January 2001

Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 7, no. 1

News Flash

2001: The Year Of Paderewski

The Polish Sejm (Parliament) proclaimed the year 2001 as the “Year of Paderewski” – thus honoring the great pianist, composer, statesman and humanitarian on the 60th anniversary of his death in June, 1941.You may read an essay about his life and music by Wanda Wilk and find a selected list of works on our site at: ~/composer/paderewski.html. Recently, we were informed that the site does not include one important detail: on July 5, 1992, President George Bush fulfilled a promise made to Paderewski before the death of the great statesman and composer, to send his remains home with full honors when Poland was free.


Birth Anniversaries in 2001

  • 155th: Zygmunt Noskowski (2 May)
  • 150th: Aleksander Michałowski (5 May)
  • 145th: Jan Gall (18 August)
  • 125th: Mieczyslaw Karłowicz (11 December)
  • 125th: Eugeniusz Morawski (2 November)
  • 110th: Stefan Stoinski (29 August)
  • 105th: Józef Koffler (26 November)
  • 105th: Józef Sikorski (4 May)
  • 105th: Bolesław Szabelski (3 December)
  • 105th: Tadeusz Szeligowski (13 September)
  • 100th: Szymon Laks (1 October)
  • 90th: Stefan Kisielewski (7 March)
  • 75th: Stanisław Proszynski (31 January)
  • 75th: Jan Krenz (14 July)
  • 70th: Eugeniusz Knapik (9 July)
  • 65th: Marek Stachowski (21 March)
  • 55th: Ignacy Friedman (26 January)
  • 50th: Andrzej Krzanowski (9 April)
  • 50th: Rafał Augustyn (28 August)
  • 40th: Hanna Kulenty (28 March)

Anniversaries Of Death In 2001

  • 170th: Maria Szymanowska
  • 130th: Karol Tausig
  • 85th: Aleksander Polinski
  • 80th: Wladysław Zelenski (23 Jan)
  • 65th: Stanisław Niewiadomski
  • 60th: Ferdynand Hoesick
  • 45th: Józef Reiss
  • 45th: Tadeusz Strumiłło
  • 35th: Apolinary Szeluto
  • 20th: Kazimierz Serocki (9 January)
  • 15th: Aleksander Tansman
  • 10th: Aleksander Glinkowski
  • 10th: Andrzej Panufnik (27 October)

Highlights Of 2000

Awards And Celebrations

Szymanowski’s opera, “King Roger” in a version conducted by Sir Simon Rattle wins Gramophone’s “Best Recording of Opera.”

Krzysztof Penderecki receives the Midem Award as “Best Composer.”

Composer Wojciech Kilar receives the “Złote Berło” (Golden Scepter) award from the Polish Cultural Foundation for his chamber, symphonic and film music.

Polish-Australian composer, Cezary Skubiszewski, received the 2000 Music Award from the Australian Performing Rights Association for the film music to “Bootmen.”

Marta Ptaszynska recieves the highest award from the Polish government for outstanding contribution to Polish culture; the ceremony took place in Warsaw in October.

Michał Wesołowski, Polish pianist living in Sweden, won the Diapason D’or award for his Pianovox recording of Chopin’s Mazurkas.

Orpheus Prize from Polish music critics for the best performance of a work by any Polish composer played during the Warsaw Autumn Festival went to Jerzy Kornowicz for his “The Shape of the Elements” for harps and tape. Elzbieta Chojnacka, the incomparable harpsichordist, was the real winner.

Wilk Book Prize for Research in Polish Music is awarded for the first time in 2000; the Award is divided between Prof. Jeffrey Kallberg of the Univeristy of Pennsylvania (book on Chopin) and Dr. Martina Homma of Cologne, Germany (book on Lutosławski).

The International Chopin Competition has a winner of the first prize for the first time in 15 years. The prize, a Chinese pianist, Yundi Li. There were no Poles in the top 6 pianists.

Krzesimir Debski received the Philips Award for the score to the film “Fire and Sword” by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

Rubinstein monument was unveiled in September in Lodz, the great pianist’s birthplace.

DUX recording company received the largest number of “Fryderyk” – Polish Recording Awards; Małgorzata Polańska and Lech Tołwiński, the company’s co-directors, merit special congratulations for “snapping” 5 awards in the yearly competition.

Scholars- specialists in Polish music, gathered at the Toronto 2000, “Musical Intersections,” have decided to form a Polish Music Association, in order to increase promote the study of Polish music and increase the contacts and exchanges between students and scholars of Polish music in Poland and internationally.

Anniversaries In 2000

The Chopin Choir of New Jersey celebrated its 90th anniversary with current conductor Iwona Wesolowska.

“Poznan Nightingales” vocal ensemble celebrate their 60th anniversary, while celebrating the 80th birthday of its founder and director, Stefan Stuligrosz.

The Łowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble of San Francisco celebrate their 25th anniversary honoring their founder Krystyna Chciuk.

“Cantores Minores,” the Boys and Men’s Chorus of St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw celebrate their 10th anniversary with founder and conductor, American-born Joseph Herter.

Selected Premieres In 2000

World premiere of Włodzimierz Kotonski’s Violin Concerto takes place at the Warsaw Autumn Festival in September 2000, with Wanda Wilkomirska, violin and the Silesian Philharmonic.

The world premiere of Górecki’s cantata dedicated to St. Adalbertus, the patron saint of Poland, “Salve, sidu Polonorum” took place at the Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany.

The world premiere of Edward Sielicki’s “Polymorphic Fantasy” for harmonium and tape takes place during the Warsaw Autumn Festival by which it was commissioned.

Hanna Kulenty’s Violin Concerto no. 2 (1996) was premiered in Holland in June 2000. The work was recorded and will be issued on a CD. Kulenty’s choral work, “Decimus” had its premiere at the opening concert of the choral festival in Arnhem, Holland, in June 2000. Her “Harmonium” for solo harmonium was premiered during the Warsaw Autumn Festival in September 2000 (the same concert featured premieres of works by Sielicki and Kornowicz).

Roxanna Panufnik’s first opera receives its premiere in Warsaw.

Notable Performances In 2000

Violinist Anna Sophie Mutter performs Lutosławski and Penderecki violin concertos during her 2-week residency with the New York Philharmonic in New York.

Górecki’s Third Symphony is performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall under Wolfgang Sawallisch.

Alexander Treger performs Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta.

Gala Polish concert (music of Chopin, Karlowicz, Moniuszko, Wieniawski) is organized by Mariusz Smolij as the highlight of the 120th anniversary of the Polish National Alliance, largest Polish-American fraternal organization in the U.S.

Moniuszko’s opera, “Verbum Nobile” is performed in Youngstown and Cleveland, Ohio.

The Kosciuszko Foundation of New York celebrates its 75th anniversary with a gala concert in Warsaw with Mariusz Smolij conducting the Sinfonia Varsovia in a concert of music by American composers, featuring George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” performed by jazz pianist Adam Makowicz.

The Kosciuszko Foundation presents Moniuszko’s opera, “Halka” in its original version in New York by the Polish Theatre Institute of America with stage director Nina Polan and music director/conductor Pablo Zinger.

Marta Ptaszynska’s children’s opera, “Pan Marimba” received its 50th performance in Warsaw in October and is sold out for the rest of the year. There is even an active “Mr. Marimba Society.”

Legendary violinist/teacher of Polish-Jewish descent, Ida Haendel, performed in the U.S.A (New York and Los Angeles).

Polish cellist Rafal Kwiatkowski makes his debut concert in New York in February.

Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski appeared in the “Young Keyboard Masters” Series in Florida.

Pianist/teacher Roza Kostrzewska-Yoder presented her students, ages 6 and up of various ethnic backgrounds, in recitals of music by Polish contemporary composers.

Pianist Wojciech Kocyan gave a lecture/recital “What Makes Polish Music Polish?” at Harbor College in Torrance, California. Dr. Kocyan is now on the faculty of the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

The annual Paderewski Festival held in March in Palos Verdes featured pianists Michael Schneider and Paderewski specialist Lorenzo Sanchez.

Notable Recordings Of 2000

Krystian Zimerman’s recording as pianist and conductor of the two Chopin Concertos is selected as one of Ten Outstanding CDs of 2000 and gets nominated for the best recording of a concerto by Gramophone.

USC student Jan Jakub Bokun’s recording of 20th century music for clarinet and piano (including Polish composers Baird, Grudzien and Kurdybacha) by Koch Classics receives great reviews in the press.

“Chopin in Miniature,” a recording by Tandem Records presents arrangements for piano and string quartet of Chopin’s concertante works and versions of symphonic works with Solisti di Varsovia and Karol Radziwonowicz, piano.

Koch Schwann releases a brand new disc of Paderewski’s works from his opera “Manru” and several arrangements of his piano works. The Cracow Philharmonic conducted by Roland Bader.

Release of mezzo-soprano Stefania Toczyska’s newest recording which includes songs by Paderewski and Saint- Saens. During a promotional concert in Teatr Narodowy in November Ms. Toczyska performed the rarely heard cycle of Paderewski Songs, Op. 22, as well songs by de Falla and Saint-Saens.

Polish Music Center In 2000

PMRC (Polish Music Reference Center) drops the “Reference” from its name and becomes PMC (Polish Music Center).

PMC director, Dr. Harley goes back to maiden name of Maja Trochimczyk to honor her Polish parents, Henryka and Aleksy Trochimczyk, and to make her Polish heritage more prominent.

Dr. Trochimczyk’s trip to Poland in June results in gifts from Krzysztof Meyer of his authograph score of his opera, “Cyberiada,” his String Quartet and a manuscript of Szymon Laks’s Quintet, as well as additional mss. from Grazyna Bacewicz’s sister and the widow of Tadeusz Kaczynski (see July Newsletter).

During the ceremony held at the Polish Composers’ Union in collaboration with the Warsaw Autumn Festival on September 23, twenty composers donated over forty manuscript scores, sketches, publications, recordings and other material to the PMC archives. (see October Newsletter). TV reports from the ceremony are broadcast on TV Polonia (in November 2000, through the world) and on 2nd Program of Telewizja Polska (public TV), on 22 November, as a part of the report from the Warsaw Autumn.

Exhibit of manuscripts at PMC & Concert of selections from these mss. took place at USC in October (see report in November Newsletter). A CD and exhibition program are still available.

The online version of the Polish Music Center catalog has been completed by Dr. Barbara Zakrzewska (cataloging librarian) and Marcin Depinski (USC student of computer science). The catalog lists separately books, CDs, tapes, LPs, scores, and manuscripts of Polish music found at the Polish Music Collection. For more information visit the catalog site: ~catalog/catalog.html.

The web pages of Polish composers are now expanded and corrected. The number of pages about individual composers has grown from 12 to 45 thanks to the efforts of PMC summer student interns, Blazej Wajszczuk and Ewa Grzegrzulka – both students of economics from Warsaw.

The Polish Music Center’s Web Site now includes entries with images, scores, and sound samples on Polish anthems and Polish dances (goralski, zbojnicki, oberek, mazur, krakowiak, polonaise, polka, kujawiak). The history of Polish dance groups in California is in progress; with parts completed (Podhale, Polskie Iskry, Gorale) and other parts still in progress. See ~dance/index.html

The update of the Polish Music Center’s Web Site included a new graphic design of the whole site (by Maja Trochimczyk), corrections and updates to our sites on Festivals and Competitions, including new graphic elements.

In September 2000, the PMC Web Site is singled out as one of the two best sites on classical music, esp. Polish music on the Internet (by the daily paper, Rzeczpospolita). The same month, the USC-news magazine lists the PMC site as “the site of the month” praising its broad content and quality.

Other News

Music Journals Compete For Readers

The venerable and well-established Polish musical bi-weekly, Ruch Muzyczny has a new competitor, Muzyka 21, published by Jan Jarnicki, the owner of the Acte Prealable recording company. It seems that the new periodical imitates carefully the format of Ruch Muzycznyrather faithfully, down to the inclusion of: reports from current musical life and concert reviews, interviews with performers, more serious articles on music history, reviews of CDs and books, and, finally, various details about current musical life, upcoming performances, etc. These categories of newsworthy items are exactly the same as used by Ruch Muzycznyfor many years now. It remains to be seen if the new, glossy and colorful format of Muzyka 21 attracts readers away from its older and less “shiny” competitor. If, as a result of this new appearance, the Ruch Muzyczny would experience financial difficulties, it would be a great loss indeed. Recall the sad fate of Studio, an excellent monthly journal dedicated to recordings and current musical life and edited by Mieczyslaw Kominek. Published in full color, with a content by the best writers, musicologists, and journalists of Polish music scene, Studio did not find a wealthy sponsor (nor a sufficient number of subscribers) and was forced to fold.It seems that Ruch Muzyczny has some aces up its sleeve: the December 24 issue included a present – CD recording of Muzyka Polska przez wieki [Polish music through the centuries], performed by the Vratislavia, Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra, conducted by the violinist Jan Stanienda. The CD includes music composed between the 18th and the 20th centuries, with rarely heard pieces by Feliks Janiewicz (1762-1848), Maciej Radziwill (1749-1821), Romuald Twardowski (b. 1930) and Rafal Augustyn (b. 1951). The cover insert for CD box is printed on the back cover of Ruch Muzyczny – this idea was borrowed from Jan Jarnicki’s practice to advertise his CDs through printing their covers on inserts into his magazine, Muzyka 21. Here Ruch Muzyczny teamed forces with DUX Recording Producers, the winner of the largest number of the “Fryderyk” awards for best recordings in Poland.

Since the Polish Music Center receives – free of charge – only copies of the older journals, i.e. Ruch Muzyczny and Muzyka among other titles, we are not in the position to discuss the content of Muzyka 21. It may be worthy noticing, however, that each new issue is advertised on the Internet, and its table of content, emailed to interested parties.

Lawrence Gwozdz – Saxophone Maestro

Polish-American artist-saxophonist Lawrence Gwozdz is known internationally. Audiences have heard him in many of the world’s cultural centers: Carnegie Hall, Tonhalle Zurich, London’s St. Martin’s, the Menuhin Festival, and other cities such as Beijing, Chicago, Leipzig, Los Angeles, Montreal, Prague, Stockholm, Warsaw, Xi-an, Zagreb and Zurich. His New York debut in Carnegie Hall was described in Musical America as having received “a standing ovation for his extraordinary performance of contemporary music.” On international television, he has performed on The Joy of Music. On Public Radio International, his live recitals have been heard on the Dame Myra Hess Series.His CDs, The Concertos of Glazunov and von Koch (MMO), An American Tribute to Sigurd Rascher (Crystal CD652), Rascher International (Albany Records 269), An American Concerto Tribute to Sigurd Rascher (Albany 331), and Simply Gifts (Albany 378) have all won critical acclaim in Fanfare, American Record Guide, and other journals for their “first-class sound.” Lawrence Gwozdz is an inspiring artist. Born with spina bifida, he has won the battle of the odds and concertizes with a thriving career as an ambassador for arts for the disabled.

In his 30th season as a soloist, he will be performing the new Saxophone Concerti dedicated to him by the American Romantics, Stephen Dankner and Randall Snyder, along with the standard concerti of Glazunov, Ibert, Larsson, Martin, and the Claremont Concerto of John Worley along with other standard fare. For more information about Mr. Gwozdz call Ms. Gail Fox, at (601) 264-3037 or fax (601) 266-6185. The email is: gfa@netdoor.com. Mr. Gwozdz has a web site at: http://ocean.otr.usm.edu/~lgwozdz

Institute Of Musicology On The Web

The Institute of Musicology at the University of Warsaw now has a web page presenting information about its faculty and programs. The site is administered by Piotr Maculewicz and may be found at: www.imuz.uw.edu.pl. You may also enter directly the English version of the site at: http://www.imuz.uw.edu.pl/index-e.htm.

Scarlatti’s Polish Oratorio On CD

Acte prealable recording company specializing in rare repertoire, especially pertaining to Poland, has issued an interesting CD with an oratorio about the Polish king, Kazimierz, by Alessandro Scarlatti. (Alessandro Scarlatti: S. Casimiro, Rč di Polonia – Oratorio ŕ cinque con stromenti. The five soloists are listed below, each preceded by the title of his/her role: Regio Fasto – Olga Pasiecznik, soprano; Amor Profano – Jacek Laszczkowski, soprano Castita – Anna Mikołajczyk, soprano; Umilita – Marcin Ciszewski, contralto; San Casimiro – Krzysztof Szmyt, tenor. The musicians are accompanied by an instrumental ensemble with violins, viola, cello, double bass, harpsichord, theorbo and lute, the latter played by the conductor, Jerzy Żak. The CD could be purchased by mail, for 35 zł plus 15 zł mailing costs. For more information contact Acte prealable in Warsaw or Jan Jarnicki, at jan_a_jarnicki@usa.net.

New Music In Wroclaw

On 14 December 2000 at the Wroclaw Philharmonic Hall, the Polish Composers Union presented a concert performed by pianists Szabolcs Esztenyi and Iwona Mironiuk, as well as the accordion player, Jerzy Mądrawski. The concert, entitled “The Garden’s Gates” included works by Andrzej Tuchowski ( Te lucis ante terminum), Andrzej Krzanowski (Studium IIIfor accordion), Waldemar Miksa (In memoriam Jan Weber), Ewa Podgórska (Constans), Szabolcs Esztenyi (The Garden’s Gates), and Olivier Messiaen (Ille de feu).


Born This Month

  • 1 January 1927 – Juliusz ŁUCIUK, composer, musicologist
  • 1 January 1872 – Tadeusz JARECKI, conductor (d. 1955)
  • 2 January 1894 – Artur RODZIŃSKI, conductor, music director (d. 1958)
  • 2 January 1907 – Henryk GADOMSKI, composer and conductor (d. 1941, Auschwitz)
  • 3 January 1885 – Raoul KOCZALSKI (d. 1948), pianist and composer
  • 13 January 1921 – Wanda WILK, founder of the Polish Music Center
  • 17 January 1898 – Jerzy LEFELD, pianist and piano professor
  • 23 January 1888 – Jerzy GABLENZ, composer (d. 1937)
  • 25 January 1913 – Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI, composer (d. 1994)
  • 25 January 1928 – Andrzej CWOJDZINSKI, composer and conductor
  • 28 January 1717 – Just Franciszek KASPER, priest, composer, conductor (d. 1760)
  • 28 January 1928 – Artur RUBINSTEIN, pianist (d. 1981)
  • 31 January 1926 – Stanisław PRÓSZYŃSKI, composer


Died This Month

  • 1 January 1953 – Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (b. 1884), composer, pianist, member of the group Young Poland
  • 9 January 1842 – Józef KROGULSKI (b. 1815), pianist, conductor, voice teacher
  • 9 January 1981 – Kazimierz SEROCKI (b. 1922), composer, co-founder of the Warsaw Autumn Festival
  • 11 January 1935 – Marcellina SEMBRICH – KOCHAŃSKA (b. 1858), singer – coloratura soprano
  • 12 January 1934 – Paweł KOCHAŃSKI (b. 1878), virtuoso violinist, Szymanowski’s collaborator
  • 17 January 1969 – Grażyna BACEWICZ (b. 1909), composer, violinist, pianist
  • 19 January 1951 – Stanisław GOLACHOWSKI (b. 1907), musicologist
  • 21 January 1618 – Krzystof KRAIŃSKI [Crainscius], preacher, author of a song collection (b. 1556)
  • 23 January 1946 – Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (b. 1877), composer, conductor, organist
  • 23 January 1921- Władysław ŻELENSKI, composer (b. 1837)
  • 25 January 1913 – Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI, composer and conductor (d. 1994)
  • 26 January 1946 – Ignacy FRIEDMAN, composer and virtuoso pianist (b. 1882)