December 2015

Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 21, no. 12

PMC News

Update On The Polish National Archives Collaboration

From October 1 – November 15, 2015, the Polish Music Center hosted Robert Górski, a scholar and archivist with the Central Directorate of the Polish National Archives (NDAP) in Warsaw. This residency was the latest installment in a partnership and professional exchange that has been developing between the National Archives and the PMC over the last five years. Since 2013, two scholars have spent extended periods at the Polish Music Center, teaching PMC staff and cataloguing our extensive archives, and PMC staff have visited various branches of the National Archives in Poland, learning archival and restoration techniques and sharing our skills for the development of English language terminology and databases. This ongoing partnership is co-funded by the NDAP, the PMC, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

Mr. Górski is not only a skilled and diligent archivist, he is also perhaps the world’s leading expert on the current contents and location of all of the various parts of the archives of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, which have been scattered around the world since Paderewski’s death. Given this expertise, Mr. Górski delved into the PMC’s extensive Paderewski Collection immediately upon his arrival and continued to explore its many facets for the following 6 weeks in Los Angeles. Many exciting discoveries were made as he worked to fit the PMC’s collection into the larger context of all extant Paderewski archives around the world. Below is an excerpt from his report on his time at the PMC:

The Paderewski Collection in the PMC […] is one of the largest parts of Paderewski’s personal archive that is dispersed among several institutions (archives, libraries), ex. in the Central Archive of Modern Records in Warsaw that has thousands of documents created by Paderewski, his family and his close friends (ex. Strakacz family); the Institute of Musicology at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland; The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace Archives, Stanford, CA; or Polish Museum in Chicago, IL. The PMC acquired a part of this whole archive from two sources—from Harry E. Blythe and Annette Strakacz-Appleton. Among these papers we can find photographs depicting Paderewski and his family and friends in his California estates, in Palm Springs, FL, or Oak Ridge, NY, as well as his portrait pictures, posters, correspondence, concert programs, paper clippings, many items that have belong to Paderewski and his wife: a few decks of cards, a Kodak camera, a watch that Paderewski received from his father, a ring from Queen Victoria, bookmarks, fabrics and more. There are also many books and recordings on VHS, related to Paderewski and history of Poland. Many of the documents were glued or put into albums [by the previous collector], but without any particular order. The most important task during my one and half month was to separate materials that are not part of Paderewski archive according to the principle of provenance. These were mostly books and recordings and they will become a part of separate collections or the library at the PMC.

Then I began to arrange and describe the photographs, giving them new numbers and a new order within groups, using a FOTOGRAP database designed by Polish State Archives. That was not easy work because of the lack of information on depicted persons, places, events and the dates of events. In many cases, descriptions provided by the donors weren’t precise. There were also many copies of the same photographs in different sizes. There are also many photographs that were taken in Paderewski’s villa in Riond Bosson, Switzerland. They need to be arranged and described, but before that there is a need to make a digital copy of each page of the albums just to preserve the original order and then to consult with conservation professionals, because these pictures were unfortunately glued into the albums. Then—if everything will go well—we will continue our collaboration in LA and of course across the Ocean (with a great pleasure!).

Indeed, there is still much work to do, within the Paderewski Collection as well as within the many other rare and valuable parts of the PMC’s archives. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the National Archives in 2016 and beyond.


2015 Fund Drive

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.

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

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—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 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.

Recent Donations To The PMC

Thank you for expanding our collection!





From Thomas Pandolfi (2 self-released CDs):

From Maja Trochimczyk (1 Book):

From Divine Arts Recording Group (3-Part CD Set):


New York Times Features Agata Zubel

Young Polish composer, singer and percussionist Agata Zubel was recently featured in the prestigious New York Times. Read an excerpt from the article by Ginanne Brownell Mitic, entitled “Agata Zubel, Contemporary Music’s Multiple Threat,” below:

The 37-year-old Ms. Zubel has, in a relatively short career so far, become one of Europe’s most accomplished and internationally successful contemporary classical composers and vocalists.

In 2013 her composition “Not I” for chamber ensemble, electronic instruments and voice was deemed the best of the year by the International Music Council’s International Rostrum of Composers. The recorded performance of that piece, with Austria’s Klangforum Wien, was listed as one of the New Yorker’s Top Ten notable performances and recordings for 2014.

She has been commissioned to write pieces for global festivals and orchestras from Seattle to Tel Aviv. Her discography includes over a dozen albums, including “Dream Lake,” with the Finnish pianist Joonas Ahonen, and “Stories Nowhere From,” an album of experimental electronic music with the pianist and composer Cezary Duchnowski that will be released Nov. 6. The duo, who have worked together for years, perform as ElettroVoce.

In October, Ms. Zubel, who is married to a fellow Polish composer, Michal Moc, began a three-month fellowship in Austria, where she will be composing an opera for the Klangforum Wien. The group will also perform “Not I” at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in England in November.

In January, she will perform at New York’s Ferus Festival, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic will premiere her commissioned work “Chapter 13,” based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince.” Next May the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris will premiere a new instrumental electronic piece by her, and in October the Seattle Symphony will perform an orchestral piece she is writing for the company.

“She will do everything possible to bring the music to life and she is such an incredible stage animal, just to be on stage with her is an experience,” said Mikhail Shmidt, a violinist with both the Seattle Chamber Players and the Seattle Symphony, and a longtime friend.

Read the full article at


Komorowski Premieres at the 25th Portraits of Composers

The Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) will celebrate its 70th anniversary with its annual concert series, Portraits of Composers. The event will be hosted at the Mazovia Institute of Culture, whom has also co-organized the event for several years now. The program includes works by two contemporary Polish composers – Piotr Komorowski and Sławomir Zamuszko, both of whom will be attending the concerts as well.

A special highlight of the 25th Portrait of Composers will be the World Premiere of two of Komorowski’s works: Sonata for cello and piano and Hidden World for accordion and electronics. The compositions will be performed by outstanding soloists and chamber players, such as Stanisław Miłek (accordion), Julia Samojło (piano), Tomasz Strahl (cello), Łucja Szablewska-Borzykowska (mezzosoprano), Flute O’Clock and Opium Quartet.

December 7-8 | 6:00 p.m.
Portrait of Composers
Mazovia Institute of Culture
12 Elektoralna Str., 00-139 Warsaw, Poland
Admission is FREE.


Pawel Przezwanski Premiere

The world premiere of Pawel Przezwanski’s latest piece, Immer-ten-sion for orchestra and live electronics, is sure to dazzle audiences on December 11. Inspired by the contrast drawn between two domains—the cosmos and human existence—the composition will be performed by violinist Jan Mráček and the Kalisz Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra during the Amber Road Festival in Kalisz. The program also includes Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D. major, Op. 61 and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in B minor, D. 759 “Unfinished”.

Friday, December 11, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.
Immer-ten-sion: Pawel Przezwanski World Premiere
Kalisz Philharmonic Concert Hall
Al. Wolności 2, 62-800 Kalisz, Poland
Admission 40 PŁ
Tickets & Info:


Maciej Balenkowski US Premiere

On December 4 in their program entitled “Twenty Somethings (1875-Present),” the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra (UPCO) will perform several compositions originating from Prague to Poland. Amongst the various selections, Maciej Balenkowski’s Sinfonietta – Time is Ticking will be given its US Premiere. This award-winning piece reflects Polish tradition by capturing the unique echoes of the Rite of Spring. The audience can also look forward to the East Coast premiere of Julia Seeholzer’s Yours, featuring soloists from the UPCO. Works by George Walker and Antonin Dvorak are included in the program as well.

Friday, December 4, 2015 | 8:00 p.m.
Twenty Somethings (1875-Present) – Maciej Balenkowski US Premiere
The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, Mary Flagler Cary Hall
450 W. 37th St., Manhattan, NY 10018
Admission: General $25; Seniors, Students & Veterans $20
Tickets & Info:


Lutos Air & Lutosławski Qtet Perform New Polish Music

An all-Polish concert will be performed by the Lutosławski Quartet (Bartosz Woroch and Marcin Markowicz – violins, Artur Rozmysłowicz – viola, and Maciej Młodawski – cello) and the Lutos Air Quintet (Jan Krzeszowiec – flute, Wojciech Merena – oboe, Maciej Dobosz – clarinet, Alicja Kieruzalska – bassoon, and Mateusz Feliński – French horn) with Rafał Łuc – accordion and Maciej Koczur – conductor on December 17 in the Sala Czarna [Black Hall] of the new National Music Forum in Wrocław, Poland.

The program, entitled “The Ubiquity of Sound” [Wszechobecność], will include new works by Paweł Hendrich (b. 1979): Pteropetros – concerto for accordion, wind quintet and string quartet; Paweł Szymański (b. 1954): Five pieces for string quartet; Rafał Augustyn (b. 1951): Rondeau; and Wojtek Blecharz (b. 1981): A bright empty square for woodwind quintet.

Thursday, December 17, 2015 | 7:00 p.m.
The Ubiquity of Sound: works by Hendrich, Szymański, Augustyn and Blecharz
National Music Forum
Plac Wolności 1, 50-071 Wrocław, Poland
Tickets (20-50 PLN) & Info:


Nehring And Satander Orch On Tour

Honorable Mention and Audience Prize winner of the 2015 Chopin Competition Szymon Nehring, who was also the only Pole among this year’s laureates, is currently on tour of some of Poland’s greatest orchestral venues performing Chopin’s Concerto No. 1 in E minor op. 11. Nehring shares the tour with the Satander Orchestra, which is organized and funded by the main sponsor of the 2015 Chopin Competition: Bank Zachodni WBK – Satander Group.

The tour will include:

  • LUSŁAWICE (November 30, 2015): Krzysztof Penderecki European Center of Music, with Krzysztof Penderecki –cond. and Gábor Boldoczki – trumpet. Program also includes: Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 and Penderecki’s Concertino for trumpet and orchestra
  • WROCŁAW (December 1, 2015 | 7:00 pm): National Music Forum, with John Axelrod – cond. Program also includes: Bizet’s Carmen Suite Nos. 1 & 2 and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7
  • KATOWICE (December 2, 2015 | 7:30 pm): NOSPR Concert Hall, with Krzysztof Penderecki –cond. and Gábor Boldoczki – trumpet. Program also includes: Hadyn’s Trumpet Concerto in Eflat major (cadenza: Krzysztof Penderecki) and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7
  • WARSAW (December 3, 2015 | 7:00 pm): National Philharmonic Hall, with John Axelrod – cond. Program also includes: Bizet’s Carmen Suite Nos. 1 & 2 and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7
  • SZCZECIN (December 5, 2015 | 8:00 pm): Szczecin Philharmonic Hall, with John Axelrod – cond. Program also includes: Bizet’s Carmen Suite Nos. 1 & 2 and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7


Celebrating Young Composers and Traditional Instruments

On December 6, Maestro Szymon Bywalec will lead the New Music Orchestra (OMN) and soloists Jadwiga Czarkowska and Tomasz Żymła – clarinet and Bartłomiej Duś – saxophone in a concert celebrating “Traditional instruments in new terms” in the chamber hall of the new NOSPR Hall in Katowice. The program will include works by young Polish composers Tomasz OpałkaD.N.A. Concerto for bass clarinet and chamber orchestra, and Aleksander NowakNiebo w Niedabylu for soprano saxophone and sinfonietta, as well as by a giant of contemporary music, Iannis Xenakis – Échange for bass clarinet and instrumental ensemble.

Sunday, December 6, 2015 | 6:00 p.m.
“Traditional instruments in new terms – clarinet, saxophone”
Works by: Opałka and Nowak
plac Wojciecha Kilara 1, 40-202 Katowice, Poland
Info & Tickets:


Urbaniak & Auguscik – First Duo Concert

“Don’t Play the Music! Let the Music Play!” – M. Urbaniak

On December 4, Polish musicians Michał Urbaniak and Grażyna Auguścik will come together for a concert at the Copernicus Center in Chicago. Although both have been living and performing in the US for most of their careers, this will be there first concert together ever, joined by other jazz and blues musicians from the Chicago area. Michal Urbaniak will perform blues with Felton Crews – bass, Rick Hall – guitar, Marty Sammon – keyboard and Brady Williams – drums, while Grażyna Auguścik will sing jazz with Rob Clearfield – piano and keyboard, Jon Deitemyer – drums, John Kregor – guitar and Matt Ulery – bass.

Michał Urbaniak, a Polish-born “citizen of the world” who became famous after recording the album Tutu with the greatest jazz legend, Miles Davis. Urbaniak is a violinist, composer, arranger and leader of projects, including: “Urbanizer,” “Urbanator,” “UrbSymphony,” “Fusion” and “Jazz Legends.” He was the first to play on a violin with five strings, built especially for him. Urbaniak has performed at all of the major jazz venues and festivals throughout the world, but his is also associated with film and theater. He was the first person to introduce jazz and rap to the symphony format through a project called “UrbSymphony.” Urbaniak has made over 60 albums, and his last album Miles of Blue was certified platinum. A book about his life entitled I, Urbanator was written by Andrew Makovetski in 2011.

Grażyna Auguścik is a singer, composer, producer and arranger. Auguścik’s unique style challenges traditional definitions of jazz, showing that she is a musician without boundaries. Auguścik’s discography contains 17 albums, 10 of which were released under her own record label, GMA Records. Auguścik’s Pastels album was chosen as one of the best albums of 1998 by National Public Radio listeners. The prestigious European Jazz Forum Magazine named her the best Jazz vocalist of 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. The Grażyna Auguścik Orkestral Universale Project, presented at Millenium Park in Chicago in 2006 received a standing ovation. Her Chopin World Sound concert in 2010 that gathered over 10,000 people in Chicago’s Millenium Park was chosen as one of the 10 most important performances during the last three decades in the Chicago area. “She’s a music machine” declared C. Loudon of the Jazz Times.

Friday, December 4, 2015 | 8:00 p.m.
Urbaniak & Auguscik In Concert
Copernicus Center
5216 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60630
Tickets: $25-45 at

[Sources: press release from,]

Beczała Sings Rigoletto At The Met, Vegas-Style

Polish tenor Piotr Beczała is currently performing in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, in the role of the licentious Duke. Serbian baritone Željko Lučić reprises his acclaimed performance of the title role in Michael Mayer’s electrifying production, set in 1960 in a Las Vegas casino, with American soprano Nadine Sierra in her Met debut as Rigoletto’s innocent daughter, Gilda. Roberto Abbado conducts this production of Verdi’s timeless tragedy, which runs from October 20-December 17.

Beczała and Sierra most recently performed together in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at the San Francisco Opera in October. Read a review of this performance at

Oct 20 – Dec 17, 2015
Piotr Beczała in Rigoletto at the Met Opera
Lincoln Center
10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Info: (212)799-3100,  or


Katarzyna Sądej In San Diego

On December 8, mezzo-soprano Katarzyna Sądej will perform a short vocal cycle—Louis Vierne’s Les Angélus—with organist Gabriel Arregui at St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego. The piece being performed was meant for the vibrant acoustics of a cathedral, so it will be very interesting acoustically. This 30-minute free concert is part of St. Paul’s organ recital series.

<img class=” wp-image-6801 alignleft” src%