February 1997

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 3, no. 2


Composer Marta PTASZYNSKA received the 1996 Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation Award in the field of music for outstanding creative achievements and for the significant contributions to the advancement of Polish culture.

In addition to composing, teaching and performing PTASZYNSKA had organized two Polish music festivals at the New York Public Library, Lincoln Center. Her latest recording is the Holocaust Memorial Cantata conducted by Lord Yehudi MENUHIN, wherein the composer uses texts by the eminent American poet, Leslie Woolf Hedley.

Pianist teacher Marek DREWNOWSKI is organizing a Festival honoring Josef HOFFMAN and Ignace PADEREWSKI in 1997 in southern France. He is the one who arranged Chopin’s Piano Concertos into Piano quintets, which are now becoming popular.

Music critic Alan RICH reported in the LA Weekly (Jan 10-16) about hearing Polish composer Hanna KULENTY‘s opera, The Mother of Black-Winged Dreams to a libretto by Paul Goodman at the Munich Biennale. “She writes in a clean, bright minimilist style that seems simple and then gets under your skin… Like the music, the setting gave me the feeling of floating in time and space. . .”

MAZOWSZE, the State Folk Song and Dance Ensemble of Poland, started a three month tour of the U.S. and Canada (presented by Columbia Artists). Beginning in Florida on January 8th, the ensemble will move northward through Alabama to Washington, D.C. (January 25), moving north, then westward to California in March: Stanford (15/16), San Luis Obispo (18), Cerritos (19-22), Escondido (23) and Las Vegas, Nevada (24).

Founded in 1948 by the actress and singer, Mira ZIMINSKA, and her husband, the late composer and arranger, Tadeusz SYGIETYNSKI the group has performed 2800 times in Poland and over 2500 times abroad in 40 countries. The Mazowsze repertoire includes folk songs and dances from 38 different ethnographic regions of Poland. The highly stylized performances bring on a magnificent spectacle of sight and sound. Ninety percent of the dancers and musicians are graduates of ballet and music schools.

Piano Six is a project devised by Polish-Canadian pianist Janina FIALKOWSKA, Angela HEWITT, Andre LAPLANTE, Marc-Andre HAMELIN, Jon Kimura PARKER and Angela CHENG .These Canadian pianists wish to bring good music to small cities and towns, especially for young audiences. Three years ago they commited themselves to travel and perform 10 days a year, for the next 10 years, for token fees. (Symphony, Jan Feb 97). Piano Six has given gala benefit concerts in several Canadian cities playing en masse on six concert grands simultaneously with sensational results!

Songs of Karol Szymanowski, an International Festival and Academic Symposium is being organized to honor the 60th anniversary of the composer’s death. Selected songs for voice and piano (from 20 opuses), voice and orchestra (6) will be performed by soloists from Poland, England, Korea, Japan, U.S. and Bielorus. Nine concerts will be held in beautiful mountain resort of Zakopane and three in Krakow with performances by the Krakow Philharmonic, the Polish Radio Choir of Cracow, pianist Jerzy GODZISZEWSKI, violinist Kaja DANCZOWSKA, and other pianists.

The academic session will take place in Zakopane from March 10-12 at the Villa “Koliba.” In addition to at least a dozen Polish musicologists, specialists from abroad will include A. Wightman (England), S. Gut (France), P. Cadrin (Canada), H. Eberle, C. Mahling, A. Reimann, W. Ruf and M. Zenck (Germany), Rodionowa (Russia), R. Vlad (Italy.) and L. Kafka (US).

The event will close with the laying of a wreath on SZYMANOWSKI‘s tomb in the Skalka in Krakow, an evening concert at the Philharmonic, presentation of the Szymanowski Prize, and a Banquet.

Polish-American violinist, composer and conductor Walter LEGAWIEC, received a full page spread in the very popular Polish-American daily news, “Nowy Dziennik” on January 16th. Author Jozef Przyjemski reviewed the Christmas program given by the SLAVIC ARTS ENSEMBLE (of which Walter is a member) in St. Stanislaus Church in Manhattan and then went on to write about him and his activities. (In Polish).

Calendar of Events

FEB 2: Chopin: The Man & his Passion. Alan GAMPEL, Polish-American pianist. In thissecond lecture-recital entitled The Inspired Poet, he will be playing and discussingselections from the Preludes, Op. 28 and the Fantasy, Op. 49.At the Kosciuszko Foundation, New York. Sunday, 3 p.m.

FEB 7: SAPIEYEVSKI Concert in Denver.

FEB 18 & 22: Polish Pieces 
music by Henryk GORECKI choreographed by Hans Van Menen.
Los Angeles. Evening and afternoon performances.

FEB 19: Adam MAKOWICZ: Tribute to Erroll Garner.Wednesday, 3 p.m. At the Kosciuszko Foundation.Live broadcast over WNYC-FM 93.9.

FEB 21 & 22: Piotr GAJEWSKI leads the NATIONAL CHAMBERORCHESTRA in GORECKI‘s Piano Concerto. Bryan GANZ,piano. Rockville, Maryland. 8:30 p.m.

FEB 21: ALL-CHOPIN RECITAL. Mack MC CRAY, piano. CelebratingChopin’s birthday and the 10th anniversary of the San Francisco ChopinCouncil. Old First Concerts, 1751 Sacramento st. San Francisco. 8:00 p.m. $9, $7.

FEB 23: THE KOSCIUSZKO FOUNDATION CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES.the CHESTER STRING QUARTET. Performing Bethoven, Schumann andSZYMANOWSKI. Kosciuszko Foundation Hall. NY. 3:00 p.m. Broadcast live.

FEB 18-MAR 2: Marta PTASZYNSKA as composer-in-residence. University of Colorado at Boulder. Composer’s concert, lectures, seminars,audio-visual showing of TV opera, Oscar of Alva.

Grammy Nominations of January 97

BEST ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE: Esa-Pekka SALONEN recording LUTOSLAWSKI’s Second Symphony with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Music, Music, Music. Eddie BLAZONCZYK’s VERSATONES.
Irresistible You. Lenny GOMULKA and CHICAGO PUSH.
Polka! All Night Long. Jimmy STURR.
Putting it all To-Gether. Walter OSTANEK & FRIENDS.
Songs of the Polka King. Vol. 1. Frank YANKOVICH & FRIENDS.

Did You Know That…

Polish tenor Wieslaw OCHMAN has been named Ambassador of Good Will by UNICEF?

Czech composer, Antonin DVORAK, wrote eleven operas. His third opera, Vanda has just made its CD debut on Supraphone SUP CD 3007. An opera in 5 acts, the CD release was taken from a 1951 radio recording by soloists and the Prague Radio Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Frantisek DYK. The full text with translations tells the tragic and heroic tale of the legendary Polish Princess Wanda, who sacrificed her own life for the sake of her homeland. Koch International L.P. reports that the opera has had only 20 known stagings, despite Dvorak’s own enthusiasm for the work.

Polish-Jewish violinist Bronislaw HUBERMAN was the founder and first director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1936? It was then called the Palestine Orchestra. The 60th anniversary concert was held on December 26th.

Polish film composer Zbigniew PREISNER received an award from the Royal TV Society for original film music? His music can be heard in Luis MALLE‘s films and KIESLOWSKI‘s trilogy: Blue, White, and Red, also in Double Life of Veronique.


Reminder: Application deadline for the SECOND SAN FRANCISCO CHOPIN COMPETITON FOR YOUNG PIANISTS is March 31, 1997. Open in 3 categories: (1) through 8 years (2) ages 9-12 and (3) 13-15. Audiotape required. Send to 1290 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94109. Tel: 415-474-2626, Fax: 415-474-7149.

The CHOPIN FOUNDATION OF THE UNITED STATES, INC., founded by Blanka A. ROSENSTIEL has three regional Councils in the U.S: The Chopin Foundation Council of Greater New York (Jan Gorbaty, pres.); Chopin Foundation Council of Southern Florida (Selwyn G. Weintraub, pres.); and Chopin Foundation Council of San Francisco (Malgorzata Kossakowska, pres.).

Something New

Interesting articles on anything Polish, including Polish music, are to be found in Center Line, a new publication of the AMERICAN CENTER OF POLISH CULTURE of Washington, D.C. Director Kaya PLOSS shares editorial tasks with Elaine PAYNE. Sent to all members. To inquire call: (202) 785-2300.

Just found out from a newsletter published by the POLISH AMERICAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE OF MINNESOTA (John RADZILOWSKI, pres.) that the institute has a library. Ela Brodziak is the librarian and is assisted by volunteers. Located at 514 22nd Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418.

The Polish American Journal (Buffalo, NY, Mark KOHAN, ed.) published fragments of the Pat ZOROMSKI story taken from a pamphlet written by James LEAHRY “Paths of Tradition.” You may enjoy reading the article about the history of Polish American ethnic music.


CHOPIN specialist and Wilk Prize winner Prof. Jeffrey KALLBERG has just had his newest book published by Harvard U. Press. Chopin at the Boundaries. 1996, 445 pages.

Another Wilk Prize winner, Tomasz M. M. CZEPIEL from England wrote a dissertation on Music at the Royal Court and Chapel in Poland, c. 1543-1600. It has been published by Garland, New York, 1996, in a series of outstanding dissertations from British universities. 430 pages, 1996. $91.

The first Polish biography of the Lithuanian composer and artist/painter, Mikalojus Konstantinas CIURLIONIS (1875-1911) has just been published by AgArt Publishers. Jadwiga SIEDLECKA is the author. An introduction to the book was written by former Lithuanian president, Vytautas LANDSBERGIS, a musicologist and a great promoter of the composer. CIURLIONIS spent ten years of his life in Warsaw studying music and art.

Russian musicologist Irina NIKOLSKA, Assistant Professor of Music at the Russian Institute of Arts and Sciences in Moscow wrote a book on LUTOSLAWSKI:Conversations with Witold Lutoslawski. She is respected in Poland as a music scholar and speaks Polish fluently. However, the book published in Stockholm by Melos in 1994 in the English language suffers from a rather poor English translation. The late composer had an excellent command of English and this translation is truly a disservice to him.


MUSIKA 891: SLAVIC VIOLIN CONCERTI: KARLOWICZ and DVORAK. Hanna LACHERT, v., Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, Antoni Wit, cond. MUSIKA, NY.

MUSIKA MA 962: SEGAL VIOLINS IN CONCERT Hanna LACHERT & Yuval WALDMAN perform music for two violins. Polish composers represented here are Grazyna BACEWICZ and Piotr LACHERT (Hanna’s musical brother). Other composers works featured are MOZART, BARTOK, TELEMANN and KALLIWODA.

CHANDOS CHAN 9421: .Cited by GRAMOPHONE music journal as CRITIC’S CHOICESLUTOSLAWSKI: Concerto for orchestra; Mi-Parti. BBC Philharmonic, Tortelier, cond. By Arnold Whittall, as “my record of the year.” Gramophone, Dec 96.

CRYSTAL CD 551: LUTOSLAWSKI: Mini Overture for brass quintet.


NAXOS 8.553202: LUTOSLAWSKI: Chain 2, Musique Funebre, Interlude, Partita for violin, orch. U& obbligato piano, Symphony no. 4.

CD 4211. CONNOISSEUR SOCIETY : CHOPIN: 21 Nocturnes (Complete). David Allen WEHR, piano.

CANYON PCCL 00237 : CHOPINComplete Songs. Zofia KILANOWICZ, sop., Katarzyna JANKOWSKA, piano. Well reviewed in FANFARE Nov/Dec 1996 issue by Joel Kasow.

CBC MVCD 1092. : CHOPIN: Miscellaneous piano works. Valerie TRYON, piano. Distributed by Allegro. Reviewed by Michael Ullman in FANFARE Nov/Dec 1996 issue.

KOCH-SCHWANN 3-12239-2 : MOSZKOWSKI: Spanish Album, op. 21; Polish Folk Dances, op. 55; German Round Dances, op. 25; Spanish Dances, op. 12; Dances from Different Countries, op. 23. The Cologne Piano duo.



  • Wojciech KILAR: 65th
  • Bernadetta MATUSZCZAK: 60th
  • Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI: 120th
  • Roman PALESTER: 90th
  • Kazimierz SEROCKI: 75th
  • Antoni SZALOWSKI: 90th
  • Karol SZYMANOWSKI: 115th
  • Aleksander TANSMAN: 100th
  • Henryk VARS: 95th
  • Wladyslaw ZELENSKI: 160th



Born This Month

  • Grazyna BACEWICZ: Feb 2, 1909
  • Roman MACIEJEWSKI: Feb 28, 1910
  • Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI: Feb 7, 1877


Died This Month

  • Karol KURPINSKI: 140th anniversary
  • Artur MALAWSKI: 40th
  • Stanislaw MONIUSZKO: 125th
  • Karol SZYMANOWSKI: 60th