April 2010

Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 16, no. 4

PMC News

PMC Donations

Many Friends of Polish Music have been very generous in the last month and we would like to recognize those donations that have enlarged and enriched our collection.

  • pianist Nancy Fierro – music by Grażyna Bacewicz, Marta Ptaszyńska, and Louise Tadema; Igor Belza’s book about Maria Szymanowska; and a traditional vest for dancing the mazurka
  • musicologist and author Maja Trochimczyk – the anthology of poetry Chopin with Cherries: A Tribute in Verse
  • composer Wojtek Blecharz – music by the composer: xyz for violin and piano and dim for voice, cello, accordion and piano; as well as a demo CD of compositions
  • musicologists Małgorzata Perkowska & Andrzej Sitarz of Jagiellonian University – Volumes 5 and 6 of the Complete Works of Ignacy Jan Paderewski
  • Thaddeus Anders – the book Shoulder to Shoulder: Polish Americans in Rochester, NY 1890-2000 (illustrated by the donor father, Frank Anders)
  • composer Arkadiusz Niezgoda – music and recording of Adelita: To my Father for guitar solo by the composer
  • Joanna Kozińska-Frybes, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles – the book Chopin’s Poland by Pitor Cieśla

In addition to many anonymous donors, we would also like to thank the following Friends who contributed during in our Chopin Anniversary Marathon:

Tadeusz Szejman
Hanka Gutkowska
Rosa E. Rosenberg
Zbigniew & Zofia Petrovich

and a special thanks to Grace Malolepszy, who also donated her time to help at our staff!

Thank you to all who participated in the Chopin Marathon, both in the audience and on stage – it was a great success and a fitting tribute to the composer who changed music forever.

Chopin Marathon Review

By Charles Bragg

Chopin Marathon performers take a bow after the first section of the concert. (L to R): Sara Sumitani, Keenan Reesor, Aurelian Eulert, Sara Staples and Vladimir Khomyakov

Most of the audience who attended the Chopin Anniversary Marathon at USC on March 27th stayed for the entire 4 1/2 hours, and with good reason. The enthusiastic and talented students of the USC Thornton School of Music put on an excellent show. We heard pianist Vladimir Khomyakov’s interpretation of Chopin’s Opus 1 Rondeau, published when he was only 15, and the last work to which Chopin gave an opus number, the Sonata for Piano and Cello, Op. 65, in an impressive performance by pianist Angela Cholakyan and cellist Xian Zhou. We heard pieces rarely performed in America, such as 6 of his 19 Songs, performed beautifully by mezzo-soprano Sara Staples and pianist Aurelian Eulert, and a Rondeau for two pianos, played by pianists Aurelian Eulert and Sara Sumitani. It was an ambitious program too, including many major works such as: two of the four piano Sonatas, performed by Hsiao-Hsen Shen and Minji Noh; the first two of the four Ballades, performed by Alice Kyungsun Yoo; and two of the four Scherzos, played by Keenan Reesor and Angela Cholakyan.

Hsiao-Hsen Shen recieves the thunderous applause that followed her performance of the Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor

While it was nice to hear old favorites, it was invigorating to hear Chopin that was new to these ears, particularly the Songs and the Rondeau for two pianos. People today treat Chopin’s music as if he were old hat, or at least simply a member of the musical establishment. We forget how innovative he was in blending classical form with his own ideas about harmony and melody, and how this style became a model for future composers. As I listened to that Rondeau I was very much reminded of Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Suite for two pianos, written 73 years later. Giants stand on the shoulders of giants.

One cannot give a detailed review of each performance when there were 13 soloists and duettists and 26 works performed. The important thing is that all of the musicians gave Chopin his due; more than a few times reached the point where the audience stopped hearing the virtuosity and heard only the poetry in the music. And with only two exceptions, these were all students, albeit many with experience in public performance and multiple awards already to their name.

Those two exceptions should be noted. Norman Krieger (pictured at right), associate professor of keyboard studies in the Thornton School, positively ripped the lacquer off the Steinway with the Etude in C Minor Op. 10 no. 12, commonly referred to as the “Revolutionary” Etude. He followed it with the equally difficult but more artistically demanding Etude in A-flat major, Op. 25 no. 1, or the “Aeolian Harp” Etude, giving us both fire and poetry. Marek Zebrowski, who as director of Polish Music Center had enough to do organizing the program, also filled in at the last moment and played three Mazurkas from Op. 41 as a replacement for the Mazurkas from Op. 33. Otherwise there would have been no mazurkas on the program, and that would have been a shame. Of all the forms that Chopin raised to high art, the mazurkas have the humblest origins—the folk dances from the region where he grew up, and it was a mazurka that was the last composition he wrote.

PMC Dir. Marek Zebrowski presents the final group of the evening–triumphant performers of the Barcarolle, Two Nocturnes and works for cello and piano. (L-R): Xian Zhou, MZ, Miwa Sugiyama, and Ryan MacEvoy McCullough

Charles Bragg is a native of Los Angeles as well as 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 PMC Friends of Polish Music as well as volunteers for the LA Philharmonic and the LA Opera.

A Toast To Paderewski Fundraiser

Come raise a toast to Paderewski’s 150th Birthday with 20 Back Roads Wineries pouring, Polish-themed delicacies and a very special concert on Saturday, April 24 at the Pear Valley Winery in Paso Robles. Proceeds to benefit students in the Paderewski Festival Exchange Program with Tarnów, Poland

The Paderewski Festival and the Back Roads Wineries of Paso Robles invite lovers of fine wine and music to a reception showcasing the wines of the Back Roads Wineries complemented by Polish-themed appetizers provided by Cass Catering.  Pianist Marek Zebrowski, a Steinway artist and director of the Polish Music Center at the USC Thornton School of Music, will be joined by theMidnight Winds to perform a special concert featuring works by Paderewski, Chopin and Mozart.  A live auction of private concerts, premium wines and vacation package getaways will follow the concert.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Paderewski Festival Exchange Program for young musicians. Paso Robles and Tarnów, Poland signed a sister city agreement in November 2008 to explore cultural, educational and business opportunities between the two cities that share historical ties to Ignacy Jan Paderewski. In 2010, two Polish students from Tarnów will be coming to Paso Robles in November to perform during the Paderewski Festival and to participate in master classes with previous winners of the Paderewski Youth Piano Competition.

Back Roads Wineries is a consortium of 20 boutique vineyards located between Paso Robles and Crestonand specializing in creating unique, handcrafted, limited edition wines. More information about Back Roads Wineries is available at: www.backroadswineries.com.

The Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles is a non-profit organization that sponsors an annual series of concerts featuring internationally acclaimed artists, the Paderewski Youth Piano Competition and Exchange Program, and other Paderewski-themed events.

The 2010 Paderewski Festival will be held in a number of venues in Paso Robles and vicinity from November 11-14. Concerts of solo piano and chamber music, an exhibit of Paderewski memorabilia, celebrations of local young musicians and lectures by Paderewski experts are planned to celebrate the composer’s 150th Birthday. Please see the Festival Website, www.paderewskifest.com, for details and schedule of events.

Read an article by Melissa Chavez about this event in the April 2010 issue of the Paso Robles Magazine here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010
Wine Reception: 6-8 p.m. / Concert: 8 p.m. / Live Auction: 9 p.m.
A Toast To Paderewski

Pear Valley Winery, 4900 Union Road, Paso Robles, CA
Admission: $75; $25 youth (under 21)
Tickets & Info: www.paderewskifest.com, (805) 227-2888, or any Back Roads Wineries

Chopin & Paderewski Year

Chopin Museum Open

After a long and comprehensive restoration and modernization, the Frederic Chopin Museum was officially opened on March 1, 2010. The Museum will be fully open to general visitors on April 6, 2010.

According to Minister of Culture Bogdan Zdrojewski, this is the most modern biographical museum in Europe and possibly the world. The opening ceremony was attended by President Lech Kaczyński and First Lady Maria Kaczyńska, Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz, Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk, and President of the City of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.

The museum has considerably more space now and offers a wide variety of experiences for the visitors. Thanks to a series of interactive multimedia presentations, patrons are able to choose how they want to proceed through the collections. There are rooms designed for children, rooms for listening to Chopin’s music and rooms recreating spaces as they would have been Chopin’s time. You can even smell the flowers that Chopin used to have in his Paris apartment. In addition to Chopin’s music, visitors can experience the noises that would have occurred in daily life, making the experience more interactive.

Next door to the museum there is a brand new Chopin Center, which is connected to the Ostrogski Castle via underground tunnel. The Center houses several Chopin institutions and serves as an information hub for tourists. There is also a library and a coffee shop.

The collection of the Frederic Chopin Museum has over 5 thousand items, and among them are manuscripts, first prints, correspondence, memorabilia, documents and import ant editions of his works.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]

Chopin With Cherries: Review & Event

Chopin with Cherries: A Tribute in Verse (Moonrise Press, ISBN 978-0-9819693-0-5),the new anthology of poetry edited by Maja Trochimczyk, has been reviewed by John Guzlowski on The Cosmopolitan Review.  Mr. Guzlowski calls it “a masterful celebration of this composer and the complex range of emotions, impressions, memories, and dreams his music evokes.” Chopin with Cherries: A Tribute in Verse is published by Moonrise Press and available at www.lulu.com.

On Sunday, April 11 at 6 p.m. there will be a live reading of Chopin with Cherries at the South Pasadena Library Auditorium in South Pasadena, CA. The readings given by 20 of the anthology’s poets will be accompanied by Chopin’s music played by Dr. Neal Galanter and students of Prof. Roza Yoder from Pacific Azusa University. The event will also feature a polonaise dance lesson by a Polish dance expert and interludes with Chopin music boxes.

Dr. Neal Galanter will play the Polonaise in C-sharp Minor, Op. 26 No. 1, Nocturne in F-sharp Major, Op 15. No. 2, Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 28, No. 15 (“Raindrop”), Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17, No. 4; Mazurka in C Major, Op. 24, No. 1, and Impromptu in F-sharp Major, Op. 36. Students of Prof. Roza Yoder from Azusa Pacific University will play a selection of Chopin’s waltzes, nocturnes, mazurkas, preludes and etudes.

Sunday, April 11 | 6 p.m.
Chopin with Cherries I: An Evening of Poetry and Music

South Pasadena Library Auditorium
1115 El Centro Street, South Pasadena, CA 91030
Free Admission

Gramophone Hearts Chopin

Frederic Chopin is the focus of the April issue of Gramophone Magazine. And why is that?…

Because it is extremely difficult to find anyone who dislikes the Polish piano genius. And in Gramophone‘s cover feature Chopin expert Jeremy Nicholas attempts to pin down exactly why we all love this man’s music. Is the answer psychological, can it be explained by music theory, or performance traditions? Or is it simply that no professional pianist now dares admit to not loving Chopin? Has it become a badge of honour among the profession? Read the issue to find out which, and to discover some amazing Chopin recordings you may never have heard…

The issue includes several different articles, as well as the following editorial, “We heart Chopin,” by James Inverne that is available on the Gramophone website:

The quote you will most likely be hearing this year in relation to classical music is that of Robert Schumann in response to hearing Chopin playing his own music for the first time. The older composer and critic declared, in one of those rare reviews that has survived beyond the lifetime of its creator, “Hats off gentlemen, a genius!” In 2010, as we celebrate the much-beloved Chopin’s 200th anniversary (as well as Schumann’s), what could be more apt?

But here’s another quote, from a fairly mammoth editorial in Gramophone’s May 1940 edition. “Now when we have the works of Chopin practically complete, exquisitely played and perfectly recorded, I learn that the response has been disappointing. Chopin has suffered from the playing to death of one or two of his compositions to the exclusion of the rest of his work. People tire of something like the Nocturne in E flat major and suppose that they are tired of Chopin as a composer.” Responding to a record note that accuses the composer of being “sexless”, my illustrious predecessor (for it is Gramophone’s founder Compton Mackenzie) storms, “Why poor Chopin weaving his patterns in black and silver to lull men’s hearts for a hundred years should be exposed to a mixture of inaccurate psychology and physiology…I demand of the Muses.”

How times change. In order to try fully to explain the remarkable grip Chopin has on our collective tastes, Jeremy Nicholas, who knows more about the composer than most, struggled valiantly to interview – among others – a leading artist who actually dislikes Chopin’s music, to learn from the exception that proves the rule as it were. He couldn’t find anybody. Alfred Brendel never played much Chopin but not because he doesn’t like him, while Boris Berezovsky rushed to correct the quote that was said to emanate from his direction about “hating Chopin”. Nicholas even at one point concludes that so central is the Polish composer to the piano literature that it might actually be “professional suicide” for any pianist to admit to disliking his music. At the same time, he pins down precisely why so many of us genuinely love it and even finds time for a trip to Warsaw to investigate Chopin’s legacy on home ground. Don’t let Chopin Year go by without reading his pieces!

Also in the April issue:

  • Stephen Hough discusses his new major project, recording all of Tchaikovsky’s works for piano and orchestra.
  • In the Gramophone Collection, David Threasher finds the must-have recording of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra.
  • Pianist Simon Trpceski talks to Geoffrey Norris about committing his Rachmaninov interpretations to disc.
  • This month’s diarist is Peter Phillips, founder of the Tallis Scholar, who looks back on 30 years of the group’s label Gimell Records.
  • 140 discs reviewed – including new recordings from Jordi Savall, Gerald Finley and Bernard Haintink – plus DVDs, downloads, books and audio.

Chopin Archives At The British Library

The British Library has made available over 1,500 early sound recordings of works by Frederic Chopin. All of the recordings come from before 1958 and their performance copyright has expired. The curator of the musical manuscripts of the British Library, Nicolas Bell, said that these recordings are important for the history and tradition of interpretation of Chopin’s music. The Chopin sound archives of the British Library were digitally restored and are available for patrons at sounds.bl.uk/chopin. The oldest recording, of the Nocturne in E flat Major op. 2, comes from 1905.

The British Library also holds six manuscripts of Chopin’s works, which are currently made available as an exhibition entitled “Chopin: The romantic refugee.” Chopin came to Britain in the beginning of 1848 while taking refuge from the revolution in France. Although not in danger directly, many of his noble patrons and private students had immigrated to England. In addition to numerous private concerts, Chopin gave five public concerts, in Manchester, Glasgow, and elsewhere.

[Source: rmfclassic.pl]

Chopin At Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall will host two Chopin recitals in April. The first is entitled “Chopin’s 200th Birthday Celebration” and will be performed by American pianist Scott Watkins on April 10th in Weill Recital Hall. Repertoire for the concert includes the New York Premiere of a piece by He Jian-Jun in addition to works for solo piano by Chopin and Beethoven.

Saturday, April 10th at 5:30 p.m.
Scott Watkins in Recital

Carnegie Hall – Weill Recital Hall
57th St. and Seventh Ave., New York, NY

The second event will present Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini in 3 All-Chopin recitals over the course of April and May, as a part of the “Celebrating Chopin and Schumann at 200” series at Carnegie Hall. Renowned for the intellectual skill and exceptional technique with which he performs the music of Chopin, Mr. Pollini—winner of the 1960 Chopin International Piano Competition and 2007 Grammy Award-winner for his Deutsche Grammophon recording of Chopin nocturnes—will present a variety of Chopin piano works on April 18 at 3:00 p.m.April 29 at 8:00 p.m., and May 9 at 3:00 p.m. in the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. See the program of each recital listed here.

Acoording to a Carnegie Hall press release:

“The music of Chopin has been with me my entire life, since when I was a boy,” Mr. Pollini said in a 2006 interview with The New York Times. “My love for the music of Chopin has become greater and greater for years, perhaps because I understand better this music… Chopin is an innately seductive composer. But there is an incredible depth to Chopin, and this depth should come, finally, from a performance of him.”

Sunday, April 18 at 3:00 p.m., Thursday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m. & Sunday, May 9 at 3:00 p.m.
Maurizio Pollini – All-Chopin Recital

Carnegie Hall – Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage
57th St. and Seventh Ave., New York, NY

[Source: chopin2010.pl; Photo credit: Watkins, Pollini – Jennifer Taylor for the New York Times at boston.com]

61st KF Chopin Piano Competition

The Kosciuszko Foundation will hold its annual Chopin Piano Competition on Saturday, April 10 at 10:00 a.m. The KF Chopin Piano Competition was established in 1949, in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Frederic Chopin. The inauguration took place at the Kosciuszko Foundation House in New York City, with Witold Malcuzynski as guest artist, and Abram Chasins, composer and music director of the New York Times Radio Stations, presiding. Over the years, many outstanding musicians have been associated with the competition including Van Cliburn, Ian Hobson, and Murray Perahia. Today the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition continues to encourage gifted young pianists to further their studies, and to perform the works of Chopin, Szymanowski, and other Polish composers.

Author, broadcaster, and lecturer David Dubal will chair the jury, which includes Mirian Conti, of the Juilliard School, and Phillip Kawin, of the Manhattan School of Music. Contestants prepare a representative selection highlighting works of Chopin, Szymanowski, and other Polish composers. Cash scholarship prizes of $5,000, $2,500, and $1,500 are awarded.

Saturday April 10 | 10:00 a.m.
Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition
Kosciuszko Fdn., 15 E 65 St., New York, NY 10065

Opera Circle’s Chopin Celebrations

Continuing their celebration of Chopin’s anniversary year, Opera Circle presents the program “Chopin and his Master” on April 23 and 24 in Cleveland, OH. This production includes a US premiere of the one-act comic opera Echo in the Woods [Echo w lesie] by Józef Elsner, who was Chopin’s teacher, as well as a staged setting of the 17 Songs by Frédéric Chopin and Chopin’s Variations on La ci darem la mano. These will be presented in Polish with English translation projected.

The concert will be performed by Krzysztof Biernacki – baritone, Dorota Sobieska – soprano, Andrzej Stec – tenor, and other soloists with the Opera Circle Orchestra and Jacek Sobieski – piano and conductor at the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus.

Opera Circle also produced their “Chopin’s Birthday Concert” on February 22, 2010 in Cleveland. Featuring pianists Jacek Sobieski and Emanuela Friscioni, violinists Hristo Popov and Wanda Sobieska, cellist Kalin Ivanov, violist Adam Klarfeld, clarinetist Robert Davis and soprano Dorota Sobieska, the concert met with critical acclaim. Read the review by Donald Rosenberg, entitled “Opera Circle’s Chopin tribute takes welcome detours,” in The Plain Dealer.

Friday, April 23 & Saturday, April 24, 2010 | 8:00 p.m.
Chopin and his Master

Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus
3649 E. 65th St., Cleveland, OH 44105
Tickets available at the door
Information: 216 441 2822 or operacircle.org

[Photo credit: from operacircle.org, Sobieska photo by Chris Holley-Starling]

Chopin & Paderewski In Chicago

The Chicago Chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation will present a concert of Chopin and Paderewski music by a young pianist Michael Pecak, a finalist in the 57th Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition. Pecak also recently performed for the Polish Museum of America celebration of Chopin’s 200th birthday, “Sto Lat Times Two,” on March 12 in Chicago.

Pecak has made an impression beyond his native Chicago as well. According to the website of the US Embassy in Warsaw, where Pecak performed in 2008:

Ambassador Ashe noted that as an American born musician of Polish descent, “…Michael Pecak (PET-sak) embodies the vibrant human and cultural connections between our two nations. He is an ambassador of both cultures and a living bridge between them.”  A graduate of Northwestern University, Michael is studying during the 2008-2009 academic year at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw as a Fulbright Scholar, where he is focusing in particular on the works of modern Polish composers.

Saturday, April 17 | 4 p.m.
Michael Pecak plays Chopin and Paderewski

Polonia Bookstore
4738 North Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL
Tel: 773-481-6968

[Photo source: Warsaw Embassy]

Chopin Films At LA Polish Film Fest

Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theatre (8000 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046)

Friday, April 23, 2010 | 8:30 p.m.
A SONG TO REMEMBER by Charles Vidor (1945, 111 min)

Saturday, April 24, 2010
(in person: Adam Woronowicz, Danuta Stenka, Jadwiga Baranska, Jerzy Antczak )
7:00  p.m.  IMPROMPTU by James Lapine (1991, 107 min.)
9:00 p.m.  CHOPIN. DESIRE FOR LOVE (Chopin. Pragnienie milosci) by Jerzy Antczak (2002, 126 min.)


The Egyptian Theatre –  The Spielberg Theatre (6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, Ca. 90028)

Sunday, May 2, 2010 | 6:00 p.m.
Documentary: CHOPIN’S AFTERLIFE by Ophra Yerushalmi (2006, 54 min.)

Chopin Video Game

An adventurous detective investigation with the goal of learning about Frederic Chopin is the focus of the role-playing game created by a student of the Wrocław University. The game has received an award in a competition announced by the National Center for Culture.

Adam Piwek, a 5th year history student, is the creator of the game Kryptonim Chopin[Codename Chopin]. The game is designed for young teenagers, with players leading an investigation to identify the candidate for the title “Artist of All Time.” The goal is to find out how much the local population is aware of Chopin and his work.

“The idea for the game came during a conversation with my brother, Marcin, a 7th grade student” said the author. “We concluded that Chopin is not presented to the young generation in any sort of interesting way. Through clever codes, internet communication and varied tasks, the game that I have prepared for the competition should help young Poles to learn about Frederic Chopin and his heritage.”

The project of the game includes suggestions for teachers regarding how to prepare and present the end-game of the title, or the “results” of the investigation.

To celebrate the Chopin Year, the National Center for Culture has created the “Chopin 2010 -Educational Packet” project. The goal of the project is to popularize Chopin as a person and an artist among children and teenagers. As part of the project, the Center has announced a competition for projects that easily serve as lessons for students. The winning projects will be published in a packet that will be available to all Polish public schools.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]

Artwork Contest For Chopin & Paderewski

The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles invites all students in grades 6 through 12  to take part in the 11th Polish Constitution Day Art Contest to honor Ignacy Jan Paderewski on his 150th birthday and Fryderyk Chopin on his 200th birthday by artistically depicting a phase of either of their lives. The contest is organized by the Polish Museum of America in Chicago, IL.

Create a picture of either of these great men and their great contribution to Polish history. Be creative!  Be colorful!  Use any medium you like. Since the best overall artwork will be framed and displayed on the PMA’S float in the Polish Constitution Parade, to be held on May 1st in downtown Chicago, the size must be 36 in. x 24 in. and it must be done on posterboard or heavy cardboard but not on canvas.

The submission deadline is April 16th, 2010. All submitted artwork becomes the property of the Polish Museum of America. Prizes will be awarded in two categories: Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12. Prizes will be awarded at the Polish Festival following the parade. For more information, call (773)384-3352 ext. 101

Chopin Celebrations In Ukraine

On March 14 the National Philharmonic in Kiev officially opened the celebrations of the Chopin Year 2010 in Ukraine. The inaugural concert was performed by Polish pianist, Jan Krzysztof Broja. Before the concert there was a press conference attended by the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Ukrainian Minister of Culture and Director of the Polish Institute in Kiev.

According to the Director of the Polish Institute in Kiev, Jerzy Onuch, “there will be at least 55 events related to Chopin and the Chopin Year in Ukraine this year, and approximately 30 of the planned events are Polish initiatives…. There are no historical traces of Chopin himself in the Ukraine, however in 1910, during the Chopin centennial, when the celebrations in Warsaw were prohibited by the Russian government, the celebrations took place in Lwów (which was under Austrian governance) in the Skarbek Theater. Ignacy Jan Paderewski was present at those celebrations.” During those celebrations, Paderewski gave his famous oration on the life and music of Chopin, entitled “O Szopenie.” The Polish Institute in Kiev is planning similar festivities surrounding the Chopin Competition for Lwów in the Fall of 2010.

[Sources: muzyka.onet.plkijow.polemb.net]

Chopin in St. Petersburg

A bust of Frederic Chopin was presented by the Polish Consulate General in St. Petersburg to the Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory in St. Petersburg in March, inaugurating the Chopin 2010 Festival & Competition in commemoration of the 200th birthday of Polish composer. The ceremony also featured a concert of Chopin’s music performed by the students of St. Petersburg Conservatory and Chopin Music University in Warsaw.

As part of the Festival, there will be an exhibition of the documents related to Chopin from the collection of the Conservatory Library. There will also be a Polish-Russian conference “Chopin in the context of European Music Culture” and workshops by Polish singer, Prof. Jadwiga Rappe.

The main event of the festival, however, is the Competition, which is open to students of the Conservatory. The prize for the winner is a week-long trip to Poland and two recital performances.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]

Rutkowski’s Pupils Of Chopin

A new recording by Polish pianist Hubert Rutkowski entitled Pupils of Chopin (Naxos Records 8.572344) is now available for download on the Naxos website. The CD will be released for purchase in October 2010. Composers featured on the recording are, as expected, students of Chopin, including Thomas Dyke Ackland Tellefsen, Karol Mikuli, Carl Filtsch, and Adolph Gutmann. Previews of the tracks are available at www.classicsonline.com.

Hubert Rutkowski was last year’s Gala performer at the 2009 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. The artist’s interests concentrate around the unknown works of pupils of Fryderyk Chopin. He recorded piano works by Theodor Leschetizky (AP0191a, a Polish Premiere Recording) and Julian Fontana (AP0160, a World Premiere Recording) for the Acte Préalable label. Rutkowski is also a founder and President of the Theodor Leschetizky Music Society in Warsaw.

Chopin Poster Exhibition

In 2009 the Mazovian Center for Culture and Art, in cooperation with the Fine Arts Academy in Warsaw and “The Art of Media” Institute, announced a competition for Chopin-themed posters. The goal of the Chopin Poster Competition and Exposition is to prepare 200 exhibitions of posters dedicated to Chopin for the 200th birthday of this great composer.

From among the 20 outstanding Polish graphic artists originally invited to participate, 5 artists were selected for the competition. Each invited artist could send only one poster project.

The collection of 35 selected posters will be presented in numerous cultural institutions around Mazovian region and Poland. To view the calendar of the exhibitions please visit www.mckis.waw.pl.

[Sources: muzyka.onet.plmckis.waw.pl]

For more Chopin-related events, see chopin2010.pl.

For more Chopin-related awards, past performances and recordings, please see the sections below.


Premiere: Maciejewski’s Songs Of Bilitis

In the continued centenary celebrations of the birth of Polish composer Roman Maciejewski (pictured at left), the world premiere of Maciejewski’s Trzy Pieśni Bilitis [Songs of Bilitis] took place in Poznań, Poland on the 16th of March. The solo was performed by soprano Marzena Michałowska, accompanied by the Poznań Philharmonicand conducted by Marcin Sompoliński. The program also included Jarek Śmietana’s Spring Suite for guitar and orchestra, performed by the composer. This concert served as a prelude to the events of the Poznań Spring Music Festival.

The Songs of Bilitis is a cycle of songs for soprano and symphony orchestra written by Maciejewski in 1935 as an adaptation of the original voice and piano setting from 1932. Unfortunately the original piano score has since been lost and the orchestral version was never completed by the composer. In 2001 Sebastian Krajewski has decided to complete the work and this version was presented during the March 16 concert in Poznań.

The cycle consists of 3 parts, entitled: The Flute, The Tomb of Bilitis, and Remembrances of Mnasidika. The author of the text is the French poet and writer Pierre Louÿs (1870-1925), presented in Polish translations by Leopold Staff.

[Source: Adapted from article on www.pwm.com.pl]

Premiere: Dębski’s Trzy Siostry

A new string quartet by Polish composer Kzesimir Dębski, entitled Trzy siostry [Three Sisters], was premiered at the Poznań Spring Music Festival on March 22 (read more about the events of the Festival in the Performances section below). The premiere was performed by the Wieniawski String Quartet (Jarosław Żołnierczyk – violin I; Mirosław Bocek – violin II; Lech Bałaban – viola; and Maciej Mazurek – cello) in the Lubrański Hall of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. The program also presented Krzysztof Meyer’s String Quartet No. 4, op.74, Piotr Moss’s Le lien entre les jours, and Werner Egk’s La Tentation de Saint Antoine. Written for string quartet and voice, the latter two compositions featured alto Jadwiga Rappé as soloist.

Kzesimir Dębski, one of today’s most prominent Polish composers, is also a virtuoso violinist, pianist, and a celebrated orchestral conductor. Equally at home in the world of jazz and classical music, Dębski is chiefly known in Poland for his numerous and very popular film scores. In addition, he is also famous as a songwriter and arranger, and composer of music for theatre. Mr. Dębski studied composition and conducting at the Poznań Academy of Music and since 1980 toured all of Europe and North America as violinist with the celebrated String Connection ensemble. Winner of the First Prize in the International Jazz Competition in Belgium, Dębski was also honored by the Jazz Forum Magazine with the Best Violinist and Best Arranger Prizes. Listed in 1985 as one of the 10 best jazz violinists by Down Beat Magazine, Dębski had since scored over 70 feature films and numerous TV series. Dębski’s most recent film-scoring project in the United States included writing new soundtracks for the early short and medium length films of Charlie Chaplin.

In recent years Maestro Dębski received a number of commissions for large-scale orchestral works from outstanding soloists and major symphony orchestras in Poland and abroad. He also shared the stage with such internationally acclaimed artists as John Blake, Jose Carreras, The Canadian Brass, Jose Cura, Nigel Kennedy, Adam Makowicz, Mark O’Connor, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Vadim Repin. Krzesimir Dębski’s ever-growing catalogue of orchestral compositions currently includes two symphonies, an opera, ballet music, and eleven concertos for various solo instruments and orchestra. In great demand as conductor and performer, his recent foreign tours included performances in Mexico, India, Brazil, and the United States.

Themerson Premiere In Poznań

The premiere of the only opera by Polish composer Stefan Themerson, entitled Święty Franciszek i wilk z Gubbio [St. Francis and the Wolf from Gubbio] will be presented on April 7 at the Grand Theater in Poznań, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

This two act opera was composed in 1954 and adapts the story of St. Francis fighting wolves into modern day. Stefan Themerson (1910-1988) was an author of novels, short stories, dramas and children’s books as well as philosopher, composer, poet, publisher and avant-garde cinematographer. He also studied physics and architecture in Warsaw. The opera Święty Franciszek i wilk z Gubbio, czyli kotlety św. Franciszka is what the author called a semantic opera and is the only opera in his catalog.

“Semantic opera is sort if a joke by Themerson; there is lyric and comic opera but there is no such semantic style. Themerson tells a story, for which he creates a style of opera ” – says music director of the project, Krzysztof Słowiński. In Themerson’s opera, the libretto is sung very precisely. “The voice cannot alter words, which is a challenge for singers” – said Słowiński.

For more information please visit www.opera.poznan.pl

[Source: rmfclassic.pl]

Premieres At Generations XII

On March 29 at the Polish Radio Lutosławski Concert Studio in Warsaw, the 12th concert of the “Generations” cycle took place. The concert was performed by the outstanding German contemporary music ensemble, modern art sextet (pictured below). The program featured two world premieres: Spaces of Nothingness for string trio (2010) by Zbigniew Kozub and Rdza for 6 instruments and CD (2009) by Lidia Zielińska.

The program of the concert also included compositions by Lothar Voigtländer (Signa for flute cello and piano, 2000), Aleksander Lasoń (La Danza a Tre for clarinet, violin and piano, 2003), Klaus Schöpp (Little song for cello solo, 2000), Peter Köszeghy (Secret Sheets for sextet, 2009), Martin Daske (sans paroles dans sables mouvants for sextet and tape, 2007), Tadeusz Wielecki (Thèsis for flute solo, 2000), Charlotte Seither (flow for flute, violin and cello, 2005), and Jacek Domagała (Odłamki for flute violin and piano, 2009).

The modern art sextet was founded fifteen years ago. The instrumentation of their ensemble (string trio, flute, clarinet and piano) was inspired by Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire and can be considered as the basic cell of new music ensembles. Current members of the ensemble include: Klaus Schöpp, flute; Unolf Wäntig, clarinet; Theodor Flindell, violin; Jean-Claude Velin, viola; Matias de Oliveira Pinto, cello; Yoriko Ikeya, piano.

The Generations cycle is organized by the Polish Composer’s Union (ZKP) with the help of Polish Radio Channel 2 and the Polish Author’s Society (ZAiKS). Financial support came from the “Artistic Events” program of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN).

[Source: zkp.org.pl]

New Karłowicz Volume

European ‘Fin de siècle’ and Polish Modernism. The Music of Mieczysław Karłowicz
Ad Parnassum Studies Vol. 4, pp. 430, ISBN: 978-88-8109-467-7
Bologna, 2010
Ut Orpheus Edizioni APS 4

The new monograph European ‘Fin de siècle’ and Polish Modernism. The Music of Mieczysław Karłowicz examines the figure of Polish composer Mieczysław Karłowicz (1876-1909) in the broader socio-cultural context which fostered his work. This is Volume 4 of Ad Parnassum, a biannual series of studies devoted to individual composers who have made a significant impact in the field of instrumental music published by Ut Orpheus Edizioni. Contributors to this volume include: Tomasz Baranowski (Warsaw, PL) – Andrzej Chwałba (Kraków, PL) – Stephen Downes (Surrey, UK) – Peter Franklin (Oxford, UK) – Stefan Keym (Leipzig, DE) – Ryszard D. Golianek (Poznań, PL) – Agata Mierzejewska (Warsaw, PL) – Michael Murphy (Limerick, IE) – Jadwiga Paja-Stach (Kraków, PL) – Luca Sala (Paris, FR) – Renata Suchowiejko (Kraków, PL) – Emma Sutton (St. Andrews, UK) – Andrzej Tuchowski (Zielona Góra, PL) – Alistair Wightman (Stafford, UK) – James L. Zychowicz (Madison, USA)

The attempt to contextualize an immense intellectual patrimony—despite being restricted to a tiny number of works when compared to more prolific authors, especially in the context of the XIX and the XX centuries—is always a complex and hazardous task. Editor Luca Sala’s primary intention in organizing this volume has been to explicate Karłowicz the man as well as Karłowicz the composer, against the complex background of the European fin-de-siècle. The various essays aim to present the reader with an exhaustive reconstruction of Karłowicz’s intellectual work. Karłowicz’s oeuvre offers a broad artistic portrayal of Poland at the end of the nineteenth century as a fast-evolving country, politically divided and filled with contradictions. Hence the necessity to investigate the fin-de-siècle context with its social and historical implications, showing the influence of the European cultural milieu on the composer’s poetics and on his thought.

The book examines the spectrum of relationships and affinities linking Karłowicz’s works to the Polish cultural world (on the wave of the rising ‘autochthonous’ avant-garde movements) and to the wider cultural life pulsating beyond its borders, with special reference to German Wagnerism and Symphonism. Essentially, it strives to define the uniqueness of his oeuvre, which—in relation to the manifold influences co-existing in Poland, an insubstantial nation from the political viewpoint and divided along three socio-cultural fronts—could be defined as distinctively Polish, yet ultimately European.

[Source: Adapted from notes by Luca Sala, editor, on www.utorpheus.com]

Kinga Augustyn At Carnegie Hall

New York, Paris, Venice, March 24, 2010 – Polish-born violinist Kinga Augustyn is among the international array of artists appearing as part of The Third Annual ABC Gala of the Alexander & Buono Competitions on Wednesday evening April 7, 2010, beginning at 6:00 PM in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Described as “a violinist for whom nothing seems too difficult” (Nowy Dziennik, March 2008, New York City), Ms. Augustyn is a Bachelors and Masters graduate of The Juilliard School, where she studied with Cho Liang Lin, Naoko Tanaka, and the legendary Dorothy DeLay.  She has appeared with Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, and the American Academy of Conducting Orchestra at the Aspen Music Festival, among others.  As a soloist and a chamber musician, she has performed in the United States at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Kosciuszko Foundation, and the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The ABC Gala will include a reception and the concert, followed by a dinner at the New York Athletic Club.  The event is a fundraiser for the Alexander & Buono Foundation, which provides scholarships, study grants, performance opportunities, and career guidance for ABC winners.  For a full list of the honorees and artists, please visit www.abcgala.com.

Wednesday, April 7 | 6:00 PM
ABC Gala, featuring Kinga Augustyn
Carnegie Hall – Weill Recital Hall, New York City, NY
Further details: www.abcgala.com

Górecki On BBC4

Gorecki in his Katowice studio.
April 1998. Photo by Maja Trochimczyk.

“Sacred Music – Series 2” is a four-part BBC television series of 60-minute programs hosted by actor and former chorister Simon Russell Beale. Having already explored the music of Brahms and Bruckner and Faure and Poulenc, part three of the series delves into the reverent depths of the sacred composition of Polish composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (pictured at right in his study at home) and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. It will be aired on BBC Channel Four on Friday, March 26.

The following is the BBC’s description:

Simon Russell Beale visits Poland and Estonia to discover why the sacred music of the two highly spiritual composers Gorecki and Part strikes such a chord in today’s noisy and fast-moving world.

Alongside music performed by Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, Simon’s journey takes him through the turbulent religious and political history of Eastern Europe as he explores the important symbolic role of sacred music in the struggle against Communism.

[Sources: BBCPolish Radio Newsculture.pl; photo by Maja Trochimczyk, PMC Collection]

Vars At Shalom Concert

On Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day, which this year is Sunday, April 11, , the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center will host “Shalom,” a concert honoring Holocaust survivors. The beautiful song “Sleep My Child” by Polish composer Henry Vars will be performed, as well as music from Shindler’s List and Fiddler On The Roof, and mystical Jewish music from the Middle East. Performers for the event include the Harmonium Trio (Jonathan Wei – violin, Ling Yan – cello, and Yin Yin Huang – piano), the Yuval Ron Trio (Yuval Ron – oud, Maya Haddi – vocals, and Jaime Papish – percussion), and Cedric Berry, baritone.

Henry Vars (1902-1977, also known as Henryk Wars) was the most famous composer of film and stage music in pre-war Poland, where many of his compositions remain popular in to this day, among them Miłość ci wszystko wybaczy [Love Forgives All], Już nie zapomnisz mnie[You’ll Never Forget Me] and Sex Appeal. A resident of Los Angeles since 1947, Vars worked in the Hollywood film industry, scoring numerous motion pictures for all of the major studios. Vars’ score for Flipper, a film about a boy and his dolphin friend, became famous around the world. More recently some of Vars’ most memorable songs were used in Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and Polanski’s Pianist.Vars and his wife, Elizabeth, are pictured at right in Tel Aviv in 1944.

Sunday, April 11 | 6:30 PM
Shalom Concert honoring Holocaust survivors
Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center
1434 N. Altadena Dr., Pasadena, CA 91107
Adults $20, Students $10
Tickets and more info: (626) 351-8680, (626) 798‑1161 or e-mail nnehdar@aol.com

[Photo: PMC Collection]

Naziemiec Sings with S. Most

Polish violist and jazz singer Karolina Naziemiec is performing in the Dolores Peterson Presents series on April 16th with Sam Most, one of the first jazz flautists and now a resident of the Los Angeles music scene. Ms. Naziemiec will perform two sets of jazz standards and Polish songs. Her band will also include Bevan Manson on piano and Ken Wild on bass. Housed in the new venue at Duna Csardas, dinner starts at 7:00 pm and music begins at 8:00 pm.

Karolina Naziemiec is a Polish violist who has been training, teaching and performing in the United States since 2000. She was granted an artistic visa on the recommendation of the American Federation of Musicians, who cited her as being “a violist of extraordinary ability.” Read her full biography at www.karolinanaziemiec.com.

Friday, April 16, 2010 | Dinner: 7pm, Concert: 8pm
Dolores Peterson Presents Karolina Naziemiec & Sam Most 

Duna Csarda
5820 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 962-6434‎
Cover Charge $10 plus minimum $15 dinner order
Approved parking available across the street at Pavilions

Ochlewski Composition Competition

The 8th edition of the Tadeusz Ochlewski Composition Competition was announced by PWM. This year’s competition is in memory of Andrzej Krzanowski. The subject of the competition is a composition for accordion or accordion and tape. The composition should be no longer than 10 minutes and cannot be previously published. The competition is open to Polish nationals who were under 30 years of age as of Dec 31, 2009.

To submit your work please mail the printout of the score, with a CD (if necessary) to the Promotion Department of PWM by July 31, 2010 deadline. You are also allowed to include a recorded performance of the work. For additional regulations and details of the competition please visit the PWM website.

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

Kraków Opera & Małopolska Promotion

The Kraków Opera was represented at the Tourism Expo in Berlin that took place from March 10-14. The presentation was geared toward tourists looking for artistic experiences while visiting Kraków. The stand was visited by numerous journalists from the tourism press and a photo of the booth made it to the official website of the Tradeshow.

The Kraków Opera booth was placed in the Polish Pavilion and themed around “A day in Kraków – an evening in the Opera” motto. The presentation served as the first step in the “Opera in Małopolska” project, aimed at promoting the region’s cultural institutions and financed by European Union funds.

The Opera’s presence at the ITB Berlin has resulted in several offers of cooperation from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United States. According to Prof. Małgorzata Bednarczyk, chairman of the Tourism Management Department at Jagiellonian University, Kraków Opera’s appeal lies in the fact that it promotes not only itself but also the entire Małopolska region, inviting the patrons to visit Tarnów, Wieliczka, Nowy Sącz and other spots in Małopolska.

As part of the project there is a website you can visit to find out more about the promotional efforts of the Kraków Opera: www.operawmalopolsce.pl.

[Sources: muzyka.onet.ploperawmalopolsce.plmesse-berlin.de]

Opole Philharmonic Hall Construction

The Opole Philharmonic has started an expansion project on its existing building that will cost an estimated 20 mil PLN (ca. $7 mil) and will create a modern and functional cultural center for the city. The expansion will add a two level hall with a coffee house and terrace connected to the existing building with a glass walkway. The terrace will eventually function as an exhibition space, a foyer for the concert hall and as a space for chamber concerts.

The coffee house will also provide a much needed space for smaller performances—up to 200 people—available for recitals, theater performances and smaller music projects. It is meant to serve as a sort of music club, a much needed venue in Opole according to Beata Siwicka, impresario specialist.

The Philharmonic headquarters will also gain some much needed office space as well as dressing and practice rooms for musicians. Since European Union funds cover the majority of the cost, there will also be a brand new sound reinforcement system installed.

The construction is projected to end sometime in 2012; until then the orchestra will have to perform in other venues around town, just as it was when the original hall was being constructed.

[Source: muzyka.onet.plfilharmonia.opole.pl]


7th Int’l Teleman Violin Competition

The 7th International Georg Philippe Teleman Violin Competition has concluded in Poznań, Poland on March 15, 2010. The jury consisting of Michał Grabarczyk (chairman, Poland), Bartosz Bryła (Poland), Izabela Ceglińska (Poland), Antoni Cofalik (Poland), Jurgis Dvarionas (Latvia), Sławomir Jarmołowicz (Poland), Tatiana Liberova (Russia), Wojciech Maliński (Poland), František Novotny (Czech Republic), Eszter Perényi (Hungary), and Tomasz Tomaszewski (Germany) has awarded the following prizes:

  • 1st Prize – Aleksander Daszkiewicz (Poland); also special prize for the best performance of Teleman’s Fantasia (pictured at right in 2009, when he won the Młody Paganini Competition)
  • 2nd Prize – Julie Svecena (Czech Republic); also special prize for the most individual performer
  • 3rd Prize – ex-aequo: Mateusz Michał Makuch (Poland) and Mateusz Gidaszewski (Poland)
  • 4th Prize – Márton Vörösváry (Hungary)

Honorary mentions were also given to: Veronica Brecelj (Slovenia), Brigita Jakonyte (Lithuania), Roksana Kwaśnikowska (Poland), and Marta Sikora (Poland).

The competition was organized by the Teleman Society of the Violin Competitions Association and the Jarmołowic Artistic Agency. The competition was open to international performers born after December 31, 1993. For more information about the competition please visit www.teleman.art.pl.

[Photo: Gazeta Wyborcza Archive]

Hommage A Chopin Honored Twice

The disc Hommage à Chopin (Hyperion Records CDA67803) by British pianist Jonathan Plowright has landed on Gramophone Magazine’s weekly Specialist Classical Top 20 Chart for the week of March 13, 2010. A unique take on this year’s anniversary, the recording explores music composed in the style of Chopin by his contemporaries, including: Mili Balakirev (1837-1910); Franz Bendel (1833-1874); Edvard Grieg (1843-1907); Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924); Eduard Nápravník (1839-1916); Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893); Arthur Honegger (1892-1955);  Sir Lennox Berkeley (1903-1989); Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959); Federico Mompou (1893-1987); Benjamin Godard (1849-1895); Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938); and Theodor Leschetizky (1830-1915).

Gramophone Magazine has also deemed this recording the Editor’s choice Disk of the Month for April. To conclude the article celebrating the honor, reviewer Bryce Morrison writes:

All of these multifaceted offerings (jewels as well as gemstones) show Jonathan Plowright as beguiling in intimacy (try Variation 8 from the Mompou) as he is magisterial in virtuosity (the Balakirev). Such quality will leave lesser pianists bemused, and as on Plowright’s earlier Hyperion recordings he has been immaculately recorded.

Read the entire Gramophone review at jonathanplowright.com/reviews, or another recent review in the New Zealand Herald.

This disc is available for purchase on hyperion-records.co.uk and amazon.com.

Kurkowicz Wins Diapason d’Or

Grażyna Bacewicz: Violin Concertos 1, 3 & 7
Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969): Concerto No. 7 for Violin and Orchestra, Concerto No. 3 for Violin and Orchestra, Concerto No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra, Overture
Joanna Kurkowicz, violin; Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; and Łukasz Borowicz conductor.
Recorded in the Polish RadioWitold Lutosławski Studio
Chandos 10533

Polish violinist Joanna Kurkowicz’s recording of Bacewicz Concertos with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) has been awarded the Diapason d’Or, or “Golden Tuning Fork,” for March 2010 from the French music journal, Diapason. The Diapason d’Or is a monthly recommendation given to outstanding classical music recordings by reviewers of the Diapason. This award is broadly equivalent to the Editor’s Choice award given by Gramophone.

This recording, released in 2009 in celebration of the 100th birth anniversary of Grażyna Bacewicz, is also nominated for the 2010 Fryderyk Award, Poland’s most prestigious music recording award. The results of the Fryderyks will be published on April 19th.

[Source: culture.pl]

Kosciuszko Fdn Sembrich Competition Winners

Sembrich Competition winners (l-r): Magdalena Wor, Erika Buchholz, Matthew Pena, Samantha Guevrekian

Magdalena Wor, mezzo-soprano, won First Prize in the 2010 Sembrich Voice Scholarship Competition organized by the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City. A native of Ostrowiec, Poland, the 29-year old Ms. Wor studied at Georgia State University and currently resides in Duluth, Georgia. She has appeared throughout the United States and won numerous competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Finals in New York. She will sing the role of Carmen with Palm Beach Opera in April, and has performed with opera companies in Washington, St. Louis, and her native Poland. Ms. Wor received a $3,000 cash scholarship prize.

Second Prize was won by Samantha Guevrekian, of Long Beach, NY. The 24-year old soprano studied at Northwestern and Stony Brook Universities, and appeared with Bronx Opera. Ms. Guevrekian received a cash scholarship prize of $1,500. A Third Prize cash scholarship of $1000  was awarded to tenor Matthew Pena, a 27-year old graduate of Oberlin College and the Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Pena, who resides in New York, performs with Anchorage Opera, Virginia Opera, and the American Classical Orchestra.

The judges also presented a special prize in memory of Stephen Herx to soprano Erika Buchholz. Mr. Herx was working on an authoritative biography of Marcella Sembrich when he passed away last year. He had worked with music and education programs for youth.

The winners will be invited to the Seventh International Moniuszko Vocal Competition, to be held in Warsaw in May.

Prizes were generously provided by the Marcella Sembrich Memorial Association, which also maintains the Sembrich Museum in Bolton Landing, New York (www.operamuseum.org), and Ms. Ann Coxe Zagoreos, herself a singer and for many years associated with the Sembrich Museum and with support for the arts.

Jurors included Alfred Hubay, a long-time manager and administrator at the Metropolitan Opera, who also judges for the George London Foundation;  Nedda Casei, of the Metropolitan Opera; and pianist Giovanni Favretti. Contestants were required to prepare a representative repertoire including songs and arias, selections by Moniuszko and contemporary American and Polish works. Auditions were held at Hunter College on Saturday, March 6.

The Competition honors Marcella Sembrich, the great Polish soprano who won an international reputation and established the voice faculties at both the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute. Sembrich was not only a great artist but also a deeply loved teacher. Previous Competition winners include Barbara Hendricks and Jan Opalach.

[Source: Kosciuszko Foundation Press Release]

Chopin Films Honored

The Chopin-related films Warsaw ECOC 2016 by Agnieszka Holland and Magda Łazarkiewicz and Fryderyk 2010 by Jerzy Szkamruk and Piotr Sławiński have received awards at “The Golden City Gate” Festival in Berlin.

The Gold Medal in the category “City – Tourism” was given to Warsaw ECOC 2016, which promotes Warsaw as a candidate for the European Cultural Capital. In the film, shots of contemporary Warsaw are accompanied by the music of Frederic Chopin performed by Stanisław Drzewiecki. The third prize in the “Regions” category was given to Fryderyk 2010, which was commissioned  by the Chopin 2010 Celebrations Office especially for the Chopin anniversary.

“The Golden City Gate” Festival accompanies the ITB Trade Show in Berlin and is the first in a series of prestigious international festivals related to the International Committee of Tourism Film Festivals (CIFFT) in Vienna.

[Source: obchody.chopin2010.pl]


Festival Misteria Paschalia

The Misteria Paschalia Festival, dedicated to celebration of Easter, is taking place in Kraków between March 29 and April 5, 2010. In 2010 the program of the festival is focused on two of the most prominent themes of European art and culture: Passion and Resurrection motifs. Right from the first concert of the festival, the Passion of Christ motif was present through anonymous Italian compositions, and most of the compositions presented during the “Intorno Allo Stabat” concert were world premiere performances.

The 7th edition of the Misteria Paschalia Festival has once more attracted some of the greatest names in early music interpretation. Some of the most recognized ensembles will visit Kraków, including: Il Giardino Armonico, La Venexiana, Accademia Bizantina, Europa Galante, Cappella della Pietà de’ Turchini, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble. Many famous conductors, such as Antonio Floria, Mark Minkowski, Fabio Biondi, Giovanni Antonini and Christinę Pluhar, are involved as well. International ensembles—such as La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hespèrion XXI and their guests from Japan conducted by Jordiego Savalla—will present a special project recorded for Alia Vox La Rute de Oriente records.

Misteria Paschalia also has become the stage for some of the greatest voices of the early music. This year will be no different with soloists such as Vivica Genaux, Philippe Jaroussky, Maria Grazia Schiavo, Romina Basso, Pino de Vittorio, Montserrat Figuerras, Gerd Türk, Roberta Invernizzi, and Marina de Liso gracing Kraków with their presence and talent.

For more information about the festival, please visit www.misteriapaschalia.pl.

[Sources: muzyka.onet.plwww.rmfclassic.pl]

Bydgoszcz Opera Festival

A ballet from Cuba, a musical from Chorzów, a classical opera, and young opera apprentices will all be a part of the 17th Bydgoszcz Opera Festival, the largest opera festival in Poland. This year, as is the tradition, Opera Nova from Bydgoszcz is preparing a premiere, and this year it will be a production of Amilcar Ponchielli’s La Gioconda, directed by Krzysztof Nazar.

Opera Nova will also host Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater from Wilno, performing Jacques Fromental Halévy’s opera Żydówka, a production also presented at the Vienna Staatsoper. The staging is directed by Günter Krämer, the outstanding German opera director.

Bydgoszcz will also be visited by opera theaters from Poznań, Łódź and Gdańsk with their latest and greatest productions. Baltic Opera will present Tchaikovsky’s Oniegin, Poznań Grand Theater will perform Wertherby Jules Massenet and Łódź Grand Theater brings Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. The theater company from Chorzów will bring Lionel Bart’s Oliver, a musical based on the adventures of Oliver Twist by Dickens.

One of the high points of the festival will be the performance by Cuban dance company “Danza Contemporanea de Cuba.” The artists will visit Poland for the first time and will present a program choreographed by Mats Ek.

The Bydgoszcz Opera Festival always features young artists. This year students of Wrocław Music Academy will present The Merry Wives of Windsor, the Bydgoszcz Music Academy will present Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and the Chopin Music University inWarsaw will perform Stanisław Moniuszko’s Dziady.

The festival takes place in Opera Nova Hall in Bydgoszcz – one of the most comprehensively ewuipped opera theaters in Poland, with the second largest stage in Poland. Please visit www.opera.bydgoszcz.pl for more information and a detailed program.

[Source: culture.pl]

Gdańsk Music Festival

Gdańsk Music Festival 2010 will take place between April 23 and 30, and this year its theme is “Fryderyk Chopin – inspirations and tradition.” The Festival is dedicated primarily to classical music, however it occasionally ventures into other forms of art which help promote the music.

Based on an open formula, each year the Festival’s motto and a resident artist help shape it into a unique musical experience. In 2010, the year of Frederic Chopin, the artist in residence will be the laureate of the 10th International Chopin Competition, pianist Ewa Pobłocka. The special guest of the festival will be the juror of this year’s Chopin Competition, Dang Thai Son.

The Festival program will present both the varied artistic faces of Ewa Pobłocka as a pianist and a teacher, as well as the music of Frederic Chopin in connection with works of others, for whom his music served as inspiration.

Ewa Pobłocka will perform several concerts with symphonic orchestra, chamber orchestra, string quartet and musical-literary dialogue with author Paweł Huelle. As a teacher she will shine through performances of her students.

The repertoire of the festival, in addition to Chopin’s music, will also feature works by Elsner, Mozart and Schumann. Contemporary composers from Gdańsk will be featured in a concert performed by the Polish Chamber Choir conducted by Jan Łukaszewski. As the featured guest ensemble, the festival invited State Hermitage Orchestra from St. Petersburg (Camerata St.Petersburg).

For more information please visit www.gdanskifestiwal.pl.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]


A Review of “Music From Poland”

by Elaine Kathryn Andres

On the evening of Saturday, March 13, 2010, the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus Association hosted the opening night of their program “Music from Poland”—the fourth concert in their 2009-2010 season, themed “Emerging Voices.” Performing works by Krzysztof Penderecki and Karol Szymanowski, the symphony played at the University of California San Diego’s Mandeville auditorium under the direction of David Chase.

The concert opened with the U.S. premiere of Penderecki’s Chaconne in Memory of John Paul II, the final movement of the composer’s Polish Requiem which was added upon the Pope’s death in 2005Scored only for string orchestra, Penderecki’s Chaconne is a richly layered and menacing piece. Anchored by a slow ground bass line, the highlight of the piece is the sinuous and complex variations played by the upper string section. These lines were executed with very exact and unified articulation by each musician, creating a precise chaos. Chase’s treatment of the transitions between the 4/8 and 3/8 time signatures throughout the performance established a haunting sense of push and pull. The piece ended with a piquant harmonic effect in the upper strings that faded into a reverent silence.

The concert then transitioned to Karol Szymanowski’s Symphonie Concertante (Symphony No. 4, Opus 60), a drastic change in mood from the concert’s opener. My first time hearing this piece live, I was taken by the lush texture of the composition. Over a simple pizzicato pulse produced by the strings, distinct sound objects introduced themselves, entering in a lively conversation with piano soloist Peter Gach’s expressive and percussive playing.  The orchestra’s skillful dynamic control allowed for solos to organically appear and disappear before privileging the next musical idea.  Chase’s commanding direction during the work’s spontaneous instances of climax produced dense walls of sound that gave great emotional weight to the composition’s moments of silence.

Finally, the chorus joined the symphony in the closing performance of Szymanowski’s setting of the Stabat Mater. Soprano Renee Calvo’s clean tone and resigned dynamic treatment of the melody portrayed the suffering and strength of the Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross that is described in the text. Calvo set the passionate tone for the performance. Janelle DeStafano, mezzo, was particularly arresting with her broad vocal resonance and impeccable intonation; while Philip Larson’s rhythmic accuracy and emphatic diction brought the intensity and drama of the piece to its peak. At times, though, the mezzo-soprano and baritone solos were lost in the collective ensemble’s fortes. Each of the chorus’ sections delivered a pure vocal quality, and when layered upon each other and the lilting accompaniment of the instrumentalists, they produced a distinct color that reflected Szymanowski’s exposure to French impressionist composers. The chorus’ pronunciation of the Polish was uniform; however at some instances, their entrances were a bit disunited.  Throughout the six movements of the Stabat Mater, the three solo voices folded in and out of each other, the chorus, and the instrumentalists, creating an intricate and almost seamless aural experience.

The La Jolla Symphony and Chorus’ overall successful celebration of Penderecki and Szymanowski in the year of Chopin’s bicentennial truly attests to Poland’s long and rich musical legacy.


Elaine Kathryn Andres is a second-year undergraduate at the University of California San Diego, majoring in Communication and Music Humanities. Elaine has studied piano and voice since grade school, performing as a soloist and in several ensembles. She finds herself fascinated with music as a nexus of culture and finds it to be a lens through which one can inquire about both the past and present.  At the university, she continues to take courses in musicianship, music culture and history with hopes of pursuing a career in music journalism.  

Longest Birthday A Surprise Success

“The Longest Birthday” [Najdluzsze Urodziny] celebrated Chopin’s birthday with a continuous concert starting on February 22 and ending on March 1 in Warsaw. This marathon concert was organized by a group of Chopin enthusiasts and was free and open to the public in the Dom Polonii of Wspólnota Polska on Krakowskie Przedmieście. According to reviewer Gulliver Cragg, despite the many Chopin events happening around Warsaw and the world:

…for Varsovians, the real delight was the 170-hour musical marathon. An estimated 25,000 people attended – to the astonishment of the organisers – what was originally seen as a fringe event…. You could have heard jazz star Grazyna Auguscik as she improvised over Chopin melodies, or an unknown young pianist playing nocturnes at 3am to curled-up couples and solitary night-owls. Nearly 300 musicians signed up to play at “The Longest Birthday”, the idea for which came from the doubt surrounding the composer’s actual date of birth.

Read Cragg’s entire review for The Independent here.

Poznań Music Spring

The 40th edition of the Poznań Music Spring Festival concluded on March 28, 2010 in Poznań. According to director of the festival, Zbigniew Kozub, the anniversary festivities had to be cut back due to financial limitations; however the festival still presented 11 concerts filled with music of contemporary composers from the 20th and 21st centuries.

The festival opened with a concert performed by violinist Patrycja Piekutowska and the Poznań Philharmonic, with conductor Paweł Przytocki. The program featured Szeligowski’s Four Polish Dances, Stalmierski’s Violin Concerto, and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Some of the more interesting concerts of the festival included a monographic concert of electro-acoustic music by Marek Chołoniewski and an evening dedicated to music of the late Marek Jasiński, who passed away just a month ago. The project “Warszawa – Moskwa” featured joined forces of the Poznań Music Academy and Moscow Conservatory orchestras in a program of music by Roman Ledenyov, Vladislav Agafonnikov, Zbigniew Kozub and Artur Kroschel.

The festival invited some of the best Polish artists, including: singer Jadwiga Rappe, New Music Orchestra, Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra “Amadeus”, and modern art sextet of Berlin.

[Sources: poznanskawiosnamuzyczna.plculture.plpwm.com.pl]

Auer Review

On March 1 in honor of Chopin’s birthday, Edward Auer gave a faculty recital at Indiana University – Bloomington. In his review entitled “Exquisite performance worthy of 200th birthday,” Peter Jacobi writes the following of Auer’s performance of the all-Chopin program:

Pianist Auer was in top form. Technically, he scored a knockout. Interpretively, he fostered the emotional possibilities in scores that do no more than suggest approach through sparse instructional words, such as “Grave — Doppio movimento” (grave, heavy, slow — double, twice as slow), atop the first movement of Chopin’s Sonata Number 2 in B-Flat Minor, or “Presto con fuoco” (fast, rapid with fire), on the number 15 of the 24 Preludes.


What makes the results so gratifying during an Edward Auer recital is the man’s sense of balance. He prevents himself, by internal steering, from overreaching. The virtuosity to deal with Chopin’s musical requirements is ever present, but with Auer, there is no excessive show. So, too, the sensitivity to arouse response in a listener is certainly in evidence, but he does not overdo or overstate; the passion becomes the more persuasive, the more dream-inducing, because it is contained.

Read the entire review in the Bloomington Herald Times.

Quintophoniq Concerts

Tomasz Gołębiowski, violinist and lead musician of the Łódź-based QuintophoniQ ensemble, took his group on the road during the month of March. With guest artist Krzesimir Dębski, the group performed at the Baltic Philharmonic in Gdańsk on March 13. Their next stop on March 27 will be at the Lublin Philharmonic, where Mr. Dębski will also join his colleagues. Further concerts in Łódź and Prague are to follow later this year. View video clips of the concerts so far on Youtube: here and here.

Sapieyevski’s Visual Piano

On March 26, award-winning composer and pianist Jerzy Sapieyevski presented a program entitled  “The Art of Sound, The Sound of Art: Visual Piano – Are You Blue?” in Washington, D.C. Sapieyevski’s Visual Piano style combines his expressive piano virtuosity with the harmony of colors and rhythms in a multimedia performance, uniting classical and jazz styles into a one-of-a-kind creation drawn from the ambiance and interaction with the audience. The program at Abramson Family Recital Hall of American University was presented in cooperation with local audio technology and multimedia programs.

Recital With Penderecki & Kilar

On March 18, conductor Yaniv Segal, the son of Polish violinist Hanna Lachert, gave his Master’s recital at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. The program included two Polish works: Penderecki’s Capriccio for Oboe and 11 Strings and Kilar’s Orawa. Caroline Ross was the oboe soloist for the evening. The program also included Vaughan Williams’s Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus, Mahler’s Adagietto, and Janacek’s Suite for Strings.

Yaniv Segal, described in Esquire Magazine as a rising star who is “redefining classical music,” has performed worldwide as a singer, violinist, actor and conductor. He is the music director of the Michigan Pops Orchestra in Ann Arbor, where he is studying for a master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Michigan with Kenneth Kiesler. Yaniv regularly conducts the Chelsea Symphony in New York – an orchestra which he cofounded in 2005 and is dedicated to teamwork and performance opportunities for upcoming musicians. In the summer of 2009, Yaniv was an apprentice conductor with Maestro Lorin Maazel (pictured) at the inaugural Castleton Festival.


An International Chopin

Chopin on 5 continents
Musicians: Maria Pomianowska: – suka, fiddle from Płock, rota, folk bass, gadulka, kemanche, rebab, sarangi, er-hu morin-hur, cello; Miguel Czachowski: flamenco guitars, cajón, palmas; Paweł Betley: choirs, flutes, whistles, piano, bass guitar, drums; Sebastian Wielądek: wind instruments, bansuri, duduk, kawal; Alina Mleczko: saxophones; Marta Maślanka: cimbalon, santoor; Małgorzata Szarlik: violin; Bartłomiej Pałyga: overtone singing, koncovka, jew’s harp, didjereedoo, Robert Siwak: frame drums, darabukka; Mohammad Rasouli: ney; Roozbeh Asadian: kemanche; Małgorzata Komorowska: celtic harp; Mateusz Szemraj: ud, saz; Jędrzej Kuziela: tabla; Michał Rudas: vocal; Baba the Storyteller: vocal, kora, beat-box; and many others.
CM 1009

According to CM Records website: “This album is an attempt at creating a multicultural meeting, based on selected masterpieces from the repertoire of the great composer. This CD features unique arrangements of Frederic Chopin’s masterpieces, performed on various ethnic and classical instruments from all over the world. It is a fusion which blends numerous musical traditions from five different continents with the beauty of Chopin’s works.”

Chopin By Yundi

Chopin Nocturnes
Frederic Chopin: Complete Nocturnes
Yundi – piano
EMI 5099960839121

EMI Classics has signed a contract with one of todday’s greatest young pianists—Yundi, previously known as Yundi Li, the winner of the XIV International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. His first release for EMI features complete set of Chopin’s Nocturnes on two CDs. Yundi and EMI Classics are planning to record Chopin’s complete catalog.

[Source: muzyka.onet.pl]

Chopin On Decca

Chopin: The Nocturnes
Chopin: Nocturnes Op. 9, 15, 27, 32, 37, 48, 55, 62, 72, and posthum.
Nelson Freire, piano
Decca 000289 478 2182 3 (2 CD set)

Released in March, this recording made Gramophone Magazine’s Specialist Classical Chart for week ending March 27, 2010.

Sony Music Chopin Releases

Fryderyk Chopin
Pianists: Evgeny Kissin, Philippe Entremont, Alexander Brailovsky, FouTs’ong, Nelson Freire, Riccardo Castro, and Yukio Yokoyama
CD 88697619602

To celebrate the Chopin Year 2010, in February Sony Music Entertainment Poland released a compilation recording of the most recognized and loved piano works of Frederic Chopin, including the “Revolutionary” Etude and the “Minute” Waltz.

Kennedy’s New Album

Nigel Kennedy Quintet – Shhh!
Original compositions by Nick Drake and Nigel Kennedy.
Nigel Kennedy (el. violin); Tomasz Grzegorski (tenor sax, soprano sax & bass clarinet); Piotr Wyleżoł (piano & Hammond); Adam “Szabas” Kowalewski (contrabass & electric bass) and Krzysztof Dziedzic (drums)
EMI 5099960850225

Following his 2008 excursion into the self-penned tracks of the Nigel Kennedy Quartet’s “A Very Nice Album,” Kennedy’s latest collection reveals an even more eclectic character. It was recorded at one of rock’s fabled residential country studios, Rockfield in South Wales ,with the Polish musicians which make up the Quartet… [from the EMI website]

New from DUX

Sławomir Zamuszko Utwory na orkiestrę 
Sławomir Zamuszko: Concerto for clarinet and string orchestra; Divertimento in memoriam W.A.M. for string orchestra; Nasha Shkhapa; A European in Mexico for flute solo and string orchestra; Concerto for viola and symphonic orchestra
Agata Igras-Sawicka – flute, Artur Pachlewski – clarinet, Anna Werecka – mezzo-soprano, Róża Wilczak-Płaziuk – viola, Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra and Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk – conductor

Stanisław Moniuszko: Ze „Śpiewników Domowych”. Pieśni. [Songs from the “Household Songbook”]
Stanisław Moniuszko: Co to za kwiatek; Motyl; Serce moje; Cyganie; Dlaczego?; Kłosek; Tęsknota; Groźna dziewczyna; Ja ciebie kocham; Do dziecięcia; Do Niemna; Piosnka bez tytułu; Wilija; Złota rybka; Prządka; Przyczyna
Jadwiga Rappé – alto and Maja Nosowska – piano


Remembering Wanda Tomczykowska

by Marek Zebrowski

With great sadness we note the passing of another great ambassador of Polish culture in California. Wanda Tomczykowska—a tireless and dedicated individual and an exceedingly warm and welcoming human being—died in Kraków, Poland, on 2 March 2010 following a very long illness.

She was born in Nowy Bytom in the province of Silesia on 29 August 1921. Her father, Leon Krawczyk, was a well-known theatre director and actor who in his youth was involved in the political movement that resulted in Silesia becoming a province of Poland after World War I. Wanda was educated in the Teachers’ College in Mysłowice and received her diploma in 1939. Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, she was taken hostage for her father’s political activities and deported to Germany. She spent the war years in Berlin, first working as a servant for a family of a prominent German industrialist and his Polish wife, who later “adopted” her to save her life. At that time Wanda also attended a business college, receiving a diploma in 1944. Also in Berlin she met Zygmunt Tomczykowski, a Polish-American soldier in the US Army stationed in Germany. They were married in Berlin in 1946 and a year later travelled back to Boston with their newborn daughter, Caria.

Wanda’s lifelong involvement with the Polish-American community began as soon as she arrived on the East Coast. She assisted wartime refugees from Europe, organized a folk dance group at St. Michael’s Parish in Lynn, Massachusetts, and participated in numerous local charitable initiatives. After her husband’s death in 1950, Wanda moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and began working at Harvard, both at the Widener Library and other smaller departmental libraries on campus. Wanda’s professional activities also included reporting for Dziennik dla wszystkich [Journal for All Readers] in Buffalo, NY during the late 1940s and working as lexicographer for the US Air Force in the early 1950s. Fluent in Polish, German and English, throughout her life Wanda served as translator and interpreter for the US State Department and a variety of organizations on the East and West coasts.

In the mid 1950s Wanda moved to Berkeley, California, and took a position in the Slavic Acquisitions Department at the Main Library of UC Berkeley. In the Bay Area Wanda continued her enthusiastic advocacy for a variety of international programs, and served on the advisory boards of the International Institute, the Commonwealth Club, and World Affairs Council, among others. She helped establish the Polish University Club and facilitated scholarly exchanges between the UC Berkeley and Polish universities under the Ford Foundation Fellowship program.

Wanda Tomczykowska with Professor Norman Davies at the Polonaise Ball in San Francisco

The Polish Arts and Culture Foundation [PACF] of San Francisco was her proudest and most notable achievement.  Wanda Tomczykowska founded it in 1966 to commemorate the one thousand years of Poland’s history and opened it on May 3, 1966, honoring the anniversary of Poland’s 1791 Constitution. With her usual zeal and passion, Wanda organized countless exhibits under the auspices of the PACF on several campuses, libraries, churches, and department stores throughout the Bay Area, covering subjects such as Poland’s history, art, culture, science, and everyday life. Wanda also organized lectures and symposia, provided local radio stations with ideas on programming Polish music, supervised numerous festivals of Polish culture, cooperated with the San Francisco Symphony and Oakland Symphony Orchestras on concert programming, and reached out to local museums to organize exhibits of Polish art, film retrospectives, and theatrical performances. Frequently heard in interviews on Radio Free Europe and Voice of America, Wanda promoted and conducted courses of Polish language and history for her American audiences and classes of English as a second language for her fellow émigrés.

The Polish Arts and Culture Foundation also established the Polish Memorial Library, which houses over nine thousand volumes. The PACF has a collection of Stefan Norblin’s fourteen last paintings that were donated by his son, Andrew. Since 1981, the Foundation sponsors the annual Polonaise Ball—one of the most elegant and formal social affairs in San Francisco that also presents outstanding Polish artists to the local audiences. Usually held at The Fairmont Hotel, the Ball has also used the Palace Hotel where Ignacy Jan Paderewski always stayed when visiting San Francisco.

“Pani Wanda” as Madame Tomczykowska was affectionately and deferentially known to all who met her, served as President of the Polish Arts and Culture Foundation from its inception in 1966 until 2002. Always reaching out to help other Polish organizations, Pani Wanda’s Polish Arts and Culture Foundation donated an unprecedented collection of books and music scores to the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California.

Wanda Tomczykowska and Maestro Stanisław Skrowaczewski in the 1980s

Wanda’s rich and eventful life and her good works were noticed far and wide, and her efforts were recognized with a multitude of honors, awards and tributes. Among them are the People to People Award (1961), the Meritorious Service to Culture Award from Poland’s Minister of Culture (1991), the Gold Cross-Order of Merit from President Lech Wałęsa (1993) and the Polonia Restitua (2001) . While vacationing in Poland in 2002, Wanda Tomczykowska suffered a series of strokes that prevented her from returning to California. In frail health for the past several years, she died in Kraków on March 2. She is survived by her daughter, Caria, grandchildren Remy, Dariana and Sebastian (Ariani) Szykier, and great-granddaughters Hennessy and Lillian. The memorial mass for Wanda Tomczykowska will take place at 2:15 p.m. on 20 March 2010 at the Saint Ignatius Church (Fulton and Stanyan) in San Francisco. Commemorative services for Wanda will also be held in Warsaw and Kraków in June. In lieu of flowers, tax deductible donations may be sent to the Polish Arts and Culture Foundation, 4077 Waterhouse Road, Oakland, CA 94602.

Tadeusz Prejzner RIP

Tadeusz Prejzner—composer, pianist, jazzman—passed away in March 16 at the age of 85. Prejzner was a songwriter for such great names as: Ali-Babki, Iga Cembrzyńska, Urszula Dudziak, Kalina Jędrusik, Andrzej Rosiewicz, and Irena Santor. He also wrote symphonic and chamber music. In the 1950’s he worked with several comedy groups such as: Szpak, Dudek and STS. Before that he has played with Roman Dyląg and Andrzej Trzaskowski in the Academic Jazz Band. Later in life he worked for Polish Radio, published articles and reviews in the jazz journals, and worked as an educator. He was a member of the Polish Composer’s Union and the Society of Polish Authors and Composers.

[Source: wiadomosci.wp.pl]


Born This Month

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


Died This Month

  • 5 April 1935 – Emil MLYNARSKI, conductor, violinist, composer, music director of the Warsaw Opera, (b. 18 August 1870)
  • 6 April 2006 – Augustyn BLOCH, composer and organist, vice-President of ZKP [Polish Composesrs’ Union] from 1983-1987 (b. 13 August 1929)
  • 9 April 1944 – Boleslaw WALLEK-WALEWSKI, conductor and composer, active in Krakow, Warsaw and Pozńan (b. 23 January 1885)
  • 11 April 1938 – Bronislawa WÓJCIK-KEUPRULIAN, musicologist, professor of Lwów University, specialist in Chopin and Armenian music (b. 6 August 1890)
  • 12 April 1956 – Tadeusz STRUMILLO, musicologist, professor of Jagiellonian University, with Z. Szweykowski discovered over 200 compositions of 18th, 19th c. (b. 10 July 1929)
  • 13 April 2007 – Andrzej KURYLEWICZ, composer and conductor, best known for jazz but also wrote classical works and music for film, TV, and theather (b. 24 Nov 1932)
  • 15 April 1945 – Feliks WRÓBEL, composer and music theorist (b. 15 May 1894)
  • 18 April 1854 – Józef ELSNER, composer, founder of Warsaw Conservatory, teacher of Chopin (b. 1 June 1769)
  • 18 April 2006 – Maria DZIEWULSKA, composer, music theoretician and dedicated educator (b. 1 June 1909)
  • 24 April 1845 – Anna WOLKOW-STANIUKIEWICZ, soprano, singer of Warsaw Opera (b. 26 August 1808)
  • 25 April 1951 – Jerzy FITELBERG, composer, son of conductor Grzegorz, since 1933 lived in Paris, 1940 in New York (b. 20 May 1903)
  • 28 April 1928 – Henryk MELCER-SZCZAWINSKI, pianist, teacher, conductor, professor and chair of the Warsaw Conservatory of Music (b. 21 September 1869)
  • 30 April 1998 – Roman MACIEJEWSKI, composer, pianist (b. 28 February 1910)