Maestro Antoni Wit is one of the most valued conductors of his generation, admired on stages worldwide and a devoted promoter of Polish music. The music of his motherland, represented by compositions by a single composer and rendered in a neo-romantic expressive spirit, will fill the entire program of a monographic concert on 8 May 2021 at 8 p.m., presented by Polish ‘Sinfonia Iuventus’ Orchestra with Wit on the podium.

I.J. Paderewski and Z. Stojowski on Paderewski’s estate in Paso Robles, CA. July 31, 1927. Photo: Private collection, Used by permission.

The concert will highlight the now somewhat forgotten yet outstanding Polish composer, Zygmunt Stojowski, whose 75th anniversary of death falls this year. After a short period of tuition from Władysław Żeleński in Warsaw, Stojowski continued his compositional studies in Paris and took piano masterclasses with Paderewski. He and Paderewski developed a long-lasting friendship cemented by a common fate on emigration. The most successful time for Stojowski as a composer, pianist, and, above all, a greatly valued pedagogue was the four decades he spent in the United States—from 1905 until his death in 1946.

Stojowski wrote his Symphonic Rhapsody for piano and orchestra in 1898–1900. After its successful premiere in Berlin in 1900, it became a part of Stojowski’s and other pianists’ repertoire for many years. The piece, featuring references to Polish national music, impresses with its opulence of changing moods, colorful orchestration, and brilliant virtuosity of the solo part. The solo on the May 8th concert will be performed by Krzysztof Książek, winner of the 3rd prize and a special award for the best performance of mazurkas in the 1st International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments.

The slightly earlier Symphony in D minor is full of dramatic gravity and strong emotion. Written by the composer at 27 years old, this work won First Prize in the orchestral works category of the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Composition Competition in Leipzig a year after it was composed. The cheerful and charming Suite in E flat major also dates from this early and highly creative period of Stojowski’s life. As is typical of the symphonic genre, it contains stylizations of dances—in this case, Polish ones. The second movement is a polonaise, while the third contains a fragment in the krakowiak style.

8 May 2021 | 8:00 p.m. Central European time
Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra presents Zygmunt Stojowski (online)
Watch online: Sinfonia Iuventus Youtube Channel
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