Ptaszyńska Fêted in Chicago

On March 18, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago organized a gala event celebrating Marta Ptaszyńska, a distinguished Polish composer who divides her time between the Windy City and Warsaw. Held in the elegant period townhouse that serves as the seat of the Consulate, the evening program was held under the banner, “Portrait of the Composer—Marta Ptaszyńska,” and opened with remarks by Consul Małgorzata Bąk-Guzik. It continued with a concert of Ptaszyńska’s works presented by the Zafa Collective, a Chicago-based ensemble founded in 2016 and devoted to presenting inclusive and accessible and aesthetically varied repertoire from outside the cannon of Western art music.

Zafa Collective’s presentation began with Red Rays, a 2011 composition for flute and piano, and proceeded with a broad survey of Ptaszyńska’s opus, including Graffito for Marimba Solo (1988), White Shadows for Violin and Piano (2016), Lullaby for Benjamin for Alto Flute and Vibraphone (2021), The Gates of Light for Cello and Piano (2021), and Sappho Songs for Flute and String Trio (2016). Following the concert, there was a Q & A session with the composer and a reception for the evening’s guests. The

Still another form of official recognition—and clearly a surprise for Marta Ptaszyńska—took place during the ceremony that honored her achievements as a composer and ambassador for Polish music all around the world. Representatives of the Polish Government in Chicago presented Ptaszyńska with the Commander’s Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland bestowed upon her by a decree of Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda.

The recording of the Ptaszyńska concert livestream can be found on the Zafa Collective’s website, www.zafacollective.com, as well as youtube.com.

A review of the concert by Katherine Buzard can be found on chicagoclassicalreview.com.

[Sources: composer’s communication; Photo 1: Jaroslaw Golembiowski, Photo 2: Liliana Lark, Used by permission]