April 2015

Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 21, no. 4


An Evening Of Sound And Image

Video images by Michael Patterson, Candace Reckinger and students from the USC School of Cinematic Arts surround the Penderecki String Quartet and soprano Rebekah Ann Barton during Veronika Krausas’s midaregami [Photo: David Johnston]
Held on March 28, 2015, this year’s PMC spring concert was a truly special affair. Organized as part of the prestigious Visions & Voices event series at USC, it celebrated ‘visual music’ through the juxtaposition of live musical performance and short film or animation projections. Entitled “Measures & Frames,” the concert’s goal was the exploration of the serendipitous connections made within the real-time merger of music and the moving image. The concert program featured works for string quartet by composers Thomas Adès, Joanna Bruzdowicz, Jeffrey Holmes, Veronika Krausas, and Marek Zebrowski. Each of their compositions was paired with video presentations by filmmakers David Lynch, Michael Patterson, Candace Reckinger, and Agnès Varda. The performers for this memorable evening were the Penderecki String Quartet and soprano Rebekah Ann Barton.

Sans toit ni loit [Vagabond] by Agnès Varda behind the Penderecki String Quartet performing Joanna Bruzdowicz’s String Quartet No. 1 “La Vita” [Photo: Mike Patterson]
Held in the Alfred Newman Recital Hall, the concert began with an evocative montage of scenes from Agnès Varda’s 1985 feature film, Sans toit ni loit [Vagabond]. Once filming was complete, Varda heard Polish composer Joanna Bruzdowicz’s String Quartet No. 1 “La Vita” and decided to use the haunting music of the quartet’s second movement in her film, a poignantly-narrated story depicting the demise of a young homeless woman.  As the film was projected on a huge screen covering the entire back wall of Newman Hall, from the darkened stage the Penderecki String Quartet gently launched into the plaintive opening of Bruzdowicz’s quartet, instantly creating a magical mood for the audience.

PSQ performs Jeff Holmes’s String Quartet No. 2 Kirugi with video by the Patterson/Reckinger team [Photo: David Johnston]
Three short movements from Jeff Holmes’s String Quartet No. 2 Kirugi followed, to the accompaniment of video images newly created for the occasion by Michael Patterson, Candace Reckinger and a group of their students from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Varying between abstract and geometrical and semi-realistic shots of a deserted Highway 1 on California’s Central Coast, the imagery provided a new dimension to Holmes’s fluid musical statement.

Another USC composer, Veronika Krausas, was represented on the program by her midaregami, a work for string quartet and soprano in seven movements dating from 1996. Soprano soloist Rebekah Barton added a beautiful layer to the spare and rarefied string textures employed by Krausas for accompanying of poems by Akiko Yosano. Patterson and Reckinger’s videos here relied on graphic conventions from the late Meiji and Taisho era aesthetics, which complimented the overall theme.

David Lynch’s animated short Fire (Pożar) surrounds PSQ as they perform Marek Zebrowski’s Music for David
at the “Measures & Frames” collaborative concert on March 23
Photo: Mike Patterson

The Patterson/Reckinger team and their students drew upon the overt literary, musical and cultural references present in Thomas Adès’s 1994 Arcadiana for their visual representations of his music. Video footage of Venice, water scenes, and dancing skeletons flowed from such movement titles as Venezia notturno, Auf dem Wasser zu singen, and Et… (tango mortale). The music itself—both dense and ethereal in turn—provided the biggest challenge of the evening for the filmmakers, performers and the audience.

The program closed with the American premiere of a 2015 animation short by David Lynch, entitled Fire (Pożar), with music written by Marek Zebrowski. In this case, Zebrowski’s accompanying Music for David was written after the animation was complete, and the inspiration that was taken from Lynch’s hand-drawn, stark black and white imagery was clear and direct. After many years of musical collaboration, the synergy between these two artists yielded an exquisite blending of tone, which was then expertly matched by the Penderecki String Quartet in perfect synchronicity with the film.

Immediately following the concert, filmmakers David Lynch, Mike Patterson and Candace Reckinger were joined on stage for a Q&A by composers Joanna Bruzdowicz, Jeffrey Holmes and Marek Zebrowski and violinist Jeremy Bell representing the Quartet. Moderated by Veronika Krausas, who was the leading team member on this complicated and exciting Visions & Voices project, the panel had a chance to share with the audience some of their thoughts on both the inspiration and the technical challenges of this particular concert.

The overflowing crowds in Newman seemed to enjoy the immersive experience of hearing excellent musicians in an inspiring setting, with simultaneous video projected on three sides of Newman Hall. Being surrounded by images and music and synthesizing the experience in a live setting was certainly something one never encounters in movie theatres, and rarely at concerts. Three digital projectors especially installed in Newman for this concert were expertly run by Michael Fullman and Vartan Tchekmediyan from VT Pro Design. The entire staff of Newman Hall and of Visions & Voices, with Daria Yudacufski and Mary Megowan in the forefront, made sure that everything went very smoothly indeed. The audience—including many leading LA filmmakers, artists, and a large cross-section of USC students—will certainly treasure impressions of this extraordinary event for a long time.

For other news on this event, please see also Damjan Rakonjac’s review “Framing Measures: New Film and Music at USC” for Artificialist and Julie Riggott’s review “New music shines in the projector’s beam” for USC News.

PMC Director About Town

Pacific Symphony / Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

In addition to preparing for this summer’s Paderewski Festival Youth Cultural Exchange (June/July), and the fall’s Paderewski Lecture (Oct. 18) and Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles (Nov. 5-8), during the month of April PMC Director Marek Zebrowski will be involved in several musical events in L.A. First is an April 14 lecture on the subject of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. The lecture is organized by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), in relation to the Pacific Symphony’s performance of the same work at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall during the weekend following the lecture.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 | 1:30 p.m.
Marek Zebrowski’s lecture on Prokofiev’s Rome and Juliet
Woodbridge Village Center
4662 Barranca Pkway, Irvine, CA
(Go up the staircase beside Barnes & Noble and look for “OLLI” sign)
To register for the lecture: unex.uci.edu
Concert information: www.pacificsymphony.org


L.A. Musical Salon

On April 18, 2015, the L.A. Musical Salon will host a dinner concert with the City of Angels Saxophone Quartet—Bill Wilson, soprano sax, Sean Stackpoole, alto sax, Cynthia Swanson, tenor sax, and Matt Germaine, baritone sax. In a unique and fun multimedia concert, the group will swing from classical to jazz and Big Band, including a short but fascinating visual tour through the history of saxophone quartets. The evening will also include the West Coast premiere of Valse Scherzo, a saxophone quartet composed by PMC Director, Marek Zebrowski, based on a short waltz theme written by military hero and amateur musician, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Kościuszko (1746-1817).

Saturday, April 18, 2015 | 6:30 p.m.
L.A. Musical Salon dinner concert: West Coast premiere of Valse Scherzo by Marek Zebrowski
Bel Air Bar + Grill (in the Sunset Room)
662 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049
Tel: 310-440-5544
RSVP required: download Reservation Form or reserve/pay online at www.lamusicalsalon.org

 [Sources: unex.uci.edu, lamusicalsalon.org]

Recent Donations To The PMC Library

Thank you for expanding our collection!

From Polish dermatologist Michal Kasperkiewicz, who is currently doing research at USC:

  • Ignacy Jan Paderewski by Marian Marek Drodowski (Book)

From Marek Szlezer and Jan Kalinowski of the Cracow Duo:

  • 4. Dni Muzki: Andrzej Panufnik; 19-26 Pazdziernika 2014 (Program)

From Clarissa Ryterband and her daughter Astrid Ryterband:

From Jerzy Kapłanek and the Penderecki String Quartet (CDs)


World Premieres Of Polish Modern Music

During the third weekend of April, Katowice will become ground zero for new music. From April 17-19, 2015, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) will host the Festival of Premieres of Polish Modern Music in their new venue. This is the sixth edition of the festival and almost 30 pieces by Polish composers of various generations will be presented in a series of several exciting concerts.

Besides NOSPR, such ensembles as AUKSO Orchestra of the City of Tychy, the Katowice Vocal Ensemble, Camerata Silesia, Silesian String Quartet, Kwartludium, and Orchestra for New Music will be heard in performance with soloists, including Marco Blaauw, Dario Calderone, Maciej Frąckiewicz, Joanna Freszel, Marcin Koziak, Piotr Sałajczyk, and Tomasz Strahl.

This biennial Festival has been held in Katowice since 2005 and the idea for it came from director Joanna Wnuk-Nazar, who stated already ten years ago that, “The Festival of World Premieres aims to present to music lovers—those attending concerts in Katowice and those listening to Polish Radio’s Program II—the widest possible spectrum of the latest works by our contemporary composers.” By design, this Festival presents only those works that weren’t performed anywhere before or didn’t have a Polish premiere thus far.

This year’s concert programs are as follows, with World Premieres marked in bold (all other pieces are Polish Premieres):

April 17, 2015 | 5 p.m.
Anna Szostak, Szymon Bywalec – conductors, Camerata Silesia, Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej, Lidija Jovanović – mezzo

  • Justyna Kowalska-Lasoń –  która wszystko tworzy, wszystko ochrania…for mixed choir, soloists, chamber orchestra and live electronics (live) *
  • Piotr Mossgo where never before for choir and instrumental ensemble
  • Sławomir Wojciechowski – …play them back…for ensemble and electronics *
  • Sławomir Kupczak – white over red for mixed choir
  • Jacek Domagała – Elegia for voice, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello and bells

April 17, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.
Alexander Humala – conductor, NOSPR, Marco Blaauw – trumpet, Maciej Frąckiewicz – accordion

  • Hanna Kulenty – Trumpet Concerto No. 2 *
  • PRASQUAL – Muqarnyas for accordion and double orchestra in 6 spaced out groups *
  • Maciej Jabłoński – Symphony No. 6 Oneirophrenia for symphony orchestra with layered electro-acoustics and multimedia

April 18, 2015 | 12 p.m.

Kwartludium, Dorota Szczepańska – soprano, Mirosław Feldgebel – piano, Szymon Krzeszowiec – violin, Piotr Sałajczyk – piano, Maciej Frąckiewicz – accordion, Magdalena Bojanowicz – cello

  • Grzegorz Duchnowski W malinowym chruśniaku for soprano and piano
  • Artur Zagajewski Mechanofaktura
  • Marcin Błażewicz – Visions– sonata for violin and piano
  • Zaid JabriBeati Pacifici for soprano and piano
  • Jan DuszyńskiSfexfor accordion and cello *

April 18, 2015 | 5 p.m.

Silesian Quartet, Bartosz Pacan – clarinet, Marek Andrysek – accordion

  • Joanna SzymalaQuintet for clarinet and string quartet
  • Rafał AugustynString Quartet No. 3 Monadologia *
  • Zbigniew Bagiński String Quartet No. 5
  • Marcin Bortnowski – ku dźwiękom nocy, string quartet and accordion *

April 18, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.

José Maria Florêncio – conductor, NOSPR, Marcin Koziak – piano

  • Roman Czura – Piano Concerto Kraftfelder
  • Zofia Dowgiałło – Kompozycja z ruchomym tłem
  • Zbigniew Bargielski Hierofania 2
  • Cezary Duchnowski – Symfonia zbiorów for group of instruments and electronics*

April 19, 2015 | 12 p.m.

Szymon Bywalec – conductor, NOSPR, Joanna Freszel – soprano, Dario Calderone – bass

  • Emil Bernard Wojtacki – Zefiro tornafor soprano and orchestra
  • Zbigniew Słowik The Motor Poem (Quo vadis homine) for orchestra
  • Andrzej Kwieciński – erschallen*

April 19, 2015 | 6 p.m.

Marek Moś – conductor, AUKSO Chamber Orchestra, Tomasz Strahl – cello, Piotr Sałajczyk – piano

  • Mikołaj Górecki Elegia for cello and string orchestra
  • Krzysztof MeyerMuzyka światła i półcienia [Music of the light and the penumbra]
  • Marek Grucka Retaeh for piano, strings and percussion
  • Stanisław Bromboszcz Air for instrumental ensemble and electronic media 

* The world premieres of the above works by Justyna Kowalska-Lasoń, Sławomir Wojciechowski, Hanna Kulenty, PRASQUALA, Maciej Jabłoński, Jan Duszyński, Rafał Augustyn, Marcin Bortnowski, Cezary Duchnowski and Andrzej Kwieciński were co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Republic of Poland (MKiDN) within the program “Collections” [Kolekcje] – spotlighting “Commissioned Compositions” [Zamówienia kompozytorskie] as implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT).

April 17-19, 2015| various times
6th Festival of Premieres of Polish Modern Music
NOSPR Concert Hall and Chamber Hall
plac Wojciecha Kilara 1
40-202 Katowice, Poland
Tickets & Info: www.nospr.org.pl

[Sources: hannakulenty.com, nospr.org.pl, festiwalprawykonan.pl]

Composer Alive: Poland Presents Stulgińska Premiere

Access Contemporary Music (ACM) has teamed up with the Polish Consulate and 98.7 WFMT to celebrate the vibrant legacy of Polish classical music in Chicago. Held on April 10, the concert presents music by some of the most esteemed living composers in Poland today, including Krzysztof Penderecki, and the culmination of an exciting collaboration with Warsaw composer Agnieszka Stulgińska. As a part of their annual Composer Alive project, Stulgińska will be present for the World Premiere of her new piece Dance With my Breathwritten especially for ACM and performed by ACM’s Palomar Ensemble.

In keeping with the Composer Alive format, Stulgińska wrote the new piece in three installments for the Palomar Ensemble to perform and record between January and March. After having collaborated with Palomar over email and video throughout the process, the April 10 premiere will be the final step in the creation and presentation of this new work.

Also on the program: Moon Flowers by Marta Ptaszyńska, In C by Marcel Chyrzyński, Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio by Krzysztof Penderecki, Seven One Minute Waltzes by Alicja Gronau, Shades of Ice by Agata Zubel and Quatour pour la naissance by Zygmunt Krauze

Friday, April 10 at 7:00 PM
Composer Alive: Poland – Agnieszka Stulgińska World Premiere
Copernicus Center Annex
5216 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60630
Tickets: $20, $8 students and seniors
Info & Tickets: copernicuscenter.org or acmusic.org

[Sources: press release from pasochicago.org, copernicuscenter.org, acmusic.org]

Accordion Conference & World Premieres

From April 9-10, the conference “Between tradition and avant-garde – accordion in the musical culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries” will be held at the F. Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. Organized by the Międzyuczelniana Katedra Accordionistyki—an inter-departmental organization encompassing music academies in Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Krakowi Łódź, Poznań, Warsaw and Wrocław—this Jubilee Conference celebrates 50 years of accordion education at the Warsaw Academy of Music (now known as the F. Chopin University of Music in Warsaw).

Below is a listing of the programs of world premieres that will be presented during the conference:

Friday, April 10, 2015 | 7: 30 p.m.

  • Edward Sielicki – Sinfonietta for 5 accordions, percussion and piano (2014)
    Klaudiusz Baran, Jędrzej Jarocki, Mateusz Stankiewicz, Przemysław Wojciechowski, Andrzej Grzybowski – accordion; Radosław Mysłek, Jarema Jarosiński, Kamil Siciak – percussion; Maurycy Stawujek – piano
  • Żaneta Rydzewska – Synesthezja for solo accordion (2015)
    Przemysław Wojciechowski – accordion
  • Aleksander Kościów – Thereisa Street for accordion ensemble (2014) – pictured at right
    Klaudiusz Baran, Rafał Grząka, Nadzieja Bajda, Krzysztof Bratasz, Łukasz Brzezina, Bonifacy Duda, Andrzej Grzybowski, Jędrzej Jarocki, Iwo Jedynecki, Adam Maksymienko, Mateusz Pęciak, Dawid Rydz, Mateusz Stankiewicz, Weronika Sura, Patryk Sztabiński, Paweł Ściebior and Przemysław Wojciechowski – accordion
  • Wojciech Kostrzewa – Sonata for solo accordion (2015)
    Rafał Grząka – accordion
  • Michał Moc – K’akko-Fonia for accordion and string orchestra (2015) *
    Klaudiusz Baran – accordion and “The Crew” Chamber Orchestra

Thursday, April 9, 2015 | 7: 30 p.m.

  • Miłosz Bembinow – Cantus Harmonicus for accordion solo (2015) *
    Klaudiusz Baran – accordion
  • Jerzy Mądrawski – Epitafium 2014 for violin, accordion and bass clarinet (2014)
    Adam Wagner – violin; Jerzy Mądrawski – accordion; Mariusz Barszcz – clarinet bass
  • Barbara Kaszuba – Time of Presence for accordion and birdsong (2014) – pictured at right
    Dominika Ratyniak – accordion
  • Edward Sielicki – Rapido for violin and accordion (2014)
    Karolina Mikołajczyk – violin; Iwo Jedynecki – accordion
  • Dominik Lasota – Allegro furioso for accordion and clarinet (2015)
  • Jacek Dziołak – clarinet, bass clarinet; Mateusz Stankiewicz – accordion
  • Cezary Duchnowski – Passacaglia in Between for two accordions (2015); Maciej Frąckiewicz, Rafał Łuc – accordion

* The world premieres of the works by Michał Moc and Miłosz Bembinow were co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Republic of Poland (MKiDN) within the program “Collections” [Kolekcje] – spotlighting “Commissioned Compositions” [Zamówienia kompozytorskie] as implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT).

April 9-10, 2015 | 7: 30 p.m.
Conference & World Premiere Concerts: “Between tradition and avant-garde – accordion in the musical culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
Concert Hall of the F. Chopin University of Music
Warsaw, Poland
Admission: free
Info: www.chopin.edu.pl

[Sources: bembinow.com, chopin.edu.pl]

Premieres At Poznań Spring

The 44th edition of the International Festival of Contemporary Music “Poznań Musical Spring” was held on March 23-30, 2015. Showing a great respect for tradition, the festival program reminded audiences of the works that constitute the canon of Polish twentieth century music, but also presented new compositions by young composers and highlighted interesting phenomena in music currently being created by both Polish and foreign artists. As always, admission to all concerts during the week of the “Poznań Musical Spring” was free.

Premieres are an important part of all festivals of new music, and so it is with the Poznań Spring. This year, audiences heard 9 new works for the first time by the following Polish composers:

Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska (left)Hommage a Marc Chagall  for string quartet (2014/2015): premiered on 3/27 by the NeoQuartet

Barbara Kaszuba—Innuendoes for piano solo (2014/2015): premiered on 3/24 by Tomasz Sośniak, piano

Monika Kędziora—inter-in-supra fanfare for wind orchestra (2014): premiered on 3/28 by Orkiestra Reprezentacyjna Sił Powietrznych with Major Paweł Joks, conductor

Martyna Kosecka—Passaggio II for bass (2014-2015): premiered on 3/26 by Szymon Guzowski, bass

Katarzyna Kwiecień-Długosz—Memories from VN for cello and piano (2014): premiered on 3/27 by Izabela Buchowska, cello and Jakub Tchorzewski, piano

Piotr Moss (left)Berceuses pour Hugo for two flutes (2012): premiered on 3/25 by Łukasz Długosz and Agata Kielar-Długosz, flutes

Bogusław Schaeffer—Kwartet na cztery altówki (2011): premiered on 3/29 by Lech Bałaban, Kamil Babka, Beata Żołnierczyk and Andrzej Hop, violas

Katarzyna Taborowska—Abstrakt for four violas (2014/2015): premiered on 3/29 by Lech Bałaban, Kamil Babka, Beata Żołnierczyk and Andrzej Hop, violas

Zdzisław Wysocki—Sonatina quasi una fantasia op. 75 na altówkę i piano (2014): premiered on 3/26 by Ewa Guzowska, viola and Maria Koszewska-Wajdzik, piano

Audiences also heard two premieres by foreign composers:

Alex Stein—Nocturne and Aubade (2015): premiered on 3/27 by Izabela Buchowska, cello and Jakub Tchorzewski, piano

Tom Sora—Habe Mut, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen! for two guitars (2014/2015): premiered on 3/26 by Martin Steuber and Johannes Öllinger, guitars

[Source: wiosnamuzyczna.pl]

Gerpe Performs Szymanowski In Downtown L.A.

On April 28, the prestigious Piano Spheres continues its new Satellite Series of emerging pianists with pianist Nic Gerpe, Los Angeles-based concerto soloist and chamber musician who has performed throughout U.S and international festivals. On his program “Ces Espaces Infinis,” Gerpe will perform Karol Szymanowski’s Métopes, Op. 29: L’île des Sirènes, Calypso, Nausicaa, as well as works by Alexina Louie, Juhi Bansai and George Crumb. The concert will take place in the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), an interdisciplinary contemporary arts center for innovative visual, performing and media arts located in downtown Los Angeles inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex.

April 28, 2015 | 8:30 pm
Piano Spheres: Satellite Series presents Nic Gerpe performing Szymanowski
REDCAT Theater
631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Info & Tickets: www.redcat.org, 213 237-2800

[Sources: pianospheres.org, redcat.org]

Polish Music & Performers In London

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Grzegorz Nowak

On Sunday , April 19, Polish maestro Grzegorz Nowak will lead the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) in an unmissable matinee of Tchaikovsky’s most celebrated works. Nowak has held the role of Permanent Associate Conductor of the RPM since January 2015, before which he served as the ensemble’s Principal Associate Conductor from 2008-2015. The April 19 program will feature the incomparable Piano Concerto No.1, performed by the talented Alexandra Dariescu, and the one and only 1812 Overture, followed with a sensational firework finale to end this breathtaking gala.