December 1997

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 3, no. 12


Sembrich Voice Competition Announced By Kosciuszko Foundation

December 15th is the application deadline for the Marcella Sembrich Memorial Voice Competition (to be held on March 21, 1998 at the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City)!

Open to all singers from ages of 18 to 34. World-renowned soprano Teresa Kubiak will chair the jury. First prize winner will be sent to Warsaw for the III International Moniuszko Competition next October!

First Prize includes:

$1,000 Cash Award,
a round-trip air fare from New York to Warsaw and admittance to the International Moniuszko Competition in Warsaw (Oct 1-11, 1998),
a recital at the Moniuszko Festival in Poland next summer,
a performance at the Sembrich Memorial Association in Lake George, NY.

Other prizes: $750 and $500.

Contestants will be selected and notified in early January 1998; live auditions will take place at the Kosciuszko Foundation House on Saturday, March 21, 1998, with a winner’s recital that same evening. Send in an application form with $35 and an audio cassette recording of approximately 10 minutes. For the competition the contestants will be asked to prepare six songs, including one Polish song and one aria by Moniuszko; the Foundation can provide suggestions and sources.

Application forms and further information can be obtained from

Sembrich Voice Competition
15 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10021
(212) 734-2130 or (800) 287-9956

The Marcella Sembrich Voice Competition was established to encourage young singers to study the repertoire of Polish composers, and to honor the Polish soprano, one of the great artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After an outstanding global career as an opera soloist and Lieder singer, she taught at both the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and the Juilliard School in New York City. A consummate artist and devoted teacher, she was an outstanding representative of Poland’s musical tradition. Originally established in 1968, the Competition was discontinued for several years; past recipients of Sembrich Voice Scholarships include soprano Barbara Hendricks and bass-baritone Jan Opalach.

Read more about the competition on the internet at the site of the Sembrich Competition.

Moniuszko Competition

The 3rd INTERNATIONAL STANISLAW MONIUSZKO VOCAL COMPETITION will be held in 1-11 October 1998 in Warsaw, Poland. The Moniuszko International Competition ioffers a first prize of US$15000 and other performance opportunities; Maria Foltyn is the Music Director. The international jury includes Ryszard Karczykowski (President), Irina Archipova, Teresa Kubiak (USA), Sergio Segalini (France). The organizers of th competition include the Ministry of Culture and Art of Poland, National Theatre in Warsaw, and the Moniuszko Music Lovers Society.

The Competition is open to all singers born not earlier than October 1, 1963. The candidates should submit their application to the Competition Office by FEBRUARY 1, 1998. The application package should include: completed form (the PMRC has three forms available), selected programme for all stages of the competition, photocopy of an ID, two black and white photos (9X13 cm preferred), and audio cassette tape with a recording of about 20 minutes of the candidate’s own performance. The results of preliminary selection of candidates will be announced by MAY 1, 1998.

For application form and more information about the program required in the three stages of the Competition contact the Competition Office:

Teatr Narodowy
Plac Teatralny 100-950 Warsaw
TEL: 011-48-22–826-40-50
FAX: 011-48-22826-18-49.

Calendar of Events

DEC 2: The Music Gallery hosted by John Schaefer. Live broadcast over WNYC-FM. Music performance and conversation with a Polish accent. Karen KUSHNER, piano and the MERIDIAN STRING QUARTET.

DEC 7: Annual “Polish-American Christmas Gala” presented by the LIRA ENSEMBLE of Chicago. Polish and American carols, Polish folk songs, audience sing-alongs and demonstrations of Polish holiday customs. Mrton East Auditorium. 2401 S. Austin Blvd., Cicero, IL. 773-508-7040 or 1-800-547-LIRA. $22/18.

DEC 7: Polish Christmas Carols included in a program of Christmas carols of various nations. At the Kosciuszko Foundation 15 East 65th St., NY. The HINDS SISTERS TRIO. $20/15.

DEC 14: On Wings of Song recital featuring James WESTMAN, baritone followed by carol-singing. $15. Kosciuszko Foundation, NYC.

DEC 14: “Polish-American Christmas Gala.” Lira Ensemble (see Dec 7 Chicago). Pitman Theatre of Alverno College, 3401 S. 39th St. All seats reserved: $14, 16, 20. Tickets: 414-383- 6116 or 1-800-547-LIRA.

Books Published

Zbigniew Adrjanski. Zlota ksiega piesni polskich. [Golden Book of Polish Songs] includes a CD performed by the Representative Artistic Ensemble of the Polish Army. 372p. $32 + NY tax + shipping. Nowy Dziennik Bookstore. 333 W. 38th St. NY 10018. 212-594-2386. In Polish.

K. Tarnawska-Kaczorowska. Tadeusz Baird. Glosy do biografii. [Tadeusz Baird. Voices for a biography]. 9 analytical articles, selection of letter, index. 250p. Published by Musica Iagellonica. ul. Westerplatte 10, 31-033 Krakow, Poland. 011-48-12-422-0064.

Teresa Chylinska. Korespondencja Karola Szymanowskiego. Tom 3: 1927-1931. Volume 3 of Szymanowski’s Correspondence so meticulously and zealously pursued by Mrs. Chylinska, Poland’s expert on Szymanowski. One more volume to go. Published by Musica Iagellonica. (see above for address).

Recent Performances

The Polish Institute in Moscow has been presenting a cycle of concerts commemorating the 70th anniversary this year of the Chopin International Piano Competitions in Warsaw. The first recital was inaugurated in March by Lidia GRYCHTOLOWNA (1955 laureate). Others: Halina CZERNY-STEFANSKA (1949), Dmitri SACHAROV (1955); Natalia GAWRILOVA (1970); Rem URASIN (1953).

Janice CHANDLER was the soprano for GORECKI’s Third Symphony performed by the Columbus Symphony on November 8th. (from Symphony, the magazine of the American Symphony Orchestra League).

Violinist MIDORI presented Karol SZYMANOWSKI’s “Mythes” during her recent recital at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.

Recent Lectures

Dr. Maria Anna Harley, director of PMRC and assistant professor of music at the USC School of Music, presented a lecture on Henryk Mikolaj GORECKI to the Los Angeles chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon, international music fraternity, on October 13th.

Examples of music included in the presentation included the 13th c. “Gaude mater Polonia,” Poland’s oldest hymn; the 16th c. religious song used by Gorecki in his string quartet; Chopin’s Mazurka; Szymanowski’s “Stabat Mater;” Folk dances from the Tatra mountains, and the composer’s Genesis II. Canti Strumentali, Symphony no. 2, Copernican, Symphony no. 3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs and Kleines Requiem fur eine Polka.

David F. Kopplin presented a lecture, “Gorecki’s Success: The selling of a Symphony” for the Pacific Southern Chapter of the College Music Society. Dave, a Ph.D candidate in composition at UCLA and Publications Coordinator for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, also took part in the Music History Symposium “The Gorecki Phenomenon” chaired by Mark Swed in the last event of the “Gorecki Autumn” at USC. (Oct 5).

“The Songs of Karol Szymanowski: A Lecture-Recital” was presented by Laura Grazyna KAFKA (Greenbelt, Maryland) for the first session of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the College Music Society.


Winners Of The Gramophone Awards For 1997


SZYMANOWSKI: Concertos for Violin and Orchestra. No. 1 and No. 2. Thomas ZEHETMAIR, violin. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Sir Simon RATTLE, cond. EMI CDC5-55607-2


Agnus Dei. New College Choir, Oxford performing music of Barber, Faure, Palestrina, Mozart, Bach, Rachmaninov, Elgar, Mendelssohn, Tavener, Allegri and GORECKI’s “Totus tuus.” ERATO 0630-14634-4.


Isabelle FAUST, violin playing Bartok’s Violin Sonata and Sonata for violin and piano no. 1 with Ewa KUPIEC, piano.

Found in the Hyperion catalogue

CDA 66452: This disc features PADEREWSKI’s Piano concerto in a minor, op. 17 and MOSZKOWSKI’s Piano Concerto in E major. Piers LANE, piano. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Jerzy Maksymiuk, cond.

Of Special Interest

(Reported in American Record Guide)

POLSKIE NAGRANIA 025. Polish Stars Sing Polish Carols. Teresa ZYLIS-GARA, sop. Wieslaw OCHMAN, tenor. Poznan Choir, Warsaw Chamber Orchestra/ Stefan STULIGROSZ, Marek SEWEN.

ARKADIA 78509/78510/78511. CHOPIN: Ballades; Tarantelle; Waltzes. Alfred CORTOT, piano. Excellent review in Nov/Dec 1997 issue by John Bell Young.

ROMOPHONE 81206 [2CD]. Marcella SEMBRICH (1858-1935), Polish-born soprano.

PHILIPS 440 070 253. GOLDEN AGE OF THE PIANO. A video feautring Polish pianists PADEREWSKI, HOFMANN, LANDOWSKA among others. (see pgs. 292 & 293) for review.

Award Winning Recordings

Each year numerous awards are given in the music recording industry all over the world for “Best Record of the Year” in this or that category. There are the Grammys (U.S.), the Fryderyks (Poland), the Deutsche Schallplattenkritik, the Caesar and Diapason d’or (France), the British music journal Gramophone Awards, and so on. During the year there are the “Critic’s Choices” selected by music journal critics and classical music radio stations.

This year the British classical music magazine, Gramophone, chose Szymanowski’s “Violin Concertos” for the Concerto Award. Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, the young British conductor, also won the choral award two years ago for his rendition of Szymanowski’s “Stabat Mater.” In 1998 he plans to release Szymanowski’s opera, “King Roger.”

Gramophone’s Best Instrumental Record of the Year award went to pianist Murray Perahia for his rendition of Chopin’s music in 1995.

The Polish monthly journal, Studio, selected “Polish Symphonies of the 19th century” as its 1996 Recording of the Year, featuring the Varsovia Orchestra conducted by Grzegorz Nowak. It also selected “Music for Wind Quintet” featuring music of Wojciech Kilar, Grazyna Bacewicz, Marta Ptaszynska, Tadeusz Baird and Maciej Malecki in the chamber music category and “Music of Lutoslawski” conducted by the composer in contemporary music.

In vocal music it singled out Polish mezzo-soprano, Ewa Podles, singing Rossini arias. This recording also won the Schallplattenkritik award.

The 1997 “Fryderyks” went to: pianist Piotr Anderszewski as Record of the Year; Violinist Bartlomiej Niziol and Waldemar Malicki for “Wieniawski” for best chamber music; Maksymiuk and the Polish Chamber Orchestra for symphonic music of Jastrzebski, Bacewicz, Gorecki and Mozart; Lutoslawski’s “Piano Concerto and Third Symphony” for contemporary as performed by Sinfonia Varsovia under Wojciech Michniewski.

The Deutsche Schallplattenpreis chose Czeslaw Marek’s “Meditations, Suite and Sinfonia” as the best symphonic record of the year and the Lutoslawski and Szymanowski “Piano Concertos” as the best Piano Concerto Recording of the Year. In 1996 Lutoslawski’s music conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen was selected as the “most artistically outstanding CD.”

Critics choices by radio stations included Chopin’s “Piano Works” performed by Mikhail Pletnev and Frederic Chiu, and Chopin’s “Nocturnes” performed by Maria Joao Pires and Andrzej Wasowski. The latter recording won the 1997 Critic’s Choice Award from National Public Radio and a five star rating from BBC Music Magazine (May ’97).

Selected by Gramaphone and American Record Guide as Critic’s Choices: Gorecki’s “Kleines Requiem fur eine Polka;” pianist Martin Roscoe for Szymanowski’s “Piano Works;” and Panufnik’s “Symphony no. 8.”

The French Caesar award went to Zbigniew Preisner for his film music to “Eliza” (1996) and Kieslowski’s “Red” (1995).

Nominated for Grammy awards in 1996: Szymanowski’s “Sonata for violin and piano.” Lutoslawski’s “Second Symphony” conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen for Best orchestral performance and five best Polka albums (Jimmy Sturr, Eddie Blazonczyk, Lenny Gomulka, Walter Ostanek and Frank Yankovich).

Of course, the biggest best-seller of all times in classical music, beating all records, is Henryk Gorecki’s “Third Symphony” conducted by David Zinman. It has sold more than a million records, despite the fact that there are now eight different recordings of this beautiful symphony competing with it.

All the above can give you or your family and friends many hours of enjoyable listening. Why not consider any of them for a Christmas gift? To facilitate your shopping send for a listing of these records (with places to buy from) to the Polish Music Reference Center, USC School of Music, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851 (include a self-addressed envelope, please.)


Born This Month

  • DEC 3: BOLESLAW SZABELSKI (1896-1979)
  • DEC 5: BOLESLAW WOYTOWICZ (1899-1980)
  • DEC 6: HENRYK GORECKI (1933- )
  • DEC 11: MIECZYSLAW KARLOWICZ (1876-1909)
  • DEC 14: MARIA SZYMANOWSKA (1790-1831)
  • DEC 18: ROMAN PALESTER (1907-1989)
  • DEC 29: HENRYK VARS (1902-1978)

For a list of suggestions for Christmas shopping see the November Newsletter!