Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 15, no. 5
Poland’s Minister Of Culture At USC
Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage, paid a visit to the USC campus on Thursday, April 23. Arriving with his assistant and accompanied by Paulina Kapuścińska, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, Małgorzata Cup, Consul for Culture, Roman Czarny, former Consul for Culture, and film director Krzysztof Jankowski, Minister Zdrojewski toured the campus and met with Dr. Robert Cutietta, Dean of the Thornton School of Music.
During a brief afternoon ceremony inside Dean Cutietta’s office, Minister Zdrojewski decorated the Dean with the Gloria Artis medal. This highly prestigious award recognizes the most outstanding individuals for their contributions to Polish culture and is usually bestowed upon the recipient upon the initiative of the Minister of Culture or other high government officials.
In his remarks to Dean Cutietta, Minister Zdrojewski summarized the long-standing relationship of the Thornton School of Music and the Polish Music Center at USC and the Dean’s leading role in promoting Polish music and culture in Southern California. Dean Cutietta thanked the Minister for this very meaningful award and describing his advocacy of Polish music and cooperation with the Polish Music Center as “the right thing to do.” In a special note, USC Provost C. L. Max Nikias congratulated Dean Cutietta and Thornton School of Music “on this magnificent and much-deserved honor,” adding that “everyone at USC enthusiastically applauds you!”
Following the decoration ceremony, the Dean and Minister Zdrojewski stepped outside the Music School Building for a photo opportunity next to the monument of Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Paderewski—one of the most important pianists in the history of music—was also a statesman and a humanitarian and his accomplishments in the fields of music and diplomacy were recognized by USC with an honorary doctorate in February of 1923. Paderewski’s monument at USC was unveiled by the PMC at a special ceremony in October 2007, during which Provost Nikias, Dean Cutietta, and Poland’s Ambassador to the United States, Janusz Reiter, participated, alongside Consul Kapuścińska and numerous members of Polish community in Los Angeles.
The PMC’s manuscript collection housed in the Special Collections Department in Doheny Library was the next stop on the Minister’s USC itinerary. Manuscripts of compositions by leading contemporary Polish composers were on display, including several major orchestral works by Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Krzysztof Meyer. Scores by Grażyna Bacewicz, whose centenary celebration was recently commemorated with a concert in USC’s Newman Recital Hall, were also laid out for the Minister’s viewing. Melinda Hayes, Head of Special Collections, prepared the exhibit for the Minister and welcomed him upon his arrival in the second floor Special Collections area. Representing the Dean of Libraries as well as the University cabinet on this important occasion were Emily E. Jordan, Deputy Director of Advancement, USC Libraries, and John D. McIntyre, Library Development Research Analyst.
The Polish Music Center in Stonier Hall was the last stop on the Minister’s USC visit. Krysta Close, PMC Manager and Librarian, welcomed the Minister to the suite of rooms occupied by the Center. Director Marek Zebrowski introduced the Minister and his entourage to the library, highlighting the collection of manuscripts by Henry Vars and Zygmunt Stojowski, as well as photographs, personal items, correspondence and concert programs of Ignacy Jan Paderewski. This recent donation of Paderewski memorabilia is known as the Paso Robles Collection, assembled by a long-time resident of Paso Robles and Paderewski fan, Mr. Hy Blythe.
During a wide-ranging discussion with the Minister over tea and coffee, a variety of initiatives and future PMC-related projects were presented. Minister Zdrojewski encouraged the PMC to apply for Ministry grants to fund the Center’s book series. Issues related to cataloguing the precious and rare items held in the PMC Library and making them available via the internet to scholars around the world were also discussed in depth. Minister Zdrojewski’s suggestions as to who in Poland’s National Archives could assist in this long-term project were most helpful and will undoubtedly serve as a strong initial step in developing professional ties with appropriate institutions and archives in Poland.
At the conclusion of his visit, the Minister presented the Center with a 12-CD set of recordings of all of Frederic Chopin’s compositions, performed by various Polish artists. In addition, the PMC library received two volumes of limited edition facsimiles of Chopin’s manuscripts, including his Etudes Op. 10 and Mazurkas, Op. 33, recently published under the Minister’s aegis. Another fascinating gift from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, a book about Krzysztof Penderecki and a recording of his most famous works (St. Luke’s Passion, Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, String Quartet No. 1, Psalms of David, and Dimensions of Time and Silence) topped up the large gift bag that Minister Zdrojewski had brought with him from Poland to the USC campus.
Although the Minister had visited the United States on numerous occasions, calling on New York and Chicago among others in the past, this was his first visit in Los Angeles. Having met with representatives of the Polish community at the opening of the 10th Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles and after touring the USC campus, the Minister expressed his interest in returning to the West Coast in the future. An avid and accomplished photographer, the Minister delighted in taking photos throughout his visit in the Southern California. He will be warmly welcomed should he decide to visit our campus again.
A Toast To Paderewski
Fundraiser and Concert Notes by Alice Cass
Paso Robles continues to embrace the legacy of music bequeathed by one of its most distinguished residents of all time, Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Now noted as a burgeoning fine winemaking community and a place where pretentious attitudes are as welcome as gophers in a vineyard, this Central Coast town was host to a fantastically successful fundraising effort in conjunction with the Paderewski Festival ,Paso Robles’ annual tribute to the Polish virtuoso pianist, composer, politician, humanitarian and orator.
Proceeds from A Toast to Paderewski will benefit the Paderewski Festival Youth Exchange Program with Poland. The Youth Exchange Program gives winners of Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition the opportunity to join Polish piano students for a week of lessons and masterclasses with renowned pianists at Paderewski’s former manor house at Kąsna Dolna in Tarnów, Poland.
The venue for the fundraiser was Pear Valley, a beautiful new vineyard and winery located on the Back Roads Winery Trailof Paso’s countryside. Inside the light-filled event room, views of the vineyard and surrounding hills provided a gorgeous backdrop for the gala evening. As patrons of the event tasted over 20 wines by participating Back Roads Wineries and feasted on Polish-themed delicacies prepared by the Executive Chef of Cass Winery, a sense of anticipation permeated the amiable gathering. The highlight of the evening still to come was a chamber music concert featuring pianist Marek Zebrowski.
The ensemble’s program included two pieces by Paderewski—Nocturne, Op. 16 no. 4 and Melodie, Op. 16 no. 2. Originally scored for solo piano, Marek Zebrowski arranged these two wonderfully melodic compositions for strings and piano. The Nocturne, which was beautifully rendered by the touch that Simone Vitucci imparted to her cello, literally brought tears to the eyes of the concert-goers (attested to by this writer!). The Melodie, performed next by cellist Simone Vitucci, Joel Pargman on violin and Marek Zebrowski at the piano, was masterfully executed and highlighted the form and melody embodied in this exquisite piece. Again, as this writer’s eyes swept over the audience of mostly Paso Robles residents, it was evident that Paderewski’s music had found its way into the heart and soul of the town. Mr. Zebrowski could not have better chosen and arranged pieces that so intrinsically bond Paderewski to Paso Robles. Pear Valley’s Steinway piano showcased Mr. Zebrowski’s piano artistry faultlessly.
Franz Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet for Piano and Strings concluded the concert. Mr. Zebrowski introduced the addition of viola player Tom Lea and double bass player Stephanie Payne. In his remarks preceding this performance, Mr. Zebrowski commented that the intimate setting of the evening was one similar to that which would have been enjoyed during Paderewski’s era. The five movements of the “Trout” were played with obvious pleasure by the ensemble’s five musicians. Particularly striking were the facial expressions displayed by viola performer Tom Lea. Undisguised joy, mirth, and a host of lively emotions were played out visibly and audibly. The musicians and concert-goers in the room connected. Something special happened.
When the music ended, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Frank Mecham presided over a live auction, which included rare wine collections, tours, luncheon, dinner, and most fittingly, a salon-style piano recital by Mr. Marek Zebrowski. The triumphant outcome of A Toast to Paderewski is that the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles will continue its undertaking of expanding awareness and appreciation for the heritage that this town’s most renowned citizen left behind.
Keeping Up With Youth Competitors
As the time for the next annual Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition approaches, former competitors and winners are sharpening their performance skills and preparing their repertoire for this year’s challenge. One of the many benefits of participating in the Competition is the opportunity to perform in area wineries throughout the year. Since February 2009, Cass Winery has offered a monthly afternoon performance by former winners and competitors in their tasting room. Performances so far have featured: Rory McClish, Evan Lin, Lindsay Reed, Andrew Toh, Emma Nicholson, Tyrone Crockett, Joshua Lehrer, Cooper Stimson, and Max Eisendrath.
Evan Lin, the 2nd place winner in the Junior Category for both 2007 and 2008, has found another impressive performance opportunity for himself: he will play the National Anthem for more than 1,500 people at the Special Olympic opening ceremony next week. According to Evan’s mother, Bianca, “none of these opportunities would have happened if not for the Paderewski piano competition.” Congratulations to all participants, and keep music coming!
2009 Youth Competition Details in brief:
The contest is open to male and female piano students in two age groups: Juniors (10-14) and Seniors (15-18). Contestants must currently study with an established piano teacher and reside within the following counties: San Luis Obispo, Monterey, or Santa Barbara. Certificates and cash prizes ranging from $200-$750 will be awarded to the top three performers in each category, as well as opportunities to perform, to receive personal coaching before the Winners Recital, and to participate in the Paderewski Festival Youth Exchange Program in Poland.
Competition Day: Saturday, October 24, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m
Competition Winners Recital: Saturday, November 14
Competition Details and Application: www.paderewskifest.com/pdfs/2009_YouthCompetition_App.pdf
Constitution Day Concert
Poland’s historic 1791 Constitution was celebrated with a gala event on Monday May 4 at the Broad Stage Auditorium in Santa Monica. Paulina Kapuścińska, Consul General of Poland in Los Angeles, began the evening by decorating a number of Polish veterans and delivering remarks on Poland’s political past and the present. Following the official part, the Polish Constitution Day Celebration continued with a piano recital by Marek Tomaszewski, who was specially invited for the occasion from Paris, France, where he has lived for several decades.
“Celebration of Springtime” was the theme for Mr. Tomaszewski’s program presented to the nearly full house, composed of not only Polish émigré community members, but also representatives of other nations living in the greater Los Angeles area. The personal touch of the soloist was to offer the audience two well-known orchestral works in his own piano transcription, Carl Orff’s Carmina burana and Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
Marek Tomaszewski’s long and distinguished career reaches back to the early 1960s, when he began concertizing as a member of a piano duet with his friend, Wacław Kisielewski. For over twenty years, the two pianists performed with such artists as Marlena Dietrich, Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour, Mireille Mathieu, and Dalida, among others. Known as “Marek & Wacek,” the duo pianists recorded numerous LPs, appeared in countless television broadcasts, and performed at many international festivals. Since Wacław Kisielewski’s tragic death in an automobile accident in the mid 1980s, Marek Tomaszewski has devoted his creative energies to collaborating with ballet companies in Paris and working on transcribing works from the standard repertoire for piano solo. Returning to the stage as a soloist only recently, Mr. Tomaszewski premiered his transcription of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in Montmorency, near Paris, in 2004. Since then he has returned to Poland with numerous recital programs and made recordings for Polish Television. His two solo piano CDs—Premiere and Rapsodia—as well as his transcription of Stravinsky, were recently recorded at the Lutosławski Studio of the Polish Radio in Warsaw.
In his Santa Monica appearance, Mr. Tomaszewski displayed a sure-footed approach to the two large-scale orchestral works on the program, coaxing out of the piano rich orchestral textures and a considerable degree of nuance. Under his hands, Carmina burana and the Rite of Spring proved to be fascinating virtuoso piano pieces, holding their own even when compared with the highly imaginative scoring of their original orchestral versions.
The rousing finale of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring catapulted the audience to a standing ovation and led to several curtain calls for the artist. Willing to lend an additional patriotic accent to the evening, Mr. Tomaszewski performed his own version of Chopin—a jazzed-up C minor Nocturne and a tango-like take on the Revolutionary Etude. A few most famous snippets of Mussorgsky’s Night on the Bald Mountain served as bridge material between the two variations on Chopin’s standards, conveying a degree of impish amusement for the pianist in blending various styles and composers into his own inventive vision. Two additional encores—this time original compositions by Tomaszewski—added a degree of intimacy and mystery with their delicate textures and sweetly romantic melodic material, and provided an agreeable conclusion to the festive evening.
Zimerman At Disney Hall
Polish pianist and former winner of the Warsaw International Chopin Piano Competition, Krystian Zimerman, made his Walt Disney Concert Hall debut on April 26. In addition to a phenomenal musical performance, Mr. Zimerman also shared some of his personal views on U.S. military and foreign policy with the audience before playing his final piece. This action has garnered varied reactions from around the community and around the world. Below is a recap of the evening shared with us by one Friend of the PMC, as well as several Los Angeles Times articles on the subject. There are many more articles and blog posts on the internet as well, to be found via your preferred search engine.
An Experience At Disney Hall By Charles Bragg
The first half of Krystian Zimerman’s debut recital at Disney Hall was fantastic. Bach’s Partita #2 in C Minor contains a wide range of styles and moods, each of which was marvelously played. Beethoven’s 32nd and last piano sonata, Opus 111, by turns dramatic, passionate, calm and joyous, was even better. We spoke with friends at intermission, two of whom are professional musicians, and all agreed that we had enjoyed a very special performance already.
The second half began with a program change: instead of Brahms’ Opus 119, Mr. Zimerman played Grażyna Bacewicz’s Second Piano Sonata. How wonderful, I thought, to hear this piece twice in four weeks, the first time being the Polish Music Center’s Bacewicz concert last month. This is a very percussive and demanding piece and at times it almost seemed Zimerman was attacking the piano, such was the intensity of his playing.
The last piece on the program was an early work by Szymanowski, his Variations on a Polish Theme, Opus 10. Zimerman waited a long time at the piano, head bowed over the keyboard as if waiting for just the right moment to begin. But, instead of playing, he turned to the audience and said, “I was warned not to speak …” There was a little applause and some laughter from the audience – we expected he was going to talk about the music. We were wrong. Instead he told us that this would be his last recital in the United States, and his reason was to protest the militaristic politics of the US government. In particular he was upset by the ongoing existence of the Guantanamo Bay prison, and the effect our government was having on the Polish government. He was careful to distinguish between peoples and governments, as he much admired the people of the US, saying that the US had things much more valuable to export than militarism.
This had a negative effect on some audience members, although mercifully not many. Some got up and left, others shouted back at the stage. One repeated response was to say that the USA saved Poland from the Russians – people ought to know their history a bit better than that. Another response was, “Just Play the Piano,” which reduces the pianist to little better than a dancing monkey. There were, as I said, very few who responded in this manner.
After his short speech, he played the Szymanowski as if there had been no interruption. It is remarkable how one can make a heart-felt comment like that and still be able to concentrate on the music. Unfortunately, I was distracted by what he had said and couldn’t really concentrate as a listener. Whatever the rest of the audience thought during the playing, they gave him the loudest and longest standing ovation I have ever heard, for which he was obviously grateful.
Although his speech was sincere, I don’t believe he planned it very well. He spoke quietly and did not make his points perfectly clear. The negative reactions were predictable, and all of it was a distraction from the program. There are those who think such remarks are out of place in musical performances – personally I wish he had saved them until after the concert, and possibly followed them by playing Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude as an encore. And, as long as I am giving out free advice, would Mr. Zimerman consider returning to the US to do benefit concerts for the ACLU, or another organization that feels as he does? That would be positively Paderewskian.
Charles Bragg is a native of Los Angeles and a life-long supporter and intermittent student of classical music. He was awakened to the existence of Polish music beyond Chopin when the college chorus he joined sang the Szymanowski Stabat Mater, which he still considers one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. He and his wife Alice are Friends of Polish Music at the PMC as well as volunteers for the LA Philharmonic and the LA Opera.
Official Los Angeles Times coverage of the concert:
- Review: Krystian Zimerman’s controversial appearance at Disney Hall By Mark Swed – Los Angeles Times music critic
- Krystian Zimerman’s boycott – Los Angeles Times editorial
- Krystian Zimerman to shun U.S. in protest – By Jessica Garrison and Diane Haithman, Los Angeles Times
The highlight of this year’s Gaude Mater Sacred Music Festival is a concert featuring world premieres of works by Paweł Łukaszewski, Roland Freisitzer and Krzesimir Dębski and the prize-winning compositions from this year’s Musica Sacra Composition Competition.
- Paweł Łukaszewski – Miserere for soprano, mixed choir and orchestra
- Roland Freisitzer – Dies Irae for mixed choir and instrumental ensemble
- Krzesimir Dębski – Ecclesiasticus 30 for soprano, mixed choir and chamber orchestra
- Adrià Barbosa – O Magnum Mysterium for mixed choir a cappella (3rd Prize)
- Łukasz Urbaniak – Exaltabo te Domine for mixed choir a cappella (2nd Prize)
- Emil Bernard Wojtacki – De caritate with text by Hildegard von Bringen, for mixed choir a cappella (1st Prize)
Performers for this concert are Talia Or – soprano (Israel); Polish Chamber Choir Schola Cantorum Gedanensis; Jan Łukaszewski – conductor; Morphing Vienna Chamber Orchestra (Austria); Tomasz Wabnic – orchestra director (Poland); Michał Dworzyński – conductor (Poland). The concert will be on Sunday May 3rd at 4:00 pm in the Seminar Church in Częstochowa. For more information on the Festival, see the Festivals section below, or for a complete program and information about the artists, please visit gaudemater.pl.
The Warsaw Musical Meetings festival (May 9-17) will also feature several world premiere performances in various venues around Warsaw.
- May 10: Dariusz Przybylski – Orchesterstück Nr. 2 (2009)
- May 11: Aleksander Kościów – IX Kwartet smyczkowy (2009) – Festival commission
- May 12: Edward Sielicki – Preludia for piano and string orchestra (2007/2008) – world premiere of the work in its entirety
- May 12: Zofia Dowgiałło – Stud(n)ia (2009)
- May 16: Władysław Słowiński – Tętno kołatka – 3 songs for voice and piano(2009),with text by Jerzy Ficowski
Performers for these concerts include: on May 10 – Łukasz Długosz, flute and Anna Sikorzak-Olek, harp, with Polska Orkiestra Sinfonia Iuventus, Krzysztof Słowiński, cond.; on May 11 – Wilanów Quartet: Tadeusz Gadzina, violin I, Paweł Łosakiewicz, violin II, Ryszard Duź, viola, and Marian Wasiółka, cello; on May 12 – Zofia Dowgiałło, harp, Dariusz Jakubowski, recitation, and Joanna Ławrynowicz, piano with the Chamber Orchestra of the National Philharmonic; and May 16 – Marta Boberska, soprano, Anna Radziejewska, mezzo-soprano, Anton Birula, chitarrone, Justyna Rekść-Raubo, cello, Mariusz Rutkowski, piano, and Lilianna Stawarz – harpsichord.
For a full program of the festival, please visit www.wsm.art.pl.
The Festival Musica Electronica Nova (Wrocław, May 10 – 17) will also feature many world premieres of a wide variety of electronic and electro-acoustic music. Polish composer who will have world premieres are:
- May 19: Adrian Foltyn – Triple Double Concerto for piano, computer and string orchestra
- May 19: Tomasz Praszczałek – Salto mortale electronic strings and woodwinds
- May 19: Michał Moc – achordeon for string and electronic orchestra
- May 20: Beatriz Ferreyra – Dans un point infini for violin and electronics
- May 22: Dobromiła Jaskot – hannah for cello and electronics
- May 24: Eugeniusz Rudnik/Bolesław Błaszczyk/Jarosław Siwiński – Epilogos, a collective composition for tape
- May 25: Agata Zubel – Obciążenie dopuszczalne for percussion and computer
- May 26: Ryszard Osada – Trance-formation for orchestra and electronics
- May 26: Katarzyna Głowicka – Exophonyfor symphonic orchestra and multi-track sound recording
Performers for the following programs: “Strings +” on May 19: Bartłomiej Zajkowski – piano, Cezary Duchnowski and Adrian Foltyn – computer, AUKSO Orkiestra Kameralna, and Marek Moś – conductor; “Violin +” on May 20: Weronika Kadłubkiewicz – violin; “Cello +” on May 22: Andrzej Bauer – cello, Cezary Duchnowski – computer, and Aleksandra Rupocińska – keyboard; “50 Years of the Experimental Studio of Polish Radio II” on May 24: Ania Zielińska – violin, Eryk Lubos – voice, Maciej Grzybowski – piano, and Cezary Duchnowski – computer; “Percussion +” on May 25: Jan Pilch – percussion, Karol Papała, and Jean-Baptiste Barriere – visuals; and “Final Concert” on May 26: Camilla Hoitenga – alto flute, Anssi Karttunen – cello, Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Kiradjiev – conductor.
For a full program, please visit: www.musican.aprom.pl
Piotr Moss At Sixty
by Joseph A. Herter
May 13 marks the 60th birthday of Polish-born composer Piotr Moss who is also celebrating the 40th anniversary of his artistic life this year. Born in Bydgoszcz in 1949 and raised in Toruń, Moss completed his music studies at the State Higher School of Music (now the Chopin University of Music) in Warsaw, studying composition with Grażyna Bacewicz and Piotr Perkowski. Further private studies in composition took place with Krzysztof Penderecki (1974-76) in Cracow and with the legendary Nadia Boulanger in 1976 in Paris, now the composer’s second home when not residing in Warsaw.
Moss’s music has been performed by nearly every philharmonic orchestra in Poland as well as by major orchestras in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Republic of South Africa, Singapore, Columbia and the United States of America. A prolific composer of classical music, Moss has to his credit four operas, numerous orchestral works that include four symphonies, one ballet, a cycle of songs for mezzo-soprano and orchestra. There are also many choral works (including an oratorio, several cantatas, and settings of the Mass, Magnificat, Salve Regina and Stabat Mater) and over 150 pieces of chamber music. The composer has also written numerous works for children, radio and television, incidental music for the theater as well as musical scores for over a dozen films.
Many concerts will be held this year as part the sexagenarian’s anniversary. The festivities began in January with the Polish premiere of Moss’ Rhapsody for Symphonic Orchestra by the Silesian Orchestra in Katowice, and the composer’s hometown of Bydgoszcz was the venue of a concert featuring his Cello Concerto No. 2 (Tomasz Strahl, cellist) with the Filharmonia Pomorska in March. Torun’s Symphonic Orchestra performed his Adagio III which will also be performed this autumn by the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw. This past March saw the world premiere of the artist’s Cinq tableaux de Caspar David Friedrich with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Polish Radio in Katowice.
In May, Berlin will hear the world premiere of his Fourth String Quartet, Kielce a performance of his entertainment for children—Cyrk Giuseppe— and Poznań his Intrada for symphonic orchestraand Niké hesitant for string orchestra. Other May performances include Sinfonia Varsovia playing Moss’ Ptak Ugui (which will be repeated in Cracow in June by the Beethoven Academy Orchestra) and the premiere of Moment Musical II in Mönchengladbach.
In autumn there will be performances of his Stabat Mater in Koszalin and Kołobrzeg, and the premiere of Loneliness, a cycle of songs for alto and orchestra commissioned by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Białystok. Olsztyn and Gdańsk are the concert venues for Moss’ Cyrk Giuseppe and Intrada respectively. In October, Polish Radio will present a nationwide broadcast of the composer’s works that have been recorded by the Polish Radio Orchestra. Finally, the Cracow Opera plans to premiere the composer’s new opera, Karla, sometime during the 2009/2010 season.
Other concerts in France will also mark the 60th anniversary of the composer’s birth with performances by the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, the Colonne Orchestra and Chorus and the Orchestre Symphonique de l’Aube.
Sinfonia Varsovia Has A Home
One of the foremost Polish orchestras, Sinfonia Varsovia, has finally received a permanent residence after 25 years of existence. The city of Warsaw has purchased buildings of an old veterinary school on Grochowska Street in Warsaw. These buildings and grounds will be the home of this outstanding orchestra. After renovations, they will serve as a rehearsal and educational facility for Sinfonia Varsovia as well as the Polish Chamber Orchestra.
For more Sinfonia Varsovia news please visit our Awards section.
National Audio-Visual Institute
On April 1, as a result of restructuring, the Polish Audio-Visual Publications became the National Audio-Visual Institute. The institute was established by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski. This change will greatly increase the goals, reach and possibilities of the institution.
In addition to already established activities of publishing, recording of deserving cultural events and co-producing, the Institute will also focus on systematic digitalization of archived Polish materials and making them available for the public through digital media. The results of the activities will find their way to the special internet portal, nina.gov.pl, which should become operational on June 4, 2009. The user will find both archival materials, never before released materials, and recent or newly produced projects.
Music In Polish Films
As a part of the 2009 Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles, Henryk Wars – A Songster of Warsaw will be screened at the Spielberg Theatre of the Egyptian Theatre on May 2 at 5:00 PM. This documentary was directed by Wiesław Dąbrowski, a renowned producer of TV and live music shows, who will be present for the screening.
In 1902, in the assimilated Warszawski family of Polish Jews, was born the future outstanding composer of film music, Henryk Wars. This documentary film tells the story of this unique artist-patriot.
A native of Warsaw and a student of Karol Szymanowski at the Warsaw Conservatory, Henryk Wars became famous as a court composer of hits for stars of the fashionable Warsaw cabarets. He also scored over fifty Polish feature films. He continued to compose in the USA, where he landed after WWII, back from the war trail of an officer of General Anders’ Polish Armed Forces in the East. Wars’ previously unknown collection of classical compositions from his years in Los Angeles was donated to the Polish Music Center by the composer’s widow in 2005. The donation was celebrated at a Gala concert in November 2005, featuring many of Wars’ best known tunes performed by Yolanta Tensor, Angela Vicente and Matt Falker, vocals, Marek Żebrowski, piano and members of the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra with Gabriel Alegría, conductor.
Love Forgives All [Miłość ci wszystko wybaczy], Sex Appeal, Only in Lviv [Tylko we Lwowie]– these are only a few out of hundreds of hit songs that all Poles sang throughout the twenty years between WWI and WWII, and all were written by Henryk Wars. A friend of John Wayne, Henryk Wars also worked in Hollywood, has provided musical scores for sixty films, and had his songs sung by Brenda Lee, Doris Day, Bing Crosby, and Margaret Whiting, among other world-class singers.
Henryk Wars – A Songster of Warsaw was produced with financial support from the city of Warsaw. “It is just an attempt to give justice to this legendary Varsovite’s services to Warsaw and to Poland” says director Wiesław Dąbrowski. 2007, the year the film was released, marked the 105th anniversary of Wars’ birth and 30th anniversary of his death.
Later during the day on May 2nd—a.k.a. TV POLONIA DAY at the Los Angeles Polish Film Festival—MUSIC – WOJCIECH KILAR [Muzyka – Wojciech Kilar] will be screened at 7:00 p.m. in the Spielberg Theatre of the Egyptian Theatre. The creative team for this production is: Director – Halina Szymura, Screenplay – Halina Szymura, Cinematographer – Jan Zub, and Producer – Adam Lukaszek.
Music-Wojciech Kilar is a documentary about one of the most highly regarded Polish composers of our time. The music of Wojciech Kilaris widely known and appreciated and has been honored by multiple awards, prizes and distinctions in Poland and abroad. This film is not a typical biography as it does not show the chronology of events from the composer’s life. Rather, it is an attempt to show the roots from which the master drew inspiration for his music, and to show the environment in which he lived at different stages of his life.
Wojciech Kilar’s works are played all over the world by the most famous symphonic orchestras and his pieces such as Orawa, Krzesany, Gray Mist [Siwa mgła] or September Symphony [Symfonia Wrześniowa] have gained recognition as hits of the 20th- and 21st- century music. The artist has also achieved fame as the composer for 158 films. He has created scores to such leading works as Bram Stoker’s Dracula [Dracula]by Francis Ford Coppola, The Portrait of a Lady [Portret damy] by Jane Campion (best film music for the year 1997), The Pianist [Pianista] by Roman Polanski and many others. Kilar’s music was honored at last year’s Polish Independence Day Celebration & 2008 Paderewski Lecture.
Music – Wojciech Kilar was listed as one of the best dedicated music productions of the last several years in the TV Polonia S.A. Catalogue from February 2009.
Mexican / Polish Celebration
The Lira Singers and Cuerdas Clasicas String Ensemble will perform a celebratory concert of Mexican and Polish music on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 2pm in the Five Holy Martyrs Church in Chicago, IL. The concert celebrates the 100th anniversary of Five Holy Martyrs Parish as well as two important ethnic holidays—Cinco de Mayo and May 3rd/Polish Constitution Day. In addition, the parish is commemorating the 30th anniversary of the historic visit of Pope John Paul the Great to Five Holy Martyrs Church in 1979, during the Polish pope’s first visit to the United States.This concert honors the Polish immigrants who created and built Five Holy Martyrs Parish as well as the many Mexican-Americans who now are parishioners.
The concert features the Lira Singers, the core group of the Lira Ensemble which specializes in Polish music and dance, and the Cuerdas Clasicas String Ensemble of men and women who play traditional Mexican stringed instruments as well as sing. The program includes Mexican, Polish and American folk and patriotic songs as well as Marian hymns performed by the two companies.
The event is part of a series of Mexican/Polish performances presented by Lira since 1990. The series has been praised by audiences, community leaders, as well as critics. A reviewer in the Chicago Tribune described these joint concerts as “a joyous explosion of song and ethnic traditions” which “proves the power of music.”
Sunday, May 3
Joint National Holiday Celebration: Lira Singers and Cuerdas Clasicas String Ensemble
Five Holy Martyrs Church, Chicago, IL
Information: 773- 254-3636
Kwiecień In Seattle, Supports Polish Studies
Mariusz Kwiecień, the Polish baritone whose performance as Don Giovanni gave the Seattle audience goose bumps, received the 2007 Opera Artist of the Year’s award. In May 2009, he returns to the Seattle Opera as Count Almaviva in a new production of Le nozze di Figaro [The Marriage of Figaro]. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most popular, this opera is charming, light-hearted and endlessly enjoyable. It combines breathtaking arias and ensembles with a strong, highly entertaining plot. Le nozze di Figarosparkles with genius and will be playing at the Seattle Opera from May 2 – May 16.
Famous for his velvet baritone and magnetic stage presence, Mariusz Kwiecień opened the 2008/2009 season in Paris as Eugene in Eugene Oniegin. Among his recent engagements are: Don Giovanni in London Covent Garden and Opera Krakowska; at the Metropolitan Opera: La Boheme (Marcello), Lucia di Lammermoor (Enrico), and the 125th Met Anniversary Gala; Karol Szymanowski’s Król Roger at the Opera National de Paris; Le nozze di Figaro (Count Almaviva) at Teatro Real de Madrid and the Seattle Opera.
The UW Polish Studies Endowment Committee invites you to the Seattle Opera on May 9, 2009 at 7:30pm. The reception at a private residence the following day (Sunday, May 10, 6:00pm) will provide an opportunity to meet Mariusz Kwiecień in person. Your $100 donation will include an opera ticket for Saturday, May 9 and the reception with Mr. Kwiecień. To make reservations please contact Ewa Poraj-Kuczewska or call 206.362.3829 by April 15, 2009.
All proceeds from the event will benefit the UW Polish Studies Endowment. For more information visit www.polishstudiesuw.org.
[Source: Polish Studies Endowment Website]
Int’l Piano Master Course In Rzeszów
- Location: K. Szymanowski State College of Music, Rzeszów, Poland. The main building of the College is located in the heart of the City.
- Time: 6th – 14th of July, 2009
- Artistic guidance: Mrs. Olga Lazarska – piano lecturer at Academy of Music in Cracov (Poland), Mrs. Oxana Rapita – piano lecturer at ‘M. Lysenko’ Academy of Music in Lviv (Ukraine), Mrs. Kasia Stankowska – prominent jazz artist from Wrocław (Poland), Mr. Stefan Kutrzeba – piano lecturer at Ylä-Satakunta College of Music (Finland), Mr. Hubert Rutkowski – internationally acclaimed concert pianist (Hamburg/Warsaw), Mr. Michal Szczepanski – piano lecturer at Academy of Musicin Wrocław (Poland).
The Special Guest of this year’s workshop will be the outstanding Polish pianist, teacher, and laureate and jury member of many international piano competitions, Professor Jozef Stompel from the Music Academy in Katowice.
More details are available at: www.pianoeu.com/master_courses.html
Augustyn & A Taste Of Poland
The International Club of DC, with the cooperation of the Embassy of Poland, cordially requests the pleasure of your company for an enchanting evening of music, culture, art, and cuisine at the Embassy of Poland. This is a wonderful opportunity to discover Poland through all your senses. The evening begins with a short presentation about Poland that offers a bird’s eye view of Poland as well as Polish culture, geography, trade, and tourism. Afterwards sit back and relax to a delightful violin performance by Polish violinist Kinga Augustyn, with Pavel Gintov, piano. After the concert you will be invited to feast on a buffet of traditional Polish delicacies prepared by the embassy chef along with wine and Polish spirits served at the open bar. The evening also provides you with the opportunity to meet diplomatic personnel at the embassy as well as International Club of DC members in attendance.
Proposed program for the evening: JOHANNES BRAHMS – Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78; K. SZYMANOWSKI – Myths, Op. 30; W. LUTOSŁAWSKI – Subito; A. ZARZYCKI – Mazurek in G Major; H. WIENIAWSKI – Fantaisie Brillante (Faust Fantasy).
Winner of the 2007 Artist International Presentations Annual Auditions, Polish- born violinist Kinga Augustyn performed her New York Debut Recital at the Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall in March of 2008. Described as “a violinist for whom nothing seems too difficult” (Nowy Dziennik, March 2008, New York City), Ms. Augustyn has also released a CD with Nicolo Paganini 24 Caprics for violin solo. A Bachelors (2004) and Masters (2007) graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, where as a full- tuition scholarship recipient she studied with Cho Liang Lin, Naoko Tanaka and the legendary Dorothy DeLay, Ms. Augustyn has appeared with the Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Augusta Symphony Orchestra, and the American ACO at the Aspen Music Festival, among others. As a recitalist and a chamber musician, she has appeared in the US at halls including the Weill Hall (Carnegie Hall), Paul Hall, Alice Tully and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Polish Consulate in New York, as well as in Europe. Interested in contemporary music, Ms. Augustyn has premiered new works by such composers as: Michael White (Trio Sonata composed for her), Jakub Ciupinski (a piece also written for her), and Cynthia Lee Wong.
Ms. Augustyn has shown a great interest in promoting Polish music in the United States, which has lead her to a collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute of New York (partial sponsor of her Carnegie Debut Recital) and the Kosciuszko Foundation. In the fall of 2008, she has given a New England premiere of an unknown in the United States Polish Violin Concerto composed in 1902 by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra in Maine.
Ms. Augustyn will repeat the same program at the Embassy on the following night, in celebration of the Europe Week Open House, when European embassies in D.C. open their doors to the public.
Dance Set To Górecki
The Lydia Johnson Dance Company presented the culmination of a series of lecture demonstrations and workshops at the City Center Studios in Manhattan, NYC on March 28th. The company performed Untitled, a work set to the music of Polish composer
Untitled (2004), with music by Henryk Górecki and original lighting design by Jim Oakley, features passages of stillness and quiet interrupted by brief propulsive segments. Set to the composer’s critically acclaimed Kleines Requiem fur eine Polka the work opens with a sequence for three women which slowly merges with a duet for a man and a woman, that is developing alongside. This pas-de-deux carries within it the deepest tenderness and yet is strongly sensually charged. The third movement’s frantic pacing and almost desperate attempt at gaiety is reflected in Ms. Johnson’s scene of ballroom dance fractured and spliced with sharp edged, angular phrases. This section includes the appearances of a number of young girls who join in the dancing. The final section is a haunting return to the earlier tone and opens with a repeat of the musical theme heard at the end of the second movement. The work ends with a hymn-like sequence that is never totally resolved musically. The choreography includes passages of weighted, peaceful phrases that sink to the floor and leave dancers there in an almost deathly quiet.
Mujirushi On Youtube
New videos of music performed by Ensemble Mujirushi are now available on YouTube, including a performance of music for nobody by Polish-Canadian composer Piotr Grella-Możejko, who also plays keyboards in the ensemble. The series of videos encompasses great stylistic variety, with pieces ranging from solo to full ensemble. All recordings are live and were made between September 2008 and January 2009.
Chopin In Florida
Ning An – with Orchestra Miami, Elaine Rinaldi, conductor
Friday, May 15th at 8:00pm
In collaboration with the Chopin Foundation of the United States, Orchestra Miami performs with Ning An, the first-prize winner of the prestigious U.S. National Chopin Piano Competition in 2000. Program includes: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto N. 1, in b flat minor, Beethoven’s Leonora Overture #3, Brahms’ Symphony N. 1 in c minor
Tickets and info: www.orchestramiami.org
The American Virtuosi: Elizabeth, Frances & Emmanuel Borowsky
Saturday, May 16th at 7:00pm
Broward County Main Library – 100 S. Andrews Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Sunday, May 17th at 2:00pm
Granada Presbyterian Church – 950 University Drive
Coral Gables, FL
Part of the Chopin For All series – Free admission
[Source: Chopin Foundation of the U.S.]
Award For Sembrich Biography
PRESS RELEASE: Noted Polish musicologist Małgorzata Komorowska is this year’s recipient of the award Theatrical Book of the Year 2008, awarded by the Polish Center’s Critics’ Division of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), whose headquarters are located at UNESCO in New York. The award was announced on March 27, International Theater Day, and was given to Komorowska for her book entitled Marcella Sembrich-Kochańska: Life and Singing [Życie i śpiew], a biography on the great Polish diva of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Funding for writing the book was made possible by a research grant from the Kosciuszko Foundation in 1994. Komorowska, a professor of musicology at the Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, is the only Pole to have been awarded this prize twice. In 1992, she received the same prize for her book Szymanowski and the Theater.
Joseph A. Herter, Representative
The Kosciuszko Foundation, Inc.
Golka Wins Fellowship
Polish-American pianist Adam Golka has received the 2009 Max I. Allen Classical Fellowship Award given by the American Pianists Association, in what The Indianapolis Starcalls the “climax[ of] a season-long search for the best American classical pianists.”
The penultimate stage for this competition took place during the APA’s “Discovery Week” (March 30-April 4) at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis, IN. Over the course of the week, each of 5 finalists performed different piano quintet compositions with the Parker String Quartet in concerts that were free and open to the public. The final stage was the Gala Finals: two programs of concertos performed by each of the finalists with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at the Hilbert Circle Theatre under the direction of associate conductor Sean Newhouse. Finalists were announced on Saturday April 4th at the end of the second Gala Finals concert. The other winner announced, Grace Fong who received the Christel Dehaan Classical Fellowship, is a graduate of the Thornton School of Music at USC.
Adam Golka will make his debut at Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, on March 7th, 2010, playing Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto with the New York Youth Symphony.
Fryderyki 2009 Results
The winners of the Fryderyk Award of the Polish Phonographic Academyhave been announced on April 20 in Warsaw. The following is the list of the winners (for a list of nominees please refer to our March 2009 newsletter):
Album of the Year – Choral and Oratorio Music
- Stanisław MONIUSZKO – Msze [DUX]
Album of the year – Early and Baroque Music
- Mikołaj ZIELEŃSKI: Offertoria et Communiones Totius Anni (1611) [DUX]
Album of the Year – Chamber Music
- Karol SZYMANOWSKI: Utwory na skrzypce i fortepian: Piotr Pławner, Wojciech Świtała [DUX]
Album of the year – Solo Music
- HAYDN, BEETHOVEN, MOZART – Rafał Blechacz [Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Polska]
Album of the year – Symphonic and Concerto Music
- KARŁOWICZ: Koncert skrzypcowy A-dur op. 8, Odwieczne Pieśni op. 10, SACD & CD, [BeArTon]
Album of the year – Contemporary Music
- Paweł MYKIETYN: Speechless Song [Polskie Wydawnictwo Audiowziualne]
Album of the year – vocal recital, opera, operetta
- Karol SZYMANOWSKI: Król Roger (DVD) [Polskie Wydawnictwo Audiowizualne]
Phonographic Debut of the Year
- CHÓR OPERY I FILHARMONII PODLASKIEJ – DYR. VIOLETTA BIELECKA (album GÓRECKI, MORYTO, SZYMANOWSKI – Pieśni kurpiowskie)
Composer of the year
- Paweł MYKIETYN
Outstanding recording of Polish Music
- Paweł MYKIETYN: Speechless Song [Polskie Wydawnictwo Audiowizualne]
Jazz Album of the year
- MARCIN WASILEWSKI TRIO: January [ECM / Universal Music Polska]
Jazz Musician of the year
- MARCIN WASILEWSKI
Jazz Phonographic Debut of the Year
- GRZEGORZ NAGÓRSKI
For a list of winners in the popular music category and for information about the awards themselves please visit the official website.
Polish Art Films Honored
The 27th International Festival of Films on Art FIFA in Montreal turned out to be a huge success for Polish and Poland-related films. The festival is dedicated to increasing public awareness, knowledge and appreciation of arts by promoting works by artists from the fields of film, television and video.
This year the Grand Prix of the festival was awarded to Solo by Maciej Pisarek for a movie about one of the most important Polish contemporary composers, Bogusław Schaeffer.
Solo embarks on a journey in the company of Boguslaw Schaeffer, one of Poland’s most important 20th-century artists. Born in the Ukraine in 1929, Schaeffer is the author of a truly extraordinary body of work. There are 13 tramway stops between Schaeffer’s home and downtown Kraków. Telling himself that he should work on 13 ideas throughout the commute, the composer sits in the tram with his notebook. A true “Renaissance man,” Schaeffer is an original and highly productive composer, as well as a musicologist, electroacoustic pioneer, playwright and the author of some 30 works that are among the most important and innovative of the post-war period. He has even delved into filmmaking and graphic design. […]
[Excerpt from: artfifa.com]
The international jury of the festival has also awarded a Polish-French documentary PIOTR ANDERSZEWSKI – VOYAGEUR INTRANQUILLE directed by Brunon Monsaingeon as the Best Portrait Film of the 27th edition of the festival.
Like a road movie, this documentary follows Piotr Anderszewski (b. 1969), one of the most promising artists of his generation, as he travels by train through Poland and to Budapest on a concert tour. A specially reserved carriage, complete with grand piano, becomes his travelling workspace and rehearsal room as well as a place to receive guests and reflect on his career. The film touches on his recent professional developments, such as the completion of a new recording or his latest recitals in Paris and Tokyo. […]
[Excerpt from: artfifa.com]
Radziwiłł Competition Results
25 year old Stuart Davies (Great Britain), a student at the Kraków Music Academy, has won the Grand Prix of the 22nd Tournament for Foreign Piano Stipend Recipients for the prize of Prince Antoni Radziwiłł in Antonin. The special award went to Ri Hwa Cho from Korea, studying at the Chopin Music University in Warsaw.
The competition took place in the Hunting Palace of Prince Radziwiłł and hosted talented pianists from China, South Korea, and Japan, among others. Traditionally, the Grand Prix as well as all the additional awards are voted on by the audience. The participants have to perform a mandatory Chopin program as well as their chosen program.
Davies is a graduate of the Trinity College of Music. He began his concert pianist career with a recital in Steinway Hall. He is a self-proclaimed enthusiast of chamber music, which he performs in London with the London Neptune Ensemble and London Myriad Ensemble. Currently he is a student of Andrzej Pikula at the Kraków Music Academy.
Ri Hwa Cho has been a student of Chopin Music University in Warsaw with Prof. Edward Wolanin since 2007. She is a laureate of the International Piano Competition in Asia in 2004.
The Tournament is organized by Wielkopolska Chopin Center Antonin in Ostrów Wielkopolski and Center for Culture and Art in Kalisz.
Artur Rubinstein In Memoriam Results
The VIII International Piano Competition “Artur Rubinstein in Memoriam” attracted 45 international applicants, of which the jury invited 21 to perform in the Concert Hall of Pomeranian Philharmonic. The jury, led by Ewa Osińska has awarded the following prizes:
- 1st Prize ex-aequo – Anna Fedorova(Ukraine) and Mun Ji-Yeong(South Korea)
- 2nd Prize – Nikodem Wojciechowski(Poland)
- 3rd Prize – Lin Peng(China)
- 4th Prize – Piotr Kosiński(Poland)
- 5th Prize – not awarded
- 6th Prize – Anna Yukho(Belarus)
Special Prize for the best performance of Karol Szymanowski’s work – Paweł Motyczyński (Poland)
Aniela Młynarska-Rubinstein Special Award funded by Ewa Rubinstein – Nikodem Wojciechowski (Poland)
For the final competition round, the pianists performed piano concertos of Ludwig van Beethoven, Fryderyk Chopin, Robert Schuman, Camille Saint-Seans, Sergiey Rachmaninov, Peter Tchaikovsky and Karol Szymanowski, with the Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra conducted by Ian Hobson (USA).
For more information about the competition please visit www.konkurs-rubinstein.bydgoszcz.pl .
Ada Sari Vocal Competition Results
Female Voice Category
- 1st Prize – Urška Arlič Gololičič(Slovenia)
- 2nd Prize – Izabela Matuła(Poland)
- 3rd Prize – Ilona Krzywicka(Poland)
Male Voice Category
- 1st Prize – not awarded
- 2nd Prize ex aequo – Michał Partyka(Poland) and Liudas Mikalauskas(Lithuania)
- 3rd Prize – Szymon Komasa(Poland)
For complete list of special prizes and artists please visit the official website of the festival.
DUX Honored In France
On April 27 in the Opera Bastille in Paris, the Academie du Disque Lyrique held the awards ceremony for the ORPHÉES D’OR Award. Polish record company DUX, specializing in classical music releases, has received a Special Jury Award for the promotion of the music of Polish composers – Moniuszko and Szymanowski.
The CDs that prompted this award are:
TVP Kultura Awards
The winners of the “Cultural Guarantee Awards” given by the Cultural station of Telewizja Polska [TVP Kultura] have been announced. The awards are given to the most interesting artistic personalities of the year. The awards are given in categories such as literature, film, theater, alternative and visual arts, classical music, and jazz/rock music. Nominees in the music categories are:
Classical: Ewa Michnik and the ensemble of the Wrocław Opera
Jazz/rock: Lao Che for album Gospel
For more information about the laureates in other categories and to see a streaming video of the ceremony please visit TVP Kultura.
Polish Pianist Triumphs In Amsterdam
Polish pianist Małgorzata Walentynowicz has won the International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in Amsterdam. This 37th edition of the competition was open to musicians under 35 years of age. It attracted 62 entries of which only 5 were allowed to compete in the final round. The second prize went to Ear Massage Percussion Quartetfrom the Netherlands and the third prize was given to The Outer Banks Duo from the United States.
Małgorzata Walentynowicz was born in 1979 and is a graduate of the Gdańsk Music Academy and Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover. Currently she is a student at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart with Prof. Nicolas Hodges. She was a stipend recipient from the Polish and French governments, the President of the City of Gdańsk and the International Chopin Society in Warsaw. She has already won several national and international awards and honors.
Baird Competition Results
Artur Zagajewski and Marcin Zieliński have received 2nd Prize ex aequo at the Tadeusz Baird Composition Competition organized by the Polish Composer’s Union. Artur Zagajewski was honored for the composition Liście [Leafs] for chamber ensemble and tape, and Marcin Zieliński for Fuci for chamber ensemble. First Prize was not awarded.
Honorary mentions: Paweł Strzelecki for Summer Dreams for 14 performers and tape, Mateusz Fandri for Iluminacja [Illumination] for chamber ensemble and Andrzej Mozgała for Tryptyk [Triptych] for wind quintet.
The official awards ceremony will take place on September 24, 2009 during the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music.
Paweł Kotla in St. Petersburg
Paweł Kotla, one of the leading Polish conductors of his generation, made his debut with the Shostakovich Philharmonic in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 1 with soloist Nadrey Dogadin (viola). The program of the concert included works by Beethoven, Haydn, Wolff and Schubert.
The Shostakovich Philharmonic is the oldest orchestra in Russia. It was created in 1882 and since then it has earned an international reputation, being hailed one of the world’s top 20 orchestras by Gramophone Magazine in last year’s ranking. Paweł Kotla was invited to perform with the Philharmonic by Yuri Temirkanov, the artistic director of the orchestra. He was the first Polish conductor of younger generation to lead this highly acclaimed ensemble.
Paweł Kotla is a graduate of the F. Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw and Oxford University in London. Currently he works as a conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra. He has performed all around the world with some of the best ensembles. In March 2008 he was invited to be the first Polish conductor to lead the European Union Youth Orchestra, an honor which took place during the inaugural concert of the 50th anniversary celebration of the European Union Parliament.
Kociuban Tours U.S.
The 17-year old winner of the 2008 Polish National Chopin Piano Competition, Julia Kociuban, concluded her tour of the U.S. on April 30th. The tour spanned the East Coast, from New York to Florida and also included Ohio. Ms. Kociuban’s program included: W. A. Mozart – Sonata in B flat major KV 333; F. Chopin – Scherzo no 4 in E major op. 54, 3 Mazurkas op. 59, Polonaise in A flat major op. 53, Grande Valse Brillante in E flat major op. 18, and Ballade no 4 in F minor op. 52; S. Prokofiev Sonata in A minor op. 28 nr. 3; J. Brahms – Intermezzo op. 118 no 2; and F. Liszt – Rapsodie Espagnole.
Pianist Julia Kociuban was born in Kraków, Poland. Ms. Kociuban is a student of the Mieczysław Karłowicz State Music School in Kraków where she has studied with Olga Lazarska (1998 – 2006) and Prof. Piotr Paleczny since 2006.
Julia has won several important national and international piano competitions, among them are the International Piano Competition “Konzerteum” in Greece, 2000; Kłodzko Piano Competition in Klodzko, Poland, 2001; International Competition “Gradus ad Parnassum” in Kaunas, Lithuania, 2001; Jan Sebastian Bach International Piano Competition in Gorzów Wielkopolski, Poland, 2002; Chopin Piano Competition for Children in Jelenia Góra, Poland, 2002 & 2005; International Chopin Piano Competition in Narva, Estonia, 2004; Milosz Magin International Piano Competition in Paris, France, 2005; and International Piano Competition “A Step Towards Mastery” in St. Petersburg, Russia, 2007.
She is a recipient of several scholarships including one from the Mr. and Mrs. Kwaśniewski Foundation (Former President of Poland), the City of Kraków Scholarship, Creative Scholarship of the City of Kraków, Małopolska Foundation “Sapere Auso” and from Poland’s Ministry of Culture. She has also been a beneficiary of the Polish Children’s Fund in Warsaw since year 2000.
Details about all of the concerts on the tour as well as Ms. Kociuban’s full bio are here: www.chopin.org/Atimo_s/news/JuliaKociuban_otherConcerts.pdf
[Source: Chopin Foundation of the U.S.]
New From Bearton
Aukso – “Bacewicz, Penderecki, Kanchelli”
Grażyna Bacewicz: Concerto for String Orchestra; Krzysztof Penderecki: Concerto for Cello (viola) and Chamber Orchestra; Giya Kancheli: Valse Boston for Piano and Strings
Andrzej Bauer – cello; Janusz Olejniczak – piano; AUKSO Chamber Orchestra; Marek Moś – conductor
Józef Elsner/Franciszek Lessel
Józef Elsner: Sonata in F Major Op. 10 no. 1 for Violin and Piano; Franciszek Lessel: Grand Trio in E flat Major Op. 4 for French Horn, Clarinet and Piano
Ludmiła Pawłowska – piano; Tomasz Król – violin; Bronisław Krzystek – french horn
Mieczysław Karłowicz: Violin Concerto Op. 8 in A Major; Odwieczne Pieśni [Everlasting Songs] op. 10 – symphonic poem
Agata Szymczewska – violin; Sinfonia Varsovia; Jerzy Maksymiuk – conductor
Karłowicz – “Rebirth” Symphony
Mieczysław Karłowicz: “Rebirth” Symphony
Sinfonia Varsovia; Jerzy Maksymiuk – conductor
New From Polish Radio
Samuel Ramey Live
Charles Gounod: Faust ballet music; Arrigo Boito: Mefistofeles; Giuseppe Verdi: I vespri siciliani overture; Don Carlos – Ella giammai m’amo; Atylla – Uldino! Uldino! … Mentre gonfiarsi l’anima; Gioachino Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia – La Calunnia
Samuel Ramey – bas-baritone; Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra; Łukasz Borowicz – conductor
New from DUX
Chopin, Paderewski, Szymanowski
Frederic Chopin: Rondo a la Krakowiak Op. 14 in F Major; Ignacy Jan Paderewski: Fantazja Polska Op. 19; Karol Szymanowski: Concerto Symphony no. 4 for piano and orchestra Op. 60
Elżbieta Wiedner-Zając – piano; Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra; Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk – conductor
Kenner plays Chopin
Frederic Chopin: Preludes Op. 28; Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise in E flat Major op. 22; Nocturne in D flat Major Op. 27 no. 2; Waltz in E Minor Op. Posth.
Kevin Kenner – piano
Kreisler. Carlos Damas, Anna Tomasik
Fritz Kreisler: Miniature Viennese March; La Gitana; Menuetto in the style of Pugnani; Aucassian und Nicolette, Canzonetta; Synkopy [Syncopation]; Schön Rosmarin; Allegretto im Stille von Luigi Boccherini; Liebesfreud; Christoph Willibald Gluck: Melody; Cécile Chaminade: Serenade Espagnol; Ede Polsini: Poupée Valsante; Isaac Albéniz: Malaguena; Robert Schumann; Romance in A Major; Franz Schubert: Impromptu Op. 90 no. 3; Louis Couperin: Precieuse; Alexander Glasunow: Serenade Espagnole
Carlos Damas – violin; Anna Tomasik – piano
New Szymanowski On Naxos
Szymanowski: Symphonies no. 1 & 4
Karol Szymanowski: Concert Overture Op. 12; Symphony no. 1 in F Minor Op. 15; Symphony no. 4 Op. 60 “Symphonie Concertante”; Study in B flat Minor Op. 4 no. 3 (arr. G. Fitelberg)
Jan Krzysztof Broja – piano; Warsaw National Philharmonic, Antoni Wit – conductor
Ewa Podleś & Garrick Ohlsson
Frederic Chopin: Gdzie lubi [There where she loves] Op. 74 No. 5; Pierścien [The ring] Op. 74 No. 14; Wojak [The warrior] Op. 74 No. 10 ; Piosnka litewska [Lithuanian Song] Op. 74 No. 16; Śliczny chłopiec [Handsome Lad] Op. 74 No. 8; Sergey Rachmaninov: Khristos voskres [Christ is risen] Op. 26 No. 6; Davno v lyubvi [How fleeting is love’s delight] Op. 14 No. 3; Ona, kak polden’, khorosha [She is as beautiful as noon] Op. 14 No. 9; Prokhodit vsyo (All things pass away) Op. 26 No. 15; Peter Tchaikovsky: Ya li v pole da ne travushka bila [Was I not a little blade of grass] Op. 47 No. 7; Nyet, tol’ko tot, kto znal [No, only one who knows longing] Op. 6 No. 6; Pesn’ Zemfiri [Zemfira’s song]; Karol Szymanowski: Masques Op. 34 for solo piano; Modest Mussorgsky: Songs and Dances of Death
Ewa Podleś – alto; Garrick Ohlsson – piano
Wigmore Hall Live presents an all-Russian and Polish recital by Ewa Podleś. Widely regarded as the world’s leading contralto, Ewa Podleś is a true great singer of our time.
Recorded live at Wigmore Hall on 23 January 2008, this release marked Ewa Podleś’ return to Wigmore Hall after sixteen years.
Accompanying Podleś is the distinguished pianist Garrick Ohlsson, whose solo performance of Szymanowski’s Masques, “was a mastery display of sustained and imaginative virtuosity, matching the singer’s” Opera Now
Gaude Mater Festival
The Gaude Mater Sacred Music Festival is held annually in the sacred Polish town of Częstochowa. This year’s Festival is taking place between May 1 and 6, when audience members will hear a variety of sacred music and performers from various countries, including the U.K., Italy, Iran, Russia, Austria, Ukraine, Germany and Israel.
The highlight of this year’s Festival is a concert featuring world premieres of works by Paweł Łukaszewski, Roland Freisitzer and Krzesimir Dębski and the prize-winning compositions from this year’s Musica Sacra Composition Competition on Sunday May 3rd at 4:00 pm in the Seminar Church in Częstochowa. See above for details.
poster design:Monika Starowicz
Other concerts of note: Liturgical Inauguration of the Festival on May 2nd at noon in the Basilica of the Jasna Góra Shrine, featuring the premiere of Stanisław Moryto’s Missa sollemnis. Hommage a Josquin des Pres; saxaphonist Jan Garbarek (Norway) performs with the Hilliard Ensemble (Great Britain) on May 4th at 8.00 pm in the Basilica of the Holy Family Officium; and a performance of Polish choral music by F. Nowowiejski, K. Szymanowski, R. Padlewski, S. Wiechowicz, A. Koszewski, J. Węcowski, J. Świder, J. Łuciuk, M. Borkowski, R. Twardowski, and M. Małecki on May 4th at 6:00 pm in the Evangelical – Augsburg Church.
For more information, including a complete program and information about the artists, please visit gaudemater.pl.
The main idea of the Probaltica Festival is to present and propagate the music of artists coming from the countries of the Baltic region. The 16th edition of the festival will take place in Toruń, Poland between May 1 and 18. This year there are over 20 concerts planned by more than 500 artists. Per tradition, the European Probaltica Orchestra will perform at the festival. This orchestra comes together for the purpose of the festival and consists of musicians from the Baltic countries.
During the festival the audience will hear the Hamburg Strings, Swedish Royal Navy Orchestra, Gotlands Blasarkvintett, Multicamerata String Quartet, Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, Riga Saxophone Quartet and many others.
For more information about the Festival, and for a complete program, please visit www.probaltica.art.pl.
Film Music Festival
The 2nd Film Music Festival in Kraków will take place between May 21 and 23. Organized by the Kraków Festival Office and RMF Classic radio station, it is dedicated in its entirety to music created for the purposes of cinema.
This year the Festival will feature the music of Tan Dun, Howard Shore and Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, among others. The Festival will feature five extraordinary film music concerts representing different artistic styles and musical traditions. The artists performing the concerts include Sinfonietta Cracovia, AUKSO Orchestra, the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic, the Polish Radio Choir and more.
For more information please visit the official website of the festival, www.fmf.fm.
Szczecin Music Fest
The 6th edition of the Szczecin Music Fest started on April 25 and will continue until July 9. Among invited artists you will find Jazz Big Band Graz, Nicola Conte, Orchestra Baobab, Chick Corea, Calexico and the Kronos Quartet. The festival has set up a special MySpace page to display what the artists have to offer. For more information please visit official website of the festival, www.koncerty.com/szczecin.
Warsaw Musical Meetings
Warsaw Musical Meetings is an annual music festival with a very broad program, including ancient music to contemporary works. Established in 1986, it is organized by the Warsaw chapter of Polish Composer’s Union [ZKP] with help of Polish Radio, the Mazovian Center for Culture and Art, and Warsaw Royal Castle. The artists this year include the Clément Janequin Ensemble, Łukasz Długosz (flute), Anna Sikorzak-Olek (harp), Sinfonia Iuventus orchestra, Wilanó String Quartet, Apollon Musagète String Quartet, Arte dei Suonatori orchestra and many others.
There will be several premiere presentations during the festival, including compositions by Dariusz Przybylski, Aleksander Kościow, Edward Sielicki, Zofia Dowgiałło and Władysław Słowiński. See above for details.
The festival will take place in several venues around Warsaw between May 9 and 17. For a complete program and performer list please visit the official website of the festival.
Musica Electronica Nova
The third edition of the Musica Electronica Nova festival will take place in Wrocław between May 10 and 17. The festival presents a wide variety of electronic and electro-acoustic music and is organized in a two year cycle, exchanging with Musica Polonica Nova festival. The featured artists this year include Experimental Studio SWR and Ensemble Recherche, ICTUS, and Ana Martins Ballet. The works presented will include music by Stockhausen, Boulez, Kagel, as well as premieres by Paweł Hendrich and Michał Talma-Sutt, among others (see News for premiere details). A new project for this year will be Papersonus I by Jacek Kochan – a special paper percussion installation with electronically manipulated sound.
Please visit the official website of the festival for more information.
Born This Month
- 2 May 1846: Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (d. 23 July 1909), composer
- 2 May 1913: Florian DABROWSKI, composer and teacher
- 5 May 1819: Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (d. 4 June 1872), composer – Father of Polish Opera
- 12 May 1805: Jan Nepomucen BOBROWICZ (d. 2 November 1881), guitarist and composer
- 17 May 1943: Joanna BRUZDOWICZ, composer living in France, 2003 PMC Paderewski Lecturer
- 18 May 1905: Wlodzimierz ORMICKI, composer, conductor, music theoretician
- 20 May 1903: Jerzy FITELBERG (d. 25 April 1951), composer, son of the famous conductor
- 28 May 1836: Jan KARLOWICZ (d. 14 June 1903), father of composer Mieczyslaw
- 29 May 1903: Marian NEUTEICH (d. 1943, Warsaw), composer and cellist
- 31 May 1932: Boguslaw MADEY, conductor and composer
- 31 May 1913: Irena GARZTECKA (d. 14 November 1963), composer and pianist
Died This Month
- 1 May 1948: Marcel POPLAWSKI (b. 1882), composer and teacher, studied law and engineering before turning to composition
- 4 May 1896: Józef SIKORSKI (b. 1813), composer and music theorist
- 6 May 1892: Nikodem BIERNACKI (b. 1826), violinist and composer
- 10 May 1964: Hanna SKALSKA-SZEMIOTH (b. 29 April 1921), composer, student of Sikorski
- 13 May 1958: Eugeniusz MOSSAKOWSKI (b. 1885), opera singer (baritone)
- 21 May 1848: Felix JANIEWICZ (b. 1762), violinist, conductor, and composer
- 21 May 2007: Adam FALKIEWICZ (b. 4 Jan 1980), composer
- 23 May 1957: Alicja SIMON (b.1879), musicologist
- 25 May 1917: Edward RESZKE (b. 1853), opera singer (bass), brother of Jan
- 31 May 2006: Franciszek WYBRAŃCZYK (b. 28 May 1934), co-founder and former director of the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, organizer and promoter of Polish and European music