Dear Friends of Polish Music, 

We hope that 2022 proved to be a much better year for you, as it certainly was for us. During this season of joy and holiday gatherings, we wanted to share the exciting news of formally receiving a two-million-dollar gift from Taube Philanthropies for archiving and digitizing the Polish Music Center’s prized and unique collections. This extraordinary gift will allow us to create a permanent full-time position of archivist/cataloguer and prepare our Archival Collections for high-resolution scanning at the USC Digital Libraries, a time-consuming and costly task that will take several years. When it’s completed, our digital files will be securely stored on the USC Digital Library servers and the PMC Archives, including our precious Manuscript Collection, will be accessible through the PMC and USC Digital Library web portals, as well as on Poland’s State Archives website. This great moment in PMC’s history was celebrated with a USC visit by Dianne and Tad Taube on March 26, which included a concert of world premieres presented by the Cracow Duo (pictured above) and an elegant reception for devoted members of the PMC community. In fact, the first digitization step—PMC’s Bronisław Kaper Collection of film scores and songs—was already completed during the past year and is now available online

(L-R): Consul General Jarosław Łasiński, PMC Director Marek Zebrowski, Dianne and Tad Taube, Executive Director Shana Penn of Taube Philanthropies, and Thornton Dean Robert Cutietta. Shown at the California Dreamin’: Taube Celebration at USC on March 26, 2022 (Credit: Alex Yang Photography)

Archives At Work

Dr. Pietrzyk and Anna Czajka surveying items in the PMC’s Archival Collections, including Paderewski’s suitcase from the Paderewski Archive: Paso Robles Collection (above L) and personal letters bearing signs of the Nazi occupation of Poland during WWII from the Roman Ryterband Collection

Another good news item this year was the resumption of our collaboration with Poland’s State Archives after a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus. In July we hosted the world’s foremost  expert on paper preservation, Anna Czajka, and the Chief Director of the State Archives, Dr. Paweł Pietrzyk.

 In addition to extensive preservation and consultation done on site, these experts also selected four extremely fragile items from the Zygmunt & Luisa Stojowski Collection—two musical manuscripts (see damage to Stojowski’s Modlitwa za Polskę at left), a watercolor painting and a heavily-damaged photograph—to be restored at the special lab facilities of the Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw. These highly valuable items will be back at PMC next year, returning with the Archives’ experts who will continue their crucial summertime work for us.

This fall we also resumed the Paderewski Lecture-Recital series fully in-person, with a program featuring works by Hanna Kulenty. The composer was able to join us for an excellent concert at USC, attend meetings with faculty and work with Thornton students, and participate in various other music-related activities in Southern California.

Hanna Kulenty with DMA candidate trumpeter Svend Lykkegaard during rehearsal of La Scala Solo (above L), and student performers of Kulenty’s Fado at the concert reception: violinist Madelyn Parnas Möller, pianist Sky Haneul Lee and cellist Paweł Czarakcziew (above R)

Another annual ritual for us is the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, for which we collaborated this year with the National Institute of Music and Dance (NIMiT), Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs (MKiDN) in Poland, and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York (PCINY), among others. The 2022 Festival highlights include pianist Jakub Kuszlik (Paderewski Competition and Chopin Competition prizewinner) and the Cracow Golden Quintet, a woodwind group who performed for the first time in the Golden State!

With the help of our two dedicated USC work-study students, we accomplished many other things throughout this strange year of returning to normal operations. We digitized a number of works from our Roman Ryterband Collection for celebrations of Poland’s Independence Day as well as other upcoming concerts in Poland. We have also assisted numerous students, faculty and researchers from across the world—as well as a Fulbright scholar from Poland in residence at USC this fall—with extensive Polish music-related research requests. Actually, we are looking forward to hosting another Fulbright scholar from Poland for the first six months of 2023.

Annual Appeal

As you can imagine, carrying out these projects involves fixed costs such as wages for student workers, travel and lodging for musicians from Poland, concert hall rentals at USC, printing concert programs, and organizing post-concert receptions. Since these expenditures aren’t directly connected to the Taube gift for digitization, we must fund them on our own, and thus we turn to you, our friends of Polish Music. If you are—or have been—one of our steadfast supporters, please accept our sincere gratitude for your much-needed help.  Thanks to your generous and consistent giving, we are able to continue our important mission of promoting Polish music worldwide. If you have seen this letter in the past but did not yet have a chance to reply, please consider doing so today. We appeal to our friends only once a year, and fundraising gifts provide nearly 100% of the PMC operating budget

Online donations are strongly encouraged because mailed checks take longer to reach us, and to be recorded and acknowledged. For credit card donations please visit GIVETO.USC.EDU and choose the PMC under Schools, Centers and Institutes > Schools > Music. You may also contact us at (213) 821-1356 to give by phone, or send a check to the address at the bottom of the page. Please indicate “USC Polish Music Center,” either in the remittance line of your check or online, to ensure that your contribution reaches our account. Should you have any questions, please email or call our office.

In the past, we have offered special incentives such as event recordings or calendars to our most generous donors. However, in keeping with USC President Carol Folt’s eco initiatives, as well as to ensure that your gift is 100% tax deductible, we instead encourage you to visit our constantly updated Polish Music Center YouTube channel and PMC website to enjoy the fruits of our labor and your gifts at work. 

As always, we thank you for your consideration and send our best wishes for the Holiday Season. Please save the date of January 6, 2023 for our first event at USC!

We remain sincerely and gratefully yours,

Marek Zebrowski

Krysta Close
Assistant Director