2014 Year In Review: January – June


The anniversaries of two great Polish musicians were celebrated in 2014: the centenary of composer Sir Andrzej Panufnik, and the bicentenary of musicologist and composer Oskar Kolberg

Several new websites were created for these anniversaries: panufnik.com, www.panufnik.polmic.pl, and www.kolberg2014.org.pl

The 10th anniversary edition of the Łańcuch [Chain] XI Witold Lutosławski Festival coincided with the conclusion of the 2013 Lutosławski Year centenary and the 20th anniversary of his death (7 February 2014). The event featured an incredible group of international performers and music by Lutosławski, Kilar, Panufnik, Tansman, and Bargielski

Panufnik’s worldwide centennial celebration kicked off in Chile with a performance of the Pentasonata at the Semanas Musicales by pianist Marek Bracha on January 31

The London Symphony Orchestra inaugurated Panufnik Year celebrations in the UK on February 1 with Anne-Sophie Mutter – violin (left) and conductor Michael Francis

Throughout the first half of the year, Anna Maria Staśkiewicz – violin, Bartosz Koziak – cello, and Jakub Tchorzewski – piano performed Panufnik’s Piano Trio around the world

The Warsaw National Philharmonic celebrated the 70th birthday and 50th year of artistic activity of its former Artistic Director, maestro Antoni Wit, in February with a Great Symphonies Concert

The Warsaw Philharmonic inaugurated the Panufnik Year in Poland with two performances of his Sinfonia di Sfere on February 7 & 8

Classical and folk music came together as the Kolberg Year was inaugurated in Przysucha (Kolberg’s birthplace) on February 21 and in Warsaw at the National Philharmonic Hall on February 24

International conference: “Oskar Kolberg – forerunner of European folklorists” took place in Tyszkiewicz Palace in Warsaw in February

Lady Camilla Paunfnik was honored during Panufnik Year with a Lutosławski Year Medal (Feb. 8) and a Golden Gloria Artis award (Apr. 15)

Sinfonia Varsovia celebrated its 30th anniversary at the  Grand Theatre in Warsaw on May 11




In January, Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz (left) was chosen for the 2014 edition of one of the music world’s most prestigious honors: the Gilmore Artist Award

Also in January, Polityka Magazine’s 2013 ‘Paszport’ in the Classical Music category was awarded to the Apollon Musagète Quartett for “consistently and effectively building a strong position in Europe’s musical life while always including Polish music in the repertoire, and for the outstanding ‘Multitude’ album”

On January 26, jazz composer and pianist Włodek Pawlik won the 2013 Grammy Award in the “Best Large Jazz Ensemble” category for the album ‘Night in Calisia’ (Summit Records 612)

French conductor Marc Minkowski received the Silver Gloria Artis medal for services to Polish culture at the Polish Embassy in Paris, France in February 2014

Accordion player Bartosz Kołsut was named Poland’s Young Musician of the Year, and thus went on to represent Poland at the Eurovision Young Musicians Competition in Cologne on May 31

Agata Zubel won the 2014 Polonica Nova Award for Not I, a 2010 composition that wasalso named on the 2013 UNESCO Rostrum of Composers and released on Kairos Records in 2014 (0013362KAI)

Musicologist Adrian Thomas, a leading authority on Polish music, was awarded the Golden Gloria Artis medal for his outstanding contribution to the study and promotion of Polish music by Poland’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Witold Sobków on April 12 in Royal Festival Hall

The 2014 Fryderyk Award winners included in the classical music category Artist of the Year: Piotr BECZAŁA; Album of the Year in Choral, Oratorio, and Opera: baritone Andrzej DOBBER – “Arias” (DUX 0959); Album of the Year in Chamber Music: saxophonist Paweł GUSNAR –  “Saxophone Varie” (DUX 0992); Album of the Year in Symphony and Concert Music: “Kilar: Angelus | Exodus | Victoria” (DUX 0966); Album of the Year in Contemporary Music: Marian BORKOWSKI – “Choral Works” (DUX 0995); Album of the Year for Best Polish Music Abroad:  Rafał BLECHACZ – “Chopin: Polonaises” (Deutsche Grammophon)

Andrzej Kwieciński (b. 1984) – Canzon de’baci won 3 honors at the highly prestigious 61st International Rostrum of Composers (IRC): best work by a young composer, a recommendation in the general IRC category, and a new commission from the International Music Council and Radio France

Paweł Łukaszewski won the 2014 Hector Berlioz Prize of the Orphées d’Or (DUX 0944) in June



The Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra performed the World Premiere of Ignacy ZalewskiSymphonic Variations at the Lutosławski Polish Radio Studio in Warsaw on February 1

The World Premiere of Tomasz Opałka’s Entrada Concertante with the Oskar Kolberg Philharmonic in Kielce with conductor Krzysztof Jakub Kozakiewicz took place on February 7. The event was supported by the “Commissioned Compositions” program (MKiDN/IMiT) and IMiT’s “Conductor-in-Residence” program

ZKP and ZAiKS celebrated the Generations XVII Concert, featuring the World Premieres of Tadeusz Wielecki’s Dać słowu dźwięk na małą orkiestrę, Aleksander Nowak’s Kurczęta i robot na akordeon i orkiestrę, and Paweł Sydor’s Koncert podwójny na skrzypce i wiolonczelę oraz orkiestrę symfoniczną (Commissioned Compositions) performed by the Polish Radio Orchestra, Maciej Frąckiewicz – accordion, Dorota Imiełowska – cello, Tomasz Tomaszewski – violin and Szymon Bywalec – cond.

World Premiere of Paweł Łukaszewski’s Lamentations (2011) by the Choir of the Trinity Church on Wall Street took place in New York City on April 6

World Premieres at the Musica Polonica Nova Festival: Aleksander Nowak (b. 1979) Dziennik zapełniony w połowie [A Diary Half Full] for cello, percussion and strings (2013), Jacek Sotomski beautiful to me. Ah for accordion, computers and strings (2014), Dominik Lewicki (b. 1990) DIApreL (2014), Marcin Rupociński (b. 1971) Horao for strings (2014), and Paweł Hendrich (b. 1979) Acanthus for accordion and electronics (2014). Performed by the Wrocław Chamber Orchestra ‘Leopoldinum’ with Ernst Kovacic – cond. and soloists on April 10 in Wrocław

On April 12 the World Premiere of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Symphony No. 4—with orchestration completed by his son, Mikołaj Górecki—was given by the London Phil, featuring Julian Rachlin – violin and Andrey Boreyko – conductor

World Premieres at 2014 Warsaw Music Encounters (May 10-17) – Grzegorz Duchnowski: Radiants for orchestra (2007); Marcin  BłażewiczKali-yuga  for solo percussion, male voice and 28 instruments (2013/2014); Władysław Słowiński: Charon’s Small Boat – 5 Songs to poems by Tadeusz Różewicz for baritone and chamber orchestra (2013/2014); Tomasz Jakub OpałkaII Symphony – Emerge for symphony orchestra (2014); Zbigniew BagińskiIV String Quartet (2013); Ignacy Zalewski: Violin Sonata (2013); Adam SławińskiMusic for strings (2013); Jerzy MaksymiukDedications for string orchestra (2013); Maciej Małecki3 Songs to poems by Jan Kochanowski(2014); Krzesimir DębskiAltruitki, Rajzefiberki and others for mixed choir a cappella to poems by Wisława Szymborska (2014); Zbigniew PenherskiFour Pieces without Words for mixed choir a cappella (2014); Alicja GronauThe Struggle Between Winter and Summer for mixed choir (2014); Anna Ignatowicz-GlińskaSkotopaska 1: Małmazja shines  for mixed choir a cappella (2014); Benedykt KonowalskiPianist Fikus – humorousballade for mixed choir a cappella (2014); Maria PokrzywińskaCztery figliki  for choir a cappella to poems by Mikołaj Rej (2014); Jan OleszkowiczThe Beyond  for mixed choir a cappella (2014); Andrzej PanufnikTriangles for 3 flutes and 3 cellos (1971-72)

Excellent new works for the combination of cello and accordion composed by the winners of the 2014 Tadeusz Baird Competition for Young Composers were performed on June 9 by the celebrated TWOgether Duo of Magdalena Bojanowicz – cello and Maciej Frąckiewicz – accordion. Grand Prize (ex-aequo): Paweł Kwapiński – Przestrzenie akustyczne and Tomasz SzczepanikGangkhar II; Distinction: Marek Grucka

World Premieres at the 26th edition of the International Festival of Kraków Composers: Piotr MossDédicace VI pour violon et alto à Bogusław Schaeffer pour son 85e anniversaire (2013); Jarosław PłonkaRich and Timeless (2014) ; Juliusz Łuciuk – W intymnym nastroju – wokaliza (1958); The Children’s Tabernacle(1993); Pieśń o żołnierzach z Westerpalatte (1970); 4 Pieśni (1988-1990); and 3 Pieśni młodzieńcze (1957-58)

World Premieres at the 3rd ‘Instalakcje’ Festival: Aleksandra Gryka: W.ALTER’s(Z.). (2014); Andrzej Kwieciński: non si puo fuggire (2014); Sławomir Wojciechowski: Machina zawiła (2014); Wojciech Blecharz: September (the next reading) (2013-2014)

World Première of Moby Dick, the new opera by Knapik at the Teatr Wielki -Opera Narodowa, Warsaw


PMC News

Polish-American saxophonist Greg Banaszak gave a concert and master class on January 23 at USC’s Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Symphonic Hall

Polish-Canadian pianist Jan Jarczyk breathed new life into classic tunes of Henry Wars and Bronisław Kaper by arranging them for jazz trio and string quartet for a Polish Jazz Concert at USC on March 29, performed by the Jan Jarczyk Trio and Stella Cho Quartet



Worldwide release of Roxanna Panufnik’slarge-scale choral work Dance of Life: Tallinn Mass  (Warner Classics 2564 64281-9) took place in February

The Silesian Quartet [Kwartet Śląski], one of Poland’s leading string quartets, celebrated its 35th anniversary with a concert and 8-CD album release

In April, Naxos released ‘Krzysztof Penderecki Works’ (NAC-LP002-03), a 2-disc set recorded by Antoni Wit with the National Philharmonic and NOSPR

DUX released 2 albums of works by Witold Lutosławski: Chamber Works (DUX 0949) performed by the New Music Orchestra with Szymon Bywalec – cond., and his Vocal-Instrumental Works (DUX 0806), performed by the Łódź Philharmonic with Daniel Raiskin – cond. and soloists

With songs arranged in chronological order to track the development and transformation of the composer’s style,  Kisielewski: Utwory fortepianowe [Works for Piano] (EMI Music Poland 14822414) was released by Magdalena Lisak, piano



At the end of January, vibrant young Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbański conducted the LA Phil in a program including Kilar and Chopin

USC Thornton School of Music professor and international violin phenomenon Midori Goto performed Lutosławski’s Partita on her April 23 recital at LA’s Disney Hall

The First example of Polish opera, Cud mniemany czyli Krakowiacy i Górale [An Apparent Miracle or The Cracovians and the Highlanders], got an exciting new production at the Bydgoszcz Opera Festival in May

Pianist Kuba Stankiewicz and bassist Darek “Oles” Oleszkiewicz performed a special tribute concert of music composed by Wojciech Kilar and Victor Young at the Fowler Museum at UCLA in Los Angeles

Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s The Passenger was performed by the Houston Grand Opera (HGO) at Lincoln Center Festival in New York City in July



Kolberg Year Finale

The Lutosławski Concert Studio in Warsaw hosted a special ceremony on December 11 that officially concluded the Kolberg Year celebrations. Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Professor Małgorzata Omilanowska, presided over the ceremony, handing the awards and medals to a number of laureates. Minister Omilanowska noted that:

The organizers of the Kolberg Year had succeeded in presenting more than the standard interpretation of Kolberg’s opus. […] I believe that thanks to this group effort by various institutions and artists who presented Kolberg’s works throughout the year, the folk aspects of Kolberg’s art had reached beyond the expected tastes of the audiences.

The Kolberg Awards for Folk Art were given to sculptor Mieczysław Gaja, potter Jan Jurek, musician and choreographer Jan Kania, folk instrument maker Jerzy Walkusz, folk poet Barbara Krajewska, the Trebunio-Tutka Family folk music ensemble, the Boczki Chełmońskie Regional Dance Ensemble, ethnomusicologist and journalist for Polish Radio Maria Baliszewska, choreographer and lecturer Anatol Kocyłowski, to the Kaszubski Park Narodowy Museum, and to the Polish Radio Rzeszów.

The December 11 event also included a presentation of Glora Artis medals. The Gold Gloria Artis was given to Prof. Jan Święch. The Silver Gloria Artis went to Prof. Andrzej Bieńkowski, Kazimierz Albin Budzik, Zbigniew Butryn, Janusz Jaskulski, Tadeusz Jedynak, Mirosław Nalaskowski and Zofia Pacan. Katarzyna Markiewicz, Alicja Mironiuk-Nikolska, Stanisław Pietras, Janusz Prusinowski, Krzysztof Trebunia-Tutka and Marta Walczak-Stasiowska received Bronze Gloria Artis medals.

2014 marked Kolberg’s bicentennial and the year was filled with a number of concerts, educational initiatives, theatre premieres, festivals, workshops, competitions and recordings. A new internet site was launched as well as an interactive Kolberg Guide around Poland. Kolberg’s tomb at Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków was renovated, his writings were published and all extant manuscripts were digitalized and made accessible to the public. The Institute of Music and Dance coordinated the celebrations financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The Kolberg Year also enjoyed honorary patronage from UNESCO and the official summary of the bicentennial celebrations will be made in February 2015.

More information on the Kolberg Year can be found at: www.kolberg2014.org.pl

[Sources: polmic.pl, kolberg2014.org.pl; Photo: Bartłomiej Sawka Cinefoto © Instytut Muzyki i Tańca via kolberg2014.org.pl]


The End of the Panufnik Year: A Review

John Allison of the London Telegraph wrote a review of the culminating event in the UK’s Panufnik Year celebrations, speaking of the program’s “searing intensity” and the fact that “it rooted [Panufnik] firmly in Polish soil.” The review begins thus:

The culmination of this year’s Andrzej Panufnik centenary, “Panufnik 100: A Family Celebration” was a day of events at Kings Place covering half a century of the composer’s music. Also embracing film and cabaret – reflecting the underground milieu of wartime Warsaw in which Panufnik was forced to operate – it pooled the creative resources of his widow, the photographer Camilla Jessel, his daughter, the composer Roxanna Panufnik, and son, the graphic artist Jem Panufnik.

But the centrepiece was a memorable sequence of Andrzej Panufnik’s three string quartets, a major yet still perhaps undervalued late-20th-century contribution to the genre. The distinctiveness of these works was highlighted by the Brodsky Quartet in their concert, which intersected with the regular Sunday-evening Kings Place series of the London Chamber Music Society.

To read the entire review, visit www.telegraph.co.uk.

[Source: telegraph.co.uk]