Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 18, no. 10
2012 Paderewski Lecture-Recital
On October 14, the 2012 Paderewski Lecture-Recital will celebrate 75th anniversary of Karol Szymanowski’s death with a lecture exploring his repertoire for violin, and a recital spanning the range of his many stylistic changes as displayed by his music for voice and piano. Join lecturer Maestro Grzegorz Nowak, Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic, as well as Los Angeles favorites Mark Robson, piano and Timur Bekbosunov, tenor, for this free event at USC.
Sunday, October 14, 2012 | 4:00 p.m.
2012 Paderewski Lecture-Recital
Venue: Alfred Newman Lecture Hall, USC (map)
Address: 3616 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA
Parking: $10, in Parking Structure X (PSX) – enter Gate #3 on McCarthy Way & Figueroa St.
More info: 213.821.1356, email@example.com, or www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/pmcevents/paderewski2012.html
Polish Music on the Move!
For the last four weeks of summer, works by several Polish composers resonated across Europe. Cellist Lars Hoefs—a USC Thornton School of Music graduate and an honorary ambassador of Polish music since 2006—and PMC Director and pianist Marek Żebrowski, presented works by Paderewski, Stojowski and Chopin to audiences in France, Italy, the Ukraine and Poland.
Their first performance was on August 25 at the XII International Music Festival in Catalonia, held in Céret, France, a charming town near the Spanish border. Organized and run by Céret’s most famous resident, Polish composer Joanna Bruzdowicz (pictured left at the PMC in March 2012), this year’s Festival presented programs under the title “Autour du Piano, Instrument/Orchestre,” spotlighting the role of piano as a solo and chamber music partner that occasionally takes the role of the orchestra. Most concerts of this ten-day long Festival were held at the historic St. Pierre Church, with additional events scheduled at the Dali Bar and at Place Pablo Picasso. Hoefs and Żebrowski presented a program of works by Schumann, de Falla, Korngold, Paderewski, Stojowski and Chopin. Other artists on the schedule included Francois Michel Rignol, Ari Hantke, Pierre Leberger, and the Kessner Duo. Flutist Daniel Kessner and his pianist wife, Dolly, presented a program of works by Debussy, Rigaud, Kessner and Bruzdowicz on their August 31 recital.
The next performance of the Hoefs-Żebrowski duo was held on August 30 at Villa La Selva (pictured above), an exclusive residence surrounded by Tuscan vineyards, about 30 miles east of Siena, Italy. The program for this occasion emphasized romantic music and opened with Stojowski’s Romance sans paroles. Paderewski’s Nocturne, Chant d’amour, Mélodie and Krakowiak continued the concert’s intimate theme. Works by Korngold and de Falla followed and the recital ended with Chopin’s brilliant Polonaise, Op. 3 for cello and piano.
A few days later, Hoefs and Żebrowski landed in Kiev, the capital city of the Ukraine. They were met there by a music school delegation from the town of Khmilnyk, located about 150 miles west of Kiev. Paderewski was born near Khmilnyk over 150 years ago and, since 2011, town officials and piano students have participated in musical exchange programs with the Paderewski Centre in Kąśna Dolna and the Province of Tarnów in Poland.
From September 3rd until the 6th, the two visiting artists held workshops for pianists and string players at the Khmilnyk Music School. Their residence culminated in a joint concert on September 6, featuring the local piano students and visiting artists. Works by Paderewski, whose memory and legacy are a point of pride in this Ukrainian town, and those of Stojowski—Paderewski’s close friend—had opened the concert. After the Chopin’s Polonaise ended the concert, responding to popular demand, Lars Hoefs donned a beautifully embroidered Ukrainian shirt and performed a traditional folk tune with the music school director, Valentina Vasilyevna, and her colleague playing the Ukranian national instrument, the bandura. Hear the performance, and the enthusiastic audience response, at www.youtube.com.
It was a rousing finale for a concert attended by city officials, local clergy, music teachers, parents of local students, and by a delegation from the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Vinnitsa, headed by Consul Edyta Niedźwiedzka (below, 2nd from left).
The Polish Consulate in Vinnitsa, headed by Consul Krzysztof Świderek, organized a concert for Mr. Hoefs and Mr. Żebrowski in the Ukrainian town of Zhitomir on September 8. Paderewski’s father spent the last few decades of his life here and, together with his second wife and Paderewski’s stepsister, is buried at the local cemetery. The cello and piano program of European and Polish music attracted many listeners from the local music school as well as a group of Polonia domiciled there. City officials were also on hand to greet the visiting musicians and welcome them with commemorative gifts that added to a pile of presents received in Khmilnyk from the mayor, music school director, and from Consul Niedźwiedzka. Portions of the Zhitomir performance can be seen at www.youtube.com.
The City of Khmilnyk provided transport for Mr. Hoefs, his cello, and Mr. Żebrowski. As the sun was setting after over seven eventful hours on the road, the two musicians arrived in the beautiful city of Lviv. The Consulate of the Republic of Poland there organized the September 11 concert at the Lviv Philharmonic. Posters for a “Virtuoso Evening” posted all over historic downtown Lviv brought a good audience who seemed to truly enjoy Korngold’s sweeping Concerto, Op. 37 as well as the second half of the evening devoted to music by Stojowski, Paderewski and Chopin. Their performance of Stojowski’s Concertstück can be viewed at www.youtube.com.
The next morning the musicians were received by the Consul General and Deputy Chief of Mission, Jarosław Drozd at the brand new headquarters of the Polish Consulate in Lviv. In a wonderful and much appreciated gesture, the Consulate provided a car and driver that took the two artists to Przemyśl in Poland.
The first stop in Poland was Kąśna Dolna, Paderewski’s manor house and the site of annual concerts and master classes organized by the Paderewski Centre and the Province of Tarnów for the Tarnów-Paso Robles Youth Exchange program. Żebrowski participated in a press conference in Tarnów on September 13 and described the details of the trip that will be taken by three young pianists from Tarnów to California in November. This year’s exchange program will present the young Polish musicians in two concerts during the 2012 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles.
Marek Żebrowski then travelled to the famous ski resort town of Zakopane in Poland’s Tatra Mountains to open the Muzyka na Szczytach [Music on the Heights] Festival with a solo recital program of works by Bach-Busoni, Mozart and Chopin (see more details in the “Festivals” section below). Held in the City Art Gallery, Mr. Żebrowski’s September 15 recital coincided with the art exhibit opening featuring the latest paintings by a famous Polish film director, Jerzy Skolimowski.
Lars Hoefs and Marek Żebrowski were next featured in a September 17 concert opening the Literary Autumn Festival at the manor house in Kąśna Dolna. Performing works by Paderewski in his home is always a special experience and the moment was captured on video and posted online at www.youtube.com.
The final concert of the tour was held on September 21 at the Church of the Holy Cross in Zakopane, again as a part of the Muzyka na Szczytach Festival. The Hoefs-Żebrowski duo’s program here was devoted exclusively to Polish composers. Besides Stojowski’s Romance sans paroles, his Concertstück, Op. 31—an ambitious and virtuosic but rarely performed work—added to the offering of Paderewski’s piano miniatures (transcribed for the duet by Mr. Żebrowski) and the ever-effective Polonaise, Op. 3 that closed the program. The event was live-casted on the Web and warmly received by the enthusiastic Festival audience.
Paderewski’s Magic Touch: Highlights Of The 2012 Festival In Paso Robles
By Marek Żebrowski
Ignacy Jan Paderewski and his legacy of music, diplomacy, high politics and unprecedented humanitarian initiatives seem to inspire all of those who are introduced to this remarkable man. His world tours always included the United States, a country whose democratic ideals and hospitality impressed him, and he became very fond of Paso Robles, a charming small town on California’s Central Coast. During the years 1914-1939 Paderewski visited Paso on many occasions and, in addition to using the famous hot springs, he made large land investments and became one of California’s pioneers in almond cultivation and winemaking.
For most of the past twenty years there has been a Paderewski Festival held annually in Paso Robles. Founded by Virginia Peterson and Barbara Partridge in 1991, the first Festival was actually held in 1993. The event prospered for about a decade, until an earthquake and the death of one of the organizers temporarily halted this annual celebration and homage to Paso’s most illustrious citizen.
The Paderewski Festival was restarted in 2006 and, thanks to enthusiastic support from the local community, an excellent and dedicated board of directors in wide-ranging cooperation with the Polish Music Center at USC, and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, it continues to grow and prosper.
Starting as just a one-day, one-concert affair in 2006—called the “Paderewski Reprise”—the Festival is now a four-day feast of music, history, patriotic celebrations, lectures, exhibits, and more. A new and exciting dimension was added in 2008 when a cultural cooperation agreement between the Province of Tarnów and the City of Paso Robles was signed. As a result, a group of young Central Coast pianists travelled to Poland in 2009 and 2011 to perform at Paderewski’s former manor house in Kąśna Dolna and at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. They also participated in a week-long series of workshops and master classes at the manor house with their young counterparts from the music school in Tarnów. During the 2011 exchange program, young musicians from California and Poland were joined by two young pianists from Khmilnyk. Once a province of Poland and now part of the Ukraine, it was Paderewski’s homeland: he was born in Kuryłówka, a small hamlet about 12 miles from Khmilnyk.
In 2010 the Festival hosted two young pianists from Poland but this year, three young musicians from Tarnów will come to Paso and perform during the Festival. Held at the Cass Winery on Thursday, November 8 at noon, the Festival Teaser Concert will introduce Ula Barnaś, Robert Maciejowski, and Marcin Krysa to the American public as they perform pieces by Chopin, Paderewski and others. Their second recital of larger works for solo piano—held in conjunction with a lecture and luncheon at the Halter Ranch on Sunday, November 11 at 11 a.m.—will close the Festival with a celebration of Poland’s Independence Day.
11 o’clock on November 11 commemorates a milestone of world history since, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the ceasefire ending World War I was signed. This was also an hour of triumph for Paderewski, whose skillful diplomacy and effective advocacy on behalf of Poland’s independence finally bore fruit. Paderewski’s influence on President Wilson and his contributions to the US plan for rebuilding the political map of Europe led to the reinstatement of Poland after 123 years of partitions.
In addition to the concerts by world-renowned artists, lectures, exhibits and other attractions that usually grace the roster of the Paderewski Festival in Paso, this year will also feature the unveiling of a Paderewski monument right in the center of town. Paso’s citizenry, city and county officials, generous Festival sponsors and numerous friends have successfully rallied to commemorate and honor Paderewski by erecting a statue in the City Park. It will be unveiled in the presence of an official delegation from Tarnów and Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage, is also expected to join the ceremony scheduled for Saturday, November 10 at 12:30 p.m.
Over seventy years have passed since Paderewski’s death in New York City. Yet, his magic touch—as a pianist, politician, and humanitarian—continues to motivate successive generations of people who see his exemplary life as an inspiration for continuing his mission of goodwill to mankind. As the City of Paso Robles prepares to celebrate Paderewski and Poland’s Independence Day, let us reflect on how this extraordinary man continues to bring together the citizens of many diverse countries and cultures and how we might continue his mission today.
The 2012 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles begins on Thursday, November 8 and runs through Sunday, November 11. More information on the schedule, concert programs, tickets, and other attractions can be found on the Festival website: www.paderewskifest.com or by contacting the Festival by phone: (805) 769-4622, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail: P.O. Box 272, Paso Robles, CA 93447.
Lukaszewski Premiere In Szczecin
The World Premiere of Advent Music, a new work for string orchestra by Paweł Łukaszewski, was given at the hall of the Mieczysław Karłowicz Philharmonic in Szczecin on September 29. The event celebrated the inauguration of the 2012/2013 artistic season of the Baltic Neopolis Orchestra (pictured above), the dedicatee of the work.
The music of another young Polish composer, Mikołaj Górecki, was also featured at the concert, which was performed by violinist Tomasz Tomaszewski and the Baltic Neopolis Orchestra. The program of the evening was comprised of two works by Górecki: Concerto Notturno for violin and string orchestra and Divertimento, as well as four works by Łukaszewski: Sinfonietta, Adagietto, Divertimento, and Advent Music.
Warsaw Philharmonic – 2012 Us Tour
“The rich, handsomely blended sound of the Warsaw strings… Mr. Wit affectionately molded and shaped phrases.” — New York Times, 2008
“Ms. Avdeeva… performed with the requisite technique here, blending a muscular approach with an ability to tease out Chopin’s singing lines expressively. — New York Times, 2011
The Warsaw Philharmonic and Maestro Antoni Wit will present a17-concert US tour that begins on October 19th in Worcester, MA and ends in San Francisco on November 12th. The orchestra will be joined by 25-year-old Yulianna Avdeeva, the 2010 winner of the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Competition in Warsaw. The first woman to win this competition in 45 years, she was also awarded the Krystian Zimmerman Prize for the best sonata performance.
The program of the concerts on this tour will contain some combination of the following works—Lutosławski: Little Suite; Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2, op. 21, F Minor; Dvorak: Symphony No. 8, op. 88, G Major; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73 “Emperor”; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 “Pathétique”; Brahms: Symphony No. 2, op. 73, D major.
The 2012 US tour schedule is as follows:
Oct 20, 8 pm – Greenvale, NY
Tilles Center Concert Hall
20 Northern Boulevard
Greenvale, NY 11548
Oct 21, 3 pm – New Brunswick, NJ
State Theater Regional Arts Center at New Brunswick
15 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Oct 22, 7:30 pm – Amherst, MA(pre-concert Talk 6:30 pm)
Fine Arts Center Concert Hall – University Of Massachusetts
151 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
Oct 23, 7:30 pm – Storrs, CT
Jorgensen Auditorium – University of Connecticut
2132 Hillside Road
Storrs, CT 06269
Oct 25, 7:30 pm – Annapolis, MD
Alumni Hall – United States Naval Academy
Annapolis, MD 21402
Oct 27, 8 pm – Lansdale, PA
North Penn High School
1340 Valley Forge Road
Lansdale, PA 19446
Oct 28, 3 pm – Purchase, NY
The Performing Arts Center – Purchase College
735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
Oct 29, 7:30pm – Troy, NY
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
32 Second Street
Troy, NY 12180-3920
Nov 1, 8 pm – Athens, GA
Hugh Hodgson Hall
230 River Rd.,
Athens, GA 30602
Nov 2, 8 pm – Atlanta, GA
Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Cherry Logan Emerson Concert Hall
1700 North Decatur Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
Nov 3, 7 pm – Charleston, SC
Sottile Theater – College of Charleston
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Nov 4, 7:30 pm – Gainesville, FL
Curtis M. Phillips Arts Center, Mainstage
315 Hull Road
Gainesville, FL 32611
Nov 7, 8 pm – Aliso Viejo, CA
Soka Performing Arts Center – Soka University
1 University Drive
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
Nov 8, 8 pm – Northridge, CA
Valley Performing Arts Center, Great Hall
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330
Nov 11, 7 pm – San Francisco, CA
Davies Symphony Hall
Grove Street at Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Nov 12, 7 pm – San Francisco, CA
Davies Symphony Hall
Grove Street at Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
More about the artists:
When the Warsaw Philharmonic gave its inaugural concert in 1901, the soloist was the world famous pianist, composer, and future statesman, Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Over the years the orchestra has attracted such guest performers as Kurt Masur, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lang Lang, Maurizio Pollini, Arthur Rubinstein, and Igor Stravinsky. The Warsaw Philharmonic has performed in the major concert halls and festivals of five continents, winning worldwide appreciation and popularity. The recording achievements of the orchestra under the baton of Antoni Wit have garnered many prestigious awards, including several Grammy nominations as well as Fryderyk Awards given by the Polish Phonographic Academy.
Antoni Wit has been the managing and artistic director of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir since January 2002. One of Poland’s most highly regarded Polish conductors, he has performed in nearly all the major world musical centers, conducting such leading symphony orchestras as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Dresden, Philharmonia, BBC London, and many others. Maestro Wit has made over 180 recordings, his collaboration with Naxos resulting in the release of over 50 discs of Polish music. He is one of the few artists in the world whose CDs have sold over three million copies.
Following her sensational win of the First Prize at the 2010 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, Yulianna Avdeeva has given debut performances with the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert in Warsaw and New York, and with the NHK Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit in Tokyo. Yulianna Avdeevas repertoire spans a wide range of music from Bach to the 20th century. She has earned prizes at many international competitions including the Bremen Piano Contest 2003, the Concours de Genève 2006, and the Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Poland.
Above: Avdeeva performing with Antoni Wit and the Warsaw Philharmonic
during the final round of the 2010 International Fryderyk Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
[Photo source: usa.yamaha.com]
New Serocki Website
A new website featuring composer Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981) has been launched at www.polmic.ncse.pl. This is first view of its kind, especially in English, into the mysterious world of this elusive yet prolific composer. It is an unparalleled collection of historical information, reviews, personal recollections, musical analysis and images. Conception and coordination of this immense project was carried out by: Beata Bolesławska-Lewandowska, Iwona Lindstedt, and Grażyna Walczak.
A joint effort between the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) and the Polish Music Information Centre in Warsaw (Polmic), this website project was supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Adam Mickiewicz Institute and Polska Music, PWM Edition, Institute of Music and Dance, University of Warsaw Library, G. Ricordi & Co., and Polish Radio and TV.
Paderewski In Chicago
The lecture “Ignacy Jan Paderewski: Artist, Statesman, Humanitarian. The Chicago Connection” will be presented by Victoria Granacki on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7 pm at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago. There will be tours of the Museum’s Paderewski Room prior to and after the lecture as well as light refreshments.
Over a musical career that spanned six decades and covered every continent, Ignacy Jan Paderewski gave more than 1500 performances in 200 US cities. Of these, 65 were in Chicago, in all the city’s major concert halls. He was hosted by Conductor Theodore Thomas and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s founders and supporters, and dined in the homes of the city’s elite. From his first American Tour in 1892 until his final concert in 1939 there was a special place in his heart for Chicago He said it was Chicago that “impressed me more than any other city in America.” The unbridled enthusiasm of its audiences lifted his spirit and inspired his performances.
During World War I Paderewski’s war relief efforts led him to America on a “begging tour” which raised $50 million for Polish war victims. From 1915 through 1918, he gave 340 speeches, often paired with a piano recital. Of these, four major political addresses were in Chicago – at the Humboldt Park boathouse, the Auditorium Theater, the International Amphitheater, and the Coliseum, and he appeared in Polonia’s major churches and organizational headquarters. In 1932 Mayor Anton Cermak made Paderewski an “Honorary Citizen of Chicago” and he was feted at hotels and private homes throughout the city. Upon his death in New York in 1941, memorial services were held in Chicago at St. Stanislaus Kostka, the Civic Opera House and at Soldier Field. Paderewski’s personal effects were donated to the Polish Museum in Chicago which remains the single most important repository.
“Paderewski – the Chicago Connection” traces the steps of this great Polish hero throughout Chicago, a city that worshipped him. It identifies the Chicagoans he knew and the buildings and sites where he appeared. This presentation is a tribute to Ignacy Jan Paderewski—artist, statesman, and undying champion of Polish freedom—and the mark he made on Chicago, a city he loved.
Victoria Granacki is president of Granacki Historic Consultants, a historic preservation consulting firm located in Chicago that serves local governments, real estate developers, and private property owners. As part of her work she has written many architectural and community histories for Chicago and its suburbs and prepared landmark nominations for a wide variety of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. She is the author of Chicago’s Polish Downtown, published by Arcadia Press in 2004 and reprinted several times. Her article, “Ignacy Jan Paderewski – a Pianist and His Passion for Poland Come to Chicago” was published this year in the Journal of Illinois History.
Ms. Granacki has taught Introduction to Historic Preservation at Northwestern University and is a guest lecturer for the Historic Preservation program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has given presentations on historic preservation at the Illinois Statewide Preservation Conference, Landmarks Illinois, the Glessner House Museum, and for many Chicago neighborhood organizations and suburban communities. Ms. Granacki holds a BA in Art from Mundelein College (Loyola University) in Chicago, and an MS in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI.
Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7 pm
“Ignacy Jan Paderewski: Artist, Statesman, Humanitarian” – Victoria Granacki
Polish Museum of America – Sabina P. Logisz Great Hall
984 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642
$5.00 donation requested to help defray the costs of light refreshments
Polish Film Festival in L.A.
Every day from October 9-18, 2012, the annual Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles presents a packed schedule of incredible films. As in previous years, music by some of the world’s greatest composers and performers will be featured in the films. Over the course of the nine day Festival, some of the composers that audience will hear include Paweł Mykietyn (ELLES – 10/14 @ 7pm), Frederic Chopin (THE FLYING MACHINE – 10/14 @ 3pm, and THE CONTEST – 10/18 @ 5pm), Grzegorz Wos (4:13 TO KATOWICE – 10/15 @ 10pm), Michał Lorenc (WE WILL BE HAPPY ONE DAY – 10/16 @ 7pm), and Mikołaj Trzaska (ROSA – 10/18 @ 9pm).
The Flying Machine is a 3D live action/animation family feature film about a stressed out business-woman, Georgie (played by Heather Graham), who takes her two children to see the animation film ‘Magic Piano’, which is being performed live by world famous pianist Lang Lang. A magical event occurs and Georgie’s kids get transported inside the animation world, and Georgie has to pursue them, with a little help from Maestro Lang Lang. The “Magic Piano” which is a stop-motion animation tells a story of Anna, a girl whose dad had to leave Poland to work in London. Anna and her cousin Chip Chip find a broken piano which magically transforms into a flying machine and takes them across the Europe. The girl hopes to meet her longing dad. Watch an extended trailer at www.youtube.com.
The Contest is a documentary observation made during the 2010 Preliminaries of the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. It pictures the world of contestants’ inner deliberations and emotions. The documentary also questions the point of competition in art, which is tend to be judged in the same category as sport, and at the same time deprived of its main features such as intimacy, independence and individuality.
For details on films and other events, visit www.polishfilmla.org. Most screenings take place at Laemmle’s NoHo 7 Theatre – 5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, 91601 (310-478-3836). Parking available at “5250 Parking” or Go Metro!
Olejniczak Performs Chopin, Szymanowski In Łódź
“I am not suited for concert giving; the public intimidates me; their looks, only stimulated by curiosity, paralyze me; their strange faces oppress me; their breath stifles me” – Chopin
Frederic Chopin was said to have made the above remarks after one of his performances. Although these words paint a very dramatic picture of what he felt during public concerts, from the outside the situation was not so gloomy. Just the opposite! Chopin was the idol of salons and his virtuosity impressed even the greatest pianists of his time. Still, only he knew what was going on in his head… Today, listening to his works may be compared to riding a rollercoaster – his pieces carry away the listener’s imagination and completely captivate his attention, whether he hears them for the first or hundredth time. They never fail to amaze and intrigue audiences.
The performer is one of the most eminent pianists and performers of Chopin’s music of our time, Janusz Olejniczak, who won the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1970, being the youngest entrant. The program of his recital includes Chopin’s Scherzo b-minor op. 31 as well as polonaises, mazurkas, nocturnes; Szymanowski’s Maski op. 50, no. 1 and 2; and Debussy’s Bruyères, Ondine, Feux d’artifice, and L’îsle joyeuse. The concert will be held on October 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra in Łódź, Poland.
Mor’s Letter To Warsaw
On October 10th, the Seattle Art Museum launches “Elles,” a landmark exhibition organized by the Centre Pompidou in Paris that explores how pioneering women artists have helped shape the major movements of modern and contemporary art. The musical program, presented by Music of Remembrance, features the composition Letter to Warsaw—a musical portrait of one woman’s intimate first-hand account of life in the grip of the Holocaust. American composer Thomas Pasatieri’s powerful song cycle sets six texts that poet/cabaret artist Pola Braun wrote while in the Warsaw ghetto and in the Majdanek concentration camp, where she perished in 1943. It opens a window to the emotional life of all women trapped in the web of Holocaust tragedy, and tells a story reminding us that each victim of the Holocaust was an individual, not a statistic. For this performance MOR musicians, led by conductor Gerard Schwarz, are joined by soprano Jane Eaglen. This same ensemble also performed the premiere recording of this piece for Naxos American Classics (8.559219). Letter to Warsaw is dedicated to Music of Remembrance’s founder and artistic director, Mina Miller.
Also on MOR’s October 10th program is Szymon Laks’s String Quartet No. 3. Premiered in 1945, his String Quartet No. 3 was the first composition Laks completed after liberation from Auschwitz, and it returns to folk and dance elements of regions in his native Poland. Instrumental parts for this performance were made possible by use of the original manuscript, which is held in the Manuscript Collection of the Polish Music Center at USC.
The performance is part of the Sparks of Glory educational series. Since 2005-06, this outreach series has combined free public concerts with commentary by MOR Artistic Director Mina Miller, reaching beyond the concert hall through performance residencies around Seattle, and in-school visits to high schools and colleges.
Saturday, October 20, 2012 | 2:00pm
MOR presents Letter to Warsaw
Seattle Art Museum
[Sources: press release, musicofremembrance.org]
Grzybowski US Tour
“He is the greatest pianist I have heard in my life. (…) He breathes the music and brings out character no one else has found in it. (…)”
— Walter Arlen, long-time critic of the Los Angeles Times
Pianist Maciej Grzybowski, one of the most eminent Polish pianists, will visit the US in October for his 2nd tour. His recital program will include music of Paweł Mykietyn (b. 1971) – Four preludes (1992); Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994) – Twelve folk melodies (1945); Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) – Three Intermezzos op. 117; Paweł Szymański (b. 1954) – Two etudes (1986); Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) – Metopy op. 29; Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) – Mazurkas, Claude Debussy (1862-1918) – Preludes from Vol. II, Glenn Gould (1932-1982) – Two pieces (1950) and Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) – Valses nobles et sentimentales (1911).
Born in Warsaw, Poland, Maciej Grzybowski began his professional artistic career in 1990, and since then has performed solo and in chamber groups with Dorota Anderszewska, Urszula Kryger, Olga Pasiecznik, Jadwiga Rappé, Jerzy Artysz, Andrzej Bauer, Jonathan Del Mar, Jakub Jakowicz, Jacek Kaspszyk, Adam Klocek, Adam Kruszewski, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Wojciech Michniewski, Ivan Monighetti, Janusz Olejniczak, Paweł Mykietyn, Wojciech Rajski, Håkan Rosengren and with the Camerata Quartet, the Silesian Quartet, the Royal String Quartet, the AUKSO Orchestra, the Leopoldinum Orchestra, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, the Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra and the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. His debut CD release in 2004 on Universal Music Polska featured interpretations of works by Bach, Berg, Mykietyn, Schönberg, and Szymański. His second solo release in 2006 on EMI Classics features the works of Paweł Szymański.
Maciej Grzybowski’s tour dates include:
October 12 at 8:00 PM – Seattle, WA
Poncho Concert Hall (Cornish College of the Arts)
710 E. Roy St., Seattle, WA 98102
October 18 at 7:00 PM – Polish Club of Denver, CO
3 Community Park Road Broomfield, CO 80020
Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm – Polish Cultural Foundation of Boston
John Paul II Hall, Parish Center of Our Lady of Częstochowa
655 Dorchester Ave., So Boston, MA
Sunday, October 28, 5:00 pm – Polish Cultural Council of Pittsburgh
Frick Fine Arts Auditorium
Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA15213
[Source: press release]
Kijanowska Celebrates Szymanowski
Following recent performances and lectures on Szymanowskis music at the Central Conservatory in Beijing and Budapest Conservatory (May 2012) as well as Universities in Inner Mongolia and St. Martin in the Fields in London, pianist Anna Kijanowska continues to celebrate Karol Szymanowski’s anniversary year with events in the US. She will perform her program entitled “Homage to Karol Szymanowski” at several upcoming recitals, with works by Szymanowski, Frédéric Chopin, Grażyna Bacewicz, and Lei Liang.
Hailed by The New York Times (2007) as “An excellent young Polish pianist,” Anna Kijanowska (key-en-OFF-ska) has established herself as amulti-faceted musician, smoothly transitioning among her roles as a performing and recording artist, pedagogue, coach, and advocate of contemporary classical music around the world. She has performed, taught and collaborated in North and South America, Asia, Europe, New Zealand, Africa and Australia.
Kijanowska’s recording of The Complete Mazurkas by Szymanowski (Dux) was recently praised by Adrian Corleonis of Fanfare Magazine “as superior to any other interpretations that came before or after her” and received favorable reviews on both sides of the Atlantic from the New York Times and BBC Magazine. Mr. Muse of the Classik Reviews called the performance a “revelation,” while Mr. Leonard of All Music Guide noted, “Kijanowska’s performances are amazingly virtuosic, astonishingly charismatic, astoundingly empathic and completely compelling.”
Ms. Kijanowska began her musical education in Poland and she was awarded a scholarship in 1996 to study with Dr. Madeleine Forte in New York. She holds a Doctorate in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, where she studied with Byron Janis. Ms. Kijanowska is currently on the faculty of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia and is a former faculty member of the Richmond University, University of Virginia in Charlottesville and University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
Sunday, October 7 at 4:00 p.m.
“Homage to Karol Szymanowski ” at Yale University
Sudler Recital Hall, William Harkness Hall, 100 Wall St.
Saturday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m.
“Homage to Karol Szymanowski ” at CSU Northridge
Valley Performing Arts Center – Cypress Recital Hall
Cal State University, Northridge
Tickets: $10 / $7 / $5
Sunday, October 28th at 3 p.m.
“Homage to Karol Szymanowski ” at the Kosziuszko Foundation
15 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065
Tickets: $20/$15 KF Members and students
Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m.
“Homage to Karol Szymanowski ” at the University of Richmond
Modlin Center for the Arts, Camp Concert Hall, Booker Hall of Music
University of Richmond, 28 Westhampton Way, VA 23173
[Source: press release]
Grubba US Tour
Organist Gedymin Grubba is touring the United States with concerts of various programs in October. Born in 1981 in northern Poland, Grubba is an organist, a composer, a conductor and a manager of culture. In 2006 he graduated from the Stanisław Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdańsk, where he studied organ with Roman Perucki and composition with Eugeniusz Głowski. Since 2003 he has been the Chairman of the Promotion of Art Gabriel Fauré Foundation in Gdańsk, which organizes about forty concerts a year, including The International Festival of Organ Music in the Pelplin Cathedral. The Festival is one of the most significant events of that kind in Poland.
Gedymin Grubba has taken part in numerous master classes in Europe and, since 1996, he performs in over fifty concerts in different cities all over the world every year. During the 15 years of his artistic work (1996-2011), he has given over 500 concerts as a soloist, a chamber music player and a conducto, and also regularly gives demonstrations of the world famous organ in the Cathedral in Oliwa. He is a laureate of many organ and composition competitions, and has himself served as adjudicator for organ competitions as well.
In 2009 Grubba was rewarded for his cultural activities with the prestigious “Mestwin” award. He is a member of the Polish Composers’ Union Youth Circle. He has made several recordings for the Polish and European radio and TV (also as a conductor) and solo CD recordings (14 CDs).
Below is his 2012 US tour schedule:
- 5 October 2012, 12.15 p.m. – Washington, DC
National City Christian Church
- 7 October 2012, 1 p.m. – Boston, MA
Arlington Street Church
Service & concert
- 8 October 2012, 7 p.m. – Rochester, MN
Bethel Lutheran Church
- 14 October 2012, 3 p.m. – Columbus, IN
First Presbyterian Church
- 17 October 2012, 12.15 p.m. – Milwaukee, WI
St. John Cathedral
- 19 October 2012, 7.30 p.m. – Chicago IL
St John Cantius Catholic Church
Program: German baroque music
- 20 October 2012, 7 p.m. – Chicago, IL
Holy Trinity Cathedral
- 25 October 2012, 6.15 p.m. – Lafayette, LA
Our Lady of Fatima Church
!!! CONCERT FOR POLISH !!! with Ian Maksin – cello
- 28 October 2012, 3.30 p.m. – San Francisco, CA
St. Mary’s Cathedral
Duo Klavitarre In CA & AZ
During October and November, Duo Klavitarre will tour California and Arizona presenting concerts of classical guitar and piano music. Jolanta Ziemska and Maciej Ziemski are not only a married couple but also a successful musical duo from Poland. With repertoire from baroque to modern, concert programs include their arrangements of works from Chopin, Piazzolla, Tansman, Bach and Mozart.
As the Duo Klavitarre, pianist Jolanta, and guitarist Maciej have been performing together for eight years. Both artists graduated with honors from the Music Academy in Łódź, Poland, where they found romance and discovered their joint love of playing music.The two strong music personalities complement one another extremely well and offer instrumental virtuosity coupled with spontaneity and excellent interaction. The unusual combination of instruments as well as surprising arrangements promises an exciting and diverse program.
Together, Jolanta Ziemska and Maciej Ziemski bring to the stage performance experience in Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, Venezuela, Canada, USA and South Korea, and offer a polished and lively interpretation combined with astounding sound. The Ziemski’s are also the artistic directors of the International Guitar Festival in Grotniki and Jaroslaw, Poland.
Performance schedule and contact details:
Saturday, October 20th, 2012 at 8.00 pm
Los Angeles Valley College
Department of MusicRecital Hall (Room 106), 5800 Fulton Ave., Valley Glen, CA 91401
Music Dept. Tel (818) 947-2346
Friday, October 26th, 2012 at 7.00 pm
East Bay Polish American Association
909 Mellus St., Martinez, CA, 94553
Maciej Danek: email@example.com
Saturday, October 27th, 2012 at 7.00 pm
The Polish American Club of Greater Sacramento
Polish American Community Hall, 327 Main Street, Roseville, CA 95678
Anna: (916) 425-7894 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, October 28th, 2012 at 2.00 pm
Polish Club of San Francisco
3040 – 22nd Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Waldemar Glodek: email@example.com
Friday, November 2nd, 2012 at 7.00 pm
Residence of Dr. Renata Ochabski Juchum, 4518 Mayapan dr., La Mesa, CA 91941
Marek Brzeszcz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 at 6.00 pm
Arizona State University – School of Music
Katzin Hall, 50 E. Gammage Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85287
Honorary Consul Bogumil Nick Horchem: 480-837-8283 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
[Sources: press release]
‘Kilar The Best’ Concert
The Celebrity Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Andrew Rozbicki invite audiences to a magnificent evening dedicated to one of the most important composers of contemporary and world movie music, Wojciech Kilar, on his 80th Birthday. Audiences will hear Kilar’s symphonic masterpieces and movie music hits from Francis F. Coppola’s Dracula, Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, and Nine Gate, Jerzy Majewski’s Zazdrosć i medycyna, Jerzy Hofman’s Trędowata, Andrzej Wajda’s Ziemia obiecana, Smuga cienia, and Pan Tadeusz. This beautiful music will be performed by an over 50-musician orchestra and amazing soloists from Canada and special guest direct from Poland – pop star Diva & 4-octave range sensation Justyna Steczkowska and baritone Marcel Sokalski. For tickets ($45-$55-$65) call or visit LAC: 905 306 6000
October 27, 2012 | 7:30pm
“Kilar the Best” with special guest Justyna Steczkowska
Living Arts Centre – Mississauga
4141 Living Arts Drive Mississauga, ON L5B 4B8, Canada
[Source: press release]
Bacewicz Competition Results
Winners of the IV International Grażyna Bacewicz Composers Competition have been announced. The jury—Zygmunt Krauze (Poland) – Chairman, Agustin Charles (Spain), Paul Patterson (United Kingdom) and Chen Yi (China, USA) —awarded the following prizes:
• First Prize (27,000 PLN): Isabel Urrutia (Spain) for Haizearen nahiak – Concerto for Clarinet in Bflat and String Orchestra
• Second Prize (18,000 PLN): Manuel Martinez Burgos (Spain) for Generations for Violin Solo, String Orchestra and Percussion
• Third Prize (9000 PLN): Grzegorz Duchnowski (Poland) for Oxygen for Alto Saxophone, Strings and Percussion
The Competition is co-organized by the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Music Academy and the Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra in Łódź, Poland. The winning compositions will be premiered during a concert on December 7, 2012 at the Łódź Philharmonic by violinist Bartosz Koziak and the Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra, led by conductor Joel Sachs. The program will also include Bacewicz’s Concerto for String Orchestra and Violin Concerto No. 2.
Chopin Wins 2012 Gramophone Awards
Pianist Maurizio Pollini’s 1960 recording of Chopin’s Etudes from opus 10 and opus 25 (Testament SBT1473) have won the “Historic” category of the Gramophone Awards 2012. Below is an excerpt from the Gramophone review of the disc by David Threasher.
This is the recording of Chopin’s two sets of Etudes that the young Maurizio Pollini made in 1960, shortly after his success at the sixth International Chopin Competition in Warsaw that year. For some reason Pollini never sanctioned its release, a decision that was to be just the first in a series of (for his indulgent record label) exasperating and (in retrospect) almost comical behaviours that eventually led to his departure from EMI. That company eventually relinquished him before his contract was up, deeming that his career was going nowhere; of course, with DG, he went on to make a string of classics over the past four decades, including a remake of this repertoire.
It’s hard to surmise what led to Pollini’s dislike of these sessions. Some may prefer the grander DG recording but these performances flow seemingly effortlessly, with his famous technical acumen a given and an uncanny insight into the many moods Chopin explores. Bryce Morrison invoked Pollini’s ‘early superfine brilliance, his aristocratic musicianship, his patrician ideal’ in this music, making it all the more puzzling why the highly strung teenage pianist should have set his face against the disc’s release. It’s appropriate in the great man’s 70th birthday year that these early thoughts on this wondrous music are at last revealed to the pianophile world.
Also on the winner’s podium is Benjamin Grosvenor’s recording of piano works by Chopin, Liszt and Ravel (Decca 478 3206DH) from January 2012. Grosvenor was named “Young Artist of the Year” in this year’s Gramophone Awards as well. Below is an excerpt from the Gramophone review of the disc by Rob Cowan.
The virtuosity is easy to write about, and there’s plenty of it. And yet, in the context of what makes this CD really exceptional, mere digital dexterity is hardly the main issue. Benjamin Grosvenor’s art is in what might flippantly be called the small print, those intimate moments that only a genuine artist understands. True, he has the measure of Chopin’s most mercurial Scherzo, the Fourth, which he performs with a subtle brand of bravura, and his coltish exuberance in the other three Scherzos is much to be admired. His Ravel is gripping, even though lurking demons are kept safely at bay. But perhaps the most telling track is the shortest, an ethereal canvas by Liszt called En rêve where every phrase is tellingly placed, every colour skilfully applied, whether with the subtle smudge of a thumb or the bolder stroke of a brush. While listening I thought to myself, this is the artistry of an era I thought was long gone, the era of Cortot, Horowitz, Friedman, Cherkassky. You see, their sort of playing isn’t just the province of ‘wrinklies’ like me. There’s a hugely gifted 20-year-old out there who can actually make that world come alive, who lives it as authentically as they did. We should rejoice that a voice such as his is thriving among us.
Second Round Of Koryfeusz Awards
Founded on October 1, 2011, Poland’s Institute of Music and Dance entered its second year of operations by presenting the second round of the Koryfeusz Awards. Coming from within the musical sphere, these awards are given to artists or ensembles active in promoting a variety of genres of Polish music from different historical periods. This year’s honorees were announced at a gala concert at the Lutosławski Studio in Warsaw on October 1 (pictured above). The recipients of the 2012 Koryfeusz Award include:
- Personality of the Year: composer and pianist Zygmunt Krauze
- Music Event of the Year: the musical collaboration between Krzysztof Penderecki/Jonny Greenwood/Aphex Twin/Marek Moś/AUKSO Chamber Orchestra
- Merit Award: Wojciech Kilar, in recognition of his accomplishments in composition
Each recipient was presented with a statuette designed by Prof. Adam Myjak and the “Personality” and “Merit” Awards included financial stipends funded by the ZAIKS Society and STOART Society of Artists.
The gala concert featured film music by Polish composers (including Bronisław Kaper, Wojciech Kilar, Krzysztof Komeda, and Andrzej Kurylewicz); Wojciech Kilar’s Piano Concerto was also presented at this concert by pianist Janusz Olejniczak and the Polish Radio Orchestra under Łukasz Borowicz. Alta Cappella, an ensemble of period instruments, as well the Ars Nova Ensemble and a number of assisting musicians took part in the celebrations.
Music On The Heights Of Zakopane
The International Chamber Music Festival “Muzyka na Szczytach” [Music on the Heights] is a cyclical annual event held in Zakopane, Poland since 2009. The “heights” included in the event’s name symbolize both the location of the Festival, as well as its superb artistic level of the participating performers. The organizers’ greatest concern is to popularize Polish music throughout the world, by including it in the repertoires of world-famous performers and thus influencing the European integration in culture, music and art, and to restore Zakopane to its former glory, by inviting eminent musicians and artists to perform there.
The formula of the Festival is based on holding a range of concerts, recitals, exhibitions and film screenings with live music. The choice of event locations and surroundings additionally boosts its appeal to a wide circle of viewers and its international character enhances its renown and prestige. The Festival’s program is based on an innovative manner of fusing classical music with other fields of art (such as photography, film or fashion show) and its presentation by artists employing various forms and techniques. The diverse artistic means are adjusted to the needs of a very wide target audience—combining various age groups, both locals and guests, music lovers and casual tourists enjoying the local natural scenery, all welcome to enjoy the Festival’s artistic offer.
The following is a reflection on the 2012 Festival, which was held from September 9-22, by Festival co-organizer Tomasz Sztencel:
It Could Bear Fruit…
The Chinook wind in Zakopane cleanses the air, but also litters the street with broken tree limbs and flowerpots. It can also lead to messing up one’s thinking which, in my case, led to sharing a few thoughts on this year’s Muzyka na Szczytach [Music at the Highlands] Festival.
One of the Polish TV reporters just rang up, asking for names of performers in one of the concerts. Instantly I turned on my computer and became agitated that it needed so long (perhaps half a minute) to put its electronic brain in order. When I finally could open the relevant file, I noticed the program booklet on my desk. It would have been faster to look there; using a computer for everything is a sign of the times.
Perhaps the audience could come to concerts with their smaller (or larger) instruments for reading e-mails and just collected (electronically) the concert program. Of course the usual pre-recorded announcement before the concert would have to be changed to: “Please do not forget to TURN ON your….”
The reactions by those who attended concerts and of those who just read about them were overwhelmingly positive, even enthusiastic. Would my “I think so too” would be taken as too much pride? (I’m one of the organizers).
Our past festivals had already featured contemporary music, but this year there was more of it. Compositions by Paweł Mykietyn (a world premiere), Mikołaj Górecki (a world premiere), as well as works by Krzysztof Penderecki, Grażyna Bacewicz, or Wojciech Kilar appeared on several concert programs. Even if for some concert attendees were somewhat peeved by that, I am fully pleased that because of the variety of selections on each program, this new music reached many new ears for the first time. It could bear fruit…
I liked the commentary on the Watra Website posted after the screening of Peter and the Wolf with music by Sergey Prokofiev. They opined that the kids could have been slightly bored by this fairytale film with dance and pantomime, but it may have been their first experience of watching a ballet. It could bear fruit…
I’m pleased that after each concert there were discussions about music, literature and other subjects among the members of the organizing committee, the performers and journalists. Maybe next year we’ll have a Festival Club called “Meetings at the Summits.” We’ll start signing people up soon.
Polish music had many ambassadors during the Festival. But… Maestro Jerzy Maksymiuk (together with the Sinfonietta Cracovia Orchestra) had led us through the musical landscapes of Karłowicz, Bacewicz, Górecki, Kilar and Penderecki; Marek Żebrowski—a pianist from California—reminded us about the existence of Zygmunt Stojowski; the Hugo Wolff Quartet from Austria gave us Moniuszko’s Second String Quartet. It could bear fruit…
I shouldn’t really comment about the final concert. We promised a celebrity and clarinetist Sharon Kam was just such that. Same goes for the Jerusalem Quartet where Sharon’s brother played the viola. The cellist, Kyril Zlotnikov played on the instrument that once belonged to the greatest among the great—Jacqueline du Pré. Her parents met in Zakopane in 1938. (It BORE fruit).
During one early September week one could see on the streets, in cafes, along the hiking trails, at exhibits and evening concerts in Zakopane many faces of individuals who create and promote Polish culture—Jerzy Skolimowski, Paweł Mykietyn, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Piotr Fudakowski, Polish Radio Program II journalists, and our devoted festival audiences with Beata Rybotycka and Jacek Wójcicki among others. WILL IT bear fruit?
And didn’t it happen long time ago in a small town surrounded by mountains?
[Sources: press release, muzykanaszczytach.com. “It Could Bear Fruit…” translation by Marek Żebrowski]
Górecki Festival In Bielsko-Biała
The 17th Górecki Festival of Music by Polish Composers will be held in Bielsko-Biała from October 9-14. This year’s Festival is dedicated to music by two laureates—Karol Szymanowski and Wojciech Kilar—celebrating their 130th and 80th birthdays respectively.
The Festival opened with a violin recital by Soyoung Yoon (above), winner of the 2011 Wieniawski Violin Competition, in a program of works by Wieniawski, Lutosławski, and Szymanowski. The October 11 concert presents the Silesian Orchestra and Chorus led by Maestro Mirosław Jacek Błaszczak in a program of works by Górecki (Three Symphonic Dances) and Szymanowski (Symphonie-Concertante for Piano and Orchestra and Harnasie). The soloists include pianist Anna Górecka and tenor Wiesław Ochman. The October 13 concert is dedicated to Wojciech Kilar with performances of Kościelec 1909, Piano Concerto No. 2, Siwa Mgła, and Krzesany. For this concert, the National Symphony Orchestra will be led by Antoni Wit with soloists including pianist Beata Bilińska and baritone Jarosław Bręk.
Young Finalists Perform In Katowice
The International Festival of Music Competition Finalists presents the most exciting Polish artists of the youngest generation. Over eighty musicians specializing in a variety of instruments and styles are joined this year by young artists from the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, and the United States.
This year’s 23rd edition of the Festival takes place in various venues, mostly in Katowice, from October 13-28. Concerts will be held at the Szymanowski Music Academy, Concert Studio of Radio Katowice, the Parnassos Hall of the Silesian Library, the Archdiocese Museum, and in several Katowice churches. These programs will be repeated later in other cities throughout Poland and abroad.
Cellist Tomasz Strahl (pictured at left), the AFFABRE Men’s Vocal Sextet, and the Tantalus Quartet from the United States are among this year’s highlights. The Festival will also spotlight music by many Polish composers, including a concert titled “Karol Lipiński—New Interpretations” organized together with the Institute of Music and Dance and a concert devoted to music by Karol Szymanowski, coinciding with the 130th anniversary of his birth.
Urbański Debuts At Hollywood Bowl
On Tuesday, September 4, young Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbański made his West Coast debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the storied Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. He currently serves as music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; with this role, as Mark Swed points out in his review “Music review: Young conductor impresses with L.A. Phil at Bowl,” Urbański has usurped beloved L.A. conductor Gustavo Dudamel’s title as youngest leader of a major orchestra. Hopefully the ongoing negotiations with Musicians’ Union in Indianapolis, which have already cancelled the Orchestra’s concerts through October 13, will not further disrupt what should be a stellar second season for Urbański.
Entitled “Three Russian Masters,” the program served up a gripping collection of 20th-century Russian masterpieces: Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1, selections from Stravinsky’s Petrushka (solo piano), and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10. Russian pianist Denis Matsuev was the evening’s soloist, also in his Hollywood Bowl debut.
Below are excerpts from Mark Swed’s review for the Los Angeles Times here:
The Hollywood Bowl is hardly a fair place to judge a young conductor. There can be so little morning rehearsal time that just reading through the full program is barely feasible. Amplification, even when it is well done (as it was Tuesday), changes balances. And by September, the orchestra’s spirit can sag. Just watch how quickly the players head for exits the second the show is over.
And yet, when a young conductor can triumph over these odds — as did Simon Rattle, making his U.S. debut here while still a teenager, as a young James Levine did in the early ’70s and as a 24-year-old Dudamel, himself, did for his first concert in the U.S. in 2005 — then you know you have something.
Urbanski’s big piece was a very big piece, Shostakovich’s intensely serious 53-minute Tenth Symphony. He led the score from memory and with commanding control and concentration. Though of slight build, he has long arms, large hands and uses a long baton. All of that makes it seem as though he can almost reach out and touch the players to shape their sound. His baton work is rhythmically sharp, but his left hand remains suavely expressive.
No real interpretation may have been possible under Bowl circumstances, but Urbanski unhesitatingly entered into Shostakovich’s darkest corners and just as unhesitatingly released the score’s shocking violence. But he did not allow for vulgarity. A suave Shostakovich Tenth is both rare and refreshing.
King Roger Review
By Carole Silva, USC Alumni
Wednesday, August 25, 2012
John Crosby had a vision in 1956 that Santa Fe should have an Opera Theater that would allow singers to perform known operas in addition to trying currently written and lesser, performed opera. Today, some 60 years later that tradition remains by presenting standard operas along with new and infrequently performed operas. The theater is so unique that a performance of any opera would be a memorable occasion.
Santa Fe Opera Theater as a vision is like no other theater and as a venue for Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger, it was a stroke of genius. The open style of the theatre lends itself to imaginative set designs. In Santa Fe’s King Roger, a Norman Ruler of the 12th Century was staged with the suggestions of a Byzantine church, the king’s palace, and the ruins of an ancient theater. The set designs, created by Thomas Lynch, contained an Arab flavor with an Oriental overlay. It went along with Szymanowski’s delightful music that turned dark later in Act II with harmonies that blended with the voices. As I sat in the audience, I was swept up into the ancient Sicilian diverse culture with the music, but the opera is about the internal strife of the king.
The Santa Fe Desert Chorale, an old, highly revered, and professional singing group, was invited to be the chorus. This meant these professional opera singers had to sing in a language that is not a part of the standard literature—Polish. One singer was quoted to say, “I was delighted for the challenge to perform in an unfamiliar language” and another singer stated, “I loved the music, in particular, the music of Act One. The harmonies were beautiful and there were lovely melodic lines in the Shepherd’s arias.”
The libretto as interpreted in the program seemed rather vague and a number in the audience had trouble understanding, but if you read the original libretto as written by Karol Szymanowski and his poet cousin, Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, it is quite clear on the inner conflict between the life in a responsible sense versus free life. It is a very contemporary theme.
The music is delightful and the Opera Orchestra, under the controlled baton of Evan Rogister, was a perfect accompaniment for the chorus and soloists. It never overshadowed the singers. King Roger was sung by Mariusz Kwiecień, a young Polish Baritone, who brought the range of emotions to the part. I would not hesitate to say Mariusz is the Jussi Björling of Baritones. This brilliant young man had a deep understanding of the King and his conflict in addition to his passion for the part. Earlier he was interviewed at the Opera Theater and revealed his passion for the part.
I am so surprised why this most interesting opera had so seldom been performed. It is very contemporary with excellent, listenable music. I realize that to reach Santa Fe is difficult by commercial transportation, but this performance was well worth the trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Dr. Carole Silva is a language arts professor at Marygrove College as well as a pianist, singer and violin player. Currently residing in Santa Fe, Dr. Silva was a member of the USC Concert Orchestra while earning her master’s and doctorate degrees in education. The USC Concert Orchestra is an ensemble which combines the talents of students and faculty musicians.
[Photo credit: Ken Howard courtesy of Santa Fe Opera, via operawarhorses.com]
New On CD ACCORD
Aleksander Nowak (b. 1979): String Quartet No. 1 “Quantemporette” and String Quartet No. 2 “3 Peaceful Street”
CELLONET group; Silesian Quartet
Young Polish composer Aleksander Nowak’s new album entitled “3×4+8” features performances of his String Quartets No. 1 and 2 by the CELLONET group and Silesian Quartet. The album has been published by CD ACCORD Edition and is sponsored by the Pro Novum firm on its 25th Anniversary. Program 2 of Polish Radio is the media patron.
Słowa dźwiękiem malowane [Words Painted with Sounds]
Jan Antoni Wichrowski – Elegy for a Polish Boy – songs for mixed choir to words by Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński; Józef Świder – Prayer to Mother of God (words Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński), Lullaby (words Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński), Dance (words Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński), Song about Happiness (words Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński), My Song (words Cyprian Kamil Norwid); The Seasons (words Leopold Staff), Autumn (words Leopold Staff), I Like It When at the End of Day (words Leopold Staff); Four Sonnets to words by Leopold Staff; Zofia Urbanyi-Krasnodębska – Over the Grave of Julia Capuletti (words Cyprian kamil Norwid); Ignacy Jan Paderewski (arr. Stanisław Wiechowicz) – Tears Have Flown (words Adam Mickiewicz), By the Wide Water (words Adam Mickiewicz), The Piper’s Song (words Adam Mickiewicz); So Much (words Adam Mickiewicz); Stanisław Niewiadomski (arr.Stanisław Wiechowicz) – Sophie (words Adam Mickiewicz)
Wrocław Philharmonic Choir; Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny – conductor
This album—the first CD recorded independently by Wrocław Philharmonic Choir—presents Polish poetry set to music by Polish composers. These compositions perfectly combine words with music, and this combination provided the choir and its conductor with a basis for the interpretation of each work. The selected compositions are choral miniatures with numerous elements of musical rhetoric; they represent the beauty of both Polish music and poetry. The poets, writing in different times and styles, offer a glimpse of the immense wealth of Polish verbal art, whereas the music, written by contemporary Polish composers, demonstrates their great sensitivity and rhetorical awareness. [Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny – translation: Tomasz Zymer]
Polish Piano Quintets – Bacewicz, Zarębski, Lasoń
Grażyna Bacewicz – Piano Quintet No. 1; Juliusz Zarębski – Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 34; Aleksander Lasoń – Chamber Music No. 1 “Stalowowolska”
Lasoń Ensemble Mikołów Chamber Players: Piotr Sałajczyk – piano, Krzysztof Lasoń – violin, Agnieszka Lasoń – violin, Elżbieta Mrożek-Loska – viola, and Stanisław Lasoń – cello
Chopin’s Pupils – Thomas Dyke Acland Tellefsen, Carl Filtsch
Thomas Dyke Acland Tellefsen (1823-1874) – Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor Op. 8; Carl Filtsch (1830-1845) – Konzertstück for piano and orchestra in B minor and Overture for orchestra in D major
Hubert Rutkowski, piano; Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Łukasz Borowicz – cond.
Zbigniew Bargielski – String Quartets
Zbigniew Bargielski (b. 1937): Quartet No. 1 “Alpine”; Quartet No. 2 “Spring”; Quartet No. 3 “Still Life with a Scream”; A Night of Farewells for accordion and string quartet; Quartet No. 4 “Burning Time”; Quartet No. 5 “The Time That’s Passed”; Quartet No. 6 “Dramatic”; Through the Looking Glass for string quartet with clarinet
Silesian String Quartet; Marek Andrysek – accordion; Roman Widaszek – clarinet
Among the nearly 150 compositions written by Zbigniew Bargielski, there are four operas, several orchestral pieces (but no symphonies), concerti – for percussion, violin, trumpet, piano; Trigonalia for accordion, guitar, percussion and orchestra; numerous orchestral and chamber pieces with text (including settings of texts by Alicja Patey-Grabowska, Thomas Eliot, Franz Kafka, Kazimierz Wierzyński, and Markus Jaroschka). The list of works is dominated by chamber music for various instrumental line-ups. The name “sonata” appears only once in a title—in the Sonata of Forgetfulness for violin and piano of 1987. As we can see, the oeuvre that Zbigniew Bargielski has contributed to the history of traditional musical genres (in his own peculiar and autonomous fashion) consists of operas, instrumental concerti (including a triple one), and one sonata. There is one genre, however, which the composer exploits most intensively: the string quartet. This CD album is exclusively dedicated to that part of the composer’s output: six quartets plus two pieces for quartet with accordion and with clarinet.
New From Skowronski
Reynaldo Hahn: Violin Sonata; Claude Debussy: Girl with the Flaxen Hair; Ernest Chausson: Poème; Édouard Lalo: Violin Sonata
Vincent P. Skowronski, violin; Donald Isaak, piano; Dana Brown, piano
Skowronski: Classical Recordings 847491915105
Below are excerpts from a review by Joseph Magil in the American Record Guide (Sept/Oct issue, 2012):
Vincent P. Skowronski is a very fine violinist based in Chicago. While there are no recording dates given in the booklet, I am assuming that at least a few of these are recent. The Hahn Sonata is a very fine work that I had not heard before…. Skowronski gives the [Hahn] sonata an intimate, warmhearted performance the likes of which we seldom hear these days. You feel like you are listening to one of the great masters of the violin, like Szigeti or Elman, who knew how to play straight from the heart, and this performance holds you in its grip from beginning to end.
The Debussy is presented in the usual arrangement by Arthur Hartmann. Skowronski’s playing is very sensitive; you feel that he is enraptured by this girl’s loveliness. The Chausson is played in the hypnotic manner that it demands.
Skowronski plays with a rich, sweet tone from his 1717 Joseph Guarneri filius Andrea violin. These recordings were made in concert at Northwestern University and at WFMT in Chicago, so the recorded sound doesn’t have the polish that you might expect from a studio recording, and neither do the performances; but these readings are valuable, especially of the Hahn.
[Source: press release]
Szymanowski Cd Review
By Gary Fitelberg
Karol SZYMANOWSKI – The complete piano music
Sinae Lee, piano
Divine Art 21400 (2 Vols., 4 CD Set)
Karol SZYMANOWSKI The complete piano works as performed by pianist Sinae Lee is divine art at its absolute best!!!
From his earliest years, the piano played a huge role in Szymanowski’s creative life. It was the only instrument he played himself, and it figures in most of his works, not just those for solo piano. This recording of his complete solo piano output and oeuvre is by the famous and great piano soloist Sinae Lee, a Szymanowski scholar, and is the first ever to include the early Prelude in C sharp major (1901).
Volume 1 features and includes Piano Sonatas 1 & 2, op. 8 and op. 21 respectively; Prelude in C sharp major (1901); Nine Preludes, Op. 1; Variations in B flat major, Op. 3; Four Studies, Op. 4; Fantasy for Piano, Op. 14; Prelude and Fugue (1905/09); Variations on a Polish Theme, Op. 10.
Volume 2 features and includes Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 26; Metopes, Op. 29; Masques, Op. 34; Twelve Studies, Op. 33; Twenty Mazurkas, Op. 50; Romantic Waltz (1925), Two Mazurkas, Op. 62; Four Polish Dances (1926).
An amazing output in one concise collection, easily ready to play at your fingertips.
This CD is recipient of the following accolades and honors.
“This astounding set is as essential a purchase as the acclaimed Simon Rattle/EMI recordings of the orchestral works, and it is the most important collection ever to have been released of Szymanowski’s piano music. Sinae Lee’s release sets new standards for the performance of Szymanowski’s piano music, and her quest for accuracy has not in any way inhibited her playing’s wonderful sense of spontaneity. I am confident that any listeners responsive to late-Romantic music who buy this superb set will share my enthusiasm for it.” — Raymond Clarke (MusicWeb – Recording of the Month)
“A young pianist unfazed by the exotic and complex demands… Lee’s command and lucidity are unfaltering… she is as true to the spirit as to the letter of every bar. Unflagging brio and refinement…an astonishing achievement” — Bryce Morrison (Gramophone Magazine – Recommended Recording)
“Sinae Lee certainly has the technical ability to master this repertory… she projects the msuci with a real sense of forward momentum and intensity… managing to bring welcome transparency of texture to the involved contrapuntal layering. Performance **** Sound ****” — Erik Levi (BBC Music Magazine – Benchmark Recording)
“Lee is the choice… her fingers are as clever as her brain… Sinae Lee’s is the complete version to have” — Marius Dawn (Pianist Magazine – Recommended Recording)
South Korean-born in 1976, Sinae Lee enjoys a busy career as a soloist, chamber musician and lecturer based in Glasgow, Scotland. Lee studied piano with Hwa-Young Yo and Hyoung-Joon Chang in Korea and, after graduating from the Seoul National university with Distinction, she came to the UK to pursue her study under Phillip Jenkins at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD), where she obtained MMus with Distinction and PhD (pending). She now teaches at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) in Glasgow, Scotland.
Since her UK debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) playing the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1, she has also played with the St. James Orchestra, RSAMD Orchestra, RCS Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, and Glasgow Orchestral Society, as well as the Korean Symphony Orchestra. She has given numerous solo recitals in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Milan and Dresden, and many of her concert performances were greatly acknowledged by the Glasgow Herald. Additionally, concert performances include cities in native Korea such as Seoul, Suwan and Busan. Adding icing to her international fame are performances in such cities as New York, St. Petersburg and Riga in America and Eastern Europe.
During her studies in Seoul, she won many prestigious prizes including the Chung-Ang Daily Newspaper competition and Korean Music Association for Overseas competition. Her prize-winning career has continued since she came to the UK, where she won the London Intercollegiate Beethoven competition, the Ramsey-Calder Debussy prize and the RSMD Bach Prize. Her extraordinary playing was immensely appreciated in many masterclasses held by world-famous pianists such as Lazar Berman, Dmitri Alexeev, and John Lill.
Her PhD research is in the piano music of composer Karol Szymanowski. Her recording for Divine Art of his entire output in this genre is her debut recording which has received rave reviews.
Gary Fitelberg is a music critic and historian specializing in the Young Poland in Music composers group (“Młoda Polska”) consisting of Grzegorz Fitelberg, Ludomir Różycki, Apolinary Szeluto, Karol Szymanowski and Mieczysław Karłowicz.
Blechacz Review On NPR
At only 27 years old, Rafał Blechacz’s Deutsche Grammophon recording of music by Szymanowski and Debussy (DG 0289 477 9548 3) continues to garner rave reviews. The latest comes from NPR, in Tom Huizenga’s blog post entitled “A Young Pianist Triumphs In Music From The Young 20th Century” (excerpted below):
With this smartly programmed, brilliantly played document of the piano at the opening of the 20th century, Blechacz once again proves he’s a musician living up to that awards sweep in Warsaw [in 2005]…. The [Szymanowski] sonata, a terrific 25-minute piece, was an ear-opening discovery for me and should be better known. Its flamboyant opening Allegro, which Blechacz nails with ecstatic precision, harks back to Chopin’s opener for his own B minor Sonata. The following Adagio is beautifully quilted with restrained emotion, giving way to a stormy midsection. A light, classically-tinged Minuet proves a surprising buffer to the imposing final movement which, after a foreboding introduction, segues into a virtuosic triple fugue. Blechacz plays it all with an uncanny combination of confidence and abandon. As in his previous Chopin recordings, the music pours out naturally, with unmannered dexterity.
New Works By Petrini
Works for bass recorder by Fausto Romitelli, Malin Bång, Oscar Bianchi, Mattias Petersson, and Dominik Karski
Anna Petrini – recorders
dB Productions DBCD 143
A CD with mostly new repertoire for the Paetzold contrabass recorder performed by Anna Petrini was issued by the Swedish label dB Productions in September. The CD features a new work by Polish-Australian composer Dominik Karski, Superb Imposition, as well as works by Fausto Romitelli, Malin Bång, Oscar Bianchi, and Mattias Petersson; the album is entitled Crepuscolo, after the work by Bianchi. Superb Imposition was commissioned by Anna Petrini (as were the works by Malin Bång and Mattias Petersson) with support from the Nordic Culture Point and Concerts Sweden. Petrini gave the work’s premiere in May 2011 at the Musica Electronica Nova Festival in Wrocław, Poland.
According to Petrini:
Collaborating with composers has been a comprehensive and inspiring part of the process of making this disc. Seeing the instrument through the eyes of the composer makes it constantly new, since different minds put different light on different aspects when writing for the instrument. The opportunity to rediscover the instrument is very refreshing and gives me a feeling that each meeting of this kind adds a new layer of my instrument.
Anna Petrini also performed at the 2012 Warsaw Autumn Festival. As part of the Petrini-Jünger Duo, she performed the world premiere of the multimedia project Triptyk, with new audiovisual works by Pierre Jodlowski (France), Aleksandra Gryka (Poland), and Kent Olofsson (Sweden).
New on DUX
KULAKOWSKI : Piano Concerto, Sketches for Jazz Trio & Symphony Orchestra
Bogdan Kułakowski, Leszek Kułakowski Trio, The Baltic Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra – cond. Szymon Bywalec
MOSS : Elan, Concertino, Canti, Capriccio, Fantaisie.
Andrzej Bauer – cello, Véronique Briel – piano, Elżbieta Gajewska – flute, Orkiestra Kameralna Polskiego Radia “Amadeus” – dyr. Agnieszka Duczmal
SZALONEK : Medusa
Trio Soli Sono
Andrzej Chłopecki, one of the greatest experts on Polish contemporary music, has died in Warsaw on September 23 at the age of 62. Educated as a musicologist, Chłopecki was also a well-known music critic and served for many years as the Music Editor of the Polish Radio, Program 2. In this capacity, during the years 1975-1981 and 1991 until recently, Mr. Chłopecki produced over 2,000 broadcasts. In addition to his work in media, he was a music lecturer, a board member of the Warsaw Autumn Festival, founder of the Aksamitna Kurtyna [The Velvet Curtain] Festival, the Artistic Director of the Musica Polonica Nova Festival in Wrocław, and a Program advisor for the Audio Visual Institute in Warsaw. Just days before his death, Andrzej Chłopecki completed his new book on Witold Lutosławski. A towering figure on Poland’s musical scene, Chłopecki’s activities were recognized in 1998 with a Special Prize of the Cultural Foundation for his work in Polish Radio, and received further two Polish Radio Awards in 2001 and 2008.
Daniel J. Kij
Daniel J. Kij passed away on August 2, 2012. Born on July 5, 1930, Kij was past president of the Polish Union of America, co-founder of the Polish Genealogical Society of NYS, past president of the Polish Singers Alliance of America and a former candidate for the U.S. Congress. He was also a frequent contributor to the Polish Music Newsletter and the Channel 2 News in Buffalo, NY.
Kij is remembered warmly by his community and members of Polonia around the world. Erie County Legislator Tom Mazur called Kij, “the sophisticated prankster of Polonia who was like a walking encyclopedia.” Hon. Carl Bucki, a local Bankruptcy Court Judge told Buffalo’s Channel 2 how much he admired Kij. “Being Polish is being a better American,” a statement he heard as a teen from Kij. “He was proud to be Polish, but more proud to be an American.”
The beloved husband of the late Alicya (née Lasota) Kij; dearest father of Valerie (Carl) Longfellow; loving grandfather of Benjamin, Nicholas and Audrey; son of the late Dr. Joseph F. Sr. and Wanda Kij; and brother of Dr. Joseph F. Kij Jr., Kij was an attorney and a longtime resident of Lackawanna, NY.
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)