February 2002

Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 8, no. 2

Wilk Essay Prizes 2001

An international jury awarded prizes for the best essays in professional and student categories in the 2001 competition for the Wilk Prizes for Research in Polish Music, It was the 14th edition of the essay competition; in 2000 the first Wilk Book Prize competition was held. The Book Prize will replace the Essay Prizes in all even years; the competitions for essays will be held in odd years.

The 2001 Professional Prize ($1000) was awarded to

  • Prof. Adrian Thomas (Cardiff University of Wales, U.K.) for his study of “File 750: Composers, Politics, and the Festival of Polish Music (1951)”

The 2001 Student Prize ($500) was divided between two papers who received it ex aequo:

  • Sławomir Dobrzański (The University of Connecticut, DMA student): “Maria Szymanowska and Frederic Chopin: Parallelism and Influence”
  • Katarzyna Grochowska (University of Chicago, Ph.D. student), “From Milan to Gdańsk: The Story of a Dedication”

The prize-winning paper by Prof. Thomas deserves praise for its originality of material and approach, providing a new insight into a difficult and neglected aspect of Polish music history. Its principal value lies in its presentation and detailed examination of hitherto unknown archival materials casting a new light at the political and artistic decisions of Polish government and composers during the Stalinist period.

The prize-winning papers will be published in separate issues of volumes 5 and 6 of the Polish Music Journal, a semi-annual, peer-reviewed online journal, published by the Polish Music Center at USC. Certificates of Award will be given to the winners during the 2002 USC Commencement ceremonies in May at USC campus.

The jury of the 2001 Wilk Prize Essay Competition consisted of:

  • Dr. Martina Homma (Cologne, Germany)
  • Dr. Zofia Chechlińska (Institute of Fine Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw)
  • Prof. Jeffrey Kallberg (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Prof. Zbigniew Skowron (University of Warsaw, Poland)
  • Dr. Elżbieta Witkowska-Zaremba (Institute of Fine Arts; Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw)
  • Dr. Maja Trochimczyk (Director and Research Professor; USC Polish Music Center)


Lutosławski In New York

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra presented the Piano Concerto by Witold Lutosławski during its winter series of concerts in mid-January 2002 (10-15). According to the program these were concerts no. 13,485 through 13,488 of the Orchestra, which was founded in 1842. The concerts took place at the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center; with Sir Andrew Davis conducting, and Leif Ove Andsnes performing the solo part in the Concerto. I attended the second evening and was glad to see the audience filled with listeners who were so delighted with this program that they intended to return one more time (as I overheard during the intermission). Besides the Lutosławski piece, the concert included: Valses nobles et sentimentales by Maurice Ravel (1911/1912); Dances of Galanta by Zoltan Kodaly (1933); and a Suite from Richard Strauss’s opera Der Rosenkavalier, composed in 1909-1910. The suite provided another Polish accent on the program since it was prepared for a performance under the direction of Artur Rodzinski in 1945.

All the works shared the traits of sophisticated elegance and sensuous beauty; the coupling of Ravel’s Valses with Lutosławski’s Piano Concerto was particularly effective and underscored the connection of Lutosławski’s music to the refined and colorful sound world of French impressionists. In this context, the Concerto was neither shocking nor offensive to musical traditionalists, yet its modern language provided the greatest challenge for the audience. Its reception was made easier by the detailed program notes by Benjamin Folkman, who also translated Lutosławski’s own explanation about the form and style of this concerto from the German. According to Lutosławski, the concert is “made up of four movements, which are played without pause, although each of these movements has its own distinct conclusion.” The first movement is fragmentary and ends with a broad cantilena; the second is very fast, in “moto perpetuo;” the third movement presents a recitative of the soloist and a beautiful cantilena in slow tempo; and the fourt movement may be described as a modern version of the Baroque form of the chaconne. This movement is structured according to Lutosławski’s preferred “chain-form” with interlocked episodes shifting from one to another. The composer ends his note with the following statement:

All of this discussion deals with an issue that is not at all of prime importance, namely, the means used by the compser to reach his goal. What, however, is this goal? To this question only the music itself can give an answer. Fortunately words cannot express it. If that were possible, if a piece of music could be precisely recounted in words, then music would be a wholly superfluous art.”

The Concerto, the orchestra and the pianist received a spontaneous standing ovation; it would be hard not to admire the precis articulation, vivid colors, and rich, mellow sonorities of the orchestra. The virtuosity of the young Norwegian could be taken for granted since he usually is described as “one of the most sought-after artists of his generation” who appears with the best orchestras of the world, in capitals of numerous countries, from Paris, London, Brussels, Rome, Oslo, to New York, Tokyo and Seoul. Andsnes is a great admirer of Lutosławski’s music and promotes contemporary music by participating in festivals and concerts; he records exclusively for EMI Classics and received the 2000 Gramophone Award for best Concerto Recording (for Haydn’s concerti no 3,4, 11 that he directed from the keyboard). [MT]

Warsaw Philharmonic – U.S. Tour

During its first visit to the U.S. in five years, one of the world’s most venerable, yet cutting-edge orchestras, the Warsaw Philharmonic, will be touring the East Coast from January 31 through February 20, with its widely admired music director of 25 years, Kazimierz Kord, conducting.

The tour offers two alternating programs, one presenting Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Beethoven’s Symphony No.7, the other, Wojciech Kilar’s Orawa and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6. Both programs feature Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1, with two brilliant young alternating soloists: Argentina’s Ingrid Fliter and the Chinese-born American, Ning An, both of whom won acclaim at the prestigious 15th International Chopin Piano Competition in 2000. The Competition is held once every five years; other prize winners include Martha Argerich (an Argentinian, like Fliter), Mauricio Pollini, and Krystian Zimerman. The work of composer Wojciech Kilar may be less familiar to American concert-goers than it is to filmgoers who have heard his scores for The Truman Show, City of Angels, Pan Tadeusz, Bram Stoker`s Dracula, or Portrait of a Lady. Details about concert programs are included below in the Calendar of Events.

20 Years of “Green Umbrella”

by Maja Trochimczyk

On 29 January 2002 the New Music Group of the Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrated its 20th anniversary. The group performs contemporary music during a cycle of concerts known as “Green Umbrella” (term coined by Ernst Fleischman). The concert took place in Zipper Hall, Colburn School of Music and consisted of works by four composers-conductors who have served as composers-in-residence and directed the programs of new music at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. William Kraft, John Harbison, and Steven Stucky have served as “composers-in-residence” at different periods (Stucky has worked in this capacity from 1988). Esa-Pekka Salonen has the most to say about the programs as the artistic director and principal conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.Since there was no Polish music on the program, there seems to be no need to report this event in the Polish Music Newsletter; however, the impact of Witold Lutosławski on the past programs and presented compositions warrants some comments. Steven Stucky (b. 1949), professor of composition at Cornell University, is one of Lutosławski experts and a staunch promoter of his music. It was not too hard to hear distant echoes of Lutosławski’s sophisticated and elegant textures in Stucky’s Etudes (Concerto for Recorder and Orchestra composed in 2000. Stucky’s shimmering, mobile, “bird-like” textures and motives were not borrowed or imitated; rather, they could be heard as an hommage to a great master. During the tenure of this composer-in-residence, the majority of performances of Lutosławski’s music took place.

During the intermission, I reviewed the number of performances by various composers whose works have been played by the New Music Group of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the past 20 years. Among 193 compozers there were only 15 women and 4 Poles. Witold Lutosławski’s photo of 1989 graced the program of the concert; 10 of his works were programmed and played 13 times in 1991, 1993, and 1999. The list is rather comprehensive, from Paroles tissees and the Sacher Variation to Slides and Subito). Three composers were represented by one work each: the Harpsichord Concerto by Górecki was performed in 1989 (during the first season programmed by Stucky), Paweł Szymański’s Appendix and Karol Szymanowski’s Słopiewnie appeared on the same program in 1991, selected by Witold Lutosławski.

After further review of composers on the list I realized that the presence of many names reflects the musical tastes of composers-in-residence. A consistent winner was Igor Stravinsky, with 18 works performed 33 times. In comparison, Schoenberg (4), Messiaen (3) or Stockhausen (1) were simply absent. Other favorites included Luciano Berio (12/14), Pierre Boulez (11/17), Heinz Holliger (11), Gyorgy Ligeti (10/12), Elliott Carter (10/11), Jakob Druckman (9), William Kraft (9/10), Oliver Knussen (9), Toru Takemitsu (9), and Conlon Nancarrow (8/9). The minimalists, such as John Adams, Steve Reich or Philip Glass had several performances each; therefore the absence of further interpretations of Górecki’s music has other reasons than his “sparse” style. Perhaps there is nothing to worry about since the list of neglected composers is quite prestigious: Webern (2), Berg (1), Xenakis (1), Ustwolskaya (1), Dutilleux (1); Andriessen (0), Grisey (0), Gubaidulina (0), etc.

During an occasional speech Salonen compared the series to cosmic explorers, with the ensemble serving as a “landing pod” visiting distant planets and bringing samples back home. If so, the selection of planets to be explored leaves something to be desired and the results remain incomplete, leaving many “blank spots” on the map of the new musical universe.

Sembrich Museum In New York State

Not many people know about the existence of a museum dedicated to the memory of Marcella Sembrich-Kochanska (1858-1935), located in her summer home in upstate New York. The Museum is administered by a small Association formed especially for this purpose. Sembrich was a famous soprano, an international opera star, on a long-term contract with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She was also a great patriot and a friend of Ignacy Jan Paderewski who accompanied her during recitals in the early stages of his musical career. Sembrich premiered the role of Ulana in Paderewski’s opera, Manru during the work’s American premiere in 1902 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

According to scholar Steven Herx, who currently works on an authoritative biography of Marcella Sembrich, the singer was the mastermind behind the Polish Pageant organized in 1915 to benefit the Polish Victims Relief Fund in 1915. Sembrich sang the main role as the soloist in this performance. Herx is working for an article about Sembrich for the Polish Music Journal. He has published three studies about the great singer: “The Sembrich Opera Company Tour of 1900,” “Marcella Sembrich and Three Great Events at the Met” in Opera Quarterly, and “Marcella Sembrich: A Legendary Singer’s Career Rediscovered,” in Record Collector.

For more information about the Sembrich Association, Museum, and the life of this great Polish singer, please visit the Museum web site: www.operamuseum.org.

100th Anniversary of Paderewski’s “Manru”

On 14 February 1902 the Metropolitan Opera in New York presented the American premiere of Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s “Manru” – an opera that despite its many fine qualities failed to remain in the repertoire and is now almost completely forgotten. It is worth noting that the opera was scheduled for the Valentine’s Day and that was the reason of its immense “social” triumph. Most reviewers devoted more room to the description of lavish gowns, and jewels of the society ladies than to the music or drama.

However, the elegant public, expecting a teary and moving romance, with the admired Marcella Sembrich (Ulana) and Aleksander Bandrowski (Manru) as protagonists, must have been disappointed. The opera’s theme is not a personal experience of romantic love, but such love’s destruction by ethnic attachments and loyalty. The Gypsy Manru cannot help but abandon his hapless Polish wife, Ulana; even their sublime love-duet (in the second act of the opera) does not prevent his departure and return to his former nomadic, Gypsy life. No wonder there is a tone of disappointment in some of the reviews; Saint Valentine was not this work’s patron!

More information about Manru may be found in the Winter 2001 issue of the Polish Music Journal (delayed till February 2002) that includes two articles about this opera by Andrzej Piber and Aleksandra Konieczna, a reprint of its libretto by Alfred Nossig, and a detailed overview of the work by Egbert Swayne published in an American periodical, Music (vol. 21), before the premiere in 1902.

International Masterclasses In Zakopane

Since 1997, Zakopane has been the site of International Masterclasses in Music Interpretation. Information about these classes, open to participants from the whole world, may be found on their web site at www.mati.zakopane.pl/mas; there is an English and a Polish version of the site.

Antoni Radziwiłł Award

Antoni Radziwiłł Award is a new competition for foreign pianists held yearly in Poland. The winners receive scholarships and may continue to study in the country. The competition provides information about its rules and regulations on a private site, http://artkalisz.pl. The address of the Competition’s site is: www.artkalisz.pl/antonin/turnieje-stypendystow.htm

Anderszewski On The Cover

A large photo of Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski graces the cover page of the new British magazine, “Pianist,” (January 2002, Winter Edition). The magazine contains 60 pages of scores from classical to jazz, Latin and rock and each issue comes with a CD of all the scores featured. For the special subscription rate of approximately $75 write to Pianist Subscriptions, Tower House, Sovereign Park, Leicester LE87 4HS, United Kingdom or fax 01858 468969.

Chopin’s Hand Studied

A special article in the BBC magazine (January 2002 issue) on Chopin’s hand by John Milsom “digs deep into musical archeology to discover what an unlikely array of objects can tell us about our musical past.” The author ponders the question: “Have we ever heard Chopin’s music performed as Chopin himself would have played it?” According to witnessed accounts “Chopin’s left hand together with its partner on the right arm performed feats that were unimagined before.”

Elzbieta Sikora’s New Recording

Elżbieta Sikora’s two compositions have recently been released on CD in France. The CD, issued by INA/GRM (275 842 INAe5011), contains ‘”Lisboa, tramway 28″ for saxophone(s) and tape; and “Janek Wisniewski, Decembre, Pologne” for tape. The recording may be ordered by contacting GRM, Groupe de Recherche Musical, at grm@ina.fr. The recording was first made available on 12 January 2002 on the occasion of a concert at the Maison de la Radio in Paris.

Sikora is well established as a composer in France and maintains close links with Poland, especially her home town of Gdansk where she leads yearly summer courses. In September 2002 she will tour South America, presenting her music and ideas in several countries.

The Cracow Klezmer Band

The Cracow Klezmer Band was formed in 1997 at the initiative of the outstanding accordionist and arranger Jaroslaw Bester. At first, the group played only traditional klezmer music. Over time, inspired by authentic folk music that blended elements of traditional Jewish music, contemporary jazz, and Balkan music, the group created its own original, unique style.

The Cracow Klezmer Band’s debut album, De Profundis, came out in September 2000 on John Zorn’s famous New-York-based Tzadik label. This is the first time that the work of Polish musicians has been released on this prestigious label. In November 2001, John Zorn released The Warriors, the Cracow Klezmer Band’s second album on the Tzadik label. The group will play a series of concerts in New York in March 2002.

For more information contact the Band at e-mail: ckb@ckb.cracow.pl; or web site:www.ckb.cracow.pl.

Recent Performances

Ohlsson’s Chopin Recital

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson’s all-Chopin recital (15 January, Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, Music Center, Los Angeles) received a very good critique from Richard S. Ginell in the LA Times. Ginell noted that “Ohlsson’s playing took on a clarity that had been lacking previously, and he arrived at the peak of his powers in the Etudes, with a beautifully shaded, exquisitely light-fingered treatment of what program annotator Orrin Howard puckishly calls `those damnable thirds.’ From this point onward Ohlsson could do no wrong.”The program joined together early and late works; it included the Sonata in B-minor op. 58, performed with strength and conviction, though somewhat imprecisely in fast tempi; and the Mazurkas op. 7, that were entirely charming and brought out new details. A spirit of playfullness permeated some of the etudes, in which Ohlsson highlighted rarely heard details; the Revolutionary Etude was of particular power. The pianist ended the recital with a series of encores that finally presented the “sweetest” aspect of Chopin’s oeuvre, i.e. his waltzes. A playful banter with members of the audience who were trying to bargain for other, or additional encores preceded the first of the three waltzes, played with rubatos, and whimsical shifts of color and dynamics. The “minute” waltz ended the recital. It was interesting to note, in comparison, that Paderewski’s mammoth recitals, much larger in scope than Ohlsson’s, ended with at least five encores, typically around seven additions to the program of the concert. It seems that these days we simply do not know how to listen to so much music without getting anxious, hurried, or tired. [MT]

Bruzdowicz In Chicago

The 17th Season of the Concertante di Chicago music group included a concert dedicated to the world’s seasons, entitled “World Odyssey” and featuring three works related to the themes “the Seasons of the World” by Joanna Bruzdowicz, Astor Piazzolla, and Antonio Vivaldi. A recent work by Bruzdowicz opened the program which was conducted by Hilel Kagan.

Bruzdowicz’s Four Seasons Greatings for chamber string orchestra and an assortment of soloists consists of four movements: (1) Spring: The Bridges of Venice (with solo violins); (2) Summer: Western Ballad (with solo piano four hands), (3) Autumn: Tropics of Capricorn (with solo flute), and (4) Winter: Indian Trail (with solo marimba).

Bruzdowicz composed her “Season’s Greetings” for the Poznan Spring Festival of New Music in 1989. The work includes allusions to music and landscapes of Venice (Vivaldi), California (American jazz), Brazil and Africa (samba and bassa nova), and Canada (with the marimba “reflecting the cold luminosity of the country and its snowy vastness”).

The concert was reviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune.. Wynne Delacoma wrote in the Sun-Times that “Bruzdowicz’s survey of the seasons had a fragmented, postmodern sensibility” and that this work was “highly colored, atmospheric […] music that slipped easily between usettling dissonance and unaffected lyricism, on its own terms.”

Lutosławski In Cleveland

The Cleveland Orchestra under the direction of Christoph von Dohnanyi performed Lutoslawski’s “Musique funebre” during their tour in Boston’s Symphony Hall (23 Jan) and at Carnegie Hall in New York (24 Jan).

Makowicz Plays Gershwin And Debski

Adam Makowicz performed Gershwin’s Piano Concerto and “An American in Paris” and Krzesimir Debski’s “Adam in the Russian Country” dedicated to the jazz pianist at the New Year’s eve concert with the National Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio in Katowice under the baton of the Polish composer. The same orchestra has also just recorded Debski’s “Musica dominicana” to be released soon.

Penderecki In Brussels

Composer-conductor Krzysztof Penderecki conducted his Violin concerto with 27-year-old Lithuanian violinist, Julian Rachlin, and the Sinfonia Varsovia (5 Jan) in Brussels as part of the Europalia festival. The Festival lasted more than three months in the Benelux countries and was held under the auspices of the Belgian King and the president of Poland. The festival of more than 200 events (recitals, exhibits) consisted of more than 150 concerts featuring orchestras from the Benelux countries and three orchestras from Poland. The best of Polish music could be heard, ranging from early composers Jarzębski, Wacław of Szamotuły and Mikołaj Zielinski, on to Chopin and Moniuszko and through the 20th-century music of Szymanowski, Karłowicz, Baird, Bacewicz, Lutosławski, Kilar, Górecki and Penderecki.

Gasieniec In Wrocław

On 18 December 2001, the Wrocław Chapter of the Polish Composers’ Union presented a portrait of Mieczysław Gąsieniec, a composer from that city, associated with the chamber music program at the Academy of Music and the Silesian music festival “Porozumienie” [Understanding]. Born in 1954, Gąsieniec graduated with distinction from the piano (1979) and composition (1988) departments of the Wrocław Academy of Music. He received private scholarships from Witold Lutosławski and received numerous prizes at international compositional competitions. The composer is a co-founder of the “Porozumienie” festival, working with Kurt Masur on programs that bring to Silesia musical performances of the highest quality, including appearances of the Gewandhaus from Leipzig or the New York Philharmonic.

The program of the concert of the Composers’ Union included included “Metamorfozy” for ensemble, “Piesni dzieciece” for soprano, violin, cello, and piano, “Dialogi” for clarinet, cello and piano; “Capriccio” for flute and piano and other chamber pieces.


by Wanda Wilk

Additions To Your Record Collection

The month of February marks the birthday of three very important Polish composers, Bacewicz, Maciejewski and Nowowiejski, and also marks the anniversary of the death of Lutosławski and Maklakiewicz. This would be a good time to remember these composers by at least trying to listen to their music on some recording medium (LP, cassette or CD) and also to add this music to your record collection.

Three of these names should be familiar to our readers, especially that of Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994), regarded as the Dean of Polish composers and also as the greatest living composer of his time, who honored us with his presence at the dedication ceremony of the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California in 1985 at which time he donated five of his autograph manuscripts to our Center.

Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) is listed in Grove’s Dictionary of Music as the “leading composer of her time.” Lutosławski wrote in his preface to the first monograph in any language on this composer, which was published by the Friends of Polish Music at USC, that she was “one of the foremost women composer of all time” and that having been “bortn of an incredible wealth of talent” she gave “birth to such treasures that any composer of her stature with a considerably longer life could only envy.” A compact disc of her music for violin was recorded at USC by local violinist Arnold Belnick in July 1995.

Roman Maciejewski (1910-1998) may be recalled by some Angelenos by his personal presence in Los Angeles several years ago before the Modjeska Club and the premiere of his “Requiem” by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The names of Feliks Nowowiejski (1877-1914) and Jan Maklakiewicz (1899-1954) may be familiar to some from their songs or choral works.

Looking only in American sources (Schwann Catalog and Amazon.com on the internet) I found the most recordings for Lutoslawski’s music. Schwann supposedly lists all recordings that are currently available and here I found thirty-nine different CDs. I was pleasantly surprised to find more than one hundred (111 listings) in Amazon.com – the most popular being Lutoslawski conducting the piano concerto he wrote for Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman which was released in 1992 by Deutsche Gramophone. It is available for $15.49. Next in popularity is “The Essential Lutoslawski” on a Philllips label with pianist Martha Argerich and third in buying popularity is his String Quartet performed by the famous Kronos Quartet on the Nonesuch label for only $10.49. They all have five-star ratings! New and coming soon is the budget-priced Naxos CD at $6.98, which will have the Lutoslawski Preludes and Fugues for 13 Solo Strings; 3 Postludes and Fanfares. One of the Fanfares he wrote for the L.A. Philharmonic for their 75th anniversary and he was present at its premiere in L.A. in 1993. The great maestro wrote four symphonies (3rd was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony and the 4th by our Philharmonic). His Dance Preludes for clarinet and piano or clarinet and orchestra is the most frequently recorded composition, having been recorded at least thirteen different times. He was amazed and surprised at this, since he really didn’t think the work was that good, but it really is a fun piece to hear and play. Not many people know that Lutoslawski was both an excellent pianist and violinist, as well as a philosophy student. Recently I noticed that orchestras in the U.S. and Britain had been scheduling his early Concerto for Orchestra and his Cello Concerto in their programs.

Another composer who was also proficient as a violinist and pianist was his colleague, Grazyna Bacewicz. In fact, she had a career as a violin virtuoso. She actually astounded the music academy by performing her own compositions on the violin and piano for her graduation. She retired from the concert stage during the last decade of her life, devoting it composition. She wrote 7 violin concertos, 7 violin sonatas, 7 string quartets, 2 piano quintets and concertos for viola and cello. Her two compositions for chamber orchestra are standard repertoire in Europe. When the Sinfonia Varsovia performed at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena a few years ago I thanked its conductor, Yehudi Menuhin, for playing it. Surprised, he answered, “Why shouldn’t I play it? It’s beautiful music.” Well, I didn’t tell him that, on the contrary, Polish conductors appearing abroad with Polish orchestras do not do so. They contend that their American managers advise them not to. This reminds me of a review sent to the Polish Music Center years ago from Chicago with the headline, “Polish Orchestra Polished – Not Very Polish!). Back to Bach, I mean, Bacewicz. Back in 1997 the Schwann catalog listed 14 different recordings of her music. Last year’s catalog lists only 2. Why did they remove the others? I don’t know. I was surprised to see the Pavanne recording removed. It had Bruzdowicz’s “Epigrams” coupled with Bacewicz’s Second Sonata for violin solo. The two that are listed are a Solstice recording with her 10 Concert Etudes for piano by pianist A. Fujiwara and Arnold Belnick’s recording of her violin works recorded at USC.

I had better luck with Amazon.com for they have twelve CDs available for purchase. Even the great violinist Midori plays an encore piece, an Oberek, in a CD titled “MidoriEncore.” Polish pianist Ewa Kupiec has just released a world premiere of Bacewicz’s Complete Piano Works (Oct ’01) on a Hannsler label. The most recorded violin sonata is #4 and was recorded at least four times by various violinists: Wanda Wilkomirska, Statkiewicz, Pontremi and Belnick. The String Quartet #3, called a masterpiece by Lutoslawski, has been recorded by both the Penderecki and Wilanow String Quartet ensembles and her classic Concerto for Strings (1948) is on both Olympia and Conifer Classics. What is interesting on Amazon.com is that you are encouraged to write a review and you may be the first to write one for some of these recordings. A music fan gave a five star rating to “Boldly Expressive: Music by Women” in January, 2001. “Rarely do I listen to a whole disk of music completely unknown to me and find myself introduced to one piece after another that are geniunely interesting, even exciting and splendidly performed.”

I wasn’t sure about finding any CDs of the other three composers. There was nothing on Amazon.com for Maciejewski, but Schwann lists two recordings. His famous “Requiem” is available on the Polish label PNCD with the Warsaw National Philharmonic and his “Allegro Concertante” is available on ZPRR 43 with pianist R. Kobayashi and Miroslaw Blaszczyk conducting the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. I found two different listings for Jan Maklakiewicz (18991954) who died in February. He wrote a cello concerto and is best known for his Japanese songs for soprano and orchestra in French and Polish. The Poznan Nightingales (Poland’s most famous boys and mens choral group) sing his Christmas carols for chorus and organ on Selene Records. The Swedish label BIS has his “Ode for 4 Trombones” along with Serocki’s “Suite for 4 Trombones” played by the Triton Trombone Quartet on “Trombone Angels”.

The last composer, Feliks Nowowiejski (1877-1946), is known to most Polonians primarily for his songs and the opera “Legenda Baltyku” (Legend of the Baltic). However, he also wrote 7 organ symphonies and 4 concertos for organ. Of the eight listings on the Amazon web-site, all are recordings of his organ works by various European organists, August Freyer, Pieter van Dyk, Hans Leenders and Rudolf Innig, except for one in which the late Polish tenor Jan Kiepura sings the aria “Do You Love me?” All in all, a good selection and a variety of music to choose from; any of which will make an excellent addition to your current record collection.

Stojowski’s Piano Concerti

Ignored by the Warsaw Philharmonic during its centennial year, the music of Zygmunt Stojowski (1870-1946), whose Symphony, Op. 21 was played on the Warsaw Symphony Orchestra’s first concert in November 1901, and who performed as a recitalist in the following month and then again as soloist with the orchestra in January 1902, has come back to life this very month with the first commercial release of his two piano concertos by the British firm Hyperion Records Limited. The brilliant English pianist Jonathan Plowright gives powerful interpretations of this unjustly ignored Polish romantic with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Martyn Brabbins. The catalogue number is Hyperion CDA67314.


Omega: Chopin

Special recordings of Chopin’s music by such artists as Jorge Bolet, Alfred Brendel and Jeanne-Marie Darre are available from the Omega Record Group in New York. www.omegarecords.com

Other Chopin Recordings

The once-a-year Critics’ Choice awards from Gramophone showed that David Fanning selected BBC Legends CD of Cherkassky playing Chopin and Bryce Morrison opted for three records from Naxos’ Historical Series featuring legendary Artur Rubinstein.

RCA Red Seal now has a new budget series called “Sound Dimension.” You can listen to the great Vladimir Horowitz playing Chopin here.

The Swedish BIS of Chopin’s Piano works by Freddy Kempf made it to #9 on the Top 20 Classical CD Chart in January.

NAXOS 8 555270 Lutoslawski: Preludes & Fugues, Mini Overture, 3 Postludes and 3 Fanfares. Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Antoni Wit, cond. Arnold Whittall compares this Polish performance with the Norwegian CD on Virgin records whose account another critic “Michael Oliver admired unreservedly” and concludes that “collectors of the Naxos Lutoslawski series will not be shortchanged by this release” because the “attractive miniatures here” make amends for “an uncompetitive Preludes & Fugues.”

Naxos has also released two volumes of the Complete Recordings (1904-1917) of American violinist Maud Powell who died in 1920 at age 52. These are good examples of the “performance manners of the day,” and her Polish repertoire consisted of an arrangement of Chopin’s `Minute Waltz’ and the song `Maiden’s Wish’ as well as Wieniawski’s Second Violin Concerto, Romance and Capriccio Valse and a Mazurka by Zarzycki.

Another historical release is Dutton Laboratories two-CD “reissue of recordings dating from 1958-61” which celebrated “pianist Dame Mour Lympany’s 85th birthday.” In his review Bryce Morrison “urges readers to sample Dame Moura’s sane, subtle and entirely unneurotic performance. The recordings are as refined and translucent as the playing and Bill Newman’s affectionate accompanying essay is an added incentive.”

Stojowski – The Polish Patriot

by Joseph A. Herter

After immigrating to America in 1905, Zygmunt Stojowski (1870-1946) became a very active member of New York’s Polish-American Community, a role he played until the end of his life. His Polonian activities were many and multifaceted, including cultural, patriotic and charitable endeavors.

Following WW I, Stojowski took over the presidency of the Polish political and cultural club Koło Polskie (Polish Circle) of the local Society of Engineers and Merchants. This club, which Stojowski led for over twenty years, was in nature a “round table” at whose meetings politics and cultural events were discussed in a non-partisan way.[1] Koło Polskie also functioned as an intermediary between the NY Polish community and the homeland, and was responsible for a wider understanding of Polish culture in American society.[2]

Stojowski had the distinction of being the founder of the short-lived (1932-37) Polish Institute of Arts and Letters (PIAL). He founded the Institute with the aim of “presenting all phases of Polish culture to the American people, and in the belief that if the American public were familiarized with the great intellectual and artistic achievements of Poland, mutual benefits would result. This approach was and, in fact, still is unique for the Polish community. Most Polish cultural groups outside of Poland are formed to do just the opposite, i.e., to only serve the needs of the Polish community and to preserve Polish heritage among its own people or “Polonia,” as the Polish diaspora refers to itself, and not function as a propagandistic voice in non-Polonian circles. During its first three years, PIAL presented 26 programs, such as recitals and concerts, lectures and radio talks, art exhibitions and a memorial program in honor of the famous Polish tenor soloist at the Metropolitan Opera Jean de Reszke (1850-1925). Patrons of Stojowski’s PIAL included the Polish Ambassador and Consul General, Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), Marcella Sembrich (1858-1935) and many other leading persons in the world of politics, business and the arts.”[3] The Institute was located at the Roerich Museum on 310 Riverside Drive.

This pioneering institution became the prototype for today’s Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PIASA) in New York, founded by Oscar Halecki during WW II to serve in part as “The Polish Academy of Sciences in Exile.” In a letter dated June 22, 1942, Wacław Lednicki, the Chairman of the PIASA’s Commission on the History of Arts and Music, offered Zygmunt the position of Vice-Chairman.[4] Stojowski, however, refused the offer and Jan Lechoń was elected to the post in the autumn of 1942. [5]Nonetheless, Stojowski would become active in the new Polish Institute as well. In 1943, he served on the Commission’s subcommittee, which planned a series of lectures, the first of which was Feliks Łabuński’s Six Centuries of Polish Music, and in 1944 he chaired the committee which organized a May 4 Carnegie Hall concert of Polish music that was sponsored by PIASA. [6]

During the Great War (1914-18), Stojowski – following in the footsteps of his mentor and compatriot Ignacy Paderewski – worked relentlessly for the Polish cause. In addition to innumerable benefit recitals that Stojowski played by himself and with others for the Polish Victims’ Relief Fund, Stojowski also engaged his students into taking part in recitals for the same purpose. Included among the many programs found in the Stojowski Family Archives, there was one of WW I vintage that stood out – a recital given by Sigismond Stojowski’s students from the Von Ende School of Music at Aeolian Hall on Friday, May 19, 1916. Among the eleven students who played one can find the following: Aleksander Brachocki (1897-1945), [7] future professor of piano at the Katowice Higher School of Music, playing Haydn; Stojowski’s future wife, the Peruvian Luisa Morales-Macedo (1890-1982), playing Schumann and Paderewski; the Bay Area “rising star” Phyllida Ashley {Everington} (1894-1975) playing Debussy, Stojowski and Paderewski; the 15-year-old future Academy-Award-winning Hollywood composer “Master” Alfred Newman (1901-1970) performing Moszkowski, Paderewski and Liszt and the Cleveland-based pianist Arthur Loesser (1894-1969) performing Paderewski, Stojowski and Grainger.

As a composer, Stojowski made two important musical statements during World War I. The first was for a gala high society fundraiser organized by Marcella Sembrich for the American Polish Relief Committee. This organization, for which Sembrich served as president and Stojowski as a vice-president and member of the executive committee, raised money for Paderewski’s Polish Victims’ Relief Fund. The fundraiser consisted of a musical pageant entitled A Night in Poland that was produced on April 8, 1915, in the Cascade Room on the nineteenth floor of New York’s Biltmore Hotel. [8]

The stage director for the pageant was Ryszard Ordynski (1878-1953), who had just arrived to America in January of that year. Ordynski would later become the head stage director at the Metropolitan Opera Company from 1917-1920. Scenery and Costumes were designed by the Benda Family: Mr. Władysław Teodor Benda (1873-1948) and Mmes. Emilia and Jadwiga Benda. Stojowski’s contribution was both literary and musical. The former consisted of a spoken prologue that Stojowski wrote for the work under the title of Glimpses of Polish History, which was read by Miss Edith Wynne Matthison. The latter involved Stojowski supplying arrangements of Chopin’s mazurkas and polonaises to the pageant’s music director Ernest Schelling (1876-1939) – who, like Stojowski, was also a former Paderewski student. These included Chopin’s Mazurka in D Major, Op. 33, no. 2 and Mazurka in B-flat Major, Op. 7, no. 1 and the Polonaise in F-sharp Minor, Op. 44. [9] Stojowski’s arrangement of the polonaise includes an original four-measure introduction (Chopin has an eight-measure introduction) and only half of that noble dance has been arranged. Both Schelling and Stojowski spent weeks rehearsing the performers, including an amateur chorus, and arranging and orchestrating the music (Polish patriotic tunes and folk songs) for the show. The spectacle, accompanied by Nahan Franko and his orchestra, included the following stars: soprano Marcella Sembrich (1858-1935), bass Adam Didur (1874-1946), violinist Timothée Adamowski (1858-1943) – the concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1884-1908 – baritone Albert G. Janpolski and pianist Rudolph Ganz (1877-1972). Together, in one night, these artists raised $10,000 for the Polish sufferers of war. [10]

The composer, however, made a much more profound patriotic and dramatic musical statement the following year with the world premiere of his cantata A Prayer for Poland, Op. 40, written on a spiritual base rather than on a totally patriotic one. The poem by Zygmunt Krasinski (1812-59) on which the cantata is based is addressed to the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). Using the appellation “Queen of Poland” – a title which for centuries the Vatican has allowed Poles to use in the recitation of the Litany of Loreto – the poet calls upon Mary to “End thou for bleeding Poland her deep anguish,” and the chorus forcefully declares: [11]

This world is shattered, shattered into pieces!No single one of its rent, and ruptured fragmentsPrays anymore unto Thee, Oh Heavenly Virgin!The augmented orchestral accompaniment for the cantata includes organ, antiphonal brass and a large percussion section. The performance took place on Tuesday, March 7, 1916 at Carnegie Hall with Kurt Schindler conducting the Schola Cantorum of New York and the New York Symphony Society Orchestra. Soloists included soprano Minnie Jovelli and baritone Bernado Olshansky. [12]Twenty-five years later, during the Second World War (1939-1945) on May 3, 1941, A Prayer for Poland was revived by the United Polish Choral Societies in Chicago. [13]

Because of his charitable and patriotic ventures for Poland during the First World War, in 1924 Stojowski was awarded the order Polonia Restituta (Odrodzenia Polski), the highest order the Polish government could confer upon a civilian. Coincidentally, both Stojowski and Marcella Sembrich Kochanska were awarded this order on the same day: November 28. In the order’s register Sembrich is listed as “artist/singer” while Stojowski is given the title of “artist/musician.” [14]Following WW I, the US Government also decorated Stojowski with the Distinguished Service Medal.

P> Between the wars, Stojowski was an associate member of the American Polish Chamber of Commerce & Industry in the USA and a contributor of articles on Poland and Polish music for the chamber of commerce’s Poland America magazine. During the 1920’s Stojowski also served on the National Council Advisory Board for the newly formed Kosciuszko Foundation in New York.

World War II once more saw the need for Stojowski to rise and serve Poland. Two months after the Nazi and Soviet invasion of Poland, Stojowski was responsible for helping to organize a Polish Relief Concert at Carnegie Hall on November 14, 1939, which featured tenor Jan Kiepura (1902-1966) and Artur Rubinstein. [15]According to the stationery letterhead of the Paderewski Testimonial Fund, Inc., Stojowski was a committee chairman and sponsor of this organization. Organized to honor the memory of Paderewski, who had passed away in 1941, the Fund was intended to relieve the suffering of Paderewski’s countrymen, who – after only twenty years of freedom – were once more put under the heel of the conqueror. The Paderewski Testimonial Fund was a participating service of Polish War Relief through the National War Fund. [16] Stojowski’s other wartime activities included being the president of the Polish Review, a weekly magazine published with the assistance of the Polish Government Information Center. He is also credited with founding and chairing the Polish Musicians’ Committee (PMC). Members of the Committee included conductor Gregor Fitelberg (1879-1953), pianist Mieczyslaw Horszowski (1892-1993), violinist Bronislaw Huberman (1882-1947), composer-pianist-music critic Feliks R. Labunski (1892-1979), harpsichordist Wanda Landowska (1877-1959), pianist Witold Malcuzynski (1914-1977), composer Karol Rathaus (1895-1954), pianist Artur Rubinstein (1887-1982) and Stojowski, himself.

The PMC sponsored two concerts of Polish music in 1944. The first, presented with the help of PIASA, was the May 4, 1944 concert of Polish orchestral music at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony, Grzegorz Fitelberg conducting. The concert included music by Stojowski -Suite in E-flat Major, Op. 9; Łabuński – the NY premiere of his Suite for Strings; Paderewski – Polish Fantasy for Piano & Orchestra, Op. 19; and two works by Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) – the ballet Harnasie, Op. 55 and First Violin Concerto, Op. 35. Soloists for that concert included Huberman in the Szymanowski and Małcużyński in the Paderewski. [17] The US State Department recorded the concert for later radio broadcast to Europe. [18] The second concert of that year, which PMC also presented, was a concert of contemporary Polish chamber music at Times Hall, 240 West 44th Street, on December 18. Music for this concert included the following: Third String Quartet by Antoni Szałowski (1907-1973), Divertimento for Flute and Piano by Felix Łabuński, the world premiere of Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano by Karol Rathaus, Four Mazurkas, Op. 50 and Tantris le Bouffon from Masques, Op. 34 by Szymanowski, and the American premiere of Third String Quartet by Jerzy Fitelberg (1903-1951), son of the conductor Grzegorz Fitelberg. Performers for the chamber music concert included the Gordon String Quartet, clarinetist Simon Bellison, pianists Mieczysław Horszowski and Karol Rathaus, violinist Boris Schwarz and flautist John Wummer. [19] Based on the correspondence of Feliks Łabuński, who took over as PMC chairman when Stojowski was hospitalized with cancer of the colon in the spring of 1946, the committee also prepared packages to be sent to needy musicians in Poland following the war. [20]

Last but not least, one patriotic service that Stojowski fulfilled, but which has been forgotten about, is that of being an overseer for the safe keeping of Poland’s gold reserves in the USA during WW II. Proof of this claim can be found in two letters. The first is in Stojowski file at the Juilliard School Archives: a letter of March 6, 1982, from Frederick Gamble – former student of Luisa Stojowski – to Mr. Locklair at the Juilliard School. The second is a letter dated March 23, 1944, from the NY attorney office of Sullivan & Cromwell, informing Stojowski of the return of the deposits to the Bank Polski. The latter is found in the Stojowski Family Archives.

Stojowski’s compassion for the fate of his homeland and compatriots during the two world wars, his wartime musical statements, and the pride he took in promoting Polish culture to non-Poles in hope of creating an appreciation for the culture of his once and future sovereign native land can only be admired and serve as a model for all future Polish musicians and artists for many generations to come.


[1]. Adele Preyss and Joanne Stefanik, “Sigismund Stojowski,” The New American – A Monthly Digest of Polish-American Life and Culture, June – July 1938, Vol. V, no. 6, p. 5. [Back]

[2]. Kazimiera A. Adrianowska, “Zygmunt Stojowski,” Biały Orzeł, 6 (June 1944): pp. 6-7. [Back]

[3]. Report of the Polish Institute of Arts and Letters, 1932-33, !933-34, p. 1. [Back]

[4]. Letter from Wacław Lednicki, Stojowski Family Archives. [Back]

[5]. Bulletin of PIASA 1 no. 2 (January 1943): 296. [Back]

[6]. Bulletin of PIASA 1 no. 4 (July 1943): 974. [Back]

[7]. In the program Brachocki’s given name is mistakenly given as Edward. [Back]

[8]. The PIASA Archives contain most musical material for this event, first described in print by Maja Trochimczyk who suggested the authorship of Stojowski, rather than Schelling of the music. See August 2001 issue of the Polish Music Newsletter. The question of the authorship of the music was subsequently discussed by the present author in an article in the November 2001 issue of the Newsletter. Details about performance, staging, and participation of the cast are based on the findings of Małgorzata Komorowska, in her Kobieta z głosem [A Woman with a Voice]; an unpublished biography of Marcela Sembrich, typescript.[Back]

[9]. The full score and parts for these arrangements are found in the Stojowski Papers in PIASA Archives: Collection No. 46; the authorship of the collection is erroneously attributed to Ernst Schelling, even though the collection includes material by Stojowski and Grzegorz Fitelberg. [Back]

[10]. Press review, “Society Revives Poland’s Past as a Spectacle,” The Herald 9 April 1915; Marcella Sembrich scrapbooks on microfilm at the NYPL for the Performing Arts. [Back]

[11]. For those unfamiliar with the cult of the BVM in Poland, an explanation is due in order to appreciate the meaning of Kransinski’s prayer to the Virgin. The roots of Poland’s Marian cult go back to the medieval period to a hymn to Mary dating from the 13th century known as Bogurodzica (Mother of God). This hymn has the unique distinction of not only being the oldest notated Polish melody, but also of being the oldest example of Polish poetry. Still well known, sung and treasured in contemporary Poland, tradition further has it that it was sung by Polish warriors as they went into battle to fight and conquer the Teutonic knights at Grunwald in 1410.

The cult to the BVM with her protection of Poland increased through the centuries. In 1655, the invading Swedish armies met their match and retreated in Czestochowa at Jasna Góra (Bright Mountain), the site of the shrine of the miraculous icon of Poland’s Black Madonna. The following year at the cathedral in Lwów (now L’viv, Ukraine), King Jan Casmir entrusted the entire Polish land and nation to the protection of the BVM as its Queen and Lady. The Polish holiday of May 3, marking the passage of the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791, is celebrated on the Polish liturgical calendar as the feast of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland, a feast introduced by Pope Pius XI in 1924. Even following WW I, the BVM is credited with helping to save Poland by defeating the Bolsheviks during their 1919-1920 invasion of Poland. The deciding battle of August 13-18, 1920, fought on the outskirts of the capital on the banks of the Vistula, saw the First Soviet Army under General F. Latinik begin to retreat on August 15, the feast of our Lady’s Assumption. By the end of the month, three Soviet armies were annihilated, 100,000 Russians taken prisoner, while another 40,000 soldiers escaped into East Prussia. This Warsaw battle is referred to as “The Miracle on the Vistula.” To this day, the Polish nation celebrates its Armed Forces Day – a national holiday – on that Marian holyday. It is also the day when tens of thousands of pilgrims, many of whom have walked on foot for weeks, meet at the shrine of the Black Madonna to celebrate an outdoor Mass. Can it be of any wonder, then, that both the poet and composer would find solace in the role that Mary has played in Poland’s dark and troubled history? [Back]

[12]. Carnegie Hall Program of March 7, 1916; Carnegie Hall Archives. [Back]

[13]. Bulletin of the Stojowski Students’ Association (New York, February 1941): 2. The correct name of the Polish choral union which organized this performance was most probably the Polish Singers Alliance in America, a society that has existed for over 110 years and which will hold its 47th convention in Detroit in 2003. [Back]

[14]. Księga Kawalerów orderu ‘Odrodzenia Polski,’ Obywatele Cudzoziemscy [A book of Polonia Restituta Recipients; Foreign Nationals] (Warsaw: Archiwum Akt Nowych), 110. Stojowski’s certificate of Polonia Restituta is found in the PIASA Archives; a copy is at the Polish Music Center and was published in Maja Trochimczyk’s article of August 2001 in the Polish Music Newsletter [Back]

[15]. Bulletin of the Stojowski Students’ Association (New York, January 1940): 7. [Back]

[16]. Letter from Mrs. Ernest Schelling to Marguerite Merrington; August 17, 1945; PIASA Marguerite Merrington Papers, No. 43.7. [Back]

[17]. Carnegie Hall Flyer of May 4, 1944 concert; Carnegie Hall Archives. [Back]

[18]. A 78 RPM recording of Stojowski’s Suite from this concert with a US State Department label exists in the Stojowski Family Archives. [Back]

[19]. Concert Flyer for December 18, 1944 concert; Stojowski Family Archives. [Back]

[20]. Music Collection: Warsaw University Library. [Back]

Calendar of Events

FEB 1: Warsaw Philharmonic, Kilar’s Orawa and Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Sarasota Florida, Van Wezel Hall.

FEB 2: Warsaw Philharmonic, Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Vero Beach, Florida, Community Church.

FEB 3: Warsaw Philharmonic, Kilar”s Orawa and Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Orlando, Florida, Bob Carr Auditorium.

FEB 3: Gorecki: “Miserere” and Mozart’s “Requiem.” Los Angeles Master Chorale, Grant Gershon, conductor. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles Music Center. 135 N. Grand Ave., 213-972-7282. 7:00 p.m. $10-$54.


FEB 4: Andrew Wilde piano recital. Chopin: Ballades Nos. 1-4. Queen Elizabeth Hall. 020-7960-4242. www.rfh.org.uk 7:45 p.m.

FEB 4: Warsaw Philharmonic, Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Naples, Florida.

FEB 5: Warsaw Philharmonic, Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. W. Palm Beach, Florida, Drefoos Hall.

FEB 7: Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1. Melvyn Tan, p. Netherlands SO, Jaap van Zweden, cond. Coventry Warwick Arts Centre, U.K. 8:00 p.m. 024-7652-4524. www.warwickartscentre.co.uk

FEB 7: Warsaw Philharmonic, Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Charleston, South Carolina. Gaillard Auditorium.

FEB 8: Warsaw Philharmonic, Kilar’s Orawa, Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Greensboro, North Carolina, Aycock Auditorium.

FEB 9: Warsaw Philharmonic, Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Durham, North Carolina, Page Auditorium.

FEB 10: Warsaw Philharmonic, Kilar’s Orawa and Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Columbia, South Carolina, Koger Center.

FEB 11: Szymanowski: String Quartet No. 2. Karol Szymanowski String Quartet. Wigmore Hall. l:00 p.m. www.wigmore-hall.org.uk

FEB 11: Warsaw Philharmonic, Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Charlotte, North Carolina, Blumenthal Center.

FEB 12: Serocki: Trombone Concerto. Alain Trudel, trb, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Marco Parisotto, cond. Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Montreal, Canada. 514-842-2112.

FEB 13: Warsaw Philharmonic, Kilar’s Orawa and Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Washington, D.C., Kennedy Center.

FEB 14: Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1. Melvyn Tan, piano. Netherlands SP, Jaap van Zveden, cond. Newcastle City Hall, U.K. www.newcastle.gov.uk

FEB 14: Warsaw Philharmonic, Kilar’s Orawa and Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Wilmington, Delaware, Grand Opera House.

FEB 14, 15: Andras Schiff Piano Recital. Chopin: Sonata No. 3. Also Bach, Mozart, Scarlatti. Wigmore Hall.

FEB 15: Warsaw Philharmonic, Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Zoellner Center.

FEB 15: Simon Trpceski Piano Recital. Chopin: Scherzos Op. 39 and Op. 54. Twiner Simms Concert Hall. Southampton, U.K. 023 8059 5151. www.soton.ac.uk/-turnsims

FEB 16: Warsaw Philharmonic, Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. Brookville, New York, Tilles Center.

FEB 17: Kilar’s Orawa and Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1. Ingrid Fliter, piano. Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. K. Kord, cond. Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City. 212-875-5030 www.lincolncenter.org

FEB 18: Chopin: Scherzos Op. 39 and Op. 54. Simon Trpceski, piano. Wigmore Hall, London.

Warsaw Philharmonic, Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1. New Bedford, Zeiterion Theater.

FEB 20: Warsaw Philharmonic, Kilar’s Orawa and Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1.

FEB 21: Chopin: Andante spianato & Mazurkas Op. 30. Anna Malikova, piano. Wigmore Hall.

FEB 22: Chopin Birthday Concert. Kevin Kenner, piano. San Francisco. 415-474-1608.

FEB 24: Chopin: Mazurkas and Prokofiev & Schubert. Radio broadcast KUSC 91.5 FM, Los Angeles, 10:00 a.m.

FEB 28: Lutosławski: Symphony No. 3. Leonard Slatkin, cond. New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center. New York City.

Our Guest: Joanna Bruzdowicz

Report by Maja Trochimczyk

In January 2002, the Polish Music Center was visited by an important guest: composer Joanna Bruzdowicz, the friend of the PMC since its inception. Bruzdowicz was the second composer to offer her manuscripts to our collection; she was preceded in this sign of generosity only by Witold Lutosławski. The manuscripts of Tre contre tre, for flute, oboe, viola and three percussionists (1979) and Trio dei due mondi, for violin, cello and piano (1980) were included in the Manuscript Exhibition held at the PMC in October 2000.

The composer started her musical career very early – she began to compose at the age of six and to write down her compositions at the age of twelve; thus, she was a child prodigy and, interestingly, later dedicated much of her efforts towards promoting music for the youth. THis is, however, only one aspect of her multifaceted musical personality. A notable part of her oeuvre consists of four operas; she wrote four concerti and numerous chamber pieces, as well as over 25 hours of film music. Her compositions are featured on 12 CDs and over 20 LPs; she has been the subject of TV programs produced in Belgium, France, Germany and Poland.In 2001 Bruzdowicz received the highest distinction from the Polish government, the Order of Polonia Restituta, for her contribution to Polish culture. Promoting Polish music is her passion and she produced hours of radio programs devoted to this subject for radio stations in France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, the U.S. She is a co-founder of various musical organizations: Chopin-Szymanowski Association in Belgium, Jeunesses Musicales in Poland, GIMEP in France, International Encounters in Music in Catalonia. Thanks to her efforts numerous Polish composers received their first performances in Europe and the U.S. One of her most notable projects was a special concert held in December 1985 in the Year of European Music; the concert was devoted to the “forgotten Europe” that is its Eastern part. The Belgium Radio Orchestra performed works by Szymanowski, Schostakovich, Dvorak and Bartok. A live recording from this concert was reviewed across Europe.

Bruzdowicz with Wanda Wilk and Jürgen Tittel.
Photo by Maja Trochimczyk, 2001.

Bruzdowicz spent over 33 years beyond Poland’s borders. She was the only Polish composer and the only woman selected to the final round of 12 composers who were invited to create a new Hymn for the Vatican (a French composer won). Her Stabat Mater written in 1993 for a special ceremony held at Forest Lawn, attended by the representatives of the city and county, and the Polish government, among over one thousand of guests. This choral work is dedicated to Wanda Wilk.


Born This Month

  • 5 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, teacher (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 Łódz and Warsaw, b. 1875)
  • 7 February 1954 – Jan Adam MAKLAKIEWICZ, composer (active in Warsaw, b. 1899)
  • 7 February 1994 – Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI, composer and conductor (b. 1913)
  • 9 February 1959 – Ignacy NEUMARK, composer and conductor (active in Copenhagen, Oslo and Schveningen, b. 1888)
  • 10 February 1905 – Ignacy KRZYŻANOWSKI, pianist and composer (active in Kraków 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 – Józef KOZŁOWSKI, composer (active at the Russian Court in Petersburg, b. 1757)