2014 Year in Review: July-December

Anniversary Year

The theme of this year’s edition of the Tadeusz Ochlewski Composers’ Competition was an original composition for small, secondary level orchestra inspired by Polish folk music, related to the 2014 Year of Kolberg

Sir An­drzej Pa­nuf­nik was honored at the 10th Festival of Polish Music in July

The Tippett Quartet recorded Andrzej Panufnik: String Quartets Nos. 1-3 and Witold Lutosławski: String Quartet (Naxos 8.573164) while works by Andrzej and Roxanna Panufnik (his composer daughter) were recorded by pianist Clare Hammond (BIS-2003) and the Subito Piano Trio with mezzo Heather Shipp (Signum SIGCD380)

The 10th edition of the ‘Chopin and His Europe’ Festival was held in Warsaw from August 15-31 under the motto “From Chopin to Grieg and Panufnik”

Panufnik’s birthday on September 24 brings a special centenary concert by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

The Fryderyk Chopin Music University organized the ‘Andrzej Panufnik and his vision of music’ International Conference in Art and Science on September 24–26

Writing for Culture.pl, Filip Lech wrote an excellent article entitled “(A)symmetries of the 20th Century. Who Was Panufnik?

Continuing the celebrations of Andrzej Panufnik in the Americas, Maestro Riccardo Muti opened the Chicago Symphony season with Concerto in Modo Antico (October 2), USC celebrated the centenary with the Paderewski Lecture-Recital (October 5) and Thornton Symphony concert (October 9) in Los Angeles, the St. Louis Symphony and Maestro John Storgårds performed Landscape (October 24) and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski performed Tragic Overture (November 6)

The centenary of composer Roman Ryterband (194-1979) was celebrated throughout the world in 2014, including at the prestigious school where he once studied, the Academy of Music in Łódź during the Nov. 13 “Chamber Harp Concert” of the AŻ Festival

The Polish Cultural Institute New York and (Le) Poisson Rouge presented a celebration of Panufnik given by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) on November 18

On November 30, the Brodsky Quartet and the Panufnik family and friends presented Panufnik 100: A Family Celebration, a festival of chamber works spanning the composer’s life, held at Kings Place London

On November 28, the New York Times published an interesting article about the life and music of Sir Andrzej Panufnik, entitled “His Nightmares Starred Communists, Not Nazis – Celebrating Panufnik, a Polish Composer in London” and written by Michael White

On December 1 Sinfonietta Cracovia officially concluded its 20th anniversary celebrations by performing 20 concerts in various, often unusual locations under the title of “Daj się zaskoczyć” [Allow yourself to be surprised] with Maestro Jurek Dybała

Awards & Honors

Winners of the 2014 Tadeusz Baird Competition for Young Composers were Grand Prize (shared ex-aequo): Paweł Kwapiński for Przestrzenie akustyczne [Accourstic Spaces] & Tomasz Szczepanik for Gangkhar II, and Distinction: Marek Grucka

In September, Wiesław Dąbrowski’Paderewski: The Man of Action, Success and Famewon the Silver Sword Award (documentary films category) at the Fifth International Festival of Historical and Military Films in Warsaw and the Best Historical Documentary prize at the Florida Documentary Film Festival in Miami

2014 Koryfeusz Polish Music Award winners were Music Personality of the Year Award: Włodek Pawlik; Music Event of the Year: 2013 Warsaw Autumn Festival concert with Krystian Zimerman, organized by the ZKP & IMiT; and Honorary Award: Prof. Mieczysław Tomaszewski

Musicologist Teresa Chylińska celebrated the completion of her magnum opus—the Complete Works of Karol Szymanowski (PWM)—on October 18and was awarded Jagiellonian University’s highest honor, “Plus ratio quam vis,” on December 9

Conductors Justyna Maj / Częstochowa Philharmonic [Filharmonia Częstochowska im. Bronisława Hubermana] and Paweł Pietruszewski / Lower Silesia Philharmonic [Filharmonia Dolnośląska w Jeleniej Górze] were the winners of the 2nd edition of IMiT’s Conductor-in-Residence program

First Karol Szymanowski International String Quartet Competition was held from September 24–28, in Katowice, with winners Sedlacek Quartet from the Czech Republic (1st Prize) and Jubilee Quartet from the UK (2nd Prize)

During a gala concert at the Kraków Philharmonic on October 4, Maestro Tadeusz Strugała celebrated his 60 year-long career in music, receivng the Polonia Minor Award from the Marshall of the Małopolska Region and the Honoris Gratia Medal from the Deputy Mayor of Kraków

Polish jazz singer Urszula Dudziak has been chosen as a UNESCO Artist for Peace on account of her efforts to promote women’s rights and cultural diversity

Paweł Łukaszewski—well-known composer, conductor and 2011 Paderewski Lecturer—won this year’s Jerzy Kurczewski Prize

 

Premieres

June 14-15, Warsaw’s Nowy Teatr hosted the 3rd ‘Instalakcje’ Festival, featuring the following premieres: Aleksandra GrykaW.ALTER’s(Z.). for voice, two percussionists and two pianists (2014); Andrzej Kwiecińskinon si puo fuggire for voice and harmonized piano for eight hands (2014); Sławomir WojciechowskiMachina zawiła for soprano, prepared piano, sampler, objects, and two percussionists (2014); Wojciech BlecharzSeptember (the next reading) for voice, piano (two performers) and two percussion (2013-2014)

Mieczyslaw Weinberg‘s The Passenger (1968) had its New York premiere on July 10, in a co-production with the Lincoln Center Festival, Park Avenue Armory and Houston Grand Opera (HGO)

Commissioned by the 2014 Presteigne Festival, the Requiem for soprano, baritone, mixed choir and orchestra (2013-2014) of Paweł Łukaszewski was premiered on Sunday, August 24 by Rachel Nicholls (soprano), Christopher Foster (baritone), the Joyful Company of Singers and the Presteigne Festival Orchestra under George Vass

The 56th International ‘Warsaw Autumn’ Festival of Contemporary Music [Warszawska Jesień] was held in various venues throughout Warsaw from September 19-27 and presented the premieres of over 18 new works by Polish composers

Eugeniusz Knapik‘s Concerto of Song Offerings for piano solo, choir and orchestra was premiered by pianist Krystian Zimerman at the grand opening of the new home of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) in Katowice at the October 1st opening gala

Held from October 3-5 in Gdańsk, the 3rd edition ‘Neoarte’ New Music Spectrumcelebrated connections between Poland, the Ukraine and the US. The Festival was first previewed at the Warsaw Autumn Festival on Sept. 26 with world premieres of Bio-chorales for wind quintet by Karol Nepelski (Pol), I Have Lost My Euridice for string quartet, double bass, woodwind quartet, French horn and piano by Oleksii Shmuraka (Ukr), Talos for string quartet by Bohdan Sehin (Ukr), and Koncert na jedenastu [Concerto for 11] for string quartet, double bass, woodwind quartet, French horn and piano by Sławomir Kupczak (Pol)

The world premiere of Aftersounds, a 2014 Marcin Stańczyk composition for two percussionists and electronics, was given on September 12 at Centre Pompidou in Paris by members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain

Mikołaj Górecki’s new work Gloria for mixed choir and orchestra was premiered by the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir during the finale concert of the 19th Henryk Mikołaj Górecki Polish Composers Festival in Bielsko-Biała (October 9 -11) by the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and baritone Artur Ruciński, under the direction of Jacek Błaszczyk

Zbigniew Bargielski’s Otwartym oknem[With an open window] received its world premiere at the 43rd ZKP Musicological Conference at the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz(Oct. 9-11)

On October 10, during their “Concert de musique de films France Musique – SACEM / Hommage à Roman Polanski,” the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra performed the world premiere of their commission, Paweł Mykietyn’s Hommage à Oskar Dawicki

On October 16 and 17, the premiere of 2014: Here and Now by Zbigniew Preisner was performed by Sinfonietta Cracovia and soloists at the opening of the highly anticipated new ICE Krakow Congress Centre in Poland.

The world premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Dies Illa  for three soloists, three mixed choirs and orchestra—was given on November 9 at Koekelberg Basilica in Brussel during the Flanders Festival, conducted by Andres Mustonen with Nikolay Didenko, Johanna Rusanen and Angieszka Rehlis as soloists

Held December 2-5, this year’s Brand New Music Festival featured the world premieres of works by Joanna Szymala – SorgenteSławomir Wojciechowski – A matter of choiceKrzysztof Gawlas – Hō-ō, performed by the New Music Orchestra (OMN) with Szymon Bywalec, conductor

On November 5-6, 2014, the FuturOpera project was presented at the Warsaw Chamber Opera, featuring premieres by Dariusz Przybylski and Nikolet Burzyńska

 

PMC News

The March 29 Polish Jazz Concert focused music by two distinguished Polish composers who succeeded in Hollywood , Bronisław Kaper (1902-1983) and Henryk Wars (1902-1977), in new arrangements by Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer, Jan Jarczyk, who performed with bassist Dave Robaire, percussionist Efa Etorama and the Stella Cho Quartet

The 2014 Paderewski Lecture-Recital featured Panufnik’s widow, Lady Camilla (pictured at right with Maestro St. Clair at USC), discussing her late husband’s life and music, and a chamber concert with mezzo-soprano Juliana Gondek, the Eclipse Quartet, and pianists James Lent and Nic Gerpe on Oct. 5, then four days later the Thornton Symphony Orchestra performed Panufnik’s Tragic Overture and Harmony at USC (Oct. 9)

Honorable Mention – Jane Yang (14) of Pacific Grove; 3rd Place, Junior Div.  Jack Raventos (14) of San Luis Obispo; 2nd Place, Junior Div. – Holly Hadsall (9) of Santa Barbara; 1st Place, Junior Div. – Kevin Park (13) of Orcutt; 3rd Place, Senior Div. – Yuan Tao (15) of Carmel; 2nd Place, Senior Div. – Kannan Freyaldenhoven (15) of San Luis Obispo; 1st Place, Senior Div. – Daniel Ha (15) of Arroyo Grande

The Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles’ 8th annual Youth Piano Competition was held October 25, and the winners are as above

Polish baroque orchestra Il Giardino d’Amore included a master class for the USC Thornton School of Music Early Music Dept on their North American tour in October and November

The annual Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles (Nov. 5-9) had a distinctly international note, featuring performances by: Polish and Ukranian participants in the Cultural Exchange, the virtuosic Polish duo of violinist Mariusz Patyra and pianist Krzysztof Herdzin, and South Korean gala performer Zheeyoung Moon

On November 11, the Polish Music Center celebrated Poland’s Independence Day at USC with a concert featuring virtuoso violinist Mariusz Patyra and pianist Krzysztof Herdzin in a program of music by Polish composers

 

Publications

The Adam Mickiewicz Institute has recently published “A Foreigner’s Guide to Polish Jazz,” a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ style article where readers are given many ways to digest the complex and glorious history (and present) of jazz in Poland

 

News

On June 18, President Bronisław Komorowski installed Małgorzata Omilanowska as Poland’s new Minister of Culture and National Heritage, replacing outgoing Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski, who has served in the post since November of 2007 but was elected to a seat in the European Parliament

The 2014 edition of the I, CULTURE Orchestra (ICO)—comprised of outstanding young musicians from Poland, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine—was in residence at the Gdańsk Music Academy/Baltic Philharmonic, and gave a tour that included the International Edinburgh Festival and Baltic Sea Festival

A new Tomasz Sikorski website, www.sikorski.polmic.pl, was unveiled at the Warsaw Autumn Festival

National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) inaugurated its new season in a brand new building with major performances by Krystian Zimerman and the Bavarian Radio Choir (Oct. 1- world premiere of Eugeniusz Knapik’s Concerto of Song Offerings), Silesian Quartet (Oct. 2 – world premiere of Krzysztof Meyer’s 14th String Quartet), Vienna Philharmonic (Oct. 3), AUKSO OrchestraCamerata Silesia and Leszek Możdżer(Oct. 5), Piotr Anderszewski and the London Symphony Orchestra (Oct. 18), Urszula Dudziak and the Norddeutsche Rundfunk Big Band Hamburg (Oct. 22), and Piotr Beczała(Oct. 28)

The international 2014 World Music Days were held in Wrocław from Oct. 3-8 with the theme “Tradition and New Music,” linking to the 2014 Kolberg anniversary celebrations. The IAMIC 2014 Annual Meeting and Concerts were held in conjunction with the event

Beloved Polish vocalist Anna Maria Jopek  launched a “Best of…” tour of the US and Canada from November 5-9

The series “Contemporary Music Doesn’t Bite” [Muzyka współczesna nie gryzie] continued with Agnieszka Stulgińska (Oct. 11), Adam Sławiński (Oct. 25), Romuald Twardowski (Nov. 8) and Maciej Żółtowski (Nov. 16)

 

 

Recordings

In 2014, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra celebrates its 30th anniversary and, during March and April, the orchestra was in the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio in Warsaw for an important new recording project: An Anthology of Polish Contemporary Music, 1939-1945

The LA-based gnarwhallaby ensemble released their CD [exhibit a] featuring the repertoire of the avant-garde ensemble Warsztat Muzyczy (clarinet, trombone, cello, and piano), including such Polish composers as Włodzimierz Kotoński, Zygmunt Krauze and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki

Pianist Katarżyna Borek and electronic musician Wojciech “Vojto Monteur” Orszewski  released the unique album Tempus Fantasy on Warner Classics in June

Paweł Mykietyn’s String Quartet (2006)—the manuscript of which is held in the PMC’s Manuscript Collection—was recorded along with Lutosławski’s String Quartet (1964) by the Lutosławski Quartet for DUX Records (CD 735)

A seven-CD box set with recordings by the prolific Polish violinist Prof. Kaja Danczowska (b. 1949) was released by Polish Radio in July (PRCD 1721-1727)

Saxophonist Alina Mleczko and the Baltic Neopolis Orchestra recorded a CD on DUX Records of works by living composers—Edward Sielicki, Krzysztof Herdzin, Jerzy Derfel, Pawł Mykietyn and Jacek Grudzień—and it was released in September 2014, with a concert on September 27 at the TRAFO Trafostacja Sztuki in Szczecin

In November, DUX released Krzysztof Penderecki Chamber Works vol. I, a unique program of new and old compositions performed by Jan Kalinowski – cello, Maria Machowska – violin, Artur Rozmysłowicz – viola, Marek Szlezer – piano, Tadeusz Tomaszewski – horn, Roman Widaszek – clarinet

A Tribute to Krzysztof Penderecki (Accentus Music ACC-20276 [DVD]) celebrates one of the world’s great contemporary composers and a Polish classical music icon on his 80th birthday

The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra releases its first CD ‘Warsaw Philharmonic: Weinberg Symphony No. 4 & Violin Concerto’ in the Polish market under its exclusive four-year contract with Warner Classics

Jazz in Polish Cinema – Out of the Underground 1958-1967‘ is a treasure-trove of rare and previously unissued classic jazz film soundtracks written by a pair of legendary Polish composers and pianists—Krzysztof Komeda and Andrzej Trzaskowski

 

Performances

On the 25th anniversary of the recovery of Polish national freedom (June 4), the Grand Theatre National Opera in Warsaw held a gala concert with Maestro Jerzy Maksymiuk and the National Philharmonic, presenting the monumental patriotic work of Paderewski, his Symphony in B Minor “Polonia,” and excerpts from the film “Paderewski man of action, success and fame

The Solidarity of Arts Festival in Gdańsk from August 8-30 presented some of the world’s greatest living jazz musicians in the “Esperanza+” concert

The Music in Wartime Warsaw [Muzyka w okupowanej Warszawie] series (September 12-14) commemorated the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II and the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising with concerts of music written during the German occupation of Warsaw from 1939-1945, performed by the Warsaw National PhilharmonicSilesian QuartetLutosławski Piano Duo, and Kwadrofonik.

The Andrzej Jagodziński Trio and Chicago-based singer Grażyna Auguścik gave a US West Coast tour during October

 

Polish organist Piotr Rachoń from Warsaw’s St John Cathedral presented early Polish music at a recital at the US Washington National Cathedral on October 5

The Triptych MUSICA VINCIT OMNIA: Generations XVIII “Polish-American” series of concerts and conference celebrated the 90th anniversary of Andrzej Markowski’s birth and the 70th anniversary of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP)

Pianist, improviser and composer, Kuba Cichocki toured Asia in September and October with the with the Sarnecki/Cichocki Quintet

On Thursday November 20, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stańko and his New York Quartet shared the stage at Barbican Hall with Italian pianist Stefano Bollani and Brazilian bandolim player Hamilton de Holanda at the London Jazz Festival, with music from Stańko’s acclaimed ECM double album, Wisława– dedicated to the celebrated poet, essayist and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska

From Nov. 5-16, Polish and American musicians joined forces in venues in Chicago and Louisville celebrating the Open Borders Generation—the first generation of artists to live their entire professional lives following the end of Communism in 1989—including composers Krzysztof WołekAgata ZubelCezary Duchnowski, Paweł Hendrich and Ewa Trębacz

 

We Remember…

The music that filled the heart of jazz pianist and composer Jan Jarczyk ever since the day he was born in Kraków in 1947 fell silent on August 3, 2014

Polish pianist, composer and pedagogue Jan Ekier passed away on August 15, 2014

Polish composer and pedagogue Włodzimierz Kotoński, who was an electronic music pioneer, died on September 4, 2014

Jerzy Semkow, one of the most prominent Polish conductors and champions of Polish music around the world, died on December 23 near Lausanne, Switzerland