Gypsy, and Kurdish melodies. They create a new language and meanings in composed songs, as well as in traditional folk songs. Dikanda have released five albums, played hundreds of concerts, including in the Asiatic part of Russia, India as well as in most European countries, and their work has been awarded numerous prizes and distinctions.

The tour is supported in part by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York.

[Source: polishculture-nyc.org]

Mikrokolektyw – US Tour

Polish duo Mikrokolektyw will take their unique, electronics-driven jazz on tour in the US in September. Playing in a different city each day, the duo will visit Madison, Chicago, Milwaukee, Ann Arbor, Buffalo, Rochester, Philadelphia, and New York from Sunday, September 18 to Wednesday, September 28. For schedule and venue details, visit: www.polishculture-nyc.org

Already well known from their previous work with the outstanding band Robotobibok, the Mikrokolektyw duo explores regions of warped Don Cherry-esque melodies like cartographers from some distant future. Their style is an outline of unexplored electronic hieroglyphs, an almost forgotten language shaped by Moog, drums, and trumpet. With this language they illustrate a map of vast sonic territories. Drummer Kuba Suchar and trumpeter Artur Majewski have collaborated with dozens of jazz greats as touring members of Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra and Sao Paolo Underground. Their electronics-driven jazz stands out for its downtown sound, a new freedom of innovation burning with an idiosyncratic sense of expression.

The Mikrokolektyw tour is presented by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York in association with Delmark Records, Audio for the Arts, the Skylark Tavern, Sugar Maple, The Hideout, Kerrytown Concert House, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Nazareth College, Ars Nova Workshop, and Spike Hill.

[Source: polishculture-nyc.org]

Chen Plays Wieniawski

Wednesday, September 14, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts presents a violin and piano recital with internationally recognized violinist Ray Chen and pianist Julio Elizade. They will perform Henryk Wieniawski’s Légende, Op.17 and Variations on the Original Theme, Op.15, as well as music by Bach, Franck, and Tartini.

“Ray Chen can do pretty much anything he wants on the violin,” hails the Washington Post. Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Ray Chen was accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 15, where he studied with Aaron Rosand. Chen made an international name for himself as winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition and the Yehudi Menuhin Competition.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | 7:30PM
Ray Chen performs Wieniawski
Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts
12700 Center Court Drive, Cerritos CA

[Source: sundayslive.org]

Taste of Poland Comes to O.C.

Taste traditional Polish foods and experience Polish culture during the 33rd Annual Dożynki Harvest Festival. The Dożynki celebration will feature Polish folk dancers in traditional costumes while Suligowski’s regiment of the Polish Commonwealth will exhibit the winged armor typical of the 17th Century Polish cavalry.

Dożynki is a celebration of thanksgiving after a bountiful harvest that dates back to 16th century Poland. It remains a long-standing tradition in Polish communities throughout the world, including the United States and Canada.

33rd Harvest Festival, DOŻYNKI 2011
Saturday, Sept. 17 | Noon – 11 pm & Sunday, Sept. 18 | 11 am – 4 pm.
Pope John Paul II Polish Center
3999 Rose Drive, Yorba Linda, CA 92886

[Source: Press release]

Film Music In Chicago

The Taste of Polonia—the largest Polish festival in America—will open this year with a presentation of the finest music from both Polish and American movies performed by the Paderewski Symphony Orchestra and guests. Sponsored by the Copernicus Foundation, the concert will take place on Friday, September 2 at the Copernicus Center on Chicago’s Northwest side.

This extraordinary concert will feature the favorite melodies of Polish cinema: Deluge, Pan Michael, Leper, The Promised Land, Polish Roads, John Heart, Adventure in Mariensztat and much more. The musical themes of American cinema will be featured as well, from such hit films as: Star Wars, ET, Titanic, Fiddler on the Roof, Mission Impossible.

Friday, September 2, 2011 | 8 pm
Taste of Polonia Opening Night – Concert of Film Music
Copernicus Center – 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. Chicago
Tickets & information: (773) 896-8683 or paderewskiorchestra@msn.com

[Source: pasochicago.org]

Tansman In Glendale, CA

Sonatine by Alexandre Tansman (1897–1986) will be featured on a program performed by Allen Savedoff and pianist Alan Steinberger during the Glendale Noon Concerts series. Also on the program: Gernot Wolfgang: Uncle Bebop, J.S. Bach: Partita in A Minor for solo flute, BWV1013 (transcribed for bassoon by William Waterhouse), and William Bolcom: Graceful Ghost.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | 12:10-12:40 p.m.
Tansman @ Glendale Noon Concerts
First Baptist Church of Glendale
209 N. Louise Street, Glendale CA
Free Admission
Information: (818) 242-2113 or www.fbcglendale.net

[Source: sundayslive.org]

Sapieyevski At Kosciuszko NY

The Kosciuszko Foundation presents “The Splendor and Variety of Moods in Music,” a musical performance and commentary by Polish composer and pianist, Jerzy Sapieyevski. Sapieyevski is a Professor of Music at American University in Washington DC. To find out more about the artist and his work visit www.musichappens.com.

Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 5 pm
The Splendor and Variety of Moods in Music – Jerzy Sapieyevski
2025 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
Admission $15 (cash or check at the door)
RSVP: thekfdc@gmail.com or 202-785-2320


Transatlantyk Awards

The closing gala of the International Transatlantyk Film and Music Festival took place on Friday, the 12th of August, at the Aula Artis WSNHiD in Poznań. Festival Founder and director Jan A.P.Kaczmarek and Magdalena Mielcarz led the ceremony. The event featured a performance by the celebrated Balanescu Quartet and culminated with Kaczmarek’s new work, Jankiel’s Concerto in a version for piano and orchestra, featuring a virtuoso pianist Jacek Kortus and the Rozbitek Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Adam Banaszek. The evening was filled with music and emotions connected to the results of the competitions.

The jury of the Transatlantyk Film Music Competition, chaired by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, presented the following six awards:

  • 1st Place ($20,000) / “Transatlantyk Young Composer of 2011”: Matthijs Kleboom, a 26-year-old TV composer from the Netherlands
  • 2nd Place ($5,000 each): Natali Drosou, 28, representing Greece/Poland/Great Britain, and Garth Neudstadter, 25, an American from Yale and Julliard School of Music
  • 3rd Prize ($5,000): Krzysztof A. Janczak, 28, a Polish composer and musicology graduate of Warsaw University, Ecole Normale Superiere de Musique de Paris and Maurice Ravel Conservatory in Paris
  • Special mention for Exceptional Musical Score for an Animated Short: Vasco Hexel, 31, a graduate of Berkeley College of Music and Royal College of Music
  • Transatlantic Chopin Award for the Most Promising Artist of the Year (20,000 PLN): Agata Szymczewska, 26, an internationally renowned young Polish violinist

The jury of the Transatlantyk Instant Composition Contest, led by William Goldstein, honored the following five composers:

  • 1st Place ($10,000): Dawid Rudnicki, a 30 year-old graduate of Music Academy in Katowice
  • 2nd Place ($5,000): Felix Raffael, a 27 year-old graduate of Music Academy in Hannover
  • 3rd Place ($ 2,500): Rio Saito, a 31 year old graduate of Royal College of Music in London
  • Special Mentions: Karol Mossakowski and Radosław Mateja, both graduates of Music Academy in Poznań.

Also, the “Transatlantyk Audience Award” was given to the film For Lovers Only, directed by Mark Polish. The “Transatlantyk RMF Radio Classic Award,” honoring the most radio-worthy music, was given to Lithuanian composer Arturas Saskinas.

Jury member Richard Gladstein, who produced Finding Neverland and Pulp Fiction, emphasized the high quality of talent evidenced from the submissions of over 100 participants from all over the world.

[Source: transatlantyk.org]

Chandos Disc Of The Month

Grażyna Bacewicz – Violin Concertos Nos 2, 4 and 5
Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969): Concerto No. 4 for Violin and Orchestra (1951); Concerto No. 5 for Violin and Orchestra (1954); Concerto No.2 for Violin and Orchestra (1945)

Joanna Kurkowicz, violin; Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Łukasz Borowicz, conductor
Chandos 10673

A project of violinist Joanna Kurkowicz, the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and its Artistic Director Łukasz Borowicz, this new recording was chosen as Disc of the Month by CHANDOS Records for July 2011. This disc is Volume 2 in the Chandos series devoted to the published violin concertos of Grażyna Bacewicz, one of the most distinguished Polish composers of the twentieth century. Volume 1 of the series won the prestigious Diapason d’Or Award (March 2010) and was nominated for Preis der Deutchen Schallplatten Kritik 2009 (the German Record Critics Award) as well as Poland’s most important music recording Award, the Fryderyk 2010.

Kurkowicz says this about the latest recording and the music of Bacewicz:

This recording project has been a tremendous journey through the incredible music of this fascinating composer… deeply personal and satisfying.…These works are like rare stones; you have to find them but once found they shine brightly.

In addition to the Chandos Records website, this recording is available though iTunes, Presto Classical, Amazon and Music Island.

[Sources: Press release, joannakurkowicz.com, polorama.com]


Warsaw Autumn 2011

2011 marks the 54th edition of the “Warsaw Autumn” Festival, one of the most important and ground-breaking festivals of contemporary music in the world today. Tadeusz Wielecki, Director of the Festival, writes the following introduction to this year’s events:

The 54th Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music (16-24 September 2011) will feature music that does not focus exclusively on itself but opens to the surrounding world, commenting on it and attempting to change it. This year’s festival will predominantly feature composers who speak out on important social and political issues of the modern world.

A number of documentary works will be presented. For example, our opening concert will feature Strange News for orchestra, actor and video projection by Rolf Wallin with a text by Josse De Pauw, addressing the issue of child soldiers in Africa. The text and video layer use a TV documentary shot in 2006 in Uganda and Congo. Soprano Pia Freund and the Plus Ensemble will present λελελε Lelele, a drama by Lotta Wennäkoski, with photography and video by Elina Brotherus. The text for this work is drawn from authentic testimonies of women abducted in Eastern Europe and sold in the West for prostitution. Phill Niblock’s The Movement of People Working focuses on the work of human hands, its repetitiveness and magic; this work is a concert-installation and makes uses of electronic sound space projection and videos shown on three screens. The Neue Vocalisten ensemble will perform Freizeitspektakel by Hannes Seidl and Daniel Kötter for voices, electronics and video installation, addressing the phenomenon of leisure time in modern culture. Zorka Wollny and Artur Zagajewski are setting up a street oratorio with orchestra and Warsaw residents’ choir, a sort of composed rally, a polyphony of citizens that feel ignored by social discourse. The project is co-managed by the Zachęta National Gallery of Art.

Roman Berger’s Missa pro nobis for soloists, choir and orchestra shows another attitude towards reality – a dramatic refusal of barbarism and cynicism. Songs of Wars I Have Seen, a music theatre superproduction by Heiner Goebbels based on Gertrude Stein’s diaries Wars I Have Seen (1945), takes yet another position: it speaks about prosaic, everyday life in the context of war’s terrors (performed by the London Sinfonietta).

And how will the emblematic Il canto sospeso by Luigi Nono sound in the context of engaged art? The work will be performed at our final concert, exactly half a century after its first (and only) Polish performance at Warsaw Autumn Festival 1961.

Other works making use of stage and multimedia include Carola Bauckholt’s hellhörig, as well as Sandglasses, a concert-installation for four cellos, electronics and lights by young Lithuanian composer Justė Janulytė, performed by musicians enclosed in a sort of video-projected hourglasses.

The musikFabrik ensemble from Cologne will present five compositions (hitherto unknown in Poland) from the famous cycle KLANG by Karlheinz Stockhausen. Frederic Rzewski will perform a recital with his piano pieces, playing inter alia (also speaking and singing) De Profundis based on Oscar Wilde’s texts. Other first performances will include the monumental Symphony No. 1, composed in 1975 but never performed in public, by the late Andrzej Krzanowski, one of the leading composers of the Stalowa Wola period, as well as works by younger composers Agata Zubel, Paweł Hendrich and Aleksander Nowak. The opening concert will also feature the famous orchestral Scontri in homage to the recently deceased Henryk Mikołaj Górecki.

The 54th Warsaw Autumn Festival will also include a première: ‘Little Warsaw Autumn’. Encouraged by the success of last year’s installations that were visited by many children, we have planned a concert, installation and workshop for our younger listeners. ‘Little Warsaw Autumn’ is scheduled to become a permanent part of the festival.

Fringe events will include, among others, a conference organized by the Polish Music Information Centre, titled Music and Politics.

See the above News Section for discussions of World Premieres at Warsaw Autumn as well as the POLMIC’s Music & Politics Conference. For more information on the Festival and full program, please visit: www.warszawska-jesien.art.pl

[Source: warszawska-jesien.art.pl]

Sacrum Profanum 2011

The Sacrum Profanum Festival is an international project which, during the last 8 years, has gained the status of being one of the most interesting music events in Europe. The formula of the Festival is based on the presentation of music exhibiting the intersection between the modern motives of sacred and profane, as well as often the intersections of geographic regions. The Festival, recommended by among others the prestigious music Gramophone magazine, enjoys the acknowledgment of critics and audiences alike.

This year’s 9th edition of the Sacrum Profanum Festival (September 11-17, Kraków) will celebrate the memory of one of Poland’s most prolific and brilliant poets with the theme “Made in Poland – Miłosz Sounds,” commemorating the centennial anniversary of his birth. In line with this theme, five Polish composers have accepted the invitation to compose pieces inspired by selected texts by Czesław Miłosz to be premiered at the Festival (see more above). Some of the outstanding ensembles and soloists set to perform this year are: Alarm Will Sound, Asko|Schönberg, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, London Sinfonietta, pianist Leszek Możdżer, composer/pianist Steve Reich, and guitarists Adrian Utley of Portishead and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.

[Sources: culture.pl, sacrumprofanum.com]

Wratislavia Cantans

During the 46th International Festival Wratislavia Cantans (September 2–17, 2011 in Wrocław, Poland), the most extraordinary of Lower Silesia’s architectural gems will resound with oratorio, symphonic, vocal and vocal-instrumental masterpieces. This year’s program is built around three different themes: Saints and Sinners, Media vita in morte sumus, and Heroes of the Bible.

“Saints and Sinners” will take listeners in the Middle Ages through storytelling. Schola Wegajty Theatre will present the medieval liturgical drama Ludus Danielis. Also, singer and harpist Benjamin Bagby will adopt the role of the bard in his version of the epic Beowulf, and the vocal program “Sounds delicious: Music and feasting in medieval and early-Renaissance Europe” will be presented by the Orlando Consort.

The second and most prominent theme of the Festival is taken from a quotation from a Gregorian hymn, “Media vita in morte sumus” [In the midst of life we are in death]. This thread starts with a performance of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Symphony No. 8 Song of transience. The festival will also honor the memory of the great Polish composer who passed away in 2010—Henryk Mikołaj Górecki—with a presentation of his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs (Symphony No.3). This program will also include: Józef Świder (1930) – Miserere, Paweł Łukaszewski (1968) – Dwa motety wielkopostne: Memento mei, Domine, Crucem tuam, Marek Jasiński (1949–2010) – Cantus Finalis, and Witold Lutosławski (1913–1994) – Grave.

September 11, 2001 will also mark ten years since the terrible events that took place in New York. The Festival will commemorate the anniversary of the tragedy with a performance of the reflective works of Herbert Howells, Samuel Barber and Elgar by the Wrocław Festival Orchestra. This new ensemble is led by Festival Artistic Director, Paul McCreesh.

The Festival will also include a series of late night, introspective concerts featuring instrumental recitals in the most beautiful churches of Wrocław. Cellist Pieter Wispelwey will perform works by Britten, violinist Rachel Podger will present works by Bach and von Biber, and violinist Henning Kraggerud will present a program of Ysaÿe, amongst others. The Festival will also have the honor of hosting the legendary harpsichordist, Gustav Leondhardta.

The last theme—”Heroes of the Bible”—will be presented on the final weekend of the Festival with a presentation of the masterwork Elias by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. During the concert the combined forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players and the Wrocław Philharmonic Choir will be led by Paul McCreesh.

For a full schedule, visit: wratislaviacantans.pl or polmic.pl.

[Source: wratislaviacantans.pl]

Sinfonia Varsovia For Their City

The 11th Annual Franciszek Wybrańczyk Festival “Sinfonia Varsovia For Their City” will take place in Warsaw from September 1-11, 2010. Named for Franciszek Wybrańczyk, the creator and first director of the Festival and the long time director of the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra, this Festival presents world class music and musicians in several landmark venues around Warsaw for free.

This year, most concerts will take place in the Sinfonia Varsovia Center on Grochowska Street. Highlights include a series of ten chamber music concerts on Saturday, September 3 (from noon to 8 p.m.), and nine chamber concerts on Sunday, September 4 (from noon to 7:15 p.m.). The Festival opening concert September 1 is a benefit concert performed by Jerzy Klocek, a long-time Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra cellist, and the final concert on September 11 will be held in Polish Radio’s Lutosławski Concert Studio. In addition, the Festival will present the series “Warsaw Composers – Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz,” with a program of 3 of his works: Sonatina for two violins, Sonatina for bassoon and piano, and Andante con melacholia (September 4).

For a full schedule of events, visit: www.sinfoniavarsovia.org or www.polmic.pl.

[Source: sinfoniavarsovia.org]

Warszawa Singera – Jewish Culture Fest

Organized by the Shalom Foundation, the 8th edition of the Festival of Jewish Culture “Warszawa Singera” [Singer’s Warsaw] is taking place in Warsaw from August 27 to September 4, 2011.The program includes a number of interesting theatrical performances, concerts, exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, meetings, art installations, and lectures. Participants include: Frank London (USA) in the klezmer opera The Night in the Old Marketplace and other projects, Brass All Stars (USA), Anna Maria Jopek & Kroke, Sisters of Sheynville (Canada), Joseph Malovany (USA), accompanied by the Choir of the White Stork Synagogue in Wrocław, Ben Zimet (France), Michael Hochman, Karsten Troyke (Germany) & Trio Scho (Ukraine), Lena Ledoff (Russia) with the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, The Jewish Theatre of Bucharest, Raphael Rogiński, Lenka Lichtenberg (Canada), Mendy Cahan (Israel), Groove Headz (Austria), Christian David (Germany), Ran Dank (Israel) and The Ger Mandolin Orchestra from San Francisco, a project of commemoration and reconstruction of the prewar Jewish mandolin orchestra from Góra Kalwaria.

Próżna Street and Grzybowski Square change color during the festival as they are transformed into the singing and dancing shtetl of the early twentieth century, with wineries, bakeries and stalls. But not only will festival events take place in this oft forgotten corner of the capital. Many events will also take place in the Praga district, in venues including Stock Bottles and Sense and nonsense in Four Rooms, and many of Praga’s most famous back alley venues.

Since the first edition of this Festival, it has been dedicated to I.B. Singer, a Polish-Jewish-American author. Singer, who like no other was able to evoke the landscapes of small Jewish towns in his writing, was a leader of the Yiddish literary movement and in 1978 received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

[Sources: festiwalsingera.pl, rmfclassic.pl, wikipedia.org]

Bydgoszcz Honors Górecki

The 49th Bydgoszcz Music Festival will be held from September 9 until October 7 and will honor Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933-2010) by performing his Three Pieces in the Old Style, Beatus Vir, Divertimento for String Orchestra, Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra, and Capriccio. Witold Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, Romuald Twardowski’s Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra, Grażyna Bacewicz’s Concerto for String Orchestra and Krzesany—a symphonic poem by Wojciech Kilar—will also be heard during the Festival.

Performers for this year’s edition of the event include: Warsaw National Philharmonic directed by Antoni Wit, English Chamber Orchestra directed by S. Gonley with violinist Sarah Chang, Young Polish Philharmonic Orchestra (Młoda Polska Filharmonia) directed by Adam Klocek, Pomeranian Philharmonic and the Choir of Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz with soloists Iwona Sobotka and Małgorzata Panko and directed by Gabriel Chmura, Capella Bydgostiensis directed by Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk, Philip Picket and the Musicians of the Globe, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra directed by Agnieszka Duczmal, and cantor of the synagogues in St. Petersburg and Moscow Baruh Finkhelstein with a Hassidic Band from Moscow. Moreover, artists from the Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz will perform under direction of Tadeusz Wojciechowski, with the composer’s daughter, Anna, and son, Mikołaj, presenting the works of the Master. Other soloists include: violinists Konstanty Andrzej Kulka and Krzysztof Bąkowski, vocalists Adam Kruszewski and Jerzy Mechliński, as well as pop artist Gaba Kulka, Jan Karpiel Bułecka’s band and the great actor Andrzej Seweryn

For the past half century, the Bydgoszcz Music Festival has been organized by the Paderewski Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz, an orchestra dedicated to the promotion of music by Polish composers. In the past few years, Festivals celebrating music by Szymanowski (in 2007) and Chopin (in 2010) were warmly received by the public. The Festival concerts will be held in the Pomeranian Philharmonic concert hall, St. Martin’s Cathedral, as well as venues in the nearby city of Toruń.

Detailed information on the Festival can be found at: www.filharmonia.bydgoszcz.pl.

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

Muzyka Na Szczytach

The 3rd International Chamber Music Festival ‘Muzyka na szczytach’ [Music in the Heights] will be held in the mountain resort town of Zakopane from September 16-24, 2011. Besides concerts held in a variety of venues, the festival will also feature exhibits, fashion shows, lectures, and other accompanying events. The Festival begins with the opening of the exhibit commemorating the distinguished Polish conductor, Stanisław Wisłocki (1921-1998) at the Hotel Bukovina on September 16. The following day, at the Hotel Crocus in Zakopane, an exhibit dedicated to the memory of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933-2010), one of the Festival’s former honorary patrons and one of Poland’s most prominent twentieth century composers.

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (b. 1933, Czernica near Rybnik) | © Photo by Gerry Hurkmans, Amsterdam 1997
Henryk Mikołaj Górecki | © Photo by Gerry Hurkmans, Amsterdam 1997

The first concert of the Festival will be given on September 17 at Zakopane’s Jany Pałac. Dedicated to music by Maria Szymanowska, it will be performed by singer Elisabeth Zapolska, pianist Bart van Oort and led by Maciej Negrey.

On Sunday, September 18, at Zakopane’s Hotel Belvedere the Guitar4mation ensemble presents works by Karol Szymanowski,  Bartłomiej Budzyński, Issac Albeniz, Joaquin Rodrigo, Claude Debussy and Manuel de Falla. The Sunday evening concert at the Holy Cross Church in Zakopane will feature Britain’s King’s Singers performing works Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Mikołaj Zieleński, Thomas Tallis, Paweł Łukaszewski, and Francis Poulenc.

On Monday, September 19, the Hotel Grand in Zakopane will be the site of an afternoon piano recital with works by Mozart and Chopin presented by Miroslav Kultyshev. Later that evening, a concert of choral music by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, dedicated to the memory of the composer will be presented by the Polish Radio Choir at the Holy Cross Church in Zakopane.

Tuesday, September 20 will feature a morning concert of piano quintets by Władysław Żeleński and Warzyniec Żuławski at the Jasny Pałac in Zakopane, performed by violinists Aleksandra Czajor and Grażyna Zubik, violist Natalia Warzecha, cellist Maciej Czerwiec and pianist Przemysław Winnicki. At night, a concert of violin and piano works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Brahms will be given by violinst Mayuko Kamio and pianist Miroslav Kultyshev in Zakopane’s Grand Hotel. Wednesday, September 21 features an evening concert of chamber music gems—including works by Paderewski, Szymanowski, and Dvorak—performed by pianist Ewa Kupiec (right) and the Meccorre String Quartet.

A film and music afternoon, presenting music by Stanisław Wisłocki is planned for Thursday, September 22 at the Hotel Bukovina. At night, in the nearby town of Szczawnica Zdrój, a concert of vocal music by Igor Stravinsky and Karol Szymanowski will be presented by soprano Olga Pasiecznik and pianist Natalia Pasiecznik.

On Friday, September 23, a concert in collaboration with Kraków’s Festival “Guitarra Galante” will be held at the Holy Cross Church in Zakopane. The Festival ends on Saturday, September 24 with a performance of a chamber version of Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, commemorating the 100th anniversary of composer’s death.

[Source: Press release, muzykanaszczytach.com]

UA/PL Alternative Music Meetings

The Ukrainian / Polish Alternative Music Meetings will be held from September 16-17, 2011 at Master Klass in Kiev, Ukraine. This festival aims to create a shared meeting place—a platform for both Polish and Ukrainian musicians to jointly find artistic inspiration. It will attempt to familiarize Ukrainian audiences with the most interesting musical works from the non-commercial Polish music scene

The festival emphasizes cooperation and engagement among the musicians involved in the project. It also includes a competition for Ukrainian alternative music groups. The competition finalists (chosen by the Ukrainian public via the internet) will be put forward before an international jury, after taking part in a Master Class Club: a special cultural and educational centre event.

A discussion panel featuring Polish and Ukrainian music journalists will discuss the current state of alternative music in both countries. The festival aims to investigate the musical trends of both regions. There is also the opportunity to learn more about Polish music publishers, as well as a music poster exhibition and documentary film showings of avant garde Polish music.

The UA/PL Alternative Music Meetings is organized by the Polish Institute in Kiev and the Centre for Artistic Activities Firlej in Wrocław, and co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

For more information, see: www.musicmeetings.eu.

[Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute]


Marcus + Takes Gdańsk By Storm


Impressed with the breadth and the artistic quality of last year’s Możdżer+,  Marcus Miller hosted one of this year’s biggest jazz shows in Poland, his very own Marcus+. The legendary bass guitarist performed with friends and special guests as a part of the 2011 Solidarity of Arts Festival, on a specially built stage behind the Polish Baltic Philharmonic in Gdańsk. After playing their own hits, the guest stars were joined by Marcus to perform material carefully selected by him. They were accompanied by Poland’s best symphonic orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, with Gil Goldstein and Kenn Hicks. This concert yet again served the Festival’s ultimate mission—to bring high art to the public spaces of Gdańsk—and it was broadcast live by Canal+, a co-producer of the event.


Polish performers on the program included pianist Leszek Możdżer (who won several awards for the 2010 Możdżer+ concert, including Gazeta Wyborcza‘s Sztorm Roku [Storm of the Year] in the Biggest Event of 2010 category), internationally renowned jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stańko, young bassist Sławomir Kurkiewicz and young pianist Dominik Wania. Other guests in Miller’s international lineup included Edmar Castañeda – harp, Alex Han – saxophone, Sean Jones – trumpet, Louis Cato – percussionist, Federico Gonzalez Peña – keyboards, Trilok Gurtu – percussionist, Angélique Kidjo – vocalist, Craig Taborn – keyboards and Joey Baron – percussionist.

[Sources: solidarityofarts.pl, stroik.net]


Lutosławski Vocal Works

Lutosławski: Vocal Works (Muzyka Polska. Vol. II)
Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994): Tryptyk śląski [Silesian Triptych] (1951), Lacrimosa (1937), Paroles tissées (1965), Śpijże, śpij [Sleep, sleep] (1954), Les Espaces du sommeil (1975), Chantefleurs et Chantefables (1990)
Lucy Crowe – soprano, Toby Spence – tenor, Christopher Purves – baritone, BBC Symphony Orchestra, cond. Edward Gardner
Chandos Records: CHAN 10688 (2011)

Below is an excerpt from liner notes to this recording, written by musicologist Adrian Thomas:

While the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994) may be best known for his orchestral works, such as the Concerto for Orchestra (1950-54) and Third Symphony (1981-83) which appeared on the first CD in this series (Lutosławski: Orchestral Works, Muzyka Polska Vol. I, CHAN 5082), his vocal works constitute a highly significant thread that runs through his output from the 1930s to the 1990s.  In addition to many works for voice and piano written in the 1940s and 50s, including children’s songs, mass songs, and popular light songs (which he composed under the pseudonym ‘Derwid’), he also wrote works that he later orchestrated, such as the Twenty Christmas Carols (1946) and Five Songs (1957), plus a setting for chorus and orchestra, Trois poèmes d’Henri Michaux (1963).  This CD collects some of the works from Lutosławski’s early years as well as the three major works for voice and orchestra written after 1960: Paroles tissées (1965), Les Espaces du sommeil (1975) and Chantefleurs et Chantefables (1990).

To continue reading the entire liner notes, visit: www.adrianthomasmusic.com. See also Andrew Clark’s review of the recording in the Financial Times.

[Source: adrianthomasmusic.com]

Basia: New Album & US Tour

From Newport To London: Greatest Hits Live And More Live and studio recordings by Basia

New York, NY: Blessed with an instantly identifiable voice that made her a chart-topping, platinum-selling recording artist around the globe, jazz/pop singer Basia returned to her native Poland in June to record a live album, From Newport To London: Greatest Hits Live And More, that will be released by One Music on September 13th in conjunction with a twenty-city U.S. concert tour. The jazzy title track with a European film noir air of mystery, one of three new studio recordings penned and produced by Basia and long-time collaborator Danny White, is the first radio single from the collection.

Recorded in Łódź, Poland, From Newport To London generously offers fifteen live songs, including signature hits “Cruising For Bruising,” “New Day For You,” “Promises” and “Time And Tide.” The disc also has an acoustic version of “There’s A Tear,” a new studio recording of a track that appeared on Basia’s 2009 release, It’s That Girl Again, with an entirely new arrangement. The other new song is Wandering, a love song about traveling through lifes ups and downs and getting through them by sticking together. It is a duet between Basia and prominent Polish singer Mietek Szczeniak.

Unique in voice and style, Basia’s sophisticated brand of adult pop music borrows freely from exotic sounds and diverse cultures the world over. Breezy Latin rhythms, swinging jazz grooves of yesteryears Parisian cafes, soulful American R&B, and a splash of British pop gloss provide the backdrop for Basia Trzetrzelewska and Danny White’s whimsical tales of love-struck romance, heartache and pensive poetry. Ever since her voice leapt from the recordings of British trio Matt Bianco, in which she first teamed with White, Basia quickly made a name for herself in a variety of genres. Additional information is available at www.basiasongs.com.

On tour, Basia will be backed by most of the same band that performed on the live album consisting of White (keyboards), Marc Parnell (drums), Giorgio Serci (guitar), Paul Booth (saxophone) and backing vocalists Veronique Clarisse and Annick Clarisse-Willequet. The 2011 U.S. tour will include the following shows:

  • September 6 & 7 Minneapolis, MN – Dakota Jazz Club
  • September 9 West Bend, WI – Kettle Morraine Fest
  • September 10 Chicago, IL- House of Blues
  • September 11 Minneapolis, MN – Dakota Jazz Club
  • September 13 Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
  • September 15 Alexandria, VA – The Birchmere
  • September 16 New York, NY – Highline Ballroom
  • September 17 New York, NY – B.B. Kings
  • September 18 Sellersville, PA – Sellersville Theater 1894
  • September 20 Austin, TX – One World Theatre
  • September 21 Phoenix, AZ – Celebrity Theatre
  • September 23 Las Vegas, NV – Ovation@Green Valley Resort
  • September 24 Los Angeles, CA – Club Nokia
  • September 25 San Diego, CA – Humphreys Concerts By The Bay
  • September 27 San Juan Capistrano, CA – Coach House
  • September 28 Fresno, CA – Tower Theater
  • September 30 Sacramento, CA – Harlows Club
  • October 1 San Francisco, CA – Bimbos
  • October 2 Palm Desert, CA – McCallum Theatre
  • October 4 Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
  • October 5 Seattle, WA – Triple Door

[Source: http://www1.allaboutjazz.com/php/news.php?id=85891]


Krystyna Skrowaczewski

by Fred Harris [originally published in the Minnesota Star Tribune]

WAYZATA, MN — Krystyna Emma Skrowaczewski, age 78, died on August 26, after a lengthy illness. She was the beloved wife of conductor-composer Stanisław Skrowaczewski for 55 years and a devoted mother and grandmother. Krystyna was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) in 2006. With a brave and positive outlook, she endured this rare neurodegenerative brain disease with the devoted support of her family, caregivers, and friends.Born in Kraków, Poland on April 26, 1933, she was the daughter of Roman and Jadwiga Jarosz. Her parents provided her with the finest education. By age 6 she was already fluent in French. After surviving the Russian and German occupations of her homeland during World War II, Krystyna graduated from Jagiellonian University, Kraków, majoring in Romance languages. One of her professors and acquaintances was Karol Wojtyła, who was elected Pope John Paul II in 1978.

In 1952 she met Stanisław Skrowaczewski backstage after he conducted a concert by the Kraków Philharmonic. They met again by chance in 1956 while skiing in the Tatra Mountains, and were married that same year. Throughout their lives they shared a passion for both music and the outdoors, and Krystyna became an extraordinary gardener and cook. The young couple’s lives changed forever upon Stanisław’s appointment as music director of the then Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (today the Minnesota Orchestra) in 1960, a position he held until 1979. They lived first in Minneapolis before moving to Wayzata, where they remained for more than forty years, and where Stanisław continues to live as composer, guest conductor, and member of the community.

Along with raising their children, Krystyna was a keen administrative assistant to her husband throughout his career. She occasionally traveled the world with him, attending his concerts and the premieres of his compositions. In 2004 she accompanied him on one of his concert tours of Japan. Her unflagging support of his career was a lifelong inspiration to the distinguished conductor-composer. Gracious, warm-spirited, and perceptive, Krystyna brought a unique sense of devotion to her family and friends. She was fluent in four languages, and possessed innate artistic sensibilities along with exquisite taste. Friends knew Krystyna as an elegant hostess for numerous dinner parties. In her younger years she kept pace with Stanisław’s appetite for mountain climbing, hiking, and skiing. She also planned adventurous vacations for her family to the Grand Tetons and islands in the Caribbean.

Krystyna was a lifelong animal lover and a strong supporter of the Humane Society of the United States. Her other charitable causes included the Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota, and Habitat for Humanity. A woman of unlimited compassion, she was enormously generous and devoted to her family and friends. Across many decades, she sent beautiful care packages to relatives and friends in Poland and throughout the United States. Krystyna was always happiest when she was caring for or doing something for others.

In addition to her loving husband, Krystyna is survived by her daughter, Anna Skrowaczewski; her son Paul Sebastien and his wife Melissa, of Tiburon, CA; her son Nicholas Skrowaczewski, of Minneapolis, MN; granddaughters Madeleine and Mia Sebastien; her brother, Rajmund Jarosz, of Kraków; her niece, Justyna Polaczek, of Kraków; and her nephew, Bartlomiej Jarosz, of Kraków.

A celebration of Krystyna’s life will be held on Saturday, September 10, 10 a.m., at St. Olaf Catholic Church, 215 South 8th Street, Minneapolis. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Krystyna Skrowaczewski’s name to the Foundation for PSP|CBD and Related Brain Diseases (CurePSP), the Mayo Clinic, or any of the four charities listed above.


Born This Month

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


Died This Month

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