Things Afoot At The PMC

The spring and summer of 2014 has turned out to be a busy season for PMC, with all kinds of new and exciting developments. On February 12, the Polish Music Center family gained a new member: Lincoln Robert Requa. This healthy and good-natured young fellow is the first born son of PMC Assistant Director Krysta Close and her husband, Kenneth Requa. Already, Lincoln and his entourage have paid several visits to the PMC and found the place quite agreeable for playtime and naps. Obviously, the study of books and scores will come later, in due course. Throughout the ages, libraries have proven to be excellent places for siestas for countless generations of students, and we’re quite happy to observe that Lincoln is already exhibiting the signs of a budding music scholar!

Another big arrival—closely related to the one above—was that of Natalie Kozłowski (pictured below at left), a USC English Literature student, who helped with the day-to-day operations of the Polish Music Center during Krysta’s maternity leave. Thanks to Natalie, telephone calls and e-mail inquiries didn’t go unanswered, paperwork was filed, mail collected, and stories for the monthly Newsletter were gathered each month in anticipation of the monthly rush to publish it all online.

In this tricky task of converting the plain text to HTML and formatting the PMC Newsletter to its familiar graphic guise, Natalie was greatly helped by Chuck Bragg, our longtime volunteer wizard of the web. Chuck has generously donated lots of his free time to making sure that the PMC Newsletter is correctly uploaded and properly displayed on our website. Advising us on database design and maintenance, Chuck also managed to convince his wife, Alice (an USC alumna) to volunteer in such critical PMC tasks as record entry and library materials processing. With Krysta on leave from mid-February to mid-May, there were a few tense moments where FTP uploading protocols for the Newsletter did not function as expected. On one such harrowing occasions, it took a lot of clever tinkering on Chuck’s part (with telephone assistance from Krysta) to set everything aright and deliver on schedule the news of the latest developments in Polish music to our worldwide readership.

Still more excitement followed in late May when Krysta returned to her desk and we welcomed yet another PMC collaborator to the library. After a few years of negotiations and meetings between the PMC and the National Archives in Warsaw, we entered into a partnership with the Archives and jointly sponsored the visit of Monika Płuciennik, a Gdańsk-based archivist who specializes in processing unusual music collections. With her wide experience and expertise, Monika settled into a 6-week exploration of the PMC archives. During her visit here, Monika created databases with specific categories applicable to two very rare PMC collections: the Bronisław Kaper Collection of film scores and the Henryk Wars [Henry Vars] Collection of symphonic music. Monika’s great knowledge of procedures and nomenclature was most helpful to the PMC staff, since proper recording of our collection and listing it online to researchers worldwide is our ultimate goal. The first phase of our cooperation with the National Archives in Warsaw marks the beginning of a long journey that will lead to a detailed cataloguing of the entirety of our holdings to be made available online via the Archive’s website. More meetings with the National Archives in Warsaw are scheduled later this fall, when subsequent steps in this process will be discussed.

With so much going on, the summer months went by very quickly and we’re already looking forward to several events being prepared for the coming months. Two concerts in early October will celebrate the centenary of Sir Andrzej Panufnik. On October 5, the PMC will present its annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital, featuring the composer’s widow, Lady Camilla, delivering the lecture, “Andrzej Panufnik—the Man behind the Music.” Following her presentation, several of Panufnik’s chamber works, including the Piano Trio, Five Vocalises – Hommage à Chopin, and String Quartet No. 2, will be presented at the Alfred Newman Recital Hall. A few days later, on October 9, Maestro Carl St. Clair will lead the Thornton Symphony Orchestra in performance of two of Panufnik’s orchestral works—Tragic Overture (1955) and Harmony (1989)—at USC’s premiere performing venue, Bovard Auditorium.

Looking forward to November, the PMC will co-organize and coordinate the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, held this year November 5-9. In addition to many interesting concerts featuring world-class performers, young students from Poland (and possibly also from the Ukraine) will come to perform during the Festival on as a part of the biennial Cultural Exchange Program. Performances by the Polish folk dance group, Krakusy, film screenings and exhibits will also accompany this year’s Paderewski Festival, which becomes ever more popular with the public each year. Back in Los Angeles, Poland’s Independence Day will be celebrated on November 11 at USC’s Newman Recital Hall with a violin and piano recital presented by Mariusz Patyra and Krzysztof Herdzin. These two outstanding artists will present a virtuoso program, spotlighting some of the best-loved music by Chopin, Wieniawski and Paganini.

More details will follow in the Newsletter online and in other Polish media outlets in the coming weeks. As always, we look forward to seeing as many of our fans and supporters as possible at all of these events—most of them are free of charge!