On Friday at noontime, Dr. Mateusz Strzelecki—violinist and scholar from the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Poland—will present a fascinating lecture at USC on the composer Karol Rathaus (1895-1954). Born to a Jewish family in the formerly Polish city of Ternopol, Rathaus gained great popularity in Germany and Austria during the 1930s yet is little known today. When his music was banned by the Third Reich, Rathaus went into exile through Paris and London, eventually emigrating to the United States. In his lecture, Dr Strzelecki will show how this largely unknown composer exerted considerable influence on the heritage of pre-war Europe and cultural life in the US of the 1940s and 50s.

Karol Rathaus was among the many great talents who emigrated to the United States in the late 1930’s. His music manifests a broad and sensitive insight into the several contrasting musical trends that arose in Europe during early years of the twentieth-century. Rathaus’s compositional contributions to the music world were highly diversified (he wrote for films, documentaries, plays as well as ”serious” or concert music). He devoted much of his time to the musical education of his students in New York and to the establishment of the Queens College Music Department (nowadays the Aaron Copland School of Music). To Karol Rathaus, emigrating to America was more than an escape from a war endangered Europe. In the USA he felt that one’s heritage would not determine one’s future.

Dr. Mateusz Strzelecki, violin

Friday, June 2, 2023 | 12 Noon
‘Karol Rathaus and His Work in Europe and the US’: Lecture by Dr. Mateusz Strzelecki
USC Doheny Library, Music Library – Herklotz Room (DML, basement level)
3550 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Parking: $4/hr in McCarthy Parking Structure (USC parking info here)
FREE ADMISSION – Bring your Lunch!

Strzelecki Bio

Violinist Mateusz Strzelecki (b. 1989), graduated with honors from the Department of Instrumental and Educational Studies at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. He continued his education at the Universität der Künste in Berlin in the class of an outstanding Polish violinist and concertmaster of the Deutsche Oper, professor Tomasz Tomaszewski. Having completed doctoral studies at the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź, in 2022 he was awarded the academic degree of a PhD in Fine Arts for his doctoral dissertation on the chamber works for violin and piano by Polish émigré composer, Karol Rathaus.  

Mateusz Strzelecki participated in numerous violin master classes in Poland, Germany and Belgium with such eminent artists as Rebekka Hartmann, Piotr Janowski, Adam Korniszewski, and Claude Lelong. His artistic accomplishments include solo, chamber and orchestral performances in most European countries as well as in Russia, China, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and the United States.

Strzelecki is the recipient of scholarships granted by the Rectors of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and Academy of Music in Łódź, as well as the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. During the Academic Year 2019/2020, Strzelecki was a recipient of the Fulbright Junior Research Award and completed his grant as a visiting research fellow at The Queens College – Aaron Copland School of Music in New York. Since October 2021, he has served as one of the Polish Ambassadors of the Fulbright Scholarship Program.

Together with pianist Andrzej Ślązak, Mateusz Strzelecki recorded three CDs, including music by Lili Boulanger, Józef Koffler, Roman Padlewski, Karol Rathaus, and Aleksander Tansman. These recordings were released between 2018 and 2022 on the Opus and Paladino Music labels. Reviewing their Dedication CD, Adam Baruch observed that, “Both instrumentalists heard on this album are sophisticated performers and masters of their instruments, which becomes immediately apparent from the opening notes. Their superb teamwork makes even the most complex parts of the compositions present on this album […] sound coherent and effortless […] which of course is admirable.”

Listen to Mateusz Strzelecki on Spotify