2016 Paderewski Lecture-Recital: Save the Date

On Sunday, October 16 at 7:00 p.m., the Polish Music Center will host its annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital at USC’s Alfred Newman Recital Hall. Our honored guest for this year’s event is composer Elżbieta Sikora, who will speak about her artistic process and diverse body of work, followed by a concert of her chamber music. In addition to delivering the lecture, while on campus the composer will work with students from the Thornton School of Music, including participants in the weekly Composition Forum and those performing her works for the Lecture-Recital. The program will feature her String Quartet No. 3 ‘In memoriam Ursula’ as well as solo works for violin and bass, among others. Please join us!

Born in Lwów on October 20, 1943, Elżbieta Sikora’s musical studies began in Gdańsk and continued at the Department of Sound Engineering of the Warsaw Music Academy under the legendary Polish recording engineer and pioneer, Antoni Karużas. After obtaining her degree in Warsaw, Sikora pursued electroacoustic music in Paris with Pierre Schaeffer and François Bayle during the years 1968-1970.

Photo: Łukasz Rajchert

Returning to Poland, Sikora studied composition with Tadeusz Baird and Zbigniew Rudziński at the Warsaw Music Academy. Together with Krzysztof Knittel and Wojciech Michniewski she formed in 1971 the KEW Group that presented Poland’s first multimedia work at the 1974 Warszawska Jesień Festival. Subsequently, the KEW performed in Poland, Sweden, Austria and Germany. Soon, Sikora was recognized with scholarships from the City of Mannheim, Germany, and from the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York, which allowed her to study with John Chowning at the Center for Computer Research for Music and Acoustics of Stanford University. In 1981 Sikora joined the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) as a French government scholarship recipient and decided to permanently settle in France.

Between 1985 and 2008 Elżbieta Sikora taught electroacoustic music composition at conservatories and universities in France and the University of Chicago. She also gave composition courses in Gdańsk, Munich, Hamburg and Ulm, and served as the Artistic Director of the Musica Electronica Nova Festival in Wrocław. A member of the Polish Composers’ Union since 1978, Sikora received the degree of Doctor of Music from the Wrocław Music Academy in 1999 and is a Visiting Professor at the Chopin Music University in Warsaw.

Besides electronic music, Sikora’s catalogue includes a number of chamber, orchestral and vocal works, and operas. Sikora’s latest, Madame Curie, celebrated the International Year of Chemistry and the centenary of awarding Polish scientist, Maria Skłodowska-Curie the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. It was world premiered on November 15, 2011 at the UNESCO Hall in Paris. A subsequent DVD recording of the opera was honored with the Académie du Disque Lyrique Award in France.

Elżbieta Sikora’s work received the 1978 Carl Maria von Weber Composers’ Competition in Dresden, the 1980 Competition of Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, the 1982 Women Composers’ Competition in Mannheim, two SACEM awards in 1994, and the 1996 French Association of Dramatic Authors and Composers Award. The recipient of the 2000 Heidelberger Künstlerinnernpreis, in 2002 Sikora received the Special Distinction of the Paris Jury de l’Académie du Disque Lyrique for Le Chant de Salomon and Eine Rose als Stütze, which were released on the Chant du Monde/Harmonia Mundi CD. In 2008 Elżbieta Sikora won the Sztorm Roku Award organized by the Gazeta Wyborcza daily and her Oliwa Concerto for organ and orchestra won in the classical music category. Together with Anna Mikołajczyk, Sikora received the 2012 Sztorm Roku Award for Madame Curie, which also brought the composer the 2012 Splendor Gedaniensis Award, and the 2013 Polish Music Composers’ Union Award. The Government of Poland decorated Elżbieta Sikora with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic in 1997; in 2004 she received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Minister of Culture.

Sikora’s music has resonated across the world at such festivals as Warszawska Jesień, the Poznań Musical Spring, the Avignon Festival, Festival Estival in Paris, Syntèse in Bourges, Festival ICMC in Bucharest, Brighton L’Espace du Son, Festival Acousmatique de Bruxelles, Fylkingen in Stockholm, Dresden Music Festspiele, the Braunschweig Festival, Berlin Festspiele, the Alexandria Festival of the Arts, the Bath–Newcastle Festival, the Heidelberg New Music Festival, Antidogma Musica in Turin, Festival International de Musica Electroacustica in Havana, the Seoul International Computer Music Festival in South Korea, the EMF Festival in New York and the International Festival of Today’s Music in New York.

Among performers of Sikora’s works are such prestigious ensembles and soloists as the Annabella Gonzales Dance Theater, Ballet of Monte Carlo, Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra, Centre Pompidou, Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Polish National Philharmonic, Polish National Radio Symphony, Poznań Philharmonic, Orchestre Poitou-Charentes, Orchestre Stadt Ulm, the Camerata Varsovia, the Warsaw National Opera, Danel Quartet, Ensemble Aventure, Ensemble Itinéraire, Ensemble 2E2M, Wilanów Quintet, and the Heidelberg Festival Ensemble. Over the past few decades Sikora collaborated with conductors Gabriel Chmura, James-Alain Gaehres, Jacek Kaspszyk, Wojciech Michniewski, Michel Tabachnik, Jean Thorel Pascal Verrot, Antoni Wit, and Tadeusz Wojciechowski among others, and numerous performances of her works have been recorded by the Polish Radio, WRD and Radio France.