July 2010

Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 16, no. 7

PMC News

Donations To The PMC – June 2010

Donated by Wojciech Nentwig, Managing Director of Poznań Philharmonic

  • Wielkopolskie szlaki Fryderyka Chopina [Chopin’s Voyages in Wielkopolska], a DVD film about places in Western Poland that Chopin visited on several occasions;
  • Wolności dla nas idzie czas [Our Time of Freedom Is AtHand] a CD with music by Feliks Nowowiejski (including his famous Rota) and Jacek Sykulski, performed by Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra and soloists, conducted by Jacek Sykulski;
  • Szeligowski: Concerto for Orchestra, Piano Concerto, Four Polish Dances, Nocturne, Comedy Overture, a Naxos CD of music by this Tadeusz Szeligowski, performed by Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mariusz Smolij;
  • Samuel Ramey Live, a CD of music by Boito, Gounod, Rossini and Verdi, performed by Poznań Philharmonic conducted by Łukasz Borowicz.

Donated by Professor Paul Knoll, Ph.D. – USC Department of History:

  • Music of the Polish Renaissance [Muzyka Polskiego Odrodzenia]. CHOMINSKI, Jozef, LISSA, Zofia, Eds. PWM, 1953
  • Muzyka staropolska [Old Polish music]. FEICHT, Hieronim, ed.PWM, 1966
  • Muzyka w dawnym Krakowie [Music in Old Cracow]. SZWEYKOWSKI, Zygmunt Marian, Ed. PWM, 1964.
  • Tabulatura organowa Jana z Lublina [Organ tablature by Jan of Lublin]. WILKOWSKA-CHOMINSKA, Krystyna, Ed. PWM, 1964.
  • Bogurodzica. OSTROWSKA, Ewa, Ed. Ossolineum [Zaklad Narody Imienia Ossolinskich Wydawnictwo Polskiej Akademii Nauk], 1962. Biblioteka Pisarzow Polskich, Seria A Nr 1 / Liryka Sredniowieczna, Tom I.

Donated by Paweł Dudzik, Director of Toruń Symphony Orchestra

  • 30 Lat: Toruńska Orkiestra Symfoniczna—1979-2009, a photo album published on the occasion of 30th anniversary of Toruń Symphony Orchestra, and two catalogues of the 2008 and 2009 Festivals: Toruń—Muzyka i Architektura [Toruń—Music and Architecture].

Donated by Bartosz Michałowski

  • Anima aetheris, a CD of works by Bembinow, Bárdos, Bruckner, Lauridsen, Łukaszewski, Nees, and Raczyński, performed by Poznań Chamber Choir conducted by Bartosz Michałowski.

Donated by Wojciech Maciejewski, the composer’s brother (pictured together in 1986 below).

  • Roman Maciejewski: Missa pro defunctis (Requiem) – a 2 CD set published by MUZA-Polskie Nagrania. Performers include: Zdzisława Donat, soprano; Jadwiga Rappé, alto; Jerzy Knetig, tenor; Janusz Niziołek, bass; Warsaw Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and Choir, Tadeusz Strugała, conductor; Henryk Wojnarowski, choirmaster.

In a letter that accompanied his donation, Mr. Wojciech Maciejewski reported on the upcoming performances of his brother’s Requiem, including Kraków Philharmonic (November 13, 2010), Warsaw Philharmonic (December 10-11, 2010), and at Binghamton University in the State of New York (May 8, 2011).

Donated by Krzysztof Kmieć, author:

  • Ekslibris muzyczny w starym Krakowie [Musical Exlibrin in Old Kraków], by Krzysztof Kmieć
  • Ekslibrisy polskich olimpijczyków [Exlibris Designs for Polish Olympians], by Krzysztof Kmieć

Donated by Zbigniew Suszczyński, Krakowska Oficyna SAB [SAB Publishing House, Kraków]:

  • Od Mercenicha do Matrasa [From Mertzenich to Matras—390 Years of History of Bookshops at the Old Market Square in Kraków], a book by Renata Żurkowa.

Donated by Miss Barbara Fleck:

  • Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2, Fantaisie, Op. 49, a 1960 Angel LP  recording by Witold Małcużyński and London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Walter Susskind
  • J.S. Bach: The Well-Temepred Clavier, Book 1—Preludes and Fugues nos. 1-8, performed by Wanda Landowska on a 1950 RCA Victor LP
  • Works for Viola and Piano by Shostakovich, Reger, and Hindemith, performed on a 1977 BIS LP by Zahari Tchavdarov and Albena Zaharieva
  • Modern Russian Piano Music, Vol. II from Liadoff to Wrangell, a selection published by Oliver Ditson Co.

Donated by Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne SA [PWM]:

  • Roman Maciejewski: Missa Pro Defunctis (Requiem) – Orchestral Score. Volumes I. II, III, published by PWM
  • Roman Maciejewski—Missa Pro Defunctis (Requiem), an informational brochure on Maciejewski’s Requiem, including photographs and excerpts of press reviews from performances around the world. Published by PWM
  • Roman Maciejewski, a biographical brochure about the composer with a CD recording including excerpts of Roman Maciejewski’s RequiemPieśni kurpiowskie[Songs from the Kurpie Region] for Choir, Mazurkas for Piano, Allegro concertante for Piano and Orchestra, as well as excerpts from a Polish TV film by Stefan Szlachtycz, Outsider—Portrait of Roman Maciejewski. Published by PWM

Chopin & Paderewski Year

Chopin For Anglophones

A Review by Joseph A. Herter

[This article first appeared in Polish in the June 13 issue of Ruch Muzyczny (2010, No. 12)]

American musicologist, Halina Goldberg, a native Polish speaker who spent her youth, including the first year of her university studies in Poland, has penned an excellent book in English about the musical life of Warsaw during the time of Frederic Chopin. What makes this book unique is the opening chapter with its detailed but comprehensible historical and cultural background of Warsaw. The author, an Associate Professor of Music at Indiana University, presumes that her English readers know next to nothing about Polish history, and how correct she was to have done that! Being an American, this reviewer can remember his own world history class in high school during the 1960s and hearing Poland mentioned no more than three or four times during the entire academic year. The historical moments that come to mind were the formation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Jan Sobieski saving Christendom from Islam at the Battle of Vienna, and Poland at the beginning of World War II. Certainly, the partitions were never mentioned. Thus, the information found in this chapter is essential for the Anglophone to understand Chopin’s Warsaw in a historical perspective. Nonetheless, non-Polish readers will still have to survive swimming through a sea of surnames that end in ski and ska, cki and ckaand cz, hoping they can remember in the end who is who.

The rest of the book is divided into chapters that deal with every aspect of Warsaw’s musical life: The Production of Musical Instruments, Music Publishing, Music Education, Salons: Background and Intellectual Trends; Music in Salons; Musical Theater and Concert Life. Published in 2008, the book is the result of many years of scholarly research which first bore fruit in the author’s doctoral dissertation at the City University of New York in 1997 entitled, Musical Life in Warsaw during Chopin’s Youth, 1810-1830.

The book is full of eye-openers and fascinating little known facts. For example, Warsaw played an important role in the development of the pedal piano and a family of pseudo-organ instruments bearing such exotic names as the eolimelodian, medlodicordian, melodipantaleon, eolipantalion, aeolopantalon, choralion, orchestrion, and tritonion.  According to the author, these instruments found great popularity until the development of the reed organ (harmonium). Also of great interest is the author’s argument that Chopin’s Polish dance music was not influenced so much by folk music as it was by the urban ballroom music of Chopin’s time, or that as students Chopin and his sister sang in the choir of Warsaw’s Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Warsaw’s main Lutheran church. This can only make the reader think: What if Chopin would have been born during the late 19th century, would he have left us an album of polkas!  Having been a chorister (and organist) himself why did Chopin not write any works for the organ or chorus?

Goldberg’s superb publication would only become of greater value if it could also be printed in the native language of its Polish-Jewish author. The book is heavily illustrated with both pictures and musical examples, contains a ten-page bibliography listing both primary and secondary sources, and has two indexes: an index of names as well as a general index.

Halina Goldberg Music in Chopin’s Warsaw, Oxford University Press, Inc. 2008
ISBN 978-0-19-513073-7 

Halina Goldberg is Assistant Professor of Musicology in the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University – Bloomington, where she is also an affiliated faculty member of The Russian and East European Institute, and Adjunct Professor in the Sandra J. Borns Jewish Studies Program. [from oup.com]

Joseph A. Herter is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s School of Music in Ann Arbor. After travelling to Poland on a Kosciuszko Foundation grant in 1974, he relocated there and is very active as a teacher and writer as well as a choral and orchestral conductor. Mr. Herter is the founder and conductor of Cantores Minores, the Warsaw Archdiocesan Cathedral Boys’ and Men’s Choir. He is a regular contributor to Polish and American musicological publications and the author of PMHS Vol. 10Zygmunt Stojowski: Life and Music.

FNOK Chopin Project 2010

Supporting text provided by Richard Berkeley

Through its “Young Chopin in Warsaw” Program, the Foundation of the Nowa Orkiestra Kameralna (FNOK) strives to provide Polish students with not only musical education but also basic skills that will enable them to improve their social and economic conditions. “Young Chopin in Warsaw” is the title of the musical at the heart of FNOK’s project developed for the Chopin Year; however, according to FNOK Chairman Richard Berkeley, this musical is not merely “a one-off event, but a programme for the long term, a permanent development in the [Polish] national education syllabus. This programme will offer pro-active engagement in an otherwise subjective and passive system.”

The Program has a two-fold objective:

  1. Under the auspices of the Chopin Year, introduce the “Young Chopin in Warsaw” musical to its intended audience of primary and secondary students, in order to improve music education in primary and secondary schools throughout Poland.
  2. Develop a national program of career advice and work experience for 16 and 17 year olds.

“At first these may not seem like compatible objectives,” says Berkeley. “However, both have shared results: a more imaginative, decisive, informed, cohesive society. Musical theatre is the cheapest and most effective way of engaging children in performance. There is something for everyone. The benefits are multi-dimensional: from the development of self confidence, individuality rather than individualism and a sense of the shared, common good, to the development of the senses, sensitivity and imagination.”

The “Young Chopin in Warsaw” Program is focused on what Berkeley considers to be the most pressing problems facing the implementation of musical education in Polish schools: lack of teaching materials; lack of teacher training in music; and lack of funding. “Given that teachers will need help and encouragement to introduce the musical to their schools, regional groups of actors and musicians will be established. These will be small [regional] groups of four or five people…will go into schools and assist teachers to animate the children.” Starting in Warsaw, the Program will later be introduced in Gdańsk, Kraków, Poznań, and Wrocław.

In support of FNOK’s efforts, Poland’s national radio station Polskie Radio has proposed recording “Young Chopin in Warsaw” with professional actors and musicians in a public studio with a live audience. Supplemented by the text and other materials already available at www.fnok.pl/chopin_musical.php, such a recording would be an invaluable aid for teachers and students.

The “Young Chopin in Warsaw” musical is intended not only to develop music skills but also to give children the opportunity to work together, to share ideas, and to believe in themselves. Beyond the musical, developers of the “Young Chopin in Warsaw” Program have also proposed an on-going national internship program, by which those students who show initiative in the musical theater project would be offered work experience with sponsors and their clients. “At the age of 16 children are beginning to think about their careers, whether in higher education or in the job market,” says Berkeley. “It is essential that they are helped with these decisions by practical work experience…even if only for week.”

This year’s “Young Chopin in Warsaw” Program will run from September to December 2010, however this is just a starting point. Berkeley hopes that the development of repertoire and teachers’ skills that are inherent in the Program will lead to greater opportunities for young students throughout Poland and deeper curriculum reform within the schools. “Thus, in 5 years time, people looking back on the Chopin Year will see clear benefits for society in general.”

An Anglo-Pole living in Warsaw, Richard Berkeley was trained as a musician at London University and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His singing career has taken him to prestigious venues in Britain, Italy and Poland, and he has taught in leading music and drama academies, including the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Chopin Music Academy and the Akademia Teatralna in Warsaw. He has also worked for the Financial Times, Apollo Magazine, Time/Life, and Opera Now as a journalist and researcher. As Chairman of Fundacja Nowa Orkiestra Kameralna, he uses music as a means of developing civil society.

Richard Berkeley’s blog is available at berkeley.blog.pl. See also a Reuters article quoting his opinions on music education in Poland, as well as his videos discussing music education on www.foxtrotfilms.com and promoting Warsaw for the BBC on www.youtube.com.


Chopinspire. Współcześni kompozytorzy polscy o Chopinie[Chopinspire. Contemporary Polish Composers on Chopin] is a collection of texts inspired by Chopin and his continued effect on Polish contemporary composers. It was published by the by the Polish Composers’ Union and the 2009 Warsaw Autumn Festival, in association with the Chopin 2010 Celebrations Office.

The content of this book is based on the efforts of musicologist and critic Krzysztof Droba, who developed a questionnaire about Chopin for participating composers in 2009. From among the copious responses, Droba selected texts for the book from 23 different contemporary composers: Rafał Augustyn, Krzysztof Baculewski, Zbigniew Bargielski, Jerze Bauer, Roman Berger, Marcin Bortnowski, Zbigniew Bujarski, Maciej Jabłoński, Wojciech Kilar, Eugeniusz Knapik, Krzysztof Knittl, Jerze Kornowicz, Włodzimierz Kotoński, Zygmunt Krauze, Krzysztof Meyer, Zbigniew Penherski, Prasqual, Adam Sławiński, Wojciech Widłak, Tadeusz Wielecki, Anna Zawadzkiej-Gołosz, Lidia Zielińskiej and memories of Wojciech Maciejewski via his brother Roman.

According to Droba: “Polish contemporary composers approach Chopin in a variety of ways: some keep a cold distance, or are mildly indifferent, others have warmer, or even enthusiastic attitudes. Still, even the reluctant or indifferent ones do not negate the value and significance of Chopin’s work, while the majority admit that Chopin is genetically instilled in our contemporary music.” Read more about the creation of this book at chopin2010.pl.

For more information, email zkp@zkp.org.pl.

[Sources: warszawska-jesien.art.plchopin2010.pl]

Rutkowski In Paris & Moscow

During the month of June pianist Hubert Rutkowski appeared in several interesting concerts with Chopin-related programs. The first was presented on June 18 under the auspices of the L’Année Chopin 2010 celebrations in Paris and titled Les élèves de Chopin à Paris. Together with the Orchestre des jeunes du Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional (CRR) of Paris, led by Xavier Delette, Mr. Rutkowski gave the world premiere performance of Konzertstück for Piano and Orchestra by Carl Filtsch (1830-1845), a child prodigy and the most promising talent among Chopin’s students in Paris. Thomas Tellefsen (1823-1874) was another Chopin student whose Konzertstück for Piano and Orchestra was also performed on that concert. The evening opened with an overture by Ferdinand Herod and closed with Chopin’s Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 22, with Mr. Rutkowski again in the role of a soloist. The concert was held at the Marcel Landowski Auditorium of the Paris Conservatoire, and repeated on June 20 at the Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris.

By June 26 Mr. Rutkowski was already in Moscow, where he presented a solo recital “Chopin—A Poet of the Piano” at the Glinka Central State Museum of Musical Culture. In addition to works by Chopin, several compositions by Teodor Leschetizky were also featured on the program. Mr. Rutkowski appearance in Moscow was under the auspices of the Polish Cultural Institute.


[Source: glinka.museum]

Hommage At Masterclass For Pianists

The seventh edition of the International Masterclass for Pianists, organized by the “Dworek Białoprądnicki” Cultural Center in Kraków, will take place from July 25 to August 8. This year’s theme is “Homage to Fryderyk Chopin.” 2010 marks the sixth time that this Masterclass has been held every two years since 1998.

Over the course of the 2-week workshop, the 15 participants will have daily individual lessons with Professor Wieslaw Piękosiem, the author and originator of the project, as well as lectures and concerts by other scholars and performers. The inaugural lecture, entitled “Fryderyk Chopin and Teodor Leszetycki,” will be given by musicologist Piotr Kędzierski.

[Source: polmic.pl]

I Palpiti Festival Honors Chopin

13th Annual iPalpiti Festival of International Laureates will take place from July 12-25 in venues throughout Beverly Hills and the greater Los Angeles area. This year’s Festival is dedicated to the celebration of the Chopin and Schumann anniversaries that are happening in 2010. Below are a few of the highlights of the concert schedule:

Sunday, July 18 – Two Events

Tickets: $175, $250

Meet the Artists Gala
The home of Helena and Stanley Kröl-Kolodziey

Beverly Hills, CA 90210
$175: Buffet dinner and iPalpiti Soloists performance ONLY
$250: Buffet dinner/performance/VIP ticket to Walt Disney Concert Hall concert


iPalpiti Soloists at Sundays Live!
LACMA, Bing Theater Broadcast 88.5 KCSN-FM
5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (323) 857-6234

Homage to Chopin: 
Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante Op. 22
4 Etudes  (the Harp, the Revolutionary)
Cello Sonata in G Minor Op. 65

 Francisco Vila, cellist (Ecuador) and Luiza Borac, pianist (Romania)



Tickets: $20 – $90
(50% of ticket is tax-deductible)

Post-concert Benefit Dinner at the Blue Ribbon Garden at Disney Hall $350 per person

Walt Disney Concert Hall/iPalpiti Orchestra/Eduard Schmieder, conductor 
111 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 972-7211

A. Mozart – Adagio and Fuge, KV 546
Frédéric Chopin – Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11
Luiza Borac, 
Ronald  Royer – In Memoriam Frédéric Chopin For Clarinet, Cello & String Orchestra
Tibi Cziger, Clarinet & Yves Dharamraj, Cello
(based on the Nocturne in E Minor, Op. 72, No. 1)
Robert Schumann – Cello  Concerto
Julius Berger
, soloist
Benjamin Britten – Simple Symphony

Please see www.ipalpiti.org for details on all Festival events.

Featuring selected prize-winning young professional musicians from around the globe in the iPalpitiOrchestral Ensemble under the direction of music director & conductor Eduard Schmieder, the Festival encourages artists to find their “own voice,” performing as iPalpiti Soloists in solo and chamber ensemble concerts. Among the programs of iPalpiti Artists International, its annual Festival of International Laureates is emerging as one of the nation’s most significant music festivals and the subject of international accolades. The prestigious journal Strad devoted extensive enthusiastic coverage to it, and the Los Angeles Timesacclaimed the Festival’s “take-your-breath-away demonstrations of musicianship and technique.”


Gardens of Chopin (Warsaw)

1-31 July 2010

The Musical Gardens—Gardens of Chopin is a series of concerts held in the courtyard of the Royal Castle in Warsaw during the month of July. In addition to live concerts and recitals featuring a wide variety of artists and programs, films and archival television broadcasts (featuring virtuosos as Artur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz, and Krystian Zimerman) will be shown to the public. A premiere of the film, L’art de Chopin, will also be presented during the festival.

Chopin on the Banks of Netta (Augustów & Białystok)

3-25 July 2010

The Musica Sacra Society in Białystok and concert agency Pro Art are the organizers of this Festival; POLMIC being a media patron. Concerts will be held in many picturesque locations, including the famous Branicki Palace and in the Great Court of the City Hall in Białystok, open air amphitheatres in Augustów, and various music schools. Solo works, poetry, and vocal repertoire will be presented in such concerts as “In Frederic’s Salon,” “Summer in Nohant,” “Another Side of Frederic,” etc.

Chopin in Radziejowice

10-16 July 2010

The Radziejowice Palace will host a number of Chopin-themed concerts in the 12th annual Jerzy Waldorff Summer Music Festival. This year’s program includes recitals and concerts, jazz performances, theatre shows and special events for children. Young musicians form the Sinfonia Juventus will be featured alongside the finalists of the 16th International Chopin Competition.

Chopiniana (Warsaw)

23-25 July 2010

This festival features Chopin’s music presented in innovative ways and interesting venues associated with Chopin’s life. 2010 highlights include:Włodzimierz Nachorny Sextet, Krzysztof Herdzina Jazz Band, Pest County Symphonic Orchestra (Hungary), the annual Marathon, and 4 pianists from Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.

Chopin Encounters in Antonin

Sundays in July

The 27th edition of the Chopin Encounters Festival [Konfrontacji Chopinowskich] will commemorate several visits made by young Chopin to see Prince Antoni Radziwiłł and his family. Throughout the month of July, the hunting lodge of Prince Antoni Radziwiłł near Poznań will be the site of concerts on Sundays. The Prince was an amateur cellist and composer, and his daughters, Wanda and Eliza benefitted from taking a few piano lessons with Chopin in the late 1820s. Eliza Radziwiłł’s pencil sketch of the composer is one of the few charming and extant mementos of this happy episode in Chopin’s life. The hospitable hosts and the charm of the place inspired Chopin to add a few chamber music pieces to his catalogue of compositions, the Op. 3 Polonaise brillante for Cello and Piano and the Trio in G minor, Op. 8, the latter of which was dedicated to Prince Radziwiłł.

This year’s Chopin Encounters in Antonin will feature chamber music by Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Shostakovich. Pianists Zofia Mikołajczyk, Dorota Szczepaniak, Andrzej Bączyk and Grzegorz Skrobiński will be joined by violinists Grażyna Busse and Marta Kowalczyk, and the French horn player, Marta Murawska-Bednarska. See a full concert schedule here: www.chopin-antonin.pl.

A seminar for high school students, “Chopin Junior pl,” and a summer concert series, “Chopin & Paderewski,” will be held at the Antonin lodge during the month of August. An international festival, “Chopin in Autumn Colors” is planned for the month of September alongside a poster design competition, “Chopin—Antonin.”


[Sources: Wirtualna polskapolmic.pl]

Auguscik & Chopin

On July 25 at 6:30 p.m., the U.S. premiere of the Chopin 200–Grazyna Auguscik’s World Sound series of concerts will take place in Chicago, IL. For this event, Polish-born Chicago-based jazz vocalist Grazyna Auguscik will be joined by many excellent musicians for a “Chopin Jazz Impressions” concert in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion Chicago’s Millennium Park. There is no admission fee for this concert.

Other musicians performing at the concert include: Matt Ulery, bass; the Andrzej Jagodzinski TrioJarek Bester, accordion; Paulinho Garcia, guitar and vocals; The Chicago International Trombone Ensemble; Howard Levy, harmonica and piano; Ian Maksin, cello; and Issa Boulos, ooud.

For more information, visit www.millenniumpark.org.

[Source: chopin-paderewski.orggmasounds.com]

Test Your Chopin Knowledge

In October as part of the 2010 Chopin Year, Katowice will host a series of written and oral quizzes that will comprise the International Competition on the Life and Work of Chopin.

Citizens of any country over 16 years old are eligible to compete, as long as they are NOT musicologists, Chopin scholars or authors of books and studies on Chopin.

According to the external service of Polskie Radio:

The questions will be prepared in nine languages by the National Fryderyk Chopin Institute. In the first two stages of the competition on 16 October, the participants will take a written test. The final stage, a day later, will be a oral quiz broadcast live by Polish public television TVP. The subject matter covers Chopin’s biography and compositional legacy, Chopin festivals and competitions, works of literature and films inspired by Chopin and his music, as well as the historical and cultural context of Chopin’s oeuvre.

Applications are by September 10, 2010 at chopin-katowice.pl.

[Source: thenews.pl]

Festival Of Szymanowski’s Music

The 32nd edition of “Days of Karol Szymanowski’s Music” in Zakopane will take place between July 18 and 26, 2010. The Festival is organized by the Karol Szymanowski Societyfrom Zakopane. In addition to music of Karol Szymanowski, this year the Festival will feature compositions by Chopin, Karłowicz, Czarnecki, Moniuszko, Mozart, Elsner, Michałowski, and Paderewski, in addition to the Festival’s namesake. Performers include: Polish pianists Joanna Domańska, Zbigniew Raubo, Joanna Galon-Frant, Michał Jacek Kozłowski, Mateusz Kołakowski, Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń and Marcin Sikorski; foreign pianists Zuzana Paulechova (Slovakia), Otto Niederdorfer (Austria), Craig White (UK) and Adam Wodnicki (USA); Kwartet Prima Vista and Kwartet Camerata; and soprano Jolanta Kowalska.

For a detailed schedule, please visit: www.szymanowski.zakopane.pl.

Jazz In The Old Town

From July 3 – August 28, 2010 in Warsaw’s Old Town Square, the 16th edition of the festival will feature a star-studded program of jazz performances from international greats, including Włodek Pawlik, Alfredo Rodriguez and American saxophonist Grace Kelly

The International Open Air Festival – Jazz at the Old Town Square is one of the largest and most popular jazz festivals in Poland and Europe. After more than 15 years on the jazz music scene, about 40,000 jazz fans gather each summer to see major local and international jazz greats all summer long for free. Of the nine concerts planned for this year’s edition, many are inspired by the music of Chopin in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

[Source: culture.pl]

Zakopane Resonates With Music

Classical, folk, and jazz music will echo throughout Zakopane this summer seasons. Open air concerts under Giewont Peak as well as concerts in local churches will feature a wide variety of repertoire and performers. Organ music will be presented each summer weekend in the Church of the Holy Family, Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, the Sacred Cross Church, and the Educational Centre, “Księżówka.”

The folk ensemble Mazowsze will open the folk-themed performance series on July 4 under Giewont Peak. Highlander folk music and dance groups from various regions of Southern Poland and from abroad will perform under specially erected tents on the Równia Krupowa, and compete for the Golden Staff Award.

Each Sunday from mid-July to mid-September on stage under the Krokwia Ski Jump Stadium, local Jazz fans will hear such artists as Janusz Muniak, Marek Napiórkowski, Leszek Możdżer, Tymon Tymański, Andrzej Jagodziński, Marcin Wasilewski, Adam Pierończyk, Henryk Miśkiewicz, with vocalists Anna Maria Jopek, Dorota Miśkiewicz and Grażyna Łobaszewska.

Open air film screenings and avant-garde theatre performances are also planned for the summer.


[Source: Wirtualna polska; photo: commons.wikimedia.org]

Organ Concerts In Kraków

During the months of July and August, the city of Kraków will host the 20th Annual Summer Organ Concerts International Festival. Mirosława Semeniuk-Podraza, professor of the Music Academy in Kraków serves as the artistic director of the Festival. This year’s theme is dedicated to celebrity organists from the past 20 years, artists who either by their choice of repertoire or interpretations made their mark on the public.

The concerts are held every Thursday in the most beautiful churches of Poland’s ancient capital, including the St. Mary’s Basilica, the Holy Cross Church, the Paulist Basilica on the Rock, and the Carmelite Basilica “In the Sands.” Artists such as Per Ahlman, Roman Perucki, Tobias Horn, Cristina Banegas, Keiko Inoue, Anne Schneider, and Emanuelle Cardi, are scheduled to perform.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Warsaw Summer Jazz Days

This year marks the 19th edition of the Warsaw Summer Jazz Days. From July 1-4, there will be a concert every night in venues around the city. The international roster of star artists performing includes the Pat Metheny Group, Pink Freud, the Portico Quartet, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Codebook and many others. Most of the festival performances take place at the Warsaw Congress Hall.

The Warsaw Summer Jazz Days features an Austrian Day and a Slovak Day, as well as a performance of Jazz Suite Tykocin with Włodek Pawlik, Randy Brecker and the Symphony Orchestra of the Opera and Philharmonic in Białystok.

For a complete calendar of concerts and a list of artists, please visit adamiakjazz.pl.

Jazz In Kraków

15th Annual Summer Jazz Festival at the Piwnica pod Baranami [Cellar under the Rams], which will last for forty six days this year, from July 4th to August 18th. The Festival will host such worldwide jazz stars as Bobby McFerrin, Markus Stockhausen, Paulo Fresu and the NDR Big Band.

The annual Jazz Night will be dedicated to Fryderyk Chopin and will start with the Jazz Festival Award ceremony, where Janusz “Ptaszyn” Wróblewski—a Polish composer, legendary tenor saxophonist and one of the main founder of the Polish jazz—will be awarded with the Jazz Lamb Statuette.

The diversity enbodied in the 100 concerts of the festival makes it a great time for jazz lovers to catch some favorite music while immersed in the magical atmosphere of Kraków and legendary club “Piwnica pod Baranami.”

The Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica Pod Baranami was organized for the first time in 1996 during the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Piwnica pod Baranami. During the last seven years, the top Polish musicians have performed at the Festival, including: Adam Makowicz, Tomasz Stańko, Urszula Dudziak, Michał Urbaniak, Zbigniew Namysłowski, Jarek Śmietana, Wojciech Karolak, Jan “Ptaszyn” Wróblewski, Leszek Możdżer, Piotr Wojtasik, and more. Many foreign stars have also performed, including: Lee Konitz, Brandford Marsalis, Eddie Henderson, Greg Osby, Hamiett Bluiet, Nigel Kennedy, Larry Coryell, The Rosenberg Trio, Rashied Ali, Ricky Ford, John Abercrombie, Hiram Bullock, Leni Stern, Rachel Z, Vadim Brodski, Pierre Blanchard, Larry Koonse, amongst others.

For a complete calendar of concerts and lineup of artists, please visit www.cracjazz.com.

[Source: cracjazz.com]

Polish Song Festival

The Romuald Traugutt Philharmonic of Warsaw is organizing the 10th edition of the Summer Festival of Songs by Polish Composers [Letni Festiwal Pieśni Kompozytorów Polskich] from July 3-25. The concerts take place at Łazienki Królewskie park, the Warsaw Music Society, and Wilanów Palace. Adminssion to all concerts is free.

Each of the concerts is dedicated to a different composer— including Chopin, Karłowicz, Moniuszko, Elsner, and Paderewski—and performed by leading Polish artists.

For the complete program of the festival, please visit www.fit.waw.pl.


Łukaszewski Premiere In Bremgarten

The World Premiere of Paweł Łukaszewski’s Missa de Maria a Magdala (Missa bremgartensis) was heard in performances on June 26 and 27 in Bremgarten, Switzerland. The piece is written for soloists, choir, organ and orchestra, with text adaptation by Sylwester Kwiatkowski. Commissioned by the Kulturinsel Bremgarten, Missa de Maria a Magdala was performed by Maya Boog, soprano, Davide Damiani, baritone, the Caecilia Bremgarter Church Choir, the Suono Spirito vocal ensemble and the Concertro Spirito Orchestra, led by Marco Castellinin.

More information and reviews of the composition are available at the website of the Kulturinsel Bremgarten, kultur-insel.ch, and on the composer’s website, lukaszewski.org.uk.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Dębski Premiere In Szczecinek

The small city of Szczecinek in the Pomerania region of Poland will celebrate the 700th Anniversary this summer. Located half way between the much larger cities of Szczecin and Gdańsk, Szczecinek has a proud history, shared by Poles and Germans who have administered this area of Pomerania over the past seven centuries. A great number of concerts, theatre performances, film screenings and special events are planned for the anniversary celebrations.

Composer Krzesimir Dębski was commissioned to commemorate the occasion with a special composition. His choice was to write Rhythmi urbani, an oratorio for soloists, choir and orchestra, based on a poem that was translated into Latin—a text used jointly by Polish and German officials in the past. The oratorio attempts to illustrate the history of Szczecinek by employing a variety of musical languages and styles, from the early polyphony of the Renaissance to modern program music.

“I knew it was city with fascinating history,” Mr. Dębski related in a press conferences. “Richard Strauss, a composer I regard highly, used to vacation here. This fact encouraged me to seek a text that would convey the long history of Szczecinek. When I found it, I had it translated into Latin, a language that was common to the German and Polish communities. I knew it would be a joint project for our two nations and I thought we should be ready to celebrate this jubilee together.”

The world premiere of Rhythmi urbani was held on Tuesday, June 22, at 9 p.m. in front of the Szczecinek City Hall. The performers included a Polish-German Symphony Orchestra conducted by Krzesimir Dębski. Soprano Magdalena Molendowska and tenor Daniel Oleksy were featured together with the Szczecinek Choir. The remaining part of the concert featured conductors Johannes Groh and Tomasz Giłka and included a performance of the first movement of Chopin’s Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 21, with pianist Artur Haftman, as well as the first movement of Antonin Dvořak’s Eighth Symphony.


[Source: temat.net]

Andrzej Sułek Resigns

Andrzej Sułek resigned from his duties as the Managing and Artistic Director of the Łódź Philharmonic on Friday, July 2, after the final concert of the season. “I’m not saying good-bye” he said to the audience after the performance. Since he was appointed Director of the National Chopin Institute last November, Sułek has been largely absent from the city of Łódź. “I’m not ready to end my adventure in Łódź—I would like to find a formula by which I could still have a degree of artistic and program control over the Philharmonic. I’m talking with the Marshall of Łódź Voivodship to find an acceptable solution. The two years I spent here were the most important years of my life. I wish everyone to have such an experience and feel happy to have been able to achieve something important in the musical life of the city.”

Mr. Sułek’s tenure in Łódź was received favorably by the public, especially his skill in promoting Philharmonic concerts in a variety of venues around town. It is thought likely that he will be replaced by his deputy, Lech Dzierżanowski.


[Source: Gazeta Wyborcza – Łódź Edition]

Cantores Minores Returns To America

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Warsaw Archdiocesan Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, better known as Cantores Minores, returns to the United States of America for the fifth time under the direction of founder and current conductor, Joseph A. Herter. Previous choir tours have taken place in 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2001. This year’s tour, however, is unique in that it will be their first American concert tour taking the choir from coast to coast. The month-long tour begins on the West Coast in Lake Arrowhead, California on July 23 and ends on the East Coast in New York City with an afternoon performance at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on August 23.

The boys and men of Cantores Minores have a wide repertoire of mostly sacred music. Their selections for singing the Ordinary of the Mass include the following: Kyrie from Gregorian Mass IV Cunctipotens Genitor Deus; Gloria from Messe brève (en ut majeur) no 7 by Charles Gounod (1818-1893); Credo from Missa ‘Adeste fideles’ by Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966); Sanctus from Messe à trois voix by César Franck (1822-1890); and Agnus Dei from Missa di Gloria (1880) by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

Their Polish repertoire includes the entire gamut of musical styles and periods, starting with the Medieval hymn Bogurodzica, and extending onward through the Baroque with Grzegorz G. Gorczycki (ca.1665-1734), the Romantic period with Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) and his pupil Karol Mikuli (1819-1897) as well as Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872), the Post-Romantic period with Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) and his student Zygmunt Stojowski (187-1946), and ending with the Contemporary minimalist Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (b. 1933).

A special attraction of the concert program is Stojowski’s Romanze, op 20 for Violin and Piano, performed by Michał Osmycki, violin, and Michael Oczko, piano. Joining forces with the choir in Detroit is tenor David Troiano who will sing Stojowski’s Euphonies as part of the concert given in Bolton Landing, New York. The song cycle performance, which was dedicated to the famous coloratura soprano Marcella Sembrich (1858-1935), takes place in a concert sponsored by the Marcella Sembrich Memorial Association, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the great diva’s death.

The choir’s performances are free of charge and a complete listing of the concert venues are given below:

Saturday, July 24
Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church
6:00 p.m. Mass

Sunday, July 25
Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church
2:00 p.m. Concert

Monday, July 26
St. Luke’s-in-the-Mountains Episcopal Church
7:30 p.m. Concert

Wednesday, July 28
Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer
7:00 p.m. Concert

Sunday, August 1
Santa Fe United Church
11:00 a.m. Service

Tuesday, August 3
Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral
7:00 p.m. Concert

Wednesday, August 4
St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church
7:00 p.m. Concert

Friday, August 6
Central Methodist Church
7:30 p.m. Concert

Saturday, August 7
St. Anselm Benedictine Abbey Church
7:30 p.m. Concert

Sunday, August 8
St. Anselm Benedictine Abbey Church
9:00 a.m. Mass

Tuesday, August 10
St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic Church
7:30 p.m. Concert

Wednesday, August 11
Northfield Community Church
7:00 p. Concert

Saturday, August 14
St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
6:30 p.m. Concert

Sunday, August 15
Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church
12:00 p.m. Latin Mass (Novus ordo)

Sunday, August 15
St. Florian Catholic Church
6:30 Polish Mass and Concert

Monday, August 16
St. Peter’s Catholic Cathedral
7:30 p.m. Concert

Tuesday, August 17
Our Lady of Victory Catholic Basilica
7:00 p.m. Concert

Friday, August 20
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church
7:30 p.m. Concert

Sunday, August 22
Middle Collegiate Church (East Village)
11:00 a.m. Musical Prelude
before the 11:30 Service

Sunday, August 22
St. Stanislaus Catholic Church (East Village)
12:00 p.m. Polish Mass and Concert

Sunday, August 22
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
7:00 p.m. Mass

Monday, August 23
St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral
1:30 p.m. Concert

Since its founding almost 20 years ago, Cantores Minores has concertized in 20 countries, including Canada, Mexico and the USA, and has taken part in 32 festivals in Poland and abroad. It has performed with such prestigious ensembles as Berliner Symphoniker and the London Mozarteum and has won top prizes in choral competitions in Moscow (2000), Lecco, Italy (1997), Prague (2002, ’03, ’04) and Miedzydroje (2004). of Cantores Minores was one of the two choirs invited to give a concert for the Vatican’s Sala Nervi, a live-broadcast by Eurovision, to celebrate the new millennium on January 2, 2000. In 2008, of Cantores Minores was invited, along with eight other choirs, to perform an all-Berlioz program with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Strasbourg, France for the European Parliament. That concert was broadcast live and retransmitted to 39 countries by French cable station “Mezzo.” Recently, the choir sang at the wake of the President of the Polish Republic and other victims of the tragic air crash in Smolensk, Russia.

Founder and Artistic Director, Joseph Herter, is a native of Detroit and graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music in Ann Arbor. He continued his studies under three legendary music personalities: Robert Shaw (choral conducting), Seiji Ozawa and Kurt Masur (orchestral conducting). Having travelled to Poland on a Kosciuszko Foundation grant in 1974, Mr. Herter relocated there permanently, serving as a teacher, writer, and choral and orchestral conductor, as well as most recently, the Kosciuszko Foundation representative for Warsaw. In May 2003, he was honored by the Polish Ministry of Culture with the “Distinguished Cultural Activist” award.

[Photo credit: Tomasz Zakrzewski]

Remembering Szpilman

On July 6, 2000, Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Władyslaw Szpilman died at the age of 88. Szpilman’s war-time autobiography, The Pianist, was made into the Academy Award-winning film of the same title by Roman Polański. Originally published shortly after WWII under the title Death of a City and subsequently banned by the Stalinist authorities, it was re-published by Szpilman’s son, Andrzej, in 1998, in German and English, and has since been translated into 38 languages (father and son are pictured at right).

Szpilman’s tale of survival during the Holocaust is all the more inspiring in light of the long and productive musical life that followed the War. Learn more about Szpilman’s life in an interview with Andrzej Szpilman on Polish Radio, the national radio station where Władyslaw Szpilman worked as a pianist for 4 years before the War.

[Sources: thenews.pl, photo: thenews.pl]

New Music For New Players

New Music For New Players – Contemporary Works For Beginners” is a new, international project prepared by the Polish Music Information Centre and the Polish Composers’ Union.
The objective of the project is to promote contemporary music repertoire intended for children and teenagers among musicians, music teachers, schools and other institutions of music education. This objective will be accomplished by providing a comprehensive overview of modern repertoire accessible to young music learners.

To this end, project developers are very interested in cooperation with music publishing houses, for whom “New Music For New Players” could be a good opportunity to promote valuable works from their catalogues. As the project’s main objective is to create a guide to modern music composition which might be performed by not too advanced musicians, music publishing houses are requested to select from their catalogues works for solo instruments and for small ensembles (not more than six performers) on beginner and intermediate levels (not only “music for children” and didactic works!), written after 1950 and employing a modern musical language, that is: with important stylistic and technical traits that demonstrate unequivocally that they were composed after this date. Although the project’s main interest are compositions that have already gained recognition, new works and unpublished compositions might also be selected and presented at the project events.

Proposals both from publishing houses and from composers should be forwarded to the Polish Music Information Centre before 31st July 2010. The selected compositions will be:

  • presented at a publishers’ exhibition and a seminar at the ArtMusFair 2010 and Warsaw Autumn Festival in Warsaw in September 2010
  • performed both by professional musicians and non-professionals at the New Music For New Players” Project Festival in Warsaw (October/November 2011)
  • taught at workshops for children, young people and amateur musicians which will be led by experienced musicians and music teachers before and after the Festival
  • included in a multimedia anthology designed as a guide to modern, not-too-difficult compositions for various instruments and small ensembles. The anthology will include: scores and excerpts from scores, commentaries by musicologists and music education experts (with special attention to performance and interpretation problems), films and recordings of the works’ performances. The anthology will be distributed in the countries taking part in the project as part of the promotion.

The project organisers’ intention is to continue the project in the coming years. The continuation could take the form of an annual festival addressed both to music lovers and to teachers and music education institutions dedicated to modern “playable” compositions. Visit www.artmusfair.pl for more information.

[Source: artmusfair.pl]

Poland’s Nat’l Broadcasting Council Dissolved

Bronisław Komorowski, Acting President of Poland, rejected the annual report of the National Broadcasting Council [Krajowa Rada Radiofonii i Telewizji] and dissolved the Council. Current members of the Council will stay in their post until after the new election.

Reforming the media in Poland is one of the items on the agenda of the July 4 Presidential Election. Two previous attempts at reforming and reducing the Polish government’s role in running Polish Television [TVP] and Polish Radio [Polskie Radio] have been unsuccessful. The proposed reform would abolish the appointed Council and replace it with a competitively chosen Boards of Directors that would also be reduced in size.


Play Polish Music When People Are Listening

Although Polish law requires that 33% of all songs played on all radio stations in Poland must be Polish, these required songs are often relegated to the evening hours when there are fewer listeners. In its report “More Polish music on air?” from May 17, the external service of Polskie Radio reported that “[r]esearch by Nielsen Music Control on the music market in Poland showed that some radio stations play even 80 percent of the required Polish songs at night.” The primetime hours during the day tend to be filled instead with foreign songs, which commercial radio programmers consider more likely to attract audiences.

To combat this trend, Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage [MKiDN] has proposed a bill that would obligate radio stations to play 75% of the required Polish music during primetime hours (between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.). The movement seems to have support from different sectors – again from the Polskie Radio report: “We want to magnify the importance of Polish music,” says Iwona Radziszewska from the Culture Ministry. “We support the bill. It’s worth following the French example and protect Polish market against the influx of English and American music,” says Marek Staszewski from the Association of Audio-Video Producers.

[Source: thenews.pl]

10th Anniversary Of Mickiewicz Inst

On the 10th anniversary of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the official Polish organization for cultural diplomacy, Director Pawel Potoroczyn reflects upon Poland’s position as a creative hub of Europe. He discusses how Poland has become the 5th major player in the realm of the international exchange of culture. Listen to the interview with Michał Kubicki on Polish Radio.

Online Musuem Of Lost Culture

The new Online Museum of Lost Cultural Heritage [Muzeum Utracone] was launched during a special multimedia presentation in the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Saturday, May 15—Poland’s “Museum Night.” The museum is “located” in a virtual version of a Polish mansion that was destroyed during World War II, where digitized versions of precious works of Polish art and artifacts of Polish history are presented in exhibits. The goal of the museum is to spread knowledge of these lost items, the awareness of which is both of international cultural value and perhaps will lead to information about the current whereabouts of the items. The Online Museum of Lost Cultural Heritage was created under the auspices of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage [MKiDN] and is the first of its kind in Europe

In her broadcast for the external service of Polskie Radio, Danuta Isler reports the following:

The idea behind the creation of the Online Museum of Lost Cultural Heritage was to collect in one place the material property of Poland’s culture that disappeared over the centuries and present it in a modern way. “We lost over seventy-five percent of our architectural treasures, works of art and library collections during WW2 alone. We would like to remind everyone about this heritage” says Paweł Tyszkiewicz, director of SAR – the Association for Marketing Communication, and the driving force behind the project.

[Source: thenews.pl]

Polish Pianists In France

Over the past 29 years, the La Roque d’Anthéron International Piano Festival has established itself as an exceptional event on the world’s musical landscape. Although the Festival sites have changed over the years, the Parc du Château de Florans in La Roque d’Anthéron (a small town 50 kilometres north of Aix-en-Provence) remains the main site for these remarkable encounters. This is where for all types of music come together: from classical to contemporary, jazz to electronic, young talents as well as renowned greats.

Over 50 pianists will perform during the Festival, among them artists from Poland, such as Julia Kociuban and Marcin Koziak (pictured above)playing the music of Frédéric Chopin. Sinfonia Varsovia, which over the years has become a regular participant of the event, will be conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk and George Tchitchinadze.

The piano recital of Marcin Koziak and a concert by Sinfonia Varsovia will be broadcast on the French television channel “arte.”

For a detailed programme of the event, see: www.festival-piano.com

[Source: culture.pl; press release]


MKiDN Annual Award

This year’s Annual Award of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage [Doroczna Nagroda Ministra] was presented by Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski on June 14, 2010, in Warsaw’s Potocki Palace. This award has been given annually since 1997 to artists, designers and animators, in recognition of extensive cultural activities or for outstanding achievement in their field over the course of the year. The 2010 recipients are:

  • pianist Piotr Anderszewski
  • sculptor and performance artist Paweł Althamer
  • novelist Andrzej Bart
  • actress Agata Buzek
  • theater director Grzegorz Jarzyna
  • film director Bartek Konopka
  • soprano Aleksandra Kurzak
  • film director Borys Lankosz
  • art history professor Maria Poprzęcka
  • opera director Krzysztof Warlikowski
  • actor Robert Więckiewicz

In addition, special lifetime achievement awards were given to writer and film director Tadeusz Konwicki (pictured above with the Minister) and jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stańko, and the 2010 honorary award went to the National Centre of Culture. Also, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Diplomas were awarded to: novelist and screenwriter Janusz Anderman; cinematographer Kamila Drecka; and newscaster Katarzyna Kolenda-Zaleska.

[Sources: biweekly.plmkidn.gov.pl (text & photos)]

Polish Composers’ Union Annual Awards

zwiazek kompozytorow polskich ZKPThe Polish Composers’ Union [ZKP] announced this year’s prizewinners on June 30. The Jury—Lidia Zielińska (President), Zbigniew Bagiński, Katarzyna Dadak-Kozicka, and Iwona Lindstedt—awarded prizes to the following composers:

  • Magdalena Długosz – for her outstanding body of works and for her development in the area of electroacustical music
  • Barbara Przybyszewska-Jamińska – for her considerable research that changed the viewpoints on music from Central Europe
  • Jan Fotek – a lifetime achievement award in the field of composition

In addition, ZKP has also announced the winners of its Honorary Award:

  • Raul Patterson (renowned British composer and professor at the Royal Academy of Music) – for popularizing Polish contemporary music and promoting Polish artists
  • Ruta Stanevičiūié (musicologist, Section President of the Musicology Lithuanian Composers’ Union, and professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in Vilnius) – for action to overcome barriers to the reception of Polish music and Polish musicological thinking in Lithuania

The official award ceremony will take place in September of 2010 during the 53rd Warszawska Jesień [Warsaw Autumn] Festival.

[Source: polmic.plzkp.org.pl]

Baird Competition Results

The Tadeusz Baird Competition for Young Composers has been organized annually by the Polish Composers’ Union [ZKP] since 1958. The aim of the Competition is to help young Polish composers launch their careers and to encourage their independent activity. The instrumental subject of the composition is different every year.

The final concert of the 51st Tadeusz Baird Competition for Young Composers took place on June 30, 2010 at 6 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the Frederic Chopin Music University. This year’s Competition Jury—comprised of Szabolcs Esztényi – President, Edward Sielicki – Secretary, Leszek Lorent, and Jarosław Siwiński—had selected the following compositions, entered anonymously, for the final round of the competition: Moje strachy[My Fears] for two pianosand two percussion (Entry nameSMYCZEK); ArytmiA for piano and two percussion (Entry nameBATER); Trans-Ist-One for two percussion and two pianos (Entry name EC28G5VR1); Apneafor two percussion and two pianos (Entry name R.E.M.); Da soli per tutti for two percussion and two pianos (Entry name LUTNIK); and Zutibure muzyka słowiańskiego lasu [Zutibure of the Musicians from the Slavic Forest] for two percussion (Entry name BLECHUM). These finalists were performed by members of Kwadrofonik: Emilia Sitarz and Bartłomiej Wąsik – piano, and Magdalena Kordylasińska and Miłosz Pękala – percussion (pictured at left).

After the concert, the following prizewinners were announced:

  • 1st Prize: Ignace Zalewski for Zutibure muzyka słowiańskiego lasu
    (The first prize of $1,250 USD is provided by Alina Sawicka-Baird, wife of the late composer)
  • 2nd Prize ex-aequoWojciech Błażejczyk for Apnea and Michałowi Jakubowi Paparze for Moje starchy
    (The second prize of $500 USD is provided by the Polish Composers’ Union)
  • Honorable Mention: Rafał Janiak for Da soli per tutti

The official award ceremony will take place during the 2010 Warsaw Autumn Festival.

[Source: zkp.org.plpolmic.pl]

“Nowa Tradycja” Festival Awards

The 13th Polish Radio Folk Festival “Nowa Tradycja” [New Tradition] took place between April 21-25 in Polish Radio’s Lutosławski Studio in Warsaw. The last three days of the Festival were dominated by the Festival Competition. Jury members Marcin Pospieszalski (President), Małgorzata Małaszko-Stasiewicz, Maria Baliszewska, Tomasz Janas, Krzysztof Trebunia-Tutka awarded prizes to the following folk groups:

  • Grand Prix: Wołosi i Lasoniowie
    (This prize of 15,000 PLN is funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage)
  • 2nd Prize:  Otako and Chłopcy kontra Basia (ex-aequo)
    (This prize of 3,000 PLN is funded by Polish Radio Program 2)
  • 3rd Prize: Słowianoczki and Kapela Wnuki (ex-aequo)
    (This prize of 1,500 PLN is funded by Polish Radio Program 2)

Also awarded:

  • Golden Gęśle Award: Krzysztof Lasoń
    (see also gesle.folk.pl)
  • Special DistinctionPchełki
    (up to 1,000 PLN)
  • Special Distinction for Studio Recordings: Nisza
  • Czesław Niemen Prize: Wołosi i Lasoniowie
  • People’s Choice ‘Storm of applause’ Award: Wołosi i Lasoniowie

Writing for Biweekly, the English version of the Dwutygodnik  magazine of Poland’s National Audiovisual Institute, Agata Diduszko-Zyglewska has this to say about the Festival and its prize-winners:

The strength of the creators of New Tradition resides in the fact that they have consistently pursued two separate approaches to folk music. In the Roots Music section, they demonstrate the power of traditional, rootsy, archaic performances, whereas in the competition section they welcome far-reaching artistic experiments and searching for new meanings….

[T]he winners of this year’s main prize and of the audience award[—]Wołosi & Lasoniowie[—]are two classic and three folk musicians (two violins, viola, cello, double bass) who oppose “segregation of their respective musical worlds” on principle and eagerly use open doors to various musical spaces while avoiding excessive, meaning-diluting eclecticism…. Though not rooted in any single locality, their music is cohesive, very energetic and, as a result, hypnotizing. Folk motifs are sublimated into sophisticated constructions and the scenic expression of the musicians, who remain in special state of mutual tension, accounts for the intensity of this musical entity.

[Sources: biweekly.plpolskieradio.pl]

Peabody Mason Competition Results

In honor of the bi-centennial of the birth of Chopin, the 2010 Peabody Mason International Piano Competition featured an all-Chopin program. Contestants presented in four categories: Nocturne, Mazurka, Large-scale work, and other solo works. The contestants hailed from around the world. Final performances were held on May 22, 2010 in Seully Hall on the campus of the Boston Conservatory, following a week of contestant recitals and master classes with the jury members. After hours of recital, and much deliberation, the jury granted the following awards:

  • Grand prize: Tsotne Tsotshalashvili
  • Second Prize: Mauricio Arias
  • Third prize (ex-aequo): Anna Mikaelian Meschian, Joel Hastings, and Konrad Binienda

In addition, the jury gave three additional awards:

  • Peabody Mason Award for Early Chopin: George X. Fu
  • Peabody Mason Award for Nocturne: Sinae Kim
  • Peabody Mason Award for Mazurka: Yun Byun

Members of the 2010 Peabody Mason jury include: Janice WeberMichael LewinRichard DyerRichard Bosworth, and Harrison Slater – Chairman.

The Peabody Mason Piano Competition was founded by the legendary French pianist, Paul Doguereau (1908-2000). Doguereau studied with Paderewski, Emma Bardac (second wife of Claude Debussy), Marguerite Long, Emil von Sauer and Egon Petri. For forty years, in association with philanthropist Fanny Peabody Mason, Doguereau presented Peabody Mason concerts free to the public in Boston and Cambridge, and invited some of the finest artists to Boston (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Emmy Ameling, Maurizio Pollini, Glenn Gould and Ravi Shankar), often for the first time. The competition is maintained by Doguereau’s adopted son, Dr. Harrison Slater.

[Source: Competition press release]


Blecharz Premiere Review

A new composition by Polish composer living in San Diego, Wojciech Blecharz, was premiered on May 12 at 7:00 pm in Wrocław, Poland, as a part of the Musica Polonica Nova Festival. Entitled Hypopnea and written for solo accordion, the piece was commissioned and performed by Maciej Frąckiewicz, to whom the piece is dedicated. Frąckiewicz is part of the TWOgether Duo with cellist Magdalena Bojanowicz.

Below is an excerpt of a review of the concert written by Monika Pasiecznik for Dwutygodnik.

Total freedom of imagination and independence from conventional and clichéd solutions was proven by Wojciech Blecharz, whose Hypopnea (2010) for accordion solo was the most important festival premiere. The music, based fully upon the technical and expressive potential of accordion, shed a new light on its unknown microtonal and spatial qualities. It is not just microtones, but also glissandi, muffled sounds, growling, panting, rumbling (like a strange monster) that provided an incredible strength of expression. Blecharz approached the task very creatively, thoroughly studied the nature of the accordion and found its unknown potential. He constructed the narration of Hypopnea in a surprising way, full of unexpected turns. The composer diversified the texture and clashed the extremes of registers, splitting the instrument into two spacially-independent pulsating sound sources and, thanks to intriguing changes of tempi, provided different layers of time. If Andrzej Krzanowski can be credited with introducing the accordion to the contempoary Polish music, Wojciech Blecharz created a new poetics of the instrument. After Hypopnea, accordion music will no longer be the same. [Translation: Wojtek Blecharz]

[Source: dwutygodnik.com]

Możdżer in L.A.

A highly-acclaimed young Polish jazz pianist, Leszek Możdżer, was the featured performer at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles on Monday evening, 7 June 2010. Two solo sets—each about an hour—were heard by a select local audience in the Ivy Substation, an attractive, modern theatre space which, on this occasion, was dominated by a shiny new Blüthner grand piano.

Throughout his performance, Mr. Możdżer dazzled the audience with his considerable virtuosity and rhythmic drive. His particular approach to jazz is highly individualistic and strongly rooted in his classical piano experience. Eager to draw a more unusual variety of colors and timbres from a piano that could offer only a limited palette of sound, Możdżer skillfully employed a number of empty water glasses by placing them directly upon carefully selected areas of piano strings. This allowed him to achieve fascinating contrasts between the ostinato accompaniment patterns and his florid right-hand melodies.

Możdżer filled out his program with his own compositions as well as musical quotations from such Polish modern masters as Lutosławski. He also provided a timely nod to the Chopin bicentennial by including an extended insight into Chopin’s famous Prelude in C minor. A medley of American Jazz standards closed this highly successful and well-received event.


[Photo credit: Chris Wojciechowski]

Wall To Wall Behind The Wall

This year, the celebrated annual “Wall to Wall” marathon of New York’s Symphony Spaceshowcased the wealth of music composed in Central and Eastern Europe from the end of World War I, through the Cold War, to the fall of Communism. The May 15th marathon—which grew from its intended 12-hours into 13.5-hours in length—featured a broad cross-section of music from behind the Iron Curtain and included world and U.S. premieres along with rare works from a period that, while marked by political repression, nonetheless witnessed extraordinary musical achievement. During this complicated era, music commissioned by the state for propaganda was counterbalanced by music of protest, some of which was subtly subversive, some more overt in its socio-political commentary, as well as by more personal music of the spirit. Connections to the musical avant garde and affinities with the West also played a role, although much of this music was underground during the height of the Cold War.

Entitled Wall to Wall Behind the Wall, the concert explored music from the former republics of the USSR and other Central/Eastern European countries including Hungary, Romania, Poland, and the Czech Republic, all important centers for musical expression. Works by composers as diverse as Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Lutosławski, Schnittke, Ligeti, Penderecki, Mansurian, Bardanashvili, Górecki, Bacewicz, Gubaidulina, Part, Usltvolskaya, Kurtag and others were heard, as well as music by younger composers who came of age during the Soviet regime and are now creating music in a changed world. All were performed by some of New York’s finest musicians as well as visiting ensembles from Central/Eastern Europe.

In his article “Marathon of Music From Behind the Iron Curtain,” New York Times critic Steve Smith summarized the Polish component of the concert:

[T]he Silesian String Quartet collaborated with a New York musician, the pianist Nurit Tilles, in “Musica a Cinque” by Alexandre Tansman, a talented, stylistically conservative Polish composer who worked in France. Otherwise, the quartet offered a concise, compelling overview of 20th-century Polish compositional trends, from the handsomely crafted Quartet No. 3 of Grazyna Bacewicz through the explosive avant-garde sounds of the second quartets by Mr. Penderecki and Andrzej Krzanowski, and on to the sharp outbursts and prayerful repose of Mr. Gorecki’s “Already It Is Dusk.”

The program also featured the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in their U.S. debut, performing Lutosławski’s Dance Preludes with clarinetist Tibi Cziger as “an exciting soloist.”

Wall to Wall Behind the Wall is Symphony Space’s 41st free music marathon, and its first with such an international scope. The program was curated by Symphony Space Associate Artistic Director Laura Kaminsky, who has lived and worked in Eastern Europe. Past marathons have explored the work of Sondheim, Beethoven, Bach, Weill, Ellington and other legendary creators, as well as eras such as the Baroque period.

Symphony Space and its cultural partners, such as the Polish Cultural Institute in NY, hosted a series of open rehearsals and panel discussions with composers, performers, and scholars during the week leading up to the marathon. The concert was streamed live on the Symphony Space website as well as broadcast in Russia via Radio Petersburg.

[Sources: symphonyspace.orgnytimes.compolishculture-nyc.org]


Amanda Horton Stork (1926-2010)

With great sadness we notice the passing of Amanda Horton Stork, a great personal friend and a supporter of the Polish Music Center. Amanda attended many of our concerts and sustained our operations by generously contributing to our annual fund drives.

Her goodwill and boundless hospitality were always extended to us, especially if live music was to be a part of the bargain. As a result, many Polish Music Center concerts were first heard—in rehearsal or in a trial run—at Amanda’s spacious residence in Westwood. Different-sized ensembles, from chamber duos to small orchestras filled Amanda’s living room with music, something she loved just as much as a dinner party that merely continued her fête du jour. And so, on numerous occasions, works by Chopin, Mozart, Karłowicz, Zarębski, Paderewski, and many others, gently resonated around the “Hillside,” Amanda’s favorite way of referring to her beloved home. Members of the Armstrong and Denali String Quartets, the Midnight Winds, alongside composers and performers like Krzesimir Dębski and Anna Jurksztowicz, representatives of the diplomatic corps (including Paulina Kapuścińska, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles), and various members of the L.A. Philharmonic were Amanda’s frequent and welcome guests.

Born into a venerable Hollywood tradition (Amanda’s uncle, Edward Everett Horton, was a film producer and actor in many of Fred Astaire’s films), Amanda spent her youth on her uncle’s estate in Encino, then attended USC for a year before transferring to Bennington College. After returning to Los Angeles, Amanda settled on the outskirts of the UCLA campus in Westwood, then a rustic village in a sleepy rural setting. She married, raised a family of two distinguished daughters—Carlotta, a scientist and cancer researcher, and Elizabeth, a Superior Court judge—and entertained a huge circle of family and friends in her home. Among countless dinner parties, Amanda’s “Second Thanksgiving”—a sit-down feast for dozens of guests—was, until last November, the highlight of her annual social activities.

Amanda’s highly refined sense of humor and her regal bearing will always remain a trademark, just as her wry smile and the bright twinkle in her eye; these features were invariably present as she gently dispensed her wisdom to all around her. A very fine lady and an exceptional human being, she will be sorely missed. During the last few months of her life, amidst fighting a very serious illness, Amanda always retained her sunny disposition, referring to the next stage as “the great cocktail party in the sky.” We would like to think that not only is she among the swinging crowds of our dearly departed friends, but that music accompanies her now just as much as it did throughout her life.



Born This Month

  • July 04, 1904 – Artur MALAWSKI, composer (d. 1957)
  • July 06, 1837 – Władysław ŻELEŃSKI, composer (also a doctor of philosophy, d.1921)
  • July 09, 1931 – Eugeniusz KNAPIK, composer
  • July 10, 1936 – Jan Wincenty HAWEL, composer and conductor
  • July 10, 1835 – Henryk WIENIAWSKI, violin virtuoso & composer (d. 1880, Moscow)
  • July 10, 1929 – Tadeusz STRUMIŁŁO, musicologist (d. 1956)
  • July 13, 1775 – Antoni Henryk RADZIWIŁŁ, composer, cellist, patron of arts (d. 1833)
  • July 14, 1926 – Jan KRENZ, conductor & composer
  • July 16, 1947 – Grażyna PSTROKOŃSKA-NAWRATIL, composer
  • July 17, 1932 – Wojciech KILAR, composer
  • July 22, 1930 – Leoncjusz CIUCIURA, composer
  • July 23, 1884 – Apolinary SZELUTO, composer (Young Poland group, d. 1966)
  • July 26, 1928 – Tadeusz BAIRD, composer (d. 1982)
  • July 26, 1922 – Andrzej KOSZEWSKI, composer (choral music)
  • July 29, 1943 – Marta PTASZYŃSKA, composer & percussionist
  • July 31, 1810 – Julian FONTANA, close friend and musical associate of Chopin (d. December 1869)


Died This Month

  • July 1, 2001 – Halina CZERNY-STEFANSKA (b. 1922), pianist
  • July 6, 1911 – Kazimierz HOFMANN (b. 1842), pianist, composer, and father of the renowned virtuoso and director of Curtis Institute, Józef Hofmann
  • July 8, 1906 – Franciszek BORNIK (b. 1870), priest, conductor, writer
  • July 21, 1964 – Zygmunt SITOWSKI (b. 1906), musicologist
  • July 23, 1829 – Wojciech BOGUSŁAWSKI (b. 1757), the first theatre director in Poland, the author of several opera libretti (set by J. Stefani and J. Elsner)
  • July 23, 1909 – Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (b. 1846), composer, pedagogue and conductor
  • July 25, 1831 – Maria SZYMANOWSKA (b. 1789), pianist and composer