September 2015

Polish Music Newsletter Vol. 21, no. 9


2015 Paderewski Lecture-Recital

On October 18, the musical treasures of the late Renaissance and Baroque period in Poland will be showcased at this year’s Paderewski Lecture-Recital in celebration of the PMC’s 30th anniversary. Presented by Adam Knight Gilbert and the USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia ensemble, this program will feature rarely-heard vocal and instrumental masterpieces by Wojciech Długoraj (1550-1619), Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (1665-1734), Jakub Polak (1545-1605), and Mikołaj Zieleński (1550-1615), among others. Program notes provided are by violinist Stefan Plewniak.

As a part of this fall festival of early Polish music, Baroque Sinfonia and Adam Gilbert will also present a concert of early music repertoire from Germany, Italy and Poland on October 9. Both events are free and open to the public and will be held at the Alfred Newman Recital Hall on the USC Campus.

Friday, October 9, 2015 | 8:00 p.m.
Baroque Sinfonia presents works by Polish, German and Italian masters
USC’s Alfred Newman Recital Hall  (see AHF on campus map)
3616 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Admission is FREE

Sunday, October 18, 2015 | 7:00 p.m.
2015 Paderewski Lecture-Recital: Musica Antiqua Polonica
USC’s Alfred Newman Recital Hall (see AHF on campus map)
3616 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Admission is FREE
Campus Parking: $12 – enter Gate 3 at Figueroa St. & McCarthy Way
Info: or 213-821-1356
Reception to follow the concert

Polish And Ukrainian Visitors At PMC

Two distinguished guests from Poland and Ukraine paid a courtesy call at PMC in early August. Adam Bala, Director of the Discovering Paderewski Festival, and Marianna Humetska, Artistic Director of the same Festival, came on a brief visit to California and were given a tour of the Polish Music Center and the USC campus. During lunch with Director Marek Zebrowski and Assistant Director Krysta Close, subjects of closer cooperation between the institutions represented by both parties were discussed.

After signing the PMC guestbook, Mr. Bala and Ms. Humetska departed for California’s Central Coast and meetings with the board of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. Both visitors also participated in the summer fundraiser held at a private residence in Paso and enjoyed some sightseeing in Cambria and Los Angeles before departing on August 10 for New York City.

Paderewski Fundraiser In Paso

On Saturday, August 8, 2015, the Discovering Paderewski Festival in Lviv, Ukraine, represented by Director Adam Bala and Artistic Director Marianna Humetska, presented the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles with a handsome bronze bust of Paderewski, an award recognizing the Festival’s contributions to promoting Paderewski and Polish music. This tribute is granted annually to five carefully selected individuals or organizations by the Board of Directors of the Discovering Paderewski Festival in Lviv.

Bala, who is also director of the Polish-Ukrainian Society in Warsaw, Poland, was in Paso Robles for a “Paderewski in Paso” fundraiser weekend that benefits the Paderewski Festival’s Youth Exchange program. Under its auspices, talented young pianists from the Central Coast travel to Poland and Paderewski’s former manor house, Kąśna Dolna, for master classes, performances and history tours. Two California students and a chaperone participated in the Exchange Program this summer, while students from Poland and Ukraine are expected to visit Paso Robles during the November 2016 Paderewski Festival.

A highlight of the sold-out weekend was a piano recital by Marianna Humetska at the hilltop home of Marilyn and Ken Riding. Daniel Ha (above), who travelled to Poland earlier this summer, began the musical portion of the evening with a Chopin Impromptu, while Ms. Humetska gave a spirited reading of several of Paderewski’s piano miniatures and followed them with an assured delivery of Chopin’s monumental B-minor Sonata. After the music a multi-course dinner catered by Charlie Paladin Wayne was served and paired with wines from Enfold and Cass Wineries.

On Sunday, Marek Zebrowski, Artistic Director of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and Director of the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California, gave a lecture about Paderewski’s years in Paso Robles at Epoch Estate Wines’ historic York Mountain production facility. His lecture was followed by a tour of the Epoch’s new facilities led by Kristen Darnell, Director of Sales and Marketing at Epoch Wines and a Thomas Hill Organics wine-paired lunch at Epoch’s farmhouse.

The newly-established links between the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and the Discovering Paderewski Festival in Lviv and the Wspólnota Polska [Polish Diaspora] organization where Mr. Bala is a board member bodes well for future cooperation between the institutions that seek to promote Paderewski’s impressive legacy. With this connection, the Paso Robles Festival’s Youth Exchange Program will have access to new venues for concerts, master classes and overnight accommodations near Warsaw, plus an opportunity to perform at the Lviv Opera in the summer of 2017. Ms. Humetska, a member of the piano faculty at the National Music Academy in Lviv, has agreed to mentor Ukrainian students from the area where Paderewski was born and liaise with the Khmilnyk Music & Arts School to select talent for upcoming installments of the mutually-run Youth Exchange programs.

At the end of their weekend visit in California, Mr. Bala and Ms. Humetska also met with Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin and City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem John Hamon, who underscored the City’s support of the Paderewski Festival and offered assistance in securing visas for the 2016 Exchange Program, especially for the visitors from Ukraine. At the end of the meeting Ms. Humetska and Mr. Bala were presented by Mayor Martin with specially-engraved medals from the City.

Recent Donations to the PMC Library

From Gajusz Keska:

  • “Szymanowski – Piano Sonatas” (CD)

From Krzesimir Debski:

  • “The Greatest Vol. I” (CD)

From Agata Zubel:

  • “Dream Lake” (CD)

From Tadeusz Owczak, Zelazowawsla:

  • “Chopin: Mazurki, Walce, Nokturny, Polonezy” (CD)
  • III Festiwal Pianistyczny im. Apolinarego Szeluty (DVD)

From Maciej Siekierski, curator of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives at Stanford University:

  • Helena Paderenska: Memoirs, 1910-1920 (Advanced Reading Copy) (Book)
  • Helena Paderewska: Wspomnienia 1910-1920 (Book)

Thank you for expanding our collection!


Wojtek Blecharz World Premeries

Several works by young Polish composer Wojtek Blecharz will receive their world premieres and other performances during the month of September.

AUSTRALIA (9/4/15): World premiere of Counter-Earth, commissioned by Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music (BIFEM) for Aviva Endean

Having wowed audiences in 2013, Aviva Endean returns to the BIFEM with the premiere of her newest recital program, ‘Dual Rituals.’ Named “Australia’s most versatile clarinettist” by RealTime Arts magazine, Endean is one of Australia’s most in-demand cross-disciplinary musicians as she is not only a clarinettist, but also a performance maker, composer and Argonaut alumnus. ‘Dual Rituals’ features the world premiere of a major new work by exciting young Polish composer Wojtek Blecharz.

Friday, September 4, 2015 | 10:15 p.m.
‘Dual Rituals’ – premiere of Counter-Earth by Wojtek Blecharz
Old Fire Station – Bendigo Regional Arts Centre
50 View Street, Bendigo, VIC 3550 Australia
Admission $20
Tickets & Info:

POLAND: Kwadrofonik Ensemble, Pękala/Kordylasińska/Pękala and Barbara Kinga Majewska give performances of September (the next reading), K’an and blacksnowfalls Festiwal Kwadrofonik in Warsaw

The unique quartet of pianists and percussionists presents their audience with contemporary music, blurring the boundaries of reality and fiction during the three day festival in Warsaw, Poland. The Kwadrofonik Ensemble will highlight their concerts with the premiere of Wojtek Blecharz’s September, K’an and Blacksnowfalls to captivate their audience phantom sounds combined with electronic media. The festival also includes performances by Ensemble Garage (Germany) and Asamisimasa (Norway) and workshops for children.

September 4 and 6, 2015 | 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Festiwal Kwadrofonik – Inauguracja Festiwalu, Aftersounds
Polish Radio Studio S1, Warsaw, Poland

GERMANY: World premiere of Mutter Courage und ihre Hunde at the Staatstheater Braunschweig. This work was created and directed by Marta Górnicka, with a score by Wojtek Blecharz.

Polish director Marta Górnicka presents her famous libretto composition, Mutter Courage und ihre Hunde, with a score by Wojtek Blecharz in Germany this month, expressing the extreme emotions and direct interaction between those who are separated by an invisible barrier- mothers and children of the war.  The choir is comprised of members of the ensemble of the State Theatre, students of drama school Hannover and citizens from Braunschweig and the region.

Listen here:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.
Festiwal Kwadrofonik – Inauguracja Festiwalu, Aftersounds
Staatstheater (Kleines Haus), Magnitorwall 18
38100 Braunschweig, Germany


Meyer’s Premieres And Reflections

Polish guitar virtuoso, Łukasz Kuropaczewski, gave a world premiere of Krzysztof Meyer’s Triptych for Guitar Solo at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, New York, on 23 July 2015. Just a few weeks later, on 3 August 2015, Kuropaczewski followed up with the European premiere of the Triptych at the 24th International Guitar Symposium in Iserlohn, one of the largest classical guitar festivals in Europe.

The composer, Krzysztof Meyer, provided the following description of his latest work:
I already wrote the Concerto for Guitar, Tympani and Strings for the outstanding Polish guitarist Łukasz Kuropaczewski. The Triptych for Guitar Solo is my second work for this interpreter. The titles of the movements: Fantasia, Aria and Impromptu furioso, refer to the characters of the individual movements.

I completed Triptych for Guitar Solo in December 2014. The piece is permeated by double contrasts: in terms of harmony, the guitar’s own mood and sound world are contrasted with my harmonic thinking. In terms of technique, on the other hand, performance gestures of the Flamenco tradition are contrasted with those of the practice of classical guitar playing. The dialogue between different harmonic and historical levels can thus be discovered through a complex, clearly demarcated discourse. The duration of the work is about fifteen minutes.

Following the European premiere of his Triptych, Meyer shared with the PMC the following observations:
We travelled first to Iserholn (a town in the Ruhr Valley) for a concert at a guitar festival. Iserholn is small and lovely town with a well-preserved historic centre, and the concert was held in one of the city’s historic churches. Together with my wife we came to hear the first European performance of my Triptych for Guitar Solo (the world premiere was held in New York a few weeks earlier). We wouldn’t have considered coming to this concert except for the fact that it was given by a fellow Pole, Łukasz Kuropaczewski who, as a virtuoso (and here I’m not exaggerating) is one of the world’s very best. Wonderful musicianship, faultless technique, and on top of everything, he is a wonderful human being. It was a very joyous evening for me.

Meyer (pictured) and his wife, Danuta Gwizdalanka, then travelled to the Polish seaside resort of Sopot, where they attended the August 5 concert at the Sopot Classic Festival, featuring works by Krzysztof Penderecki, Eugeniusz Knapik and Stanisław Moryto as well as two works by the winners of the Krzysztof Penderecki Composing Competition, Michał Ziółkowski and Artur Słotwiński. Meyer’s impressions of Ziółkowski’s Opening Old Wounds and Słotwiński’s Gry miejskie [City Games] were quite positive:
[My visit in Sopot] brought several very nice meetings with my fellow composers who were staying there and in the evening I attended one of the Sopot Classic Festival concerts, where works by composers who won the Penderecki Composition Contest were presented. […] the works by two young composers sounded fresh, interesting and unconventional. It was a wonderful surprise!


Inauguration Of Wrocław’s National Music Forum

On September 4, 2015, the much-anticipated Narodowe Forum Muzyki [National Forum of Music, or NFM] in Wrocław celebrated its inauguration with performances by the Choir of Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny, the Baroque Orchestra, the Leopoldinum Chamber Orchestra, the Symphonic Orchestra, and the pianist Piotr Anderszewski, among many others.

In Wrocław’s new home for music, audiences will be exposed to many works of Polish composers, such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Wojciech Kilar, Witold Lutoslawski, Pawel Mykietyn and Karol Szymanowski, as well as works by Bach and Haydn. The National Music Forum will be a place where different fields of art will meet and provoke controversy and dialogue. The National Music Forum calendar can be found on


Chopin Competition Live Stream

For all fans of Chopin, here is an opportunity to participate in one of the most sumptuous feasts of Chopin’s music, as performed by the young pianists competing in the 2015 Chopin International Piano Competition, without having to travel to Warsaw. One of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world, the Chopin Competition is held every five years, and the 17th edition will begin on October 1, 2015. News, press conferences, and information about competitors and jurors, as well as live streams of solo and orchestral concerts with (in the Competition’s last round) can be accessed online at the following link:

[Sources: Chopin Society,]

Panufnik Report: Annex

The Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT) has published the Annex to the Report on the Presence of Andrzej Panufnik’s Music in Poland and in the World. Written by Beata Boleslawska-Lewandowska, the report is a complement to the previous volume, exploring the presence of music by Andrzej Panufnik during the years after his death, 1991-2013.

Boleslawska-Lewandowska has amassed information from several sources, including his publisher in London, Boosey & Hawkes, the ZAIKS Association of Authors and the composer’s family, especially his wife Lady Camilla Panufnik, who was a participant of most of the jubilee events. The aim of this piece was to find out how the 2014 centenary year influenced the presence of his works on programs around the world. Interestingly, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sir Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991) was celebrated in 2014 under the auspices of UNESCO as well.


Waldman At Levitt Pavilion In L.A.

The Polish Consulate presents “A Night of International Stars” featuring the work of native Los Angeleno Wendy Waldman, critically acclaimed songwriter, producer and performer. Waldman has sustained a successful career in the music industry, being well-versed in many genres including renaissance, folk, jazz, pop, country and so much more. She will be joined onstage by Polish singer, composer, and lyricist Mietek Szczesniak, contemporary singer, composer, arranger, and producer Grazyna Auguscik, Brazilian vocalist and guitarist Paulinho Garcia, and Life Choir.

Friday, September 18, 2015 | 8:00 p.m.
“A Night of International Stars”
Memorial Park
85 E. Holly Street, Pasadena, CA 91103
Free Admission
Tickets & Info:



2015 ACPC Vocal Competition Winner

The American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) and The Chicago Chopin Society are proud to announce the winner of the 2015 ACPC Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition, Katarzyna Sądej. She will perform in concert during the 67th Annual ACPC Convention on Friday, August 7, 2015 at 8 PM in the Embassy Suites Hotel, 5500 N. River Rd., Rosemont, Illinois.

Katarzyna Sądej will showcase the art songs of Polish composers: Chopin, Moniuszko, Karłowicz, Paderewski, and Szymanowski. She will be accompanied by Dr. Slawomir Dobrzanski.

Ms. Katarzyna Sądej, age 31, is a Polish-born mezzo soprano. Closest to her heart is her specialization in the Polish art song, and she always includes songs of Polish composers on her programs. Ms. Sądej is an avid recitalist, having performed in the US, Canada, France, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Colombia. In addition to performances at international festivals and in operatic roles, Ms. Sądej sang in world premieres of two operas, one at CarnegieHall. Ms. Sądej has two Master’s degrees, in Vocal Arts from Bard College, and in Opera Performance from the University of Toronto. Ms. Sądej is fluent in Polish as well as French, Spanish, and Italian, making her an ideal ambassador to promote the music of Polish composers internationally. She lives with her husband in San Diego.

Friday, August 7, 2015 | 8:00 p.m.
Katarzyna Sądaj – Art Songs of Polish Composers
Embassy Suites Hotel
5500 N. River Rd., Rosemont Illinois Chicago, IL
Admission $20
Tickets & Info: (773) 988-3663 or

[Source: press release]

Penderecki Receives ‘Per Artem At Deum’ Award

On June 22, during the International Sacroexpo Exhibition in Kielce, composer Krzysztof Penderecki received the Per Artem ad Deum medal awarded by the Pontifical Council for Culture. Previous recipients of this prestigious award include composers Wojciech Kilar, Krzysztof Zanussi, Ennio Morricone, and this year, the eminent sculptor Prof. Wincenty Kućma.


Krzysztof Urbaniak Honored By Łódź

Organist Krzysztof Urbaniak was recently given the Marshal of Łódź’s award in the “Personality” category for his achievements as an artist and cultural promulgator. Urbaniak is currently the artist-in-resident of the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra in Łódź. In this role, he is not only an appreciated young organist and university lecturer, but also a consultant with a huge impact for the project of building unique baroque and romantic organs at the Philharmonic.


Szymon Mika Wins The Jarek Smietana Competition

On July 4, Krakow-based Szymon Mika took the top honors in the Smietana Competition sharing the podium with Second Prize winner Felix Lemerle of France, and ex-aequo Third Prize winners Ronald Baloghow from Hungary and Rotem Silvan of Israel. The Final Gala Concert this year included performances by the prize winners as well as by John Abercrombie, Mike Stern, Ed Cherry, Marek Napiorkowski and Mike Stern & Didier Lockwood Band.

The Competition began on July 1, commemorating renowned guitarist Jarek Smietana, who recently passed two years ago. 54 participants from 24 countries were invited to the audition in Krakow. However, despite of his age, the 24 year old composer-guitarist outshone his competition and continues to claim many other major rewards, like the Jazz Personality Grand Prix at the 2012 Jazz and Odra Festival and the special prize at the Bielska Zadymka Jazzowa in 2015.



2015 Paderewski Festival

In honor of Paderewski, the four-day Festival will be held this year from November 5-8, 2015 at various venues around Paso Robles. Audiences will hear historical works by Paderewski, Karol Szymanowski and Tadeusz Kosciuszko, as well as contemporary masterpieces by Witold Lutosławski, Wojciech Kilar, Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, reinterpreted. The Festival’s history, as well as its legacy, will be on full display during recitals given by this year’s winners of the Festival Competition and participants in the Cultural Exchange in Poland, and Sunday’s Paderewski Lecture.

Below is the full schedule of the weekend:

Thursday, November 5

Concert with City of Angels Saxophone Quartet
Cass Winery. 6:30 p.m. wine reception; 7:00 concer

Friday, November 6

Master Class with Thomas Pandolfi
Park Ballroom. 2:00 p.m.

Concert with Motion Trio Ensemble
Park Ballroom. 6:30 p.m. wine reception; 7:00 concert

Saturday, November 7

Film screening: Please find – Henryk Gorecki
Park Cinemas. 10:00 a.m.

Youth Competition Winners’ Recital
Paso Robles Inn Ballroom. 4:00 p.m.

Gala Concert with Thomas Pandolfi
Paso Robles Inn Ballroom. 7:00 p.m. wine reception; 7:30 concert

Sunday, November 8

Youth Exchange Recital & Paderewski Lecture
Cass Winery. 12:00 p.m.

Friends of Paderewski VIP passes as well as tickets to individual concerts are available now. Please visit

Premieres At Warsaw Autumn

The 58th International ‘Warsaw Autumn’ Festival of Contemporary Music [Warszawska Jesień] will be held in various venues throughout Warsaw from September 18-26, 2015. Created in 1956 and running annually with only two exceptions since its beginning, Warsaw Autumn is a festival with a long tradition and is a true witness to music history. It is the only contemporary music festival in Poland on an international scale and with an international status. For many years, it was the only event of this kind in Central and Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, it remains a living organism: it thrives as much as Polish cultural funding and the general condition of music allow.

The Festival is organized by the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP). The Repertoire Committee, an independent body appointed by the Union’s Board, determines the program of each edition of the festival. Warsaw Autumn is, therefore, an international and nonprofit festival of a nongovernmental association.

Today, Warsaw Autumn has fulfilled its original goal to familiarize Polish audiences with the classic works of the early twentieth century. Yet there remain gaps regarding the classics of the second half of the twentieth century. Filling in these gaps goes hand-in-hand with the Festival’s other primary (and timeless) objective: to present new music from Poland and abroad. Organizers strive to present this music in a way that is both of the highest artistic quality and accessible to a wide and varied audience, highlighting that which is new and different and exotic but also enriches the listener.

Regarding organizers’ dedication to the newest music of Polish composers, the following are the composers and pieces that will be given their World Premiere at this year’s Festival:

Lidia Zielińska – Symfonia koncertująca will be premiered by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra with cellist Alvin Lucier and pianist Philippe Manoury (Sept. 18)

Zygmunt Krauze – Idylla 2(Warsaw Autumn commission) will be premiered by the voices of Aleksandra Biskot, Ewa Puchalska, Ewlina Rzezińska and Anna Wyrzykowska in an animated ensemble (Sept. 20)

Paweł Hendrich – Pteropetros will be premiered by the Lutosławski Quartet and the Lutosair Quintet with conductor Maciej Koczur (Sept. 23)

Michał Pawełek – Ephreia will be premiered alongside Hendrich in his first Polish electronic performance by the Lutosławski Quartet and the Lutosair Quintet  (Sept. 23)

Szymon Strzelec – L’Atelier de sensorité (Warsaw Autumn commission) will be premiered by the European Workshop for Contemporary Music  with conductor Rüdiger Bohn (Sept. 24)

Jagoda Szmytka – LOST (Warsaw Autumn commission) will present a transmedia composition of multilayered, rhizomatic connections between social and interpersonal processes

(Sept. 25)

Spotkanie z kompozytorem – Jagoda Szmytka will be present for a meet-and-greet on the last day of the festival (Sept. 26)


The 53rd Music Festival In Bydgoszcz

For over half a century, the Music Festival in Bydgoszcz has closely adhered to its stated aim of promoting Polish music and featuring the greatest artists of the present day. Throughout its existence, the Festival’s concerts presented a wide spectrum of repertoire from the early music to contemporary works.

This year, the Festival will be held in various venues in Bydgoszcz and Toruń between September 12 and October 4. The programming will feature two great names in Polish music of the 19th and early 20th century—Fryderyk Chopin, a quintessence of Polish spirit in music and Ignacy Jan Paderewski, a great piano virtuoso and composer as well as an exemplary patriot who fought for Poland’s independence after World War I.

Other composers whose works will be presented in concert include Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, one of the most original composers of our times, and Krzysztof Penderecki, who continues to redefine the image of Polish contemporary music. In addition, works by Mieczysław Karłowicz, Wojciech Kilar, Witold Lutosławski, Piotr Perkowski, Kontanty Regamey, Karol Szymanowski, and Alexandre Tansman will be heard alongside compositions by such living artists as Mikołaj Górecki and Marta Ptaszyńska. The performers for this year’s Festival include Jerzy Maksymiuk who will lead the Bydgoszcz Philharmonic Orchestra and Krzysztof Penderecki leading the National Philharmonic Chorus, Alexander Liebreich with the Katowice-based National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, pianists Dmitry Masleev (winner of the First Prize at the 2015 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition), Julia Kociuban, and Andrzej Wierciński, as well as the Apollon Musagète Quartet, Motion Trio Ensemble, and many others.

The Festival opened on September 12 with the performance of Paderewski’s massive “Polonia” Symphony at the Pomeranian Philharmonic Hall in Bydgoszcz and will close on October 4 with the performance of Handel’s Messiah.


Wratislavia Cantans 2015

For half a century the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans has been the most important festival of classical music in this part of Europe. From September 6-19, 2015, the festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary in the of chilly pews of Wrocław churches.

An extraordinary attraction of the 50th Wratislavia Cantans will be revivals of some concerts of the first edition in 1966. The concert conducted by Tadeusz Strugała will bring together three important anniversaries: Strugała’s 80th anniversary, 60 years of his artistic activities, and the NFM Orchestra’s 70th anniversary. This year’s opening concert repeats the programme which began the Wratislavia Cantans history. The festival will also reveal great musical treasures of Wrocław University Library – two concert-cum-exhibition events feature, among others, works whose scores were published in Venice in the 17th century and uniquely preserved in Wrocław.


Kwadrofonik Festival

After 10 years of working together, the Kwadrofonik Ensemble—comprised of pianists Emilia Sitarz and Bartłomiej Wąsik and percussionists Magdalena Kordylasińska and Miłosz Pękala—is organizing the first edition of the Kwadrofonik Festival. Held from September 4 – 6, 2015 in various studios of Polish Radio in Warsaw, this contemporary chamber music marathon will present works created by the most interesting international composers, directors and video artists of Generation X and Y, including: Simon Steen-Andersen, Michael Beil, Wojciech Blecharz, Laurence Crane, Vladimir Gorlinsky, Aleksandra Gryka, Georg Friedrich Haas, Ole Hübner, Andrzej Kwieciński, György Ligeti, Sergej Maingardt, Brigitta Muntendorf, Oxana Omelchuk, Matthew Shlomowitz, Tomasz Sikorski, Marcin Stańczyk, Øyvind Torvund, Sławomir Wojciechowski, Wojciech Ziemowit Zych. In addition to concerts, the festival also includes workshops for children as well as open conversations with musicians and journalists.

Special guest performers are Garage Ensemble from Germany and Asamisimasa from Norway, two internationally renowned champions of avant-garde music who will both perform in Poland for the first time. Also performing are the Lutosławski Piano Duo, vocalist Barbara Kinga Majewska, and Pękala/Kordylasińska/Pękala.


La Folle Journée – Szalone Dni Muzyki

La Folle Journée is an international festival held annually since 1995, founded by René Martin – organizer of numerous festivals and concerts of classical music around the world. He is also the founder of the Centre de Realisations et d’Etudes Artistiques à Nantes (C.R.E.A.). The La Folle Journée Festival presents classical music at the highest possible artistic level to a diverse audience and has been successfully held for many years in France, Spain, Japan and Brazil. Its popularity has earned a permanent place in the cultural life of these countries’ communities.

Entitled “Passions of the Heart and Soul,” this year’s edition of the La Folle Journée Festival will showcase a wide-ranging music repertoire, reflecting artistic passions of composers and performers. Its programs will range from Bach, through Romantic music, all the way to experiments with electronic music. Short concerts take place from morning to night in many halls simultaneously. The La Folle Journée Festival is organized in Poland by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, C.R.E.A. and by the Ogrody Muzyczne Foundation. The festival will be held in Warsaw for the sixth time on September 25-27, 2015 in the Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw.


Jan Kiepura Festival

The 49th Jan Kiepura Festival was held in Krynica-Zdrój on August 8-16, 2015. The program included the performances of The Gypsy Baron by the Kraków Opera artists, I have a dream by the Gliwice Music Theatre, vocalists Beata Rybotycka and Jacek Wojcicki, Małgorzata Walewska with Motion Trio, and many more.

During the 8-day festival, more than 30 events took place: 8 major evening concerts, chamber music afternoons in the churches of Krynica and Tylicz, movie screenings and every-day meetings with the performers. For the first time, this year’s edition offered a program for children, entitled The Professor Violin on Holiday Show.



August Premieres In France

The Fifteenth International Festival of Music in Catalonia was held in the small but artistically significant town of Céret in southern France, from August 20-23. Organized annually since its inception with heartfelt dedication by Polish composer and resident of the area, Joanna Bruzdowicz, who also serves as the Festival’s Artistic Director, this year’s program spotlighted literature for the string quartet and offered several fascinating concerts, each featuring important premieres.

The opening concert on August 20 (pictured above) featured a world premiere of the revised version of Lella, a secular oratorio originally composed in 2011 by Joanna Bruzdowicz and performed in Bastia on the island of Corsica in November of 2011. Written by Christiane Schapira, the libretto presents the story of Danielle Casanova, a native of Corsica, who was denounced for her political affiliations with the Communist Party of France and sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where she died. The work is scored for string quartet, oboe, percussion, soprano, mezzo soprano, narrator, and a chamber female choir. Joanna Bruzdowicz took to the podium to conduct this nearly hour-long work that captivated the assembled audience with its reflective and meditative qualities. Mezzo-soprano Liliana Górska shone in her demanding leading part, and the soprano role and the narrator’s parts were deftly handled by a local musician, Aline Rico. The Neo String Quartet represented by Karolina Piątkowska-Nowicz, Paweł Kapica, Michał Markiewicz and Krzysztof Pawłowski, provided a musically compelling core of the ensemble, while percussionist Cyric Baudet-Arnaud and oboist Emma Settoni added welcome touches of color to the score’s texture. The all-female vocal ensemble Osmose was positioned to the side and provided poignant commentary, keeping to the venerable tradition of Greek tragedies.

The August 21 concert continued to spotlight the Gdańsk-based Neo Quartet but on this occasion they were joined by two guest artists, bassist Claude Delmas and pianist Marek Zebrowski. The night began with the European premiere of Zebrowski’s Music for David (2015), a ten-minute work for string quartet originally written to accompany a short film made by David Lynch for this collaborative project that was introduced at the March 28 Visions & Voices concert at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Neo Quartet’s expertise in performing and promoting contemporary music infused the performance with much gravitas and credibility. Next came a world premiere of Gabriel Fauré’s Dolly Suite, originally written for piano four-hands, but adapted by Zebrowski for piano quintet. After the intermission, bassist Claude Delmas joined the group whilst Neo Quartet’s first and second violinists traded places—Katarzyna Nowicka performing in Zebrowski’s arrangement of Debussy’s Petite Suite and Paweł Kapica joining Zebrowski and the rest of the ensemble in Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s brilliant and brooding Piano Quintet, Op. 87.

The August 22 concert was dedicated to “Music from the Trenches” and also featured a fascinating exhibit devoted to music and composers of the World War I years that was installed in the concert hall lobby for the occasion. Belgian-based Scaldis Quartet (Brigitte Seghers, Émilie Anoine, Dominique Huybrechts and Cyril Simon) and pianist Philippe Gérard presented Piano Quartet, Op. 6 in D minor (1916) by Georges Antoine (1892-1918), and Piano Quintet in C minor (1918) by Louis Vierne (1870-1937). The most fascinating and effective work of the evening was a String Quartet in A-minor by Ernest John Moeran (1894-1950), a lively and complex composition dating from 1921 with strong traces of Irish folk music, written by a composer who sustained serious injuries in northeastern France in 1917.

The Festival ended on a lighter note with a jazz trio performing outdoors on Sunday evening to a large group of dedicated fans and local townsfolk. All other Festival concerts were held at the newly-constructed Salle de l’Union, which features attractive outside architecture but lacks acoustical ambiance in the multi-function designed main hall.


Star-Studded Lineup For Chopin Summer Festival

During the second half of August, music by Chopin and several other Polish composers resonated throughout Warsaw and its environs. Chopin and His Europe Festival had once again brought top talents and interesting programming to the Polish capital, launching this year’s edition with the August 15 concert at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall where pianist Nikolai Luganski, Sinfonia Varsovia and conductor Alexander Vedernikov presented two of Chopin’s piano concertos. The Festival presented a pleasing mix of large-scale works (Tchaikovsky’s The Voyvoda Overture and Karłowicz’s E-minor Symphony under Mikhail Pletnev or an all Tchaikovsky program with his Piano Concerto No. 1 and “Polish” Symphony also under Pletnev), with a number of chamber concerts that featured early romantic Polish music (works by Ogiński, Chopin and Lubomirski performed by Tobias Koch) or a program of cello and piano works by Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann given by Truls Mørk and Jan Lisiecki.  Contemporary composers like Andrzej Czajkowski and Paweł Szymański were represented alongside works by Bach and Teleman, and a plethora of young pianists gave recitals on the historic 1855 Erard piano, providing a small insight into concert sounds of the past.

Towards the end of the Festival, the Philharmonia Orchestra with Vladimir Ashkenazy presented a solidly romantic fare of Elgar, Paderewski and Rachmaninov. Led by Jacek Kasprzyk, the August 29 closing concert featured three pianists (Yuliana Avdeeva, Krzysztof Jabłoński and Ingolf Wunder) in a feast of two Chopin piano concertos and Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody.

Held under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland and the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the Eleventh Chopin and His Europe Festival featured a total of thirty-two concerts curated by the Artistic Director, Stanisław Leszczyński, and organized by the National Chopin Institute in Warsaw.



Complete Chopin Études

Fryderyk Chopin:  Complete Études
Fryderyk Chopin:  Etudes, opus 10, opus 25 and “Trois nouvelles etudes” (without opus numbers)

Mehmet Okonsar, piano

David Ezra Okonsar, pianist, composer, conductor and musicologist is the First Prize Winner at the International Young Virtuosos Competition, Antwerp, Belgium, 1982 and laureate of other prestigious international piano competitions. Okonsar has made both solo and orchestral appearances in major concert halls in Europe, North America and Japan.

He is an alumnus of the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music, where he studied piano, composition and orchestration with Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden and Madame Jacqueline Fontyn .  He was also formerly a pupil of Alexis Weissenberg.

According to the artist:
There is something I find absolutely remarkable, incomparable, in the Etudes by Chopin when compared to others in the genre, like the ones by Liszt for example. With Chopin, there is an impossibility to draw a line between the musical idea and the pianistic one.

I mean by that, generally, there is a musical concept on one side and a pianistic realization on another. With more or less success, composers did realize their musical ideas on the instruments of music or orchestra. In Chopin there is something out of the ordinary which only exists in a few other composers. That is, with Chopin, the musical idea seems to be born out of the pianistic thought without being subordinated to it. I mean by that, with the Studies by Czerny or Moscheles there are instrumental ideas with subject matters like arpeggios, scales and so on. Then, those studies have taken a musical form, more or less genuine, which gave them their final aspect.

With Chopin, of course we have those pianistic “subjects” like arpeggios, thirds, sixths and so on that we all know, and there is the “musical idea”, which itself is great, because it is a musical idea by Chopin. The correlation between this musical idea and the pianistic one is so dense and abundant that we cannot see where one stops and the other gets in. We have, for instance, great composers where the realization of the musical conception on the music instrument seems to be somehow forced. For example: Beethoven.

Everything which makes Beethoven troublesome to play at the piano comes from the fact that he never submits his musical conception to the realities of the keyboard. His musical conception seems to be molded with constraint into the keyboard. On the other side, we have composers like Stravinsky where musical concepts (ideas) seems to be “made” for the instrument. We cannot distinguish where the instrumental realization of his musical concept do occurs. …


[Sources: press release,]

Magdalena Filipczak Debut CD

Magdalena Filipczak: Essence of Violin
Saint-Saën (arr: Eugene Ysaÿe): Caprice d’après l’Etude en forme de valse, Op 52/6; Elgar: Chanson de Matin, Op 15/2Salut d’Amour, Op 12; Piazzolla: Bordel 1900 from History of the TangoCafé 1930 from History of the Tango; Wieniawski: Fantaisie Brillante sur ‘Faust’ de Charles Gounod, Op 20; Britten: Reveille: Concert Study for Violin and PianoLullaby from Suite, Op.6Waltz from Suite, Op.6; Szymanowski (arr. Paul Kochański):Danse Paysanne from Harnasie; Lutosławski: Subito
Magdalena Filipczak – violin, Agnieszka Kozło – piano,  Martin Fogel – guitar

Audio-B Records ABCD 5031

Magdalena Filipczak is regarded by critics and eminent musicians as one of the most outstanding young Polish violinists of her generation. Her compelling debut solo recording garned much praise following its release and has continued to compel audiences a year later.

Graham Rickson, journalist of theartsdesk, comments on Filipczak’s outstanding ability to adapt different techniques to her flawless performances:
She’s a musical chameleon, quickly getting under the skin of whatever she’s playing. There’s a consistency of approach too; the less virtuosic salon pieces treated with as much care as the showstoppers ….

I’d never heard Britten’s 1937 Reveille before, an engaging study inspired by the Spanish violinist Antonio Brosa’s difficulties in getting up each morning. Over an insistent piano accompaniment, Filipczak’s solo line slowly comes to life. We’re tricked into thinking that she’s gone back to sleep at the close, before Britten’s brusque closing chords. A glittering chunk of late-period Lutosławski closes proceedings. All immaculately recorded and well-annotated; an anthology to suit all tastes.



Born This Month

  • 1 September 1900 – Kazimierz WIŁKOMIRSKI, cellist, conductor, teacher (died in 1990)
  • 5 September 1924 – Krystyna MOSZUMAŃSKA-NAZAR, composer
  • 5 September 1938 – Piotr LACHERT, pianist, composer, pedagogue
  • 6 September 1916 – Tadeusz DOBRZAŃSKI, composer and conductor
  • 7 September 1943 – Elzbieta STEFAŃSKA, harpsichordist
  • 9 September 1921 – Andrzej DOBROWOLSKI, composer (died in 1989)
  • 9 September 1923 – Andrzej BACHLEDA, tenor
  • 13 September 1896 – Tadeusz SZELIGOWSKI (died 10 January 1963), composer
  • 14 September 1937 – Jan ASTRIAB, composer
  • 14 September 1914 – Michał SPISAK, composer (died 29 January 1965, Paris)
  • 16 September 1895 – Karol RATHAUS, composer, pianist (died 21 November 1954, New York)
  • 16 September 1891 – Czesław MAREK, composer, pianist
  • 18 September 1919 – Edward BURY, composer and theory teacher
  • 18 September 1928 – Adam WALACIŃSKI, composer and music critic
  • 18 September 1883 – Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (died 1 January 1953), composer
  • 19 September 1938 – Zygmunt KRAUZE, composer and pianist
  • 22 September 1940 – Edward BOGUSŁAWSKI, composer
  • 23 September 1912 – Irena PFEIFFER, composer, conductor.
  • 24 September 1914 – Andrzej PANUFNIK (died 27 October 1991)
  • 30 September 1942 – Andrzej DUTKIEWICZ, pianist and composer
  • 30 September 1947 – Jan OLESZKOWICZ, composer


Died This Month

  • 4 September 2014 – Wlodzimierz KOTONSKI (born 23 August 1925), composer
  • 13 September 1977 – Leopold STOKOWSKI (born 18 April 1882), conductor and composer
  • 15 September 1895 – Jan KLECZYŃSKI (b. 8 June 1857), pianist and music critic
  • 15 September 1944 – Bronislaw WOLFSTAHL, composer, pianist, conductor (b. 22 July 1883)
  • 18 September 1857 – Karol KURPIŃSKI (b. 6 March 1785), composer and conductor
  • 26 September 1944 – Seweryn BARBAG (b. 4 September 1891), musicologist.
  • 29 September 1954 – Alfred GRADSTEIN (born 30 October 1904), composer, and social activist
  • 27 September 1943 – Waclaw GIEBUROWSKI (born 6 February 1878), priest, choral conductor and musicologist
  • 28 September 1939 – Halina SZMOLC-FITELBERG (born 25 December 1892), dancer (Diaghilev ensemble, Grand Theatre)
  • 28 September 1956 – Walerian BIERDAJEW, conductor and teacher (b. 7 March 1885)
  • 29 September 1861 – Tekla BADARZEWSKA-BARANOWSKA (b. 1834), composer of “The Maiden’s Prayer”