March 1998

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 4, no. 3


Moniuszko Competition

Deadline for singers to apply to the III INTERNATIONAL STANISLAW MONIUSZKO VOCAL COMPETITION has been extended to May 1st! For more information & application form fax directly to the Competition Office at Teatr Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland. From the USA dial: 011-48-22-6920-742.

Th full address of the Competition Office:

Teatr Narodowy
Plac Teatralny 100-950 Warsaw
TEL: 011-48-22–826-40-50
FAX: 011-48-22–69-20-742

Grand Prix: $15,000 . Other Prizes in each category (male & female): I Prize: $10,000; II Prize: $8,000; III Prize: $6,000. Additional prizes include participation in an opera production at Teatr Narodowy.

The Competition will be held in 1-11 October 1998 in Warsaw, Poland. Maria Foltyn is the Music Director. The international jury includes Ryszard Karczykowski (President), Irina Archipova (Russia), Teresa Kubiak (USA), Sergio Segalini (France). The organizers of the competition include the Ministry of Culture and Art of Poland, the 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 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.

Day With Women’s Music at USC

On April 4, 1998, the PMRC and the Department of Music History and Literature present a Day with Women’s Music Conference and Concert. Our special guest from Poland will be composer Hanna KULENTY, the talented author of “Mother of Black-Winged Dreams” — an opera premiered at the Munich Biennale in 1996. Kulenty’s music will be featured on the program of the concert. Another special guest will be Prof. Wojciech Marchwica of Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, who will talk about Wanda Landowska, the renowned harpsichordist and world-famous performer. Prof. Marchwica is currently in the U.S., as the Skalny Visiting Professor at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. This position is supported with a grant from Louis Skalny Foundation directed by Ewa HAUSER. The program of the conference and of the concert is included in a separate file. Click on the title to find it.

A reader of the British journal Gramophone is asking about violinist Kaja DANCZOWSKA in the February issue. He agrees with one of the music reviewers that the DG recording she made with Krystian ZIMERMAN of the Szymanowski and Franck Sonatas is superb, but wondered why there was no information on this fine artist. He wants to know who is s he and what is she doing and why is there no info on her?

We have some news on her. She was recently honored on the occasion of Karol Szymanowskiís 60th Anniversary of his death by the Polish Ministry of Arts & Culture for her efforts in promoting the music of this great composer. Others receiving medals and congratulatory letters were violinist Wanda Wilkomirska, musicologists Zofia Helman and Malgorzata Komorowska and author Jerzy Waldorff. Institutions receiving this recognition: National Philharmonic, Krakow Philharmonic, National Museum in Krakow, Atma Museum in Zakopane, PWM and the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York.

We were saddened by the news of the death of Michael C. SLOMINSKI, retired organist and choral director from Buffalo, NY. He had left his library of organ and choral music to our Polish Music Reference Center in 1995. His two sons have set up a fund in their fatherís name at St. Jude High School. C/o. Bishop Timon. Mail donations to the Michael C. Slominski Performing Arts Development Fund. 601 McKinley Parkway, Buffalo, NY 14220.

The highly respected Polish conductor Karol STRYJA died at age 83. He was the artistic director of the Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice for 37 years. The orchestra performed Szymanowskiís Etude no. 4 as arranged by Grzegorz Fitelberg and part of Beethoven’s Eroica symphony at the funeral ceremonies beside the coffin.

Congratulations to our PMRC director, Maria Anna HARLEY, on her recent induction into the Mu Nu chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon! She and Peggy SCHMID, director of development at the USC School of Music were initiated into this prestigious honorary international music fraternity on February 8th. Meg Wemple was the hostess of this event. Following the initiation ceremony USC student, Benjamin MAAS, and Roberta GARTEN performed a concert including the Dance Preludes for clarinet and piano by Witold LUTOSLAWSKI.

New Books

The first volume of a new book series, Studies in Penderecki wil soon be available from Prestige Publications, Inc. (Princeton, New Jersey). Vol. 1, 1998, edited by Ray ROBINSON and co-edited by Prof. Regina CHLOPICKA, consists of three parts. In part one, entitled “the Stylistic Phases of Penderecki: A Career in Retrospect” articles by Mieczyslaw TOMASZEWSKI, Ray ROBINSON, Regina CHLOPICKA and Wolfram SCHWINGER present four different general approaches to the composer’s rich output. The second part includes two analyses of recent works, by Allen WINOLD (Violin Concerto no. 2), and Ray ROBINSON (String Trio and Sinfonietta). The third part includes reviews of major performances, that took place in Pittsburgh, Moscow, Leipzig and Katowice. For more information contact Ray Robinson (Palm Beach, Florida) or the PMRC.

A slim volume of studies of Lithuanian music and Polish-Lithuanian exchanges was recently edited by Prof. Krzysztof DROBA, musicologist at the Academy of Music, Krakow, Poland. The volume, “W Kregu Muzyki Litewskiej ” [In the sphere of Lithuanian Music] includes studies and documents about composers Ciurlonis, Bajoras, Kutavicius, Bacevicius (brother of Polish composer, Grazyna Bacewicz), and young composers. An interesting contribution to scholarship, published by the Academy of Music in Krakow, 1997.

Did You Know That…

Japanese pianist Takako TAKAHASHI has been living in Poland since 1988. She won the Fifth Prize at the Chopin International Piano Competition. She gave a concert at Filharmonia Narodowa in February which included several Chopin selections.

Calendar of Events

MAR 1: IV LUTOSLAWSKI FORUM. Second concert of the festival, held at the National Philharmonic, Warsaw, Poland The chamber music program includes: Pawel SZYMANSKI Quasi Una Sinfonietta, Witold LUTOSLAWSKI Chain I, Karol SZYMANOWSKI Slopiewnie, Henryk GORECKI Kleines Requiem fur Eine Polka .

MAR 4: IV LUTOSLAWSKI FORUM. Fourth concert of the festival. Program includes Witold LUTOSLAWSKI’s Funeral MusicGrave, Wojciech KILAR’s Orawa.

MAR 6-7: IV LUTOSLAWSKI FORUM. Final concert of the festival. Program includes Witold LUTOSLAWSKI’s Chantefleurs and chantefables, and BERGER’s Memento.

MAR 20-22: PADEREWSKI FESTIVAL. The 6th Annual festival in honor of the Polish pianist and composer Ignace PADEREWSKI will include recitals, concerts, walking tours, wine tasting, young pianistsí competition, Polish food, historical exhibits and an auction. Marcia WOZNIAK and Wojciech KOCYAN of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area and USC alums, will be the featured pianists. The “Gorale,” a Polish dance troupe from Yorba Linda, will also perform. For info call: Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce (805) 238-0506 or the Paso Robles Foundation for Culture and the Arts (805) 238-1847.

MAR 22: JERZY GABLENZ BROADCAST IN CANADA 11:00 AM (EST) – 1:00 PM. CJRT-FM Program “The Music At Mid Day” with host Alex Baran (Located in Toronto, their signal spans an 80-mile radius through southern Ontario and northern New York state. CJRT-FM is also available through the Expressview Satellite System package as one of the thirty-five audio stations they offer.) The station will broadcast music by Polish composer, Jerzy Gablenz, including Symphonic Prelude, “Enchanted Lake”, Opus 29, Piano Concerto in D-Flat Major, Opus 25, Tone Poem, “The Legend of Turbacz”, Opus 22.

MAR 29: 7:00 p.m. KUSC Radio station FM 91.5. Repeat broadcast of Henryk GORECKI conducting the USC Symphony orchestra in his Third Symphony, ìSymphony of Sorrowful Songsî before a full house in Bovard Auditorium during the ìGorecki Autumnî last October.

Recent Performances

FEBRUARY 12: World Premiere of Cassazione per Natale by Zbigniew Bujarski, at the Sukiennice, Cracow. The work was performed by Capella Cracoviensis. For more information contact: Capella Cracoviensis Website.

FEBRUARY 14: Valentine’s Day Concert of Chopin Music at USC. Performed by Roberto Scherson, piano, with Paulina A. Mielech, actress reading fragments of love letters by George Sand (see Director’s Report below).

FEBRUARY 21: CiCi Chieh CHANG performed on the famed Paderewski piano housed at the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C. Ms. Chang was the winner of the 1997 Josef Hoffmann Piano Competition sponsored by the American Council for Polish Culture and the University of South Carolina-Aiken last May. This competition honors the contributions of the famed 20th c. Polish pianist and composer who spent part of his life in Aiken, SC.

FEBRUARY 28: PAN TWARDOWSKI in Poznan. The ballet by Ludomir Rozycki, based on a Polish folk-tale, immortalized in a ballad by Adam MICKIEWICZ (whose 200 birth anniversary we celebrate this year). Premiered at Teatr Wielki in Poznan, Poland.

FEBRUARY 27-28: IV LUTOSLAWSKI FORUM. National Philharmonic, Warsaw, Poland. Opening concert with works by Luciano BERIO, Igor STRAVINSKY, and Witold LUTOSLAWSKI’s Symphony no. 3.

FEBRUARY 24: A Chopin Birthday Concert presented by the Chopin Council of San Francisco featured pianist Golda WAINBERG-TETZ at the Old First Church.


FIRST CD WITH MUSIC BY PAWEL SZYMANSKI:A new release by the Polish Radio, in cooperation with the Accord label; the CD features music by Pawel SZYMANSKI (b. 1954), Poland’s leading composer of his generation, whose music is often discussed in terms of postmodernism.

Ligia Digital LIDI 0302055-97 includes works for violin and piano by Karol SZYMANOWSKI performed by Bernard ZINCK,, violin and David SELIG, piano. The two musicians perform: Sonata for violin and piano op. 9, Mythes op. 30, Notturno e Tarantella op. 28, Romance op. 23, Berceuse d’Aitacho Enia, op. 52.

British pianist Peter KATIN has 2 new recordings of CHOPIN: The Nocturnes on the CARLTON label 30367 was selected as Ivan Marchís Choice for Gramophoneís February issue. The critic described the recording: the “beguilingly warm analogue sound suits playing that is serenely poetic, seldom deliberates and is full of delicate touches….even if he is less chimerical than Ashkenazy this is lovely playing to which I responded immediately.”The other is Qualitonís Athene 11 entitled “Chopin First and Last.” The critic writes: “First, because it contains his Op. 1, the C minor Rondo. Last, because it contains the F minor Mazurka, commonly accepted as Chopinís last work.” The interesting part about this particular recording is that the pianist elected to play it on a square piano from about 1838. In reviewing this disc for American Record Guide, Harold C. Schonberg writes that the artist points out in his liner notes that “Chopinís music would have been played at home on such an instrument, and the 1838 piano will give a good idea of what the music would have sounded like some 130 years ago.” Peter Katin selected his repertoire to emphasize the salon aspects of Chopinís music, including some juvenilia in the form of the three early polonaises, the first two composed at the age of 7.

The Josef HOFMANN recording mentioned in last monthís newsletter as a new release was also reviewed in American Record Guide in the Jan/Feb issue. In speaking of the 5th volume of “The Complete Hofmann. Solo recordings, 1935-48” Alexander Morin praises Ward Marston, “probably the best-known and certainly among the most proficient practitioners of the art of transferring sounds from ancient recordings to CDs….Now he has established a label of his own, and his first releases, in addition to these two discs, present three great singers and an early recording of Manon.” Morin describes Hofmannís playing as “dazzling virtuosity – his dexterity at pianissimo levels has never been matched – and compelling musicianship.” Look for MARSTON 52004 (2 CDs).

Nocturne II, music by Jan KRZYWICKI , an American of Polish roots living in Philadelphia, can be found on NORTH/SOUTH 1012 (Albany), together with music of DEUSSEN, SCHWARTZ and APPLEDORN.


Born This Month

  • MAR 01, 1810 – Fryderyk Chopin
  • MAR 03, 1922 – Kazimierz Serocki
  • MAR 06, 1975 – Karol Kurpinski
  • MAR 07, 1911 – Stefan Kisielewski
  • MAR 10, 1937 – Bernadetta Matuszczak
  • MAR 17, 1901 – Piotr Perkowski
  • MAR 18, 1961 – Hanna Kulenty
  • MAR 21, 1936 – Marek Stachowski
  • MAR 28, 1954 – Pawel Szymanski


Died This Month

  • MAR 21, 1973 – Antoni Szalowski
  • MAR 29, 1937 – Karol Szymanowski
  • MAR 31, 1880 – Henryk Wieniawski

Director’s Reports

by Maria Anna Harley

I. Symposium On East European Music In North Carolina

Sometime in December 1997, I received an e-mail message from Michael Beckerman, the leading specialist in Czech music and the professor of University of California at Santa Barbara (those of our readers who watch PBS may see him commenting on classical music from Lincoln Center). He invited me to present a paper at a special session on East European music that he was organizing for the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The session, sponsored jointly by the UNC Department of Music and the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies, had a long and involved title: ìThe Appropriation of Folk Music by Eastern European Composers.î It took place on January 30, 1998, at Person Hall, UNC, Chapel Hill and was followed by a lovely r eception and an interesting concert of works by Haydn, Smetana and Dworak. No Polish composers, unfortunately!

The invited scholars included Prof. Margarita Mazo from Ohio State University and Stephen Press, a doctoral student at UNC, Chapel Hill, both of whom spoke about Russian music. Prof. Mazo discussed Igor Stravinskyís use of folk material in his composition Wedding (Les Noces or Svadebka, if you prefer the original title). Mr. Press focussed on a ballet by Sergei Prokofiev, a project created for the Russian Ballets in Paris on request from the Balletsís producer, Diaghilev, “please write music that will be truly Russian.” How does one write music that is truly Russian? Or Polish, or Czech, or Hungarian? Primarily, answered Michael Beckerman, by the appropriation of folk songs, folk dances and melodies which become the source material for the artwork. “Appropriation” has negative connotations, as if taking this material was somehow an act of stealing and cheating, a transgression. Nonetheless, all the participants of this session emphasized positive aspects of using such “found” material to connect the modern works of music to their national roots.

My topic, Henryk Gorecki’s Multi-Ethnic Concept of Polish Musical Identity resulted from interviews and conversations conducted during the Gorecki Autumn at USC. I pointed out the composer’s interest in the music of Polish, Czech, and German origin, his involvement with the gorale of the Tatra Foothills, and his understanding of Jewish traditions as a vital part of Polish culture. I also noticed that Polish musical identity is usually centered around Mazovia, with mazurka as the main national dance (not polka as in the Polish American communities of the U.S). After all, Poland’s national anthem is called Dabrowskiís Mazurka, not Dabrowskiís Polka!!!

II. St. Valentine’s Day Concert at USC

I should begin this report with sincere thanks to Ms. Sandra A. Buchan, who volunteered to organize a special St. Valentineís Day Concert at USC. She invited a pianist from France to perform Chopin and a Polish actress who lives in L.A. to read the narrative connecting the music together into a charming whole. She prepared the setting, the Valentine decorations, found the sponsors (which included, besides the PMRC, the Polish American Congress, and the Consulate of the Republic of Poland), even baked the cakes. It is thanks to her great dedication and personal involvement (she even invited her sister from Washington to come down to L.A. to help!) that this lovely concert could take place. I should add that we were gathered at Hancock Auditorium at USC campus, on Saturday, 14 February 1998.

What was the connection to St. Valentineís? The concertís title, An Evening of Romance: Chopin and Sand, gives it away. It is the wonderful, complicated, and fascinating love story of a Polish pianist and a French novelist. According to Chopin biographers, the pianist-composer first met George Sand, or rather Aurore Dudevant, a French writer publishing under a male name, in 1836. They were introduced by another famous pianist-composer, Franz Liszt. Sand approached Chopin, six years her junior, with a certain caution which was unusual for this powerful and energetic woman. She described him as a man who seemed alive only when he played the piano for a few intimate friends, who was indifferent to the adoration that the public showed him, who was badly informed on non-platonic love. She wrote to Albert Grzymala, their mutual friend – “He is afraid of people, he is afraid of who knows what…”

This apparent shyness might have been due to Chopin’s ill health: during the nine years of their passionate relationship, the composer struggled with tuberculosis, an illness that eventually killed him. But the love and care that he experienced in Nohant, Sand’s summer home, stirred his creative talent to new heights. He wrote the wonderful cycle of 24 Preludes, numerous nocturnes and mazurkas; he began a new epoch in his creative life with the B flat minor Sonata composed during his first year at Nohant (1839). During their exciting and passionate relationship, filled with events and people, interrupted with travels and moving (from Paris to Nohant every summer), Sand and Chopin exchanged many letters. Their love story inspired painters (e.g. the famous double portraits by Delacroix), writers (Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewiczís play Summer at Nohant), and musicians.

Roberto Scherson, a French pianist of Chilean descent, belongs to the latter group; he prepared the concert juxtaposing love letters and music, and performed it many times in France, and now in Los Angeles. During the USC concert we heard many excerpts from Sandís letters placed into a narrative interspersed with Chopin’s wonderfully expressive music. Actress Paulina J. Mielech gave a convincing and dramatic rendition of the love story, the pianist used scores throughout the concert to show his adherence to the written text of Chopin’s music. The candle on a little table reminded us that we were in a romantic salon. The illusion lasted through two receptions–a coffee break in the middle and a wine and Valentine’s Day cake reception at the end. The artistic dialogue of Chopin and Sand remains one of the greatest testimonies to the power of human creativity and the power of love.

III. Polish Culture at The University of Michigan

During a recent visit to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor I was impressed with the number and quality of events being organized there. The umbrella organizations include the Center for Russian and East European Studies, and the Copernicus Foundation which supports annual lectures by the most distinguished scholars, writers, composers, and, in general, intellectuals of Poland. The Annual Copernicus Lectures began in 1980, with a lecture by the philosopher Leszek Ko akowski, and included appearances of poets (Czes aw Mi osz, Stanislaw Bara czak), politicians (Zbigniew Brzezi ski and Adam Michnik), a filmmaker (Krzysztof Zanussi), writers (Ryszard Kapu ci ski, Ewa Hoffman), and composers (Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Gorecki who visited Ann Arbor in 1995).

The Polish studies program includes courses in Eastern Europe, as well as in the history, sociology, literature, film, government, and other aspects of Polish society, life and culture. With nine professors involved in the program, the range and quality of lectures is astounding. This year’s plans, though, are somewhat similar to those at the PMRC. The CREES, in conjunction with the Center for Judaic Studies, presents a series of lectures and events devoted to the theme of Exploring the Legacy of Jewish Culture in Eastern Europe. The musical segment of this series included a lecture by Prof. Mark Slobin (Wesleyan University), on The Spirit of Yiddish Folklore: Then and Now and a concert of klezmer music led by Itzhak Perlman, In the Fiddler’s House (both took place on December 2, 1997).