On March 23, the USC Polish Music Center welcomes to campus the esteemed Verona Quartet, presenting the annual PMC Spring Concert in collaboration with guest pianist and USC Thornton faculty member Bernadene Blaha. Entitled “Celebrating Bacewicz & Szymanowski,” this concert features pioneering female composer and polymath, Grażyna Bacewicz, and the father of Polish modern music, Karol Szymanowski, highlighting how both explored the interplay between folk idioms and traditional classical forms in their music.

The PMC Spring Concert is generously supported by POLAM Federal Credit Union and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles.

PMC Spring Concert: Celebrating Bacewicz & Szymanowski

with Verona Quartet & Bernadene Blaha, Piano
USC Newman Recital Hall – 3616 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA (map)
FREE admission, no RSVP required
Reception in Herklotz Courtyard to follow the concert

Campus Parking: $4/hr or $20/day (McCarthy Way Structure)
If you require assistance between parking and venue, please call 213-764-4977 for a ride

Program of Works 

Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) | String Quartet No. 4 (1951)
I. Andante. Allegro molto
II. Andante
III. Allegro giocoso

Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) | String Quartet No. 2 (1927)
I. Moderato, dolce e tranquillo
II. Vivace scherzando
III. Lento

Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) | Piano Quintet No. 1 (1952)
I. Moderato molto espressivo
II. Presto
III. Grave
IV. Con passione

Verona Quartet: Jonathan Ong, Violin | Dorothy Ro, Violin | Abigail Rojansky, Viola | Jonathan Dormand, Cello
with Guest Artist: Bernadene Blaha, Piano

The Verona Quartet is represented by Dinin Arts Management & Consulting

Full digital program including program notes is available here: https://music.usc.edu

Artist Biographies

Acclaimed as an “outstanding ensemble…cohesive yet full of temperament” (The New York Times), the Verona Quartet has firmly established itself amongst the most distinguished ensembles on the chamber music scene today. The group’s singular sense of purpose earned them Chamber Music America’s coveted 2020 Cleveland Quartet Award, and a reputation for its “bold interpretive strength, robust characterization and commanding resonance” (Calgary Herald). The Quartet serves on the faculty of the Oberlin College and Conservatory as the Quartet-in-Residence. In addition to its position at Oberlin, the Quartet recently held residencies at Nova Scotia’s Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance, North Carolina’s Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle and the ENCORE Chamber Music Institute. As committed advocates of diverse programming, the Verona Quartet curated the UpClose Chamber Music Series on behalf of the COT, electrifying audiences with their “sensational, powerhouse performance[s]” (Classical Voice America).

The Verona Quartet has appeared across four continents, captivating audiences at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center (New York City), Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.), Jordan Hall (Boston), Wigmore Hall (U.K.) and Melbourne Recital Hall (Australia), and has performed at festivals including La Jolla Summerfest, Chamber Music Northwest, Caramoor, the Texas Music Festival, Bravo! Vail, and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Pianist Bernadene Blaha is internationally recognized as a recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician. Lauded by Piano and Keyboard Magazine for her “integrity” and “total clarity of line,” Blaha began her musical journey in Canada before gaining prominence with top awards at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition, Lugano Switzerland Masterplayer’s International Competition, and New York City’s International Piano Competition. These prizes led to acclaimed recitals at Carnegie Recital Hall and the Lincoln Center Library in New York City. She was also featured at the XXIX International Chopin Festival in Marianske Lazne, followed by appearances at such distinguished venues as the Concertgebouw, Salle Cortot, Phillips Collection, National Arts Center, and Disney Hall. In 2009, Blaha co-founded the piano trio Latitude 41 with Livia Sohn and Luigi Piovano. The group’s debut album, featuring Schubert’s monumental Trio in E flat, received high praise. With a rich discography, Blaha has recorded for CBC, Centaur, Analekta, Eloquentia, and Naxos. Her most recent album of Polish Violin Sonatas (Noskowski and Żeleński) with Swiss violinist, Laurence Kayaleh was released in December 2023 on the Naxos Label. Currently based in Los Angeles, Bernadene Blaha is a professor at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

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