Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 19, no. 12

PMC News

Support the PMC Throughout 2014!

Dear Friends of Polish Music,

As 2013 draws to a close, we reflect on the many remarkable programs presented by the Polish Music Center at USC, a one-of-a-kind resource outside of Poland. From the international conference “Polish Music After 1945” and Leszek Możdżer’s recital in April, to October’s Paderewski Lecture-Recital featuring Krzesimir Dębski and Anna Jurksztowicz, and the annual Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles this month, we are very proud of our accomplishments in 2013—made possible by the support of our friends like you!

2013 Paderewski Youth Exchange in Poland
Participants in the 2013 Paderewski Youth Exchange in Poland

The Polish Music Center has been dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Polish music as well as assisting scholars and performers worldwide with their research for nearly 30 years. This continues to be the Center’s primary focus. In July, we successfully concluded another installment of the Paderewski Festival Cultural Exchange Program. Young pianists from California’s Central Coast region traveled to Paderewski’s manor house in Kąśna Dolna, Poland, for a 10-day intensive program of piano and chamber music masterclasses, concerts, and cultural experiences shared with fellow students from Poland and the Ukraine.

During this year, we have also developed our partnership with the National Archives in Warsaw and the PMC will host a Polish archivist in Los Angeles in June of 2014. This collaboration will lay the foundation for a joint project to catalogue and digitize our priceless and extremely rare collection of music scores, books, manuscripts, art, and personal correspondence belonging to some of the greatest Polish composers. The project will also create an online catalogue that is searchable worldwide.

As you can imagine, this tremendous undertaking requires the support of our friends to ensure its success. We are very grateful to those who have supported us financially, attended concerts, volunteered at events, assisted in our library, or spread a good word about us. We understand how important our Center is to the Polish-American community and our worldwide audience. This is why we ask each of you to consider making a fully tax-deductible gift to support a vital institution that has accomplished so much since its founding in 1985 and continues to develop new projects to advance Polish music. To show our gratitude for your support, your gift will be recognized in our concert program booklets throughout the year and the first 25 donations of $100 or more will receive an exclusive gift of a CD featuring music by Polish women composers.

Your ongoing support is essential to sustaining everything we do. Please consider making a year-end, tax-deductible donation before December 31, enabling our programs throughout 2014 and providing the funds needed to continue our joint project with the Polish National Archives. To donate by credit card, contact the PMC directly or visit https://giveto.usc.edu—you will find a PMC checkbox under University-wide Giving Opportunities > Centers and Institutes > Music. Checks may be mailed to:

USC Polish Music Center
840 W. 34th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851

All donations must indicate “USC Polish Music Center,” either in the remittance line of your check or the online form, to ensure your contribution is routed directly to our department. If you would like to include the Polish Music Center in your estate planning, please contact us for an individual consultation.

As always, we invite you to stop by the Polish Music Center to experience first-hand the impact of our exceptional programs and learn more about how your year-end gift can advance the profile of Polish music around the world. Please call us at (213) 821-1356 or email polmusic@thornton.usc.edu if you have any questions or to schedule a visit to the Center.

Thank you for your consideration. With our best wishes for the Holiday Season, we remain sincerely and gratefully yours,

Marek Zebrowski, Director & Krysta Close, Assistant Director

Paderewski Festival In Paso Robles: Recap

by Krysta Close

The events of the 2013 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles were held from November 7-10 in various elegant venues and wineries around this Central Coast town that Paderewski once considered his second home in America. This year’s highly successful edition featured some of the most excellent and varied musical offerings that audiences have had the pleasure to experience since the Festival was restarted in 2007.

The Los Angeles-based new music ensemble the Panic Duo—comprised of Pasha Tseitlin, violin and Nic Gerpe, piano (pictured above)—opened this year’s Festival with great bravado in the intimate barrel room of Cass Winery on Thursday, November 7. Although their all-Polish program of works by Krzesimir Dębski, Karol Szymanowski, and Henryk Wieniawski could have proved challenging to those less familiar with classical chamber music, Gerpe and Tseitlin presented the music with such passion and skill that few listeners remained unmoved. One of the highlights of the evening was when composer Krzesimir Dębski joined the duo onstage to introduce his Sonata for Piano and Violin (2013), which they had recently premiered in Los Angeles during the 2013 Paderewski Lecture-Recital at USC—the respect and camaraderie between the three musicians was palpable. Capped off by the fireworks of Wieniawski’s Polonaise brillante (1870), the Panic Duo’s Festival opener program received a hearty response, and perfectly prepared the audience for the incredible weekend of music-making to come.

The next day, November 8, began with a Master class led by pianist Karol Radziwonowicz. The event was held the Park Ballroom, a new venue for the Festival that is conveniently located in the center of town just off of the City Park. Free and open to the public, the Master class gave participants in the Paderewski Festival Youth Competition a rare opportunity to hone their skills with one of the leading Paderewski interpreters in the world.

Later that evening, the Paderewski Festival hosted internationally renowned performers from the other end of the musical spectrum also at the Park Ballroom. Again Krzesimir Dębski took the stage, but this time not as a classical composer and conductor but as of one of Poland’s most famous jazz composers and arrangers, playing the piano and his funky signature electric violin. He was joined by three of L.A.’s most versatile and sought-after musicians: drummer Darryl “Munyungo” Jackson, guitarist Larry Koonse, and bassist Darek “Oles” Oleszkiewicz. In addition to gigs with some of the world’s greatest jazz artists, these three will be joining European vocalist Aga Zaryan during her upcoming concerts in Southern California and Poland. Their set included impressive tunes written by each of the band members, as well new interpretations of classics by such beloved popular composers as Bronisław Kaper, who scored films for MGM and was the first winner of an Academy Award from Poland.

For the second half of the show, the group was joined by Dębski’s wife and beloved Polish vocalist, Anna Jurksztowicz (pictured above, with the band). Ever the consummate entertainer, she led them in some of Dębski’s most popular tunes for Polish film and TV, as well as jazz standards from all over the world. Whether the tunes were familiar or new, the audience—comprised of locals as well as visitors from all over the country and the world—was electrified by the musical charisma and improvisatory skill of all five musicians, and the evening was filled with applause and shouts of approval.

The morning of Saturday, November 9 featured several different treats, including the screening of a new documentary film about Ignacy Jan Paderewski— “Paderewski: The Man of Action, Success and Fame” —at Park Cinemas, and an exhibit about the captivating and little-known history of Paderewski’s heart in the eclectic artists’ space just down the block at Studios on the Park. In between these two events there was a Q&A session with the creator of both the film and the exhibit, Wiesław Dąbrowski of the Ave Arte Foundation, as well as a wreath laying ceremony at the Paderewski Monument, which was erected in the Paso Robles City Park during last year’s Festival. The ceremony included Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, Mariusz Brymora; Deputy Supervisor of the District of Tarnów, Poland, Mirosław Banach; and Paso Robles City Council member, John Hamon (pictured R-L at left).

Following a demonstration of the recently donated Paderewski Weber given by Karol Radziwonowicz in the lobby of the historic Ballroom of Paso Robles Inn, the Ballroom was the scene of the annual Youth Piano Competition Winners’ Recital later on Saturday afternoon. Young pianists from the Central Coast presented a recital of solo works by Bach, Chopin, Paderewski, Mendelssohn, Ginastera, Khachaturian and Villa-Lobos. Always free and open to the public, this concert is a jewel of the Festival, and this year’s winners outdid themselves with their maturity and talent. The 2013 Youth Competition Winners were: Bella Oldenburg (14, Honorable Mention); Ivan Davidek (14, Honorable Mention); Sydney Haughian (13, Third Place – Junior Division); Daniel Ha (13, First Place – Junior Division); Kevin Park (12, Second Place – Junior Division); and Evan Lin (16, Paderewski Legacy Award) – pictured L-R below.

The historic Paso Robles Inn has been a downtown Paso Robles landmark for well over a century. Built to the highest comfort standards of the day, the Inn was Paderewski’s residence every time he visited Paso between the years 1914-1939, and the Inn’s Ballroom is one of the few original structures that remained after a destructive 1940 fire. Since 2007, all Festival Gala concerts have been held in this historic venue, and 2013 was no exception. This year’s Paderewski Festival Gala Concert featured pianist Karol Radziwonowicz, who is not only the first pianist in the world to record the complete piano works of Paderewski for Selene Records and considered a leading expert on Paderewski’s music and style, but he was also a featured performer at the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles during its original incarnation in the 1990s.

On the evening on November 9, Radziwonowicz brought history to life as he presented a passionate program highlighting two of Poland’s greatest composers of piano music, Frédéric Chopin and Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The Chopin group included Nocturne Op. 9 no. 1, Mazurka Op. 68 no. 2, Fantaisie-Impromptu, Op. 66, Grand Valse brillante Op. 34 no. 2, and culminated in Chopin’s Ballade in F minor, Op. 52. The Paderewski selections on this recital were Menuet Op. 14 no. 1, Cracovienne fantastique, Op. 14 no. 6, and Nocturne, Op. 16. no. 4, closing with Paderewski’s magnificent Sonata, Op. 21. Cutting an impressive 6 foot+ figure, Radziwonowicz’s physical presence was more than matched by his mastery of this repertoire. Filling the Ballroom with an achingly beautiful tone, he held his audience captivated with his combination of tenderness and prowess at the keys of the Maas-donated Steinway piano.

Tireless Paderewski Festival supporters artist Anne Laddon and Epoch Wines owner Bill Armstrong, in front of Laddon’s beautiful pastel of an iconic Paderewski image, which was auctioned off during the 2013 Festival weekend | Photo: Bill Armstrong

The final event of the 2013 Paderewski Festival was a lecture about Paderewski’s legacy in Paso given by Festival Artistic Director Marek Zebrowski and a tour of Paderewski’s former vineyards and winery at Epoch Estate Wines/York Mountain Winery on Sunday, November 10. The fascinating lecture and tour combined with delicious Epoch wines and set in the crisp, sunny Central Coast air was the perfect end to a sparkling weekend of music and history in Paso Robles.

A view of the original farmhouse at the York Mountain Winery, where Paderewski once processed his award-winning wines | Photo: Charles Bragg

Next year’s Festival will be held from November 6-9, 2014 and will feature a winner from this year’s Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz as well as students from Poland and the Ukraine who participate in the Paderewski Festival Youth Exchange. Mark your calendars and keep up to date at www.paderewskifest.com!


Nina Archive Of Top 3 Contemporary Polish Composers

Almost the entire output of three world famous Polish composers—Witold Lutosławski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki—has been made available on a new website created by the National Audiovisual Institute (NInA). Encouraging visitors to “Listen to the Music of the Masters,” this new bilingual Polish-English site is housed at trzejkompozytorzy.pl / threecomposers.pl, and contains almost 300 musical pieces and 950 articles on the life and work of the three composers—a truly amazing audio and historical resource!

The project was launched to mark the centenary of the birth of Lutosławski, Penderecki’s 80th birthday (on November  23) and the third anniversary of the death of Górecki (born 80 years ago). According to NINA, “By making this internet project a part of the year’s commemorative program, we hope to show the public that contemporary music need not be impenetrable and hermetic, and that the work of these three outstanding Poles will prove to be the best illustration of this claim.”

Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski with NINA Director Michał Merczyński (left) and composer Krzysztof Penderecki (center), at the Ministry’s unveiling of the project website on December 2 | Photo: Danuta Matloch, MKiDN

Minister of Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski has described the project as a musical library of a truly world-class caliber, which serves as an ambassador of Polish culture. The recordings featured in the collection include performances conducted by the composers and leading Polish and foreign conductors (Antoni Wit, Witold Rowicki, Jan Krenz, Andrzej Markowski, Wojciech Michniewski, Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev), with the participation of such great soloists as the pianist Krystian Zimerman, the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, the violinist Anne Sophie Mutter and the Kronos Quartet. The site also contains extensive documentation relating to all recordings as well as playlists compiled by performers, conductors and members of the composers’ families, Górecki’s daughter Anna Górecka, Penderecki’s wife Elżbieta and Lutosławski’s stepson Marcin Bogusławski.

The entries devoted to many pieces on the website have been enriched with contextual material such as the composers’ own statements about the work, and opinions by critics and musicologists, many of which are contemporary to the discussed pieces. To additionally aid in the navigation of the composers’ enormous oeuvre, a chronological list of pieces has been compiled, the work has been categorized into the periods commonly used in academic studies of the subject, and readers may consult a glossary of terms associated with the work of the three artists. A visually-enhanced timeline places major events in their lifetimes in the historical and cultural context of the 20th and 21st centuries. The entries featured on the site were written by a team of musicologists and music editors led by associate professor Iwona Lindstedt, a musicologist at the University of Warsaw.

[Sources: article by Michał Kubicki & Peter Gentle at thenews.pl; threecomposers.pl. Photo: mkidn.gov.pl]

Mykietyn/Kwieciński/Przybyłski Premiere In Łódź

On November 29, the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra (ARPO) in Łódź hosted a program of “Three Concertos” written by composers belonging to different generations and contexts: Andrzej Kwieciński (*1984), Bronisław Kazimierz Przybylski (1941–2011), and Paweł Mykietyn (*1971). The program was performed by the Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra, flutist Łukasz Długosz, saxophonist Paweł Gusnar, harpsichordist Goska Isphording, and conductor Wojciech Rodek.

Concerto. Re maggiore for harpsichord and orchestra is a continuation of the cooperation between the ARPO and composer Andrzej Kwieciński, whose Luci nella note, composed last year within the Institute of Music and Dance’s program “Composer-in-Residence,” was also given first performance by the ARPO. In turn, the next concerto, North for saxophone and orchestra, is the last work composed by Bronisław Kazimierz Przybylski, who passed away in 2011. He was born in Łódź and worked at the Łódź Academy of Music, where he initiated semiannual Musica Moderna sessions promoting contemporary music. The third work on the program was the Concerto for Flute and Orchestra by Paweł Mykietyn, who is one of the most interesting and popular living Polish composers and has won many awards in international contemporary music competitions. Mykietyn also writes theatrical music (cooperating with, e.g., K. Warlikowski and G. Jarzyna) and film scores (M. Szumowska’s 33 Scenes from Life, A. Wajda’s Sweet Rush, J. Skolimowski’s Essential Killing).

The works by Paweł Mykietyn and Andrzej Kwieciński were commissioned by the Łódź Philharmonic as part of the Program “Composers’ Commissions” with finances from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

Read a review of the concert by critic Dorota Szwarcman on her blog “Co w duszy gra” at szwarcman.blog.polityka.pl.

[Sources: filharmonia.lodz.pl, pwm.com.pl]

Penderecki World Premiere

On Saturday, December 14 in the Stern Auditorium of New York City’s Carnegie Hall, world renowned violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter will perform the World Premiere of a new work by Krzysztof Penderecki, La Follia for Solo Violin. Mutter will be joined by pianist Lambert Orkis for the Premiere of André Previn’s Violin Sonata No. 2, as well as such classics as Witold Lutosławski’s Partita, Franz Schubert’s Fantasy in C Major, D. 934, and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Violin Sonata No. 1. The program is a part of Carnegie Hall’s “My Time, My Music” contemporary music concert series.

More information about the composer and the piece from the evening’s program notes by Harry Haskell (© 2013 The Carnegie Hall Corporation):

About the Composer

Krzysztof Penderecki became the public face of the Polish avant garde in the 1960s with works such as the harrowing Threnody for string orchestra (better known by its subtitle, “To the Victims of Hiroshima,” although the original inspiration had nothing to do with the atom bomb) and the Baroque-influenced St. Luke Passion. Known for his use of dense, expressionistic textures and “extended” instrumental techniques, Penderecki showed a penchant for drama in the opera The Devils of Loudun, the oratorio Polish Requiem, and other works. Over the past three decades, he has cultivated a more lyrical and Romantic language, often incorporating elements of historical styles.

About the Work

La Follia (or folia, Italian for “madness”) takes its cue from a popular dance form of the 17th and 18th centuries. Like the numerous chaconnes, passacaglias, and other ground basses that provided structural foundations for many Baroque works, the folia was based on a repeating chord progression; it was often associated with ostinato-type melodies and rhythms, as well. Penderecki—who at one time planned to pursue a career as a concert violinist—explains that he originally called La Follia a chaconne, but changed his mind upon reflecting that “it took chutzpah” to compete with Bach’s great Chaconne in D Minor for solo violin.

A Closer Listen

Penderecki uses the folia pattern as the theme of a set of variations designed to showcase both the performer’s skill and the composer’s ingenuity. The nine variations range from a lively, Polish-style dance to a tranquil, contrapuntal adagio reminiscent of Bach’s solo violin suites. In the work’s opening section, the violinist introduces the characteristic long-short-long rhythm of the folia in a sequence of descending figures played pizzicato. Here and elsewhere, Penderecki highlights the intervals of the half-step and tritone, imparting a sinuous, chromatic flavor to the music. (The same intervals played a prominent role in his First Violin Concerto, written in the mid-1970s.) After a climactic burst of bravura fireworks, the work circles back to its beginning on a low F.

For more than 35 years, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter has sustained a career of exceptional musicianship combined with an unwavering commitment to the future of classical music. Since her international debut at the Lucerne Festival in 1976, Ms. Mutter has appeared in all of the major concert halls of Europe, North and South America, and Asia. In addition to performing and recording established masterpieces of the violin repertoire, Ms. Mutter—an avid champion of 20th- and 21st-century violin repertoire in both orchestral and chamber music settings—has had works composed for her by Sebastian Currier, Henri Dutilleux, Sofia Gubaidulina, Witold Lutosławski, Norbert Moret, Krzysztof Penderecki, André Previn, and Wolfgang Rihm.

Throughout 2013, Ms. Mutter has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with Manfred Honeck; The Philadelphia Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin; the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos; and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Andris Nelsons, performing Dvořák’s Violin Concerto. In June, Ms. Mutter performed the world premiere of Sebastian Currier’s Ringtone Variations, a work commissioned by the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation, providing the prelude for an Asian tour with The Mutter Virtuosi—an ensemble consisting of current and former scholarship students of the ASM Foundation. Ms. Mutter was awarded the Atlantic Council’s 2012 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award for her encouragement of young music talent through the ASM Foundation and was inducted as a 2013 Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The violinist released her debut recording of Dvořák’s Violin Concerto in November on the Deutsche Grammophon label with Manfred Honeck leading the Berliner Philharmoniker. On the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Ms. Mutter’s stage debut, Deutsche Grammophon released a comprehensive box set with all of her DG recordings, extensive documentation, and previously unpublished rarities.

Saturday, December 14 | 8:00 PM
Mutter Premieres Penderecki’s La Follia in New York
Carnegie Hall – Stern Auditorium
57th St. and 7th Ave., New York City, NY
Tickets & Info: www.carnegiehall.org

[Source: carnegiehall.org]

Penderecki’s 80th Celebrations Continue

The final concert of the “Emanacje” [Emanations] Festival—a five-month spectacle involving 80 concerts spread throughout the most beautiful places in Małopolska—will take place on December 7 at the European Krzysztof Penderecki Center for Music in Lusławice, Poland. The Final Concert will be a special birthday concert for Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki, whose anniversary spawned the initial creation of this wide-ranging Festival.

For this special birthday event, Maestro Michał Klauza will conduct the Polish National Radio Symphonic Orchestra in Katowice (NOSPR) at the newly opened Center for Music in Lusławice. The program is as follows: Henryk Mikołaj Górecki – Trzy utwory w dawnym stylu [Three Pieces in the Old Style]; Krzysztof Penderecki – Serenada for string orchestra, Sinfonietta for clarinet and orchestra, and Chaconne in memoria del Giovanni Paolo II; Witold Lutosławski – Mała suita [Little Suite] (chamber orchestra version)

December 7, 2013 | 6:00 pm
Emanacje Festival Final Concert
European Krzysztof Penderecki Center for Music
250 Lusławice,
32-840 Zakliczyn
Info: penderecki-center.pl

[Sources: krzysztofpenderecki.eu, penderecki-center.pl, nospr.org.pl]

Composer Krzysztof Penderecki (b. Nov. 23, 1933) was feted with 80th birthday celebrations throughout the month of November, and the Śląsk Philharmonic Orchestra in Katowice continues the party in December with a concert entitled “Penderecki on his 80th birthday.” Featuring cellist Tomasz Strahl and conductor Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk together with the Śląsk PO, the concert will be held on December 12 at the Szymanowski Music Academy. In addition to two excellent works by the honored composer, the program will include a new work by Weronika Ratusińska-Zamuszko that was created under the auspices and funding of the MKiDN/IMiT Program “Composers’ Commissions.”

Program details: Krzysztof Penderecki – Adagietto from the “Paradise Lost” for orchestra (1979); Weronika Ratusińska-Zamuszko – Concerto No. 2 for violin and orchestra (2013); and Krzysztof Penderecki – Symphony No. 3 (1995).

December 12, 2013 | 7:00 pm
Penderecki on his 80th birthday in Katowice
Szymanowski Music Academy – Concert Hall
Zacisze 3, Katowice, Poland

[Sources: polmic.pl, filharmonia-slaska.eu]

Motion Trio & Możdżer Celebrate Górecki’s 80th At Warsaw Phil

In a concert entitled “FILMharmonia,” the 80th anniversary of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki birthday will be celebrated at the Warsaw National Philharmonic Concert Hall on December 5. The concert program will feature the Motion Trio and pianist Leszek Możdżer, who will perform works from their new recording collaboration entitled Polonium (see more in the Discography section below). The concert will also include a screening of the excellent documentary film, Please Find. Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, directed by Violetta Rotter-Kozera.

Friday, December 5, 2013 | 6:00 pm
FILMharmonia: Celebrating Górecki with Motion Trio & Możdżer
Warsaw National Philharmonic – Concert Hall
ul. Jasna 5, 00-950 Warsaw, Poland (enter on ul. Sienkiewicza)
Info & tickets: www.filharmonia.pl

[Sources: motiontrio.com, filharmonia.pl]

New IMiT Documentary: Composer-In-Residence

It is now possible to watch Kompozytor – rezydent [Composer-in-Residence], a documentary commissioned and produced by Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw (IMiT), on the institute’s YouTube channel and its website, imit.org.pl (Resources section). Soon the film will also be uploaded to the website of the National Audiovisual Institute, ninateka.pl.

Composer-in-Residence (2013) is a short documentary film written and directed by Maja Baczyńska, created by the young artists of MUDO Music Documentaries, and produced by the Association of Polish Musicians (SPAM) and IMiT. The film is devoted to four young artists: Barbara Kaszuba, Zuzanna Niedzielak, Bartosz Kowalski and Jędrzej Rochecki, and their participation in the Composer-in-Residence program run by IMiT.

The film records fragments of rehearsals held by the Amadeus Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, the Oskar Kolberg Philharmonic in Kielce, the Witold Lutosławski Symphony Orchestra of Płock and the Toruń Symphony Orchestra in preparation for concerts and world premieres of the residents’ works. The film also features interviews with the composers and other persons involved in the project. The young artists talk about the beginnings of their careers, their successes and dreams, as well as the works being premiered.

The production has a Polish and an English language version.

[Source: imit.org.pl]

Zalesińska & Szymanowicz Perform Lutosławski In Vienna

On December 2, 2013 in the Concert Hall of the Polish Institute in Vienna, Liliana Zalesińska (mezzo-soprano) and Piotr Szymanowicz (piano) presented works for voice and piano by Witold Lutosławski, including amongst others, those to words by Julian Tuwim. Also on the program were lullabies by Benjamin Britten, Lutosławski’s friend, and also Ravel’s music, held in extremely high esteem by him.

[Source: pwm.com.pl; Photo: by M. Znamionkiewicz at polnisches-institut.at]

‘Christmas With Krystian’ at the KF

Two Generations of Singers: Favorite Arias and Duets

Born in Poland Izabella Kobus-Salkin is a graduate of the Music Academy in Łódź, majoring in Voice and Music Education. Ms. Kobus-Salkin was the principal mezzo-soprano at the Grand Theater of Łódź for more than 20 years and performed in such operas as Carmen (in the role of Carmen), Don Carlos (Eboli), Aida (Amneris), Cosi Fan Tutte (Dorabella), Marriage of Figaro (Cherubino) and many musicals, including: Man of La Mancha (Dulcinea) and Zorba the Greek (Leader).

Described as having a “world class voice” and “astonishing resonance for such a young performer,” Joanna Mieleszko (20 years old) has already had opportunities to perform in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Manhattan School of Music, and The Kosciuszko Foundation. Ms. Mieleszko is currently a student at the Manhattan School of Music.

Praised by the critics in the United Kingdom, Spain, Lithuania and the United States for his lyricism, intensity of performance and virtuosity, pianist Martin Labazevitch has appeared on numerous internation concert stages and festivals. He is the recipient of diplomas and recognitions in many international piano competitions including the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, the Jose Iturbi International Piano Competition in Valencia, and the Cleveland International Piano Competition.

Sunday, December 1, 2013, at 5:00pm
Two Generations of Singers: Favorite Arias and Duets
Kosciuszko Foundation
15 East 65th St., New York, NY 10065
Tickets and Info: thekf.org

“Christmas with Krystian”

“Tkaczewski was elegant, showed in-depth knowledge, played with passion, showed power-house technic. Reading  of Rachmaninov and of Prokofiev was excellent. Szymanowski was exquisitely shaped, showing lovely shadings and contrasts of dynamics.  He showed devotion and natural affinity for music of his homeland.” — Anthony Aibel, New York Concert Review

Pianist Krystian Tkaczewski returns to the Kosciuszko Foundation for a holiday piano recital. Tkaczewski is pursuing his splendid piano career in the  USA, Asia, and Europe. In 2007, the Hartt School of Music graduate had a triumphant Carnegie Hall debut. He has been a laureate of numerous piano competitions including: 2001-European Piano Competition in Bari, Italy (Grand Prize); 2006 -CSMTA Piano Competition in Hartford, CT (Gold prize); 2009 -American Protégé Piano Competition in New York – 1st prize; and 2010- Jose Iturbi Music Competition in Los Angeles (Finalist).

His program will include works by Chopin: Nocturne in C minor op. 48, no. 1; Scherzo in E major, op. 54; 4 Mazurkas, op. 30; Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise, op. 22; 4 Mazurkas, op. 17 and selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite (arr. Pletnev).

Thursday, December 19, 2013 | 7:00pm
Christmas with Krystian”
Kosciuszko Foundation
15 East 65th St., New York, NY 10065
Tickets and Info: thekf.org


‘Chopin For All’ In Florida

The Chopin Foundation of the United States and Southern Wine and Spirits present the next installment in the ‘Chopin for All’ Concert Series. The December concert will feature 4-year Chopin scholarship winner, pianist Drew Petersen, and his brother, baritone Erik Petersen, in a recital of works by Chopin and Schubert.

The ‘Chopin for All’ Series offers seven monthly FREE concerts, each presented in two locations: on Saturdays at Broward County Main Library, and the following Sundays at Granada Presbyterian Church in Coral Gables.

Saturday, December 7, 2013 | 3:00 pm
‘Chopin for All’ with Drew & Erik Petersen
Broward County Main Library
100 S. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Sunday, December 8, 2013 | 3:00 pm
‘Chopin for All’ with Drew & Erik Petersen
Granada Presbyterian Church
950 University Dr, Miami, FL 33134

[Sources: press release, chopin.org]

Lira Ensemble Celebrates The Season

The Lira Ensemble, known for its excellent performances of Polish music, song and dance, offers several concerts this Christmas season in the Chicago area. The concerts will feature the Lira Singers, Lira Dancers and Lira Symphony with guests the Northbrook Symphony and 13-year-old piano prodigy Daniel Szefer.

These Christmas concerts are a celebration of Polish and Polish-American culture. The Lira Singers, Dancers, and Symphony will perform some of the most beloved and most popular Polish holiday music, and offer the rare opportunity to hear Polish carols in arrangement for symphony orchestra. The concert includes folk song and dance from various regions of Poland in colorful, authentic folk costumes. Some American carols and folk songs will complete the program.

The Chicago Tribune is among the many metropolitan newspapers that have given high praise to the Lira company. The Tribune wrote: “Chicago’s Lira Ensemble…gorgeous music and sharply choreographed folk dance.”

Sunday, December 8, 2013 | 4:00PM, 7:30PM 
Home for the Holidays with the Northbrook Symphony
Techny Towers Divine Word Chapel
2001 Waukegan Road, Techny, IL 60082
To purchase tickets, call 847.291.2367

December 13 – 8:00PM
Lira Ensemble Holiday Concert
Garlands Center for the Performing Arts
1000 Garlands Ln, Barrington, IL
Free and open to the public
Call 847.382.1300 ext. 3500 to register space

December 17 – 6:00PM
Polish Carols – The Polish Cracovian Creche Tradition
Loyola University Museum of Art
820 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
Tickets: $15 / Members and LUC: Free
Call 312.915.7604 for details

[Source: press release]


Paderewski Competition In Bydgoszcz – 2013 Winners

Open to pianists of all nationalities born between 1981 and 1997, the IX International Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz, Poland was held from November 3 – 17, 2013 to commemorate Ignacy Jan Paderewski—the remarkable pianist, virtuoso, composer, politician and statesman. The Competition is organized by the I. J. Paderewski Music Association, with the co-participation of:  the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Marshal’s Office of the Kujawian and Pomeranian Province of Bydgoszcz, and the City Hall of Bydgoszcz, with additional partners: the F. Nowowiejski Music Academy and the I. J. Paderewski Philharmonic Hall in Bydgoszcz.

Winners of the IX International Paderewski Piano Competition are as follows (prize details can be found here):

  • FIRST PRIZE (30 000 Euro) : Zheeyoung Moon, Korea [pictured above]
    • € 1 000 – for the best piano quintet
    • Recital for the 1st prize winner at the 69. International Chopin Festival in Duszniki Zdrój, August 2014 awarded by the International Chopin Festivals Foundation In Duszniki Zdrój
    • Silesian Quartet – award for the best pefromance of the Piano Quintet -invitation for the XXI International Chamber Music Festival “Silesian Quartet and guests” in Katowice
    • Recital for the laureate on Florida – March 15-16, 2014 awarded by the Frederic Chopin Foundation in Miami
    • Gala concert during the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles awarded by Polish
      Music Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
    • Recital for the laureate awarded by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Paris
    • Recital In Tbilisi, Georgia awarded by the International Piano Competition In Tbilisi.
  • SECOND PRIZE (15 000 Euro): Dinara Klinton, Ukraine
    • € 1 000 – for the best performance of Paderewski’s works in the II stage
    • € 1 000 – for the best performance of Chopin’s pieces
    • € 1 000 – for the best Semi-final recitalRecital for the laureate awarded byThe Arthur Rubinstein International Music Foundation, Łódź
    • Recitals in Japan awarded bythe Hamamatsu Cultural Foundation Prize, the organizer of the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition
    • Concert of the laureate in the artistic season 2013/2014 awarded by the Świętokrzyska Philharmonic Hall
  • THIRD PRIZE (7 500 Euro): Daiki Kato, Japan
    • € 1 000 – special prize of Mr. Rafał Bruski, Mayor of Bydgoszcz – for the best performance of the classical sonata
    • Recital in 2014 at the Lake District Summer Music in Great Britain
    • Concert with the Sudecka Philharmonic Orchestra in the artistic season 2013/2014 awarded by the Sudecka Philharmonic
  • Honorable mentions (2 500 Euro each): Violetta Khachikyan, Russia & Sun Hwa Kim, Korea
    • Participation in the Interpretation Master Course in 2014 awarded by the European Krzysztof Penderecki Centre for Music in Lusławice

Competition auditions were open to the public and held in the concert halls of the Music Academy and the Pomeranian Philharmonic Hall in Bydgoszcz, where the laureates were announced and they played a Winners’ Concert on November 17.

On Tuesday, November 19, the final Prize Winners’ Concert of the 2013 Paderewski Piano Competition was held in the Chamber Music Hall of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. The program was as follows: Daiki Kato (3 prize): B. Bartok – Im Freien [Out of doors]; Dinara Klinton (2 prize): I. J. Paderewski – Melodia [Melody] op. 16 nr 2, Kaprys-Walc [Caprice-Waltz] op. 10 nr 5; F. Chopin – Etiudy [Etudes] op. 25: nr 10 h-moll, nr 11 a-moll, nr 12 c-moll; Zheeyoung Moon (1 prize): F. Mendelssohn – Fantazja [Fantasia] in F-sharp minor op. 28; R. Schumann – Toccata in C major op. 7

[Sources: konkurspaderewskiego.pl, filharmonia.pl; Photo: bydgoszcz.pl]

‘Diapason D’or De L’année’ For Mcreesh/Wrocław Phil Choir

It is extraordinary how Elijah – by far the most popular oratorio of the nineteenth century – fell from grace in the twentieth century. In recreating this huge Victorian event the aim is not to indulge in historical fantasy but to try and re-discover the power of this extraordinary work and why it inspired a whole generation –– Paul McCreesh, 2012

The recording of the oratorio Elijah by Felix Mendelssohn performed by the Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, Gabrieli Consort and soloists, and conducted by Paul McCreesh, which was produced by the label Winged Lion Records and the International Wratislavia Cantans Festival, has received the extremely prestigious “Diapason d’Or de l’ Année” Award. Appreciated around the world as an indicator of the highest in phonographic quality, the Diapason d’Or de l’ Année prize has been granted for more than twenty years to the most remarkable classical music albums.

The gala awards ceremony was held in Paris on November 28, 2013. All winners were selected by critics from France’s Diapason magazine and journalists from Radio France Musique. Diapason has been published since the fifties as a magazine dedicated to classical music, especially audio and visual recordings . It is the most influential phonographic magazine in continental Europe, competing with the British Gramophone. The winners of the Diapason d’Or de l’ Année in previous years were such prominent artists as Julia Lezhneva , Jordi Savall , Cecilia Bartoli , Marc Minkowski, and Rachel Podger . The gala of statuettes, which took place on November 28 at Studio 105 de Radio France, was a great celebration of classical music as in every year.

Mendelssohn Elijah 1846 is the second album in a series of collaborative recordings made by the international festival of oratorio, Wratislavia Cantans, and maestro Paul McCreesh, who served as artistic director of the Festival during the years 2006-2012. Recording Elijah is also a continuation of the special relationship between Polish and English musicians. The Wrocław  Philharmonic Choir went to the UK, where they joined the Gabrieli Consort & Players and the newly created ensemble the Gabrieli Young Singers’ Scheme, under the baton of Paul McCreesh. Together they formed a team consisting of more than four hundred musicians and made a recording of one of the greatest nineteenth-century oratorios. In November 2012, this same recording was highlighted by the Gramophone  ‘Editor’s Choice Award.’

[Sources: polmic.pl, wratislaviacantans.pl]

Ochlewski Composers’ Competition Winners

The Tadeusz Ochlewski Composers’ Competition is organized by Polish Music Publishers PWM and aims to promote Polish composers under the age of 30 years old. The patron of the competition is PWM founder, organizer of musical life in Poland, teacher and violinist, Tadeusz Ochlewski.

The subject of this year’s eleventh edition of the Ochlewski Competition was an original composition for solo voice and vocal electronic layer. This years’ edition was won by Franciszek Araszkiewicz for Monster Group Number and Marta Śniady for s!c2. Below are the composers’ current achievements:

Marta Śniady, composer, music theorist, born February 2, 1986, in Pabianice. She graduated with distinction in composition in the class of prof. Bronisław Kazimierz Przybylski (2010) and theory of music under the direction of Dr. Ewa Kowalska-Zając, prof. AM (2011) at the G. and K. Bacewicz Music Academy in Łódź. She studied electronic music under the direction of Dr. Hab. Krzysztof Knittel. For two years she studied in the framework of the Postgraduate Studies in Film Music, Computer and Audiovisual Works in Łódź. She has participated in courses conducted by prof. Marek Chołoniewski (Academy of Music in Kraków) and Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil (Academy of Music in Wrocław). In August 2013 she took part in the course for composers, “Synthesis” in Radziejowice, where she studied under the tutelage of such composers as Mauro Lanza, Mauricio Sotelo and Miguel Azguime. Her works are regularly presented during concerts as part of the Musica Moderna session in Łódź. She worked with Małgorzata Moneta during the photographic exhibition “Nano” at Galeria FF Łódź Dom Kultury. In October 2010 her installation entitled „Pieces of Chopin after bottle of wine” was presented under the framework of the “Cóż po Chopinie?” project in the “Propaganda sztuki” Municipal Art Gallery in Łódź. In 2012, the work aSH was performed by the Kwartludium ensemble during a concert in the contem.ucha series at the Łódź Philharmonic.Her compositions have been performed in the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music S1 Studio in Warsaw.She won the 3rd prize in the composition competition organised on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Academy of Music in Gdańsk with the work Dusza z cieła wylecieła for mixed choir a cappella. Since 2009, she has maintained permanent collaboration with Dziennik Łódzki as a music reviewer, and additionally has published in the musical journal Glissando and written an appendix to Małgorzata Gąsiorowska’s book Rozmowy z Włodzimierzem Kotońskim (2010). She works as an assistant in Łódź Academy of Music.

Franciszek Araszkiewicz is studying composition at the Academy of Music in Kraków (in the years 2010-2013 under the direction of prof. Krzysztof Knittel, now with Dr. Hab. Marcel Chyrzyński). He is the creator of compositions that are instrumental, vocal-instrumental, electro-acoustic, audio-visual, interactive installations and conceptual art, as well as film music and entertainment music. His works have been performed, amongst others, at the 24th International Days of Kraków Composers Festival, and the 1st Henryk Górecki International Festival in Kraków, the final concerts at the Gramodeska Young European Composers’ Competition 2011 in Brno and Prague,as well as numerous composition-performance workshops organized by the department of contemporary music and jazz at the Academy of Music in Kraków.His installations were exhibited, among others, at the Audio Art Festival 2011, Festival of Culture 2.0 2012 in Warsaw (with Piotr Sych) and the Athens Video Art Festival 2013 (with Anna Petelenz). His composition Musique Logistique for 2 pianos received the second prize (first not awarded) at the “…kiedy myślę Messiaen…” Polish Composers’ Competition in Wrocław in 2013.

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

Lutoslawski Year 2013

‘Lutosławski: A Centennial Tribute’ In NY

From the website of the Polish Cultural Institute in New York:

The Polish Cultural Institute New York together with Symphony Space and radio WQXR-Q2 presents Witold Lutosławski: A Centennial Tribute, featuring ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble), with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Lutosławski scholar Steven Stucky, author of the critical biography Lutosławski and His Music, and recipient of the Lutosławski Society medal and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Deems Taylor Award.

The program, which will also feature a discussion with Steven Stucky hosted by Symphony Space artistic director Laura Kaminsky, includes Lutosławski’s Sacher Variation for solo cello, Bukoliki for viola and cello, and his String Quartet, as well as Stucky’s Dialoghi for solo cello and his Nell’ombra, nella luce for string quartet. The entire concert will be recorded by and streamed live by Q2 Music at www.q2music.org as part of Q2’s Celebrating Poland: Lutosławski, Penderecki and New Music Now.

Witold Lutosławski (1913-94), one of the greatest musical minds of his era, elevated contemporary Polish concert music to world’s highest standards. For more than sixty years, his unique compositions have been entrancing listeners in all major concert halls throughout the world, exploring new kinds of beauty and revealing previously unknown possibilities of understanding and experience of the modern world. The Polish Parliament adopted a resolution declaring 2013 the “Year of Witold Lutosławski,” in recognition of special importance of his work for national and world heritage: “On the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the composer Witold Lutosławski, the Polish Parliament is paying homage to one of the greatest artists of our time, who made a lasting and important contribution to Polish and international music of the Twentieth Century.”

Steven Stucky is widely recognized as a leading American contemporary composer. He was awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his Second Concerto for Orchestra and has received commissions from many major American orchestras and ensembles. Mr. Stucky has taught at Cornell University since 1980, where he serves as Given Foundation Professor of Composition. For more than 20 years he has been associated with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he currently is Consulting Composer for New Music.

Led by artistic director and cellist Clarice Jensen, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) is dedicated to the outstanding performance of masterworks from the Twentieth and Twenty first Centuries. The ensemble presents cutting-edge literature by living composers alongside contemporary “classics.” ACME’s dedication to new music extends across genres and has earned the group a reputation among both classical and rock crowds. Time Out New York calls the group “one of New York’s brightest new music indie-bands.” The New York Times describes ACME’s performances as “vital,” “brilliant,” and “electrifying.” ACME will perform in the following lineup: Caroline Shaw & Caleb Burhans, violins; Nadia Sirota, viola; Clarice Jensen, cello.

Friday, December 13, 2013 | 7:30 PM
Witold Lutosławski: A Centennial Tribute
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York, NY
Tickets: $32; $27 members, $20 under 30 (with valid ID), available online

[Source: press release via polishculture-nyc.org]

Camerata Pacifica Performs Lutosławski

During the December 2013 Camerata Pacifica concert series, duo pianists Joanne Pearce Martin and Gavin Martin perform Lutosławski’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini during lunchtime and evening concerts in venues throughout Southern California. Their program also includes works by Mozart, Schubert, Debussy/Ravel, and Rachmaninoff. Performance dates are December 5 (Santa Barbara), December 6 (Downtown Los Angeles), December 8 (Ventura), December 10 (Pasadena).

Aficionados know Joanne Pearce Martin as a stellar ensemble pianist and as keyboardist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Both Joanne and her husband Gavin are graduates of Curtis. Gavin has performed in solo recital on all five continents, in addition to touring extensively as a chamber musician. Read about the duo by clicking: cameratapacifica.org/_people/joanne-pearce-martin/.

For concert details and directions to the venues, visit: cameratapacifica.org

[Sources: Clickable Chamber Newsletter, cameratapacifica.org]

‘Attorno A Lutosławski’ In Rome

From November 3 – December 15, 2013, the Associazione Nuova Consonanza [New Consonance Association] in Rome celebrates its 50th New Consonance Festival, under the theme “Foundations”—celebrating pioneers of contemporary music, in Italy and beyond. On December 11, in cooperation with the Polish Institute in Rome and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Festival presents “Attorno a Witold Lutosławski”—a program dedicated to the centenary of the birth of this Polish composer, which also compliments the Festival’s general focus on composers working since World War II. In addition to Lutosławski’s own compositions, works written in his honor by Polish composers such as Krzysztof Meyer and the young Marcin Stańczyk, as well as Giovanni Bietti and Simone Cardini, will be performed by the trio of Jakub Tchorzewski – piano, Anna Armatys – cello, and Geneva Petrucci  – flute.


Program Details:

  • Simone Cardini (1986-): Diaphorà – Nescit vox missa reverti* (2013) for solo flute
  • Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994):  Sacher Variation (1975) for solo cello
  • Marcin Stańczyk (1977-): Attorno (2013) for flute, piano and cello
  • Giovanni Bietti (1965-): La città degli echi* (2013) for flute, piano and cello
  • Witold Lutosławski:  Grave (1981) – “Metamorphoses” for piano and cello
  • Krzysztof Meyer (1943-): Sonata n.2  (2004) for piano and cello


December 11, 2013 | 8:00 pm
‘Attorno a Witold Lutosławski’ – 50th Festival Nuova Consonanza
Sala Casella, Via Flaminia 118, Rome
Info: nuovaconsonanza.it


[Sources: polmic.pl, nuovaconsonanza.it]

Ogniwa At Opera Na Zamku In Szeczin

On Saturday, November 16 in Szczecin’s opera house, Opera na Zamku presented Ogniwa [Links], a program of new choreographed dances set to Witold Lutosłwski’s compositions in which the music of the great Polish composer brings together artists from different parts of the globe. Lutosławski’s Little Suita, Musique funèbre, Chain No. 1 and No. 2 were performed by the orchestra of Opera na Zamku in Szczecin conducted by Jerzy Wołosiuk.

Watch a trailer for the performance here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=K__szL2NU18.

Each part of the program was choreographed by a different artist: two representatives of the younger generation—Warsaw-based choreographer Kaya Kołodziejczyk, who has won a national competition for Poland’s emerging choreographers, and Piotr Czubowicz, dancer and choreographer of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo—along with the phenomenal and experienced ballet artist, Robert Glumbek. The choreographic concept was an unusual combination of movement and emotion. Moldovian violinist Ilian Garnetz, who has won the most prestigious violin competitions in the world, also collaborated on this project.

The three dance pieces are:

  • Grey Summer (set to Little Suita by W. Lutosławski) choreography by Piotr Czubowicz: see video
  • Aria di Prefiche (set to Musique funèbre by W. Lutosławski) choreography by Kaya Kołodziejczyk: see video
  • Pewnego razu – teraz [Once Upon a Time – Now] (set to Chain No. 1 and No. 2 by W. Lutosławski) choreography by Robert Glumbek: see video

The debut of Ogniwa was made possible as part of the Opera na Zamku’s project Taniec z Lutosławskim [A Dance with Lutosławski], which is supported financially by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland under the program “Lutosławski 2013 – Promesa”, implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw.

[Source: imit.org.pl]


Portrety Kompozytorów

On December 2-3, 2013, the 23nd edition of the “Composer’s Portraits” Festival was held in the Mazovia Regional Centre of Culture and Art. As the name of the festival implies, each of the concerts is dedicated to a single composer in a monographic presentation of their output. This year’s composers and their programs were:

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

Dec 2 @ 6pm:
Joanna Bruzdowicz (b. 1943)


From the Fever World to words by Jehanne Dubrow for mezzo-soprano, string quartet and piano (2013) **

String Quartet No. 1 “La Vita”  (1983)

Liliana GÓRSKA – mezzosoprano,

Tomasz JOCZ – piano,

NeoQuartet: Karolina PIĄTKOWSKA-NOWICKA – violin,

Paweł KAPICA – violin,

Michał MARKIEWICZ – viola,

Krzysztof PAWŁOWSKI – cello

Andrzej Dutkiewicz (b. 1942)


Sophie’s Music for Four  for trio for piano and tape (1987)
Danse Triste for alto saxaphone and piano (1977-78)
Three songs to poems Wacław Oszajca for baritone, flute and piano (2007):

Nie, To jest logiczne, and Ostatnie życzenie

Sextet for flute, clarinet, violin, cello piano and percussion (2013)**

Oliwier ANDRUSZCZENKO – clarinet,

Paweł GUSNAR –  alto saxaphone,

Agnieszka KARWOWSKA – flute,

Julia KISIELEWSKA – cello,

Anna KWIATKOWSKA – violin,

Leszek LORENT – percussion,

Tomasz PIĘTAK – baritone,

Julia SAMOJŁO – piano,

Michał ŚMIGIELSKI – conductor, Trio: Karolina PIĄTKOWSKA-NOWICKA – violin,

Krzysztof PAWŁOWSKI – cello,

Tomasz JOCZ – piano,Barbara OKOŃ-MAKOWSKA – sound projection

Dec 3 @ 6pm:
Wojciech Blecharz (b. 1981)
[Read a new profile of Blecharz in Polish, including video and audio of his newest works, at meakultura.pl]


Small talks for accordion and baritone saxaphone (2012-13)*
Phenotype for violin solo (2011)
The map of tenderness for cello solo (2012)
K’an for steel drum and ca. 130 sticks (2012)
Means of protection for voice, cello and prepared accordion (2012)

Katarzyna BOJARYN – percussion,

Paweł JANAS –accordion,

Julia KISIELEWSKA – cello,

Anna KWIATKOWSKA – violin,

Wojciech PSIUK –baritone saxaphone,


Adam Sławiński (b. 1935)


Intermezzo for string quartet (1996)
Wariacje [Variations] for clarinet and piano  (2013)
Pulsar for percussion and tape (1998)
Czołówka [Lead] from the film Chłopi [Peasants]

Leszek LORENT – percussion,

Artur PACHLEWSKI – clarinet,

Julia SAMOJŁO – piano,

Barbara OKOŃ-MAKOWSKA – sound projection

* World Premiere

** World Premiere of a work co-financed by the MKiDN Program “Composers’ Commissions” as carried out by IMiT

[Source: mckis.waw.pl]


Możdżer & Friends Celebrate ‘Polska’

Możdżer3 Danielsson2 Fresco1: POLSKA
Leszek Możdżer – piano, celesta, vibraphone, synth; Lars Danielsson – cello, bass;  Zohar Fresco – percussion, vocal

Outside Music & ACT Music ACT 9557-2

Press release via www.actmusic.com:

The Pole Leszek Możdżer is “a phenomenon” (Süddeutsche Zeitung). “His finely grained virtuosity is fascinating entertainment that is unrivalled in the contemporary piano craft” (FAZ). Already a star in his homeland, and in Europe the most important Polish jazz musician of his generation after Tomasz Stańko, the 42 year-old pianist from Danzig is the embodiment of the current journey of European jazz. A journey back to its roots, and at the same time to new shores: a classical education, the awareness of the own musical tradition, is almost always the basis for exploring one’s own worlds of sound with masterly technique. And so it is with Możdżer, who didn’t discover jazz until he was 18, to then quickly combine it with other forms. A distinctly individual sound resulted, a personal form of expression that is unmistakably infused with Polish music traditions: Chopin, the national hero of Polish music, is always woven in – audible also in the introduction to “Polska” with “Chai Peimot”. But also modern Polish composers, all the way through to pop music, inspire him. Witold Lutoslawski, for example, who has written both complex symphonic works and popular chart hits. Or Krzystof Komeda, to whom Możdżer paid tribute on his most recent ACT album, Komeda.

One advantage Możdżer has over his colleagues from other countries is that his language is understood, most importantly by his compatriots. His genre-crossing music enjoys phenomenal success in his home country, reaching all kinds of audiences. Even his solo concerts there are held in major venues. When he invites guest stars like Marcus Miller or John Scofield, as he did for his “Możdżer+” concert in 2010, tens of thousands of people come to listen. At his 2008 concert in the Danzig shipyard with Pink Floyd frontman David Gilmore there was an audience of 60,000. His albums have long found their home in the Polish charts: “Komeda” even made number one in the pop charts in 2011—ahead of Sting and Beyonce. With his extravagant glasses and hairdos Możdżer even looks more like a pop star than a jazz musician.

The fact that the interest—yes even admiration—is growing in Germany and other countries as well and the concert halls are getting bigger—at the opening to “Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic”, for example, Berlin’s Chamber Music Hall was sold out—is clearly due to what “Polska” once again impressively demonstrates: Możdżer’s singular ability to combine the heavy with the light. Despite breath-taking improvisations and strongly contrapuntal and directionally opposed compositions, his music always remains understandable and catchy. Możdżer has a talent for the interplay of rhythm and harmony with melodies—so it comes as no surprise that he has done a lot of work for theatre and film in Poland. Just lend an ear to the title track of the new album: a lightly chromatic, “Slavic” bass figure passes through the entire piece, forming the foundation for the weightless, ever more intertwined lines and the hymnal, improvisationally varied theme. It’s all in there: classic, jazz and pop; all complementing and enriching each other.

“Polska” would not sound the way it does, if it had not been born in a trio with the Swedish bassist Lars Danielsson and the Israeli percussionist and singer Zohar Fresco. Możdżer found these soul mates ten years ago: the two already showed themselves to be a dream team of intuitive ensemble playing on the Danielsson albums “Pasodoble” (as a duo) and “Tarantella”. And Danielsson is not only one of the best jazz bassists (and cellists!) in the world, he also has similar compositional preferences to Możdżer, which can be heard here on his tracks “Africa” and the touching “Spirit”. As a member of “Bustan Abraham”, “Ziryab” and “Noah”, Fresco is one of the Israeli pioneers who began in the eighties joining music from the west with music from the east, Arabian with European. Unperceived here, these three have already recorded two albums in Poland that went double platinum (just like the recent “Komeda”)!

Now, no matter where you are, with “Polska” you can discover one of the most fascinating and extraordinary trios in the world with Leszek Możdżer as its creative mastermind. One that sweeps you away with the pulsating “KarMa Party” or simply enchants with the balladesque “Norgon”, and one that with the aid of the Polish Symphony Orchestra knows how to provide a grand finale, with a version of Jimi Hendrix’ “Are You Experienced?”.

[Sources: press release, actmusic.com]

Motion Trio Explores 20th & 21st Century Polish Music

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki: Concerto for hapsichord and string orchestra op.40; Janusz Wojtarowicz/Jacek Hołubowski: Sounds of War; Witold Lutosławski: Bucolics; Krzysztof Penderecki: Chaconne in memoriam John Paul II; Wojciech Kilar: Orawa; Marta Ptaszyńska: The last Waltz in Vienna (Dedicated to the Motion Trio)

Motion Trio [Paweł Baranek, Janusz Wojtarowicz and Marcin Gałażyn – accordion] & Leszek Możdżer – piano

WARNER CLASSICS/Parlophone Music Polska at empik.com (Nov 2013)

Produced in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and RMF Classic, Warner Classics/Parlophone Music Polska presents a new CD of the accordion ensemble Motion Trio, featuring compositions of some of the most important Polish composers of the 20th and 21st century: Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wojciech Kilar, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Marta Ptaszyńska. Their works were arranged for accordion trio by Janusz Wojtarowicz, leader of Motion Trio and author of most of the group’s compositions. The project’s guest star is the phenomenally versatile pianist Leszek Możdżer, who performs the solo part of Górecki’s Concerto for harpsichord or piano, Op.40.

According to Janusz Wojtarowicz:

The record POLONIUM is a fulfillment of a long lasting dream both or me and for the whole Motion Trio group to create one CD which encloses works of the most outstanding Polish composers of the 2nd half of the 20th century: Witold Lutosławski, Wojciech Kilar, Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and, what is more, to perform the music pieces on accordions while being really lucky to have Leszek Możdżer as a guest star soloist in the H.M.Górecki concert. It is an absolutely new look at the music of masters.

POLONIUM is proof (and it is my credo accompanying the almost seventeen-year-long activity of the group) that an accordion trio is a classical performing group just like a chamber orchestra or a string quartet. I am certain that it is a group of the 21st century standards.

The title of the record POLONIUM was taken from the Latin name of a radioactive chemical element discovered by Mary Curie-Skłodowska and called polonium to honor Poland.

I think that choosing the pieces for the record in that way and later arranging them for three accordions in order to finally record them with Motion Trio in the studio, I managed to catch Polish exceptional emotionality with its phobias, complicated history, but with its dignity, attachment to tradition, Polish fear of: “others,” loneliness and future and at the same time with huge, often irrational hope. It is a deep and strong record.

[Sources: press release, motiontrio.com]

Polish Violin Music Reviewed In The Strad

Polish Violin Music
Works by Zarzycki, Noskowski, Drozdzewski, Górecki, Paderewski, Lutoslawski & Lipinski
Kinga Augustyn, violin and Efi Hackmey, piano
Naxos 9.70192

On Monday, December 2, The Strad—a prestigious print magazine and online portal dedicated to the art of all things strings—featured a review entitled “A fascinating traversal of a century and a half of virtuoso music from Poland” of the recent Naxos recording made by violinist Kinga Augustyn and pianist Efi Hackmey entitled “Polish Violin Music.” British reviewer Tom Homfrey had this to say about the disc, which includes several world premiere recordings:

[…] Kinga Augustyn treats both mazurkas with charm and a certain coquettishness, relishing the melodic twists and turns and extrovert technical displays. In the Introduction and Cracovienne and the Andante–Polonaise she keeps a light touch in the energetic fast sections, dancing and laced with virtuosic flourishes.[…]

Augustyn leaps forward a century for two solo caprices by Piotr Drozdzewski’s, both emotionally as well as technically probing. She plays Górecki’s miniature Sonatina in one movement with driving intensity, before opening out into the more spacious Variazioni, in a performance embracing beautifully shaped, pensive melodic lines and darker, biting playing. Górecki’s Little Fantasia is, at nearly twelve minutes, the longest work on the CD. Augustyn draws together its slowly evolving repetitive segments with ease and assurance.

She shows great sensitivity in miniatures by Paderewski and Lutoslawski before returning to the 19th century for the unashamed virtuosity of Lipinski’s Two Impromptus, played with verve and superb control.[…]

[Sources: thestrad.com]

CD Review/Personality Profile

By Gary Fitelberg

Andy Harris Wasteland Music for Piano, Four Hands
Andy Harris: Wasteland (1998), Preludes – Mirrors and Images (1995), Preludes – Lines (1990), The Silence of Peace (1997) and Two Seasons from Nature (1974)

Tamara Granat – piano, Eri Iwamoto-Bukowian – piano
DUX 0327 (2012)

The dynamic duo of Eri Iwamoto-Bukowian and Tamara Granat make marvelous music for piano four hands on this 2012 disc featuring British-born composer Andy Harris.

Harris began seriously writing music for children as Head of Music in a large secondary school in Staffordshire, UK.  However, all the music performed on this CD by these two “Polish” pianists is from the period when he lived in Poland from 1992 until 2001. Most of the pieces were composed in Kraków or Warsaw, or on the train while travelling between the two. Harris describes his experience as a “bizarre, surreal, exciting and certainly most dramatic first two years of my life in this country.”  Harris adds “When I first toyed with the idea of some preludes for piano, I decided that I really wanted to explore the versatility of this instrument.  Not just the incredible dynamic possibilities, textures or colors, or the sheer lyrical and harmonious beauty available to the composer but also the effects possible with such a large range to pitch.  Right from the beginning, I realized four hands would be my medium of choice.  One piece led to another and although there are only eight preludes, I wrote a number of other compositions as well.  The largest and most complex is Cloudscape, which is in seven parts and not included on this CD.”

Like Harris, Eri Iwamoto-Bukowian emigrated to Poland from her native homeland of Japan and has since adopting it as her home.  Born in Nara, Japan, Iwamoto-Bukowian is a graduate of Soai University in Osaka and the recipient of grants from the Rohm Music Foundation and Nomura Culture Foundation, which enabled her to study music for seven years in Europe. She has degrees from the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Hochschule der Künste in Bern and the Conservatoire de Musique de Genéve, and the Academy of Music in Basel, Switzerland. Amongst her teachers are Barbara Hesse-Bukowska, Maciej Piotrowski, Virginio Pavarana, Filippo Gamba, Tomasz Herbut, Sumiko Tsujimoto and Kumiko Hata.

In 2001 she received the Grand Prix at the Ninth International Milosz Magin Piano Competition in Paris, which resulted in numerous concert appearances in Italy, France, Switzerland, Portugal, Poland and Japan. She has performed at the Yehudi Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, Switzerland, Viana do Castelo Music Festival in Portugal, Schubert Festival in Italy, “Chopin in the Colors of Autumn” Festival in Antonin, Poland and the Chopin Summer Festival in Busko-Zdrój, Poland.

The music of Karol Szymanowski has always held a privileged place in her concert repertoire. In 2005 she received a special prize for the best performance of a composition by Karol Szymanowski at the 6th International Karol Szymanowski Competition in Łódź. In 2008 she recorded an album with music by Karol Szymanowski, issued on the Acte Préalable label. In 2009 she gave a number of recitals of Szymanowski works in Japan, among others for the national radio broadcaster NHK, which brought her the Osaka Mayor’s Award for culture.

Currently she lives in Poland. She is a lecturer at the Academy of Music in Łódź.

Tamara Granat is a native of Wrocław, Poland, where she graduated with honors from the Music High School in the piano class of Janina Butor. As a 16 year old student, she won the 1st Grade Artistic Chopin Scholarship during a musical competition organized by the F. Chopin Institute in Warsaw (1979). In the years 1982-1987 she studied at the Academy of Music in Gdańsk in prof. Jerzy Sulikowski’s piano class and prof. Roman Suchecki’s chamber class. She also took part in the summer master courses under prof. Victor Mierzanov and Tatiana Szebanowa (Moscow). She is also a laureate of the Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz (1987). In the same year she debuted by performing the A-Major Concerto by Liszt with the Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra and Jerzy Maksymiuk.

For 25 years she performed alongside Waldemar Malicki in a piano duet for four hands and two pianos. They recorded 6 CDs and gave numerous recordings for the Polish Radio and TV. The duet performed in many European countries, in the USA (Kennedy Center, Washington DC 1991; Lincoln Center, New York 2005), in Russia (International Piano Duet Competition, Yekaterinburg 1991). Duo Granat also gave concerts in the Polish National Philharmonic in 1996 and 2001. In 1998, Tamara Granat and Waldemar Malicki were invited to perform at the inauguration of the Jerzy Buzek Foundation. The duet made several recordings with the National Radio Orchestra in Katowice, including Mozart’s E flat major Concerto for two pianos as well as XX Century Concertos conducted by W. Michniewski and Kai Baumann. The duet’s Bach Piano Concertos album, recorded with the Prima Vista Quartet, received the most prestigious Polish music award (Fryderyk 2000). Their recordings of Paderewski received a nomination for the prize in the following year.

As a chamber musician, Tamara Granat has cooperated with the Chamber Philharmonia in Kuwait, and has performed alongside Tomasz Strahl (cello), Konstanty Andrzej Kulka (violin), Alicja Wegorzewska (soprano), Aviva Lacterman (soprano), Vadim Brodski (violin) and Per Hammastrom (violin). In 1999, she toured Indonesia and gave piano courses in Jakarta. In 2001, she worked with the Camerata Quartet and gave concerts in Zagreb and Sarajevo. In the years 1998-2002, she regularly took part in the chamber music festival Bravo Maestro in Poland.

In 2009 she began working with Daniel Propper – an outstanding Swedish pianist living in France. Recorded in September, the album entitled “French Music for Piano Duo” is the first result of this cooperation. The CD was noticed by the British radio station Classic FM, and extracts of it have been played on numerous occasions. The album received excellent reviews in the Polish magazine HiFi. Duo Granat—now comprised of Tamara Granat and Bartłomiej Kominek—is planning recording two other albums with Polish and Latin-American music.

This international musical collaboration brought to life on this DUX disc should instead be titled “destiny,” as the three artists blend together in perfect harmony.

Gary Fitelberg is a music critic and historian specializing in Polish music and musicians.

[Sources: dux.pl, prestoclassical.co.uk, eriiwamoto.jimdo.com, wieczorywarsenale.pl]


Barbara Hesse-Bukowska

Polish pianist Barbara Hesse-Bukowska (February 8, 1930 – December 9, 2013) has died at the age of 83. Hesse-Bukowska is perhaps best known for her triumph at the 1949 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, where she came in third after Bella Davidovich and Halina Czery, who shared the first prize ex aequo. Having studied in Poland under such teachers as Margerita Trombini-Kazuro and Maria Wiłkomirska, Hesse-Bukowska moved to Paris in 1953 to perfect her technique under the tutelage of Artur Rubenstein, thanks to a stipend provided by the Polish government. She enjoyed an international career throughout the 1950s-1970s, primarily in Soviet Bloc countries, and recorded for several prestigious labels throughout the world, including Deutsche Grammophon. Early in her career she taught at the State Music Academy in Wrocław then, since 1973, served as professor at the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw.

[Sources: artsjournal.com, polskieradio.pl, chopin.nifc.pl]


Born this Month:

  • 3 December 1896 – Boleslaw SZABELSKI, composer (d. 1979)
  • 5 December 1899 – Boleslaw WOYTOWICZ, composer (d. 1980)
  • 6 December 1933 – Henryk Mikolaj GÓRECKI, composer (d. 2010)
  • 11 December 1876 – Mieczyslaw KARLOWICZ, composer (d. 1909, under an avalanche in Tatra mountains)
  • 14 December 1789 – Maria SZYMANOWSKA, composer, virtuosa pianist (d. 1831, of cholera). Read her biography: PMHS Vol. 9
  • 18 December 1907 – Roman PALESTER, composer, broadcaster (d. 1989)
  • 23 December 1830 – Adam MINCHEJMER, composer and conductor (d. 1904)
  • 24 December 1859 – Roman STATKOWSKI, composer, teacher (d. 1925)
  • 29 December 1902 – Henryk VARS , film and popular music composer (d. 1978)


Died this Month:

  • 3 December 2004 – Marek STACHOWSKI, professor, composer, and administrator at the Music Academy in Kraków (b. 1936)
  • 11 December 1945 – Seweryn EISENBERGER, pianist (b. 1899)
  • 20 December 1834 – Maurycy MOCHNACKI, music critic, writer, pianist (b. 1804)
  • 21 December 1938 – Arnold LUDWIK, violin maker (b. 1873)
  • 21 December 2005 – Ryszard SIELICKI, pianist and composer (b. 1916)
  • 23 December 1885 – Artur BARTELS, pop singer (b. 1818)
  • 23 December 1869 – Julian FONTANA, close friend and musical associate of Chopin (b. July 1810)
  • 24 December 1898 – Eugeniusz PANKIEWICZ, pianist and composer (b. 1857)
  • 26 December 1945 – Stefan STOINSKI, music ethnographer, writer, conductor (b. 1891)
  • 29 December 1913 – Jadwiga SARNECKA, pianist, composer, poet (b. 1877)
  • 31 December 1944 – Marian Teofil RUDNICKI, conductor, composer (b. 1888)