January 2003

Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 9, no. 1

Polish Music Highlights Of 2002


Several important Polish artists and composers had special birthday anniversaries or commemoration of their deaths through special events in Poland and abroad. The most feted was Wojciech Kilar on his 70th birthday. The National Philharmonic Orchestra toured the U.S. and Canada in Jan & Feb featuring Kilar’s symphonic poem, “Orawa” and Chopin’s Piano Concerto. He was also commissioned to write “Missa Pro Pace” for the orchestra’s 100th anniversary and this work was performed several times during the year and received the Fryderyk Award (the Polish Grammy) for the contemporary music category.

Special programs were held in Poland to commemorate Karol Szymanowski’s 120th birthday and 65th death anniversary. A gala event took place at the Jagiellonian University on 21 October highlighted by the presentation of the 4th and final volume of the Complete Correspondence of Szymanowski, which has been a life-long commitment by author Teresa Chylinska, who had collected 5,061 letters from 1903-1937 in various languages. The last two volumes were published with financial assistance from the Kosciuszko Foundation.

A major event was held in Jan Kiepura’s home town honoring his birth centennial. Henry Vars’ 100th birthday and 25th anniversary of his death was remembered with an article by Yours Truly in November on the internet and in News of Polonia. Bass Bernard Ladysz celebrated his 80th birthday with a gala performance at the National Opera Teatr Wielki with several of his peers who performed with him.

Other birthdays included: Roman Palester, 95th; Irena Pfeiffer, 90th; Kazimierz Serocki, 80th; Andrzej Kurylewicz, 70th; Zbigniew Bargielski & Bernadetta Matuszczak, 65th and Andrzej Dutkiewicz (60th).

The 100th anniversary of the premiere of Paderewski’s opera, “Manru” by the Metropolitan Opera company in February 1902 went unnoticed.

The year 2002 also marked the tenth anniversary of the return of Ignace Jan Paderewski’s body to Poland and this was immortalized by a resolution passed in the Congress of the United States honoring the achievements of the great piano virtuoso, statesman, composer and humanitarian. A concert was held at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.

Awards for Polish Composers and Musicians

Polish pianist, Piotr Anderszewski, was the winner of the $300,000 prestigious Gilmore Artist Award. A former USC music student, Piotr was also featured in BBC music magazine in May and his recent CD was selected as “Pick of the Month.”

The Minister of Culture Awards for 2002 in Poland were given to composer/conductor Henryk Czyz, bass Bernard Ladysz and composer Boguslaw Schaffer.

Polish pianist, Piotr Paleczny, won the Golden Disc award ( for the second time) for his recording of the four ballades and Fantasy in F-minor by Chopin.

Fifteen year old pianist Stanislaw Drzewiecki was the youngest artist in Poland to receive the Golden Disc award.

Stefan Stuligrosz, founder of the Polish Nightingales, received an honorary doctorate degree from the Poznan Academy of Music. Regina Smendzianka, pianist, and Stefan Sutkowski, director of the Warsaw Chamber Opera, received Honorary doctorate degrees from the Chopin Academy of Music.

Wojciech Kilar received an award from the Society of Friends of Silesia.

Contralto Ewa Podleś was one of three recipients of the Hiolski Award for best operatic performance of the past season for Rossini’s “Tancredi” performed at the National Opera in Warsaw.

Professor Adrian Thomas of Cardiff University, Wales, won the top prize in the Stefan and Wanda Wilk Research in Polish Music competition @ USC. He received the $1,000 prize and a certificate for his study of “File 750: Composers, Politics, and the Festival of Polish Music (1951).” The student prize of $500 was divided ex aequo between two papers: Slawomir Dobrzanski (U. of Connecticut DMA student) for “Maria Szymanowska and Frederic Chopin: Parallelism and Influence” and Katarzyna Grochowska (U. of Chicago, Ph.D. student) for “From Milan to Gdansk: The Story of a Dedication.”

Berenika Zakrzewski, 19-year old Polish-Canadian pianist and sophomore at Harvard University, was awarded the prestigious Arthur W. Foote Prize in February.

Two students of William Wellborn won the two top prizes of the 2002 Chopin Foundation of San Francisco Piano Competition . They were Aaron Rosenthal, first prize, and Kevin Chen, second.

Gorecki’s Third Symphony on Nonesuch with Zinman and Upshaw was selected as one of the Top Ten Discs of the Decade by BBC Music Magazine. Polish conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s rendition of the Bruckner symphonies was also included.

Murray Perahia’s Chopin’s Etudes was selected as “Pick of the Month” by BBC and “Editor’s Choice” and “Record of the Month” by Gramophone magazine.

Gramophone’s David Fanning selected for his Critic’s Choice award the Chandos’ recording of Mieczyslaw Karlowicz’s rarely heard three tone-poems played by the BBC Philharmonic with Yan Pascal Tortelier, conducting.

Cantores Minores from Warsaw directed by Joseph Herter won the Petr Eben Prize and the Gold Award for best choir in the men’s chamber category at the 12th International Fest of Advent & Christmas Music in Prague.

Miscellanious Highlights

A new book, “Lutoslawski Studies,” edited by Zbigniew Skowron, professor of musicology at the U. of Warsaw, was released by Oxford University Press.

Kazimierz Gierzod, former director of the Chopin Academy, was re-elected president for the next five years of the Chopin Society in Warsaw.

Nina Polan, artistic director and Pablo Zinger, pianist and music director, of the Polish Theatre Institute of New York, presented a recital, “The Complete Songs of Paderewski.”

The Polish record label DUX completed the last in a series of four CDs of the music of Paderewski.

A series of music events in conjunction with an art exhibit “Leonardo da Vinci and the Splendor of Poland was shown at the Milwaukee Art Museum from 13 Sep-24 Nov in which the music of Szymanowski (Stabat Mater) was featured with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Polish conductor, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.

WThe Academic Choir of the Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan gave a concert for the U.S. Senate in July and toured the U.S. and Canada in August.

Fifteen year old pianist Stanislaw Drzewiecki performed at the Fifth International Laureates Music Festival in Los Angeles held at the Colburn School of Performing Arts.

The International Conference held at the National Chopin Institute in Warsaw, organized by Grzegorz Michalski, featured Chopin specialists Jean Jacques Eigeldinger, John Rink, Jim Samson, Jeffrey Kallberg, Zofia Chechlinska, Jan Steszewski, Mieczyslaw Tomaszewski, Pawel Kaminski, Christophe Grabowski, Maciej Golab and Wojciech Nowik.

The Polish Composer’s Union presented a series of concerts called Portrait of composers from the 9th to the 11th, December 2002 in Warsaw, Poland. The concerts were dedicated to the music of: Zbigniew Penherski, Hanna Kulenty, Sławomir Czarnecki, Zbigniew Bujarski,Jacek Grudzień, and Krzesimir Dębski.

Premieres of Polish Music

Hanna Kulenty’s new chamber work, “Crossing Lines” premiered in Munich at the Bayerische Stadt Opera in March and her Trumpet Concerto premiered at the Warsaw Autumn Festival in September, along with Maciej Jablonski’s IV Symphony.

Gorecki’s “Quassi una fantasia for String Orchestra had its premiere in Madrid in October during the Polish Year in Spain .”

Krzysztof Penderecki’s piano concerto, “Resurrection” commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, had its first performance at Carnegie Hall with Emanuel Ax as soloist.

Krzysztof Meyer’s Concerto for clarinet and orchestra premiered at the 125th anniversary of the Duisburg Philharmonic featuring Eduard Brunner, clarinet. The composer’s “Impromptu Multicolore” for two pianos premiered at the Lucerne Festival Piano.

The world premiere of conductor Jerzy Maksymiuk’s symphonic work, Arbor Vitae” took place in September with the Bialystok Philharmonic.

“Msza gornicza” (Coalminer’s Mass) by Andrzej Marko premiered in the city of Katowice, Poland.

Pawel Mykietyn’s “Harpsichord concerto,” and Zbigniew Bargielski’s “Plonacy krysztal” (Flaming Crystal) for harpsichord and tape premiered in October as part of the Polish Year in Salzburg.

Pawel Mykietyn’s “Harpsichord concerto,” and Zbigniew Bargielski’s “Plonacy krysztal” (Flaming Crystal) for harpsichord and tape premiered in October as part of the Polish Year in Salzburg.

Polish Music Center at USC

The annual Paderewski Distinguished Lecture Series was introduced by Maja Trochimczyk, director, on 3 May at USC featured composer/pianist Zygmunt Krauze with the cooperation of Krakusy, the local folk dance ensemble. The inaugural event was attended by a capacity audience.

An exhibition “Paderewski: Portrait of a Musician” was opened at Newman Recital Hall Gallery at USC on 17 September and will close on 10, January, 2003. Curated by Maja Trochimczyk and Ljiljana Grubisic, the exhibit was open free to the public daily. It included historical photos from 1890-1930s, manuscripts, piano roll recordings from the 1910s, samples of Paderewski’s editorial work (the Chopin edition and Century Library of Music), concert programs from the piano virtuoso’s tours 1920-24, advertisements for Steinway, Victor Victrola, Aeolian Company and books and recordings.

Volume 6 of the Polish Music History Series, “After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music,” edited by Maja Trochimczyk was published.

Prominent visitors at the PMC: composer Joanna Bruzdowicz and her husband, Jurgen Tittel, in February and the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Przemyslaw Grudzinski, along with Consul General Krzysztof Kasprzyk and Culture consul Roman Czarny in October.

We gratefully acknowledge several interesting articles that were submitted to our Monthly Newsletter on the internet by Joseph Herter, conductor of the Boys Choir in Warsaw, who wrote about Sir Edward Elgar and his “Polonia” symphony, and about composers Zygmunt Stojowski, Paderewski and Piotr Moss.

The first issue of the 2002 online musicology journal, Polish Music Journal (found on our web-site), was devoted entirely to Paderewski.

Krakusy Dance Ensemble appeared for the second time at USC. This time in October as part of the Los Angeles Arts Open House.

Several substantial donations of materials (books, scores, letters) were received. For details see the July issue of the PMC monthly newsletter. Special thanks to the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Joseph Herter of Warsaw, Andre Laks and Piotr Lachert of France, Rose Kruszewski of Florida, Walter H. Lasinski of Philadelphia, Henry Stojowski of New York and locally to Marty Cepielik (News of Polonia), Eugene Ciejka (founder of “Iskry”), Teresa Domanska, Marek Zebrowski and Maja Trochimczyk.

Anniversaries Of Polish Composers In 2003

by Wanda Wilk

The three major contemporary composers Lutoslawski, Gorecki and Penderecki will have birthday celebrations in this new year: the late Lutoslawski would have been 90 and Gorecki and Penderecki will be celebrating their 70th. Composer Ludomir Rozycki will mark a dual celebration 120th birthday and 50th anniversary of his death.

Other important dates beginning from the oldest: Jerzy Gablenz (115), Stanislaw Wiechowicz (110), Jerzy Lefeld (105), Jerzy Fitelberg (100), Witold Rudzinski and Irena Garztecka (90), Andrzej Bachleda and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski (80), Zbigniew Bujarski (70), Zygmunt Krauze (65), Joanna Bruzdowicz and Krzysztof Meyer (60). Aleksander Michalowski and Antoni Szalowski died 65 and 30 years ago, respectively.


TV KCET In Los Angeles Ends Year With Gorecki

KCET (Channel 28 and 6) broadcast a program from Poland, “A Thousand Years of Music and Spirit” at 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve with Henryk Gorecki’s “Bogurodzica” and Beethoven from Krakow performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir conducted by Gilbert Levine. In their press release KCET wrote, “Set against the backdrop of Krakow Poland amidst the majesty of St. Mary’s Basilica this exceptional concert has an underlying theme – that despite past spiritual discord , racism and religious wars the New Year will be about finding goodness in one another.”

Gorechi At The Top

The LA Weekly listed highlights in music in LA of the past decade and for the year 1997 was sure to mention Polish composer Henryk Gorecki conducting his Third Symphony at USC. In 1998 Mark Swed of the LA Times had already named this performance as THE main music event of 1997.

Roman Polanski Film Opens To Great Acclaim

A new film “The Pianist” is being shown in Los Angeles at the Loew’s Cineplex theatres. It was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for “Best Picture” and “Best Actor.” Newsweek called it one of the best pictures of the year. Selected “Best Picture” by the Boston Society of Film Critics and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle. It received the Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival and Pawel Edelman received the “European Cinematographer 2002” Award in November from the European Film Academy in Rome.

The film is based on the true story of Polish pianist and composer, Wladyslaw Szpilman, who worked for years in Polish Radio and who survived WWII by hiding in the ruins of Warsaw with the help of his Polish friends and finally spared through the kindness of a German officer who heard him play Chopin. The book written by the late Szpilman who died just a few years ago is highly recommended reading.

Vocal Competition Announced

April 30th is the deadline for the Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition sponsored by the American Council for Polish Clubs. It is open to U.S. citizens of Polish descent, high school graduates up to age 32, male or female, who are still pursuing higher educational study in voice.

A tape cassette recording with piano accompaniment of 45-55 minutes requires arias and art songs in two languages other than English. The winner will receive $2000 and will perform a full recital at the 2003 Convention of the ACPC on 7 August in Minneapolis, MN. Anyone interested in the address for application and cassette submission email me at wilk@usc.edu.

Calendar of Events

JAN 5: Polish Christmas Carols. Lilianna Osses Adams. Polish Club, 3040 22nd St. @ Shotwell. San Francisco, 1:30 p.m.

JAN 10: Chopin Cello Works. Clive Greensmith, cello. Alan Gampel, piano. Kosciuszko Foundation. 15 E. 65th St., New York City. 8:00 p.m. $25 includes reception. 212-734-2130.

JAN 12: Szymanowski (Three Songs) and Chopin (Piano Concerto No. 2). Ewa Podleś, contralto. Ian Hobson, piano and cond. Sinfonia Varsovia. Carnegie Hall, NY. 2:00 p.m. $19, 35, 45, 55, 61. Special discount to Kosc. Foundation members. 212-247-7800.

JAN 23: Moniuszko: “Verbum Nobile.” Polish Theatre Institute. NY premiere of the comic opera. Kosciuszko Foundation. 7:30 p.m. $25 (advance tickets $20). 212-724- 9323.

JAN 26: Chopin, Schubert & Liszt. Stanislaw Drzewiecki, piano recital. Carnegie Hall. 2:00 p.m. 212-247-7800.


by Wanda Wilk

New Recordings

A newer recording of the Polish Christmas carols by the Polish State Folk Song & Dance Ensemble, “Mazowsze” called “Polskie koledy i pastoralki” (Polish carols and shepherd’s songs) was produced in 1998 and has been more widely distributed within the last two years. It differs from the first recording of many years ago in that it has an additional eight carols and shepherd’s songs added to the newly interpreted versions of the previous eleven carols, according to an article in the December issue of PolAm Journal of New York. It also lists sources for its purchases, either directly from Poland (“Mazowsze” Karolin, 05-805 Otrebusy) or from the Polish Art Center in Hamtramck, MI (www.polartcenter.com).

It also features a long article about another remake of Christmas carols. The original book of musical scores, called “Hej koleda” was published in 1947 by the Felician Sisters of Villa Maria Convent in Buffalo, NY. A nephew of one of the nuns received a copy of this book from his aunt when he was a young piano student. The family used the book throughout the fifty years in their possession. Now, a retired engineer, Michael Blachowicz, “decided to create a modern recording of this beautiful old music. He did this by ‘teaching’ a computer to play all the parts of these songs on various instruments. He orchestrated the scores for instruments and chorus, thereby preserving the original harmonies and creating an excellent sing-a-long recording. As a result of these efforts a compact disc was produced, containing the complete Polish language lyrics for all the stanzas of each song. The lyrics are contained in a small booklet included in the case of this 68-minute CD. The discs are sold in music and record stores in the Buffalo area and are also available directly from Blachowicz’s mail order business, the Darien Disc Co., PO Box 128, Dept A, Darien, NY 14040. 585- 547-9409. Priced at $14.95. NY residents need to add 8% sales tax.


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)
  • 26 January 1886 – 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)
  • 26 January 1946 – Ignacy FRIEDMAN, composer and virtuoso pianist (b. 1882)