February 1999

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 5, no. 2

News Flash

Winners Of The 1998 Wilk Prizes For Research In Polish Music

PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY ($1000): Asst. Prof. Halina GOLDBERG, Indiana University, Bloomington
Title of the Paper: “Chopin in Warsaw Salons”

STUDENT CATEGORY ($500): Ms. Dorota ZAKRZEWSKA, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Title of the Paper: “Alienation and Powerlessness: Adam Mickiewicz’s Ballady and Chopin’s Ballades

Halina Golberg is an American scholar of Polish Jewish descent, a Chopin specialist whose doctoral dissertation dealt with the social context of F. Chopin’s early life in Warsaw and who is presently completing a book on music in Chopin’s Warsaw. Prof. Goldberg received her Ph.D. from the Queens College and Graduate School, City University of New York. Since the Fall of 1998 Dr. Goldberg is Assistant Professor of Musicology at Indiana University, Bloomington. The prize-winning paper relates selected results from Dr. Goldberg’s doctoral research. Prof. Goldberg is seen on the right in the photo above, with Barbara Milewski ( doctoral student at Princeton University, Wilk Prize Winner in the Student Category, 1993) and with Bret Werb (staff musicologist, Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.). The photo was taken during the International Conference Polish/Jewish/Music! on 15 November 1998, Arnold Schoenberg Auditorium, USC.

Dorota Zakrzewska received her B. Mus. degree in 1995 from McGill University (with Honors in Music History, graduating with Distinction and inclusion on the Dean’s Honor List). Her 1998 M.A. thesis, written under the supervision of Prof. Steven Huebner at McGill University (Dean’s Honor List, again) provided the basis for the prize-winning paper. Ms. Zakrzewska has taught piano, worked on music translations, researched music for the CBC broadcasting corporation, and is a recipient of numerous scholarships and grants. She is currently a doctoral student at McGill University.

Both papers will be published online in the Polish Music Journal (vol. 2, 1999). The prize-winning papers of the 1997 competition have been published in the first issue of this journal. Selected essays from previous competitions will appear in a collection edited by Maria Anna Harley, After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music. In the future, all the prize-winning essays will be published in the Journal.


Chopin Year Celebrations

The Chopin Year In Poland

On January 20th a festive concert inaugurated the Chopin Year in Poland (150th anniversary of the composer’s death) in the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw. The Orchestra of the Grand Theatre conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk performed with pianists Dang thai Son and Krzysztof Jablonski. For this occasion, an exhibit of manuscripts and portraits of the composer was prepared from material found in the archives of the National Library (Biblioteka Narodowa) and the Fryderyk Chopin Society in Warsaw.

The Second International Chopin Congress

The Polish Chopin Academy celebrates the 150th anniversary of Chopin’s death by organizing the Second International Musicological Congress Chopin and His Music in Cultural Context . The Congress is scheduled for 10-17 October 1999 and will take place in Warsaw. The Scholarly Program Committee consists of members of the Polish Chopin Academy (professors and doctors): Zofia Chechlińska, Jan Ekier, Wojciech Nowik, Irena Poniatowska, Jan Stęszewski, and Mieczysław Tomaszewski. The Congress will examine four broad thematic areas: (1) Chopin in the millieu of people and ideas of his epoch, (2) The music of Chopin in musicological interpretations, (3) the pianistic interpretations of Chopin’s music, (4) the reception of Chopin’s music. For more information contact the Secretary: ul. Fredry 8, Room 305, 00-097 Warsaw, fax 48-22-635-2230.

Chopin And Polish Music At The Sixth Bustan Festival

According to a report by Gareth Smyth published in The Daily Star (and sent here by Dayle Vander Sande), the 150th anniversary of Chopin’s death will be celebrated in Lebanon during the month-long festival including a series of piano recitals, orchestral concerts, opera performances, organ recitals, and Polish dance spectacles. The festival (17 February – 22 March) will begin with a recital by the 29-year-old Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski. Other accomplished international pianists that will give concerts at the festival include: Boris Berezovsky (Russia), Abdel Rahman El Bacha (Lebanon), Martin Roscoe (Britain), Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (France), Janusz Olejniczak, Ewa Pobłocka, Wojciech Switala, and Piotr Paleczny (Poland).

Jadwiga Rappe (mezzo-soprano) will sing Brahms lieder and songs by Chopin; the Andrzej Jadodzinski Jazz Trio will present jazz versions of some of Chopin’s preludes, mazurkas, nocturnes and waltzes. The Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, with Piotr Paleczny will end the Festival on March 21 with Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto. Other concerts will feature works by Szymanowski, Gorecki, Penderecki, Wieniawski, and Roxanna Panufnik, the daughter of the late Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991) and a talented composer. Panufnik’s piece is a commission from the Festival. Organist Karol Golebiowski will reach back to the late 16th century (dances by Jan of Lublin) while the Warsaw Chamber Opera will perform Mozart and Rossini. The Festival also features a performance of Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov and traditional Lebanese music. Finally, internationally renowned scholar, and Chopin specialist Jim Samson will give a lecture on “Studying Chopin” (1 March 1999). The events are scheduled to take place in Bustan, Byblos, and Ras Kafra (Lebanon).

Chopin In Japan

The music of Poland’s national composer is particularly popular in Japan. Over thirty pianists from Japan and of Japanese descent have competed in every Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw. There is a Chopin Society in Japan and a great many Chopin web sites are maintained by Chopin lovers from that country. To highlight the Japanese fascination with Poland’s national composer the American Institute of Polish Culture of Miami, Florida is featuring Japan “a country in love with Chopin’s music” at its 27th International Polonaise Ball to be held on February 5th. The elaborate invitation to the ball presents pictures and names of the past winners of the Chopin Competitions in Warsaw. We wish all the participants to have a great time and raise lots of funds for future Chopin celebrations.

The Heritage of Chopin at USC

In February and March of 1999, the USC School of Music and the Polish Music Reference Center present a series of three lecture-recitals by Poland’s great pianists. Entitled The Heritage of Chopin In Polish Music and Performance Practice, the series begins with a Lecture-Recital The Mazurka Tradition: Chopin, Szymanowski, Maciejewski by pianist Michał Wesołowski (Sweden). This lecture will take place on 19 February 1999, Friday, 11 a.m. – 12:50 a.m., USC Campus, Music Building, room 106. It is open to the public.

The mazurka is the main national dance of Poland (it appears in the national anthem); Chopin’s re-creation of this dance as an art-form led to the emergence of a distinct national tradition. Mazurkas by Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) include influences of folkore from other areas of Poland (the Tatra mountains). While Szymanowski’s music is steadily gaining recognition, Roman Maciejewski’s contribution to the mazurka repertory is not yet fully appreciated. These three composers are brought together in a lecture by Mr. Wesołowski who is a Polish pianist specializing in 20th century music. His recording of Szymanowski’s Masques & Mazurkas  (Pianovox label) received the Diapason’d’Or, Le Monde de la Musique and other awards. Wesołowski premiered new compositions at the Warsaw Autumn Festival, participated in numerous other festivals, taught masterclasses and gave recitals in Sweden, Japan, and Poland. At present, Wesołowski (now based in Sweden), is preparing a new recording of all the Chopin works.

During his visit to L.A. Mr. Wesołowski will give a concert for the Friends of Polish Music on Saturday, 20 February 1999, at 3 p.m. The concert will be held at the residence of Dr. and Mrs. Wilk. For more information contact Mrs. Wilk at 323-877-1906 or 818-985-6367.The second Lecture-Recital, entitled Chopin and Competitions will be given on February 26 by pianist Barbara Hesse – Bukowska (Prof., F. Chopin Academy of Music, Warsaw, Poland). The hour and location are the same. Barbara Hesse-Bukowska is one of the most distinguished Polish pianists specializing in the music of Chopin. She received the second prize at the Fourth International Chopin Competition in 1949. She is also won prizes at M. Long and J. Thibaud Competition in Paris, Prix Chopin, and was awarded the highest State Medals and Prizes in Poland for her artistic achievements, as well as a medal from the Harriet Cohen Foundation, London. She has performed world-wide; her recordings of Polish piano music appear on LPs and CDs issued by the Deutsche Gramophone, Lumen, Chant du Monde, and Polskie Nagrania (for the “Complete Works of Chopin” and other works); she also recorded for the Polish Radio. Since 1973 she has been a professor of piano performance at the F. Chopin Academy of Music, in Warsaw. She has chaired the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Artur Rubinstein considered her “an exellent artist of unflawed sensitivity, who interprets Chopin with rare authenticity.” The series will conclude with an appearance by Karol Radziwonowicz, on March 26, in a lecture-recital entitled From Chopin to Paderewski: The Romantic Piano. We will give more information about this event and Mr. Radziwonowicz in the next issue of the PMRC Newsletter. Mr. Radziwonowicz will be the featured pianist at the 1999 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and will perform in Los Angeles for the Ars Musica Poloniae Foundation on 27 March 1999.

Bacewicz Days – Anniversary Concerts

A series of concerts organized by the Polish Radio and TV commemorates the anniversary year of Grazyna Bacewicz (90th anniversary of birth and 30th anniversary of death; see “Composer of the Month” in January issue of the PMRC Newsletter). The artistic director, Jacek Rogala, and program consultant, Małgorzata Gasiorowska, have planned four concerts, given on 17, 24, and 31 January 1999, and 5 February 1999, at the W. Lutoslawski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio, in Warsaw. On Sunday, 17 January 1999 (the 30th anniversary of death) Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki, with Daniel Stabrawa (violin), performed Krzysztof Penderecki’s De profundis, Grazyna Bacewicz’s Violin Concerto No. 7, Music for Strings, Trumpets and Percussion, and Schostakovich’s Symphony no. 9 in E-flat major. The following Sunday, the Chamber Orchestra of the Polish Radio, Amadeus, conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal, with Stefan Kamasa (viola) as a soloist, performed Witold Lutosławski’s Overture for Strings, Marek Stachowski’s Concerto per viola ed orchestra d’archi(commissioned for this occasion by the Polish Radio), Bacewicz’s Divertimento and Concerto for String Orchestra, and Benjamin Britten’s Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge. The concert on the last day of January featured Silesian Quartet with Viacheslav Novikov (piano) in an all-Bacewicz program of her Fourth and Seventh String Quartets and Piano Quintets no. 1 and 2. The composer’s 90th birthday (5 February 1999) is celebrated by the Polish Radio Orchestra conducted by Jacek Rogala, with Krzysztof Bakowski (violin), in a program of Bacewicz’s First Violin Concerto and Pensieri Notturni, complemented by Botticelli Triptych by Ottorino Respighi and Sinfonietta by Francis Poulenc.

The Second Issue of the Polish Music Journal

Excerpts from Bacewicz’s letters and writings may be found in the second issue of our musicological publication, Polish Music Journal, which was initiated in 1998. In addition to these documents, translated by Wanda Wilk and edited by Wanda Bacewicz, the Journal brings two translations of articles about early music, originally published in Muzyka in Poland: a study of Marcin Mielczewski rondo concerti by Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska and an overview of musical imagery in stone sculpture from Lower Silesia by Dorota Popławska. The birth anniversaries of Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Górecki (both celebrated their 65th anniversary in 1998) are commemorated by two book reviews. Luke Howard reports on Adrian Thomas’s Górecki while Cindy Bylander writes about Penderecki’s essay collection.

News From The East Coast

by Dayle Vander Sande

Greetings of the New Year to all readers from a new voice in the PMRC Newsletter. My name is Dayle Vander Sande, and I’ll be your connection to the Polish music scene on the East Coast. In this introductory paragraph, I would like to mention an eastern phenomenon: the Polish Singers Alliance of America (Zwiazek Śpiewaków Polskich w Ameryce), established by Polish immigrants in Chicago on May 13, 1889 to help preserve Polish music, language and heritage. This is an organization of Polish-American choirs in the US and Canada. There are 6 extant districts seated in the following cities: Buffalo; Chicago; Cleveland; Detroit; New York City; and Syracuse, NY. (The one connection to the West is a choir in Phoenix.) Every three years, an international convention is held in a different district comprising a competition, dance, mass, concert and awards banquet. The next one will take place in Cleveland in 2001. Chicago hosted the 1998 event (see the June’98 newsletter for details). Each district may hold their own convention on the alternate years.

This year, the New York Metropolitan district (covering New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut and Philadelphia) will hold their annual convention in Hempstead, Long Island on May 14-16. The highlight of the weekend will be a concert at Hofstra University assisted by the Hofstra University Orchestra. Part of the program will be dedicated to music of Chopin in celebration of the 150 year anniversary of the composer’s death. For more information about the PSAA, please visit their website at http://www.ivandv.com/psaa. Regardless of which coast you’re closer to, if you are interested in joining one of the choirs, forming a choir, or if your choir is interested to be a part of the PSAA, please contact the Alliance by e-mail: PolishSingers@hotmail.com.

Recently, the East Coast saw some notable performances of Polish music. Polish soprano, Izabela Labuda, sang at Avery Fisher Hall for the Attila Glatz Concert Productions’ “Salute to Vienna” for an afternoon concert on New Year’s Day. The program strove to re-create “the world-famous New Year’s concert of the Vienna Philharmonic,” with music by Robert Stolz, Lehar and Kalman as well as the Strauss family performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the direction of Austrian conductor, Peter Guth.

I have also noticed that Kevin Kenner, American pianist, with credentials that include winning the 1990 International Chopin Competition, gave a solo recital with an all-Chopin programme at the Wigmore Hall in London, England. Kevin seems to specialize in performing the great Polish composer, especially in the anniversary year. The London program included Prelude in C sharp minor, Op 45; four scherzos; Nocturne in E flat major, Op 55; Mazurka in C minor, Op 56; Mazurka in C major Op 56, and Mazurka in F minor Op 56; Sonata No 2 in B flat minor, the major work of the concert (with the Funeral March).

Reporting from New York, Dayle Vander Sande, PMRC East Coast Correspondent


For Rafał Kwiatkowski

In Poland, cellist Rafał Kwiatkowski received the Annual Award in Music from the weekly newspaper, “Polityka” for his impressive technique, development of masterful playing and successes in so many international competitions. Rafał Kwiatkowski was also one of the winners of the 1999 Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York. This 20-year old musician found himself in the group of six other first prize winners (including violinists, pianists, cellists, singers, and harpists. Each of the winners receives a prize of $5,000 and becomes a member of the roster of Young Concert Artists Inc., a non-profit organization which since 1961 has discovered many extraordinary musicians. The winners will be provided with management services and recitals in the Young Concert Artist Series in New York and in Washington, D.C.

For Krzysztof Penderecki

In December 1998 Krzysztof Penderecki received a doctorate honoris causa from Poland’s oldest university Jagiellonian University. The composer commented that this ceremony was the most significant for him and the degree the most cherished among the 20 honorary doctorates that he had received previously.

Krzysztof Penderecki’s Violin Concerto no. 2 received two Grammy Nominations: one for the best classical album and one for the best classical contemporary composition for the Grammy Awards.

Opportunities and Competitions

ISCM (Poland) Summer Course For Young Composers

19th Summer Course For Young Composers. Receipt deadline: June 30, 1999. Scheduled for September 1-15, 1999, in Radziejowice, Poland, the course will feature lectures, composer seminars, workshops with performers, and concerts devoted to main theme: Improvisation and Indeterminacy In Music. Lecturers (among others): Jaroslaw Kapuciński (discussion leader), Louis Andriessen, R. Murray Schafer, Yuji Takahashi, Zygmunt Krauze, Alejandro Vinao, Sukhi Kang. The language of the lectures and discussions will be English. For further information, contact: ISCM Polish Section, Mazowiecka 11, 00-052 POLAND. Phone: (48) (22) 827 69 81: fax: (48) (22) 827 78 04. E-mail: <iscm_pl@ddg.art.pl>.

Serocki Composers’ Competition

Kazimierz Serocki 7th International Composers’ Competition has recently been announced. The deadline for submissions is 5 February 2000. This edition of the competition is for works for string quartet with one solo instrument or with solo voice. Use of tape and live electronics in a composition is permitted. For complete guidelines, contact: Polish Society for Contemporary Music, ISCM Polish Section, Mazowiecka 11, 00-052 POLAND. Phone: (48) 22 – 827 69 81; fax: (48) 22 – 827 78 04. E-mail: iscm_pl@ddg.art.pl.

SEMBRICH VOCAL COMPETITIONThe American Council for Polish Culture has announced its “$2,000 Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition for 1999.” Application deadline: April 30th. Contestants, male or female, must be citizens of the U.S. of Polish descent who have pursued or are pursuing higher education study in voice. The winner will perform at the 1999 convention of the ACPC in Savannah, GA on July 8th of this year. Contact: Prof. Marian Krajewska at St. Mary of the Woods College. 812-535-5293 or 332-1322.

Lutosławski Competition For Cellists

The Foundation for the Promotion of Young Cellists has organized the Second Witold Lutosławski International Cello Competition. It is scheduled for 14-21 February 1999, Poland. The competition is organized in three stages. During the second stage the cellists are to play Lutosławski’s Sacher Variations  and a selection from works by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Schubert, Crumb, Tansman, Stravinsky, Barber, Britten, Debussy, Szalonek, Tchaikovsky, Haydn. During the final stage the cellists are to perform Witold Lutoslawski’s Grave and a cello concerto by Haydn, Schumann, Dvorak or Lutoslawski. The program does not list prizes and awards.

Szeryng Foundation 2000 Career Award

The Henry Szeryng Foundation Career Award was created to help develop the solo careers of outstanding young violinists. Recipients receive promotion and management designed to present them at public concerts on the international circuit. The award may also include recording possibilities. The service starts from the day the candidate receives the award and is offered for a period of two years.

The fourth Henry Szeryng Foundation Career Award will be made in the autumn of 2000. It is open to violinists of all nationalities, born after October 1st 1975,who have already started developing a career. Deadline for Applications – 10 September 1999. Applicants must meet the following requirements:

– an exceptionally high artistic level,

– a sufficiently extensive repertoire,

– pesonal strength, balance and maturity.

The jury will be looking for applicants who have the personality, character and style neccesary to become a public figure in the world of concert music. There is a screening process preceeding the nomination which will include the following: First recital auditions in the spring of 2000. They will be organized individually in Europe and North America as close as possible to the region of the selected applicant. Applicants who are residents outside of these areas must be aware that they will need to travel to either continent for their audition. All expenses incurred for this first audition must be covered by the applicant. Second recital auditions, followed by final auditions, with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra in Monaco will be between October 1st and 3rd. All (economy) travel expenses and boarding accommodation costs for the applicants — including their pianists — will be covered by the Foundation.

The auditions will be of an entirely private nature, and although they are in principle competition based, they are neither considered nor specifically organized as such. The Foundation will present only one award; no other prizes will be given. Furthermore, no award will be made if none of the finalists achieve the Foundation’s required standards.

Further requirements and applications may be obtained from The Henry Szeryng Foundation, Principality of Monaco


5 rue des Lilas
MC 98000 Monaco
Phone 377-9350.2392, Fax 377-9315.9904,
E-mail 104625.3303@compuserve.com

Recent Performances

In Poland

The “Amadeus” Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio celebrated its 30th anniversary with a recent concert at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Agnieszka Duczmal is the director.A concert commemorating the 90th anniversary of Mieczyslaw Karłowicz (1876-1909) was held at the same concert hall in Poznan with the Poznań Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Renard Czajkowski performing two of his symphonic poems.


In The U.S.

Pianist Jerzy Stryjniak gave a recital in the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall, New York on Sunday January 17th. This was followed by a reception and banquet for the benefit of the Stryjniak Music School in New Jersey.Jazz bassist, Darek Oleszkiewicz and the LA Jazz Quartet performed in San Diego and in Los Angeles during the month of January. They joined the Polish jazz legend Jan “Ptaszyn” Wróblewski in an impressive and well-received program.

The French Quatuor Parisii opened the series “String Quartets at LACMA” at the Bing Theatre of the Los Angeles County Music of Art. They performed the string quartets of Schnittke, Dutilleux, Scelsi and Witold Lutoslawski

Andre Watts appeared at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Jan 21. Music of Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Bach and Chopin.

Calendar Of Events

FEB 5: Trio of the Americas (William Powell, Janice Foy, Zita Carno). “The Polish Masters” featuring music by Chopin, Lutoslawski, Szymanowski, Muczynski and Brahms. Friday, 8:00 p.m. California Institute for the Arts, Valencia. Sponsored by the Polish American Cultural Network. Free. 805-255-1050.

FEB 7: Trio of the Americas (same as above). Sunday 2:00 p.m. Nixon Library, Yorba Linda. Free. Sponsored by PolAm Credit Union, Lot Polish Airlines, Pekao Trading Corp. and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles. 714-993-5075. Janice Foy and her Trio. Chamber music concert. Program includes Szymanowski and Chopin.

FEB 9: Evgeny Kissin, piano in a recital of music of Fryderyk Chopin. Los Angeles Music Center. Tuesday, 8:00 p.m.

FEB 20: Michał Wesołowski. Music of Chopin, Szymanowski and Maciejewski. Sponsored by the Friends of Polish Music at USC. Saturday, 3:00 p.m. Home of Stefan and Wanda Wilk Members: $10, Non-members: $15. 323-877-1906; 818-985-6367; 213-740-9369.

FEB 21: Waterville Trio. Music of Beethoven, Haydn and Piotr Lachert. Kosciuszko Foundation. NY

FEB 21: Best of the Record Shelf with Jim Svejda. Encore broadcast of conversation with pianist Krystian Zimerman. ( The Polish pianist will be performing at the Music Center in April.) 11:00 a.m. Radio Station KUSC 91.5 FM.

The Mystery of Zygmunt Stojowski

by Joseph Herter, Warsaw

During the Christmas holidays, the Cantores Minores Boys’ Choir of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Warsaw performed five settings of Polish carols by Zygmunt Stojowski. These events included performances while we were on tour through Germany (Heidelberg, Baden-Baden and Wiesbaden). The German audience showed great excitement for the works. Yet, it became clear after speaking with a few of the attendants, that they had never heard of Stojowski before. This is perhaps understandable, nevertheless I began to realize a need to further public interest about this exemplary composer. At these concerts we have also performed Mikuli’s setting of a Christmas carol, “W zlobie lezy,” with string orchestra. The parts for this work had been sent from Lwow, and this gave me the idea of tracking down the score and parts to Stojowski’s cantata “Prayer for Poland” which he wrote in 1915 while living in the United States.

After more than a few letters and phone calls, I finally got a copy of the cantata from the Eastman School of Music. It’s a lovely work and quite worthy of revival. However, I still have not been able to get hold of the orchestral parts. I wrote to G. Schirmer (the original publisher) in hopes that they might be able to help. Not only do they not have orchestra parts, I was told, they don’t even have any record of their publishing the orchestral parts for this work in the first place. They were able to locate the choral score, but nothing else.

I continued searching for more information on Zygmunt Stojowski at the National Library in Warsaw. I found a list of Polish newspapers which carried his obituary, and I thought this would be a good place to start. I checked a microfilm from the biggest Polish daily of the time (Zycie Warszawy [Warsaw Life] 307, 08.XI.46.) which gave his death notice front-page coverage. A second wave of discouragment fell upon me when I discovered that the biographical information which they had written was completely erroneous. They wrote that “Zygmunt STOKOWSKI, the world-famous composer and CONDUCTOR died in New York, where he had lived for 40 years.” Obviously the author had confused Zygmunt, the pianist, with Leopold, the conductor. I have come across foreigners who say that they just hate the music of Paderewski when they think they are talking about Penderecki. “Kowski – jowski” – “Rewski – recki”: it’s probably the same to some peoples’ ears. For the Poles themselves to have made this mistake however is unforgiveable!

Recently, I found out some very bad news regarding the whereabouts of the Stojowski’s manuscripts, and it looks like the end of my search. I spoke with Mr. Leon Tadeusz Blaszczyk, a musicologist and an author of a book on Polish conductors. It seems that until a few years ago all of Stojowski’s manuscripts were still stored in the basement of a Polish-American organization in New York. At some point a new director was hired who had never heard of Stojowski. From what I was told, all of his manuscripts were given to a local paper drive; in effect, thrown away. Can you believe it! At least I hope to know who the guilty parties are. Such a blunder as this – if it is true – should be pointed out in the Polonia press. What a loss to Polish music! It’s almost criminal.

I will keep you posted about the results of my further research into this amazing mystery of lost manuscripts.

Editors’ Note

Zygmunt Stojowski (b. 14 May 1870, d. 6 November 1946, New York) was a composer, pianist, teacher, a student of Władysław Żelenski and Leo Delibes (he also studied with Paderewski and Massenet). As a pianist, Stojowski performed in Berlin, Paris, London, Brussels. Since 1906 Stojowski lived in the U.S. where he taught, gave concerts and organized piano master classes. He also continued to compose (several symphonies and piano concerti, many chamber works and piano pieces, several cantatas and many songs), edited Chopin’s works and wrote articles about piano pedagogy. 1956 catalogue of PWM Edition (Polish music publishers) includes several works by Stojowski: After the Fair, Arietta and intermezzo, Fantasia, Vision of Dance. His works were also published by Schott in Mainz, Germany and by Heugel in Paris.

Józef Herter is a distinguished choral conductor, artistic director and leader of the Cantores Minores. He is also an enthusiast of “forgotten” Polish music (a great heritage that needs to be re-discovered and performed). We will continue reporting on this case, meanwhile reminding our readers that all such boxes of unwanted manuscripts and documents should be promptly send to the Polish Music Reference Center. Our collection of manuscripts includes 23 original scores written by Witold Lutosławski, Tadeusz Baird, Grażyna Bacewicz, Stanisław Skrowaczewski and others. We have received numerous archival concert programs and score collections from Walter Martin, John Głowacki, Michał Słonimski and Vicki Pasek; we have also received the music portion of the recently-disbanded library of the Polish Arts and Culture Foundation in San Francisco. In order to preserve the heritage of Polish music for future generations we need to preserve the actual collections, manuscripts, letters, and documents. These priceless cultural artifacts may look like boxes of old trash to untrained and ignorant eyes. It is easy to throw them out and destroy our past; it is impossible to recover what has been lost! [MAH and WW]

Polish/Jewish Music! – A Commentary

Differences, Boundaries, and False Labels in Music

by Małgorzata Szyszkowska

In the middle of November, the halls of the University of Southern California campus echoed with the discussions and music of some all-but-forgotten composers of Polish and Jewish descent, a few of whom made it all the way to America. The conference was entitled the Polish/Jewish/Music! International Conference and was organized by the Polish Music Reference Center at USC. Lasting two days, the conference featured eight sessions with presentations by twenty distinguished scholars (musicologists, ethnomusicologists, historians) and musicians from Canada, Israel, Germany, Poland and the USA. It was also accompanied by two evening concerts with the music by the composers in focus performed by both professors and students from the USC School of Music. During the conference’s concerts the audiences had a chance to hear chamber and solo works by Stravinsky, Ravel, Koffler, Tansman, Rathaus, Laks, Ryterband, Friedman, Fitelberg and Szymanowska. Performed with passion, these musical works undoubtedly appealed to everyone present as worthy of more attention.

The PMRC has been the exclusive source for Polish music at USC for over thirteen years now. The conference however was not merely concerned with Polish music and Polish composers, even if it might have seemed so to some of the participants. Musicians and composers like Aleksander Tansman, Józef Koffler, Karol Rathaus, Grzegorz Fitelberg, Ignacy Friedman, Leopold Godowsky, Szymon Laks, Henry Vars and Roman Ryterband all shared at least three characteristics. They were Jews or of Jewish decent, most of them were either born or educated in Poland, and many had emigrated to America after World War II had ruined, as in the case of Rathaus, both their personal lives and professional careers. The conference tried to cover some of the aspects of the multicultural past in which these composers and their music came into existence with lectures on the history of Polish-Jewish relations by Prof. Paul Knoll, Prof. Piotr Wróbel, and Asst. Prof. Halina Goldberg.

As the title of the conference Polish/Jewish/Music appropriately implied, the way in which we understand the history of a music often challenges the way in which we categorize it. However it was not a Polish-Jewish music that was focused upon here — although the question of whether such a music exists was also put forward — nor was it simply Jewish or Polish music as such, because neither of the two descriptions would hardly match the composers’ cosmopolitan styles. It was, rather, an inquiry into the relationship between the terms in question as it could be seen through the scope of the music itself. Of course, the main goal of the conference was to highlight the achievements of the 20th century composers in musicological terms, but this seemed almost impossible to do without questions about national identity being asked first. Therefore, issues of identity became almost the main focus of this conference, and a more human perspective was assumed to add to an understanding of the composers’ musical achievements.

Participants of the conference were introduced to various elements of Polish and Jewish cultures, and presented with analyses of music converting these elements into the purely musical domain (papers on musical traditions of Polish-Jews, the Klezmer’s traditions, and many others). The discussions surrounded the multiplicity of levels which encompass Polish and Jewish inter-relations in the field of music, as well as the notion of music upheld by Jewish composers who were significant contributors and supporters of Polish culture (e.g. Grzegorz Fitelberg). The composers discussed during the Polish/Jewish/Music Conference have in most cases traveled from one place to another and often adopted more then one motherland; transnationality being for them both a burden and a relief at the same time. Even though some of them used nationally idiomatic features (either Polish of Jewish) for distinguishing their music, they were not just Polish, Jewish, or American composers — as an encyclopedia of music may present them — for the question of national identity was to them the most difficult to answer. As it is in many other cases, nationality labels do not succeed in capturing the spirit and the full personality of these composers. We were reminded at the end of the conference during a panel discussion that, after all, music has no nationality; in fact it is used as an aid in crossing the borders between nationalities, cultures, and societies.

The sessions throughout the conference included topics on early Polish-Jewish relations, assimilation, and identity problems. Nevertheless, much of the emphasis was placed upon analyses of the music by particular composers, including analyses of style, technique, and aesthetic qualities of specific compositions. The presentations were sometimes given in the form of lecture-recitals, for instance the presentations by Dr. Donald Pirone (piano) or Dr. Jordan Charnovsky (guitar) and Leo Chelyapov (clarinet). Finally, the conference revealed that some of these composers (specifically Tansman, Koffler, and Rathaus) although still almost reletively unknown to a wide audience, have recently received extensive interest among musicologists, and that, in time, this scholarly interest may be reflected in a more just treatment by performers and recording studios. In a way, this conference might be perceived as part of the ongoing Polish-Jewish discourse now extended to the field of music. It attracted both Polish and Jewish scholars and “forced them” to attend to the silent dialog of Polish and Jewish traditions within music, exploring the differences and hardships of particular lives as transformed into inner paths of a musical journey.

100 Years Ago: Polish Musicians in the U.S.

Part III

by Barbara Zakrzewska-Nikiporczyk

In the previous two parts of this article, published in the PMRC Newsletters in October and November 1998, I discussed the musical careers of three Polish-born pianists who gave concerts and toured the U.S. in 1898: Leopold Godowski, Maurycy Rosenthal, and Józef Hofmann. Apart from these pianists, several other Polish musicians had been very active hundred years ago in the United States. I will present some details about their concerts and achievements in this part of the report that provides a closing to this mini-cycle.

First we have to mention the Adamowski family: brothers Tymoteusz (violinist) and Józef (cellist), and Józef’s wife – Antonina Szumowska-Adamowska (pianist). Tymoteusz made his American debut as a soloist in Boston on October 24, 1879. According to a press report, both Adamowski brothers quit the Symphony orchestra soon afterwards.[1]

After a few years of a career as a solo violinist, appearing at the greatest music centers in the United States, Tymoteusz had settled in Boston and worked for almost twenty-five years as a concert master and second conductor at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. For twelve years he conducted the famous popular concerts in Boston. [2] Józef Adamowski came to Boston in 1888, and there for seventeen years he had been a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. During the same year Adamowski’s brothers established the Adamowski String Quartet; they invited their friend, Max Zach, to perform in this ensemble. For several years this quartet had been giving more than twelve concerts yearly in the main centers of the United States. Antonina Szumowska-Adamowska, the pupil of Paderewski, came to America together with her husband; she appeared as a soloist in Boston and New York. She also had taught the piano in Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music. [3] In 1893 one of the concerts took place in Chicago’s Madison Square Garden together with Paderewski, where they performed Beethoven’s Trio in B flat Major op. 97.[4] In 1896 – Tymoteusz, Józef and Antonina had established the Adamowski Trio, which also gave many concerts. [5]

In January, 1899 Leopold Godowski came back to Chicago from a succesful concert tour and gave the next piano recital for the Chicago Conservatory in Studebaker Hall; with the same program as in Baltimore and Boston.[6] In January 18, 1899 the third sonata recital performed by Godowski and Theodore B. Spiering (violinist) took place in Chicago’s University Hall. The program included:

  • Foote Arthur (from Boston) : Sonata in C minor op.20
  • Brahms: Sonata in A major op.100
  • Saint-Saëns: Sonata in D minor op.75.[7]

During the 1899/1900 concert season, Godowski played as a soloist at a concert of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Another Pole, Eugeniusz Gruenberg , violinist, teacher and composer born in Lvov on October 30, 1854, came to Boston in 1888 where he was engaged by the Boston Symphony Orchestra until 1898. For three years he tought at the Boston Conservatory of Music. After 1899 he mainly devoted himself to teaching as a professor at the New England Conservatory of Music, yet composed ballets, pieces for orchestra, chamber music, and songs as well. He was also the author of the manuals of violin playing: “Violin teaching and violin study” (New York 1919), “Elementary violin lessons, embracing fundamental principles and full directions” (Boston 1908). He died in Boston on November 11, 1928. [8]

The pianist Antoni Kątski arrived in USA in 1883 where he first settled in Buffalo, NY, and then in Grand Rapids, MI. At that time he was already a well known virtuoso, and gave concerts and recitals across the USA. Through these performances he became a propagator of Chopin’s music in America. He composed over 400 pieces, mainly for piano, and operetta “Sułtan Zanzibaru” which was performed in New York in 1886. In 1897 he began a concert tour in California which then continued in Europe. The tournee came to an end due to his death in Russia in 1899.[9]

The famous tenor Jan Reszke (according to “New Grove” – Jean de Reszke) made his American debut on December 14, 1891 in New York.[10] Soon after that he sang in Chicago, together with his brother Edward, in Wagner’s Lohengrin and Meyerbeer’s Les Hugenot.[11] During the 1894-1895 concert season he took part in succesful performances of Lohengrin in New York. [12]

In June 1896, the performances of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde  in New York at the Metropolitan Opera with both Reszke brothers, had been treated as the most important musical events of the year. [13]

In January 23, 1897 Reszke sung as Romeo, with Emma Eames as Julia, in Gounod’s Romeo and Julia  again at the Metropolitan Opera . That time he earned $1,250.00 in every evening, and 25 % of the entire profit (over $5,500.00). However, at least one reviewer was a bit bored with the high success of the singer: “…It is a startling heresy to say that there are several singers in the Metropolitan company who would make a better Romeo that De Reszke – but it is a heresy that somebody ought to temper the monotonous praise of this season with. There is no one who admires De Reszke more than I do, but I do not admire him with the same degree of enthusiasm in everything he does, I think he often falls off in quality while he is being praised for quantity…”

On October 30, 1897 Reszke married the countess Marie de Mailly-Nesle in Paris, and immediately after went boarded the ship “La Champagne” from Havre to America in order to finish his performances within the contract with Abbey and Grau. He was accompanied by his brother Edward.[14]

On February 7, 1899 Jan Reszke wrote a letter to Miss Knapp on the letter-head of Gilsey House:

My dear Miss Knapp,

Please accept and convey to your friends my very best thanks for your kind and appreciative letter which touched me very much. I do not know whether I shall sing the young Siegfried, not this year as that is a question which does not depend on me but is decided by the management. At the moment I have to sing several other operas, but I hope that later on in the season I shall take part in the performance of Siegfried, a role which I always enjoy singing.

Yours very sincerely, Jean de Reszke [15]

On January 29, 1899 Maurycy Rosenthal appeared in New York for a short time. We know that from his letter written to Aleksander Lambert on the letter-head of Chicago’s Hotel Auditorium.[16] The third Chicago piano recital of Rosenthal took place very soon, on February 4, 1899 in Central Music Hall. The program consisted of:

  • Mozart: Sonata in A major
  • Chopin: Sonata in b minor op.58
  • Weber: Invitation to dance
  • Schubert: Moment Musical
  • Chopin-Liszt: Chant Polonais
  • Henselt: Berceuse
  • Henselt: Si Oiseau j’ etais
  • Rubinstein: Toreador et Andalouse
  • Liszt: Tarrantella (“Massaniello”)

From the review, we learn that during his first Chicago recital Rosenthal performed “Variations on the theme of Paganini” by Brahms and his own composition “Vienna Carnival”.[17] On May 29 of the same year Rosenthal came to New York again and stayed at the Hotel Netherland. In a letter to Aleksander Lambert from May 30 he explained that his American tour had been enlarged so much, that he came to New York later than he expected. He also promised to play in Lambert’s house during his next stay in New York, because in May 31 he was leaving America on the ship “Majestic”. [18]

In 1889 the Polish cellist Leo Schulz was employed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and took a position at the New England Conservatory of Music. In the years 1899-1923 he was a member of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the professor and conductor of the New York National Conservatory of Music Orchestra . For many years he taught at the Yale University School of Music in New Haven, CT. He also performed as a soloist and composed music for orchestra, choir, chamber ensemble and for solo cello.[19]

Marcelina Sembrich-Kochańska made her American debut on October 24, 1883 at the New York, Metropolitan Opera in Donizetti’s “Lucia from Lammermoor”. After that she was for many years a member of this opera company. Her soprano voice had been very highly esteemed from the very beginning. At the end of the first operatic season, Marcelina had astonished the New York audience, when during the concert in honor of Henry Abbey she alternately had been singing, playing piano (Chopin’s mazurka) and violin (Beriot’s violin concerto), and it was very difficult to judge in which performance she was best. [20] About 1885 the singer Emma Eames heard Marcelina for the first time in Boston and recollected as follows:

She had seemed, as had Patti, another of those bright, beautiful stars beyond the range of any ambition of mine. Her voice was of the purest, most crystalline and limpid quality, and possessed of that musical distinction which was typical of her entire career…[21]

In 1891 Marcelina was singing in San Francisco a part in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” together with Emma Eames. [22] For the second time, Marcelina visited America in 1897. This time she established her own operatic ensemble, with which she performed comic operas. In New York she had limited her performances and concerts, but in October she sung in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Seville in Brooklyn.[23] In the years 1898-1909 Marcelina had been engaged again in Metropolitan Opera.[24] From her letter written on March 15, 1899 we learn a little about what she was doing this time in New York (it is not known who was the addressee):

Dear Madame, Many thanks for your kind letter. I should be very pleased to assist at Mr. Tagliapietra musicals but I sing “Lucia” this Monday night and next Monday I shall be in Boston. With regrets and kind regards. Believe me. Yours truly, Marcella Sembrich, New York, March 15, 1899. [25]

At the end we should add that one hundred years ago the following pieces by Polish composers had been published in the United States (copies of the second edition may be found at the PMRC):

In the collection entitled “Masterpieces for Violin and Piano” (New York: C. Fisher, copyright 1899) the following compositions had been included:

  • Chopin F.: Notturno Op.9 No 2. Arranged for violin and piano by Wilhelmj
  • Chopin F.: Notturno Op.9 No 2. Arranged for violin and piano by Sarasate.
  • Zarzycki A.: Mazurka Op.26.
  • Wieniawski, Henryk: Kujawiak. Seconde Mazurka. (New York: G. Schirmer, copyright 1899)

The illustration above portrays an earlier collection of works for violin and piano issued by Schirmer in 1894 (held at PMRC). This set contains a Mazurka by Emil Młynarski. My review of concert activities a hundred years ago is based on press reports and documents held at the New York Public Library. As these three reports demonstrate in ample detail, Polish-born performers have had wonderful achievements in the U.S. However, their performances included few pieces by Polish composers. Chopin was the best known of these; in addition, each pianist-virtuoso also added their own music to the program of their recitals. The singers did not have such an opportunity, as the opera repertoire then – as it is now – was dominated by Mozart, Rossini, Wagner, i.e. the classics of European music theatre. We still have to wait for more frequent performances of Polish operas while Chopin continues to remain in the spotlight – especially in his anniversary year.


[1]. Press cutting from an unknown Boston newspaper from May 8, 1907. [Back]

[2]. Błaszczyk Leon Tadeusz: “Polish contribution to the musical life of America.” In: Poles in America. Stevens Point 1978 p.572-573. [Back]

[3]. Błaszczyk Leon Tadeusz: Polish contribution…, op. cit. [Back]

[4]. Music. March 1893, p.604-605. [Back]

[5]. Błaszczyk Leon Tadeusz: Polish contribution…, op. cit. [Back]

[6]. Music. Vol.15 January 1899 p.351. [Back]

[7]. Music. Vol.15 1899 p.581-584. [Back]

[8]. Błaszczyk Leon Tadeusz: Polish contribution…, p.573. [Back]

[9]. Błaszczyk Leon Tadeusz: Polish contribution, p. 573-574. [Back]

[10]. Lahee Henry Charles: Annals of Music in America. Boston, 1922, p.288. [Back]

[11]. Music. December 1891, p.186-189. [Back]

[12]. The Looker-On. July 1896, p.31-35. Article by William D.Moffat. [Back]

[13]. The Looker-On. June 1896 p.819-822. [Back]

[14]. Mirror. Nov.7, 1897 [Back]

[15]. Special collections of NYPL, Lambert Collection. [Back]

[16]. Letter from January 29, 1899 in special collections of NYPL, Lambert Collection. [Back]

[17]. Rosenthal recital. Music. Vol.15:March 1899 p.588-589. [Back]

[18]. Letter from May 30, 1899 in special collections of NYPL, Lambert Collection. [Back]

[19]. Błaszczyk Leon Tadeusz: Polish contribution…, p.573) [Back]

[20]. Lahee Henry Charles: Annals of Music in America. Boston 1922 p.287. See also: “Career of Madame Sembrich” article in an American newspaper from 1 II 1909, press cutting without the title of newspaper; Reamer Lawrence:”Marcella Sembrich – the close of a great operatic career.” Munsey’s Magazine 1909, p.678-682. [Back]

[21]. Eames Emma: Some memories and reflections p.160. [Back]

[22]. Eames Emma: Some memories and reflections p.201. [Back]

[23]. “Career of Madame Sembrich.” Article in an American newspaper from 1 February 1909, press cutting without the title of rhe newspaper. New York Public Library. [Back]

[24]. Błaszczyk Leon Tadeusz: Polish contribution…, p. 574-575. [Back]

[25]. Manuscript in the collections of NYPL, Muller Collection. [Back]

Did You Know That…

… Beethoven wrote a Polonaise for piano? This composition written for four hands is available from Musik-Antiquariat Heine Rekeszus, Herrngartenstrasse 7, D-65185 Wiesbaden. E- mail: Mus-Antik-Rekeszus@t-online.de. These publishers also have a Fantaisie written for two pianos by Jozef Wieniawski, brother of the famed violinist

…. you can buy the Tansman Piano Collection from European American Retail Music? They also have a study score of Gorecki’s “Kleines Requiem Fur Eine Polka, op. 66 for piano and 13 instruments” (for only $8.00!) and a marvelous edition by Ewald Zimmerman of all 57 Mazurkas by Chopin. Finally, the publishers’ catalog features Penderecki’s latest Sinfonietta No. 2 for clarinet and strings. Tel: 1-800-345-6296. On the internet: www.jwpepper.com.


Born This Month

  • 2 February 1909 – Grażyna BACEWICZ, composer, violinist, pianist (d. 1969)
  • 7 February 1877 – Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI, composer, organist
  • 8 February 1953 – Mieszko GÓRSKI, composer, teacher (active in Gdansk and Koszalin)
  • 9 February 1954 – Marian GORDIEJUK, composer, teacher, theorist (active in Bydgoszcz)
  • 14 February 1882 – Ignacy FRIEDMAN, pianist and composer (d. 1948)
  • 18 February 1881 – Zygmunt MOSSOCZY, opera singer (bass), chemist (d. 1962)
  • 27 February 1898 – Bronisław RUTKOWSKI, organist, music critic, conductor and composer (d. 1964)
  • 28 February 1910 – Roman MACIEJEWSKI, composer, pianist (d. 1998 in Sweden)
  • 28 February 1953 – Marcin BŁAŻEWICZ, composer, concert organizer (active in Warsaw)


Died This Month

  • 3 February 1959 – Stanisław GRUSZCZYŃSKI, tenor (active throughout Europe, b. 1891)
  • 3 February 1929 – Antoni Wawrzyniec GRUDZIŃSKI, pianist, teacher, and music critic (active in Lody and Warsaw, b. 1875)
  • 7 February 1954 – Jan Adam MAKLAKIEWICZ, composer (active in Warsaw, b. 1899)
  • 9 February 1959 – Ignacy NEUMARK, composer and conductor (active in Kopenhagen, Oslo and Schveningen, b. 1888)
  • 10 February 1905 – Ignacy KRZYŻANOWSKI, pianist and composer (active in Krakow and Warsaw, b. 1826)
  • 14 February 1957 – Wawrzyniec Jerzy ŻUŁAWSKI, composer, music critic, teacher, and mountain climber (b. 1916)
  • 23 February 1957 – Stefan SLĄZAK, singer, organist, conductor (active in Silesia, b. 1889)
  • 27 February 1831 – Jósef KOZLOWSKI, composer (active at the Russian Court in Petersburg, b. 1757)


Stanisław Hadyna, founder and artistic director of the “Slask” Folk Dance & Song Ensemble died in January in Poland. Professor Hadyna composed more than 250 songs and 30 dances. Other compositions include 2 piano concertos and music to many Polish films. He also wrote seven books, including one on Martin Luther King and a drama about Mahatma Gandhi. He received an award from Unesco in 1969 for his book, “Błogosławieni pokój czyniący” [Blessed are those who make peace.]. Prof. Hadyna died on 1 January 1999.

On the same day the Polish music world also lost Zofia Stęszewska, a distinguished musicologist.