Górecki Autumn

October 1-5, 1997
University of Southern California

A week of celebration of the music of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, the first living classical music composer whose music topped the Billboard charts; his Symphony No. 3 has sold over 1, 200,000 copies of recordings. The Polish composer was present to conduct the USC orchestra in the unique performance of the Symphony.

The festival highlighted the strengths of the USC School of Music, with its outstanding Performance, Composition, and Music History Departments, and the Polish Music Center (at that time still known as Polish Music Reference Center). Participants included the Provost’s Distinguished Visitor, Prof. Adrian Thomas, Chair of Music at the Cardiff University of Wales, Great Britain. Tickets were available from USC Ticket Office (all public events: $ 5.00 and $ 2.00 for USC students).

The concerts were all sold out and the Composition Forum moved to Newman Hall (in Hancock Auditorium), because of a large number of students present. The event attracted considerable attention to the School of Music and the Polish Music Center. There were 10 press reports about it; it was included among “Best Bets” in the L.A. Times and later enthusiastically reviewed by Mark Swed, L.A. Times music critic, and Alan Rich, L.A. Weeklymusic critic. At the end of the year 1997 the Grecki Autumn was recognized among the ten best events of the year by the L.A. Times (listed at first place) and L.A. Downtown News. Reports appeared, besides the papers mentioned already also in The New York TimesRuch MuzycznyNowy Dziennik20th-Century MusicMusicworksTempo, and other papers and journals.

During the festival a celebration was held to mark the endowment of the position of Stefan and Wanda Wilk Director of the Polish Music Center. Dr. Maria Anna Harley (now Trochimczyk) served in this capacity since 1996. The announcement was made after the concert by Dean Larry Livingston, in the presence of Dr. Stefan and Wanda Wilk, USC President, Steven B. Sample, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, singer Andrzej Bachleda, and numerous invited guests. The reception was donated by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland.

On December 21, 1997, The Los Angeles Times announced that Gorecki Autumn was the event of the year in Los Angeles. Mark Swed wrote about the performance of Gorecki’s Third Symphony, conducted by the composer: “A lot of grandchildren will be hearing about this some day.” He described Gorecki the conductor as being able to “getting the student players to give what had to be the most committed, probing, intense performance of their young lives.”

A short listing of events is below – for a full listing, see the Górecki Autumn program. All photographs below that are not otherwise marked were taken by Maja Trochimczyk or James Harley and are part of the PMC Archives.


Wednesday, October 1

CONCERT I. SOLO & CHAMBER MUSIC

USC students and alumni; Dr. James Harley – artistic director.

8:00 p.m. Hancock Auditorium (now: Newman Hall)

Solo and Chamber Music of Górecki including Sonata no. 1 op. 6 for solo piano (1956-1990); Intermezzo (1986) and Four Preludes (1955) for solo piano; For You, Anne-Lill op. 58, for flute and piano (1986-1990); Variations for violin and piano, op. 4 (1956); Valentine Piece op. 70 for flute solo and little bell (1996).

Performers included pianist Robert Thies, and other USC students and recent graduates.

 


Thursday, October 2

LECTURE AND FILM

Public Lecture: “Introduction to the Music of Górecki” followed by the screening of a video about the composer.

Led by Adrian Thomas, Prof. of Music, Cardiff University of Wales, Great Britain (the author of a recent monograph on Górecki’s music, published by Oxford University Press, 1996) – USC Provost’s Distinguished Visitor

7: 00 p.m. Arnold Schoenberg Institute.

 

 


Górecki with translators, M.A. Harley and Joanna Nizynska

Friday, October 3

COMPOSER’S FORUM

(for USC music students only)

Participants:

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Adrian Thomas, Maria Anna Harley (now: Maja Trochimczyk)

Composition and Performance Forum: Conversation about Music with Henryk Mikołaj Górecki followed by a question period for the USC students of composition and performance.

11:00 a.m. Music Building 106 (moved to Hancock Auditorium)


Górecki and soloist Elizabeth Hynes take a bow after the concert at Bovard Auditorium [photo: USC Chronicle archives, used by permission]

 

Friday, October 3

CONCERT II: GÓRECKI CONDUCTS GÓRECKI

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, conductor; Elizabeth Hynes, soprano; USC Symphony Orchestra

8:00 p.m. Bovard Auditorium

Performance of H.M. Górecki’s Symphony no. 3 op. 36, The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs(1976). Announcement of the creation of the Endowed Position in Polish Music, funded by Stefan and Wanda Wilk, the founders of the Polish Music Center.

 


Saturday, October 4

OFF CAMPUS EVENTS

Benefit concert for Ars Musica Poloniae Foundation, the residence of Stefan and Wanda Wilk.

Recital of Songs by Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki and Polish composers

Andrzej Bachleda, baritone
Henryk Mikolaj Górecki, piano

 


Sunday, October 5

THE GÓRECKI PHENOMENON: MUSIC HISTORY SYMPOSIUM

Participants:

Prof. Adrian Thomas (Cardiff, Wales, UK)
Asst. Prof. Maria Anna Harley (now: Maja Trochimczyk), moderator (USC )
Dr. James Harley (Los Angeles)
David Kopplin (Los Angeles)
Asst. Prof. Luke Howard (Minnesota)
Mark Swed (L.A. Times, Los Angeles)

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Arnold Schoenberg Institute

Scholarly papers about the music of H. M. Górecki, with a closing discussion about the phenomenon of the Third Symphony, and questions from the audience. The composer will be present to participate in the discussion.


Sunday, October 5

CONCERT III: CONTEMPORARY MUSIC ENSEMBLE

Participants: Donald Crockett, conductor, USC Contemporary Music Ensemble

8:00 p.m. Hancock Auditorium

Contemporary Polish music for larger chamber ensemble:
Henryk Mikołaj Górecki: Good Night op. 63, for soprano, alto flute and piano (1990)
Henryk Mikołaj Górecki: Kleines Requiem fur eine Polka for chamber ensemble (1995)