Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 16, no. 11
USC Celebrates Paderewski At 150
Several events commemorating Paderewski’s 150th birthday anniversary were held on November 4-5, 2010 at the University of Southern California. Together with the USC Libraries, the Polish Music Center in the Thornton School of Music prepared an exhibit of Paderewski’s memorabilia. Entitled “Paderewski: The Modern Immortal,” it was officially opened by Catherine Quinlan, Dean of the USC Libraries, on November 4 at 5:30 p.m. Organized around the topics including Paderewski’s life in music, political career, links to California, and private life, the exhibit also features a short display on Poland’s history and Paderewski’s impact on popular culture. Many extraordinarily rare and never-before seen items—including personal possessions, correspondence, photographs, and Paderewski’s concert programs—are on display in the Treasure Room of Doheny Library until May 31, 2011.
Read an article about the exhibit here: uscnews.usc.edu/arts.
The festive exhibit opening and reception was followed by the annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital, held just next door in Newman Recital Hall. Dr. Małgorzata Perkowska-Waszek, a preeminent Paderewski scholar and author of numerous books on his life and works, delivered a lecture entitled “Paderewski and His Muses.” Based on the newly-discovered correspondence of young Paderewski, Dr. Perkowska-Waszek drew a fascinating portrait of Paderewski’s relationships with several women to whom he dedicated his compositions. Her lecture was illustrated with slides from the collection of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, where she has worked as musicologist for the past 35 years.
The second half of the Newman Hall event was filled by British-born pianist, Jonathan Plowright. His program included the rarely-heard Miscellanea, Op. 16 by Paderewski and Chopin’s towering Fantaisie, Op. 49. Mr. Plowright’s repertoire thus paid homage not only to Paderewski’s anniversary, but also to Chopin’s bicentennial as well. Mr. Plowright’s sparkling virtuosity and solid musicianship elicited a standing ovation from the audience.
On Friday, November 5, a panel discussion entitled “What Makes a Man Immortal?” examined Paderewski’s legacy as pianist, composer, politician and humanitarian. Held in the Friends of the USC Libraries Memorial Hall, it featured Professor Kevin Starr—an eminent California historian and scholar, Nick Cull—Professor of Public Diplomacy at USC’s Annenberg School, Dr. Perkowska-Waszek and pianist Jonathan Plowright. Presentations by the four panelists were followed by lively discussion and a repartee of questions and answers with the assembled audience.
See the official Press Release for details on all events: www.usc.edu/uscnews.
Paderewski Festival In Paso Robles, Nov 10-14
The Paderewski at 150 Celebrations in California that started at USC in Los Angeles will continue on the Central Coast with the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. It all begins with a “Festival Prelude” concert at Vina Robles Winery on November 10, where two young Polish pianists, visiting Central Coast on the Paso Robles-Province of Tarnów exchange program will present an evening of works by Paderewski, Chopin, Bach, Haydn, and Moszkowski. Other performers and presenters include: the Paso Robles High School Band and Choir, Midnight Winds, Krzesimir Dębski, Anna Jurksztowicz, John Storie, Dr. Małgorzata Perkowska-Waszek, Jonathan Plowright, and the winners’ of the 2010 Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition.
In the mid 1930s, Paderewski expressed a wish to establish free music education for talented youth in Paso Robles, a community where he once owned large ranches with vineyards and almond groves. This year’s anniversary edition of the Festival will honor Paderewski’s initiative to bring music to fellow Californians by making all concerts during the 2010 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles free of charge. To accommodate the highest possible number of concertgoers, reservations are strongly suggested by proceeding to reserve free tickets here. Otherwise, seating will be on a first-come basis.
Melissa Chavez writes about the great former resident of Paso Robles in this month’s issue of the Paso Robles Magazine. Her tribute begins:
One hundred fifty years after his birth, the world continues to reap the fruits of Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Through music, one mortal has soothed the souls of the melancholy, memorialized his countrymen, inspired multitudes to action, and imparted pride in the freedom of a homeland reborn…
To continue reading this fascinating historical summary as well as an overview of the events of this year’s Festival, vist: www.pasoroblesmagazine.com/pdf/2010.11.paderewski.pdf.
Chopin & Paderewski Year
Chopin Competition Results
The 16th International Chopin Competition in Warsaw has finally come to its triumphant conclusion. The Jury of this much anticipated anniversary edition of the competition was lead by Jan Ekier – honorable chairman, Andrzej Jasiński – chairman, and Piotr Paleczny – vice-chairman, and also included the following internationally renowned pianists: Martha Argerich, Bella Davidovich, Philippe Entremont, Nelson Freire, Adam Harasiewicz, Kevin Kenner, Michie Koyama, Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń, Dang Thai Son, and Fou Ts’Ong. Shortly before midnight on Wednesday, 21 October 2010, the Jury announced the following results:
- GRAND PRIZE: Yulianna Avdeeva (Russia)
- Second Prize ex-aequo: Lukas Geniušas (Russia/Lithuania) and Ingolf Wunder (Austria)
- Third Prize: Daniil Trifonov (Russia)
- Fourth Prize: Evgeni Bozhanov (Bulgaria)
- Fifth Prize: François Dumont (France)
- Sixth Prize: Not awarded
Distinctions (in alphabetical order):
- Nikolay Khozyainov (Russia)
- Miroslav Kultyshev (Russia)
- Hélène Tysman (France)
- Paweł Wakarecy (Poland)
- The best performance of a polonaise in Stage II: Lukas Geniušas
- The best performance of mazurkas:Daniil Trifonov
- The best performance of a concerto: Ingolf Wunder
- The best performance of a sonata:Yulianna Avdeeva
- The best performance of the Polonaise-Fantasy op. 61:Ingolf Wunder
Below is an excerpt from the Chopin Express, the official, bilingual newspaper of the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, which was published daily during the Competition. In his review of the final outcome of the competition, British music critic John Allison remarks that “when it was delivered shortly before midnight on Wednesday, the verdict surprised some, but it should not be seen as controversial.” His review continues below:
Winning the Chopin Competition means that Yulianna Avdeeva will leave Warsaw with hugely boosted career prospects, but as already heard in successive stages of the competition she showed all the qualities necessary for her newly acquired status. Avdeeva’s was a spectacular win, made all the more notable for her being the first female First Prize-winner since Martha Argerich in 1965. When it was delivered shortly before midnight on Wednesday, the verdict surprised some, but it should not be seen as controversial. Avdeeva is the pianist who gave some of most exciting performances: for sheer passion and musicianship, not to mention technical security, she consistently led the field.
Let’s recall her spirited Waltz in A flat (Op 34, No 1) in the second stage; it was spontaneous and volatile in the best sense. Her F minor Fantasia had thoughtful depth, and was drawn with a beautiful palette of pianistic colour. In the third stage, her Polonaise-Fantaisie showed a distinctive vision of the piece, building towards unforgettable explosions of power before the end. Her F minor Ballade was wistful and poetic, her Nocturnes revealed special imagination, and her Sonata in B flat minor showed that she is a pianist who immediately makes an audience sit up and listen: here she had total command of her instrument, and produced the slow movement with the stillest centre of all. If her E minor Concerto was not perfect – perfection isn’t everything – her appearance in the final was still one of this Competition’s best displays of pianism at its most thrilling, and Avdeeva deserved her win. Her biggest challenge now will be learning how to deal with the highest pressures of the musical world, but I look forward to hearing her take her place on the world’s stages. [from Chopin Express, 22 October 2010, Issue 22]
The 8th International Paderewski Piano Competition begins in Bydgoszcz on November 6, 2010 – the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ignacy Jan Paderewski. This year’s anniversary of Paderewski’s birth turns this event into a veritable Paderewski celebration. 46 pianists from 13 countries were chosen to participate after a process of auditions held during last May in Moscow, Hanover, London, New York, and Warsaw.
The contestants will compete for the First Prize of 30,000 Euros. The jury, led by Polish pianist Piotr Paleczny, will include Alexander Braginsky (USA), Andrea Bonatta (Italy), Peter Frankl (United Kingdom), Bernd Goetzke (Germany), Choong-Mo Kang (Korea), Heinz Medjimorec (Austria), Noriko Ogawa (Japan), Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń (Poland), Wojciech Świtała (Poland) and Michaił Voskresenskiy (Russia). The winners will be announced on November 20, and their concert is scheduled for the following day. The same program will be repeated on November 24 at a concert in the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw.
Below is an excerpt written by Piotr Paleczny, Artistic Director of the Paderewski Competition, for the final edition of Chopin Express, Issue 23:
The Chopin Competition is coming to a close, but the Eighth International Paderewski Piano Competition kicks off in two weeks…. It is, alongside the Chopin Competition, the second Polish piano competition that enjoys the patronage of the Geneva-based World Federation of International Music Competitions. This competition is also a member of the Alink-Argerich Foundation. Ever since its sixth edition, it has been gaining in prestige; this event brings in pianists from all over the world. The selections take place within the framework of regional competitions, organized in a few cities around the globe. This year, they took place in New York, Los Angeles, London, Hanover, Warsaw, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo and Shenzhen in China. This method of selection is applied by the most renowned competitions in the world, such as the Van Cliburn Competition – on the one hand it promotes the Paderewski Competition all around the world and secondly, it facilitates the pianists’ participation in the selections.
The Competition spans four stages and the repertoire takes in a broad span of piano literature. Two first stages are consequently 30-minute and 50-minute solo recitals. For the semi-finals, participants must perform a piano recital, another 50-minute solo recital and a piano quintet. This year the Silesian Quartet (Kwartet Śląski) will accompany the performers.
For the finals, competitors must perform one of 20 suggested piano concertos. Besides the requirement of performing the works of Paderewski in the second stage of the Competition, participants are free to choose their own repertoire. The only rule is that the selection must represent at least three contrasting styles, such as Baroque, Classicism and Romanticism.
The Paderewski Competition is just the type of grand international piano event that Poland has been missing. We’re revolving around the subject of Chopin and we’re discussing him incessantly (Chopin Competition laureates are treated like heroes and an elevated form of pianist). And yet in Poland and the world there are hundreds of brilliant pianists who deserve recognition, who do not quite fit into the confines of the Chopin Competition’s repertoire. Our Competition is a real opportunity for them.
Organized by the I.J. Paderewski Musical Society in Bydgoszcz and General Director Henryk Martenka, the Paderewski Competition is also supported by the Music Academy and the Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz.
Chopin & IJP Events In Chicago
Chopin & Paderewski 2010: An Evening of Music and Reflection
On Friday, November 12, Chopin & Paderewski 2010 presents a rich program of music and reflection on Fryderyk Chopin and Ignacy Jan Paderewski in the elegant surroundings of the historic Newberry Library in Chicago to honor the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Ignacy Jan Paderewski and the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Fryderyk Chopin.
Organized by the Paderewski Association and the Organizing Committee Chopin & Paderewski 2010 and held at the Newberry Library, the special evening features the Chicago recital debut of the young pianist, Jan Milosz Lisiecki, an extraordinary talent hailed by critics worldwide for his mature playing which reflects remarkable intuitive interpretation. The renowned American music critic Richard Dyer will give an intriguing lecture on Ignacy Jan Paderewski, entitled “Some Call It Hair…” A major highlight of the event will be the unique opportunity to view the original score handwritten by Chopin in the mid-1840s of the Nocturne in B major, Op. 62 no. 1 from the Newberry Library collection, as well as Paderewski memorabilia and documents.
Critics call 15-year-old Jan Milosz Lisiecki an “aristocrat of the piano,” an “extraordinary talent,” “one of the most sensational young artists”, and praise him for “poetic and imaginatively executed playing”. According to the July 2010 BBC Music Magazine, Jan “is perhaps the most ‘complete’ pianist of his age.” The Canadian born Lisiecki made his orchestral debut at the age of 9 and has since given over 50 performances with orchestras worldwide. Trained at the Mount Royal Conservatory in Calgary, he is the recipient of many prestigious awards including the 2010 Debut Atlantic and the 2010 CBC Révélations Radio-Canada Musique; he is a prize winner in seven international music competitions in the USA, Europe, and Japan. On January 1, 2010, Mr. Lisiecki had the honor of opening the 200th
Birthday celebrations of Chopin at the composer’s birthplace, Zelazowa Wola. His Paderewski Association performance marks his Chicago debut.
Richard Dyer was chief music critic for the Boston Globe for thirty-three years and is a two-time recipient of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for distinguished music criticism. A former Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard University, Mr. Dyer’s work appears in the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, the Metropolitan Opera Encyclopedia of Opera, and the Encyclopedia Americana. He was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by the New England Conservatory and served on the 2009 jury of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
November 12, 2010 | 7:30 p.m.
Chopin & Paderewski 2010: An Evening of Music and Reflection The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St., Chicago, IL 60610-7324
A minimum donation of $100 or $50 for students, benefitting the Paderewski Association
ADVANCE RESERVATION REQUIRED
For more information call 312.208.4045 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Download an event invitation here: chopin-paderewski.org, or press release here: chopin-paderewski.org
Chopin & Paderewski 2010 International Conference
The Polish Studies Program of Loyola University Chicago’s College of Arts & Sciences presents the Chopin & Paderewski 2010 International Conference. The conference will be held on November 12-13, 2010, at Loyola University in Chicago.
The multiple goals of the conference are: to explore Fryderyk Chopin as a composer, a master of Romantic music, and patriot; to look at Ignacy Jan Paderewski as a pianist, composer, philanthropist, diplomat, politician, and Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland; and to place Chopin, Paderewski, and Poland’s struggle for independence in the context of American and world culture and politics of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. All lectures are open to the public and free of charge.
Participants in the Conference include international scholars, historians, professors, critics, journalists, authors, poets, musicians and performers, such as Polish musicologists Irena Poniatowska, PhD and Boguslaw Raba, PhD, and local Chicago historians Dr. Dominik Pacyga and Mira Creech, PhD. The conference will end with a concert at Loyola’s Mundelein Center Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on November 13, featuring:
- Loyola University Department of Fine & Performing Arts Faculty Members: Haysun Kang, Anthony Molinaro, Cameron Smith, and HingHuan Xu
- The LIRA Ensemble, Artists-in-Residence, Loyola University Chicago
- Pawel Checinski, pianist
For a full list of the participants and the schedule of events, visit: www.chopin-paderewski.org/loyola.htm
November 12-13, 2010
Chopin & Paderewski 2010 International Conference
Loyola University Chicago – Lake Shore Campus
1032 West Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660
Chopin & Paderewski in Film
Chicago’s 22nd Polish Film Festival in America will take place from November 5 to 21, 2010. During that time, the Festival and Chicago’s Society for Arts will present VIVA CHOPIN! and VIVA PADEREWSKI!, two series of films about these Polish composers who celebrate their anniversaries in 2010. Film screenings of films about Chopin and Paderewski will take place between November 13-21. Visit www.pffamerica.com/list_of_films.htm for details and to purchase tickets.
For all Chopin & Paderewski 2010 – Chicago events and information, got to www.chopin-paderewski.org/events.htm
Camarata Pacifica Explores Chopin
Camerata Pacifica is a chamber music ensemble based in Santa Barbara that performs a monthly series of concerts in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Marino, and Zipper Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Founded by Adrian Spence in 1990, the group is composed of the finest performers of chamber music from around the world. The ensemble is distinctive for artistic excellence, an innovative approach to classical music and a repertoire that ranges from baroque to brand new, from familiar masterworks to works that have yet to become favorites. With the stated mission “To affect positively how people experience live performances of classical music,” the organization strives to engage its audience intellectually and emotionally by presenting the finest performances of familiar and lesser-known masterworks in venues that emphasize intimacy and a personal connection with the music and musicians.
American pianist Adam Neiman (pictured at right) has immediately become a favorite with Camerata Pacifica audiences. During his last visit Adam was overheard playing a Chopin Ballade, which was spontaneously added to the program. Adam’s deep affinity for and knowledge of Chopin is clear, and during Camerata Pacifica’s next “SpeakEasy” event, he will take the audience on an exploration of the composer’s life and music. Watch a fascinating discussion about Chopin between Adam Neiman and CP Artistic Director Adrian Spence here: www.instantencore.com.
Camerata Pacifica’s SpeakEasy are relaxed, informal discussion events — a forum to get all of those questions answered that you can’t ask in a concert hall.
Santa Barbara SpeakEasy
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | 5:30 PM
Adam Neiman Discusses Chopin in S.B.
813 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
For information & reservations, call (805) 884-8410
Los Angeles SpeakEasy
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | 6:00 PM
Adam Neiman Discusses Chopin in L.A.
Thomas Moser Furniture Showroom
8705 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
Limited seating – Reservations: (310) 204-5726
Other Camerata Pacifica performances featuring Neiman/Chopin:
Thursday, November 11 | 8pm | Zipper Hall, Los Angeles
Friday, November 12 | 1pm & 7:30pm | Hahn Hall, Santa Barbara
Sunday, November 14 | 3pm | Temple Beth Torah, Ventura
Tuesday, November 16 | 8pm | Huntington Library, San Marino
IJP in D.C.
On Thursday, November 11, the Kosciuszko Foundation’s Washington D.C. chapter will present a Tribute to I. J. Paderewski Concert, featuring Jeffrey and Olivia Ly. Jeffrey Ly (age 15) began his music studies at the age of 5 and Olivia Ly (age 13) began her music studies at the age of 3 at the European Academy of Music and Art (EAMA), Inc., Maryland with Professor, Dr. Bella E. Oster and Professor Roberto Perez. During their ten years of music education, the siblings have performed numerous solo piano concerts at many prestigious venues including government institutions such as White House, United Nations, State Department, U.S. Capitol, Pentagon, numerous embassies in Washington, DC, National of Institutes of Health as well as veteran, elderly, and children hospitals; Olivia and Jeffrey had also played at cultural houses such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie, NY; the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, Strathmore, Goethe Institut, NY; and universities including Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, and Cornell.
Thursday, November 11, 2010, at 7:00pm
Tribute to I. J. Paderewski
Kosciuszko Foundation’s National Polish Center
2025 O Street Northwest, Washington D.C.
Paderewski In Zakopane
On November 13 in Zakopane, Poland, the Tatrzańska Orkiestra Klimatyczna, or the “Tatra Mood Orchestra,” will present a Paderewski Birthday Concert. Additional performers include: Agnieszka Kreiner – conductor, Cezary Kwapisz and Michał Białk – piano duet, Renata Guzik – flute, and Krzysztof Łakomik – actor. The program of the concert consists of Chopin’s Andante spianato et grande polonaise brilliante, as well as Paderewski’s Gypsies’ March from the opera Manru, Album Tatrzańskie, and the Menuet in G Major, op. 14. Portions of Paderewski’s diaries and speeches will also be read, and patriotic Polish songs will be sung.
November 13, 2010 | 5:00 p.m.
Paderewski Birthday Concert presented by the Tatrzańska Orkiestra Klimatyczna
City Art Gallery in Zakopane
ul. Krupówki 41, Zakopane, Poland
Information and tickets: www.klimatorkiestra.strona.pl
Midori Plays Szymanowski
On Sunday, November 21, the Los Angeles Philharmonic presents violinist Midori Goto in recital at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Midori’s recital partner will be pianist Robert McDonald. The program for the evening is Mozart: Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 1 in G Major, K.301; Bartók: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1, Sz. 75; Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003; Crumb: Four Nocturnes (Night Music II) for Violin and Piano; and Szymanowski: Nocturne and Tarantella for Violin and Piano, Op. 28.
Building on an already extraordinary career, legendary violinist and USC Thornton School of Music professor Midori is achieving greater and greater artistic heights – as soloist, recitalist, collaborator and teacher. She has long shown her dedication to Polish music, through her performances of such pieces as Penderecki’s Second Sonata for Violin and Piano at the PMC’s Polish Music Spring concert in March 2008 and collaborations with various Polish orchestras.
Polanski Short Films & SZA/ZA
Before making beloved classics like Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby and Repulsion, Roman Polanski cut his teeth on a series of short films shot in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, produced mostly at the renowned Łódź Film School in Poland. From the playful filmmaking exercises Murder and Teeth Smile (1957), through the metaphorical Break Up the Dance (1957) and Mammals (1962) to his award-winning graduation film, Two Men and A Wardrobe (1958), these films reveal Polanski’s surreal and dark style, his masterful storytelling ability, and the restless search for the truth about human nature—however crooked and evil it would turn out to be.
A key ingredient to the genius of these shorts is their unpredictable music scores, often written by Polish jazz pioneer Krzysztof Komeda. This legendary alchemy will be showcased in events presenting Polanski’s early works in 35mm with live accompaniment by the Polish electroacoustic duo Sza/Za — whose use of clarinets, violin, analog loopstations, subtle effects and interaction with the audience both pays tribute to the work of the late Mr. Komeda, and takes these seminal films in intoxicating new directions!
Sza/Za is Pawel Szamburski and Patryk Zakrocki – musicians, improvisers and promoters of culture in the Warsaw music and independent art scene since 1999. Their music is a unique mix of noise and silence, pop and contemporary chamber music, beauty and ugliness, of sophisticated wisdom and pure, naïve thoughtlessness. Using clarinet, violin, analogue loop stations and subtle effects, the musicians seek to collapse those oppositions, attempting to free both the stage and the audience from the bonds of rules and cultural expectations.
These performances will be on tour of the U.S. from November 2-14, with shows in: New York City, Ithaca, Austin, Boulder, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. For all tour details, visit www.polishculture-nyc.org. Below is the information for the California performances:
Wed, Nov 10, 7:30 PM
Letterman Digital Arts Center
One Letterman Dr., San Francisco, CA 94129
Tickets: $15 SFFS Members / $17.50 General
Szymanowski Quartet in O.C.
On Thursday, November 11, the Orange County Performing Arts Center presents the acclaimed Szymanowski Quartet—Andrej Bielow – violin, Grzegorz Kotów – violin, Vladimir Mykyta – viola, and Marcin Sieniawski – cello. The Quartet will perform Szymanowski’s Nocturne and Tarantella, Op. 28, as well as Schubert’s Quartettsatz in C minor, D.703 and String Quartet D minor, D.810, “Death & The Maiden,” and Beethoven’s String Quartet in B Major, Op. 18/6.
Thursday, November 11, 2010 | 8:00PM
Szymanowski Quartet in Concert
Orange County Performing Arts Center – Samueli Theater
615 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa CA
Tickets and Information: 714.556.2787 or www.ocpac.org
White Eagle For Jan Ekier
On Thursday, 21 October 2010, Polish President Bronisław Komorowski awarded Professor Jan Ekier with the Order of White Eagle for his outstanding contributions to Polish culture. The ceremony was held at the Presidential Palace.
Prof. Jan Ekier is a pianist, composer, editor and teacher of musical works. Since 1959, he has been dedicated to the creation of the National Edition of the Works of Fryderyk Chopin in collaboration with PWM Polish Music Editios. This year he also served as honorary chairman of the Jury XVI International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.
Wit & Wojnarowski Honored With Norwid Prize
On Monday, September 27 during a gala at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, conductor Antoni Wit was awarded the Cyprian Kamil Norwid Prize for his “Lifetime Achievement” in music. The award was presented by Provincial Assembly Chairman Robert Soszyńskiego and Marshal Adam Struzik of the Mazowsze voivodship government. Maestro Wit has been the Managing and Artistic Director of Warsaw National Philharmonic since January 2002.
Conductor Henryk Wojnarowski was also awarded the 2010 Norwid Prize in music, for his two-volume recording of Stanislaw Moniuszko’s Masses, recorded with the Orchestra and Choir of the Warsaw National Philharmonic. These recordings are available on DUX Records, nos. 0657 and 0720. These recordings have also won the Fryderyk 2009 and Orphées d’or 2010 Awards, respectively. Maestro Wojnarowski has been Choirmaster of the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir since 1978 and has worked with the choir for over fifty years.
Festival Of Polish Music
The Sixth Annual Festival of Polish Music [Festiwal Muzyki Polskiej] in Kraków will take place from November 5-11. This Festival is Poland’s biggest classical music festival devoted entirely to the works of Polish composers, presenting a cross-section of Polish classical music from different epochs, from medieval to present times. This year’s program features the London Sinfonietta—a British early music group, the Retrospect Ensemble, the Hugo Wolff Quartet from Vienna, and the Baltic Opera, which will present Moniuszko’s Halka.
The opening night concert features Krakow’s Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic Orchestra performing in their Hall with soprano Agata Zubel, trumpeter Marco Blaauw and pianist Francois Dumont, the Fifth Place prizewinner in the recent International Chopin Competition. The program is Justyna Kowalska’s Fanfara (2009), Karol Szymanowski’s Three Songs Op. 31 for soprano and orchestra (1933), Agata Zubel’s Symphony No. 5 for a double trumpet and orchestra (2010) and Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E minor. The following evening’s program features the other end of the spectrum, with music by Mikołaj Zieleński and other Baroque composers performed by soprano Emma Kirkby, bass Joel Frederiksen, and organist Jan Tomasz Adamus at the Franciscan Friars’ Church. Other concerts include a program featuring this year’s FMP commission, Michał Jakub Papara’s A Poem from a book of dreams and imaginations, as well as Zygmunt Krauze’s Quatuor pour la naissance, Marek Stachowski’s Mirroir du temp, and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Recitatives and ariosos “Lerchenmusik” op. 53, performed by the London Sinfonietta.
A full schedule of all concerts is available www.krakow-info.com.
Musical Confrontations Festival
The 11th edition of Musical Confrontations Festival will be held Nov. 7 – Dec. 12 at Stawisko, the manor house on the outskirts of Warsaw, the former residence of poet Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz and his wife, Anna (pictured at left). The theme of this year’s festival is “Polish music from Chopin to Lutosławski,” with solo and chamber music from the Romantic era to the present will be featured, including works by Julisz Zarębski, Henryk Wieniawski, Mieczysław Karłowicz, Karol Szymanowski, and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki.
A number of well-known artists, including Szabolcs Esztényi, Piotr Pławner, Maria Szwajger-Kułakowska, Jadwiga Rappe, Mariusz Rutkowski, the Wilanów String Quartet and the Royal String Quartet will be among the featured performers. Joanna Freszel and Marek Bracha will represent the youngest generation of musicians. In addition, meetings with performers (including those representing fringe music groups that adapted Chopin’s music) are planned. An exhibit of paintings by Hilary Krzysztofiak (1926-1979) and poetry readings featuring works by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz will augment the offerings of this year’s festival.
Music At The Source Festival
Music at the Source [Muzyka u Źródeł] Festival will be held in Bydgoszcz November 6-20. The Barock Quartet is the organizer of this year’s edition, which is entitled “Magical Music and Space.” Sponsored by the Bydgoszcz Department of Water, the festival will be held in a venue listed on the National Register of Historic places—an old pump house built around several mineral water wells. The space boasts of excellent acoustics and is an ideal place for chamber music concerts.
The opening night program on November 6 will include a string quartet arrangement of Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 no. 2 and Józef Elsner’s D minor string quartet, as well as rarely performed String Octet Op. 17 by Niels Gade. A brass quintet from the National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) in Katowice will present music by Gyorgy Ligeti and Gustav Holst and join the string players in Spohr’s Nonet on November 7. Violinist Jan Stanienda will be joined by his son, Krzysztof, in a program of violin and piano music on Nov. 13, and the following night the string sextets by Brahms (Op. 18) and Schoenberg (Verklaerte Nacht, Op. 4) will be heard. The closing concert, planned for November 20, will feature music from the Polish jazz and pop tradition.
Ars Cameralis Festival
This year’s Ars Cameralis Festival will take place from November 6-25. As always, the Festival will present the most fascinating occurrences in all forms of art, when known artists and emerging ones rouse, once a year, to the admiration of the public in many cities of the Silesian Voivodship.
Each alternating Festival edition is the unique occasion to meet with something unusual, with arts that will leave no one remaining indifferent. This year’s edition focuses on the art of filmmaking. The Inaugural Concert on November 6 features the film music of Roque Baños, performed by the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy and the CAMERATA SILESIA Chorus of the City of Katowice.
For a full schedule of this eclectic festival, visit: cameralis.art.pl.
Being Propitious When Remembering Paderewski
A Review by Joseph A. Herter
The 150th anniversary of Paderewski’s birth was marked in Warsaw not only with concert version performances of the composer’s only opera, Manru, at the Warsaw National Philharmonic on November 6 and 7, but also with two Paderewski chamber music concerts. One was held under the auspices of the American Embassy and the Piotr Janowski Foundation in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle on Saturday, November 6, and the other was held at the Teatr Polski on Sunday, November 7. The former concert was streamed live online via the event website, paderewski150.pl.
Both chamber music concerts were narrated, and the guest speaker for the Royal Castle concert on November 6 was none other than the well known American-born Polish historian Adam Zamoyski. Residing in Britain, he is the author of a dozen books, including two musical biographies on Chopin and Paderewski. Mr. Zamoyski’s talk was entitled, “Paderewski, Great Pole—Great American.”
To everyone’s shock, Zamoyski got off his topic and went into a tirade of belittling the worth of Paderewski’s compositions, including derogatory remarks about his symphony, and discrediting the artist as a concert pianist. Quite the sesquicentennial surprise! Most musicians who have heard Paderewski’s recordings will agree that at times his tempos became too slow and that there were moments when Paderewski’s playing turned into banging. Even in the late 19th century, the British playwright and music critic, George Bernard Shaw, gave Paderewski the epithet, “the harmonious blacksmith.”
Finally, a gentleman stood up and told Mr. Zamoyski to stop because his speech was discouraging the audience from wanting to stay for the concert. Taken off guard, Zamoyski quickly returned to speaking about the greatness of Paderewski. When he finished, his speech received less than polite applause. Even though Zamoyski’s assessment of Paderewski as a pianist and composer may be true, it simply was neither the right place nor the right time to share those views at an event celebrating Paderewski’s life.
The concert finally got off to a start with two songs from Paderewski’s cycle of six art songs set to the poetry of Adam Mickiewicz, followed by six songs to the poetry of Catulle Mendès. Unfortunately, the songs gave the impression that what Mr. Zamoyski said earlier might be true. The pieces were monotonous and boring. They were performed by the nestor of Polish baritones, Jerzy Artysz. However, at the age of eighty, Artysz’s beautiful voice is just a shadow of what it used to be, and the octogenarian control of his voice suffered many times in his vibrato and intonation.
Coming to the rescue was pianist Karol Radzinowicz who has the distinction of having recorded the complete works of Paderewski. He excellently performed four piano showpieces: Mazurka in A minor; Krakowiak Fantistique; Legende in A Major; and the famous Menuet in GMajor.
Korean soprano Ae Ran Kim, accompanied by Japanese pianist Akai Kai, gave delightful performances of four early Paderewski songs set to the poetry of Adam Asnyk.
Closing the concert was a brilliant performance the composer’s Sonata in A minor for Violin and Piano. The violinist was Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, who was in perfect shape, and the sonata’s virtuosic accompaniment was performed by Karol Radzinowicz.
From Poland With Love
On October 23 and 24, the Polish-born Canadian pianist and Harvard and Oxford graduate Berenika Zakrzewski (b. 1983), the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and conductor JoAnn Falletta presented a concert honoring three differing eras of Polish music. The program, entitled “From Poland With Love,” included Szymanowski’s Concert Overture, Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, followed by an encore of Chopin’s “Revolutionary” Etude, Op. 10 no. 12. For reasons unexplained, the planned performance of Karłowicz’s Symphonic Poem “A Sad Tale” was left off of the program. The event was sponsored by the Kosciuszko Foundation – Western New York Chapter and the Polish Cultural Institute of NY.
Berenika’s performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth, was perhaps the most anticipated aspect of the concert. However, during the Saturday performance, it also proved to be the most troublesome. There is some disagreement among reviewers of the performance as to whether Berenika stopped herself after an unsettled beginning to the third movement or whether she was rudely interrupted by the conductor.
The rest of the Concerto, on the other hand, seemed to be universally considered a success. Instant Encore reviewer Jeff Jeckovich remarked: “The first and second movements of the Chopin Concerto were amazing performances on Berenika’s part: flawless technique and execution with a remarkable range of dynamics, especially a very controlled pianissimo that she was easily able to fluctuate gradually at will.” However, Jeckovich was less complimentary of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and its conductor, JoAnn Falletta, for both their handling of the third movement confusion as well as their overall musicianship, saying that “the BPO lost this long-time patron and his guest after witnessing this amateurish debacle.”
Regarding the other works on this exciting and demanding program, Buffalo News critic Herman Trotter gave the following summary and review, entitled “Fine tribute to Polish composers”:
For [Szymanowski’s] first orchestral work, the music is quite mature and sumptuous sounding, with a bright, flashing opening salvo and soaring lyric lines reminiscent of Richard Strauss. Its boldness stands out against contrasting interludes of lovely quiet reminiscence, all pointing forward to the lithe lyricism and exotic sonority of his later masterpieces, the First Violin Concerto, Third Symphony and “Stabat Mater.” The BPO’s strikingly full-throated performance left a vivid presence in the air.
The concert’s highlight was the Concerto for Orchestra by Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994), which displays full-blooded Polish modernism at its finest.… Everything in Lutoslawski’s Concerto seems fresh, original and vital. From the opening trickily rhythmic Polish folk tune and the bold, wide-spaced angular motivic gestures that follow, down to the majestic closing brass-filled chorale, this is music in which the repeated unifying thematic references, exciting rhythmic intensity, brilliantly colorful orchestration and even the meaningful modern dissonances are truly audience-friendly.
75 Seasons Of NOSPR
The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Katowice, Poland (NOSPR) celebrates 75 years of existence during the 2010/2011 season. A special performance will mark the. On Friday, October 1, NOSPR’s music director Jacek Kasprzyk conducted inaugural concert of this special season. Held in the Orchestra’s G. Fitelberg Hall, the event featured the world premiere Fryderyk Chopin’s Prelude in C-sharp minor Op. 45 in an orchestral arrangement by Charles Bodman Rae. The arrangement was commissioned by NOSPR from Rae, a Scottish musicologist and composer whose fascination with Polish music pushed him to learn the Polish language and write a book on Lutosławski. Rae intends his transcription to prove that Chopin’s output opened the way for Richard Wagner’s and Gustav Mahler’s music.
Also on the program: Wesendonk-Lieder by Richard Wagner, featuring German mezzo-soprano Lioba Braun, and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor.
New from DUX
Chopin, Brahms, Niziurski
Music for solo piano and solo accordian by Fryderyk Chopin, Johannes Brahms and Mirosław Niziurski
Jerzy Mądrawski – accordion, Marek Mizera – piano, Elwira Śliwkiewicz-Cisak – accordion
Wojciech Kilar Katowicom
Wojciech Kilar: Symphony No. 5 “Advent Symphony” for Choir & Symphonic Orchestra (2007), Paschal Hymn for Mixed Choir a cappella (2008), and Solemn Overture for Symphonic Orchestra (2010)
Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, Mirosław Jacek Blaszczyk – conductor
Born This Month
- 1 November 1901 – Szymon LAKS , composer, violinist (d. 1986)
- 2 November 1876 – Eugeniusz MORAWSKI, composer, conductor (d. 1948)
- 3 November 1915 – Henryk JABLONSKI, composer
- 4 November 1857 – Stanislaw NIEWIADOMSKI, composer (d. 1936)
- 6 November 1860 – Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI , pianist, composer, statesman (d. 1941)
- 23 November 1933 – Krzysztof PENDERECKI , composer, conductor
- 24 November 1932 – Andrzej KURYLEWICZ, composer, jazz pianist
- 24 November 1899 – Jan MAKLAKIEWICZ , composer, teacher (d. 1954)
- 26 November 1896 – Józef KOFFLER, composer (d. 1944)
- 27 November 1893 – Stanislaw WIECHOWICZ, composer, choral conductor (d. 1963)
- 28 November 1928 – Jan FOTEK, composer
Died This Month
- 1 November 1947 – Wladyslaw POWIADOWSKI, choral conductor, teacher (b.1865)
- 2 November 1929 – Stanislaw BARCEWICZ, violinist, teacher (b.1858)
- 2 November 1881 – Jan Nepomucen BOBROWICZ, guitarist (b.1805)
- 3 November 1888 – Józef BRZOZOWSKI, composer, cellist, conductor, teacher (b.1805)
- 5 November 1946 – Zygmunt STOJOWSKI , composer, pianist, teacher (b. 1870)
- 9 November 1856 – Aleksander MARTIN, composer, violist (b. 1856)
- 11 November 1912 – Józef WIENIAWSKI, pianist, teacher, composer (b.1837)
- 15 November 1853 – Józef NIEDZIELSKI, voice and violin teacher (b.1793)
- 15 November 1986 – Aleksander TANSMAN , composer, conductor, pianist (b. 1897)
- 14 November 1860 – Feliks NOSKOWSKI, pianist, teacher (b.1874)
- 26 November 1855 – Adam MICKIEWICZ, romantic poet, texts used by many composers (b.1798)