January 2005

Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 11, no. 1

PMC News

The Stojowski Collection Arrives

Thanks to the generosity of Henry Stojowski and his family, the Sigismond & Luisa Stojowski Collection has been donated to the Polish Music Center at USC. Having battled delays in its travels across the U.S, the Collection finally arrived safe and sound on 27 December 2004. The Collection includes manuscripts and personal papers of the great Polish romantic composer, Sigismond Stojowski (1870-1946). The Polish Music Center welcomes the opportunity to popularize this beautiful but little known music. To learn more about this fascinating composer, visit our Polish Music Journal of Winter 2002, vol. 5, no. 2.

PMHS Vol 8 Now Available!

A Well-researched Study of a Long-forgotten Composer

Among the list of Polish composers of the inter-war era, the name Józef Koffler does not readily come to mind. Yet, during the late 1920s and the 1930s, his music was well known and frequently performed throughout Poland and Europe. Koffler’s historic significance lies in the fact that he was the first Polish composer to apply Schoenberg’s twelve-note technique in his opus and to do so in a strikingly original way, successfully combining folk elements and neo-classical forms throughout his small but fascinating catalogue of compositions.

The eminent Polish musicologist, Maciej Gołąb, in his Józef Koffler: Compositional Style and Source Documents, has written a definitive study of Koffler’s life and work. The first part of the book traces Koffler’s musical development, beginning with his youthful creations in the late romantic style that was quickly abandoned in favour of serial techniques in works like Musique de Ballet, Op. 7; Musique. Quasi una sonata, Op. 8; and 15 Variations d’après une suite de douze tons, Op. 9, all dating from the late 1920s.

Koffler was also a symphonist, with four highly original and widely acclaimed essays in this form. Author of chamber works, a brilliant Piano Concerto, a small number of vocal-instrumental works, and stage music, Koffler’s output was partially published by Universal Edition in Vienna, where he studied following his service in the Austrian and Polish armies during World War I. His activities as professor of music at the Lwów Conservatory of the Polish Music Society and his extensive music journalism are well-documented in Maciej Gołąb’s book. Koffler’s correspondence with members of the Second Viennese School, his tireless promotion of the avant-garde music in Poland (he organized numerous concerts in Lwów, featuring such luminaries as Bela Bartók, Eduard Steuermann, and Hermann Scherchen) are well-researched and attractively presented.

Koffler’s tragically short life—together with his wife and child he was executed by the Nazis in 1944—is movingly described by his researchers and friends. Maciej Gołąb’s book also cites numerous sources on the composer and contains a bibliography of Koffler’s articles on all sorts of musical topics. The first complete catalogue of Koffler’s compositions (listing several titles that are now considered lost) and a calendar, detailing Koffler’s life, activities and reception of his works complete this invaluable research tool for all interested in this fascinating composer. A CD recording included with the book is an added bonus, giving inspiring examples of Koffler’s music that still awaits its long-overdue revival.


Baird Donation

Madame Alina Baird, a long-time supporter of PMC, donated the latest 2-CD set with works by her late husband, Tadeusz Baird. This comprehensive CD set was published by Polskie Nagrania in 2003 and is entitled simply “Dzieła” [Works].

The pieces on the CDs include:
Four Love Sonnets (version II) for baritone, strngs and harpsichordColas Breugnon – an orchestral suite in the Old Style; Songs of Trouvers for mezzo-soprano/alto, two flutes and cello; Five Songs for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestraErotyki – six Love Songs for soprano and orchestra; Third Symphony for Orchestra (a world premiere recording); Elegy for OrchestraConcerto lugubrefor viola and orchestra; Voices from Afar – three songs for baritone and orchestra

2004 Highlights In Polish Music

by Wanda Wilk

Awards, Prizes & Distinctions

The year 2004 is proclaimed as the Year of Lutosławski by Polish Parliament.

Dutch pianist, Reinile Mees, receives award from The Szymanowski Foundation of Poland for her recording of The Complete Songs of Szymanowski on Channel Classics, a 4-CD album.

Polish-American composer/conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski receives the McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist Award for 2004. See www.mcknight.orgfor the online collection of essays and pictures.

Cantores Minores, the Warsaw Boys’ Choir, conducted by Joseph A. Herter, took the “Gold Ribbon” for choirs in the Men’s Chamber Choir category.

Irena Poniatowska, Chopinologist, and composer Grażyna Pstrokonska-Nawratil, received awards from the Polish Composers Union (ZKP) for their work.

Penderecki receives the “Praemium Imperiale,” an annual global arts prize from the Japan Art Association of Tokyo.

Polish composer Elżbieta Sikora receives the French “Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres”.

Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski is given a ten minute standing ovation in a sold out house at the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in January. His new Chopin CD selected as “Disc of the Month” by BBC magazine in January and is included in the Top 20 Core Classical CD Shart in April.

Lorraine Hinds of the U.S. wins First Prize in female category in International Stanislaw Moniuszko Vocal Competition.

Hyperion’s recording of Karłowicz’s Rebirth Symphonyis listed in Top 5 CDs in May issue of BBC Magazine.

Contralto Ewa Podleś makes the cover of Metropolitan Opera News.

Cultural Prize from the City of Riehen near Basle, Switzerland goes composer Bettina Skrzypczak.

Jazz bassist Darek “Oles” Oleszkiewicz’s CD “Like a Dream” nominated for the German Critics Award.

Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki. Photo by Vladek Juszkiewicz

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki receives Honorary Doctorate from the Catholic University in Lublin, Poland.

Mark Kohan, leader of the Steel City Brass, inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.



Several premieres for composer Bettina Skrzypczak: In un soffiofor Wind Quintet in Basle (February); String Quartet No. 4 in Zurich & Lettres for soprano, clarinet & cello in Munich (May).

American debut of Hanna Kulenty’s Flute Concerto No. 1 at the 10th Annual Other Minds New Music Festival in San Francisco.

Premiere of Polish-Canadian Piotr Grella-Mozejka’s Euphonia (Tomasz Sikorski in memoriam)by the Nova Scotia Symphony .

World premiere recording of Henryk Melcer’s Chamber Works on Acte Prealable, featuring the Warsaw Trio.

Premiere performance of Tansman’s 4th Symphony, with Jan Kaspszyk leading the Rundfunk-Simphonieorchester of Berlin.

German premiere of Karol Rathaus’s Prelude for Orchestra.

Fanfare for the Wrocław Philharmonicby Krzysztof Meyer and the Wratislavia Symphony by Marta Ptaszynska premiered in Wrocław, Poland.

World premiere of work by Polish “audio artist” Marek Choloniewski, who creates new sound forms with elements of performance and computerized visual arts, at LACMA in L.A.

American premiere of a Trio for violin, clarinet and pianoby Eugeniusz Knapik at the Kosciuszko Foundation.

Special Events

Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, composer and conductor, was one of the first donors to the PMC Manuscript Collection
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, composer and conductor, was one of the first donors to the PMC Manuscript Collection

Composer/conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski residency at USC, including the Polish Music Center’s Annual Paderewski Lecture, in September.

Polish Theatre Institute of New York (Nina Polan and Pablo Zinger) presented a concert of songs and piano works by Maurice Moszkowski at the Polish Consulate.

The Warsaw Autumn International Contemporary Music Festival closes with the first performance in history of all four symphonies by Witold Lutoslawski at one time.

France hosts Nova Polska, a year-long festival celebrating Polish art, in honor of the long-standing creative relationship between the two countries and Poland’s entrance into the E.U..

Polish artists featured for the first time at the Festival Cultural de Mayo in Mexico. Film composer Krzesimir Dębski attended in person.

Centennial performance of Jan Kanty Pawłuszkiewicz’s Vespers from Ludzmircomposed in 1992.

Poznan Nightingales celebrate 65th anniversary.

Free jazz concerts of Chopin’s music inaugurated at the F. Chopin Airport in Warsaw.

Paderewski Festival in New York, an international event of music, art and theatre.


New Recordings

Aeolian’s reproduction of Paderewski’s Duo Art rolls on new double CD “Paderewski in Recital” by the Pianola Institute of London, thanks to efforts of Rita Rosenstiel, former director of the Paderewski Museum in Morges, Switzerland.

Sigismond Stojowski Music for Piano: Jonathan Plowright records both known and unknown works of Stojowski, with informative liner notes by Joseph Herter, on Hyperion.

Karol Rathaus: 2nd & 3rd Symphonies on Naxos.

Madeleine Forte records Chopin on an 1881 Erard Piano from Yale University’s Collection of Music instruments.

Grażna Bacewicz: Joanna Kurkowicz, violin and Gloria Chien, piano, perform the Polish Capriccioand other works.


Informative new web-site www.infochopin.pl inaugurated in February; to appear in 7 languages, including Chinese and Japanese.

New book on Paderewski by Brian McGinty published by Overland Books.

Prof. Tyrone Greive published an article of new information on Wieniawski’s daughter, Poldowski, who has been primarily known for her songs and piano works. He prepared an edition of her Sonata for violin and four short pieces for violin and piano for

Interesting recollections in Joseph Herter’s article for the Polish Music Center Newsletter (September edition), “Remembering Wiktor Łabuński.”

Donations To The PMC Archives

Skrowaczewski, who was the first to donate manuscripts to the PMC in 1984, donates two additional scores after visiting the Center at USC.

Anne Claire Anderson of Pasadena, CA donates her mother’s program book of Paderewski’s recital in 1939 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles (read the text of program in our December edition).

Composer Krzesimir Dębski donates four scores and 3 CDs of his music.

Composer Leonciusz Ciuciura donates two of his recent works.

The daughter of Dr. Edmund Sermak, Jeannette Sermak-Proulx, donates over 50 recordings from her late father’s collection.


 Signed Chopin Manuscript

The Polish Ministry of Culture has purchased a 3-page manuscript of Etude no. 4 in c# minor, Op. 10 by Chopin for 300,000 pounds at Sotheby’s. The manuscript is signed in Polish.

The Minister of Culture got involved in the purchase of documents at the request of Hanna Wroblewska-Straus, Director of Chopin Museum in Warsaw. They will most probably be placed in the collections of the Frederick Chopin Society in Warsaw.

U.S. Premiere Of Malawski Trio

The lush Piano Trio of Polish composer Artur Malawski will have its American premiere on Sunday, January 16, in a concert by the Eaken Piano Trio at the Kosciuszko Foundation (15 East 65th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues). Works of Haydn and Schubert are also included in the program, which begins at 3 PM.

Artur Malawski was born on 4 July 1904 in Przemysl and died on 26 December 1957 in Kraków. He was a prominent conductor, prolific composer, and highly regarded teacher in Poland, where his students included Penderecki. His Piano Trio (1953) recalls Brahms in its expansive form and emotional power.

Grammy nominated recording artists, The Eaken Trio is celebrating its 16th season of critically acclaimed concert appearances across the United States, Europe and Canada. With numerous commercial recordings and regular appearances on national radio, the Eaken Trio is also proud of their community outreach programs and many college and community residencies.

Tickets are $20, and include a reception with the performers after the concert. For additional information and reservations, call the Foundation at (212) 734-2130.

New Years With A Polish Coloratura

World-renown Viennese conductor Klaus Arp will ring in the North America in California this year, leading soprano Katarzyna Dondalska, tenor Otoniel Gonzaga, the Strauss Symphony of America and the Vienna Opera Ballet in this year’s “Salute to Vienna”, an annual live performance offering the very best of Johann Strauss and his contemporaries in music, song and dance. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, “Salute to Vienna” is the largest, simultaneously produced New Year’s celebration on the North American continent and has become an annual tradition with sold-out performances across the USA and Canada. Between December 29 and January 4, audiences in 29 major cities from Vancouver to Ft. Lauderdale and from Los Angeles to Montreal will be swept off their feet by unforgettable concerts that combine glamour and elegance with fun and laughter. For this performance, Polish soprano Katarzyna Dondalska will perform a selection of songs and duets from some of the best-loved Strauss operas and Viennese operettas.

Born in Poland, coloratura soprano Katarzyna Dondalska completed her studies in violin and voice at the Academy of Music in Allenstein and continued her music education at the Academy of Music in Würzburg. Ms. Dondalska graduated both disciplines with distinction, and has won many awards and competitions throughout Europe since. She has appeared in recital and concert with the SWR Radio Symphonic Orchestra, Mannheim National Theater, Dortmund State Theatre, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Welsh National Opera Orchestra, BBC London Orchestra, Nuremburg Symphony Orchestra, and the Cologne Philharmonie. Most recently, Ms. Dondalska was a permanent company soloist for the Heidelberg Municipal Theatre. She is also scheduled to perform the roles of Zerbinetta in R. Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, and the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, both with the Welsh National Opera in Cardiff, Wales this season.

Paderewski Songs Premiered

On December 19 at the Kosciuszko Foundation House, the world-renowned ensemble, the Gregg Smith Singers, performed the US premiere of three songs by Paderewski, as well as works of Schubert, Britten, and special arrangements by Gregg Smith and a “Jazz Christmas” group.

The Gregg Smith Singers, a mixed voice company of 16, has been captivating audiences around the world for over 40 years. The singers, who perform both contemporary and rarely heard older music, are also peerless performers of American choral music and are the most recorded choral group in the world with over 100 recordings on various labels. The group has received many honors, including three Grammy awards, and has conducted countless tours in the United States, Europe and the Far East. In addition to its busy performing schedule, the group also engages in major educational activity, through residencies, local inner city school programs and at the Adirondack Festival of American Music.

Kenner Plays Chopin In TX

Since its inception in 1989, the Fryderyk Chopin Society of Texas has endeavored to bring performances of the highest quality to the people of South Texas. The Society has also provided opportunities for talented pianists to perform in South Texas and has sponsored piano competitions for young artists.

In January, the Fryderyk Chopin Society of Texas presents famed Chopin interpreter, Kevin Kenner. Kevin Kenner is in demand all over the world for his spiritually profound interpretations of a wide range of repertoire, noted both for his originality and for his illumination of composers’ styles. In 1990 he won the top prize, the People’s Prize and the Polonaise Prize at the renowned International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and the bronze medal at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, together with a special prize for his interpretation of Russian music. Further awards have included the International Terence Judd Award (1990), the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (1989) and the Gina Bachauer International Competition (1988). Kevin Kenner has since performed as soloist with world-class orchestras including the Hallé Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, The Czech Philharmonic, the Belgian Radio and Television Philharmonic Brussels, the NHK Symphony of Japan, and in the US with the principal orchestras of San Francisco, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, New Jersey, Rochester, Baltimore, St. Paul and many others. He has been invited to work with many renowned conductors, including Sir Charles Groves, Andrew Davis, Hans Vonk, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Kazimierz Kord, Jiri Belohlavek and Antoni Wit.

His achievements have won him critical acclaim from all over the world. He has been praised as “one of the finest American pianists to come along in years” (Howard Reich, Chopinists such as Rubinstein, Benedetti-Michelangelii and Dinu Lipatti” (Winfried Wild, Schwaebische Zeitung, Germany).

Adrian Jack of London’s Independent describes one of Kenner’s recitals as “…the best performance I have ever heard in the concert hall of all four of Chopin’s Ballades”. The Financial Times in London described Kenner as a “player of grace, subtle variety and strength, with a mature grasp of dramatic structure and proportion: in short, a grown-up musician nearing his peak.” And the Washington Post recently proclaimed him “a major talent… an artist whose intellect, imagination and pianism speak powerfully and eloquently.” The conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who recorded with pianists such as Artur Rubinstein claimed Kenner’s Chopin interpretations to be the most sensitive and beautiful he remembered.

He has performed chamber music with the Tokyo String Quartet, the Endellion String Quartet, the Vogler String Quartet and the Panocha Quartet among many others. Along with his concert appearances, he has given master-classes for many years at the International Piano Festival in Krynica, Poland as well as in major centers in Japan and America. More recently he has been giving classes at the International Summer Music Academy in Krakow, Poland. For the last 4 years he has been a professor at the Royal College of Music in London, and his students have won prizes in international competitions. He has also been invited as a member of numerous music competitions this year including the International Chopin Competition in Asia, the International Halina Czerny-Stefanska Competition in Aomori, Japan, and the National Chopin Competition of the Chopin Foundation of the U.S. in Miami.

Kevin Kenner has recorded the Chopin Scherzos as well as the Chopin Preludes (highly recommended by BBC Music Magazine) as well as a CD of piano works by Maurice Ravel. All of these CDs are planned for re-release in Europe and North America on the label “Dux” later this year. Last September he recorded the 2 Chopin Piano Concertos with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Poland under the direction of Antoni Wit which is now available in Japan under the Avex label and will shortly be released in DVD format.

January 14: St. Pius X Corpus Christi, TX

January 15: Cultural Arts Center Harlingen, TX

All recitals begin at 8:00 pm.

Oles Plays With Maupin Ensemble

Bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz, known more commonly by the abbreviated moniker Oles, will join jazz legend Bennie Maupin in a concert at the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. Spend the day exploring a grand movie palace, screening restored Vitaphone and Soundie shorts, enjoying a concert by local L.A. jazz masters, and mingling with incredible musicians as well as fellow jazz aficionados at a special artist reception hosted afterwards in the historic courtyard facing Hollywood Boulevard!

Schedule of Events:

  • 2:15pm: Screening of restored Vitaphone & Soundie short films from the late 1920s to the late 1940s featuring both animated jazz cartoons and rare footage of jazz artists in studio performance. The films include Cab Calloway’s Minnie the Moocher(1932), The Ingeneus: Band Beautiful (Warner Bros., 1928), Norman Thomas Quintet in Harlem Mania (Warner Bros., 1929), and early George Pal Puppetoons (combining animation and live action featuring Duke Ellington and Woody Herman).
  • 3:00pm: Bennie Maupin, whose contributions on Miles Davis’ remarkable “Bitches Brew” album are legendary, along with his ensemble (Bennie Maupin, woodwinds; Darek Oles, bass; Munyungo Jackson, percussion; Michael Stephans, percussion & drums) performs Maupin’s chamber jazz compositions, including Inner Sky.
  • 4:30pm: Post-concert artist reception in The Egyptian’s historic courtyard facing Hollywood Boulevard.

For tickets and more information, visit www.dacamera.org.


Maestro Polacco

Maestro Tomasz Biernacki. Photographer: Tomasz Zakrzewski

Tomasz Biernacki has won the XI “Franco Capuana” International Competition for Young Conductors in Spoleto, Italy. The Grand Prix consists of the opportunity to prepare and conduct an opera premiere in 2005 at the Teatro Lirico Sperimentale in Spoleto—considered to be one of the most important opera theatres in Italy.

The competition’s main focus is to find young and talented opera conductors, and help them to launch an international career by organizing a professional debut and CD recordings. The 2004 edition was held on 11-13 October. It was organized by the “Franco Capuana” Foundation under the auspices of the European Union. The candidates were judged by a Jury consisting of conductors, teachers and opera experts: Francesco De Masi (Chairman of the Jury), Josif Conta, Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli, Ivo Lipanovic and Teatro Lirico Sperimentale Artistic Director, Michelangelo Zurletti. Competitors were required to prepare La Traviataby G. Verdi. Thanks to his splendid and brave interpretation, Tomasz Biernacki, being the only one to conduct the opera from memory, has been chosen as the winner from among 30 conductors representing most European countries.

The competition was held in Teatro Lirico Sperimentale, which was founded in 1947 by lawyer and musicologist Adrianno Belli. In 1992 the Theatre was given the “Kaleidoscope” prize by the European Union Culture Commission and in 1994 the “Premio Abbiati” was given by Italian music critics for “extraordinary contribution to the education of young performers for Italian opera”. The Teatro Lirico Sperimentale is a part of the town’s rich cultural life—the famous “Due Mondi” festival of theatre and music is held there every year. Sperimentale is also a world renowned school for opera singers, with the best Italian singers for teachers; its graduates sing on the most famous stages as La Scala, Opera di Roma or Zurich Opera.

Tomasz Biernacki was born on July 5th, 1974 in Kraków. He graduated from Kraków Musical Academy in May 2000 with a diploma in orchestral conducting, having studied with Rafał Delekta. Three times he has been invited to participate in Helmuth Rilling’s conducting masterclasses at the Internationale Bachakademie, and in 1999 he studied at the famous Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, with Gianluigi Gelmetti, Carlo Maria Giulini and Maurizio Dones. In May 2000 he accepted the post of conductor of the “Śląsk” ensemble, a post he retained until the end of 2001. In September 2000 he was appointed the Musical Director and First Conductor of Musical Theatre in Gliwice, where he has conducted numerous musical, operetta and opera premieres.

Kilar Honored By Silesian Voivodship

The annual Awards of the President of the Silesian Voivodship in the Domain of Culture as well as the Honorary Decorations for Services to the Silesian Voivodship were presented on 14 December 2004 at the Silesian Opera in Bytom. A solemn opening of the Concert Hall, restored after a fire, preceded the presentation of the awards.

The Honorary Decorations for the Services to the Silesian Voivodship were received by: Wojciech Kilar, the composer, Andrzej Kalinin, the prose writer, journalist and literary and theatrical critic, Kazimierz Kutz, the film director, Henryk Konwiński, the choreographer and director at the Silesian Opera, Jacek Łumiński, the principal and artistic director of the Silesian Dance Theatre in Bytom, Dariusz Miłkowski, the Director of the Variety Theatre in Chorzów, Jerzy Moskal, the deputy director (dealing with the Centre of the Polish Stage-scenery) of the Silesian Museum, Adam Pastuch, the director of the “Silesia” Song and Dance Ensemble and Lech Szaraniec, the director of the Silesian Museum.

The winners of the Prizes in the Domain of Culture included: Józef Świder (artistic award for the achievements in the field of composition), Marcin Dylla (Prize for the Young Composers for outstanding achievements in the domain of music) and the Silesian Quartet.

2004 Classical Internet Award

The September 2002 Naxos recording of Passion According to Saint Luke by Krzysztof Penderecki made by the Orchestra and Choir of the National Philharmonic Orchestra under Antoni Wit, received the 2004 Classical Internet Award in the religious recording category. This award was made by critics for the three most prestigious outlets that select the best recordings in the world: ClassicsToday.com(USA), ClassicsTodayFrance.com, and Klassik-Heute.com (Germany). All recordings issued between the fall 2003 and fall 2004 were under consideration. The following soloists performed in the award-winning recording: Izabella Kłosińska – soprano, Adam Kraszewski – baritone, Romuald Tesarowicz – bass. The Evangelist’s part was taken by Krzysztof Kolberger. The National Philharmonic Choir was prepared by Henryk Wojnarowski.

Moszumańska-Nazar Honored In Paris

On 8 November 2004 a concert entitled “L’Hommage à Krystyna Moszumańska-Nazar” took place at the Embassy of the Polish Republic in Paris. There Polish composer Krystyna Moszumańska-Nazar was honoured with the decoration of Medaille de L’Officier des Art et des Lettres of the French Republic.

CD Reviews

Stojowski’s Piano Treasures

Compositions by Sigismond Stojowski (1870-1946) are known today to but a few. Fortunately, signs of a well-overdue revival of music by this magnificent pianist and composer are slowly beginning to appear. Recently, the Hyperion Label and pianist Jonathan Plowright teamed up once again to feature Stojowski’s piano music on their latest release. Plowright’s previous recording of Stojowski’s two piano concertos with the BBC Scottish Symphony (Hyperion CDA 67314) has garnered rave reviews from all quarters of the world. Now, Jonathan Plowright’s considerable pianistic skills and his sensitive, probing musicianship are admirably applied to Stojowski’s solo piano works. “Stojowski—Music for Piano” (Hyperion CDA 67437) is a wonderfully representative sample of this famous pianist and a respected pedagogue’s opus for piano. Beginning with Stojowski’s early piano miniatures (written during his studies in Paris with Léo Delibes), and moving on to his most famous Chant d’amour from Op. 10, this collection also includes some fascinating larger-scale works, like Fantasie Op. 38 and Variations et Fugue sur un thème original, Op. 42.

Throughout the entire CD, Jonathan Plowright’s playing is tender and virtuosic, providing a perfect companion to Stojowski’s late romantic style. Plowright’s admirable lyricism and his unerring sense of the musical line imbue the music’s ardent emotions and grandiose climaxes with noble majesty. Equally, Plowright’s pianistic bravura leads to a scintillating reading of Stojowski’s Caprice from Deux Orientales, Op. 10, a great favorite of Józef Hoffman who kept it in his repertoire for over forty years.

Plowright’s superbly controlled touch makes the Steinway piano used for this recording sound every bit as rich and rewarding as the music. Excellent program notes by Joseph Herter provide a much needed historical and analytical background on Stojowski’s life and work. A cover, featuring a painting by Józef Mehoffer (an almost exact contemporary of Stojowski) completes this highly recommended recording of music that must re-enter concert stages of the world once again.


Best Classical CD Of 2004

The latest recording by Polish-American violinist Vincent P. Skowronski and Japanese pianist Saori Chiba, entitled “Skowronski Plays! Avec et Sans” has made the Chicago Daily Herald‘s “Best Classical CDs of 2004” list. This is fine follow-up to last year’s Daily Herald designation of “Best Recording of The Year, 2003” (the duo’s second consecutive award), which was bestowed upon S:CR-06, “Skowronski Plays! Beethoven – Live in Concert”.

According to the Herald:

VINCENT P. SKOWRONSKI, concert violinist and Master Teacher of that instrument, once again provides evidence with his new LIVE recording, AVEC ET SANS, that a violin in the hands of a master musician can provide an aura of musical magic. So it is no surprise that Skowronski’s technical mastery of the instrument along with his often mystical ability to communicate gleam forth from these performances. And, of course, what Skowronski recording would be complete without the collaboration of the magnificent Japanese pianist, SAORI CHIBA. A master teacher of the piano, Chiba is also active in the Chicago area as a recitalist, along with her busy schedule as a chamber music and vocal coach.

For more information or to order, contact:
Skowronski: Classical Recordings
1726 Sherman Ave. #2
Evanston, IL 60201-5619
Tel: (847) 491-9155
website: www.skowronskiplays.com
email: skowronskirecordings@ameritech.net


Chopin Around The World

On December 16th Lang Lang, one of the most sought-after pianists in the world, was accompanied by WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya at Kölner Philharmonie in Koln. The program included Chopin’s Piano Concerto no. 1 in e minor.

On December 20th Tatiana Shebanova, one of the most distinguished Russian pianists, gave a master recital at History Museum of Łódz City in Poland. The recital commemorated the 22nd anniversary of A. Rubinstein’s death. Shebanova performed an all-Chopin program.

Chopin’s last concert in Paris : On the 21st of December, the Chopin Society in Paris presented the reenactment of Chopin’s last performance in Paris, which took place on February 16th, 1848, less than a year before the composer’s death. The concert was reenacted once before in Poland in 1999. This performance was a part of France’s Nova Polska celebration.

The program features the same works that were most likely performed in 1848, including works by: Mozart, whom Chopin greatly revered; Meyerbeer; Donizetti; and Bellini, who is buried beside Chopin at the Pčre-Lachaise cemetery, in addition to works by Chopin. The French and Polish performers for this reenactment included Tomasz Kuk (Poland), tenor; Olivier Charlier (France), violin; Olga Pasiecznik (Ukraine), soprano; Maciej Pikulski (Poland), piano; Henri Demarquette (France) – cello. For a full program of the concert, visit www.infolchopin.pl.

Gombrowicz According To Krauze

The world premiere of the opera based on Witold Gombrowicz’s Yvonne, the Princess of Burgund took place in Paris on 20 November 2004. The music was composed by Zygmunt Krauze. The authors of the libretto are the composer and Grzegorz Jarzyna, who also served as director of the production. The title role was played by Dominika Kluźniak (the Współczesny Theatre in Warsaw), the King’s role – by Dariusz Machej (bass), the Queen’s role – by Magdalena Barylak (soprano) and the Prince’s role – by Adam Zdunikowski (baritone). The Polish Radio Orchestra was conducted by Andrzej Straszyński.

The work was written in response to a commission from the Warsaw authorities to mark the 100th anniversary of Gombrowicz’s birth. The performance of the full version, also staged by Grzegorz Jarzyna will take place in Warsaw in 2005.

LACC Celebrates With Lutosławski

This year’s holiday concert of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus’, entitled “A Gift of Peace”, included Witold Lutosławski’s Muszeika. The concert took place on December 18th at the Our Lady of the Angels, Founded in 1986 Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, frequently performs with such leading musical ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and The Pasadena Symphony. It also assists the Los Angeles Opera by providing and training children for all of its opera productions that require children’s chorus or soloists. LACC currently has 240 choristers in five choirs.

Queen Of Spades In Warsaw

On 19 December 2004, the Grand Theatre-National Opera in Warsaw premiered its production of Peter Tchaikovsky’s Dama Pikowa [The Queen Of Spades]. The production, directed by Mariusz Treliński, featured scenery designed by Boris F. Kudlicka, costumes by Magdalena Tesławska and Pawel Grabarczyk, and choreography by Emil Wesołowski. The Orchestra of the Grand Theatre-National Opera was conducted by Kazimierz Kord, with soloists will including Krzysztof Bednarek, Paweł Wunder (Ghermann), Zbigniew Macias, Mikołaj Zalasiński (Count Tomsky), Artur Ruciłski, Adam Szerszeń (Prince Yeletsky), Ryszard Minkiewicz, Krzysztof Szmyt (Chekalińsky), Czesław Galka, Piotr Nowacki (Suryn), Rafał Bartmiński, Jacek Parol (Chaplitsky), Mieczysław Milun, Ryszard Morka (Narumov), Joanna Cortés, Malgorzata Walewska, Alicja Węgorzewska (The Countess), Lada Biriucov, Agnieszka Piasecka (Lisa, her granddaughter), Monika Ledzion and Małgorzata Pańko (Pauline, Lisa’s friend).

The public that gathered on 19 December, 1890, at the Maryinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg gave Tchaikovsky’s The Queen Of Spades a very warm reception. This opera continues to be highly regarded to this day. Alongside Eugeniusz Oniegin [Eugene Onegin], it remains Tchaikovsky’s most popular opera. It is the composer’s crowning achievement in the field of operatic music and simultaneously one of the most outstanding operas in the history of Russian music. Exquisite vocal parts, colorful instrumentation that is both subtle and clear, a cohesive and coherent form achieved through the introduction of themes that enrich the main storylines, and finally a fundamentally good libretto have helped The Queen Of Spadesbecome vastly popular throughout the world. A mood of sadness, tragic passion and extreme pessimism hangs over this work, much as it did over the composer in the latter years of his life, in spite of his ever greater artistic successes.

This production was mounted in collaboration with the Staatsoper of Berlin. A second performance of the opera was offered on 21 December, 2004.

Calendar of Events

JAN 7 & 8: Warsaw National Philharmonic Concert with Ralph Gothóni of Finland, cond. and Kun Woo Paik of Korea, piano. Program features Fryderyk Chopin: Fantasy on Polish themes, Op. 13, Rondo à la Krakowiak, Op. 14, Andante spianato and Polonaisein E flat Major, Op. 22. National PhilharmonicWarsaw, Poland. 7:30 & 6:00 pm, respectively.

JAN 8 & 9: Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble presents a special night of sacred seasonal music and carols from Mediæval and Renaissance Eastern Europe, representing traditions from Poland, the Czech lands/Bohemia, Cyprus, Slovenia, and Byzantium. 8:00 pm. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (8th) & Church of the Angels (9th) in Los Angeles, CAwww.jouyssance.org.

JAN 10: Lutosławski: Concerto for Orchestra. BBC Proms Revisited. BBC Radio 3: 7:30-9:30 pm. 90-93FM.

JAN 14: Chopin: Sonata, Op. 65; Grand Polonaise Brilliante, Op. 3. Jakub Omsky, cello; Wojciech Kocyan, piano. Murphy Recital, Loyola-Marymount U., Los Angeles, CA. 8:00 pm. Free.

JAN 14 & 15: Chopin interpreter Kevin Kenner plays in Texas. St. Pius X in Corpus Christi, TX (14th) and the Cultural Arts Center in Harlingen, TX (15th). Fryderyk Chopin Society of Texas.

JAN 16: Malawski: Piano Trio, American premiere. Eakon Piano Trio. Kosciuszko Foundation. 15 E. 65th St., New York City. 3:00 pm. $20. 212-734-2130.

JAN 18: Chopin: The Music and Legacy. Polonaises, Op. 26/1&2; Op. 40/1&2; Op. 53. Polonaise Fantaisie; Andante Spianato & Grande Polonaise. Fabio Bidino, piano. Leeds College of Music. www.leedsconcertseason.com.

JAN 23: Lang Lang Recital at Royal Festival Hall, featuring Chopin’s Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58. Royal Festival HallLondon, Great Britain.

JAN 23: Katherine Chiin Recital, playing Chopin: ‘La ci darem’ Variations. Presented by the Frederic Chopin Society of Minnesota at the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center. 130 Macalester Street, St. Paul, MN. 3:00 pm. www.chopinsocietymn.org/chi.htm

Marcin Dylla, Polish Guitarist

by Liliana Osses Adams

My interest in guitar comes from my husband playing the classical guitar. In Tehran, years ago, I had occasion to listen to the guitar players Siegfried Behrend, Julian Bream, Jean Pierre Jumez and Konrad Ragossnig. I have also experienced the most memorable performances of Andres Segovia in San Francisco (1979), and his last guitar recital in the United States, in Ann Arbor, Michigan (1986). Last week, November 19 and 20, 2004, I had the chance to listen Polish guitarist Marcin Dylla, the finalist at the Omni Master International Classical Guitar Competition in San Francisco, an international guitar prodigy, who was described as a “profound young artist”, and who in the last years has won first prize in seventeen of the most prestigious international guitar contests taking place in Europe and in the USA. [LOA]

The Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts was created nearly a quarter-century ago by internationally acclaimed guitarist Richard Patterson. He has studied with virtually all of the world’s leading guitarists, including Andres Segovia. He received his Masters Degree in Music from San Francisco State University. He then initiated the guitar concerts “Dynamite Guitars” in San Francisco; now in its 24th season, this is one of the foremost guitar series in the world. This series, presented in San Francisco Herbst Theatre, has highlighted superb artists such as Pepe Romero, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, David Russell, Manuel Barrueco, Antigoni Goni, Xuefei Yang, John Williams and Leo Kottke, who will return by popular demand after his last season show at the Palace of Fine Arts.

Dedicated to helping young artists, Richard Patterson also founded the San Francisco International Guitar Competition and Residency Program in 2002. The Competition was first presented in 2002 at the University of San Francisco. The Residency Program for the First Prize winner alternates on an annual basis with the Guitar Competition. The winners of 2002 were: 1st prize—Alieksey Vianna, Brazil; 2nd prize—Xuefei Yang, China; 3rd prize—Lydia Danihelova, Slovak Republic; 4th prize—Marco Tamayo, Cuba. The finalist from Ukraine, Galina Vale, surprised the audience with her amazing musical skills, her incredible technique and unusual stage presence.

The 2004 San Francisco International Classical Guitar Competition entered a new phase this year with the Masters Guitar Competition. During two evenings four of the world’s top young artists were presented, all having won multiple First Prizes in major international competitions and described as the stars of tomorrow. The 1st round of the Finals of the Second International Guitar Competition took place on November 19th at the University of San Francisco and the 2nd round took place on November 20th at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor Florence Gould Theater. During the competition, each player had a maximum of 30 minutes of stage performance. They had a free choice of repertoire from contemporary to classical works. They had two obligatory pieces to perform from the Book of the Unknown Standards—Monk-a-Ning and one other piece of their choice by Dusan Bogdanovic, who also served as one of the four jurors.

After the two round finals the judges for the 2nd San Francisco International Master Classical Guitar Competition announced their decision at midnight. Thibault Cauvin, 20-year-old French guitarist, captured the first prize. During the 2005-2006 season he will return to San Francisco as the Artist-In-Residence at the Omni Foundation for Performing Arts, acting as an artistic ambassador, performing the concerts in San Francisco Bay Area and working on outreach programs at schools and local communities. The judges also stated that all finalists were excellent, they all performed exquisitely and they declared a tie for second place between Marcin Dylla from Poland and Flavio Sala of Italy. Third place went to Anabel Montesinos, the 18-year-old guitarist of Spain, who performed as soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lublin, in Poland, during the 9th Guitar Festival, Lublin, 2004.

During first round finals, Marcin Dylla performed the following program: Johann Kaspar Mertz’s Bardenklänge: Romanze, Unruhe, Liebeslied, Tarantella; the obligatory piece by Dusan Bogdanovic Monk-a-Ning and Twelve-note Samba from Bogdanovic’s Book of the Unknown Standards, and Five Bagatelles for Guitar by William Walton. In the 2nd round finals he performed the Sonata para Guitarra by Antonio Jose and Sonata Giocosa by Joaquin Rodrigo. Marcin Dylla’s beautiful, mellow-sounding guitar was crafted by the Spanish luthier Manuel Contreras (Model 10° Aniversario).

Polish classical guitarist Marcin Dylla was born on June 6, 1976 in Chorzów. At the age of eight, he began playing the guitar at the State School of Music in Ruda Śląska in 1984. He continued his guitar study at the Karol Szymanowski Music Secondary School in Katowice in the class of Prof. Wanda Palacz from 1995 to 2000. Starting in 1997 he studied simultaneously at the Music Academy in Basel with Prof. Oscar Ghiglia. In June 2000 he graduated with honors from the Academies in Katowice, Poland, and in Basel, Switzerland. In October 2002, he began his postgraduate study at the Music Academy in Freiburg, under the instruction of Prof. Sonja Prunnbauer. Since September 2002 he has been studying at the Musical Conservatory in Maastricht under the guidance of Carlo Marchione. In 2002 he won the Scholarship for Young Guitarists from CEI (Central European Initiative) to attend the courses at the Accademia Chitarristica “Francisco Tárrega”. He attended master classes with Manuel Barrueco, Roberto Aussel, and David Russell, among others.

Many music critics and music lovers consider Marcin Dylla one of the most outstanding classical guitar players. He has played concerts at Schubertsaal-Konzerthaus and Musikverein-Brahmssaal in Vienna, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, the Hermitage Theatre in St.Petersburg, the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Turin, and Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, New York. He has performed as soloist with the Orchestra Filharmonica di Torino, St.Petersburg Philharmonic, the National Spanish Youth Orchestra of Madrid, and with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in the Concerto del Sul by Manuel Maria Ponce, conducted by JoANN Falletta.

Dylla’s international fame is confirmed by his accomplishments, especially his unparalleled number of competition awards. In 1996, he won his first prize at the International Guitar Competition of Edmund Jurkowski-“Silesian Autumn” in Tychy, Poland. From that time, the impressive list of first prizes at international guitar competitions includes: Tredrez-Locquemeau, France, 1997; the “Karl Scheit”, Vienna, Austria, 1998; Liechtenstein, 1999; Alcoy, Spain, 2000; Gargnano, Italy, 2000; the “Gitarre Forum”, Vienna, Austria, 2001; Sernancelhe, Portugal, 2001; Alassandria, Italy, 2002, where he also received the “chitarra d’oro” (“gold guitar”), the award granted by musical critics for the best young guitar player; the “Joaquin Rodrigo”, Madrid, Spain, 2002; Almeria, Spain, 2002; Crete, 2002; the H.R.H. Princess Cristina Competition, “Jacinto & Inocencio Guerrero”, Madrid, Spain, 2002; Markneukirchen, Germany, 2003; the “Rene Bartoli”, Aix-en-Provence, France, 2003; the “JoANN Falletta”, Buffalo, N.Y., USA, 2004; the “Printemps de la Guitare”, Charleroi, Belgium, 2004.

Marcin Dylla’s artistic life leads him on many concerts tours, music festivals, master classes, and recordings. In 1989 he recorded Polish Guitar Music (Settembrini, Poland). In 1998 he released his album of Polish Music for Guitar by Jerzy Bauer, Feliks Horecki, Jan Nepomucen Bobrowicz, Edmund Jurkowski and Aleksander Tansman, hoping to offer it for sale on the Internet. In 2003 he recorded the Sonatas for Guitar by Manuel Maria Ponce, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Leo Brouwer (RTVE-Música Clásica, Casa de la Radio, Madrid, Spain). In 2004 he received a recording contract with Fleur de Son Classics. The organization “Polonia Global Fund” (PGF) in Albany, N.Y. and Polonia in America honored Marcin Dylla as the Person of the Month of July 2004.

Recently, as jury member for the Alhambra International Guitar Competition in Alcoy, he said that for him every competition is a festival concert, and that his main purpose is to play well before an appreciative audience and for the judges to recognize his performance. Asked if he plans to participate in other competitions, he answered that he would like to take part in two more competitions outside of Europe, perhaps Viña del Mar in Chile or in Tokyo.

We wish Marcin Dylla all the best in his endeavors and the fulfillment in his work and his life.


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)


Marek Stachowski

Marek Stachowski, professor, composer, and administrator, died in Kraków on 3 December, 2004. Prof. Stachowski was an accomplished composer and a friend of the Polish Music Center, having donated several manuscripts to our collection. In addition to his compositional work, he was a respected professor throughout the world and, since 1993, held the position of rector at the Music Academy in Kraków. The Academy honored his memory with an inspirational concert on 16 December, featuring music by Albrechtsberger, Bach, Mozart and Rodrigo.