April 2005

Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 11, no. 4

PMC News

Marta Ptaszy—ska at USC!

Marta Ptaszynska

The Polish Music Center at USC Thornton School of Music proudly presents the distinguished composer and performer, Marta PtaszyÒska, as the featured speaker in the Annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital in October 2005. USC faculty and students, and all lovers of contemporary Polish music in Southern California will have a chance to meet the composer, hear performances of her works in and around Los Angeles, and participate in several exciting events scheduled to take place during Marta PtaszyÒska’s visit.

Marta PtaszyÒska, an accomplished percussionist and currently a professor of composition at the University of Chicago, is one of the most prominent Polish composers in the world. Her extensive catalogue of compositions includes numerous orchestral works, chamber pieces, compositions for choral and orchestral ensembles, and solo works, prominently featuring percussion instruments.

PtaszyÒska will be joined at her USC appearance by Amy Dissanayake, a young San Diego pianist, who specializes in performances of modern music. Ms. Dissanayake gave the February 2005 world premiere of PtaszyÒska’s latest work, Pianophonia, in Chicago, where it was called “an instant classic” by the Chicago Times reviewer John von Rhein and enthusiastically received by the public. Pianophonia was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s program “MusicNOW,” and will be featured at the 2005 Paderewski Lecture-Recital.

This fascinating three-movement work was inspired by paintings of Wassily Kandinsky, Yves Tanguy, and Paul Klee. PtaszyÒska says that “While looking at a painting of Kandinsky, Tanguy, or Klee, I am able to hear the music which for me exists on canvas in its frozen state. . . I am able to associate the given painting with the specific arrangements of sound structures, which can be transformed into a musical idea. Obviously, my compositions are not literary descriptions of paintings, they are only musical visions derived from viewing these paintings.”

Pianophonia’s first movement, Improvisation with Blue, was inspired by Kandinsky’s canvass and his theories of color, where the blue symbolizes spiritual harmony. PtaszyÒska interprets Kandinsky’s visual statement as “music of celestial harmonies achieved mainly by specific chord structures, chord progressions, and their harmonic mutations.”

Yves Tanguy’s surrealist painting, Steps of Silence, serves as the second movement, and PtaszyÒska’s musical illustration of the imaginary landscape is achieved “through the harmonic construction with continuous reiterations of seconds, tritones, and sevenths in a very steady and slow motion.”

The luminous and pointillistic painting Ad Parnassum by Paul Klee is the concluding movement of Pianophonia. PtaszyÒska’s vivid musical imagination renders the painting’s delicate texture of tiny dots, the luminous orange circle, and the elegantly spare contour lines as “a continuous sustained repetitions from the high register to the lowest and back, in accordance with the straight linear gesture of the painting.”

In addition to featuring Pianophonia at the Paderewski Lecture-Recital, the Polish Music Center is planning performances of selected chamber works from PtaszyÒska’s opus, presented by USC students and other music students in Southern California. PtaszyÒska will also conduct master classes in composition and percussion, and assist in student rehearsals of her works. In addition, the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club of Los Angeles will host a meeting-discussion with Marta PtaszyÒska during her visit in the area. Please mark your calendars for Friday, October 14th 2005, 8PM, at Newman Recital Hall on the USC campus for Marta PtaszyÒska’s featured guest appearance. In the coming months we will keep our readers informed on preparations for this very important cultural event.


Marta PtaszyÒska at USC
Friday, October 14, 2005—Paderewski Lecture-Recital
Alfred Newman Recital Hall, USC Campus


Penderecki Conducts Penderecki

22 April 2005, Yale University

Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the best known and most prolific composers of our time, will conduct the combined Yale forces of the Camerata, directed by Marguerite Brooks; the Glee Club, directed by Jeffrey Douma; and the Philharmonia, directed by Shinik Hahm; with the Elm City Girls Choir, directed by Rebecca Rosenbaum, in a performance of his monumental Credo. The culmination of the conductor’s week- long residency at Yale.

The Credo is a massive sacred work for chorus and orchestra. Characteristic of the later choral works of Penderecki, it shows an increasingly softer, 19th-century harmonic bias, incorporates Polish hymns (in the “Crucifixus”), and the influence of Bach is very much in evidence. This is the first performance of the work in the northeast United States.

Born in Poland in 1933, Penderecki has written nearly forty orchestral works including five symphonies, various small-scale orchestral compositions, and several solo concertos, as well as chamber music, numerous vocal works, five operas, and a film score. Penderecki enjoys an international reputation as a composer and as a conductor, both of his own works and those of other composers. Penderecki has also received honorary doctorates and professorships from universities all over the world, including Yale University, where he was Visiting Professor of Composition from 1973 to 1978.

  • 7 pm: Pre-concert talk with the composer—Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library (121 Wall St.)
  • 8 pm: Performance of Penderecki’s Credo—Woolsey Hall, New Haven (corner Grove and College Streets).

Both events are free and open to the public. Presented by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. Information available at 203.432.5062 and http://www.yale.edu/ism/.

New Music In Katowice

The First Performances Festival—a festival of the latest, newest music—will take place on April 8-10, 2005. Organized by the National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, the idea is the brainchild of Joanna Wnuk-Nazar, the Program Director and General Director of the orchestra. This three day event of seven concerts (including two chamber performances,) will make Katowice not only the capital city of the province of Silesia but the musical center of Poland.

The Festival will introduce the audiences to three generations of Polish composers. 30 composers will present their works, scored for traditional ensembles as well as electronic media. A significant representation of works by Silesian composers will be featured. Every composition played will be having its Polish premiere, and in some cases also a world premiere. Besides the National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the festival stage will be shared by Tychy Chamber Orchestra, the Katowice vocal ensemble Camerata Silesia, The Silesian String Quartet, the Krakow Radio Choir, and several distinguished soloists. Professors and alumni of Katowice Music Academy will also perform. Thanks to the participation of the Polish Radio, the festival concerts will be broadcast to the countries of the European Radio Union, thus gaining an international audience as well.

For a full listing of the performances included in this Festival visit www.nospr.org.

“A Chopin Extravaganza”

April 9th & 10th, 2005
Nordstrom Recital Hall, Seattle WA

The Northwest Council of the Chopin Foundation and the esteemed Northwest Chamber Orchestra are teaming up to stage not one, but both of Chopin’s concertos. And to top it off they have selected not just any pianist, but the outstanding Northwest pianist, Craig Sheppard! Mr. Sheppard is well-known to Seattle audiences for his brilliant performances and marvelous interpretive style.

Visit www.chopinnw.org for more information.

Wroclaw Philarmonic—US Tour

2005 marks the 50th anniversary of the W. Lutos≥awski Philharmonic Orchestra. To celebrate, the Philharmonic will go on tour of America, beginning on the 21st of April. Five concerts will be held from April 21st until April 26th in Philadelphia, Trenton, New York and Goshen. The Orchestra will be conducted by Mariusz Smolij (pictured above) and soloists will include eminent Polish musicians: pianist Stanis≥aw Drzewiecki and singers Jadwiga RappÈ, Ewa Biegas, Piotr Nowacki and Adam Zdunikowski (pictured below). The program will feature, among others, Piano Concerto in e minor by Chopin, Ma≥a suita [Little Suite] by Lutos≥awski and Symphony no. 3 in D Major by Tchaikovsky.

For a list of tour dates and locations as well as extensive biographies for the orchestra, conductor and soloists, visit www.infochopin.pl.

Kulenty In Canada

On April 14th, Soundstreams Canada and CBC Radio’s Two New Hours present Sonic Intuition: the music of AndrÈ Ristic (Canada), and Hanna Kulenty (Poland/Netherlands). An extraordinary evening of music featuring new works by Ristic and Kulenty. Performances by Ristic, Kulenty, Joseph Petric, Annalee Patipatanakoon, Carol Fujino, Doug Perry and Roman Borys, as well as Holland’s Marco Blaauw playing the world’s only double-belled trumpet! The Young Artist Overture will give pre-concert performance (7 p.m.), featuring Toronto’s best young musicians.

Thursday, 14 April 2005 | 8:00 pm
250 Front Street West, Toronto
Phone (416) 205-5555

LA Polish Film Festival

21-28 April 2005

The Polish Film Festival Los Angeles is an annual event that gives Hollywood the unique opportunity to celebrate the achievements of talented Polish film makers and actors. This year, the 6th annual Festival will open on the 21st of April at the Directors Guild in America with the World Premiere of Angel in Love [Zakochany Aniol] by Artur Wiecek (Angel in Cracow) with Krzysztof Globisz and Anna Radwan in main roles. Also presented that evening will be a new film by Tomek Baginski: The Art of Falling [Sztuka spadania].

The following seven days of this “holiday of Polish cinema” will take place at the Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theatre in West Hollywood. This will be a chance to see the most recent achievements of Polish cinema: Ubu The King [Ubu krÛl] by Piotr Szulkin, Warszawa by Dariusz Gajewski, The Welts [Pregi] by Magdalena Piekorz, Torn [Zerwany] by Jacek Filipiak, Zurek by Ryszard Brylski, Long Weekend [D≥ugi weekend] by Robert GliÒski (Hi, Tereska), Never Again [Nigdy w zyciu] by Ryszard Zatorski, Children of Lenningradsky by Hanna Polak & Andrzej Celinski (2005 Oscar nominee in Documentary Short Subject Category), and many others.

Five films by Janusz Zaorski will also be screened: Tree Doctor [Lekarz drzew]—World Premier, Saved by a Miracle [Cudownie ocalony], The Bodensee [Jezioro Bodenskie], The Baritone[Baryton], A Room with a View on the Sea [Pokoj z widokiem na morze].

Many major figures in Polish filmmaking will be present for the festival, including Katarzyna Figura, Krzysztof Globisz, Jerzy Antczak, Jan Nowicki, Ma≥gorzata Potocka, Jan Frycz, Janusz Zaorski, Krzysztof Kolberger, Magdalena Piekorz and more.

For a complete listing of events, please visit www.polishfilmla.org/program2005.html.

Related Events

Saturday, April 23, 2005, starts at 12:00 pm
San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park

  • Never in My Life by Ryszard Zatorski; with Danuta Stenka and Artur Zmijewski
  • Squint Your Eyes by Andrzej Jakimowski, awarded “Best Directorial Debut” at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia; with Zbigniew Zamachowski
  • Let’s Make Ourselves a Grandchild by Piotr Weresniak; with Zbigniew Zamachowski, Malgorzata Kozuchowska and Pawel Delag
  • Chopin – Desire for Love by Academy Award nominee Jerzy Antczak, awarded “Best Drama and Best Cinematography” at the Houston Film Festival; with Danuta Stenka, Piotr Adamczyk and Jadwiga Baranska

All movies will be in Polish with English subtitles. Program subject to change without prior notice. There will be a gala after the screenings, to promote and celebrate Polish culture! For more information, visit www.poloniasandiego.org/SanDiegoPolishFilmFestival.htm, email sandiegopolishfilmfestival@hotmail.com or call (619) 934-8288.

31 March – 28 April 2005
Riverside Studios: Crisp Rd | Hamersmith | London W6 | tel 020 8237 1111

For the third time the Polish Cultural Institute UK gives you the opportunity to discover the latest, fresh and original creations of Polish cinematography in an all-embracing programme of the newest feature, short, fiction, animation and documentary films. The Polish Film Festival in London offers many exciting attractions: 23 UK film premiers, master classes and screen talks involving remarkable Polish film makers, a book launch and special screenings of classic films.

The highpoint of the festival is a retrospective of Lech Majewski‘s films presented fully for the first time in the UK! Majewski is truly a Renaissance man—poet, writer, painter, set and costume designer and moreover, an unconventional, experimental film, opera and theatre director. He creates an ingenious, imaginative world of aesthetically striking images, which fascinate and captivate with their uniqueness.

This individuality is also evident in the work of numerous emerging young filmmakers who express straightforwardly their disillusionment with the new reality of the post-communist transition phase in Poland. This new generation of Polish cinema is completely free from the obsessions of tradition and history, distant from their eminent predecessors and indifferent to their mission. They speak for themselves with honesty and sincerity and, with their uncompromising attitude, are like the film makers of cinema of moral anxiety’s movement in the 70’s. Many of them began their career making documentary films during the last decade when there was growing interest and a rebirth of this genre in Poland and abroad.

The development of animated films is also a strong and vivid phenomenon in Polish cinema. A number of very talented young artists explore new methods and technology, still being inspired by the fascinating work of old masters. The compelling programme of documentaries as well as animations by different generations of film makers is therefore a core part of the festival.

The 3rd Polish Film Festival is a chance to explore the variety and richness of new Polish cinema, its connection with tradition and its interaction with global trends. Check out the extensive list of films to be screened and their descriptions at http://www.polishculture.org.uk/EVENTS_2005/3rd_film_festival.html.

34th ANNUAL NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS FESTIVAL: Screening of The Welts [Pregi] by Magdalena Piekorz

  • Monday, March 28, 6 pm (MoMA’s Titus 1 Theater, 11 West 53rd Street)
  • Tuesday, March 29, 6 pm and 8:30 pm (Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th St., Plaza level, Lincoln Center)
    Magdalena Piekorz will be present for Q&A at all three screenings.

This influential 12-day event, showcasing the finest in new film making talent from around the world, with 30 works from 22 countries, runs through Sunday, April 3. For full festival schedule and program information, visit www.filmlinc.com/ndnf.

Stanko on Top of “The World”

Polish jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stanko has just finished his US tour with his band, the Tomasz Stanko Quartet. During his last few days here, Stanko was featured on National Public Radio’s “The World”. Stanko discussed his path thus far, his compositional and performing styles, and where he’s headed next. A written synopsis of the interview, as well as an audio file of the program, are available at www.theworld.org/globalhits/2005/03/24.shtmll.

Musica Sacra Festival

The International Festival of Sacral Music, organized by the Musica Sacra association in Warsaw, has begun. The festival was inaugurated on March 20 at the Warsaw-Praga Cathedral with a Lenten concert, featuring the music project Stabat Mater Mystery Play by jazz composer W≥odzimierz Pawlik. The play, well-known from other sacral music festivals, is built around Gregorian chants and music impressionism.

Concerts of the 2005 festival

  • March 20-Lenten concert
  • April 10-Masterpieces of choral music
    • Arvo Pärt – Solfeggio
    • Gabriel Fauré – Messe Basse
    • John Tavener – Funeral Ikos
    • Arvo Pärt – BogorÛditse DjÈvo
    • Peteris Vasks – Pater Noster
    • Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy – 3 Volkslieder
    • Henryk Miko≥aj GÛrecki (1933) – Szeroka Woda Op. 79
  • May 15-Special concert: M˙sica Sacra del siglo XX (Sacral Music of the 20th Century)
  • June 12-Organ-chamber concert
  • Oct. 23-Organ concert
  • Nov. 26-Concert of the winners of the International Musica Sacra Competition for Composers
  • Dec. 11-Oratorio concert featuring the National Philharmonic Choir and the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra

Information for this article was taken from the Warsaw Voice at http://www.warsawvoice.pl/view/7984.


US National Chopin Winners

National Chopin Piano Competition, the only major music competition in the United States open exclusively to American pianists, has been held in Miami every five years since 1975. The Seventh National Chopin Piano Competition took place March 5th to March 13th, 2005. Its top winners, besides being awarded substantial cash prizes, are sent to Warsaw, Poland, to participate in the International Chopin Piano Competition – the oldest and the most prestigious piano competition in the world. The First Prize winner tours the United States.

First Prize: Mei-Ting Sun

Winner, Best Performance of Polonaise

Winner, Best Performance of Concerto

  • Second Prize: Rachel Kudo
  • Third Prize: Sean Kennard
  • Fourth Prize: Esther Park
  • Winner, Best Performance of Mazurka: Igor Lovichinsky

For more information about the winners, visit www.chopin.org/2005winners.htm.

Magin Piano Competition Winners

The eleventh International Piano Competition named after pianist Milosz Magin took place between 17 and 22 March 2005 in Paris. The winners of the competition in the Concert Performer Catagory were:

  • Grand Prize: Ryan MAC EVOY-McCULLOUGH (USA)
    In addition to the prize of 2,000 Euros, Ryan has been offered a recording with Les Amis de la Musique Polonaise, recitals in Chopin’s birth home at Zelazowa Wola and at the International de Piano Festival “Floralies musicales – Musique en fleurs” in Powsin, and an invitation to the masterclasses associated with “Rencontres Internationales FrÈdÈric Chopin” in Nohant (July 23-30, 2005).
  • Second Prize: Hiroko TANI (Japan)
  • Third Prize: Natsumi KOGA (Japan)
  • Interpretation prize— Sonata no. 2 by Milosz MAGIN: Tatiana NIKITINA (Russia)
  • Interpretation prize— Ondineand Toccata by Maurice RAVEL: NunÈ HAYRAPETYAN (Armenia)
  • Finalist Diploma: Satoko TSUJINO-KARLOWICZ (Japan)

For prizes in the student categories of the competition, visit www.concours-magin.com/palmares2005.htm.

Gondek CD Wins Fryderyk

“SZYMANOWSKI – The Complete Songs for voice and piano” (Channel Classics), has won the 2004 Fryderyk prize in the “Best Recording of Polish Music” category. The “Fryderyk” is the Polish equivalent of the American “Grammy”. This recording features Polish-American singer and UCLA professor, Juliana Gondek (pictured at left), and pianist Reinild Mees.

Internet News

FITA Focuses On Poland


An interesting new collection of internet links having to do with various aspects of Poland’s culture, history and economics.

Walska and Her “Lotusland”


This is a fun Los Angeles Times article about the eccentricities, botanical and otherwise, of Polish-born opera singer Ganna Walska (1887-1984), who retired from the stage and from marriage to an estate in Montecito, where she created drama with plants instead. Walska, who “painted with plants,” had no intention of going unnoticed in retirement, though, and lucky for us, her breathtaking creations are maintained and on display by appointment still today.

Visit the Lotusland website for more information: www.lotusland.org.

Calendar of Events

APR 2: Wieniawski: Scherzo-Tarantelle. Jonathan Sun, violin. Chamber Music Institute Panel Audition Recital. CMI Studio, 10711 Ashworth Circle, Cerritos, CA USA. 7:30 pm. For more information, visit http://home.earthlink.net/~chambermusic/events.html

APR 2: Yundi Li, Piano (winner of the last International F. Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw) with the American Youth Symphony. Alexander Treger, Conductor. Chopin – Piano Concerto No. 1. Carnegie Hall, NYC, NY USA. 8:00 pm. www.carnegiehall.org

APR 2: Chopin: Etudes Op. 25 & Beethoven sonatas. Freddy Kempf, piano. Moor Park School, Ludlow, UK.

APR 3: Muczynski: Sonata for flute and piano, Op.14. Chamber Music Palisades Concert. Dabney Lounge, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA USA. 3:30 pm. http://events.caltech.edu/events/event-1525.html.

APR 3: Henryk GÛrecki’s Totus Tuus, performed by the Occidental Glee Clubs. Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, 7304 Jordan Avenue, Canoga Park, CA USA. 4:00 pm. For information and advance tickets, call (818) 887-6101.

APR 3: Music of Bach, Szymanowski & Chopin. Piotr Anderszewski, piano. Sunday Gala, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, UKwww.rfh.org.uk. Broadcast live at BBC Radio 3, 2:00 – 3:30.

APR 4-6: Great Chopin Artists Andrzej Jasinski, Lidia Grychtolowna, Jerzy Stryjniak present Master Classes at the Piano Salon at Yamaha Artist Services, 689 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, NYC, NY USA. 3:00 pm. www.polishculture-nyc.org.

APR 5: Soprano Stephanie Tennill will perform the US Premiere of Szymon Laks’s Aniolowe lica. Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexinton Avenue @ 54th Street, NYC, NY USA.

APR 7: Great Chopin Artists Andrzej Jasinski, Lidia Grychtolowna, Jerzy Stryjniak present a joint concert at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland, 233 Madison Ave., NYC, NY USA. 7:15 pm. www.polishculture-nyc.org.

APR 8: Great Chopin Artists Andrzej Jasinski, Lidia Grychtolowna, Jerzy Stryjniak present a joint concert at the New York Society for Ethical Culture – 64th street and Central Park West, NYC, NY USA. 7:30 pm. www.polishculture-nyc.org.

APR 8-10: National Polish Radio Orchestra of Katowice, “First Performances Festival ñ Polish Modern Music” G. Fitelberg Concert Hall, Upper Silesia Cultural Centre, Katowice, Poland.

APR 9&10: “A Chopin Extravaganza” with pianist Craig Sheppard and the Northwest Chamber Orchestra. Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Symphony Hall, Seattle, WA, USA. See above.

APR 10: Chamber concert of Polish composers, as part of the “Celebrating Chopin” Festival at Azuza Pacific University, Azuza, CA USA. Munson Chapel, 7:30 pm. (626) 815-3846. www.apu.edu/music/concerts/schedules.

APR 11: Evgeny Kissin Recital at Carnegie Hall, playing Chopin, Medtner, and Stravinsky. NYC, NY USA. 8:00 pm. www.carnegiehall.org.

APR 12: Great Chopin Artists Andrzej Jasinski, Lidia Grychtolowna, Jerzy Stryjniak present a joint concert at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX USA. 7:00 pm. www.polishculture-nyc.org.

APR 14: Sonic Intuition: the music of AndrÈ Ristic and Hanna Kulenty. Kulenty will be performing. Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West, Toronto Canada. 8:00 pm. Phone (416) 205-5555 orhttp://glenngouldstudio.cbc.ca/0504.html#apr14.

APR 15: Music of Chopin & Schubert. Grigory Wokolov, piano. Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, UKwww.rfh.org.uk.

APR 21-28: Polish Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA USA. See aboveor event websitefor more information.

APR 21: Wroc≥aw Philharmonic 50th Anniversary US Tour. Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA USA. 8:00 pm. See www.infochopin.plfor details.

APR 22: Penderecki conducts his Credo, with Yale Philharmonia, Yale Camerata and Elm City Girls Choir. Woolsey Hall, New Haven, CT USA. Pre-concert lecture – 7 pm, Concert – 8 pm. See above.

APR 22: Wroc≥aw Philharmonic 50th Anniversary US Tour. Villa Victoria Academy, Trenton, NJ USA. 8:00 pm. See www.infochopin.plfor details.

APR 23: Concert with Sean Kennard, 3rd Prize Winner of the 7th National Chopin Piano Competition. Broward County Main Library, 100 S Andrews Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA. 7:00 pm.

APR 24: Concert with Sean Kennard, 3rd Prize Winner of the 7th National Chopin Piano Competition. Granada Presbyterian Church, 950 University Dr., Coral Gables, FL, USA. 3:00 pm.

APR 24: Wroc≥aw Philharmonic 50th Anniversary US Tour. Avery Fisher Hall Lincoln Center, NYC, NY USA. 8:00 pm. See www.infochopin.plfor details.

APR 24: Chopin. Maurizio Pollini, piano. Royal Festival Hall, London, UKwww.rfh.org.uk.

APR 25: Music of Lutos≥awski, Bach & Brahms. Heinrich Schiff, vc. Roger Vignoles, p. Lunchtime Concert live from Wigmore Hall, London, UK. 1-2 p.m. www.wigmore-hall.org.uk.

APR 26: Wroc≥aw Philharmonic 50th Anniversary US Tour. Goshen College Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen, IN USA. 8:00 pm. See www.infochopin.plfor details.

APR 28: Chopin Ballade No. 4 & music of Schubert, Dutilleux & Takamitsu. Sam Armstrong, piano. Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, UKwww.rncm.ac.uk.

APR 29: Preisner: Film Music. Warsaw Symphony Orchestra, Krzysztof Kieslowski, cond. Performance Channel, UK. 8:05 p.m.


Polish Radio Award Concert

The Polish Radio has conferred its awards for the best performance of mazurkas since the inception of the International F. Chopin Piano Competition, i.e. since 1927. The elite circle of the Polish Radio award winners has included the late Prof. Halina Czerny-Stefanska, Fou Ts’Ong, Martha Argerich, Garrick Ohlsson, Krystian Zimerman, Dang Thai Son, Ewa Poblocka and Marc Laforet, among others.

The 2005 concert, which featured Dang Thai Son (pictured at right) and was held on March 2nd at the W. Lutos≥awski Studio in Warsaw. It marked the beginning of a new concert series—”Laureates of the Polish Radio Prizes for the Best Performance of Mazurkas in Chopin Competitions”—organized by Programme 2 of the Polish Radio.

Program of the concert:

  1. Milwid / J. Krenz: Symphony concertante
  2. Chopin: Piano Concerto in f minor, Op. 21
  3. Fauré: Ballade in F Sharp Major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 19
  4. de Falla: The Three-Cornered Hat– Suite No. 2

Another concert in this series featuring Fou Ts’ong (organized in conjunction with the Fryderyk Chopin Institute) took place on March 13th. Fou Ts’ong, the “poet of the piano”, is especially admired for his interpretations of Chopin, Schubert and Mozart. He was the winner of the 3rd prize at the International F. Chopin Piano Competition in 1953 and the coveted First Prize for his playing of Chopin Mazurkas. His program included Mazurkas by Chopin and the Piano Sonata of Haydn. Fou Ts’ong played an Erard piano which was manufactured in 1849.

Penderecki At Beethoven Festival

On Friday 18 March, as a part of the 9th edition of the Wielkanocny Festiwal Ludwiga Van Beethovena [Ludwig Van Beethoven Easter Festival] in Warsaw, Krzysztof Penderecki led the Bamberger Symphoniker in a concert entitled “Boris Pergamenschikov – In Memoriam”. The program consisted of Shostakovitch’s String Quartet No. 8 In C Minor Op. 110 (version for chamber orchestra), Sibelius’s (1865-1957) Symphony No. 5 In E Flat Major Op. 82, and Penderecki’s own Viola Concerto, cello version (transcription: Boris Pergamenschikow). Claudio Bohorquez served as the cello soloist. The concert took place at the Grand Theatre of the National Opera in Warsaw.

The Beethoven Easter Festival is organized by Mrs. Eløbieta Penderecka and the Ludwig van Beethoven Association. To learn more about this event, visit www.Beethoven.org.pl.


Recent CDs of Polish Music

by Wanda Wilk

Four of the latest CDs of Polish music that have been recently are getting favorable attention from music critics. The newest recording of Szymanowski’s opera, King Roger is touted as “the best so far.” (Robert Layton in BBC Magazine, March 2005, Vol. 13, no. 7; p. 64) The Bacewicz violin works are “exceptionally well-made and exciting compositions.” (Mark Lehman in American Record Guide, Mar/April 2005 issue, vol. 68, No. 1; p. 57) “The School of Lutos≥awski is high-class” (Paul Ingram in Fanfare, Mar/Apr 2005, Vol. 28, No. 4; p. 145) and one critic wonders why Karlowicz’s violin Concerto “isn’t as regular a feature of the standard repertoire of Romantic violin concertos as the Bruch g-minor or the Glauzanov; it’s as strong and as immediately attractive as those two favorites.” (Martin Anderson in Fanfare, Mar/Apr 2005, Vol. 28, No. 4; p. 140)

Here is a more detailed account of their reviews:

According to Robert Layton of BBC magazine the ACCORD (ACD 131) is the “best-ever recording [of Szymanowski’s King Roger]. Apart from Simon Rattle’s EMI recording, there have been three earlier Polish sets, but this newcomer is easily the best so far.” He praises Polish conductor Jacek Kaspszyk and the Polish National Orchestra & Choir along with soloists Wojtek Drabowicz and Olga Pasiecznik. He describes the opening of the opera in Palermo Cathedral as “one of the most glowing and atmospheric in all Szymanowski, and its sense of ecstasy and mysticism is conveyed with authenticity.” He gives it five stars.

CHANDOS Records has released the Bacewicz Violin Sonatas 4 & 5, the Partita and Solo Sonata with violinist Joanna Kurkowicz and pianist Gloria Chen (CHAN 10250). Mark Lehman begins his American Record Guide review with: “Not only the best-known woman composer of her native Poland but very possibly the best female composer of the past century, Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) produced a substantial and impressive body of work that includes symphonies, concertos, quartets, and sonatas. He describes her music as “late-romantic and modern neoclassic with a distinctly Polish flavor derived in part from Szymanowski” and later influenced by “Lutos≥awski and Penderecki.”

He informs us that Bacewicz was herself a violinist and wrote “quite a bit of music for her own instrument,” as well as for piano. He goes on to compare this CD with one made in 1996 by Arnold Belnick with pianist. Sergei Silvansky. This CD is the culmination of Mr. Belnick’s admiration of Bacewicz’s music ever since he first heard it on KUSC radio in Los Angeles. He was so impressed that he called the station for information on this composer. He was referred to the PMC and the rest is history. Mr. Belnick came to the Center, looked through our collection of her music, listened to the orchestral recordings, read the two books we had published on this composer and started to play all of her violin compositions. A local record company, Cambria, then produced the CD. The Kurkowicz and Belnick CDs have an almost similar repertoire, except that Belnick performs the Third Violin Sonata in place of the Second Violin Sonata and Kurkowicz includes short encores, such as the Oberek, Capriccio and Polish Caprice. Mr. Lehman recommends both discs because “lovers of fiddle music really can’t have too much of Grazyna Bacewicz” but seems to prefer Belnick’s playing slightly, which he calls “dazzling”, to Kurkowicz, who is “excellent.” So, it will have to be both CDs for any good music collector.

Lutos≥awski’s music on the British EMI label (Gemini 7243 5 85773 2 7) was taken from original analog tapes and features important compositions such as Preludes & Fugue for Strings, Poemes d’Henri MichauxParoles tissees, Postlude No. 1, Songs for female voice & orchestra, Cello Concerto, and String Quartet. The composer himself conducts the Krakow Radio & TV Chorus, Polish Chamber Orchestra, and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, with soloists: Louis Devos, tenor; Halina Lukomska, sop; Roman Jablonski, vc; and the Alban Berg Quartet. Paul Ingram of Fanfare magazine calls “each work special and growing in stature.” He says that, “Lutos≥awski stimulates the mind and the intelligence just as Mozart can.” He writes that the “‘rival’ NAXOS Lutos≥awski series is very fine,” but sadly, no texts are included. “This is otherwise a high-quality product, and I hope the rest of the precious EMI Lutos≥awski archive will stay current, like this timely reminder of the composer’s qualities.” He concludes his review with, “The School of Lutos≥awski is high-class, and attendance is strongly recommended.”

Martin Anderson reviews the new Karlowicz CD, which includes Moszkowski’s violin concerto, in the same Fanfare issue. It is on the HYPERION label (CDA67389) and features violinist Tasmin Little. While wondering why the Karlowicz concerto isn’t performed more often he offers the following: “The only reason this ain’t a war-horse is that no violinists know it and, more important in practical terms, concert planners don’t either, so even if some intrepid fiddler tried to suggest it, the administrators (usually a craven bunch when it comes to repertoire) would poo-poo it for fear of audience low-show.” That’s telling it like it is! Too bad, for this really is a beautiful piece. I remember a former Polish student at USC, Tomasz Liebig, suggesting it and succeeding in performing it at the summer music camp at Interlochen, Michigan many years ago, but he had to win the concerto competition in order to do it.


Born this Month

  • 1 April 1872 – Tadeusz JOTEYKO, composer (d. 20 August 1932)
  • 3 April 1904 – Maria WI£KOMIRSKA, pianist professor of piano in Lodz and Warsaw
  • 4 April 1941 – Aleksander GLINKOWSKI, composer active in Katowice (d. 1991)
  • 8 April 1890 – Zbigniew DRZEWIECKI, pianist and professor of piano, organizer of Chopin Competitions, president of Chopin Society
  • 9 April 1880 – Stanis≥aw LIPSKI, pianist and composer (d. 6 October 1937)
  • 9 April 1951 – Andrzej KRZANOWSKI, composer (d. 1990)
  • 13 April 1890 – Ludwik BRONARSKI, musicologist (d. 1975)
  • 18 April 1903 – Tadeusz KWIECINSKI, composer (d. 11 July 1960)
  • 21 April 1907 – Antoni SZA£OWSKI, composer (d. 21 March 1973)
  • 29 April 1880 – Adolf CHYBINSKI, musicologist, professor of universities in LwÛw and Poznan (d. 31 October 1952)


Died this Month

  • 5 April 1935 – Emil M£YNARSKI, conductor, violinist, composer, music director of the Warsaw Opera, (b. 18 August 1870)
  • 9 April 1944 – Boles≥aw WALLEK-WALEWSKI, conductor and composer, active in Krakow, Warsaw and Poznan (b. 23 January 1885)
  • 11 April 1938 – Bronis≥awa W”JCIK-KEUPRULIAN, musicologist, professor of Lwow University, specialist in Chopin and Armenian music (b. 6 August 1890)
  • 12 April 1956 – Tadeusz STRUMI££O, musicologist, professor of Jagiellonian University, with Z. Szweykowski discovered over 200 compositions of 18th, 19th c. (b. 10 July 1929)
  • 15 April 1945 – Feliks WR”BEL, composer and music theorist (b. 15 May 1894)
  • 18 April 1854 – JÛzef ELSNER, composer, founder of Warsaw Conservatory, teacher of Chopin (b. 1 June 1769)
  • 24 April 1845 – Anna WO£KOW-STANIUKIEWICZ, soprano, singer of Warsaw Opera (b. 26 August 1808)
  • 25 April 1951 – Jerzy FITELBERG, composer, son of conductor Grzegorz, since 1933 lived in Paris, 1940 in New York (b. 20 May 1903)
  • 28 April 1928 – Henryk MELCER-SZCZAWINSKI, pianist, teacher, conductor, professor and chair of the Warsaw Conservatory of Music (b. 21 September 1869)