On June 26 at the Belweder—the Presidential Palace in Warsaw—the 2024 UNESCO Pamięć Świata/Memory of the World ceremony will take place. The palace’s elegant ballroom will be filled to capacity with distinguished guests, among them Marek Zebrowski, representing the USC Polish Music Center and Dennis Mitchell, grandson of Henryk Wars (1902-1977).

Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda, will present UNESCO certificates to seventeen institutions in Poland, France, and the United States, and we proudly proclaim that the USC Polish Music Center will be among them. Our “Manuscripts of symphonic, chamber and film works by Henryk Wars” were donated to the PMC in 2005 by his widow, Elizabeth, and include several previously-unknown yet truly pioneering symphonic works by the composer, who was most famous for his cabaret tune and film scores. Written throughout the three decades of Wars’s residency in Los Angeles at the end of his life, these manuscripts are now recognized for their uniqueness and great cultural and historical value by the Polish Committee of this UNESCO program.

This UNESCO designation for the PMC’s Henryk Wars Collection confers an extraordinary honor not only on us at the Center but also on the USC Thornton School of Music and the University of Southern California. There are few other universities so recognized for the world heritage treasures they possess in their archives. Such universal distinction and worldwide acclaim may also spotlight other manuscripts and special collections housed under the Polish Music Center’s roof and bring researchers and historians to study them in depth. [Read more about the PMC’s history with this UNESCO program here]

Already a goldmine for musicians around the world, the PMC’s Wars Collection has fostered the discovery of the composer’s unknown orchestral scores through such recordings as this one from 2017: Concerto for Piano (1950), Piotr Orzechowski – piano, Polish Radio Orchestra and Michał Klauza -cond. (PRCD 2144)

Festivities This Fall in Los Angeles

L.A. celebrations of Henryk Wars and his UNESCO-designated manuscripts will take place on October 20, 2024 on the USC campus. An afternoon film screening with music by Henryk Wars is planned at the Ray Stark Family Theatre in USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, followed by an elegant reception and an evening concert in Newman Recital Hall. Performed by the Thornton Art Deco Orchestra, the concert will feature original arrangements of Wars’s best-loved tangos and foxtrots from the 1930s.

Stay tuned to the PMC website and Instagram page for announcements, photos, and details of the Henryk Wars fête this fall!