2015 Fund Drive

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, 2015. Photo: Mike Patterson

Los Angeles, 1 December 2015

Dear Friend,

2015 proved to be a busy year at the PMC! This year marked our 30th anniversary, and we celebrated with several special events and projects described below. Some of you already honored this milestone by contributing to our “30 for 30” drive online, and we are most grateful for your recognition of Stefan and Wanda Wilk’s legacy. At the same time we would like to encourage those who did not yet have a chance to support us this year, or who would like to add a year-end gift, to do so with this annual appeal.

The year began with a two-week residency by the scholars of the Cracow Duo, who researched our Stojowski Collection and gave a fantastic performance on February 24. Then at the end of March, in collaboration with the USC School of Cinematic Arts, we produced the “Measures & Frames” concert that combined projections of original video with live accompaniment provided by the Toronto-based Penderecki String Quartet (PSQ). The highlight of this event was the world premiere of David Lynch’s 10-minute animation film (pictured below) with music by PMC Director Marek Zebrowski. Newman Hall was packed to the rafters with students, faculty and film industry professionals.

During late June and early July we organized another Cultural Exchange Program in Poland in conjunction with the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. Two winners of the Paderewski Youth Competition in Paso Robles spent two weeks in Poland studying piano, chamber music and composition at Paderewski’s former manor house in Kąśna Dolna. Concerts at the manor house, Jagiellonian University and visits at Chopin’s birthplace of Żelazowa Wola were supplemented by sightseeing and exploration of Poland’s culture and history.

2015 Cultural Exchange Program participants, in front of Paderewski’s former manor house in Kąśna Dolna
Photo: Misha Freyaldenhoven

Also during the summer, PMC Assistant Director Krysta Close spent four weeks at the Gdańsk branch of the National Archives, learning various best practices for archiving rare materials such those we have in our collections. Our collaboration with the National Archives continued this fall when we hosted Mr. Robert Górski, who spent six weeks at the Polish Music Center patiently cataloguing the unique photographs housed in our Paderewski Collection.

In celebration of Polish Heritage month, on October 9 and 18 we presented two concerts of early Polish music and a special anniversary reception. Performed by the USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia led by Adam Gilbert, the program of rarely-heard Polish masterpieces from 1500-1750 elicited an enthusiastic response from both the performers and the audience, and was broadcast worldwide on KUSC-FM on November 9. Our unique library holdings will be used to produce additional concerts of early Polish music next year.

Paderewski’s November 6 birthday is celebrated every year in Paso Robles, California with the Paderewski Festival that we organize and run. From a one-concert event in 2006, the Festival now is a four-day feast of concerts, lectures, and film screenings on Polish music. With a lineup including such world-renowned virtuosos as the Motion Trio from Poland, the 2015 Festival also presented Paderewski’s film Moonlight Sonata, and a recital of the Youth Competition winners held in the historic Paso Robles Inn where Paderewski used to stay between 1914 and 1939.

Other important PMC news is the donation of manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, concert programs and other documents from the family of Roman Ryterband (1914-1979), a noted composer and pianist, who spent the last twelve years of his life in Palm Springs, California. His widow and daughters spent the year organizing and delivering the collection, which will enrich our archives with another important Polish composer’s music and provide a unique window into Polish culture and history for scholars and musicians to explore.

Unlike our 30-day, web-only campaign held in October, this letter is our sole annual appeal for your support. Since the Polish Music Center is not endowed with operational funds, each year we must raise the capital required to cover our costs, such as renting USC venues, hiring performers, printing program booklets, and promoting concerts, as well as hiring student help, supporting researchers worldwide, maintaining our vast and informative website, and covering housing and transportation for visiting scholars. As always, we are very grateful to those who have supported us financially, attended concerts, volunteered at events, assisted in our library, helped with our monthly Newsletter, or spread the good word about us. We know how important our one-of-a-kind Center is to our Polish-American community and beyond, and how its continued mission enriches the cultural landscape of California and the world. Therefore, each year we ask you to consider making a fully tax-deductible gift to support the institution whose innovative projects have advanced Polish music and culture for 30 years. As always, your gift will be recognized in our concert programs throughout the year. The first 25 donations of $100 or more will receive a recording of our early Polish music concert held on 18 October 2015.

To donate by credit card, contact the PMC directly or visit giveto.usc.edu—you will find a PMC checkbox under University-wide Giving Opportunities > Centers and Institutes > Music. Checks may also be sent to our mailing address: 840 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851. Please indicate “USC Polish Music Center” in either the remittance line of your check or the online form, to ensure your contribution is routed directly to us.

As always, we invite you to stop by the Polish Music Center to experience first-hand the impact of our exceptional programs and learn more about how your year-end gift advances the profile of Polish music around the world. Please contact us at (213) 821-1356 or polmusic@thornton.usc.edu if you have any questions or to schedule a visit.

Thank you for your consideration. With our best wishes for the Holiday Season, we remain sincerely and gratefully yours,

Marek Zebrowski, Director

Krysta Close, Assistant Director


P.S. Please mark your calendars for our next concert on 2 April 2016 at 8:00 pm. in USC’s Newman Recital Hall, featuring music by Roman Ryterband, whose portrait is pictured at the right. At this concert, you’ll have a chance to meet the composer’s family and hear a solo and chamber music program of his works. It would be great to see you, thank you personally for your support, and invite you to other concerts that we plan for next year.