June 1997

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 3, no. 6


Composer Wojciech KILAR recently received the Artur Award from the Museum of Cinematography of the city of Lodz, Poland, during the Festival of Film Music (May 10-11th) which was specifically dedicated to him. During the festivities, several films to which Kilar composed the music were screened: Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola), Portrait of a Lady (Jane Campion), The Promised Land (Andrzej Wajda), Przypadek [Chance Encounter] (Krzysztof Kieslowski) and No One Calls (Kazimierz Kutz).

There were meetings with students from the Lodz Music Academy, exhibits of photographs and posters from films with his music and two concerts by the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra of Lodz. The first was a jazz/folk/rock concert and the gala closing concert featured suites from the films, Dracula and King of the Last Days, performed under the baton of Marek Pijarowski. There were more than 1500 in attendance to pay tribute to this highly respected and outstanding composer!

The first book-length study of Henryk GORECKI’s music has just been published by Oxford University Press. The author is British musicologist, music professor and composer, Adrian THOMAS. Dr. Thomas studied composition in Poland and returns to Poland regularly as a guest speaker/lecturer at contemporary music festivals. Recently he was one of the co-organizers of the very successful festival of Lutoslawski’s music, entitled Lutoslawski: Breaking Chains and held in London, England, in January 1997. Thomas is the author of a book on Grazyna BACEWICZ, no. 2 of the Polish Music History Series, published by the Friends of Polish Music at USC with yours truly as series editor. His new book on Polish music after WWII is in preparation for Cambridge University Press.

The New York Philharmonic under the direction of Kurt MASUR has scheduled several Polish composers’ works for their 1997/1998 season: PENDERECKI’s Threnody and his Fifth Symphony in October; Concerto for String Orchestra by Grazyna BACEWICZ and Kazimierz SEROCKI’s Trombone Concerto in December and CHOPIN‘s First Piano Concerto in April with pianist Mitsuko UCHIDA as soloist.

Two June Deadlines For Students Of Composition

Second International Master Course for Composers & Contemporary Chamber Music Workshop, S. Moniuszko Academy of Music, Gdansk, August 20-30. With Paul MEFANO (France), Elzbieta SIKORA (Poland), and Stephen MONTAGUE (England); honorary patronage Pierre BOULEZ. Application deadline June 16.

For more information contact:

Akademia Muzyczna im S. Moniuszki;
ul. Lagiewniki 3, 80-847 Gdansk, Poland
tel: (48) 58 31 77 23; fax: (011- 48) 58 31 43 65.

17th Summer Course for Young Composers, Radziejowice, near Warsaw, Poland, 1-15 September. Organized by the Polish Society for Contemporary Music.
This year’s edition is mainly devoted to the music of non-Western cultures. Lecturers include: composers–Krzysztof Penderecki (Poland), Paul Patterson (England), Alejandro Iglesias Rossi (Argentina); instrumentalists–Wu Man (China-USA), Tran Quang Hai (Vietnam-France), and Inok Paek (Korea-England), as well as ethnomusicologists– Frank Kouwenhoven (Holland), Jozef Pacholczyk (USA-Poland), and Slawomira Zeranska-Kominek (Poland). The cost is $ 500 (including room and board). Participants from Poland and Eastern Europe are eligible for scholarships which limit the costs to $ 200.

Application deadline: June 30, 1997.
For more information contact:Grazyna Dziura, Executive DirectorPolskie Towarzystwo Muzyki Wspolczesnejul. Mazowiecka 11, 00-052 Warszawa, Polandtel 011-48–22–827-69-81; fax: 011-48–22– 827-78-04

The Polish-American Nowy Dziennik reported on a new documentary film about Wanda LANDOWSKA that premiered at the Independent Film Producers Festival, a part of the Philadelphia World Festival of Cinematography, held from April 30th to May llth.
Produced by Barbara ATTIE and Diane PONTIUS for AGP Productions, the film is based on press material and interviews with the famous keyboardist who died in the U.S. in 1959. Using sources from one of Landowska’s pupils, Lesley VALDEZ, now a music critic and radio commentator, interviews from an early film for PBS by Jack PHEIFFER, found in the archives of the Hoover Institute in Palo Alto and based on a private concert, as well as materials provided by Denise RESTOUT, curator of the museum at Landowska’s home in Lakeville, Connecticut, the film provides a loving insight into the life of this great pianist and harpsichordist.

The Polish Society for Contemporary Music has organized a new series of chamber music concerts to be held in Warsaw in the halls of Art Gallery Zacheta (June-July). The series, entitled Passage–Panorama Muzyki XX Wieku [Panorama of the 20th- Century Music], will include concerts by pianists Aleksandra Krzanowska, Janusz Olejniczak, and Marek Drewnowski, harpsichordist Elzbieta Chojnacka, violinist Krzysztof Jakowicz, the Silesian Quartet, and other performers.

Several Polish names will be visible at the grand opening of the Winspear Centre in Edmonton, Canada, September 12-21. Conductor Grzegorz NOWAK has assembled sopranos Ewa IZYKOWSKA, Joanne KOLOMYJEC, mezzo-soprano Jadwiga RAPPE and Piotr NOWACKI, bass for the grand event.

Sad News

Blind pianist, Edwin KOWALIK (1928-1997), passed away on May 20th after a prolonged illness. Mr. Kowalik lost his sight when he was seven years old. He began studying piano at the famous school for the blind in Laski near Warsaw. In the 1950s he was finalist in a number of international piano competitions (Bucharest, Rio de Janeiro, Chopin International). He concertized in Europe and the U.S., performing several times in Los Angeles. Some may remember his recitals at the Wilshire Ebell and the Polish Parish. He created a Braille edition of Chopin’s Complete Works and was editor of Magazyn Muzyczny for the blind in Poland.


Winners of the Tadeusz Wronski International Solo Violin Competition, Warsaw, 13-20 April.

I Prize: Wilfired Hedenborg, Austria

II Prize: Lisa Tien-Un Lee, USA

III Prize: Sebastian Liebig, Poland

IV Prize: Szymon Krzeszowiec, Poland

V Prize: Katarzyna Duda, Poland and Dmytro Tkachenko, Ukraine.

Honorary mentions: Jae Hong Yim, Korea, Maciej Labecki,Grzegorz Lalek, and Patrycja Piekutowska, Poland.

Tadeusz Wronski was the president of the jury which included also Ruggiero Ricci, Slawomir Tomasik, Konstatny Andrzej Kulka, Magdalena Rezler and others.

Mstislaw Rostropovich visited Poland to receive doctorate honoris causa from the Chopin Academy of Music, Warsaw (16 April 1997). During this eventful trip Rostropovich, who celebrates his 70th anniversary this year, received a state award from the President of Poland, performed Tchaikovsky’s Roccoco Variations and conducted a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade. It would have been great to see him playing also some Polish music, for instance Lutoslawski’s Cello Concerto written for, and dedicated to, Dr. Rostropovich.

The Marcin ZUPANSKI QUARTET from the Katowice Music Academy has won first prize in the International Competition of Jazz Juniors ’97. Second prize went to the ACOUSTIC JAZZ QUINTET of Warsaw and third prize was won by the KA-PE-LA JAZZ TRIO from Czestochowa. Although ensembles from abroad were among the eleven finalists, all the top awards were garnered by the Polish groups.

Recent Performances

The 34th Poznan Spring Festival of Contemporary Music took place between April 3-7 in Poznan, Poland. This year’s edition of the festival was organized by the Poznan Section of the Polish Union of Composers and consisted of eleven concerts, beginning with a five-hours marathon in the Center of Culture, Zamek [Castle]. This event included arts exhibits and a series of short happenings. The remaining concerts presented large-scale works by Aleksander LASON (Concerto Festivo, for violin and orchestra), Krzesimir DEBSKI (Sinfonietta), Krzysztof MEYER (Msza), and chamber music by Andrzej KOSZEWSKI (Przystroje), Lidia ZIELINSKA (Kolysanka Gagaku), and other composers.

The 14th INTERNATIONAL lODZ BALLET ENCOUNTERS took place on May 17-26 in Lodz, Poland. The participants include Cullberg Ballet, Sweden, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Belgium, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Israel, and the Ballet of the National Theatre with its performances of a ballet version of GORECKI’s Symphony no. 3 and Polish Dance Theatre, Poznan,with its Dangerous Liasons and Daina to the music of Tadeusz SZELIGOWSKI.

In California, pianist Wojciech KOCYAN performed to a standing room only crowd and received a standing ovation at a recital on May 17th at the Pacific Unitarian Church in Palos Verdes. The concert was televized for Community Access Cable TV.

Internationally known pianist Krystian ZIMERMAN received excellent reviews after his recent performance in Carnegie Hall where he performed sonatas by Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert. He is praised not only for his technical prowess but also for his intelligent readings of the musical works.

On May 16, 1997 a concert at De Paul University, Chicago entitled, Music of Karol SZYMANOWSKI featured pianist Pawel CHECINSKI, the LIRA SINGERS FEMALE ENSEMBLE. The superb program was divided into two parts. The first half featured the great composer’s beautiful vocal music. The choral works includedDemeter and two selections from his masterpiece, Stabat Mater. Solos were performed by Judith Partipilo MARTH, Katarzyna DORUL: Susan SMENTEK, Diane Busko BRYKS and Katarzyna Dyga DORULA. The selected songs were Roxanne’s Aria from King Roger, Songs of the Lovesick Muezzin and selections from Children’s Rhymes. The second half was devoted to SZYMANOWSKI‘s piano works which included several Mazurkas, op. 50, Preludes, op. 1, Etude in B flat minor, op. 4, no. 3 and three of the Masques.

The ELSNER STRING QUARTET composed of young Polish students studying at the Manhattan School of Music (Krzysztof KUZNIK, Mateusz WOLSKI, Maurycy BANASZEK, Michal PALCEWICZ) performed on May 11th at the last concert of the Kosciuszko Foundation Chamber Music series. Jozef ELSNER (1769-1854), composer, teacher, music critic and conductor was the director of the first Music Conservatory in Warsaw and then the Main School of Music where Chopin studied. He also taught theory of music at the Warsaw University.

Pianist Jan GORBATY performed the works of CHOPIN, Tadeusz KASSERN, Karol SZYMANOWSKI and BEETHOVEN on May 18th at the Polish Consulate headquarters in Manhattan. Prof. Gorbaty is the founder of the Chopin Foundation of New York.

Composer Marta PTASZYNSKA performed one of her latest works at the TENTH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON WOMEN IN MUSIC held at California Institute for the Arts in Valencia, outside of Los Angeles from May 29-31. Mezzo-soprano Patricia ADKINS CHITI and pianist Paul HURST joined the composer on percussion in her magnificent song cycle Liquid Light. They also performed at a private meeting for the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club on May 31st at the Bel Air home of Mr. & Mrs. Ivan and Monica Nesser.

Jazz pianist and composer Adam MAKOWICZ has been busy going back and forth to perform in Poland. A recent benefit performance for the Aleksandrowicz Hematology Clinic in Krakow was a joint “happening” with an art auction of more than 100 items. Paintings by Joanna WEZYK and Tadeusz JANOWSKI were the most popular. His next concert in Poland will be in Sandomierz where he will play his own compositions with the WILANOW STRING QUARTET.

Mezzo-soprano Ewa PODLES, the one with the really mellow voice, received rave reviews during her recent performances in the U.S.: as a last minute replacement for Cecilia BARTOLI in Ann Arbor, for her role in Verdi’s Requiem in San Francisco and for her own recital at Hunter College.

An opera titled CHOPIN by Giacomo OREFICE to a libretto by Angiolo ORVIETO was performed in Warsaw at the famous Teatr Narodowy. Selections from Chopin’s best-known works have been mixed with authentic and fictional scenarios from Chopin’s life.

Janusz EKIERT has organized the FIRST FESTIVAL OF STRING QUARTETS in the city of Radom. Polish ensembles included the SILESIAN QUARTETWILANOW QUARTETCAMERATA and a new local group, QUARTET RADOMIENSIS.

Recent Recordings

Several new recordings of music by Fryderyk CHOPIN have been reviewed in the May/June 1997 issue of Fanfare magazine.

ARABESQUE Z6686: “The Complete Piano Works. Vol. 8.” Garrick OHLSSON.

ARLECCHINO ARL A56-57: “Chopin.” Waltzes, Rondo, Ballade, 12 Etudes, Mazurkas, Impromptus, Polonaises. Grigory GINZBURG.

ARLECCHINO ARL A62: “Chopin.” Waltzes, Ballade, Mazurkas, Scherzo, Nocturnes, Piano Sonata. Sergei RACHMANINOV.

CONCORD CONCERTO CCD 2-42044-2: “Twenty-One Mazurkas.” Andrzej WASOWSKI.

KOCH DISCOVER DICD 920285: “Chopin.” Sonata in G minor for cello & piano. Rudy FROYEN, cello and Johan SCHMIDT, piano.

POPEMUSIC PMG 2010-2: “Chopin.” Waltzes, Scherzo, etc… Naum STARKMAN.

TESTAMENT SBT 1089: Chopin: Piano Sonata no. 2 in Bb minor. Emil GILELS.

Fanfare critics Paul A. SNOOK and Martin ANDERSON reviewed at length a disc of three orchestral pieces by newly discovered Polish composer, Czeslaw MAREK. This Polish-born, Austrian-trained, Swiss-residing composer (1891-1985) died in Zurich at the age of 94. Issued by KOCH CLASSICS (3-6439-2), the disk includes: Suite for OrchestraMeditations and Sinfonia, op. 26, peformed by Philharmonia Orchestra (London, Gary Biran, cond.).

MARCO POLO 8.223794. Leopold GODOWSKY. “Piano Music. Vol. 2.” Pianist Konstantin SHERBAKOV performs the famed Godowsky’s transcriptions of the Violin Sonatas by J. S. Bach.

Nimbus records has released several discs by famous Polish pianists from the past:

NI 8802: “The Polish Virtuoso.” Features performances by Ignaz FRIEDMAN, Ignace Jan PADEREWSKI and Josef HOFMAN.

NI 8803: “Chopin.” Performances by Josef HOFMAN.

NI 8805: “Liszt & Chopin.” Performances by Ignaz FRIEDMAN.

NI 8806: “Debussy.” Performances by Grainger, Hess, RUBINSTEIN, PADEREWSKI and others.

NI 8808: “Bach.” Performances by FRIEDMAN, among others.

Calendar Of Events For June 1997

JUN 1: SECOND SAN FRANCISCO CHOPIN COMPETITION sponsored by the Chopin Council of San Francisco and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

JUN 3: World premiere of Henryk Mikolaj GORECKI‘s most recent composition, a choral work for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland. In Gniezno for the 1000th anniversary of Poland’s patron saint, St. Adalbert.

JUN 2: Chicago premiere of Marta PTASZYNSKA ‘Liquid Light, and Sofia GUBAIDULINA‘s Ein Engel plus music by Barbara HELLER, Krystyna MOSZUMANSKA-NAZAR, Violeta DINESCU, and Patricia MOREHEAD. Composer Ptaszynska will perform Etudes for Percussion Solo by Moszumanska-Nazar. Guest artists: Patricia ADKINS-CHITI, mezzo soprano, Patricia MOREHEAD, oboe, Philip MOREHEAD, piano, and Timothy SCHAEFFER, double bass. FREE. Ganz Hall, Roosevelt University. Presented by American Women Composers Midwest.

JUN 12: Final Concert of Alexandre TANSMAN Centennial in Lodz, Poland. Laureates of the Tansman Competition for Musicality performing music by this great composer.

JUN 22: Jazz singer Grazyna AUGUSCIK will perform a brief concert of her jazz versions of CHOPIN works and of Polish folk songs. Wooden Gallery, in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood, Chicago, 3:00 – 6:00PM. Sponsored by the LIRA ENSEMBLE, professional performing arts company specializing in Polish music, song and dance. On display sculptures in wood by Jerzy KENAR.

JUN 22:World premiere of Song of Hope and Love by Joanna BRUZDOWICZ with Seven HONIGBERG, cello and Carol HONIGBERG, piano. U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

JUN 21-26: OREGON BACH FESTIVAL will have the world premiere of Krzysztof PENDERECKI‘s Missa in Eugene. The work has been commissioned by the festival and the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart in Germany to commemorate the 65th birthdays of both Penderecki and conductor Helmuth RILLING,festival director. For info Fax: (541) 346-5669.

JUN 23-29: The Polish Boys Choir Szczecin Nightingales at the Golden Gate International Children’s Choir Festival, Oakland, CA.

Organized by Dr. Zbigniew Skowron (Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw), this seminar will gather the world’s leading Lutoslawski scholars, including Steven Stucky (USA), Charles Bodman Rae, Adrian Thomas and John Casken (Great Britain), Martina Homma (Germany), Irina Nikolska (Russia), James Harley (Canada) and Maria Anna Harley (PMRC Director, USA). The presented papers will be published by Oxford University Press in Lutoslawski Studies, edited by Z. Skowron (forthcoming in 1999).

JUL 5: The Polish Boys Choir Szczecin Nightingales Concert. Music by various composers, including Polish music. Bozena DERWICH, conducting. Our Lady of the Bright Mount Polish Church. 3424 W. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles. Saturday 6:30 p.m. $10 tax-deductible donation. Info: Vladek Juszkiewicz (818) 982-8827.


Born This Month

  • June 1, 1909 – Maria Dziewulska
  • June 5, 1865 – Felicjan Szopski
  • June 6, 1929 – Boguslaw Schaeffer
  • June 12, 1897 – Alexandre Tansman
  • June 16, 1923 – Henryk Czyz
  • June 17, 1930 – Romuald Twardowski
  • June 28, 1895 – Kazimierz Sikorski
  • June 28, 1904 – Wlodzimierz Pozniak 


Died This Month

  • June 4, 1872 – Stanislaw Moniuszko (“father” of Polish national opera)

Composer of the Month

Aleksander Tansman

(b. Lodz, 12 June 1897; d. Paris, 1986) was a composer, conductor, and pianist. He studied at the Lodz Conservatory (with Piotr Rytel) and took courses in law and philosophy at Warsaw University. In 1919 he settled in Paris where he met the leading artists of his time, including Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, and others. As a pianist he toured Europe, Canada and the Middle East with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Serge Koussevitzky. His music was performed by the most famous soloists and ensembles of his time; his champions included conductors Stokowski and Toscanini. Tansman survived the war in the U.S.; after returning to France in 1946 he contiunued to compose and to write about music, including a book on Stravinsky.

Tansman repeatedly expressed the conviction that his music is rooted in Polish culture, and he included Polish dances, rhythms, and topics in many pieces (e.g. three cycles of Mazurkas, the Polish Rhapsody, works inspired by and dedicated to Chopin such as Tombeau de Chopin on the hundredth anniversary of the composer’s death). The composer also cherished his Jewish heritage, expressing it in many works written throughout his career, e.g. the Hebrew Rhapsody (1938),Apostrophe to Sion (1978), and other pieces. Tansman’s music belongs to the realm of neoclassicism, enriched by a plurality of influences and models, including jazz, folk dances and the music of the Far East. The author of a Javanese Dance, he also composed a Blues, an Oberek, and the virtuosic Mazurka & Toccata (published in 1973). During the post-war years he displayed no interest in avant-garde experimentation and remained faithful to his unique brand of the neoclassical style.

Tansman’ s extensive list of works contains compositions for the stage (operas, ballets), pieces for orchestra, chamber music, and songs in several languages. His music links intuition and spontaneity with logical order of structure, virtuosity and elegance. His individual style is characterized by clarity of form, lyrical expression, and the use of rich and varied instrumental colours.

The celebration of the centennial of Tansman’s birth, under auspices of LES AMIS D’ALEXANDRE TANSMAN (3 rue Florence Blumenthal – 75016 PARIS Tel. 01 45 25 78 54 or 01 45 27 94 32 – Fax: 01 46 47 75 20), commenced in November 1996 and will culminate with a final concert on June 12, 1997, at the Arthur Rubinstein Symphony Hall in Tansman’s native Lodz, Poland. The finalists of the International Alexandre Tansman Competition will perform at this event.