October 2010

Polish Music Center Newsletter Vol. 16, no. 10

PMC News

Paderewski Celebrations In CA

The 35th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in October 2009 accepted a resolution to include Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s name on the list of persons with outstanding achievements in fostering international cultural dialogue. In 2010, the 150th anniversary of his birth, Paderewski’s historical contributions will be officially recognized worldwide. California, one of Paderewski’s many homes away from his homeland, is no exception to the festivities.

Special concerts, lectures, exhibitions and panel discussions will take place in Los Angeles and Paso Robles during the “Paderewski at 150” celebrations in November. These events will commemorate not only Paderewski’s close ties to California but also his universal legacy as a great musician, statesman, patriot and humanitarian.


Paderewski receives honorary doctorate from USC, 1923

On November 4-5, events will take place at the University of Southern California, where Paderewski received an honorary Doctorate of Laws in 1923 (pictured at right in front of Bovard Auditorium with USC President von Kleinschmidt). These events are made possible through a collaboration between the Polish Music Center USC in the Thornton School of Music, the USC Libraries, the USC Department of History and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Below is a schedule of events:

THURSDAY, November 4, 2010

6 p.m.
Exhibit Opening & Reception
Doheny Memorial Library (DML), USC – Treasure Room
3550 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Admission: FREE (Parking: $8)

7:30 p.m.
Dr. Małgorzata Perkowska-Waszek, lecturer | Jonathan Plowright, pianist
Alfred Newman Recital Hall (AHF), USC
USC Childs Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Admission: FREE (Parking: $8)

FRIDAY, November 5, 2010

2:30 p.m.
A Panel Discussion of Paderewski’s Legacy with Prof. Kevin Starr,
Prof. Nick Cull, Dr. Małgorzata Perkowska-Waszek, and Jonathan Plowright
Doheny Memorial Library (DML), USC – Friends’ Hall
3550 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Admission: FREE (Parking: $8)

See details for all Los Angeles Events here.


Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles logoThe 2010 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles will take place from November 10-14. Paso Robles is proud of its most famous resident, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who bought nearly 3,000 acres of land near this Central California city between 1914 and 1939 and became a pioneer of Zinfandel wine grape cultivation. 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 this year’s Festival free of charge. Reservations are strongly suggested, and can be made online or by calling Steve at (805) 239-0873.

WEDNESDAY, November 10, 2010

6:00 p.m.
Performers: Barbara Doroszuk and Marian Michalski
(students from the Tarnów-Paso Robles Exchange Program)
Vina Robles Winery, 3700 Mill Road, Paso Robles
Admission: FREE
Donations are being accepted towards the Paderewski Festival Student Exchange Program

THURSDAY, November 11, 2010

7:00 p.m.
Performers: Paso Robles High School Band and Choir
Mission San Miguel, 775 Mission Street, San Miguel
Admission: FREE
Donations are being accepted towards the Paderewski Festival Paso Robles

FRIDAY, November 12, 2010

2:00 p.m.
MASTERCLASS AT CAL POLY – Open to all students
With pianist Jonathan Plowright
California Polytechnic Arts Center, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Admission: FREE

6:00 p.m.
Performers: Krzesimir Dębski, Anna Jurksztowicz and Friends
Cass Winery, 7350 Linn Road, Paso Robles
Admission: FREE
Donations are being accepted towards the Paderewski Festival Paso Robles

SATURDAY, November 13, 2010

11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Lunch and Wine Tasting at Epoch Estate Winery
Epoch Estate Wines, 5414 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles
Admission: Available with Friends of Paderewski 2010 VIP Pass only

2:30 p.m.
“PADEREWSKI’S DEDICATIONS” – An Audio-visual Presentation
Lecture by Dr. Małgorzata Perkowska-Waszek
Paso Robles Inn, Matador Room, 1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles
Admission: FREE
Donations are being accepted towards the Paderewski Festival Paso Robles

4:00 p.m.
Performers: Winners of the Oct. 23rd Paderewski Youth Piano Competition
Paso Robles Inn, Ballroom, 1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles
Admission: FREE
Donations are being accepted towards the Paderewski Festival Paso Robles

8:00 p.m.
Performer: Jonathan Plowright, piano
Paso Robles Inn, Ballroom, 1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles
Admission: FREE
Donations are being accepted towards the Paderewski Festival Paso Robles

SUNDAY, November 14, 2010

11:00 a.m.
Performers: Barbara Doroszuk and Marian Michalski
(students from the Tarnów-Paso Robles Exchange Program)
Pear Valley Winery, 4900 Union Road, Paso Robles
Admission: FREE (recital) / $20.00 (brunch)
Donations are being accepted towards the Paderewski Festival Paso Robles


Daily – By appointment only

Sherman Clay Pianos has been a Steinway dealer since 1892. They sponsored Paderewski’s first tour to the American west coast in 1910 and are proud to support the 2010 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles by providing Steinway Pianos for all the performances.
Paso Robles Inn, Ballroom, 1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles

* For an appointment, contact Sherman Clay representative – Dave Dumont at 408-492-9970 or Dave_Dumont@sclay.com

Thursday through Sunday

Carnegie Library, Paso Robles Downtown City Park
Admission: FREE

Pioneer Museum, 2010 Riverside Avenue, Paso Robles
Admission: FREE

See details for all Paso Robles Events here

Music On Paso’s Westside

On September 26, the stunning hilltop residence of Ken and Marilyn Riding once again served as a perfect setting for the annual spring fundraiser for the 2010 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. Splendid views from the house and terrace onto lands once owned by Paderewski provided the afternoon’s select audience with an imposing backdrop to an inspiring music offering.

Mezzo-soprano Sara Staples and pianist Aurelien Eulert presented a program that paid homage to two important Polish composers, Chopin and Paderewski, whose birth anniversaries—bicentennial and sesquicentennial, respectively—are celebrated this year. Ms. Staples hails from Alberta, Canada, and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree at the USC Thornton School of Music, where she studies with Cynthia Munzer. The Alsatian-born Mr. Eulert is a doctoral student in the Keyboard Collaborative Arts program at USC’s Thornton School of Music, in the studio of Kevin Fitz-Gerald. Both young artists have already acquired considerable performing experience in concerts throughout North America and Europe.

For some reason, Chopin’s and Paderewski’s songs are rarely performed and recorded. Thus, a repertoire sampled from Chopin’s Op. 74 and Paderewski’s Op. 22 was a rare treat on that Sunday afternoon, in a setting that was splendid and intimate in equal measure. Although Chopin wrote songs for voice and piano throughout his life, all 17 of them were published only posthumously in 1857. Paderewski’s Op. 22 songs date from 1903 and come from the end of his career as a composer (he continued to perform for almost four decades afterwards).

Ms. Staples brought vivacity, charm and consummate acting skills to the Chopin set. Her delivery of the famous Maiden’s Wish (also a favorite of Liszt, who transcribed it for piano solo) possessed a pleasing mixture of coquettishness and naiveté. The more serious messages of Melody and The Ring were given with ample poise and solid musicianship.

Both artists plunged head on into L’Ennemi, which opened thePaderewski section. The differing moods of Lune froide and Naguère received a sensitive and probing reading from the two young musicians. The final Querelleuse was conveyed with mordant wit and panache, appropriately so.

Throughout the performance Mr. Eulert proved to be a tactful and gentlemanly partner, evoking just the right colors and nuances from the Steinway grand, keeping the pace flowing and Ms. Staples’ voice firmly supported. The warm reception from the assembled audience elicited an encore of the famed Habanera from the opera Carmen, which once again demonstrated Ms. Staples’ excellent vocal and acting skills.

After the concert, a painting of Paderewski’s vineyards commissioned by the Festival from Ann Laddon, a local artist and Festival supporter was auctioned. The artist generously donated her share of the proceeds to the Festival. [Artwork pictured in photo above, on the chair]

Sherman Clay Pianos representative Dave Dumont, a faithful annual sponsor of the Festival, announced that a special sale of Steinway and Boston pianos will be held in Paso Robles during the Festival in November. All interested parties should contact Dave to schedule an appointment and personally inspect over two dozen top-rate instruments Sherman Clay will bring to the Festival. Brian Alexander was on hand to ensure that the Riding’s beautiful Steinway was in prime condition for the concert on a very hot early Fall afternoon.

Fruit of the local vines was generously provided by Cass and Treana Wineries, and a gourmet brunch (courtesy of Cass Catering) proved a superb and tasty addition to a highly successful event.

Recent Visits

In August, the Polish Music Center received visits from two Polish composers now living in the U.S. First, on August 10, Wiesław V. Rentowski came to see us on the USC campus. Mr. Rentowski is the President of the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Composers USA (NACUSA), one of the oldest organizations devoted to the promotion and performance of American concert hall music. With this position, he combines his love for the promotion and performance of classical music—whether of Polish, American or any other national origin—with his career as a composer and organist.

Next, we received a visit from Mikołaj Górecki, who is also living and composing in Texas. At the PMC headquarters, he happily viewed posters and programs from several concerts at USC in 1997 and 2009 that have honored his father, composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, and discussed his father and his compositions with Thornton School of Music Director of Marketing, Michael Dowlan. While on campus, Mr. Górecki also visited our Paderewski statue and viewed items such as the manuscript of Lutosławski’s Paroles Tisées in the PMC Manuscript Collection housed in the Special Collections Department in Doheny Library.

We hope that these and other such visits withPolish and Polish-American composers help connect composers to each other, to their audiences, and to their place in the long legacy of Polish musicians.

[Photo: Krysta Close, PMC Collection]

Recent Donations To The PMC

From composer Mikołaj Górecki:

  • Variations for Flute and Piano (PWM score)
  • Six Bagatelles for Violin, Cello and Piano (manuscript copy – score and parts, CD)
  • Quarta Magazine featuring the composer (PWM, December 2009)

From USC Prof. of History, Paul Knoll:

  • 40 various LP albums of Polish music from the ancient to the contemporary, including: “XXII Warszawska Jesien Festival 1978,” several of the “Musica Antiqua Polonica” series, “Anonymous 17th c. Songs, Dances and Pavans, ” etc.
  • 5 book of early Polish music: Music of the Polish Renaissance, Old Polish Music, Music in Old Cracow, Organ tablature by Jan of Lublin, and Bogurodzica

From Betty Harford-Naszody, a friend of the Polish Music Center:

  • Chopin. His Life Told in Anecdotal Form (1945), by George Ruttkay & Andre Dugo, illus.

Chopin & Paderewski Year

Chopin Competition Begins – Follow Daily Online

The final stage of the highlight of the 2010 Chopin Anniversary year—the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition—has just begun in Warsaw. Since the Competition was initiated in 1927, every five years hundreds of young pianists converge on Warsaw to demonstrate their ability in interpreting Chopin’s music. This competition—the oldest and most prestigious piano competition in the world—has an incredible roster of laureates that includes some of the greatest pianists of our time: Garrick Ohlsson Witold Małcużyński, Halina Czerny-Stefańska, Barbara Hesse-Bukowska, Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Rafał Blechacz, and Krystian Zimerman, among others.

Inaugural concerts for this year’s highly anticipated Competition were given by pianist Mitsuko Uchida, the second prize winner at the 8th Chopin Competition in 1970, on October 1 and a piano duo concert by Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire, two of the greatest living interpreters of Chopin repertoire, on October 2.

As a result of elimination rounds that have been conducted throughout the year, 81 pianists were chosen for this final stage of the Competition from among the original 335 applicants. The country with the largest representation amongst the finalists is Japan, with 17 young artists, as well as Russia with12 musicians. Poland will be represented by 7 pianists: Fares Marek Basmadji, Marek Bracha, Jacek Kortus, Martin Koziak, Joanna Różewska, Gracjan Szymczak and Paweł Wakarecy.

[Photo source: Chopin Express, Issue 1]

Schedule of the Competition:

  • 1st STAGE AUDITIONS: 3–7 October, 10 am and 5 pm, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall
  • 2nd STAGE AUDITIONS: 9–13 October, 10 am and 5 pm, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall
  • 3rd STAGE AUDITIONS: 14–16 October, 10 am and 5 pm, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall
  • CONCERT – On the 161st Anniversary of the Death of Chopin: 17 October, 8 pm, Church of the Holy Cross (Warsaw). Performers: Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, Philippe Herreweghe – conductor. Program: Mozart – Requiem
  • FINAL AUDITIONS: 18–20 October, 6 pm, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall
  • COMPETITION RESULTS & PRESS CONFERENCE: 20 October, approx. 11 pm
  • PRIZEWINNERS’ CONCERT & AWARDS CEREMONY: 21 October, 8 pm, Warsaw National Opera, Moniuszko Auditorium
  • ADDITIONAL PRIZEWINNERS’ PRESENTATION CEREMONY: 22 October, 12 pm, Warsaw Philharmonic, Chamber Music Hall
  • REPEAT OF THE PRIZE WINNERS’ CONCERT: 22 October, 7.30 pm and 23 October, 7.30 pm, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall

For daily updates on the Competition, see the Chopin Express—the official, bilingual newspaper of the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition. It is published by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute with the cooperation of Gramophone magazine. This newspaper will be distributed for free during the whole Competition in the streets of Warsaw and in the Warsaw Philharmonic. After the beginning of the Competition, a CD recording of selected interesting performances from each day of the auditions will be added to every issue of the paper.

Online versions of Chopin Express are available here: konkurs.chopin.pl. Emma Baker is also blogging live for Gramophone from the Competition: www.gramophone.co.uk.

[Source: konkurs.chopin.pl]

Chopin And His Europe Follow-Up

In a broadcast and interview entitled “Chopin my love,” Polish Radio culture reporter Michał Kubicki discusses the recent Chopin and His Europe Festival and Chopin’s connections with Yamaha with Stan Zieliński—senior manager of Yamaha’s Concert, Artist and Academic Relations. Yamaha has been an active supporter of the Festival for 3 years, providing pianos for performance and practice, as well as contact with both young and well established performers associated with Yamaha.

According to Zieliński, “Chopin is probably the most important composer of music for Japanese people.” In Hamamatsu, the city where Yamahas are made, there is an exact copy of the Chopin statue from Łazienki Park in Warsaw. Japan is also the nationality of largest number of competitors from one country who have made it to the final round of the 2010 Chopin Competition. However, despite the Japanese connection, the Chopin Competition (see previous article) is performed entirely on Steinway Pianos.

Listen to the entire interview with Zieliński here: www.thenews.pl/radio/focus/artykul138501.html

[Source: thenews.pl]

New York Chopin Piano Competition

In celebration of the Chopin Bicentennial, this competition presents today’s most promising young pianists, selected from the finest conservatories and music schools, in performances of Chopin’s best-known études, ballades, mazurkas, polonaises, préludes and waltzes. Join the panel of distinguished international judges, including Ewa Kupiec, Benjamin Hochman, Philip Kennicott, and Daniel Epstein, and be part of the decision-making process for the Grand prize – a 2011 recital at Symphony Space in New York and a weeklong trip to Poland for an international debut recital in Warsaw.

Tuesday, October 19 | 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
New York Chopin Competition
Symphony Space – Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater
2537 Broadway at 95th St., New York, NY
Tickets: $30 day of // $25 advance // $20 members
Discount (Competition & Recital): $60 day of // $50 advance // $40 members
Tel: 212.864.5400

Following the competition please join us at 8:00 pm for A Singular Chopin Recital. Anne-Marie McDermott offers her only New York solo performance of select Chopin piano music, and is also joined by the compelling young mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk and renowned international cellist Rafal Jezierski for a lyrical and passionate set of cello-piano works and rarely performed songs.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 8:00 PM
A Singular Chopin Recital – Anne Marie McDermott, Marta Wryk & Rafal Jezierski
Symphony Space – Peter Jay Sharp Theater
2537 Broadway at 95th St., New York, NY
Tickets: $43 day of // $38 advance // $33 members
Discount (Competition & Recital): $60 day of // $50 advance // $40
Tel: 212.864.5400

The New York Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition and A Singular Chopin Recital are presented by Symphony Space and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York.

[Source: polishculture-nyc.org]

Paderewski Celebration In NY

On October 17, audiences in Rochester, NY will be given a chance to experience the music that Paderewski created and to hear more stories about the celebrated musician’s life. In honor of the 150th anniversary of Paderewski’s birth, Eastman School of Music master’s student Igor Lipinski (BM ’09, pictured above) will perform Paderewski’s compositions. Accompanying the music, Matthew Ames, assistant professor of theater arts at Nazareth College, will read excerpts from the pianist’s memoirs, letters, and press reviews and fragments of film will be screened. See details of the program at rochester.edu.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Rochester’s Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies and the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester,

October 17 | 3 p.m.
Celebration of Paderewski’s 150th Anniversary
Memorial Art Gallery
500 University Ave., Rochester, NY
Free Admission

Chopin & Jazz in L.A.

The Chopin & Jazz project originated from a commission that pianist Jan Jarczyk received for the Chopin Anniversary Concert in Warsaw. The music developed as a part of the project was then incorporated into the repertoire of the International Polish Jazz Group (IPJG), which was created in 2009.  On the 20 October, IPJG will take this music on tour in Canada, the U.S. and France.

The International Polish Jazz Group (IPJG) is a includes four prominent Polish musicians who live in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Spain: Andrzej Olejniczak – clarinet/saxophone, Janusz Stefański – percussion, Darek “Oles” Oleszkiewicz – bass, and Jan Jarczyk – piano. The Chopin & Jazz program consists of selections from Chopin’s Preludes, Nocturnes, and Mazurkas. To read more about the performers and program, see here.

Although the musicians of IPJG generally perform abroad, their links to Poland, and to Chopin’s music in particular, are cherished and shared with audiences worldwide. Over the summer, they performed at the renowned Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica pod Baranami in Kraków. Other cities included in the tour are Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver, Seattle, and Lille, France.

Tuesday, October 26 | 7:30 p.m.
International Polish Jazz Group’s Chopin & Jazz project
Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 1023 Hilgard Ave., CA 90024
Information: 310-442-8500 or www.losangeleskg.polemb.net
Free Admission

Chopin In Pasadena

On October 10, the South Pasadena Library will host a celebration of the 200th birth anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin, including songs and piano works by Chopin and songs by Antonin Dvorak. The evening’s performers are  mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk and pianist Adam Kośmieja.

Born in Poznań, Polish mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk is a first-prize winner of the 15th International Solo Music Competition in Gorizia, Italy and first-prize winner of a nation-wide voice competition Young Talents in Poland. She took part in many concerts, performing different kinds of vocal music from Bach Cantatas, to Lieder, and to contemporary music. Last year, the young artist had her debut at the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater where she performed in Die Fledermaus and in Handel’s Il Pastor Fido. Praised for the clarity of her sound and assured presence, Ms. Wryk also appeared at the Caramoor Music Festival in New York, Art Connection Festival in Rotterdam, and the 1st International Baroque Festival in Warsaw. Have concert tours have taken her to Canada, Germany, Poland, & Italy. Ms.Wryk graduated with distinction from F. Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and is currently a vocal arts student of Maitland Peters at the Manhattan School of Music.

Adam Kośmieja was born in Bydgoszcz, Poland, started playing piano at the age of six, and first performed with orchestra at the age of eleven. For 13 years, he studied with Dr.Ludmiła Kasyanenko, at The Arthur Rubinstein High School of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He currently studies with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music, New York. At the same time he is a student at the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland in Jerzy Sulikowski’s class. A first-prize winner at the Chopin Piano Competition at Columbia University, New York (2010) he also received First Prize at Mieczysław Munz Piano Competition, New York (2009). He performed in the U.S., Poland, France, & Sweden.

Sunday, October 10, 2010, at 6:00 p.m.
Marta Wryk & Adam Kośmieja – Chopin Recital
South Pasadena Library Community Room
1115 El Centro St., South Pasadena, CA 91030
Free Admission / Free parking on nearby street

Chopin In Sacramento

On October 16, the Polish American Club of Greater Sacramento will present a Chopin Concert by soprano Anna Helwing and pianist Elektra Schmidt. This piano-vocal duo will present an exciting and diverse program of Chopin music to celebrate Chopin Year and October as Polish-American Heritage Month.

Saturday, October 16, 2010, 6:00 p.m.
Chopin Concert with Anna Helwing and Elektra Schmidt
Polish American Club of Greater Sacramento
327 Main Street , Roseville, CA
Information: Anna – (916) 425-7894, contact@polish-club.org, or www.polish-club.org
Donation: $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $10 Students

Paderewski & Chopin In Bydgoszcz

The theme of this year’s 48th Music Festival in Bydgoszcz (Sept. 10 – Oct. 3) was “Chopin – Paderewski: World Artists” in celebration of the 200 anniversary of Chopin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of Paderewski’s birth. The main focus of this year’s Festival was on the work of those two unique artists, and their music was performed by the Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra and talented guest artists.

The festival presented performances from the accordion trio Motion Trio on September 13, during the “Chopin Alternative” concert. There were also Klezmer music concerts (September 16, 18) and a promotional event (September 15) for the CD “Siła Emocji” by violinist Patrycja Piekutowski and pianist Mariusz Rutkowski.

On September 17, Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki took the conductor’s podium, conducting three of his own compositions: the Fourth Symphony, Przebudzenie Jakuba and Kadysz. They were performed by the Polish Orchestra Iuventus, the Polish Chamber Choir, Olga Pasiecznik (soprano), Baruha Finkelstein (principal cantor from synagogues in Moscow and St. Petersburg) and Krzysztof Gosztyła (recitation).

On September 24, audiences heard Paderewski’s Symfonia Polonia conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk.  September 28 brought the “Chopin – Inspiration” concert, featuring violinist Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, cellistTomasz Strahl, and pianist Krzysztof Jabłoński, performing works by Chopin, Rachmaninov, and Mendelssohn.  During the Final Concert of the Festival on October 3, audiences heard Paderewski’s Polish Fantasy, as well as works by Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, conducted by Tadeusz Wojciechowski.

Although not a part of the Festival, the Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra will also host American virtuoso of the keyboard, Neal Larrabee, on October 17 for an All-Chopin Recital celebrating the 2010 Chopin Year.  Among other accolades, Larrabee won the V International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and the IX International Chopin Competition in Warsaw (1975). He since became a real favorite of music lovers in Poland. Highly regarded for his charisma and interpretations of Chopin repertoire, he is featured in broadcasts on national radio and television stations as well as performances in virtually every Polish concert hall.

[Sources: muzyka.onet.pl, filharmonia.bydgoszcz.pl; Transl: PDC]

Paderewski In Chicago

The Polish Museum of America and the Lira Ensemble will host a benefit celebrating Ignacy Jan Paderewski—one of the most fascinating Poles of the 20th century—with an opportunity to hear his beautiful music and view the Museum’s recently renovated Paderewski Room. Performers for the evening include soloists of the Lira Ensemble: Katarzyna Dorula – soprano, Ewa Kowcz-Fair – soprano, and and Philip Seward – piano.

Thursday, October 7, 2010
An Evening with Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Cocktails – 5:30pm, Program – 6:30pm, Polish Buffet – 7:15pm
The Polish Museum – 984 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL (map)
Tickets: $100, call 773-508-7040
FREE parking adjacent to the museum

[Source: Press release]

New Recordings

Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Paderewski: Melodie, Op. 8, No. 3; Chant d’amour, Op. 10, No. 2; Menuet, Op. 14, No. 1; Cracovienne fantastique, Op. 14, No. 6; Legend, Op. 16, No. 1; Theme varie, Op. 16, No. 3; Melodie, Op. 16, No. 2; Nocturne, Op. 16, No. 4; Sonata, Op. 21
Sang Mi Chung, piano
Centaur Records CRC 2758

Paderewski – Piano works
Ignacy Jan Paderewski: Cracovienne Fantastique, Op. 14 No. 6; Nocturne, Op. 16 No. 4; Menuet, Op. 14 No. 1; Mélodie, Op. 16 No. 2; Sarabande, Op. 14 No. 2; Introduction et Toccata, Op. 6; Variations et Fugue, Op. 11;
Rinko Kobayashi, piano
Polskie Nagrania Muza PNCD 1300 

CHOPIN Piano Concerto No 2, Variations on Là ci darem, Andante spianato and Grande polonaise brillante (Digital Album)
Eldar Nebolsin, piano; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Antoni Wit, conductor
Naxos 8.572336

Using the new Polish National Chopin Edition, acclaimed pianist Eldar Nebolsin and Poland’s National Orchestra conducted by the renowned Polish conductor Antoni Wit, here present fresh interpretations of Chopin’s great works for piano and orchestra. The Second Piano Concerto was written before the first and completed in 1830, the year in which the composer set out for Vienna and then Paris. Chopin’s Variations on Là ci darem la mano, bear witness to his admiration for Mozart, instilled by his earliest teacher, the Bohemian Wojciech Żywny. The Grande Polonaise brillante in E flat, Op. 22, was written in Vienna, and later augmented with the introductory Andante spianato. [From the Naxos website]

Frédéric Chopin’s Last Words
Chopin, last works from1842-1846: Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60; Sonata No.3, in B minor, Op. 58; Berceuse in D fl at major, Op. 57; Two Nocturnes, Op. 55; Three Mazurkas, Op. 59; Ballade No. 4, in F minor, Op. 52
Elina Gotsouliak, Piano
Genuin Records GEN 10190

To mark the Chopin anniversary year, young pianist Elina Gotsouliak is releasing a disc of late works by the short-statured giant, the gentle virtuoso. Her debut CD on Genuin turns apparently familiar works into such a unique experience and creates so much atmospheric density it nearly stops your breath. The distance which lies between the brilliant showpieces of his youth and those of his final years, how much all the works on the disc open the door to his soul, whether in his last sonata, the Barcarolle or the Berceuse, becomes all too clear with each passing second. An outstanding CD. [from the Genuin Records website]

Best From Poland: Chopin
Fryderyk Chopin: Polonez As-dur op.53; Preludium A-dur op.28 nr 7;  Preludium e-moll op.28 nr 4; Preludium Des-dur “Raindrop Prelude” op.28 nr 15; Fantasie-Impromptu cis-moll op.66; Walc Des-dur “Minute Waltz” op.64 nr 1; Walc cis-moll op.64 nr 2; Walc F-dur op.34 nr 3; Scherzo h-moll op.20; Mazurek C-dur op.24 nr 2; Mazurek cis-moll op.63 nr 3; Mazurek cis-moll op.50 nr 3; Etiuda E-dur op.10 nr 3; Etiuda c-moll “Revolutionary Etude” op.10 nr 12; Concerto e-moll op.11 Pianists: Bolesław Woytowicz, Halina Czerny-Stefańska, Lidia Grychtołówna, Regina Smendzianka; Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra; and Witold Małcużyński, cond.
Polskie Nagrania Muza PNCD 1294

Fryderyk Chopin – Dzieła wszystkie: Walce
Chopin: Grande Valse Brillante Es-dur op.18; Grande Valse Brillante As-dur op.34 nr 1; Grande Valse Brillante a-moll op.34 nr 2; Grande Valse Brillante F-dur op.34 nr 3; Grande Valse Brillante As-dur op.42; Valse Des-dur op.64 Nr 1; Valse cis-moll op.64 nr 2;  Valse As-dur op.64 nr 3; Valse As-dur op.69 nr 1;  Valse h-moll op.69 nr 2; Valse Ges-dur op.70 nr 1; Valse f-moll op.70 nr 2; Valse Des-dur op.70 nr 3; Valse e-moll op.posth; Valse E-dur op.posth.; Valse As-dur op.posth.; Valse Es-dur; Valse a-moll; Valse Es-dur op. posth.
Marek Drewnowski, piano
Polskie Nagrania Muza PNCD 1322

CHOPIN, F.: Piano Concerto No. 2 / Ballades
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23; Ballade No. 2 in F major, Op. 38; Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47; Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52; Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
Lise De la Salle, piano; Dresden Staatskapelle; Fabio Luisi, Cond.
Naïve Records V5215

Masters of Chopin
Composers: Chopin, Mendelssohn, Paganini-Liszt-Busoni, Suk, Brahms, Franck, Saint-Saëns, Field, Fauré, Beethoven, Ravel, and Kodaly
Pianists: Ignaz Friedman, Ignace Tiegerman, and Severin Eisenberger
Arbiter Records 158
A 4-CD collection of master interpreters of the piano medium in previously un-issued or unknown recordings.

[Sources: recordreview.co.uk, classicsonline.com]


Kulenty World Premiere

On October 3, GG Concerto for harpsichord and string orchestra by Polish composer Hanna Kulenty had its World Premiere at the Wrocław Philharmonic Concert Hall in Wrocław, Poland. It was performed by harpsichordist Goska Isphording (pictured at left) and the Wrocław Chamber Orchestra “Leopoldinum”, conducted by Ernst Kovacic. Also on the program for the evening: Beethoven’s Kreutzer Violin Sonata, Janáček’s String Quartet No. 1, Pergolesi’s Concertino in G, and Schreker’s Intermezzo and Scherzo.

The Wrocław Chamber Orchestra previously premiered another work by Kulenty, Breathe, at the Musica Polonica Nova Festival in 2008.

[Source: hannakulenty.com, leopoldinum.art.pl]

Wieniawski Tribute

Michał Kubicki of the Polish Radio external service wrote the following on September 9, 2010:

The Polish Parliament has adopted a resolution on the 175th anniversary of the birth of the great composer and violinist, Henryk Wieniawski, which falls tomorrow. It describes him as one of the finest virtuosos of the second half of the 19th century.

Henryk Wieniawski lived a fast and intense life. At the age of eight, he was admitted to the Paris Conservatory, a notable exception to the general rules which put the minimum age of admission at twelve. He was twelve when he completed the course, winning the gold medal with distinction.

Wieniawski’s penchant for taking risks helped him to tackle fearlessly the formidable technical difficulties and introduce innovations which befitted a musician of outstanding genius. ‘It’s necessary to take a risk’ was the motto inscribed on his manuscripts in sections fraught with special difficulties as a way of mobilizing himself to more intensive creative effort.

Learn more about Henryk Wieniawski on the following sites: Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society, PMC, or PWM

[Source: thenews.pl]

Agata Zubel In Residence

The Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra has invited composer and vocalist Agata Zubel to be their guest composer for the 2010/2011 season. This project was initiated by Polish Music Publishers [PWM].

The Krakow Philharmonic is the first orchestra in Poland to adopt the successful idea of featuring one living composer during the entire concert season. This “composer-in-residence” project is intended to promote unknown or lesser known composers, introducing their names and body of work to the large public. The Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra hopes that this effort will inspire other Polish orchestras to participate in similar “composer-in-residence” projects.

The following quote from U. Mieszkieło starts off in the cover story of the most recent edition of PWM’s Quarta magazine:

The critics all agree: Agata Zubel is one of the greatest talents of Polish contemporary music. When she goes on stage, she proves that she can sing everything, that there are no emotions that she cannot express with her voice. When asked about the future she says „…in 30 years? I’ll be past 60 then! I don’t want to live that long. Why should I live if I can’t sing any more…” We are, however, calm – she will always be able to write music.

Read the entire interview between journalist Ewa Szczecińska and Agata Zubel in the July 2010 Quarta here: www.pwm.com.pl/zdjecia/0/2/1/1620_Quarta3_web.pdf

[Source: pwm.com.pl; Transl: PDC]

Opera Narodowa-Teatr Wielki Season

Warsaw’s National Opera – Teatr Wielki will open its 2010-2011 season with a rare masterpiece of the 20th century—Pasażerka [The Passenger (female)], an opera composed by Mieczysław Weinberg—on October 8, 2010. This production of Weinberg’s Pasażerka was premiered at the Bregenzer Festspiele on July 21, 2010.

The National Opera’s season will close with Król Roger, an opera written by the father of Polish modern music, Karol Szymanowski. This work will also be featured at the inauguration of the Polish presidency of the European Union later this year.

“In both operas we can find the tragic European history of the 20th century. From its decay and the result in World Wars to the drama of the holocaust,” elaborates Waldemar Dąbrowski, director of the National Opera (pictured at right). Szymanowski’s ambition was to recover the mythical dimension through the medium of opera, while Weinberg tries to protect human freedom and dignity in the face of the “black wall” of Auschwitz. Both works illustrate the destructive processes of history, and the power of art to counteract that destruction.

This season’s phenomenal program is the result of cooperation with several of Europe’s most significant opera houses, including: the English National Opera in London, the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Bregenzer Festspiele, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the Teatr Maryjski St. Petersburg, the  Theater “Communale” in Bologna, and the Grand Theatre del Liceu in Barcelona. For these productions, some of the most famous international artists will cooperate with Polish singers and musicians, including: David Pountney, Keith Warner, Sasha Waltz, Valery Gergiev, Renée Fleming, and more.

In addition to the productions mentioned above, the 2010-2011 season will also feature: Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot  as realized by Mariusz Treliński (pictured at left) and Boris Kudlička; Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, directed by Keith Warner; Toshio Hosokawa’s Matsukaze, directed and choreographed by Sasha Waltz; the premiere of Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz, directed by Carlus Padrissy and under the musical supervision of Valery Gergiev; and a tribute to Sergei Diaghilev will be celebrated through three different interpretations of The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Vatslav Nijinsky, Emanuel Gat, and Maurice Béjart.

[Source: polmic.pl, teatrwielki.pl; Photo: teatrwielki.pl; Transl: PDC]

Laszczkowski In The UK

The BBC Newshour radio program recently ran a feature report on the Polish male soprano, Jacek Laszczkowski, who was interviewed by the BBC’s Claire Bolderson. Male countertenors are a fairly common voice type, and performances of baroque operas using alto-range singers have experienced a resurgence in popularity in the last decade. However, countertenors with the same range as a female soprano—also known as male sopranos—are much more rare.

Mr. Laszczkowski is currently in London to give his company debut and role debut in the Royal Opera’s production of Niobe, Regina di Tebe (pictured above), a rare opera by the forgotten Italian composer Agostino Steffani. According to the Royal Opera website:

Steffani (1654–1728) was widely acclaimed in his own day and admired by such composers as Handel for his musicality and originality. First performed in Munich in 1688, Niobe remained neglected until 2008, when it was staged at the Schwetzingen Festival. A triumphant achievement by conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and director Lukas Hemleb, that atmospheric production is now restaged by The Royal Opera with a great specialist cast of musicians. Véronique Gens plays the title role of the Queen of Thebes who angers the gods and is punished with the death of all her children, while the male soprano Jacek Laszczkowski, as her husband Anfione, makes his debut with the Company. The Balthasar Neumann Ensemble will be the specialist orchestra for what is an unmissable event for all lovers of early opera and anyone keen to discover more about opera’s perpetually enjoyable marriage of music and drama.

Jacek Laszczkowski was born on March 28, 1966 in Szczuczyn, Poland. He began his musical education in music school of Bialystok playing clarinet. Later he studied singing as a tenor at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. As a student he was twice granted with a scholarship by the Polish Ministry of Arts and Culture. He debuted as a tenor with the Warsaw Chamber Opera in 1989, but made his debut as a male soprano in 1997. Since that time, he has had a successful career throughout Euope, singing both the Baroque opera roles that were originally sung by male castrati as well as new works by contemporary composers. He has also performed the lead role in The Soul Sings [Dusza Spiewa], a film by Krzysztof Zanussi, as well as other films by Zanussi and Małgorzata Szumowska.

For more information on Mr. Laszczkowski, read his full biography at  www.countertenors.ru/laszczkowski.

[Sources: bbc.co.uk, roh.org.uk, countertenors.ru; Photo: operaen.no]

Polish Heritage Month Made Official

October is often celebrated as Polish (or Polish-American) Heritage Month, although this is not an official designation throughout the U.S. However, it was recently announced by the Piast Institute that, in Michigan, Polish Heritage Month is now an official part of the state calendar. See the Institute’s announcement below:

On October 1, 2010, Governor Jennifer Granholm proclaimed October as Polish Heritage Month in Michigan at the request of the Piast Institute. Polish Americans constitute almost 9% of the population of Michigan and number over 10,000,000 in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The national Polish population is larger than the individual populations of 42 of the 50 states in the Union.

Governor Granholm’s proclamation highlights the contributions of Poles to the life, history, and culture of the United States. It reads in part:

Whereas, Michigan is proud to be the home of nearly a million Polish Americans whose ancestors contributed greatly to the industrial might of Detroit and other cities throughout Michigan in industries such as automotive, agricultural machinery, steel, coal, and meat packing; and

Whereas, Polish people and their American descendants have distinguished themselves by contributing to the development of the arts, sciences, government, military service, athletics, and education in the United States; and

Whereas, Poles shaped the meaning of neighborhood by establishing churches, halls, cultural centers, schools, business districts, social service centers, colleges, and hospitals throughout cities in Michigan; and

Whereas, the state of Michigan is proud of its cultural diversity and welcomes the opportunity to honor our residents who are Polish American for their commitment to leadership and dedication to knowledge, and for their rich and fascinating heritage;

I encourage residents of this state to recognize the many accomplishments and contributions of Polish Americans that enhance the quality of life in Michigan.”

The Piast Institute is a national research center, which specializes in the study of Polish American and Polish history and culture. It devotes itself to promoting accurate information on the Polish experience in Europe and America and to countering misinformation and defamation.

The Institute has been designated as a National Census Information Center by the U.S. Government to study Polish American and other immigrant and ethnic populations. It also serves as a resource for government, media, educators, and scholars.

Those interested in learning more about the Institute should contact Virginia Skrzyniarz at 313-733-4525 and / or by email at skrzyniarz@piastinstitute.org.

Polish Heritage Month is being celebrated throughout the U.S. in October. Please visit individual websites for information about celebrations in San Diego, CA (Oct. 8-10), Chicago, IL (all month), New York, NY (Oct. 1), Fort Wayne, IN (Oct. 3), Sacramento, CA (Oct. 16), Hadley, MA (Oct. 27), and Washington, DC (Oct. 23).

[Source: press release]

US National Phil Features Poles

On Saturday, October 9, the National Philharmonic in North Bethesda, MD will begin its 2010-2011 season with a concert featuring both Polish composers and Polish musicians. On the program is M. Karłowicz’s symphonic poem A Sorrowful Tale, as well as Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” and A. Markis’s Aegean Festival Overture. Joining the National Philharmonic will be Iwona Sobotka – soprano (pictured at left), Magdalena Wór – mezzo-soprano, and Piotr Gajewski – conductor.

The National Philharmonic website describes the program thus:

The late Washington composer Andreas Makris reflects on his Greek origins in the Aegean Festival Overture, which blends classic form and folklore elements. The rarely performed A Sorrowful Tale by Polish composer Mieczyslaw Karlowicz (1876-1909) is a somber symphonic tone poem offset by recollections of happier times. Finally, one of Mahler’s most popular symphonies, Symphony No. 2, presents the composer’s meditations on afterlife and resurrection.

Saturday, October 9, 2010, 8 P.M.
National Philharmonic Season Opener
The Music Center at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda, MD 20852-3385
Ticket Office: 301-581-5100 or office@ nationalphilharmonic.org

Szymanowski & Chopin In NY

Pianist Emily White will give a piano recital featuring Szymanowski’s Masques on Saturday, October 9 at St. Luke in the Fields Church in New York City at 7:30 pm. She will also perform works by Beethoven, Wyner, Chávez, and Chopin.

Proceeds from this concert will benefit Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, which produces Braille music scores and provides instruments to developing countries, among other projects. Tickets are $25 general admission and $15 for students with ID, with other options are available for priority seating that include a signed headshot of Dr. White and copy of her limited edition CD—“Szymanowski Piano Works” (Arabesque Recordings Z6807). See www.brownpapertickets.com for concert details and to purchase tickets.

Saturday, October 9 | 7:30 pm.
An Evening with Dr. Emily White
St. Luke in the Fields Church
487 Hudson Street, Manhattan, NY
Contact: 212-924-0562 or rosemary.metcalf@gmail.com
Tickets & Info: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/128388

Polish Court Music Performance In MI

On Sunday, October 10, the early music consort “Greensleaves” will perform music from the Polish courts was drawn from the little-known “Polocki” manuscript, found inside a missal dated 1680. Included are traditional period pieces such as pavanes, galliards, and canzonas, as well as dances and songs with a clearly Polish flavor, at times elegant and touching, and at times rustic, boisterous, and humorous. The Greensleaves consort is joined by members of the Tactus Vocal Ensemble.

This same music has also been recorded by Greensleaves, available for purchase on www.cdbaby.com. There is also an article written about the reconstruction process the group went through to bring this music back to life – read it here: www.greensleaves.com/green.pdf.

Formed by three Kitchener-Waterloo area musicians in 1996, Greensleaves is dedicated to the performance of Renaissance and early Baroque music. The group consists of Marilyn Fung (viola da gamba), Shannon Purves-Smith (recorders and viols), and Magdalena Tomsinska (lute and guitar).

Sunday, October 10, 2010 | 4:00 PM
Greensleaves Concert: Polish Court Music
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
306 North Division Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tickets: $20 General Admission, $17 Members and Seniors, $5
Information: www.academyofearlymusic.org

Trzaska/Swell Duo Tour

From Monday, October 11 – Wednesday, October 20, 2010, the Mikolaj Trzaska / Steve Swell Duo will complete a tour of the Eastern US, including New York, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, North Rochester, and Wilkes-Barre. For a complete list of tour dates and venues, visit www.polishculture-nyc.org.

Mikolaj Trzaska, reedman/composer, and Steve Swell, trombonist, are like-minded sound travelers who first crossed paths in Kraków, Poland in 2007 in Ken Vandermark’s international Resonance Ensemble project. The two artists have been trading ideas and performing together in the duo format ever since. Passion and intelligence are what gives these two world class improvisers a platform for their magical musical visions. For the New York concerts Mikolaj Trzaska and Steve Swell will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee and drummer Jay Rosen.

Mikolaj Trzaska (b. 1966) is a virtuoso saxophonist, bass clarinetist and composer, who co-founded the cult group Milosc (Love, 1988-2002), which opened a new chapter in Polish jazz – the famous “yass” current. The group challenged classical streams in Polish jazz by creating music that merged New Wave, free jazz, contemporary rock, surrealist instrumental theater and poetry. Trzaska’s music is raw, creative, and individual yet sophisticated, nostalgic, and accessible.

Steve Swell (b. 1954) has been active on the New York music scene since 1975. He has toured and recorded with mainstream jazz artists including Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich and with avantgardists such as Anthony Braxton, Bill Dixon, Cecil Taylor and William Parker. His reputation, work ethic and commitment to excellence have kept him at the forefront of improvised music, and he has been a leading voice on his instrument for over 20 years. He appears on more than 25 CDs as a leader or co-leader and is a featured artist on more than 90 other releases.

The Mikolaj Trzaska / Steve Swell Duo Tour is presented by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York in association with Zebulon, The Stone, Velvet Lounge, Kerrytown Concert House, Mexicains Sans Frontieres, Bob Shop, Nazareth College in Rochester, and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

[Source: polishculture-nyc.org; Photo credit: Karol Frontschek]

Tonus Vivus 25th Anniversary

TONUS VIVUS – Society for New Music (formerly known as the Edmonton Composers’ Concert Society), is celebrating its Twenty-fifth Anniversary on October 23. Tonus Vivus has more than fifty members across Canada and abroad whose music has been performed on all inhabited continents of the globe. In addition to music by the founding members and other composers, works by Polish composers Jacek Sobieraj—Saw for Electronic Sounds (2009) and Piotr Grella-Mozejko—Silver Wound (2009 – pictured at left) will be featured on the program.

A truly Canadian, multiethnic entity, the Society has always been committed to supporting emerging artists and is proud of its record of launching careers of a considerable number of composers and performers who have already made an indelible mark on Edmonton, Alberta and Canada’s respective cultural maps.

Over the years of its activity, Tonus Vivus has programmed more than a thousand pieces of modern classical music. The Society has collaborated with some of Canada’s and the world’s most eminent soloists and ensembles, such as the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, the Penderecki String Quartet, the Vienna Saxophone Quartet, violist Rivka Golani, pianists Eve Egoyan and Stéphane Lemelin, and many others. Many of these performances have been broadcast nationally and internationally on the CBC and foreign radio stations.

Saturday, 23 October | 8:00 P.M.
Tonus Vivus 25th Anniversary Concert
All SaintsAnglican Cathedral
10035 – 103 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Admission free
Information: visit http://tonusvivus.com or email pgm@tonusvivus.com

[Source: press release]


Ochlewski Competition Results

The winners of the 8th Tadeusz Ochlewski Composition Competition, which is organized by Polish Music Publishers [PWM], were announced on September 1. This year’s Competition was dedicated to Andrzej Krzanowski, a distinguished composer and accordion virtuoso on the twentieth anniversary of his death, and called for compositions featuring accordion solo or accordion and tape. The Competition Jury—Grażyna Krzanowska, Janusz Pater, and Marek Andrysek—examined the 13 compositions submitted and awarded the following prizes.

The Main Prize was given to Magnetismo by Kamil Krzysztof Kosecki (b. 1984). The Honorable Mention Award was given to Trzy impresje [Three Impressions] by Igor Jankowski (b. 1983). The two compositions will be published by PWM and the composers also received cash prizes. Both works were premiered during the Alkagran Festival in Częstochowa-Dziedzice on September 30.

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

Stańczyk’s Success in S.F.

The composition Three Afterimages for Double bass (2008) by Polish composer Marcin Stańczyk was given an honorable mention during the 2010 ISB/David Walter Composition Competition in San Francisco. The competition, which is presented by the International Society of Bassists, attracted 52 participants from 18 countries. The compositions were evaluated by a jury including bassists Robert Black, Gottfried Engels and Garth Stevenson.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Spisak Competition Winners

The final round of the Michał Spisak Competition in Dąbrowa Górnicza was held on September 13. Finalists in three instrumental categories—violin, viola, and cello—were accompanied by the Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Sławomir Chrzanowski. The international Jury, led by Prof. Paweł Głombik from the Szymanowski Music Academy in Katowice, designated the following award-winners.

In the category of Violin Performance:

  • Małgorzata Wasiucionek (First Prize)
  • Maciej Strzelecki (Second Prize)
  • Justyna Pawłowska (Third Prize)
  • Roma Tic (Honorable Mention)

In the Viola Performance category, the winners included:

  • Lee Seungwon (First Prize)
  • Marta Potulska and Katarzyna Budnik-Gałązka (Second Prize, ex-aequo)
  • Paulina Mazurkiewicz (Honorable Mention).

The Cello Performance division had the following winners:

  • Tomasz Daroch (First Prize)
  • Wojciech Fudała (Second Prize)
  • Klara Świdrów and Aleksandra Lelek (Honorable Mentions)

[Source: polmic.pl]

Tomaszewski/Chopin Win Złota Róża

The “Złota Róża” [Golden Rose] Award has been presented to Prof. Mieczysław Tomaszewski for his album Chopin. The award was granted for the fourth time on the initiative of Warsaw’s Science Festival [Festiwal Nauki] and the monthly magazine New Books, with funding from the Science Festival and Poland’s Book Institute [Instytut Książki]. The award was presented on Saturday, September 18 as a part of the Science Festival (Sept. 18-26).

Tomaszewski’s illustrated album introduces the reader to the secrets of the life and works of the greatest Polish composer. The text is complemented by rich illustrations, both archival reproductions and photos, as well as contemporary photographs of places associated with the life of Chopin. The graphic design was prepared by prof. Władysław Pluta. Archival materials were provided by the National Museums in Warsaw, Kraków, and Poznań; the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków; the National Library in Warsaw; the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków; and the Bridgeman Art Library and Tate Gallery in London, among others.

Co-published by PWM and BOSZ, this book is available in the original Polish, as well as English, French, Italian and Spanish.

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

Richter’s Szymanowski – Gramaphone Finalist

BBC Legends: Richter
Szymanowski: Masques Op. 34; Bartók: Hungarian Peasant Songs for piano (15), BB 79, Sz. 71; Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat major, Op. 83; Schubert: Piano Sonata No. 19 in C minor, D958
Sviatoslav Richter, piano
BBC Legends BBCL4265-2

This disc was a finalist in the Historic Archive category of 2010 Gramophone Awards granted by Gramophone Magazine. To see a list of the final awards, announced on October 1, visit www.gramophone.co.uk.

“A much sought-after and rare recital of the great Sviatoslav Richter featuring unusual repertoire – Szymanowski and Bartok… Recorded at a packed Royal Festival Hall In 1970 when Richter was at the height of his powers and fame.” [from Presto Classics, UK Distributors]

“Here is one of those legendary concerts that will have pianophiles slavering at the mouth: a great artist at the height of his powers in a programme that has, as far as I know, not been available before… In the Prokofiev, premiered by Richter himself in 1943, all the anger and despair of the composer is realised with playing of an uninhibited, raw emotion that has rarely been so vividly caught on disc.” [from Gramophone Magazine, March 2010]

[Source: gramophone.co.uk]


Tansman 2010

This year’s International Festival and Competition of Musical Individuality – TANSMAN 2010 [Festiwal i Konkurs Indywidualności Muzycznych] in Łódż, Poland will be held in two sections: October 1-3 and November 14-20.

The formula of the festival originates in the neoclassical heritage introduced by Alexander Tansman, one of the greatest Polish composers of the twentieth century.  In his work, Tansman combined the universal values of humanism with the traditions of many centuries of European music. He found a unique way of expressing those aspects in the modern forms and musical language of the twentieth century. Therefore, the Festival and its competition is a reflection of the dialogue between past and present, as well as a meeting point for different cultures and their aesthetics.

The artistic variety in Tansman’s music exhibits a remarkable journey to the world’s sources of culture and identity. In his music he refers to Greek traditions and to Judeo-Christian roots, in which he recognized his own European heritage, while being open to and influenced by Non-European cultures.

The heart of the Festival is the composer’s competition, and its unique nature has earned the contest worldwide recognition. The primary thrust is the recognition of artistic individuality, regardless of specialty. This allows listeners not only to appreciate the perfection of craftsmanship, but also, and perhaps above all, the composer’s personality and unique voice.

In the jury of the 8th Competition are some of the world’s greatest composers: Zygmunt Krauze – President, Poland, Louis Adriessen – Netherlands, Michael Nyman – UK, Ana Lara – Mexico, Hwang-Long Pan – Taiwan, Aaron Jay Kernis – USA, and Jose Manuel Lopez – Spain. This year, 245 scores submitted anonymously from 50 countries were considered by the jury. The announcement of the winners and presentation of awards will be combined with the world premiere of Chopin / Milton songs, a composition by English minimalist and Competition juror, Michael Nyman. The organizers of the Tansman Festival 2010 commissioned this work, which is inspired by F. Chopin Preludes and J. Milton poetry, as a contribution to the Chopin year.

Finalists thus far in the 2010 Competition are: Stórr by Irene Buckley (Ireland), Un Rêve Long Et Joyeux by Carlo Alessandro Landini (Italy), cvetić, kućica…/la lugubre gondola by Marko Nikodijević (Serbia/Germany), Concerto per mandolino e orchestra by Federico Gardella (Italy), Dusty Rusty Hush by Ondřej Adámek (Czech Rep.)

The Festival will begin again in November with the unique project “Jerusalem,” where musicians from around the world will meet and make music together. EU Ambassadors for Intercultural Dialogue, UNESCO Artists for Peace, and many musicians will come together and call upon the ancient traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The goal is to develop a cross-cultural landscape similar to that of the city of Jerusalem, reflecting the fact that this city is both the site of many holy places as well as the perennial struggle of humanity.

Tansman’s Psalms Concerto also refers to biblical tradition, however the composer treated the construct of a psalm as an objective axiology, not associated with any particular religion but instead pointing to “a moment in history when the moral law was prevalent.” Inspired by this work, the artist Andrew Strumiłło will present a series of paintings entitled Psalms, which will be on display in an accompanying exhibition.

Tansman 2010 – Calendar of Events:

  • 1-3 October: Composers Competition – Qualifier Round
    Music Academy in Łódż
  • 4 October: Chamber Concert of the Jurors
    Silesian Quartet and soloists (Competition jurors)
    National City Museum in Łódż
  • 14 November: Concert – “Jerusalem – City of Heavenly and Earthly Peace”
    Teatr Wielki in Łódż
  • 15 November: Tansmania 2010 Concert
    Beethoven Academy Orchestra, Łukasz Borowicz – cond., Jan Kalinowski – cello, Marek Szlezer – piano, perform 4 works by Tansman
    Łódż Philharmonic
  • 16 November:  Concert: “Bogowie, herosi… i zwykli śmiertelnicy” [Gods, heroes … and mere mortals]The European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO) with conductor Christina Pluhar (Austria) – lute, baroque harpe, theorbe; Tuomo Suni (Finland) – violin; Luciana Mancini (Italy) – mezzo soprano; and Hannah Morrison (UK) – soprano
    Łódż Philharmonic
  • 17 November: Concert: “…gdy prawo moralne było obowiazującym prawem” [.. The moral law was the law]
    Pawel Kotla, cond. and James Oxley (UK) – tenor, perform Tansman’s Psaumes and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms with the Łódż Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir
    National City Museum in Łódż
  • 18 November: Multimedia concert: “Cztery pory roku, cztery pory życia” [Four seasons of the year, four seasons of life]
    Amadeus Orchestra, Agnieszka Duczmal – cond., Janos Balint (Hungary) – flute, and Jarosław Żołnierczyk – violin perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Piazzolla’s Las Cuatro Estaciones Portenas
    Łódż Philharmonic
  • 19 November: Final of the Tansman 2010 Competition
    Part 1 – “Perły jeszcze nie odkryte” [Undiscovered Pearls]: Announcement and concert of the winning compositions

Part 2 – World Premiere of Chopin / Milton songs
Łódż Philharmonic

  • 20 November: Final Finale – “Elegia na umierający las” [Elegy for the Dying Forest]
    A concert inspired by Krzysztof Penderecki’s artistic perception with the focus on the condition of modern culture and civilization
    Church of  St. Matthews in Łódż


Details are available on the Festival website, www.tansman.lodz.pl/festival.php.

[Sources: muzyka.onet.pl; Transl: PDC]

Music At L.A.’s Polish Film Fest

The 11th ½ Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles will take place from October 14-21 in West Hollywood at the Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theatre. Below are some of the musical highlights of this year’s second half of the Festival.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

OPENING NIGHT GALA | 7:00pm Reception, 8:30pm Screening

  • 8:30pm: Screening of All That I Love [Wszystko co kocham], Poland’s official entry into the American Academy Awards, “Foreign Film” category – This film follows four boys in a punk rock band as social and political unrest sweep across Poland and Martial Law is imposed.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

  • 5:00pm: Screening of The Mask [Maska] (2010),  with music by Krzysztof Penderecki

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

  • 7:00pm: Screening of the documentary Tournee (2010) – The main character of this film, pianist and composer Tomasz Stroynowski, organizes music events rural schools with the participation of Polish music stars, including: Leszek Możdżer, Zbigniew Wodecki, Mieczysław Szczesniak, Krzysztof Herdzin, Jacek Krolik, Agnieszka Tomaszewska and Piotr Pławner.
  • 7:00pm: Screening of Chopin 2010 – The Space Concert (2010) – 200 years after Chopin’s birth, the Space Shuttle Endeavour, like a giant piano, took the music of Chopin into orbit.

For a full schedule and to purchase tickets for screenings taking place every day of the week, please visit: www.polishfilmla.org .

October 14-21, 2010
11th ½ Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles
Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theatre
8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046


Warszawska Jesień Finale

This article is based on two review articles written in Polish by Marek Dolewka for the Polish Music Information Centre. Translation by Marek Zebowski.

A great deal of artistry was present during the final concert of the 2010 Warsaw Autumn Festival, held at the Chopin Music University on September 19. This observation was applicable already after listening to Klave by Paweł Mykietyn. The bitter sounds of the harpsichord (played by Elżbieta Chojnacka) joining the sour sounds of the AUKSO Orchestra (directed by Marek Moś) combined to create a flavor that was most enjoyable to a true connoisseur. Such discriminating members of the audience may have also enjoyed Si près, si loin (d’une fantaisie) by Bruno Mantovani, a composition that deserves a “High Voltage” label since the music seemed to be discharging and surging in turns.

Emotional moments were aplenty during two world premieres that touched on matters metaphysical. I nocy już nie będzie [There Will Be No Night] is a place where the essence of music was discovered by Marcin Bortnowski in Prawda [Truth]. In L’ange avec une seule aile—Flute Concerto No. 5 by Ms. Doina Rotaru, the listeners journeyed from darkness to light. The audience’s traversing of the abyss of sound was shepherded by flutist Mario Carolli and gave the listeners at least one wing. Thus, the event could pass without the need for any stimulants.

The 2010 Warsaw Autumn Festival came to a close with two drastically different works, Le Livre de la vie, a magnum opus of the mystical Russian composer, Nicolai Obukhov, and Karkas, by the Dutch composer Cornelis de Bondt. Obukhov wrote his mammoth composition (estimated duration between 12 and 24 hours) for performances during the Easter Vigil and the process of composing it took about a decade, beginning in 1918. The Warsaw Autumn Festival audience however had a chance to hear only about sixty minutes of work’s opening movement, Préface. Its highly chromatic harmonies were carefully interpreted by Sinfonia Varsovia led by Etienne Siebens. Vocal solos by soprano Agata Zubel, Andrew Watts (tenor-countertenor) and Bartosz Urbanowicz were particularly noticeable. As it is, the entire work still awaits its complete performance.

Mr. de Bondt’s Karkas, scored for sextuple winds, two Hammond organs and eight electric guitars was written to embody motion and indeed, each sound of the piece was like a movement of gears that were impossible to stop. The visual backdrop to the piece was provided by a slow-motion film of an exploding piano that was shown in reverse. From the smoke and tiny fragments, the audience gradually saw the old instrument assembled into its original state before the explosion. A palpable sound of relief was heard before the applause broke out—it sounded like the letter “F” for Finale, or the end of the Festival, finally.

[Sources: polmic.pl and polmic.pl]

Kurkowicz At Ogrody Muzyczne

On July 1, Polish violinist Joanna Kurkowicz was a soloist in the Inaugural Concert of the Festival “Ogrody Muzyczne” [Musical Gardens] in Warsaw, Poland in the courtyard of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Entitled “In Homage to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium…,” this concert exhibited one of the Festival’s themes this year: Belgian culture. The other theme was Chopin’s 200th Birthday. Ms. Kurkowicz performed the Violin Concerto No.7 for violin and orchestra by Grażyna Bacewicz with the Juventus Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Belgian conductor Robert Groslot.


Zubel On CD Accord

Poems – Copland, Skriabin, Berg, Szymański
Pawel Szymański (b. 1954): Drei Lieder nach Trakl (2002); Aaron Copland (1900-1990): Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson (1950); Alexander Skriabin (1872-1915): Vers la flamme, Op. 72 (1914); Alban Berg (1885-1935): Sieben frühe Lieder (1905-8)
Agata Zubel (soprano); Marcin Grabosz (piano)
CD Accord ACD149-2

From the CD Accord website:

The CD Poems is yet another challenge testing the flexibility of the singer’s voice, the palette of sound colours and expressive means. It presents three song cycles coming from different periods (the early 20th century, mid-20th-century, and the beginning of the 21st) and different cultural background, invoking three radically dissimilar worlds: Berg’s sublime world still rooted in the late Romantic German Lied; the American landscape of Copland’s songs with echoes of Fanfare for the Common Man, popular song and Emily Dickinson’s feminine voice; and Paweł Szymański’s constructions – soaring high above these two worlds.

These three dimensions of song for voice and piano are also three incarnations of Agata Zubel the singer, in agreement with the text message and the aesthetic aura of the musical settings. Zubel’s voice – unpretentious and playful, girlish, natural in expression in Emily Dickinson’s poems – in Berg’s Lieder becomes melancholy, feminine, much darker and velvety. In Szymański’s songs, it sounds most dreamlike, oneiric and ‘otherworldly’.

From a “Recording of the Month” review by William Hedley on musicweb-international.com:

The recording is magnificently rich and detailed, though I occasionally wish the singer had been brought just a step forward….

Agata Zubel’s was a new name to me, as was that of the pianist, Marcin Grabosz. From the opening notes we are aware that we are in the presence of a player of the very first rank. He is scrupulously attentive both to the detail of the score and to the span of each individual song. He possesses a strong musical personality, yet his playing never overshadows the singer…. [Zubel’s] is a strikingly beautiful voice, with impeccable tuning and just a little of the Slav character that makes so many Polish sopranos compelling as a listening experience….

The recital ends with a real surprise, and though it may seem absurd to say so, the disc is worth buying for Pawel Szymanski’s songs alone….The songs create a hugely powerful atmosphere, with much use of silence…. Much of the atmosphere of the songs comes from the most inventive piano writing, and this is particular true of the startlingly beautiful final song where the nature of the accompaniment is dictated by the reference to “cloister bells” in the text. The doubling of the vocal line in the piano in this song makes one think of the composer’s compatriot, Górecki, but in fact the musical sound-world is much closer to that of Copland, bringing this deeply satisfying recital full circle.

Opium Recording Premiere

Back to Melody – Kilar, Małecki, Czarnecki
Wojciech Kilar: Orawa (arranged for string quartet by Krzysztof Urbański); Maciej Małecki: Polish Suite for string quartet and Andante and Allegro for solo viola and five string instruments; Sławomir Czarnecki: String Quartet No. 2 “Spiś”
Opium Quartet: Dawid Lubowicz – 1st violin, Anna Szalińska – 2nd violin, Magdalena Małecka – viola/viola solo, Olga Łosakiewicz-Marcyniak – cello; Wojciech Walczak (guest performer) –viola; Radosław Nur (guest performer) – double bass
CD Accord ACD 163

This CD is the debut recording of the OPiUM String Quartet and features world premiere recordings of works by Maciej Małecki and Sławomir Czarnecki as well as new string arrangement of an old favorite by Wojciech Kilar, Orawa. This recording was made with the support of Polskie Radio II.

According to the OPiUM Quartet’s website:

OPIUM quartet intends to create an album which would be a return to what is the most beautiful in music – melody. The common link connecting [these] particular pieces would be reference to the Polish tradition in a new, universal frame. The album would evoke echoes of Goral, folk and Jewish music; we would hear the voices of two generations of artists: renowned composers and young performers.

Karłowicz & Kilar On Polskie Nagrania

Mieczysław Karłowicz: Violin Concerto, Op. 8 and Symphonic poem for orchestra “Eternal Songs,” Op. 10; Kilar: Kościelec 1909
Wanda Wiłkomirska, violin; Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra
Polskie Nagrania Muza PNCD 1277

This disc was nominated for a 2010 Fryderyk Award in the “Concert and Symphonic Music” category.

Greilsammer Plays Tansman

Aleksander Tansman: Piano Concerto No. 2 [World Premiere recording]; Nadia Boulanger: Fantaisie variee; George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
David Greilsammer, piano; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France; Steven Sloane, cond.

Naïve Records V5224 (scheduled for release on 4 October 2010)

From UK distributors Presto Classical:

The acclaimed pianist David Greilsammer performs three pieces that celebrate the strong musical ties between Europe and America during the early part of the 20th century. The disc includes Polish-born composer Alexandre Tansman’s Piano Concerto No. 2, receiving its world premiere recording, Gershwin’s ever popular Rhapsody in Blue, and Nadia Boulanger’s rarely played Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra. Steven Sloane conducts the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

[Other sources: classicsonline.com]

Penderecki On Naxos

Penderecki: Credo
Krzysztof Penderecki: Credo; Cantata in honorem Almae Matris Universitatis Iagellonicae sescentos abhinc annos fundatae
Warsaw Philharmonic; Antoni Wit, cond.
Naxos 8.572032

From the Naxos website:

Described by USA Today as ‘one of Penderecki’s most colorful and extroverted [pieces]’, the Credo is a sweeping, lavishly scored and highly Romantic setting of the Catholic profession of faith. Its use of traditional tonality alongside passages of choral speech, ringing brass and exotic percussive effects marks it as a potent Neo-romantic masterpiece. Composed more than 30 years earlier, the short avant garde Cantata recalls the sound world of Ligeti and celebrates the survival, over 600 years, of the [Jagiellonian] University near Kraków.

[Sources: classicsonline.com]

Augustyn Plays Premiere Recording

Michael White: Solo Piano Music
Michael White: Sonatina, Nocturne & Tango, Scenes from a Midsummer Night’s Dream, Partita, Four Fantasies, and Piano Quartet
Mirian Conti (piano), Kinga Augustyn (violin), Wei-Yang Andy Lin (viola), Andrew Janss (cello)
Albany Records (Amazon.com)

Although most of the recordings on this CD are of music for solo piano, the final piece is for piano quintet and features up-and-coming Polish violinist Kinga Augustyn (pictured at right). Augustyn and White are both at the Juilliard School of Music

Michael White was born in Chicago and received his musical education at The Juilliard School, where he studied with Peter Mennin and Vincent Persichetti. He has composed music in virtually every medium, with an emphasis on vocal works. One of his operas, Diary of a Madwoman, was commissioned and premiered in Riga, Latvia, and another, The Dybbuk, had its premiere at the World’s Fair in Seattle, Washington. A third opera, The Metamorphosis, had its first performance at the Theater of Living Arts in Philadelphia. Mr. White has also written a children’s opera based on the stories of Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass. His other compositions include a large number of chamber works, song cycles, and the recent Concerto for Viola. He has received multiple awards and grants for his compositions, including three Ford Foundation Fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship; grants have come from the Soros Foundation, the Fels Foundation, the Arts Councils of New York and Pennsylvania, ASCAP, the Oberlin Conservatory, and UNESCO. [Biography excerpted from www.wintergreenperformingarts.org]

Herdzin Contemporary Music Recording

Hymn to Saint Albert Chmielowski; Concertino for Piano and Orchestra; Narration for Alto Sax and Orchestra; two movements from the Winter Sketches (“Snowflakes” and “Penguins’ Circus”), Consolation for tenor sax and orchestra, and Hopin’ for Somethin’ for tenor sax and orchestra
Krzysztof Herdzin – composer, conductor; Waldemar Malicki – piano; Jacek Kotlarski – vocal; Piotr Baron – tenor sax; Jerzy Glowczewski – alto sax
Universal Music/Poland 0602527535838

With this new album Krzysztof Herdzin, a well-known pianist and jazz composer who celebrates his 40th birthday this year, provides his audience with a new face as a composer of contemporary music. One can also easily identify echoes of Russian symphonic tradition, kinship with Mieczysław Karłowicz or Karol Szymanowski, similarities to film music, or delicately jazzy feelings in certain shadings of harmonies and rhythmic features. Yet, according to Maciej Karłowski who provided liner notes for the recording, Herdzin infuses his personal expression with both the musical tradition and his own musical experience, and this is the most important trait of this disc… regardless of performer, Herdzin’s music speaks with his own unique voice.

[Source: polmic.pl; Transl: MZ]


Born This Month

  • 3 October 1882 – Karol SZYMANOWSKI, composer, pianist, (d. 29 March 1937)
  • 3 October 1923 – Stanislaw SKROWACZEWSKI, composer and conductor
  • 4 October 1910 – Eugenia UMINSKA, violinist
  • 6 October 1885 – Karol STROMENGER, teacher, composer, publicist, music critic (d. 1975)
  • 9 October 1924 – Regina SMENDZIANKA, pianist
  • 10 October 1910 – Henryk SWOLKIEN, music critic, composer
  • 14 October 1910 – Lech MIKLASZEWSKI, children’s song writer, author of popular radio music shows for children, music publicist (d. 1992)
  • 16 October 1867 – Ferdynand HOESICK, music critic, publisher (d. 13 April 1941)
  • 18 October 1879 – Grzegorz FITELBERG, conductor, violinist, composer (d. 10 June 1953)
  • 20 October 1819 – Karol MIKULI, pianist, composer, conductor, Chopin’s student (d. 21 May 1897)
  • 20 October 1935 – Henryk SWOLKIEN, composer, publicist, music promoter (d. 1990)
  • 25 October 1868 – Michal SWIERZYNSKI, composer, conductor (d. 30 June 1957)
  • 30 October 1904 – Alfred GRADSTEIN, composer, activist (d. 29 September 1954)


Died This Month

  • 1 October 1990 – Andrzej KRZANOWSKI, composer, accordion player (b. 1951)
  • 1 October 1861 – Tekla Justyna KRZYZANOWSKA, pianist, Chopin’s mother (b. September 1780)
  • 7 October 1854 – Adolf CICHOWSKI, Chopin’s friend, officer and civil servant (b.1794)
  • 17 October 1849 – Fryderyk CHOPIN, composer and pianist (b. 1 March (also listed as February 22) 1810)
  • 17 October 1938 – Aleksander MICHALOWSKI, pianist, composer, Tausig’s student (b. 5 May 1851)
  • 18 October 1962 – Maria SZCZEPANSKA, musicologist (b. 13 May 1902)
  • 21 October 1837 – Michal Józef GUZIKOW, folk musician (b. 1806)
  • 27 October 1991 – Andrzej PANUFNIK, composer and conductor (b. 24 September 1914)
  • 30 October 1912 – Jan Karol GALL, composer and conductor (b. 18 August 1856)
  • 31 October 1952 – Adolf CHYBINSKI, musicologist (b. 29 April 1880)