June 2015

Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 21, no. 6


CMCF ‘Day At The Races’

The generous founders of the Polish Music Center, Dr. Stefan and Wanda Wilk, were not only crucial supporters of Polish culture and the arts in Los Angeles—their philanthropy also extended to Dr. Wilk’s medical profession, in particular, medical care for children and the training of doctors in that field back in his native Poland. It was in this spirit that they founded the Children’s Medical Care Foundation (CMCF), whose focus is on sharing medical knowledge across the world.

Since its founding, the CMCF has expanded from exchange with Poland to include other countries of Eastern and Central Europe. As PMC Director Marek Zebrowski prepares to embark on this year’s Paderewski Festival Youth Cultural Exchange, which has recently expanded its quality musical education to include students from the Ukraine, the CMCF is demonstrating similar commitment to supporting medical advancements in the Ukraine. Thus, this year CMCF is partnering with the California Association to Aid Ukraine (CAAU) for its annual fundraiser: A Day at the Races on Sunday, June 14, 2015 at Santa Anita Park. 100% of all proceeds benefit Children’s Clinical Hospital in Lviv, Ukraine.

A ticket to A Day at the Races includes park entrance fee at Santa Anita Park, parking, program book, gourmet buffet lunch, handicapping booklet, handicapping expert for the group, named race for CAAU/CMCF with representative group picture in Winner’s Circle, entry into raffle, Pick Six opportunity, convenient betting windows and machines, a great view of the races—all with good company, and all for a great cause!

Sunday, June 14, 2015 | 12:30 Post Time
CMCF/CAAU ‘Day at the Races’ Fundraiser for Ukraine
Santa Anita Park
285 W Huntington Dr., Arcadia, CA 91007
Tickets: $100.00 pp ($50.00 tax deductible) / Tables of 6 – $575.00
Info & tickets: www.cmcf.org
Questions: philip.brewster@ml.com; 562-301-4444

[Sources: press release, cmcf.org, poles.org]

2015 Jubilees

Twardowski 85th Birthday

June 17, 2015 is the 85th birthday of Romuald Twardowski—composer, teacher and author of orchestral, choral and theatre music. Encompassing almost all genres, his oeuvre is a boundless source of varied repertoire, from religious music, through song cycles to great orchestra forms.

Below is an excerpt from “Romuald Twardowski. The Master of Choral Music” by Karolina Kolinek-Siechowicz:

It seems that the choir, whether homogeneous or mixed one, is one of the most favourite line-ups for Twardowski. Excellent knowledge of choral polyphony, acquired both by personal experience and during extensive studies with Nadia Boulanger, allowed him to master the polyphonic structure of a vocal ensemble. However, Twardowski would not limit himself only to sacral music – apart from many religious compositions, he also wrote secular music for the choir, drawing from Polish folklore and Polish poetry. In that character he composed his early pieces: Bucolics for mixed choir (1962), Ode to Youth for reciting voice, mixed choir and orchestra (1969), Two Playful Songs (1972, in two versions: for mixed choir or for female or boys choir), Sea Impressions for mixed choir (1975) and two compositions for mixed choir from 1980: Village Concert and Three Songs from Kurpie. Small Concert for vocal orchestra (1988) is an extremely charming composition for mixed choir, in which Twardowski plays with various sound articulation techniques in singing.

Read the entire article at pwm.com.pl

[Sources: press release, pwm.com.pl]

Musical Commemoration For Kolberg

A very special concert was held in Kraków on May 31, the eve of the 125th death anniversary of Oskar Kolberg. The musicians from the Kraków Music Academy, the Men’s Choir Lutnia, and the Kraków Military Orchestra presented the exact replica of program commemorating Kolberg held in 1899. The concert featured works of Frederic Chopin, Władysław Żeleński, Stanisław Moniuszko and Oskar Kolberg, as well as selections of folk songs and poetry by Adam Asnyk.

This fascinating musical reenactment was organized by Institute of Music and Dance and the City of Kraków Historical Museum from funds advanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Although the admission to the concert was free and open to the public, donations for the Musical Home for Seniors were solicited from the public.

[Sources: polmic.pl, kolberg2014.org.pl]

Silesian Opera Jubilee

Between May 30 and June 14, the Silesian Opera in Bytom is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a program devoted to operatic works by Polish composers. The festive opening evening featured two works by Stanisław Moniuszko: his one-act opera Verbum nobile and ballet Na kwaterunku [At the Campside]. The jubilee season performances will also include presentations of Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s Manru, Ludomir Różycki’s Pan Twardowski, and a special concert presented by the Silesian Opera Choir with a guest artist, mezzo-soprano Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa, who will celebrate her 60th year of professional music career.

The final gala will feature Moniuszko’s most famous opera, Halka, a work that has remained in constant repertoire of the Silesian Opera ever since its first performance after World War II in Poland, on June 14, 1945. For the past 70 years, the Silesian Opera has presented Halka in eight different stage presentations and toured with it in the United States and Canada. The latest version of this war-horse of Polish operatic repertoire will be seen by the public exactly 70 years to the day after the historic post-war performance.

As in the past, all concerts are held in the historic neo-classical Silesian Opera building, designed by Berlin-based architect Alexander Boehm and inaugurated on October 1, 1901. More information on the concert calendar for this year’s jubilee events can be found at: opera-slaska.pl/jubileusz and polmic.pl.

[Sources: polmic.pl, opera-slaska.pl]


World Premieres At The Festival Of Kraków Composers

The International Festival of Kraków Composers (formerly known as Days of Music by Kraków Composers) was held from April 18-26, 2015. A fixture in the cultural life of Kraków since 1989, the main purpose of the Festival is the promotion and presentation of contemporary works by the city’s composers—from well-established professionals and professors, through the outstanding middle generation to the youngest composers and students of composition—created in relation to the musical tradition of neighboring countries, countries throughout the European Union and the music of the world. This concept is realized through concerts and meetings with composers, as well as special lectures conducted by the music theorists of the Academy of Music in Kraków and musicologists of Jagiellonian University, among others.

Previously, musicologist Jerzy Stankiewicz was the Artistic Director and creator of the Festival’s program. Since 2014, the person responsible for the Festival is composer Marcel Chyrzyński, who writes the following introduction to this year’s edition:

The program of the 27th International Festival of Kraków Composers is a nod towards the music of Far East. Within the nine days of the festival, alongside the music by Kraków and European composers, the compositions by artists coming from Japan, China, South Korea, Malaysia and India will be presented. The traditional instrumentation of these countries, including shakuhachi, Chinese sheng, as well as Korean gayageum and heageum will be used during the concerts.

The following premieres of Polish music took place during this year’s Festival:

  • Wiaczesław Siemionow – Toccata-Barbaro for accordion trio (2014) *: performed during the Festival Opening Concert ‘POLONIUM’ program on April 18 by Motion Trio

* 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).

  • Paweł Sydor – Szalom for two cellos and string orchestra (2014): performed during the ‘FRIENDS FROM UKRAINE’ program on April 19 by Lviv Virtuosos Chamber Orchestra with Dorota Imiełowska – cello and Łukasz Pawlikowski – cello

  • Piotr Moss – Dédicace VI pour violon et alto à Bogusław Schaeffer pour son 85e anniversaire (2013)
    and Jarosław Płonka – Rich and Timeless for two violas (2014 – Festival commission): performed during the ‘FIRST PERFORMANCES AND TRANSCRIPTIONS OF 20th c. CLASSICS’ program on April 20 by Bogusława Hubisz-Sielska – viola, Lech Bałaban – viola and Jan Bałaban – violin
  • Jakub Polaczyk – Korpodyque for gayageum, heageum, violin and piano (2014/15): performed during the ‘SOUTH KOREAN MUSIC’ program on April 21 by the Good-Mori Ensemble and Modern Ensemble from South Korea
  • Franciszek Araszkiewicz – Sound Scripture for infrared harp and video layer (2015), Jurij Bulka – #! (2015),  Marcin Pączkowski – Etiuda elektroniczna nr 4 (2015), and Franciszek Araszkiewicz/Piotr Roemer/Szymon Strzelec  – Strefy/Zones (2015): music by students of the Electroacoustic Music Studio performed during the ‘KOKTAJL ELEKTRONICZNY’ program on April 22 by students of the Kraków Academy of Music: Franciszek Araszkiewicz –infrared harp, Paweł Cal – French horn, Jakub Gucik – cello and Marek Chołoniewski – sound engineer, project coordination
  • Szczepan Tesarowicz – 3 Uty japońskie for high voice and piano (2015): performed during the ‘INSPIRATIONS’ program on April 23 by Anna Zawisza – soprano and Renata Żełobowska-Orzechowska – piano
  • Maciej Jabłoński – Tao. Concerto da camera nr 2 for alto saxophone and large chamber ensemble (2014/15 – Festival commission), Wojciech Widłak – Añoranza. Fase inicial for 15 musicians (2015) and Marcel Chyrzyński – War Game. Concerto for alto saxophone and large chamber ensemble (2014/15): performed during the ‘MUSICAL JOURNEY’ program on April 24 by the New Music Orchestra with Bartłomiej Duś – saxophone, Szymon Krzeszowiec – violin and Szymon Bywalec – conductor
  • Mateusz Bień – Figury płaskie for string quartet (2015), Michał Pawełek – IC 1470 for string quartet (2015), Stanisław Rzepiela – Square for string quartet and video (2015) and Wojciech Ziemowit Zych – Retoryka niedo-…/Niedo-…retoryka for string quartet (2007): performed during the Festival’s closing program, ‘ANIMATION AND MUSIC/MUSIC AND ANIMATION,’ on April 26 by the Cztery Czwarte String Quartet

[Source: zkp.krakow.pl]

Krauze Monographic Concert & Premieres Of His Students

On May 19, the National Philharmonic in Warsaw presented the concert “Zygmunt Krauze – A Composer Portrait,” highlighting the oeuvre of one of the most original Polish modern composers. The audience heard works typical of various periods of his composition output, including those coming the 1980s (Rivière souterraine, Tableau vivant) next to works created in the 21st century (Pięć pieśni do poezji Tadeusza Różewicza) and one of his most recent pieces (Canzona).

As a part of this concert, the world premiere of works by two of Krauze’s students were also heard:  Wojciech Błażejczyk’s Muzyka strun and Marcin Stańczyk’s Posłuchy. Performers for the evening were the Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra with Ronald Zollman – conductor and soloists: Mariusz Godlewski – baritone, Wojciech Błażejczyk – electronics.

Zygmunt Krauze (b. 1938) is an important artist of his generation: a respected composer, valued pianist, educator, organizer of musical events and a judge in many international competitions. His artistic achievements and efforts in the promotion of music have been recognized with many awards and distinctions, including the French National Order of the Legion of Honour (2007) and the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1984), and most recently the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Rebirth of Poland (2014) and the Doctor Honoris Causa from the Łódź Academy of Music (2015). In 1987 he was appointed President of the International Society for Contemporary Music and has been an honorary member of the organization since 1999. In 2011, Krauze became an honorary member of the Polish Composers’ Union and a year later he was awarded the title of Coryphaeus of Polish Music in the category of Personality of the Year.

As he says about his music:

The sound is individual enough to make it possible to distinguish it from the chaos of other music and other sounds. The performed composition has the ability to put time in order. (…) The beginning of each composition immediately exposes the entire range of sounds and during the piece nothing new is introduced. There will be no surprises. (…) This music creates the space for a different way of being perceived. A perfect situation would occur if the music were continually present, the listener came at the time that he or she felt convenient and left when the right moment right to do so was found.
To learn more about the composer, visit www.zygmuntkrauze.com or watch videos about the premiere of his opera Pułapka [The Trap] (www.youtube.com) and other works (www.youtube.com).

[Source: filharmonia.pl]

Nowak Premiere at NInA

Aleksander Nowak‘s work Naninana (2015) for amplified keyboard instrument and string orchestra arranged in two groups was first performed in Warsaw, Poland on May 29, 2015 during the official opening of the new headquarters of the National Audiovisual Institute [NInA]. The composition was written for the opening, which was presided over by Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Margaret Omilanowska.

In addition to the premiere, Nowak’s other works—Dziennik zapisany w połowie [A Diary Written in a Half] for cello, percussion and string instruments (2013) and Last Days of Wanda B. for string orchestra (2006)—were also performed by the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy under the baton of Marek Moś. The solo parts were played by Magdalena Bojanowicz (cello) and Piotr Sałajczyk (piano). According to the composer:

NANINANA for amplified keyboard instrument (preferably the classic Fender Rhodes Stage Piano) and string orchestra arranged in two symmetric groups, which was commissioned by the National Audivisual Institute for the opening of its new seat in 2015, is a composition on a special kind of absence. You could define this absence as perceivable, but difficult to understand. There are a lot of elements here which can illustrate this absence: from the interlude tones that are supposed to sound, yet not to the full, through the first appearance of the soloist’s part containing fragments of a composed melody which is mostly improvised, the second movement with harmony that can suggest hopeless longing for something that can never return, to the final culmination which is there, but seems as if it were not there…

The work’s motto is an anonymous poem that seems to refer to the concept of the so-called “Schrödinger’s cat”, i.e. a hopeless attempt to rationally explain illogical phenomena in our world’s microscale:

Where, oh, where

is that cat which is

and is not there?

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

World Premieres by Regional Composers

The two most important cities in the Kujawy Region of Poland—Bydgoszcz and Toruń—hosted world premieres on June 5 and 6 that spotlighted music by leading local composers. Soloists of Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz and the Toruń Symphony Orchestra led by Piotr Wajrak presented works by Marcin Kopczyński (based in a nearby town of Inowrocław) and Szymon Godziemba-Trytka (who hails from Bydgoszcz). Works premiered were:

  • Marcin Kopczyński (L above): Dico ego opera mea Regi for soprano and string orchestra and Scherzo for violin and string orchestra
  • Szymon Godziemba-Trytka (R above): Magnificat for soloists, flutes, percussion and string orchestra

The concerts were held on June 5 at the Holy Ghost Church in Toruń and on June 6 at the St. Andrew Bobola Church in Bydgoszcz. They 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), as well as by funds from the Marshall’s office of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodship.

[Source: polmic.pl]

Szewczyk Premiere In Florida

The 9th annual St. Augustine Music Festival will be held as a series of six free concerts over the last two weekends in June: June 18-20 and June 25-27. On the last day of the Festival, the world premiere of St. Augustine Suite for chamber orchestra by Polish-born violinist and composer Piotr Szewczyk (b. 1977) will be given on a program called “Old World, New World.” The four-movement Suite was commissioned by the St. Augustine Music Festival in honor of the 450th Anniversary of the founding of the City of St. Augustine, FL. The performing ensemble will be led by guest conductor Michelle Merrill.

Saturday, June 27, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.
Premiere of St. Augustine Suite by Piotr Szewczyk
St. Augustine Music Festival
Cathedral Basilica, 38 Cathedral Place St. Augustine, FL 32084

[Sources: verynewmusic.com, staugustinemusicfestival.org]

M. Górecki World Premiere

On June 28, Trio Integro will give the world premiere of Mikołaj Górecki’s Trio for alto flute, violin and viola. Warsaw-based Trio Integro is comprised of Agnieszka Guz – violin, Aleksandra Demowska-Madejska – viola, and Ania Karpowicz – flute. The concert is a part of the “Summer Concerts at Grochowska Street” series, hosted by Sinfonia Varsovia from May to September at their concert hall on 272 Grochowska St. in Warsaw.

Other works on the program include: Max Reger – Serenade in G major, Op.141a, Gustav Holst – Terzetto; and Ignacy Zalewski – Trio for flute, violin and viola.

June 28, 2015 | 4:00 p.m.
Trio Integro Concert: World Premiere of new work by M. Górecki
Sinfonia Varsovia Hall
272 Grochowska St., Warsaw, Poland
Free Admission
Info: www.sinfoniavarsovia.org

[Source: sinfoniavarsovia.org]

Warner Music Poland Now Owns ‘Muza’

On May 26, the US-based Warner Music Group (WMG) announced that its Polish subsidiary has finalized its acquisition of Polskie Nagrania ‘MUZA’, Poland’s longest-running record company. Polskie Nagrania was previously owned by the Polish government, which offered the label up for auction in January of this year after having declared bankruptcy in March 2010.

The Polskie Nagrania ‘MUZA’ catalog is one of the country’s most celebrated collections of pop, rock, folk, classical, and jazz, from the 1950s to the present day. The deal includes music from acclaimed artists such as Anna German, Czesław Niemen, Marek Grechuta, Irena Santor, Zdzisława Sośnicka, Breakout, and SBB, as well as world-renowned classical musicians like Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wojciech Kilar, and conductors Antoni Wit and Jacek Kacprzyk.

Warner Music Poland has committed to preserving the prestigious Polskie Nagrania brand and continuing to release music from the label’s extensive roster. In addition, following the digitization of the entire catalog, the original master tapes will be returned to the Polish National Digital Archive for preservation.

According to the external news service of Polskie Radio:

The takeover, which is billed at PLN 8 million and which went ahead in January this year, will see Warner acquire some 36,000 Polskie Nagrania recordings made since the label’s inception in the 1950s.

“This transaction is a significant step in the development of our activity,” said CEO and Director General of Warner Music Poland Piotr Kabaj.

“It is a great honour for us that we should represent such noteworthy artists and take care of such an impressive catalogue,” he added, going on to say that “we intend to do everything so that the historic label of Polskie Nagrania will live on and that these legendary recordings will gain new fans in Poland and abroad”.

Ahead of the sale, however, protests in Warsaw and Poznań raised voices against the sale of Polskie Nagrania.

Around 100 artists and representatives of the arts handed over a petition to the Culture Ministry as well as the Treasury Ministry and Parliamentary Speaker demanding public disclosure on the label’s bankruptcy and the “future fate” of the company.

The acquisition of Polskie Nagrania by Warner Music Poland “is one of a few similar endeavours undertaken recently by Warner Music Group in emerging markets,” the statement reads, citing the takeover of the Parlophone Music Group in July 2013, which made Warner Music Group the owner of EMI subsidiaries in key markets in the CEE region, including Poland.

[Sources: thenews.pl, wmg.com]

Maciej Obara In Us & Canada

Polish saxophonist and composer Maciej Obara burst onto the international jazz scene after recording “Message from Ohayo” which won the Bielska Zadymka Jazz Contest for young jazz bands in 2006. In 2008 he toured Poland with US saxophonist Antoine Roney and was also recommended by Manfred Eicher (ECM) to Tomasz Stanko, with whom he has performed and recorded a throughout the world since. He also spent time at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, working with American musicians there, and then formed a band with pianist Dominik Wania back in Poland.

In 2011 Maciej Obara was nominated for the Fryderyk Jazz Musician of the Year Award and won a scholarship from the Młoda Polska Programme. In 2012 he was chosen to participate in the 12 Points Festival in Portugal with his Polish Quartet and in a showcase in Budapest. He was also selected, alongside countryman Maciej Garbowski, to participate in Take Five: Europe, which brought together some of the most talented emerging jazz musicians from France, Holland, Norway, Poland and the UK and included a week long residential dedicated to musical entrepreneurship and the music business in Europe as well as establishing contacts with other artists and promoters. During this period Obara established another project with Dominik Wania called the Obara International Quartet, which includes the two Norwegian musicians he encountered at Take Five: Europe, Ole Morten Vågan (bass), Gard Nilssen (drums). The group, offers a frenetic energy and a bold, harmonically dense sound, with material ranging from slow and sentimental to almost aggressively busy, held together in either case by highly reactive and technically capable musicians. “A vivacious, next-level start-up” (All About Jazz), the Obara International Quartet “fascinating blend of thoughtfulness, freedom, passion, superb improvising skills and structural discipline” (Herald Scotland), and the group’s recording “Komeda” was released in November 2012.

Thanks to connections made at Take Five: Europe, the Obara International Quartet now embarks on a tour of Canada and the United States, supported by the Jazztopad Festival in Wrocław as well as many local and international partners:

June 25, 2015 | 7:30PM and 9:30PM
Obara International @ Rochester Jazz Festival
Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
Lutheran Church of the Reformation – Nordic Jazz Now
111 N. Chestnut Street, Rochester, NY 14604

June 26, 2015 | 6:00PM
Obara International Quartet @ Ottawa Jazz Festival
TD Ottawa Jazz Festival
National Arts Centre – Fourth Stage
53 rue Elgin Street, Ottawa, Canada

June 27, 2015 | 8:00 & 9:30 PM
Obara International Quartet @ Edmonton Jazz Festival
TD Edmonton International Jazz Festival
Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre
8426 Gateway Boulevard, Edmonton, AB T6E 4B4
Tickets: www.tixonthesquare.ca

June 28, 2015 | 3PM & 4:30PM (workshops), 11:30PM (concert)
Obara International @ Vancouver Jazz Fest
TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival – Innovation Series
The Ironworks, 235 Alexander Street, Vancouver, BC
Tickets: northerntickets.com

June 30, 2015 | 9:30 PM
Obara International Quartet @ Jazz at Lincoln Center
Jazz at Lincoln Center
Dizzy’s Jazz Club – 5th Floor
10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10023

[Sources: polishculture-nyc.org, maciejobara.com]

Sinfonia Varsovia Master Classes

Music Academy Sinfonia Varsovia is an educational project that invites leading instrumentalists to present workshops and concerts for students interested in careers as orchestral musicians. These courses are directed to graduates of Polish music schools under the age of 26, who must pass a series of auditions similar to those required by all professional orchestras. Participation in these courses is free of charge, and the public is also invited.

The program began during the month of May with workshops and master classes featuring Tomasz Tomaszewski, the Concertmaster of Deutsche Oper Orchestra and professor at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. In early June, the Sinfonia Varsovia Music Academy hosted the world’s foremost French horn virtuoso, Stefan Dohr, a member of the Berlin Philharmonic. Master classes with Professor Jean-Claude Gérard, the former principal flute of the Paris Opera and Hamburg Philharmonic are planned for June 15-16. The workshops for oboists will begin in early July and will be led by Céline Moinet, principal oboe with the Staatskapelle Dresden and a noted soloist. Finally, Wilfried Strehle, a longtime leader of the viola section of the Berlin Philharmonic will work with aspiring violists in Warsaw to close this exciting Sinfonia Varsovia program.

The auditions for the program will be held in Warsaw June 12-14 and this Fourth Sinfonia Varsovia Music Academy is directed specifically towards violinists, violists, cellists, flutists, oboists and clarinetists. More information about the program can be found at: sinfoniavarsovia.org.

[Sources: polmic.pl, sinfoniavarsovia.org]

Ochlewski Competition For Composers

The 13th Ochlewski Competition for Composers invites submissions of original compositions for children choir set to a literary text. Organized by the Polish Music Publishers [PWM], the Competition seeks to promote works by young composers. The Competition is open to Polish nationals under 30 years of age as of December 31, 2015.

Compositions must be submitted by August 31, 2015. For more information and Competition submissions links please visit: pwm.com.pl or issuu.com

The Competition Jury includes Professor Katarzyna Sokołowska, composers Paweł Łukaszewski and Romuald Twardowski, and Dr. Daniel Cichy, Chief Editor of the PWM. The Competition’s patron, Tadeusz Ochlewski (1894-1975), was a violinist, educator, and music publisher. Interested in period music, Ochlewski founded Society of Friends of Ancient Music in Warsaw in 1926 and the Music Publishing Society in 1928. In 1945 he founded Polish Music Publishers in Kraków and served as its director until 1964. For the last decade of his life, Tadeusz Ochlewski led the highly esteemed period music ensemble “Con moto ma cantabile.”

[Source: pwm.com.pl]

Sembrich Vocal Competition

The Kosciuszko Foundation’s Marcella Sembrich International Voice Competition honors the great Polish soprano Marcella Sembrich Kochańska, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1883. After an enormously successful career, the popular singer founded the vocal programs at both the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute. Previous winners of the competition include Barbara Hendricks and Jan Opalach.

Application & audio recording deadline:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015.


Details and repertoire lists are available at: www.thekf.org

[Source: thekf.org]

Helena Paderewska’s Memoirs Published In Polish

New and exciting light on Paderewski’s life is shed by the recent discovery of a typescript of Helena Paderewska’s Memoirs at the Hoover Institution. Covering the years 1910-1920, Madame Paderewska adds substantially to our knowledge of her husband’s activities during that very important decade of his life. The year 1910 marked bicentennial of Chopin’s birth and 500th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald/Tannenberg. It also marked Paderewski’s entry into politics on a global scale, which continued with his successful touring and speeches on Poland’s behalf in the United States during the World War I years. Always at her husband’s side, Madame Paderewska gives fascinating insights to events that shaped the modern history of Poland. It’s very fortuitous indeed to have her narrative augmented by scholarly and informative commentary provided by Maciej Siekierski from the Hoover Institution, who discovered and extensively annotated the text.

The Polish version of Madame Paderewska’s original English typescript is already available for sale in Poland, translated by Ludmiła Bachurska and published by Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy. The English version is expected to be published by Hoover Institution/Stanford University later this year. Helena Paderewska’s Memoirs, 1910-1920 are a must read for anyone interested in Polish history and the events leading to the restoration of Poland after a century of Partitions and the early days of Poland’s Second Republic.

[Source: piw.pl]

New Issue of Quarta

According to PWM, the publishers of the quarterly bilingual music magazine, Quarta:

Film music is the main topic of the latest issue of Quarta Magazine. This issue comprises an essay about the importance of film music, interviews with composers, performers and animators, composers’ portraits and repertoire recommendations. It also covers major Polish music events and presents our new publications.

The entire latest issue of Quarta can be found at issuu.com.

[Sources: issuu.com]

Poznań Phil In Germany

The Tadeusz Szeligowski Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra will lead a journey of musical discovery through the world of Polish orchestral romanticism at the Choriner Musiksommer Festival this June. The Poznań Phil with conductor Marek Pijarowski will be joined by pianist Bertrand Chamayou, for a program that includes Tadeusz Szeligowski’s Comedy Overture and Ludomir Różycki’s symphonic scherzo Stańczyk Op. 1, as well as works by Camille Saint-Saëns and Richard Strauss.

Sunday, June 28, 2015 | 3:00 p.m.
‘Romantic Europe’ with Poznań Phil at Choriner Musiksommer Festival
Kloster Chorin – Amt Chorin 11a, 16230 Chorin, Germany
Info & Tickets: www.choriner-musiksommer.de

[Sources: pwm.com.pl, choriner-musiksommer.de]

Kurzak In Paris

Starting June 18, 2015 at the Theâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak will portray the title role in Gaetano Donizetti’s work Maria Stuarda for the first time. It a new co-production staged by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier and directed by Daniele Callegari. Kurzak will perform as the Queen of Scotland alongside Carmen Giannatasio and Francesco Demuro.

[Sources: facebook.com, theatrechampselysees.fr]

Support Innovations In Chamber Music

‘Self-Imposed Exile’ is a collaboration between composer/multi-reedman Aaron Kruziki and composer/pianist Jakub Rojek, who have been musical colleagues for 9 years, and sound designer Shaun Sutkus. Their Hatchfund project, Sounds From The Self-imposed Exile, is a pioneering attempt to combine live improvisation, composition and sound technology into one cohesive live performance vehicle, which will open up more avenues to further sonic exploration in the future. They recorded in New York’s Steinway Hall on the winter solstice of 2014, and they are seeking funds to enable them to release this new music to the world in LP and CD format, as well as producing a DVD.

To find out more or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit www.hatchfund.org.

[Source: press release, hatchfund.org]

Support Karolina Naziemiec’s Recording Project

Polish-born and L.A.-based musician Karolina Naziemiec is currently seeking funding for a new and exciting recording project, which explores the longing and loss of war through music. Naziemiec is a professional violist who has received degrees from the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland and USC’s Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles, CA. As a jazz vocalist, she released her first CD entitled Introduction in 2008.

The Project:

Theme:  Longing and loss of loved ones in commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe, primarily honoring Polish, American, and British couples forced to separate during the war.

Songs:  A jazz CD recording of 9 – 12 songs primarily in English, but also Polish and French; (like this one https://soundcloud.com/karolina-58/poor-butterfly.  Several of the songs on the CD will come from a repertoire known as the Great American Songbook, originally written and performed during the 1940’s, but are not particularly common today.  The songs reflect on life rather than war, on people’s natural desire to enjoy days of peace, togetherness, and a bright future by bringing back the feelings of relief and hope which filled people’s hearts across the world as the brutal fighting came to an end.  I would like to dedicate my CD, in particular, to those few heroes still alive and the memories of those who never returned from the war, but paved the road for future generations to build a better world. Perhaps it could also serve as a reminder of the pain and suffering that war causes for so many and the importance of striving to achieve and maintain justice through peaceful means.

Artists: Karolina Naziemiec will be the featured vocalist and will be accompanied by great, iconic jazz musicians like Tom Ranier, Larry Koonse, Bob Sheppard, Alex Acuna, and others.

To learn more and to support this project, visit www.gofundme.com/q4aank4.

[Sources: facebook.com, gofundme.com]

Kosciuszko FDN Concert

On June 10, the Kosciuszko Foundation will host Eart’Acte, an NY-based ensemble incorporating music from contemporary to classical repertoire. Comprised of Hector Martinez Jr. – pianist/composer, Glen Flax – guitarist/composer and Stephen C. Josephs – flutist/composer, the group has performed from has performed from Brussels to Manila and New York City to San Francisco. Their Kosciuszko Foundation program will include works by Polish composers Michał Kleofas Ogiński, Alexander Tansman and Frédéric Chopin, as well as compositions by members of the ensemble that were inspired by Poland.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 | 7:00pm
Eart’Acte Concert
Kosciuszko Foundation
15 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065
Tickets & Info: www.thekf.org

[Sources: press release, thekf.org]

Kinga Augustyn Recital In NYC

On June 13, 2015, the DiMenna Center will host a recital by Polish violinist Kinga Augustyn and pianist Evan Solomon. Entitled “The Romantic Violin,” the program will include: F. Kreisler – Variations on a Theme by Corelli and Libesleid, F. Chopin – Nocturne in C Sharp and Mazurka in A Minor, J. Brahms – Hungarian Dance No. 1, B. Bartok – Roumanian Folk Dances, P. de Sarasate – Zigeunerweisen, E. Ysaye – Ballade, C. Saint- Saens – Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and H. Wieniawski – Faust Fantasy.

Award winning Polish-born and New York City-based concert violinist Kinga Augustyn has been described as “an adventurous performer valuable to New York’s scene” (NY Concert Review), “violinist for whom nothing seems too difficult” (Polish Daily News), “stylish and vibrant…playing with verve and superb control….great sensitivity and unashamed virtuosity” (The Strad Magazine), and “beyond amazing, one hell of a violinist, who has already made a name for herself in violin circles!” (The Fanfare Magazine). She has performed as a soloist with orchestras in the United States, Europe and Asia. Among them are the Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the American Academy of Conducting Orchestra at the Aspen Music Festival, the Manhattan Symphonie, the Gateway Classical Music Society Orchestra, the Broadway Bach Ensemble, the Glacier Symphony, and the Augusta Symphony Orchestra.  As a soloist of The Manhattan Symphonie, Augustyn made her Asian debut in 2014, performing multiple concerts at China’s most prestigious concerts venues such as Beijing’s Poly Theater and Shanghai Oriental Art Center.

June 13, 2015 at 7:30 PM
Kinga Augustyn in recital
DiMenna Center for Classical Music
450 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018
Tickets: $25, 718-486-6780
Info: kingaaugustyn.com

[Sources: press release, kingaaugustyn.com]


1st Wojciech Kilar Award Winner

On April 30, 2015 the Wojciech Kilar Award’s Expert Council, consisting of directors of the most important Polish cultural institutions, selected the winner of the first edition of Wojciech Kilar Award. The inaugural winner is Elliot Goldenthal, one of the most versatile composers of contemporary music. Winner of the Oscar, Golden Globe and World Soundtrack Award, Goldenthal’s oeuvre includes music composed for film, opera, ballet, symphony orchestras and theater, as well as chamber music. The Award was presented on May 28, 2015 at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre during the Polish Music Gala: Scoring4Wajda as part of the 8th Kraków Film Music Festival (see the Festival section below for more details).

Established in 2014 by the Presidents of Krakow and Katowice, the aim of the Kilar Award is primarily to honor and celebrate the memory of Wojciech Kilar, as well as emphasize the importance of the ethos of the composer in the interdisciplinary world of film. With the Award’s establishment, the name and accomplishments of one of the most recognizable Polish composers of the 20th and 21st centuries will gain a new international dimension.

The Award consists of a common fund for a recording session with the participation of any orchestra from Silesia and Krakow. This is the second important award granted at the Krakow Film Music Festival which, since 2013, has granted the FMF Young Talent Award to a young composer breaking into the field of film, animation or video game composition.

The Kilar Award, on the other hand, recognizes the lifetime achievement of film composers who remain faithful to the traditional art of composing, writing scores that in isolation from the image do not lose clarity, and efficiently using the language of music to produce rich and distinct colors, shades and textures in their work.

To read more about this award, visit fmf.fm.

On Sunday, May 31 as part of the part of the Film Music Festival, Goldenthal also participated in an important panel discussion and recital presented by Varèse Sarabande at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre (pictured at right). Alongside Jeff Beal and Sara Andon, these three leaders of the industry not only talked about film music but also played their favorite instruments.

During the panel “The Afterlife of Film Music,” participants discussed the process of arranging music written for specific film scenes in the process of transforming the score for the needs of live concerts and recording albums. They also talked about how film music is transformed for concert halls, with the participation of outstanding composers, conductors, soloists and producers, who break barriers and create new categories of concert repertoires. In addition to the discussion, the panelists demonstrated their skill and artistry in the performance of film music.

[Sources: pwm.com.pl, fmf.fm, fmf.fm]

Participants In 2015 Chopin Competition Announced

Following the Preliminary round of Competition, on April 25 the names of the 84 pianists who will take part in the 17th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in October 2015 in Warsaw were announced. For the first time in the history of the Competition, fans were able to follow the Preliminary Round in every corner of the world via the Competition’s website (chopincompetition2015.com), mobile apps for iOS and Android (Chopin Competition) and Youtube channel (youtube.com/chopin2015).

The most numerous group of artists admitted to the Competition are representatives of China and Poland – 15 people each. Beyond this, 12 pianists from Japan, 9 from Korea, 7 from Russia, 5 from the United States, and 3 each from Canada, Great Britain and Italy will perform in the Competition.

The international jury—led by Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń and comprised of Ludmil Angelov, Akiko Ebi, Adam Harasiewicz, Yves Henry, Andrzej Jasiński, Ivan Klánský, Anna Malikova, Alberto Nosè, Piotr Paleczny, Ewa Pobłocka, Marta Sosińska, Wojciech Świtała and Dina Yoffe—heard 152 candidates from all over the world. According to Competition rules, the pianists presented a program approximately 30 minutes in length, comprised of a selection from among Chopin’s etudes, mazurkas, nocturnes, scherzi, ballades, Fantasy and Barcarole.

In accordance with Competition Rules, 7 pianists were ensured participation in the Competition in October by winning other related Competitions: Dinara Klinton (Ukraine), winner of 2nd Prize at the 2013 Ignacy Jan Paderewski Competition in Bydgoszcz; Nozomi Nakagiri (Japan), winner of 2nd Prize at the 2012 Hamamatsu Competition; the winners of the 2015 American Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Miami: Eric Lu (USA) – 1st place and Rachel Naomi Kudo (USA) – 2nd place; and winners of the 2015 Polish National Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw: Andrzej Wierciński (1st prize), Łukasz Krupiński (2nd prize ex aequo) and Krzysztof Książek (2nd prize ex aequo). These 3 pianists as well as the other 12 Polish competitors— Tymoteusz Bies, Rafał Błaszczyk, Łukasz Piotr Byrdy, Katarzyna Gołofit, Adam Mikołaj Goździewski, Łukasz Mikołajczyk, Paweł Motyczyński, Szymon Nehring, Piotr Nowak, Piotr Ryszard Pawlak, Zuzanna Pietrzak and Michał Szymanowski—were featured in several concerts around the world in May.

American Chopin Competition winner Eric Lu will be presented by the Chopin Foundation of the United States at a concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on June 24.

The 17th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition will begin on 1 October 2015 with a special concert featuring Martha Argerich. The four-round Competition battle will last until 20 October.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 | 8:00 pm
AmericanChopin Competition winner Eric Lu in Recital
Carnegie Hall – Weill Recital Hall
154 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019
Admission: $28 – $38
Tickets & Info: www.carnegiehall.org

[Sources: press release, chopincompetition2015.com]

ZKP Awards

ZKP Annual Awards

The annual awards of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) were announced on May 26. Presided over by Zygmunt Krauze, the jury included Beata Bolesławska-Lewandowska, Jerzy Kornowicz and Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska, recognizing the following composers:

  • Hanna Kulenty—for her outstanding body of compositions, strong individuality and combination of musical vigor with interesting structural solutions;
  • Zbigniew Penherski—for his outstanding body of compositions and artistic independence;
  • Ryszard Daniel Golianek—for discovering forgotten areas of Polish music and for promoting opera-related subjects as well as for his organizing and educational outreach;
  • Alina Żórawska-Witkowska—for transforming the scholarship on Polish 18th century music, including the three-volume series of books about music at the Royal Court of August II (1997), August III (2012), and Stanisław August Poniatowski (1995).

Held by the Polish Composers’ Union annually since 1949, this year’s awards will be officially presented during the 58th Warsaw Autumn Festival in Warsaw in September.

[Sources: polmic.pl, zkp.org.pl]

ZKP Honorary Awards

Given annually since 1971 to such luminaries as Nadia Boulanger, Bohdan Wodiczko, Stefania Woytowicz, Ivan Monighetti, Iannis Xenakis and Adrian Thomas, this year’s Honorary Awards of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) acknowledged outstanding achievements in the promotion of Polish music. Following the May 20 meeting of the Union’s Executive Committee, this year’s laureates were announced as Beata Bolesławska-Lewandowska, Marcin Trzęsiok, and Elżbieta Zwolińska.

Beata Bolesławska-Lewandowska (left) was recognized for her books and multimedia presentations focusing on Polish contemporary music and her contributions to the Composers’ Union. Marcin Trzęsiok (center) was lauded for his work with younger generations of music theorists, composers, and musicologists through his numerous workshops and seminars that stressed the role of ideas and content in contemporary music. Elżbieta Zwolińska (right) was cited for her long-standing role in music education, especially in creating educational programs, music textbooks, standards for exams, workshops for teachers, and care in safeguarding the highest academic standards.

The Honorary Award ceremony will be held at the Polish Composers’ Union main offices in Warsaw’s Old Town Market Square in September 2015.

[Sources: polmic.pl, zkp.org.pl]


Jarczyk Tributes at Montreal & Kraków Festivals

This summer at the opening of the International Montreal Jazz Festival on June 26, former members of the “12 piece orchestra” and other colleagues and friends from Montreal and Toronto will play a tribute for pianist and composer Jan Jarczyk (at right), who passed away on August 3, 2014. Jarczyk used to call this group “a small big band” and they will come together again for the program Tous ensemble! Tribute to Jan Jarczyk with Jean Pierre Zanella and special guests, which will include the following Jarczyk tunes: “There is always time,” “To a friend,” “Returns & Goodbyes,” “Parting of the ways,” “The Way it goes,” and “Music for S.”

Also on July 26, at the end of the 20th Jubilee Summer Kraków Jazz Festival at Piwnica pod Baranami (June 26–July 31), Jarczyk’s music will again sound in Poland during a special memorial concert.This concert brings together excellent musicians from Poland and Polish members of the Lille Symphony Orchestra, as well as Jarczyk’s daughters, Corinne Raymond-Jarczyk (violin) and Amaryllis Jarczyk (cello), and colleagues and friends of all generations. This program will include the following Jarczyk tunes: “There is always time,” “La Suite Québécoise,” “Interlude,” “Round, Round & Round,” “Remembering Seifert,” “Little Quartet,” and “Conversation Tune.”

Jarczyk’s widow, Danielle Raymond, shares the following about her husband’s music:
When we look and listen carefully to the music we can understand a lot about his life. He was originally from Kraków, and some of his music was written and played in Poland at the beginning of 70s, or written about his homeland after he left. For example, “Music for S.” relates to the Solidarity movement.

The piece “There is always time” was written in the States in 1980 in Boston, during his time at Berklee [College of Music]. He carried it and played it everywhere else. “La suite Québécoise” relates to Québec [where he settled] and folk music (family matters), then “Round…, then going back to Poland with “Remembering Seifert.” The “Little Quartet” recalls his classical training from when he was younger, and “Conversation tune” is a perfect finale with everybody—string quartet (doubled) and jazz trio.

It is interesting to observe that the music which came from Poland will be played in Montreal and his last creations, the compositions from Montreal, will be performed in Kraków. We can say Round, Round & Round…

[Source: montrealjazzfest.com]

Enter Music Festival

The Enter Music Festival—held on June 2-3, 2015—promotes individual research in music and presents a panorama of musical energy oscillating around jazz stylistics and sounding well in the open air. Art Director Leszek Możdżer invites artists he has already met on the worldwide music scene or those he would like to hear live himself, both the famous and the fresh ones. He often performs with them in his own projects.

The festival is a mixture of unpretentiousness, independence and freedom, resulting from the atmosphere of an open-air event with the exclusiveness caused by a limited number of spectators as well as the list of performing artists who always guarantee the highest level of musical experiences.

[Source: enterfestival.pl]

Polish Festivals Around The US


Milwaukee Polish Fest
Where Art, Heritage, and Entertainment come Together

Polish Fest is America’s largest Polish festival and it continues to grow each year. Main attractions for 2015 include five stages of entertainment and much more. This year, the featured exhibit in the Cultural Village will be “The United States in Polish Historiography and Periodicals from 1764-1919.” Also look for “Polish Folk Arts: A Living Tradition” – a newly created exhibit with hands-on workshops. More information available online: www.PolishFest.org

JUNE 12-14, 2015 | Fri & Sat: 12 pm – 12 am; Sun: 12 pm – 8 pm
Milwaukee Polish Fest
Henry W. Maier Festival Park – Summerfest Grounds
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Info: www.PolishFest.org, 414.529.2140


Polish Day in LA

June 13, 2015 marks the 2nd annual Polish Day in LA, hosted by the 2nd Saturday Art Walk Street Fair on Linden Ave/Broadway in Long Beach. This event is promoted in Los Angeles County as a Polish-American Summer Festival to enjoy and be educated about California’s diverse cultural background.

Many attractions will be offered for guests, both Polish and American alike. Among them will be a wide menu of Polish traditional dishes, folk dance performances, dance classes, craft stations for kids and adults, a fashion show of folk and contemporary fashions, art vendors and craft vendors, a special art exhibition by Polish artists inside the Hellada Gallery—whose owner, Marek Dzida, is the dedicated founder of this event—and an exhibit of Polish American sport figures from colleges around California.

June 13, 2015 | 2:00pm – 10:00pm
Polish Day in LA
117 Linden Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802
Free Admission

[Sources: press releases, polishfest.org, polandconnected.com]

Festival Of Film Music

Held on May 27-31, 2015, the Film Music Festival in Kraków (FMF) was a captivating showcase of the highest quality musical interpretations of the moving image performed by leading musicians and orchestras in Europe and the world. Organized by the Kraków Festival Office and RMF Classic, the festival provides a unique concert experience by setting it to live screenings of the world’s most spectacular films. The 2015 Festival inspired nearly 30 thousand spectators, 3 prestigious awards, 8 main concerts and 25 accompanying events, including: 20 premiere suites, over 680 artists, 94 representatives of the film industry and 34 special guests.

The Festival takes pride in its diversity of featured music and film, all-star roster and the diversity and size of its audience. From retrospective performances of the classics to exclusive ceremonies distinguishing contemporary favorites and celebrating international superstars of the industry, the event’s boldness in production, innovativeness in the sphere of sound and film technology, and outstanding talent is an annual showcase of the best in the film music industry. The Film Music Festival in Kraków has become one of the most widely-recognized Polish cultural exports around the world that has delighted fans since its inception.

In addition to concert programs of internationally renowned scores highlighting such burgeoning areas of the business as the  Video Game Show: Critical Hit (May 27) and International TV Series Gala (May 30), this year featured several concerts focused on Polish music:

  • Polish Music Gala: Scoring4Wajda(May 28) – exploring this great director through music of the composers who worked with him: Stanislaw Radwan, Wojciech Kilar, Zygmunt Konieczny, Krzysztof Komeda, Andrew Korzyński, Paweł Mykietyn and Krzysztof Penderecki
  • BOGOWIE [Gods] Live in concert (May 31) – first ever Festival presentation of a Polish film production (Łukasz Palkowski’s Bogowie) accompanied by live music (score by Bartosz Chajdecki)

[Source: fmf.fm]

Leo Festival In Wrocław

The 7th annual Leo Festiwal will be held from May 30 – June 6, 2015 in Wrocław. The festival presents a dialogue between music and other arts: architecture, poetry, dance, film, visual arts, theater.

With the support of the Academy of Music in Wrocław, the Festival is organized by the National Forum of Music (NFM), which was created in 2014 by merging the prestigious Wratislavia Cantans Festival and the Wrocław Philharmonic. The NFM now organizes the activities of 11 instrumental and vocal ensembles and coordinates 9 international festivals in the region.

The themes of this year’s Festival are focused on peace—both in the sense of sublime relaxation and the vigorous absence of conflict—and the symbol of the city of Wrocław—both as the European Capital of Culture in 2016, and a place where cultural currents flow every day just as the rivers flow through the city.

Concert program highlights include:

  • five rivers (May 30): featuring repertoire about rivers, including K. Szymanowski’s “Wysła burzycka” and “U jeziorecka” from Songs from Kurpie op. 58 as well as folk songs from around central and eastern Europe, performed by several NFM ensembles with Ewa Vesin – soprano, led by Ernst Kovacic – conductor and Artistic Director of the Festival
  • young generation (June 3): performed by the students of the K. Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław with Christian Danowicz – violin, Michał Micker – viola and Marcin Misiak – cello

[Sources: polmic.pl, nfm.wroclaw.pl]

Musica Electronica Nova Festival

The 6th Musica Electronica Nova – International Festival of Electroacoustic Music took place from May 15 to 23, 2015 in Wrocław. The fusion of electronic music and cinema was one of the leading motifs of this year’s edition. The audience heard electronic music in a traditional concert setting, as an element of multimedia installations, on stage, and on the big screen. The festival’s “audiovisual” character is highlighted by the choice of the composer-in-residence, Belgium’s Thierry De Mey, who is well-known for his interest in both composition and filmmaking. His works, which often bring together music and astonishing pictures, focus on investigating movement and the dancing body.

The festival also honored the most important composers of 20th century contemporary music, with arrangements of Luc Ferrari’s and Kazimierz Serocki’s pieces, amongst others. The event culminated with a concert in which the music of Pierre Henry, the composer who helped shape contemporary music, met film.

The festival welcomed prominent soloists and ensembles, including Experimentalstudio des SWR (Freiburg im Breisgau), IRCAM (Paris), NFM Symphony Orchestra, NFM Choir, New Music Orchestra, or Lutosławski Quartet.

The 6th Musica Electronica Nova was also a chance to listen to works by Polish composers Wojciech Błażejczyk, Joanna Woźny, Lidia Zielińska, and Patryk Zakrocki commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Poland under the “Collections – Composing Commissions” program run by the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw.

For more details, visit the festival’s program: www.musicaelectronicanova.pl.

[Sources: imit.org.pl, musicaelectronicanova.pl]


New Penderecki On NAXOS

Penderecki: Magnificat / Kadisz
Krzysztof Penderecki (b. 1933): Magnificat (1973/74); Kadisz (2009)
Wojtek Gierlach, Bass; Male vocal ensemble; Olga Pasichnyk, soprano; Alberto Mizrahi, tenor; Daniel Olbrychski, speaker; Warsaw Boys’ Choir; Warsaw Philharmonic Choir; Warsaw Philharmonic Men’s Choir; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Antoni Wit, cond.
Naxos 8.572697

Called “a sonic broom” that “sweep all before them,” Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki and former Artistic Director of the Warsaw Philharmonic, Antoni Wit, again come together as the powerhouse duo that has been featured on several successful Naxos recordings. This latest album features two works that are separated by 35 years, during which time Penderecki made a decisive break with the post-war European avant-garde. In the Magnificat, chilling instrumental clusters, spectral sounds and impassioned rhetoric unite with tonality and counterpoint to deliver a work of monumental emotional power. Written to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of the Jewish ghetto in Łódź, Kadisz is among the most distinctive of Penderecki’s later choral works in the stark contrasts between drama and sombre reflection of its individual sections.

[Sources: press release, naxos.com/ecard, naxos.com]

Polish Composers Celebrate Peace

Celebration of Peace Through Music
Wojciech Kilar: Bogurodzica; Henryk Mikołaj Górecki: Totus Tuus, Op. 60; plus works by Verdi, Copland, Bernstein and Brahms
Orchestra of St. Luke’s; Gilbert Levine – cond.; Kraków Philharmonic Chorus; Washington Choral Arts Society
Delos Records DE3487

A Celebration of Peace Through Music was a special two-hour televised concert created by American conductor Sir Gilbert Levine that took place on May 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Through music, a language that supersedes all cultural boundaries, Levine led world-class vocal and orchestral ensembles in a moving tribute to Pope John XXIII, Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis — three spiritual leaders recognized for their devotion to promoting understanding and peace around the world. A Celebration of Peace Through Music was broadcast on public media stations nationwide in Spring 2015, particularly around Easter 2015, and was released on CD.

[Sources: naxos.com, weta.org]

2014 UNESCO Concert for Peace
Roxanna Panufnik: Three Paths to Peace; Richard Strauss: Symphonic Fantasy on Die Frau ohne Schatten, TrV 234a; Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 6 in A Minor, “Tragic”

World Orchestra for Peace, Valery Gergiev – cond.

C Major 730204 (Blu-ray Disc Version)

This DVD of the 2014 UNESCO Concert for Peace—recorded live during the BBC Proms concert on July 20, 2014 at Royal Albert Hall—features Polish-British composer Roxanna Panufnik, daughter of Sir Andrzej Panufnik, performed by the World Orchestra for Peace. Founded in 1995 by the late Sir Georg Solti, the World Orchestra for Peace uses music as a universal language of peace that crosses all borders and brings people together by reminding them of everything they share.

[Sources: naxos.com, imc-cim.org, unesco.org]

Łabanowski Performs Chopin

Stefan Łabanowski: Chopin Recital
Fryderyk Chopin: Barcarolle in F-sharp major op. 60; Scherzo no. 1 in B minor op. 20; Scherzo no. 3 in C-sharp minor op. 39; Grande valse brillante in E flat major op. 18; Ballade no. 4 in F minor op. 52; 4 Mazurkas op. 17; Polonaise in A-flat major op. 53
Stefan Łabanowski, piano
Acte Préalable AP0336

A selection of Chopin’s greatest solo works performed by Stefan Łabanowski are on the latest Acte Préalable CD release. Reviewing this disc for the May 2015 issue of Muzyka 21, Arkadiusz Jędrasik praised the performer for his “… technical accuracy, beautiful sound and respect for the composer’s ideas. […] Everything is very clear and natural. […] The pianist gives eloquent reading, shapes the dynamics and, thankfully, we do not encounter the superfluous expression or ecstasy. Instead, there is expressive depth and a whole range of emotions inferred from the score.”

Interviewed about the choice of repertoire, Mr. Łabanowski disclosed, “I’ve chosen the works that, during the time of recording sessions, had impressed me most by their beauty, works that spoke to me most directly—those that I enjoyed performing the most.”

[Source: Muzyka 21 (May 2015)]

New Polish Music On DUX

A Polish Kaleidoscope
Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński: Rondo alla polacca op. 6; Juliusz Zarębski: Deux morceaux en forme de Mazurka op. 5; Moritz Moszkowski: Kaleidoskop. Miniaturbilder für das Pianoforte zu 4 Händen op. 74; Roman Palester: Sonatina for piano four hands (1940). Ravel Piano Duo: Agnieszka Kozło and Katarzyna Ewa Sokołowska
DUX 1174

Choralis Passeris | Polish Music for Cello and Strings
Krzysztof Herdzin: Choralis Passeris (2014) for cello & string quintet; Mieczysław Karłowicz: Serenade (1896) for cello & string quintet (arr. Andrzej Wróbel); Witold Maliszewski: Suite Op.20 (ca. 1910) for cello & string quartet (arr. Andrzej Wróbel); Antoni Stolpe: Dramatic scene (1868) for cello & string quintet; Piotr Wróbel: Moliendo cafe, A Venezuelan Fantasy (2007) for cello & string quintet. Camerata Vistula: Grzegorz Chmielewski – viola, Andrzej Gębski – violin, Maria Machowska – violin, Radosław Nur – double bass, Elżbieta Piwkowska-Wróbel – cello and Andrzej Wróbel – cello; Anna Wróbel – cello
DUX 1220

[Sources: dux.pl, ravelduo.pl, dux.pl, annawrobelcello.pl]

Krauze Honors Strzemiński

Zygmunt Krauze: Hommage à Strzemiński
Zygmunt Krauze (b. 1938): Polychromy for clarinet, trombone, cello and piano (1968); Piece for orchestra no. 1 (1969); Piece for orchestra no. 2 (1970); Tableau vivant for chamber orchestra (1982); String Quartet no. 2 (1970); String Quartet no 3 (1982); Polychromy for clarinet, trombone, cello and piano (1968)

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Andrzej Markowski – cond.; gnarwhallaby; Silesian String Quartet; Music Workshop; National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo – cond.; Sinfonia Varsovia; Jan Krenz – cond.

Bôłt Records, available as DUX 1207 (Jan 2015)

A CD of music by Zygmunt Krauze is now available on Bôłt Records. The compositions on the album, and indeed the composer himself, were deeply inspired by the works of Polish painter Władysław Strzemiński—Polish art theoretician, painter, designer of “functional” prints, pioneer of the Constructivist avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s, creator of the theory of Unism. Strzemiński was born in the Belarussian city of Minsk in 1893 and died in Łódź, Poland in 1952.

According to Krauze (from boltrecords.pl):

I will be talking about my music, but I want you to realise that I am actually talking all the time about the source of that music which is the theory and work of Strzemiński. And that is because since the very beginning my music has been closely connected with it. It has actually been its source. In 1956, as a student of the Secondary School for Music, I went to a posthumous exhibition of Strzemiński’s works, and that day marked my future. First of all, I realized that I would become a composer, and I also understood how I would write my music.

[Sources: zygmuntkrauze.com, boltrecords.pl]

Concert Reviews

Stankiewicz Shines In California

by Marek Żebrowski

Kuba Stankiewicz, a distinguished Polish jazz pianist, presented a series of jazz trio concerts in California during the first part of May. Stankiewicz’s performances spotlighted his recently-released recording of music by Victor Young on the Warner Records label. With extensive liner notes and fascinating photos, this attractively presented CD features eight signature tunes by Young, including such all-time favorites as Love Letters, Stella by Starlight, Johnny Guitar and Summer Love, among others. Two outstanding LA-based musicians who are also on the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music joined Stankiewicz in this excellent sounding presentation: bass virtuoso Darek Oleszkiewicz, and Grammy Award winning percussionist Peter Erskine.

This same ensemble presented Victor Young’s music live at two Los Angeles-area venues at the beginning of the month: the Catalina Club on Sunset Boulevard on May 1, and the American Jewish University on Mulholland Drive a few days later. The trio continued to celebrate the music of Victor Young, who was born to a Polish-Jewish emigrant family in Chicago in 1899 then, after his mother’s death, was sent with his sister Helen to live with their relatives in Poland, where both attended music schools. Prodigiously talented, Victor quickly developed into a violin virtuoso and, as a teenager, made his debut with the Warsaw Philharmonic. By 1921 Young returned to Chicago and gradually began to build a career as violinist, conductor and arranger.

By the mid-1930s Young had settled in Hollywood and became a very successful composer of film music and show tunes, performed by leading singers of the day, including Bing Crosby, The Boswell Sisters, Dick Robertson, and Lee Wiley, among others. First signed to Brunswick Records in 1931, since 1934 Young recorded with Decca and his studio recordings featured top-rated musicians of the era, including Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang and others. Among many memorable film scores by Victor Young one must list Anything Goes (1936), The Gladiator (1939), Golden Boy (1939), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), The Uninvited (1944), Love Letters (1945), So Evil My Love (1948), The Emperor Waltz (1948), The Paleface (1948), Samson and Delilah (1949), My Favorite Spy (1951), The Quiet Man (1952), Scaramouche (1952), Something to Live For (1952), Shane (1953), The Country Girl (1954), A Man Alone (1955), Written on the Wind (1956), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), for which he posthumously received the Academy Award in 1957. Altogether, Victor Young’s film credits extend over 300 film scores over a period of two decades in Hollywood, during which he was nominated for the Academy Award a record twenty-two times. He died on November 10, 1956 from a stroke at his home in Palm Springs, California. Young’s niece in Los Angeles, Bobbie Fromberg, remembered him as a bon vivant, “… a little Jewish man from Chicago via Warsaw, who was stocky like a boxer with a cigar s tuck in his mouth all the time and the heart and soul of a romantic.” Asked about her uncle’s compositions, Mrs. Fromberg said, “Just close your eyes and listen to the music. It envelopes you and your imagination and takes you places you’ve only dreamed of. That’s good music and that’s what he wrote.”

The music of Victor Young certainly resonated with the select audience that gathered at Paso Robles’ historic Park Ballroom on May 9. For this occasion, Kuba Stankiewicz and Darek Oleszkiewicz were supported by another LA-based percussionist, Tina Raymond. Stankiewicz’s sensuous piano style was ideally matched by Oleszkiewicz’s acrobatic bass lines, and his virtuosity and musicianship proved especially impressive in the amazing extended bass solo in Johnny Guitar. Throughout the evening Tina Raymond, quietly placed behind her drum set, delivered a finely-laced and musically-compelling rhythmic groove. Her solos in a few numbers displayed white-knuckle bravura and good taste in an especially pleasing combination. All night long, the refined touch that Kuba Stankiewicz applied to Young standards such as Love Letters and Stella by Starlight proved an inspiration to his ensemble-mates, who clearly enjoyed making music of the highest caliber.

The audience, appreciative of such rare treat, elicited two encores from the performers. In a surprising move, Stankiewicz spontaneously decided to present for the first time in public two numbers from his upcoming CD—a disc featuring music by another Polish composer turned Hollywood great, Bronisław Kaper—which had just been recorded with Oleszkiewicz and Erskine in LA a few days earlier. With the 1935 Kaper hit Ninon, the jazz trio charmed the audience and, after a spirited rendition of the Kaper favorite On Green Dolphin Street, the hearty applause resonated long into the night.

[Sources: paderewskifest.com]

Zubel At Ferus Festival In NY

Award-winning composer and vocalist Agata Zubel will be featured at the FERUS Festival in New York City. Presented by VisionIntoArt (VIA), a multimedia production company with a belief that collaboration sustains artistic innovation that facilitates “flamboyant, confounding, and enticing collaborations” (New York Times), the festival presents some of today’s most exciting creators of music and theater during a two-day extravaganza of new music, theatre, sound and visual worlds. Zubel performed with Hafez Modirzadeh (composer/ alto saxophone) and Jeffrey Zeigler (cello) and presented the New York premiere of her composition Parlando for voice and electronics.

The 2015 Ferus Festival is supported in part by the New Music USA Cary’s New Music Performance Fund and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council. Agata Zubel is presented in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York. Q2 is the official Ferus Festival Digital Partner.

[Sources: press release, polishculture-nyc.org]

Polish Early Music In Beijing

The Early Music Season is an event organized by the Beijing’s Forbidden City Concert Hall (FCCH), each spring presenting three different ensembles. In 2015, the event featured “Early Music Season: Polish Focus”, which gave the Chinese music lovers a chance to listen to two ensembles from Poland, giving the event a distinctly Polish flavor. The ensembles that participated in the project, Arte Dei Suonatori and OCTAVA ensemble, are both well known in Poland and abroad, and awarded multiple times. They gave concerts in several venues from April 9-19.

[Source: asia.culture.pl]

Urbaniak In DC

A very rare opportunity to hear Michal Urbaniak and his Urbanator Group in Washington D.C. happened on Thursday, May 21 at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club.  It was the first time in years that this living legend of Polish Jazz, co-founder of Fusion style, the only Polish jazz musician who ever recorded with Miles Davis himself, performed in the US capital. As a violin and saxophone player, Urbaniak has collaborated, performed and recorded with the likes of Lenny White, Ron Carter, Kenny Kirkland, Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller and many more. He was joined on stage by Yaiyoi Ikawa (keyboards), Abdule Zhuri (guitar), Al MacDowell (bass) and Mike Flythe (drums).

[Sources: facebook.com, euintheus.org]


Born This Month

  • June 1, 1909 – Maria DZIEWULSKA, composer and theoretician (d. 2006)
  • June 4, 1845 – Aleksander POLIŃSKI, music historian (d. 1916)
  • June 4, 1784 – Adam CZARNOCKI, music ethnographer (d. 1825)
  • June 5, 1865 – Felicjan SZOPSKI, composer and music critic (d. 1939)
  • June 6, 1929 – Bogusław SCHAEFFER, composer, writer
  • June 12, 1897 – Aleksander TANSMAN, composer and pianist,
  • June 16, 1923 – Henryk CZYŻ, conductor and composer
  • June 17, 1930 – Romuald TWARDOWSKI, composer
  • June 28, 1895 – Kazimierz SIKORSKI, composer and teacher
  • June 28, 1904 – Włodzimierz POŹNIAK, musicologist


Died This Month

  • June 1, 1869 – Jozef DULEBA, pianist and participant of January Uprising, died in a duel (b. 1843)
  • June 3, 1904 – Daniel FILLEBORN, singer and performer of main parts in Moniuszko’s operas (b. 1841)
  • June 4, 1872 – Stanislaw MONIUSZKO, Father of Polish National opera (b. 5 May 1819)
  • June 5, 1964 – Henryk SZTOMPKA, pianist, Chopin specialist, teacher
  • June 9, 1932 – Natalia JANOTHA, pianist and composer, student of Clara Wieck-Schumann, Royal Pianist in London, 400 opus numbers (b. 1856)
  • June 10, 1953 – Grzegorz FITELBERG, conductor, composer, great promoter of new music, esp. Szymanowski (b. 1879)
  • June 28, 1938 – Ludwik DRZEWIECKI, pianist and father of Zbigniew Drzewiecki
  • June 29, 1945 – Kazimierz GARBUSINSKI, pianist, organist, composer
  • June 30, 1957 – Michal SWIERZYNSKI, composer and choral conductor