Polish Music Reference Center Newsletter Vol. 16, no. 1
PAHA Honors PMC
The Polish Music Center has been designated as a recipient of the 2009 Skalny Civic Achievement Award by the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA). This Award honors “individuals or groups who advance PAHA’s goals of promoting research and awareness of the Polish-American experience and/or have made significant contributions to Polish or Polish-American community and culture.” The PMC is proud to be recognized in this fashion, and to be associated with such an active and dedicated organization as PAHA.
PMC Donations – January 2010
During the past few weeks the Polish Music Center library collection has grown as several important and valuable items were donated to us from individuals and institutions all over the world.
As a result of a meeting in Warsaw in December of 2009, the following materials on Polish composer Roman Maciejewski were donated to the PMC collection by his brother, Wojciech Maciejewsk (the brothers are pictured together at right, in the Tatry mountains in 1986):
- Roman Maciejewski—Four Insights into Music(AM 0-12 CD)
- Roman Maciejewski—Kompozytor i pianista[Roman Maciejewski—Composer and Pianist] (Polskie Radio CD PRCD 885)
- Music by Roman Maciejewski performed by Rinko Kobayashi (ZPR Records ZCD-043)
- Outsider, czyli portret Romana Maciejewskiego [Outsider or the Portrait of Roman Maciejewski] a DVD film by Stefan Szlachtycz (TVP S.A. 1993)
- Roman Maciejewski—Composer’s Portrait (brochure with CD; PWM Publishing)
- Roman Maciejewski—Człowiek i twórca [Roman Maciejewski—The Man and His Work] (brochure published by the Maciejewski Music Society in Leszno, Poland)
Roman Maciejewski (1910-1998) was an important Polish composer, whose centenary will be celebrated in the coming months. The BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Singers and the BBC Symphony Chorus will combine forces to present Roman Maciejewski’s monumental Missa pro defunctis (Requiem) at the Westminster Cathedral on 4 February 2010. The PMC is honored to receive so many interesting materials on this important composer directly from his family.
Another exciting recent contribution to the PMC came from Mariusz Brymora, Director of Department of Public and Cultural Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw. Over the past few years, the PMC collaborated with Mr. Brymora on his book, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, D.C., about the history of this diplomatic post and its beautiful location (pictured at right). The book was donated to the PMC library in October 2009 and dedicated by the author.
The Ministry and the PMC are currently collaborating on two joint projects commemorating the anniversaries of Frederic Chopin and Ignacy Jan Paderewski. After meetings with PMC Director Marek Zebrowski in Warsaw last December, Mr. Brymora on behalf of the Ministry donated a 5-CD set—Chopin: The Essence of Poland—to the PMC library. This valuable item will join our ever-growing collection of recordings and other research materials on Polish music.
Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne (PWM) is a long-time friend and collaborator of the Polish Music Center. PWM’s Editor-in-Chief, Andrzej Kosowski recently presented us with a CD of music by Marek Stachowski, featuring works for cello and orchestra. The disc published by PWM and DUX Records features world premiere recording of Stachowski’s Recitativo e la preghiera in addition to the Concerto per violoncello ed orchestra d’archi and the Adagio ricordamente.
Jamie Harasick, President of the Polish-American Historical Association (PAHA)-California Chapter is one of many strong local supporters of the PMC. In early January we received a package from Ms. Harasick, with several very rare items given to Ms. Harasick by Mr. and Mrs. Jim Wehri. Mrs. Wehri’s mother, Adelle Gewartowski is a great lover of Polish music; together with her daughter, Kathleen Wehri, Mrs. Gewartowski donated the following items to the PMC, in memory of Emily Sieracki and Edwin Gewartowski:
- Śpiewnik Młodzieży Związkowej [Songbook of Youth Association], Chicago, 1941
Sheet music, including:
- Do Wuja Starca [After the Ball], Sajewski Publishing, Chicago, n,d.
- Laura i Filon & Na Dolinie Zawierucha [Laura and Filon & Snowstorm in the Valley], Sajewski Publishing,Chicago, 1915
- Umarł Maciek, Umarł & W Murowanej Piwnicy [Maciek Has Died & In the Stone Cellar], Krygier Publishing,Philadelphia. 1940
- Góral [The Highlander], Sajewski Publishing,Chicago, 1918
- Kwiecisty i wonny maj [The Flowery and Fragrant Month of May], Sajewski Publishing, Chicago, 1912
- Śniegu biały [Oh, White Snow], V. C. Bałuta Publishing, Oak Park, 1926
- Polskie orły [Polish Eagles], Krygier Publishing, Phildelphia, n.d.
- Na Boże Narodzenie [For Christmas], Sajewski Publishing, Chicago, 1917 (2 copies)
- Honolulu, Bregman, Vocco and Conn, Inc. New York, 1939
To all of our donors—as always—we are grateful for your donations and your support of the Center. Thank you! Dziękujemy!
2009: Year in Review
2009 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Mieczysław Karłowicz and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Grażyna Bacewicz
2009 marks the 75th birthdays of two of Poland’s most influential composers: Henryk Mikołaj Górecki & Krzysztof Penderecki
Awards and Honors
Antoni Wit / Warsaw National Philharmonic and Choir recording of Szymanowski’s choral music on NAXOS received a Grammy Award nomination for the best Choral Performance. Soloists: Jarosław Bręka, Iwona Hossa and Ewa Marciniec
The prestigious “Diamond Baton” Award was awarded by Polish Radio to Stanisław Skrowaczewski and Jerzy Semkow, two of the greatest Polish conductors of their generation. Awards were presented during a concert the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra in Katowice on January 9
Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Krzysztof Penderecki, Zbigniew Namysłowski and Jerzy Połomski received Golden Fryderyks 2009 for lifetime artistic achievement. Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki received the awards in classical music, Zbigniew Namysłowski in jazz, and Jerzy Połomski in popular music
USC Thornton School of Music Dean Rob Cutietta was decorated with a Gloria Artis medal by Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage, during the Minister’s visit to the USC campus in April (pictured at right)
Wojciech Kilar received the “Per Artem ad Deum Medal” from the Pontifical Council for Culture
Paweł Mykietyn received the Golden Eagle award of the Polish Film Academy for the soundtrack to 33 scenes from life
Films about Schaeffer and Anderszewski were honored at The 27th International Festival of Films on Art FIFA in Montreal
Elżbieta Chojnacka and Mieczysław Kominek received the Annual ZKP Award
Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski, awarded three golden Gloria Artis medals to musicians: harpsichordist Elżbieta Chojnacka, conductor Sir Simon Rattle, and pianist Adam Makowicz
The annual Honorary Awards given by the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) were presented to Eva Maria Jensen, Dorota Szwarcman and Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa during a gala at the Tyszkiewicz-Potocki Palace in Warsaw on September 23
Polish composer, Wojciech Kilar received a special 10th anniversary edition of the 2009 Totus Award, established by the Foundation of Polish Episcopal Conference “Dzieło Nowego Tysiąclecia” [A work of new millennium]
Musicologist Teresa Chylińska, author of Karol Szymanowski i jego epoka[Karol Szymanowski and his époque], was chosen as the laureate of the 12th edition of the Jan Długosz Competition for authors in Kraków
Krzysztof Penderecki received the Golden Scepter Award, given by the Polish Cultural Foundation in Warsaw
The Capitol Music Theater in Wrocław prepared a stage adaptation of Stefan Żeromski’s book, Dzieje grzechu [History of Sin], with music composed by Krzesimir Dębski and song lyrics by Michał Zabłocki. (Jan.)
The Shanghai Quartet performed the US Premiere of Penderecki’s String Quartet No. 3 “Leaves from an Unwritten Diary”
Canadian premieres of Jacek Sobieraj’s On the Meadow of Herbivorous Ghosts for Saxophone and Orchestra (performed by saxophone soloist Jeremy Brown) and Piotr Grella-Mozejko’s Dream Daemon – Concerto for Changing Saxophone and Orchestra (performed by saxophone soloist Allison Balcetis)
The US Premiere of two works by Dobromiła Jaskot at the Other Minds Festival: Linearia for string quartet and Hannah for cello and electronics (March)
The world premiere of Bogusław Schaeffer’s String Quartet no. 17 took place on July 19 at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden in the Museum of Modern Art In New York City as a part of the Summergarden 2009 concert cycle
The world premiere of Sebastian Klonowic’s Hebdomas took place on July 4 at the XXXI Festival of the Early Music in Stary Sącz, performed by the Ars Nova Ensemble and Subtilior Ensemble, directed by Jacek Urbaniak. Sebastian Klonowic, an outstanding poet of the Polish renaissance, was known mostly for his works dedicated to Kochanowski and a poem entitled Flis
In September, the World Orchestra for Peace came together for an extraordinary concert in Kraków marking the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII. The concert featured the World Premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Prelude to Peace, commissioned by the orchestra especially for the occasion
On August 29th in the Grand Theater in Łódź, Krzysztof Penderecki premiered his new work, Kadisz. Łódzkim Abramkom, którzy chcieli żyć. Polakom, którzy ratowali Żydów[Kadisz. To Abramek’s from Łódź, who wanted to live. To Poles who saved Jews], written in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the liquidation of the ghetto in Littzmanstadt (the name for German-occupied Łódź).
Internationally renowned Cello Octet Amsterdam (COA) presented an adventurous program featuring U.S. premieres of Krzysztof Penderecki’s “Agnus Dei” from his Polish Requiem, and Olga Hans’ Piesni sloneczne [Songs of the Sun] in New York on September 8.
The World Premiere of Krzesimir Dębski’s Violin Concerto No. 3 took place at the 13th annual Festival of Polish Composers on October 8
The New London Orchestra celebrated Grażyna Bacewicz’s centenary by giving the UK premiere of her Sinfonietta for Strings (1935) in Cadogan Hall.
On October 18, conductor Monika Wolińska led the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra in the New York City premiere of Stanisław Moryto’s Stabat Mater – Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall
The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic gave the World Premiere of Krzesimir Dębski’s Cello Animation on Sunday, September 27 in Gdańsk, Poland, at the home of the Polish Baltic Philharmonic
The World Premiere of Wojciech Kilar’s new composition, Hymn Paschalny for mixed choir a capella, was performed on October 16 in Jelenia Góra, Poland
On December 4, the World Premiere of a new work of Piotr Moss’ Le lien entre les jours [The union between days] took place in Fontainebleau, France. The composition was commissioned by ProQuartet- European Center for Chamber Music (composer pictured at left)
The World Premiere performance of Suger Maple Cosmica for flute and percussion by Polish-American composer Michael Gatonska took place December 7 in New York City
PMC honored the 100th birth anniversary of Grażyna Bacewicz and the passing of PMC Founder Wanda Wilk in a concert on March 28 at Newman Recital Hall – a fitting tribute to two extraordinary women. Read a review here
“A Toast to Paderewski” Fundraiser was performed by Joel Pargman – violin, Tom Lea – viola, Simone Vitucci – cello, Stephanie Payne – bass, and Marek Zebrowski – piano in Paso Robles. Sponsored by the Paderewski Festival and the Back Roads Wineries of Paso Robles, all proceeds went to support the Paderewski Festival Exchange Program with Poland
Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage, paid a visit to the USC campus on April 23, honoring the PMC’s achievements and discussing possibilities for future collaboration (see May Newsletter)
Minister Sikorski (center) with Festival board member Steve Cass and family, then Polish Consul General
in L.A., Paulina Kapuścińska, and Polish Ambassador to the U.S., Robert Kupiecki.
[Photo credit: Paso Robles Magazine]
Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Radosław Sikorski, paid a short visit to Paso Robles in early August to learn more about the Paderewski Festival held there each fall. His private stopover was scheduled between official appearances in the Bay Area and Los Angeles
PMC Director Marek Zebrowski travelled to Poland in June and July to run the first Paderewski Festival Exchange Program, an outgrowth of the Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition and a cooperation agreement signed by the Mayor of Paso Robles and the Tarnów District Supervisor. He also facilitated the Cantors Assembly tour of Poland, which included a series of concerts commemorating the rich tradition of Jewish music in Poland before World War II
The Polish Music Center at USC presented the annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital on October 4 in USC’s Alfred Newman Recital Hall. This year’s event featured Polish composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, with performances by the Denali String Quartet (pictured at right), pianist Irene Gregorio, and flautist Amy Tatum. Read a review here
The Paderewski Festival took place in the charming Central Coast town of Paso Robles, CA. Performers included Denali Quartet, William Koseluk, Winners of the 2009 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition, and Polish pianist Hubert Rutkowski. Read a review here.
Krystian Zimmerman gave a dazzling debut performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall on April 26, which he followed with a politically controversial speech during his encore. Read a review here
The Warsaw Chamber Opera performed a new stage production of the rare Matrimonio con variazioni by Józef Koffler, Poland’s first serialist composer
The Paderewski Music Society presented Polish pianist Hubert Rutkowski in two piano recitals: on November 7 at Loyola Marymount University and November 8 at California State University – Northridge
Lutosławski w pamięci [Lutosławski in Memories] by Grzegorz Michalski, a compilation of 20 interviews with fellow artists remembering this great composer, was published
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute published an album in English about Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, in honor of his 75th birthday celebrations in 2008, bridging an important gap in the Górecki bibliographies available worldwide.
The long awaited 11th volume of the PWM Music Encyclopedia is now available. The latest volume, edited by Elżbieta Dziębowska, contains over 550 entries written by 84 authors, covering letters T-U-V in music from antique to contemporary.
The Chopin – Album celebrating the 200th birthday of Frederic Chopin has been prepared by Polish Music Editions (PWM) and BOSZ Publications
In honor of the Piotr Lachert’s 70th birthday and Krzysztof Penderecki 75th anniversary, violinist Hanna Lachert made a recording of these composers’ Violin Sonatas (David Segal Violins)
Albums of music by Szymanowski, Karłowicz, Mykietyn, and Moniuszko are among Fryderyki 2009 Winners – see May Newsletter for a full listing
Premiere recording of the Complete Choral Works of Krzysztof Penderecki (DUX0694)
Rafał Blechacz released his 3rd album for Deutsche Grammophon (DG 477 8088 5), containing both of Chopin’s Piano Concertos
Violinist Joanna Kurkowicz and the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Łukasz Borowicz conductor, released a recording of Grażyna Bacewicz’s Violin Concertos 1, 3 & 7 on Chandos Records (Chandos 10533) to great critical acclaim. This album is #6 on Amazon.com’s list of top 25 “Best Classical Albums of 2009”
The recording of Penderecki’s Utrenja performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic and conductor Antoni Wit (Naxos 8572031) made the Naxos “Best of 2009 Staff Picks” list
Celebrations of the new Kraków Opera headquarters took place throughout the year
One of the foremost Polish orchestras, Sinfonia Varsovia, has finally received a permanent residence after 25 years of existence
Presenting Polish contemporary culture and heritage in one of Europe’s most influential, opinion-forming and affluent European countries, Polska! Year officially opened in the UK
The Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice joined the Orchestra Network of Europe (ONE)
The city of Łódź debuted its new orchestra, the New Art Radio Philharmonic, which is in fact a re-iteration of the Polish Radio Orchestra once led by Henryk Debich
Franciszek Wozniak (7 August 1932 – 15 January 2009) – composer
Krystyna Kobylanska (6 August 1925 – 30 January 2009) – musicologist
Wanda Wilk (13 January 1921 – 18 February 2009, pictured) –
PMC Founder and champion of Polish culture (see March Newsletter)
Elizabeth Vars (28 June 1916 – 10 June 2009) – widow of Henry Vars and dedicated PMC supporter (See August Newsletter)
By unanimous vote of the Polish Parliament, 2010 has been designated the year of Frederic [Fryderyk] Chopin. 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of this extraordinary composer and pianist. The music of Chopin is one of the most cherished Polish cultural assets and is performed around the world constantly. Members of Parliament expressed their excitement and support for the idea and some even pointed out that until 1989 there was a grand piano in the Parliament building.
Throughout the year, Poland will host concerts, exhibitions, screenings and many other events celebrating Chopin’s life and musical output. In honor of this important anniversary, Polish officials have also invested significant amount of time and money to renovate and prepare Chopin-related spaces and buildings. Commemorations of Chopin’s legacy will take place throughout the world as well, but we will begin this year with a taste of the celebrations taking place in Chopin’s homeland.
Chopin Museum and other renovations
The Fryderyk Chopin Museum will re-open on March 1, 2010. The 1300 square meters of Ostrogski Castle on Tamka street in Warsaw was transformed into “the most modern and beautiful biographical museum in Europe,” according to Poland’s Minister of Culture, Bogdan Zdrojewski. The museum will combine multimedia with historical objects to present the story of Chopin’s life.
Chopin lovers will experience cutting edge technology from their first moment inside the museum. Paper tickets have been replaced by an electronic card, which can be programmed for four different levels of content access as well as choice of language. Thanks to the electronic pass, visitors will be able to experience over 100 computer stations placed in 11 display halls. Each station is dedicated to a different part of Chopin’s life and work and the presentations will be accompanied by projection of animated shadows, making visitors feel as if they were surrounded by people from Chopin’s era. See a conceptual presentation of the new Museum on YouTube.
Next door to the Museum there will be a new Chopin Center housing several Chopin organizations—this Center will be open for visitors on February 22, 2010. Near the Chopin Museum and Center is the Fryderyk Chopin Music University. These three institutions will create a comprehensive Chopin-dedicated area in Warsaw, the city of Chopin.
Żelazowa Wola Manor, the birthplace of Chopin, has also been transformed into a cultural and educational center. The church in Brochów, where Chopin was baptized, has been renovated in accordance with period design and acoustics were adjusted, allowing the church to serve as a concert venue. Both spaces will be open to the public on April 23, 2010.
According to Minister Zdrojewski, these projects consumed approximately 147 million PLN, or $50 million USD.
There will be numerous musical events throughout Poland in 2010, however three of them are the crown jewels of the offerings. From February 22 to March 1 the National Frederic Chopin Institute will present Chopin Birthday Concerts, which will conclude with a Gala Concert at the Grand Theater – National Opera. The scope of the artists invited to perform includes the greatest names in the piano world, including: Rafał Blechacz, Ivo Pogorelić, Piotr Anderszewski, Murray Perahia, Garrick Ohlsson, Kevin Kenner, Nelson Goerner, Janusz Olejniczak, Evgeny Kissin, Daniel Barenboim, Leif Ove Andsnes, Yundi Li, Dang Thai Son and Martha Argerich. These soloists will be accompanied by the Warsaw National Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, and XVIII Century Orchestra. Conductors include Antoni Wit, Jacek Kaspszyk, and Frans Brüggen. For the complete program of concerts, please visit pl.chopin.nifc.pl/chopin2010
The XVI International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition will take place in Warsaw in October 2010. As always, this highly prestigious competition will attract participants and visitors from around the world. Currently there are 335 applicants for the competition. Form those, the preliminary jury will choose 160 participants who will be invited to Warsaw to present their musicianship and contend for this thrilling anniversary edition of the Chopin Competition. More about the competition is available at konkurs.chopin.pl.
The VI edition of the “Chopin and his Europe” International Festival will be presented by the National Frederic Chopin Institute and has been touted as one of the most important projects of the year. The special edition of the Festival will last for all of August and encompass 50 music events with the participation of over 1,000 performers from all over the world. Events will include recitals, classical and jazz concerts, open-air performances and more. As there are only limited details available at this time, please continue to check the Festival website for more information.
Chopin in Łódź
The World Premiere of the opera Winter in Mallorca is planned at the Łódź Grand Theatre for June 12, 2010. The opera was composed by Marta Ptaszyńska, with a libretto based on the drama by Janusz Krasiński, Kochankowie z klasztoru Valdemossa [Lovers from the Valdemossa monastery]. Frederic Chopin stayed in Mallorca between December 1838 and February1839 in the mountain town of Cartuja de Valdemossa. That is where he finished his 24 preludes cycle. Artistic direction for this production is by Wojciech Michniewski and the opera is directed by Grzegorz Wiśniewski. According to Marek Szyjko, director of the Grand Theater, production preparation started a year and a half ago.
The opera follows Chopin and French writer George Sand as they take a ship to Mallorca, where they hope to enjoy their love. Quickly it occurs that the reality is not as they had hoped for. The islanders are not as hospitable as it would seem to be. Additionally, the ship carrying Chopin’s piano is delayed. The wait-time makes the lovers restless and competitive about their independence. In their rivalry they are joined by the painter Maurycy and two children of George Sand.
The City of Warsaw has installed multimedia benches made of black stone at various geographical points that are important to Chopin’s life and legacy. Each bench has a switch that activates a pre-recorded presentation of Frederic Chopin’s music. Currently there are 14 benches, however one more will be placed near the Chopin Museum when it opens in March.
Each bench also includes a map with Chopin points of interest and information about each place. For example, at the Krasiński Square you will read that there was once a National Theater building there where Chopin premiered his Piano Concerto in F Minor. Also in 1830 Chopin’s farewell concert was performed there.
All of the benches also have a special photographic code, which, when photographed with a cell phone camera and sent to a toll-free number, unlocks access to online multimedia collection including samples of Chopin’s works, photographs and information about composer.
Chopin Benches is an initiative of the Design Society and were created by Prof. Jerzy Porębski, Dean of the Design Department of the Fine Arts Academy in Warsaw. The multimedia trail that these benches create is a supplement to the guide published by the City of Warsaw, which is available on the City’s website at chopin2010.um.warszawa.pl
Chopin in TV
Programming on Polish Television [TVP] this year will include numerous documentaries, features and concert broadcasts related to Chopin. On New Year’s Eve, the special To będzie rok Fryderyka Chopina [This will be Chopin’s year] was aired. Recorded at the Żelazowa Wola Manor, the special featured foremost scholars, representatives of artistic circles and the Minister of Culture, Bogdan Zdrojewski, and included a performance of theWaltz in D flat Major by young Jan Lisiecki.
On January 7, Polish Television will broadcast a concert performed by Chinese piano prodigy, Lang Lang, at the Warsaw National Philharmonic. The broadcast will be aired by Channel 2 and will be preceded by an interview with the artist. The program will include the Andante spianato and Grand Polonaise in E flat Major.
Another broadcast featuring Piotr Paleczny in a concert at Polish Sejm will be aired on January 20. The program will include a performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E Minor.
There will be numerous presentations dedicated to Chopin, including: the feature film Chopin. Pragnienie miłości directed by Jerzy Antczak; a movie “Fryderyk Chopin – romantyzm wygnańców” by Maria Sartowa; a program Chopin jakiego nie znamy – pianista i pedagog; as well as fragments of the “Chopiniana” ballet production directed by Thomas Grimm. (Photo by I. Sobieszczuk/TVP)
TVP has also launched an internet website dedicated to Frederic Chopin. The website—www.chopin.tvp.pl—includes materials from the depths of the TVP archives which are unavailable elsewhere. The website will also feature shows, concerts and interviews recorded during 2010. More information about the TVP plans for the 2010 will be made available on January 20 during a press conference at the Chopin Music University in Warsaw.
January Highlights, in Poland and around the world
For a full listing of all January events in Poland, see chopin2010.pl.
- Jan 3-7: Seminar and masterclasses with Prof. Andrzej Jasinski. Eduard Aldwell Center, Jerusalem, Israel. Info: 050-9905541, email@example.com
- Jan 7: Inauguration of the Chopin Year in Warsaw: Concert featuring Lang Lang – piano, Joanna Kozłowska – soprano, Ewa Wolak – contralto, Ryszard Minkiewicz – tenor, Jarosław Bręk – bass, The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, and Antoni Wit – conductor. National Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, Poland. Info: 22 55 17 111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jan 7: Inauguration of the Chopin Year in Kraków: Concert featuring Jan Lisiecki – piano, the Sinfonietta Cracovia, and Jacek Kaspszyk – conductor. Kraków Philharmonic.
- Jan 15: Katowice Gala Chopin Concert: Piotr Banasik – piano, Małgorzata Otremba – flute, the Karol Szymanowski Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra and Tadeusz Strugała – conductor. Sala koncertowa ZPSM, Katowice, Poland.
- Jan 16: All-Chopin Program featuring pianist Garrick Ohlsson (1st American to win the Chopin Int’l Piano Competition in Warsaw). 8:00pm, Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido Street, Santa Barbara, CA.
- Jan 16: “Invitation to the Dance” concert by pianists Daniel Gortler & Victor Stanislavsky. Einav Cultural Center, Ibn Gvirol 71, Tel Aviv, Israel. Info: email@example.com
- Jan 18: Chopin Marathon in the Villa Gyllenberg – Helsinki, Finland
- Jan 31: First stage of auditions for the Polish National Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition. Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Warsaw, Poland.
As always we recommend that you visit the Chopin 2010 website, which is the most comprehensive source of Chopin related information prepared especially for the celebration year. Another helpful resource is the website of the International Federation of Chopin Societies: www.ifcs.pl.
Olga Hans Premiere By Dominik Połoński
Dominik Połoński, the only cellist in the world who performs using only his right arm, has announced that a second cello concerto has been written for him, and other pieces are in the works. The cello concerto was written by Olga Hans and was premiered by Połoński with the Świętokrzyskie Philharmonic and conductor Jacek Rogala on December 18, 2009.
Dominik Połoński was a brilliant young cellist and winner of several national and international competitions, but in 2003 he became seriously ill. After a two-year fight and several operations he was able to rejoin regular life, however without the use of his left arm. Since music had always been his whole life, he prepared himself to return to performing. He convinced composer Olga Hans to write a right hand only Cello Concerto. The work took two years to complete and was premiered on February 18, 2009 with a live broadcast on Polish Radio Channel 2. The work was performed by Połoński with the Polish Radio Orchestra (NOSPR), directed by Łukasz Borowicz.
A special cello was manufactured for Połoński by Marek Olma. According to the cellist: “My instrument is constructed slightly differently, it is tuned differently and has more string tension. It sounds fantastic. The cello maker worked long and hard and put all his heart into it, we have been friends since before my illness.”
In the history of music there are several examples of piano works written for one hand only: Maurice Racel and Sergey Prokofiev both wrote such works for pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm during World War I.
In addition to performing, Połoński publishes articles in musical periodicals and serves on the cello faculty of the Łódź and Kraków Music Academies. Before his illness he had performed with Cello Academy – an ensemble of 12 most talented cellists from around Europe directed by Hans Erki Deckert. He has recorded for Sony Classical, Dux, Polskie Nagrania and Polskie Radio.
WIT / Warsaw Phil Grammy Nominations
On December 2 the nominations for the 52nd Grammy Awards were announced. The Grammys are the most prestigious music industry awards in the world and cover the full gamut of musical genres and styles. Two recordings performed by Antoni Wit with the Warsaw National Philharmonic have been nominated this year in two separate categories.
In the “Best Orchestral Performance” category, the nomination was given to the recording of Karol Szymanowski’s Symphonies no. 1 Op. 15 and 4 Op. 60, Concert Overture Op. 12 and Study in B flat Minor Op. 4 no. 3 (NAXOS 8.570722) with the Warsaw National Philharmonic. Soloists include: Jan Krzysztof Broja – piano, Ewa Marczyk – violin/concertmistress, Marek Marczyk – viola. The competition in this category is quite stiff, including Sir Simon Rattle for the recording of the Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Valery Gergiev for Shostakovich’s Symphonies nos. 1 and 15, Benjamin Zander for Bruckner’s Symphony no. 5, and James Levine for a recording of Dafnis et Chloe by Maurice Ravel.
In the “Best Choral Performance” category, the nomination was given for the recording of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Jutrznia [Utrenja] (NAXOS 8.572031). The soloists include: Iwona Hossa – soprano, Agnieszka Rehlis – mezzo-soprano, Piotr Kusiewicz – tenor, Piotr Nowacki – bass, Gennady Bezzubenkov – basso profundo. The recording also features the Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir and Warsaw Boys Choir. This category is no cakewalk either, with artists like Michael Tilson Thomas (for Mahler’s 8th Symphony), Paul McCreesh (for A Spotless Rose), Dennis Keene (for Song of the Stars) and Harry Christophers (for Coronation Anthems by Haendel) also nominated.
For Antoni Wit these nominations mark the 5th and 6th time he was included in the running, however he has yet to win the coveted Grammy Award. The Grammy Awards ceremony will take place in January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles.
Korzeniowski Nominated To Golden Globe
The nominations to the Golden Globes were announced on December 16, 2009 in Los Angeles. Among the artists nominated is Abel Korzeniowski (pictured at right), a Polish composer working in Hollywood. He is nominated for his original score to A Single Man, directed by Tom Ford. The film tells the story of George Falconer, a middle aged professor, who is trying to recover after death of his long time partner, Jim.
The Golden Globes, the awards of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will be awarded for the 67th time during a gala on January 17 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The Globes are widely considered as a prognosis for Oscar nominations.
Polskie Nagrania Re-Launch
Polskie Nagrania [Polish Records] is one of the oldest Polish recording companies, with a catalog that includes all genres of music and outstanding artists from all eras, and the company has just re-launched its official website. The newly revamped site provides recording samples and the ability to purchase mp3 downloads of single tracks as well as full records. The website is considerably more user friendly then the previous version and includes a more comprehensive search tool.
Visit the new website at: www.polskienagrania.com.pl
Fontana & Chopin In Letters
A new book by Polish scholar Magdalena Oliferko entitled Fontana and Chopin in Letters [Fontana i Chopin w listach] has been published by Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw. This book delves into the letters of Julian Fontana, a close friend and associate of Chopin. Oliferko’s research reveals Fontana’s difficult relationship with the master as well as his own personal tragedy. An excerpt of a review written by Prof. Irena Poniatowska is below:
Magdalena Oliferko’s book is an absolute innovation as it comprises the letters included in the manuscripts of Julian Fontana to Stanisław E. Koźmian, shedding new light on the relationship between Chopin and Fontana. The author, owing to archival research, reached the number of documents related to Fontana’s biography. (…) The partially unknown profiles of both figures; their sarcasm, wit and complexes, emerge through the letters, their selection and way of presenting including pictures and commentaries (…). This kind of study has never been available and has never appeared either in Polish or foreign literature. It is, therefore, a unique book, and it can be described as outstanding.
This hardcover book in Polish is available for purchase on the online store of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.
Polityka Passport Awards Nominations
The nominations to the 18th edition of the Passport Award organized by Polityka magazine were announced on December 2. In the classical music category the nominees are: violinist Marcin Zdunik,; conductor Krzysztof Urbański; and singer Barbara Wysocka. Wysocka is also nominated for a Passport in the Theater category, marking the first time an artist has been nominated in two categories.
The nominations were proposed by: Daniel Cichy of Tygodnik Powszechny, Tomasz Cyz of dwutygodnik.com, Adrianna Ginał of Przekrój, Jacek Hawryluk of Polskie Radio (Dwójka) and Gazeta Wyborcza, Robert Kamyk of TVP Kultura, Dorota Kozińska of Ruch Muzyczny, Jacek Marczyński of Rzeczpospolita, and Adam Rozlach of Polskie Radio (Jedynka).
The awards will be announced during a gala at the National Theater in Warsaw on January 12.
Chopin On Legendary Steinway
Acclaimed Steinway Concert Pianist Lara Downes will offer a rare performance at the El Paso Pro Musica Festival on Sunday, January 24th when she plays on the now legendary Steinway Concert Grand #L1037. Ms. Downes’ solo recital performance on the #L1037 will give a musician’s unique perspective into the history and range of this remarkable instrument in a special anniversary tribute to composers Frederic Chopin and Samuel Barber. The concert will also feature a memorable collaboration with Lara and cellist Zuill Bailey. After the performance, audience members will be welcomed to the stage to see and play the famous #L1037, and to speak with Ms. Downes in an informal Q&A session and CD signing.
The #L1037 is featured in the award-winning documentary film Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, which aired nationally on PBS in September 2009. Ms. Downes teamed up with film director Ben Niles, Steinway & Sons and El Paso Pro Musica Artistic Director Zuill Bailey to bring the film and the piano to the Festival for a screening and live concert. Note By Note follows the creation of a Steinway concert grand piano, the #L1037, from forest floor to concert hall. The film explores the relationship between musician and instrument, chronicles the manufacturing process, and illustrates what makes each Steinway unique in this age of mass production.
For more information about this unique event or to inquire about bringing the program to your venue, please contact Ellen Beveridge at 419.517.4552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kosciuszko Fdn Inagurates 2010 Season
The Neos String Quartet, which received rave reviews for its Bargemusic concert last fall, opens the 2010 season of chamber concerts at the Kosciuszko Foundation on Sunday, January 10 at 3pm. The program features the Second Quartet of Polish master composer Karol Szymanowski, and also includes Robert Schumann’s Quartet No. 3 and Beethoven’s Quartet No. 7. The performance of the Szymanowski Quartet is made possible by generous support from the Anna Cierpik Fund of the Kosciuszko Foundation.
Based in New York City, the Neos String Quartet was founded in 2008 and quickly established itself as a vibrant new quartet. Hailed by The New Yorker, their Bargemusic concerts received high praise. Members of the NSQ (Artur Kaganovskiy and Olivier Fluchaire, violins; Eszter Szilveszter, viola and Justina Sullivan, cello) have performed alongside Itzhak Perlman, Pinkas Zukerman, Yehudi Menuhin, Ilya Kaler, Nina Beilina, Anthony McGill and members of the Guarneri, American, Peterson and Emerson String Quartets. In addition to their Kosciuszko Foundation concert, highlights for the NSQ’s 2009-10 Season include concerts at Bargemusic and the City University of New York as well as their radio debut on WQXR.
Sunday, January 10 at 3pm
Neos String Quartet plays Szymanowski
15 East 65th Street (between Fifth and Madison Avenues)
Reservation: (212) 734-2130
Chorea – Dance/Music/Theater
Dance theater company Rosanna Gamson/World Wide (RGWW) and the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArtsTheater (REDCAT) present a free performance of the work of acclaimed Polish theater group Stowarzyszenie Teatralne CHOREA, in their U.S. debut. CHOREA continues the work started by two groups in the Gardzienice Center of Theatrical Practice: The Ancient Orchestra and The Labyrinth Dance Formation. CHOREA’s own, unique method of work is based in uniting dance, music and lyrics in one organic action. After three years of intense exploration internationally, CHOREA found its permanent residence in historic Łódź and was instrumental in creating a new cultural center in the year 2007: Łódź’s Fabryka Sztuki (Art Factory).
Members of CHOREA are here in the United States for the first time to collaborate on a new work with Los Angeles-based dance theater company Rosanna Gamson/World Wide. As part of that collaboration, CHOREA is conducting an intensive training with members of RGWW and invited local performers that has been taught in Eastern Europe, the UK, Greece, Germany, France and the Netherlands. With the goal of integrating voice, body, text and rhythm, the workshop is based on CHOREA’s international investigation of both ancient and contemporary theater forms. The physical training uses acrobatics, complex exercises in rhythm, partner and choral work, as well as singing and extended vocal techniques.
The workshop culminates in this one-time, free public event demonstrating CHOREA’s training practices and sharing their theater work.
Saturday, January 9, 2010, at 3 pm
REDCAT: 631 W. 2nd Street, Los Angeles, 90012 (below Disney Hall)
Open seating, no reservations necessary. Followed by a conversation with the artists, including CHOREA’s Artistic Director Tomasz Rodowicz.
ABOUT TOMASZ RODOWICZ AND CHOREA: Following a four-year period of collaboration with Jerzy Grotowski’s Teatr Laboratorium, Tomasz Rodowicz became a founding member and Music Director of The Association of Theatrical Practices Gardzienice (Gardzienice) in 1977 with WŁódźimierz Staniewski. Gardzienice is the internationally recognized theater group that sought to continue Grotowski’s work as he moved away from theatrical productions. In collaboration with actors from Gardzienice, Rodowicz established the CHOREA Theatre Association in Łódź, Poland. With the goal of re-creating the bond between performers and audience that exists in ritual, CHOREA continues to make “expeditions” to communities in Europe, and in particular, to study ancient Greek theater and religious rites. The company is known for its sung performances, strenuous physical and vocal training, and anthropological fieldwork.
ABOUT ROSANNA GAMSON/WORLDWIDE: Artistic Director Rosanna Gamson convenes skilled dancers, singers, actors, musicians and visual artists from eclectic backgrounds and diverse countries to create exciting new collaborations. Weaving different skills, cultural traditions, and points-of-view into a multi-layered vision, RGWW makes sumptuous, entertaining and provocative dance theater that reflects the complexity of living in the world together today.
RGWW’s latest work, Tov, premieres on March 18, 2010, at REDCAT. Tov is an evening-length work for a bi-national cast choreographed by Rosanna Gamson, inspired by Gamson’s ancestors, horse traders from Szczezin, and the story of the tarpan horse, a species bred back from the brink of extinction in 1930’s Poland. Tov is informed by Jerzy Grotowski’s seminal ensemble theater techniques and the vibrant physical theater now being created in Poland, and will be developed in both the US and Poland with artists from both countries. The work incorporates dance and vocal music with text spoken and sung in Hebrew, Polish, English and German. Tov is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by REDCAT in partnership with the Myrna Loy Center/Helena Presents.
[Photo source: www.lastageblog.com]
Young Musician Of The Year
On December 28, the results were announced for the 2009 Young Musician of the Year competition. The winner was 17 year old accordion player Bartosz Głowacki, who performed fragments of the Concerto Classico for accordion and symphonic orchestra by Mikołaj Majkusiak during the final round of competition. Thanks to his triumph, Głowacki will represent Poland at the finals of the Eurovision Young Musicians Competition in Vienna in May 2010.
Other finalists of the Polish preliminary round included: Tomasz Ritter – piano, Karol Gajda – trombone, Adam Woch – guitar, Paweł Stępień – flute, Marianna Bednarska – marimba, and Chanelle Bednarczyk – violin. These young contestants were accompanied by the Polish Radio Orchestra conducted by Łukasz Borowicz. The performances were judged by the jury consisting of Agnieszka Duczmal (conductor, chairman), Rafał Kwiatkowski (cellist), Jan Jakub Bokun (clarinetist, conductor), Krzysztof Pełech (guitarist), Karol Radziwonowicz (pianist), and Krzysztof Jakowicz (violinist).
Bartosz Głowacki already has numerous awards to his name, including: 1st place at the International Accordion Competition in Vilnius, 3rd prize at an international Accordion Competition in Klingenthal, 2nd Prize at the International Festival of Accordion Music in Przemyśl, and numerous others. He has performed both in Poland and abroad. More about the artists is available on the TVP Kultura website.
For more about the competition, please visit www.mlodymuzykroku.tvp.pl.
Bacewicz Composition Competition Results
During the Final Concert Gala of the 3rd Grażyna Bacewicz International Composition Competition in Łódź on December 11, the three finalist compositions were performed by the Łódź Philharmonic. Michał Klauza served as conductor. The jury, chaired by Prof. Zygmunt Krauze, announced its verdict immediately following the concert:
- 1st prize – Artur Zagajewski for unhum
- 2nd Prize – Grzegorz Duchnowski for Les couleurs de l’espace[The colors of space]
- 3rd Prize – Tomasz Jakub Opałka for Symfonia Horyzont zdarzeń[Event HorizonSymphony]
The three final works were chosen from among over 40 compositions for symphony orchestra from 15 countries, including: Poland, Belgium, Germany, Cyprus, Canada, Italy, Ukraine, Finland, Spain, Great Britain, Mexico, Argentine, France, China and Greece.
Lutosławski Piano Duo Success
The Lutosławski Piano Duo—comprised of Emilia Sitarz and Bartłomiej Wąsik—has won the 2nd prize at the 32nd Valentino Bucchi International XX and XXI Century Music Competition in Rome [Premio Valentino Bucchi Parole e Musica per l’Unità dei Popoli]. The duo also received a Special Prize for the interpretation of the mandatory work by Bucchi – Racconto Siciliano.
The competition took place between November 18 and 29, 2009. The competition was designed for musicians in several categories: piano, harp, organ, choir and piano duet. Participants from around the world performed works written in the 20th and 21st centuries. Additionally each participant performed a work by the Italian composer Valentino Bucchi (1916-1976).
Jerzy Kurczewski Award
The 2009 Jerzy Kurczewski Award, the only award in Poland dedicated to choral art, was given to Stanisław Krawczyński for “the outstanding achievement in the field of choral art and propagation of Polish music.” Krawczyński is a long time collaborator of Stanisław Gałoński and the “Capella Cracoviensis”, as well as the provost of the Kraków Music Academy. The Award Committee was chaired by Krzysztof Meyer.
This award is under honorary patronage of Krzysztof Penderecki and funded by the Wielkopolskie Voivodship Marshall, Marek Woźniak. The Committee consists of: Jan Łukaszewski of the Polish Chamber Choir, Stanisław Gałoński, Agnieszka Duczmal of the Polish Radio Orchestra “Amadeus”, Jacek Sykulski of the Poznań Boys Choir, Henryk Wojnarowski of the National Philharmonic Choir and Alina Kurczewska, daughter of the award’s patron.
The Jerzy Kurczewski Award was established in 1999. To date the recipients have included among others: Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Andrzej Koszewski and Stefan Stuligrosz.
New from DUX
Marek Stachowski Works For Cello & String Orchestra
Marek Stachowski: Concerto per violoncello ed orchestra d’archi, Recitativo e la preghiera, Adagio ricordamente
Dorota Imiełowska, cello; Beethoven Academy Orchestra; Piotr Sułkowski, conductor
Kraków 20th Century music at the Bazylika Mariacka
Feliks Nowowiejski: Symphony no. 2 Op. 45; Jerzy Jargoń: Triptychon; Three Passion Songs for soprano and organ; Holy Mary Preludes; Lech Skoczylas: Missa in honorem Sanctae Caeciliae; Tadeusz Mahl: Stained Glass – organ suite; Jerzy Kaszycki: Three Psalms to the Latin texts for soprano and organ; Marek Stefański: Passion Impression – vocal-organ improvisation
Marek Stefański, organ; Elżbieta Towarnicka, soprano
New Skowronski Plays CD
Skowronski Plays! -DICHOTOMY- Sonatas of Ernest Bloch
Vincent P. Skowronski, violin; Dana Brown, piano
Skowronski: Classical Recordings S:CR-09
This CD was recorded live in concert at Studio One – WFMT-FM in Chicago.
Gwidon Borucki was an actor and singer who performed with Henryk Vars’ ensemble during WWII. He is pictured with Vars in Iraq in 1943 (Photo: PMC Collection). Below is a brief note about his death from Wiesław Dąbrowski, the director of a recently-made documentary film about Vars:
Actor, singer and musician Gwidon Borucki (also known by his stage alias, Guido Lorraine) died in Melbourne, Australia, on 31 December 2009. He was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1912. Borucki was a famous performer at various cabarets in Warsaw in the 1930s, especially the Cyrulik Warszawski and Teatr Miniatura. From the beginning of World War II he has been associated with the Tea-Jazz ensemble of Henryk Wars (Henry Vars) in Lwow, and with this group he eventually made it out of the Soviet Union into Persia in 1942. Renamed “Polish Parade,” Wars’ orchestra became a prize-winning Allied Army ensemble and Mr. Borucki one of its star performers. After the historic battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, Borucki was the first to sing the specially composed song, Red Poppies of Monte Cassino, which became an instant hit and to this day is one of the most popular Polish war-time songs.
Gwidon Borucki lived in London after the war, working for the BBC, appearing in various stage roles and as an actor in a number of British and American films. He also made numerous recordings in the 1950s and 1960s. After touring Australia he moved there permanently in 1959. Mr. Borucki was recently featured in a documentary film Henryk Wars—Piesniarz Warszawy[Henryk Wars—The Bard of Warsaw].
Born This Month
- 1 January 1927 – Juliusz LUCIUK, composer, musicologist
- 1 January 1872 – Tadeusz JARECKI, conductor (d. 1955)
- 1 January 1911 – Roman TOTENBERG, violinist and pedagogue
- 2 January 1894 – Artur RODZIŃSKI, conductor, music director (d. 1958)
- 2 January 1907 – Henryk GADOMSKI, composer and conductor (d. 1941, Auschwitz)
- 3 January 1885 – Raoul KOCZALSKI (d. 1948), pianist and composer
- 13 January 1921 – Wanda WILK, founder of the Polish Music Center
- 17 January 1898 – Jerzy LEFELD, pianist and piano professor
- 22 January 1944 – Vincent SKOWRONSKI, violinist
- 23 January 1888 – Jerzy GABLENZ, composer (d. 1937)
- 25 January 1913 – Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI, composer (d. 1994)
- 25 January 1928 – Andrzej CWOJDZINSKI, composer and conductor
- 28 January 1717 – Just Franciszek KASPER, priest, composer, conductor (d. 1760)
- 26 January 1886 – Artur RUBINSTEIN, pianist (d. 1981)
- 31 January 1926 – Stanislaw PRÓSZYNSKI, composer
Died This Month
- 1 January 1953 – Ludomir RÓZYCKI (b. 1884), composer, pianist, member of the group Young Poland
- 9 January 1842 – Józef KROGULSKI (b. 1815), pianist, conductor, voice teacher
- 9 January 1981 – Kazimierz SEROCKI (b. 1922), composer, co-founder of the Warsaw Autumn Festival
- 11 January 1935 – Marcellina SEMBRICH-KOCHAŃSKA (b. 1858), singer – coloratura soprano
- 12 January 1934 – Pawel KOCHAŃSKI (b. 1878), virtuoso violinist, Szymanowski’s collaborator
- 17 January 1969 – Grażyna BACEWICZ (b. 1909), composer, violinist, pianist
- 19 January 1951 – Stanislaw GOLACHOWSKI (b. 1907), musicologist
- 21 January 1618 – Krzystof KRAINSKI [Crainscius], preacher, author of a song collection (b. 1556)
- 23 January 1946 – Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (b. 1877), composer, conductor, organist
- 23 January 1921- Władysław ŻELEŃSKI, composer (b. 1837)
- 26 January 1946 – Ignacy FRIEDMAN, composer and virtuoso pianist (b. 1882)