15-16 November 1998, Los Angeles
Session I: Historical Vistas
Session II: Soloists and Societies
Session III: From Poland to California
Session IV: Folk and Klezmer Music
Concert I: Tansman, Koffler, etc.
Session VI: Karol Rathaus
Session VII: Alexander Tansman
Session VIII: Panel Discussion
Concert II: Szymanowska, Friedman, etc.
Notes: Scholars and Performers
This conference, the first of its kind, attempted to fill some of the larger gaps in Polish music history by (1) highlighting the richness of achievements of Polish composers of Jewish descent and Jewish music in Poland and by (2) emphasizing the complexity of cultural relationships between the two ethnic groups, including both assimilation and coexistence. Invited scholars discussed the lives and music of individual composers (Rosenthal, Friedman, Godowsky, Tansman, Fitelberg, Rathaus, Koffler, Ryterband, Vars), groups of musicians (klezmer) and various communities.Several subjects were presented for the first time (or for the first time in North America); the conference included lectures, lecture-recitals and panel discussions. Scholars from five countries discussed music composed in and performed over the past 200 years. Two concerts presented rarely-heard solo and chamber music of Tansman, Koffler, Friedman, Rosenthal and others. The conference ended with a roundtable discussion focused on the issue of national and ethnic identity. It is hoped that by outlining this new subject area the conference will serve to further the Polish-Jewish dialogue as well as highlight the role of this particular community of musicians for the world.
- Music created by Polish composers of Jewish origin,
- Music and lives of composers and performers who have retained their double identity,
- Jewish music in Poland,
- The achievements of Jewish emigré musicians who remained connected to the country of their birth.
- Role of Jewish communities in Polish musical life of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,
- Other aspects of Jewish musical life in Poland.
- Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles;
- The Ministry of Arts and Culture of the Republic of Poland;
- Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles;
- Ars Musica Poloniae Foundation, Los Angeles;
- Jewish Community Foundation, Los Angeles;
- Friends of Polish Music, Los Angeles;
- The Institute for the Study of Jews in American Life, USC;
- Polish American Congress of California;
- USC Hillel Jewish Center.
USC Campus, Arnold Schoenberg Auditorium
9:00 – 9:30 | Welcoming Addresses (USC, HUC, School of Music, PMRC)
- Rabbi Susan E. Laemmle, USC Dean for Religious Life
- Asst. Prof. Douglas Lowry, Associate Dean, USC School of Music
- Rabbi Lewis M. Barth, Dean of the Hebrew Union College-JIR, Los Angeles
- Asst. Prof. Maria Anna Harley (now: Maja Trochimczyk; S.& W. Wilk Director of the PMC, USC)
9:30 – 10:10 | Prof. Paul Knoll, History Dept., College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, USC
“The Early History of Polish-Jewish Relations and the Jewish Community in Poland”
The beginnings of Polish-Jewish relations are rooted in the medieval period, and can be dated to well before the thirteenth century and perhaps as early as the tenth century. One of the issues with which this presentation deals is the question of when the Jews moved to Poland and where they settled. But this rather mechanical issue is a less important matter than other topics which form the focus of this paper: the size of the Jewish community in various periods of Polish history before the partitions of the eighteenth century the activities of the Jews within Poland — both in their inner social and religious life and in their relations to the rest of the Polish community; the status of the Jews in the eyes of civil and religous authorities; and finally their contribution to Polish culture which forms the focus of the present conference. This presentation aims at an overview, setting these issues in context and perspective; it makes no effort to be comprehensive or definitive. The period treated in this paper comprises the centuries of medieval and early modern Polish history prior to the partitions of the late eighteenth century, which brought an end to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and profoundly changed the condition of Jewish existence in the region.
10:10 – 10:50 | Prof. Piotr Wróbel, University of Toronto, CANADA
“The Jews, the Poles, and the Culture of Poland in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries”
Poland is the fatherland of Polish Jews. There is no other country in the world, not counting Israel, where a Jewish contribution to local culture was so important. There is also no other country which influenced the contemporary culture of the North American and the West European Jewry so much. Even the shadow of the Holocaust cannot hide these facts. Jewish history in Poland is not only a tedious chronicle of persecution and suffering. Once, Poland was known as the paradisus Judeorum. Until World War I, Warsaw had the largest and the most vibrant Jewish community in the world. Poland had a larger percentage of Jewish population than any other country except Israel. Yiddish matured as a separate language in Poland. Chassidism, Bundism and several other important Jewish movements and ideologies were born there. Family roots or early experiences of such personalities as Sigmund Freud, Henri Bergson, Martin Buber, Chaim Weizman, David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, and many others are tied to Poland. The history of the Jews is incomplete and incomprehensible without its Polish segment.
The Jews have been living in the realm of Poland for more than a thousand years. The first Jewish settlements were established there before the end of the tenth century. Initially, the Jewish population of Poland was small. It grew quickly and, on the eve of the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, over 75% of the world’s Jewry lived there. Already in the fifteenth century, Poland because the most important cultural center of the entire Jewish Diaspora. The Polish Jewish center attracted the most outstanding Jewish thinkers and artists from other countries and, simultaneously influenced Jewish communities outside Poland. A fascinating culture of Polish Jews developed, a culture deeply rooted in the Jewish heritage and the Polish cultural environment. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries millions of Jewish emigrants from Poland brought elements of this culture to North America and Western Europe.
Until the nineteenth century, most Jewish and Polish communities lived separate lives and their contacts were limited. This situation began to change in the era of the Enlightenment. Its Jewish form, the Haskalah, initiated the emancipation of the Jews. The erosion of their traditional life was accelerated by numerous economic, political and cultural factors. Thousands of Polish Jews left orthodox and Chassidic ghettos to participate in the mainstream of Polish life. The assimilation assumed various shapes and reached several degrees. Thousands of the supporters of Jacob Frank converted to Catholicism and blended in with the Poles. Others did not leave their old religion and considered themselves Poles of the Mosaic faith, although, frequently, they did not speak Yiddish and abandoned the most traditional customs. Some Polish Jews, like Jan Bloch, Rosa Luxemburg or Janusz Korczak became bi-cultural. There were Jewish families, like the Kronenbergs, who merged with the most aristocratic Polish clans. Many Jews participated in Polish national uprisings, fought in the Polish Legions and the Polish armies. Many distinguished themselves in the political life of Poland. It is difficult to overestimated the contribution of the Kronenbergs, Wawelbergs, Natansons, Rotwands, Bersons, Toeplitz, Wertheims, and Epsteins to the development of the Polish economy.
The Jews, who contributed to Polish culture, were frequently intellectual rebels who stimulated new trends and styles. Often, they implemented in their work elements of the Jewish heritage; they represented new perspectives and original points of view. The history of Polish art includes about 700 names of Polish-Jewish artists. Some of them, like Maurycy Gottlieb, studied with the most outstanding Polish painters and were fascinated with Polish culture. A list of Polish writers of Jewish origin is impressive as well. It is difficult to imagine Polish poetry without Tuwim, Leśmian, Słonimski, Wittlin, Ważyk, and Jastrun. The most outstanding historians of Polish literature, Klaczko and Kleiner, were born in Jewish families. Askenazy, Handelsman, and Feldman became pillars of Polish modern historiography. Equally long are lists of Polish-Jewish physicians, journalists, lawyers, scholars and representatives of other professions. Even among the Catholic priests and missionaries from Poland there was a group of Polish Jews. The relationship between Polish and Jewish cultures was reciprocal. Yiddish was greatly influenced by Polish. Yiddish literature was born in the lands of partitioned Poland. Contemporary Hebrew includes numerous Polish borrowings. The greatest Chassidic dynasties originated in Poland where several outstanding theological schools and Jewish scientific institutions blossomed until World War II. It is impossible to eliminate Poland from the history of the Jews and to remove the Jews from the history of Poland.
10:50 – 11:10 | Coffee Break
USC Campus, Arnold Schoenberg Auditorium
Session Chair: Prof. Piotr Wróbel, University of Toronto
11:10 – 11:50 | Asst. Prof. Halina Goldberg, Indiana University, Bloomington
“Assimilation of Jews into Nineteenth Century Polish Musical Culture”
It is not accidental that when Adam Mickiewicz, in his celebrated epic, Pan Tadeusz, sought to epitomize the Jewish voice in the Polish national consciousness, he chose to speak through a Jewish musician. After all, the prominence of Jewish folk-musicians in the making of Polish music was already well-established by the time the poetic Jankel was conceived. Moreover, in Jankel, Mickiewicz prophesied generations of Jewish musicians who became enthusiastic and committed emissaries of Polishness around the world.
The roots of this Jewish acculturation can be traced to the first decades of the nineteenth century; in particular to the influence of the new assimilations tendencies popular among the Polish intelligentsia, and the German Haskalah ideology seeping into the traditional Jewish community of the Polish Kingdom. During this period, a limited number of individuals and of families of Mosaic faith joined Polish cultural circles: most notably Abraham Stern — a mathematician and member of the Society for the Friends of Learning (Towarzystwo Przyjaciółl Nauk); the publisher Karol Magnus and Natan Glucksberg; and the musical family of Joseph Wolff, who hosted a well-known musical salon. The children and grandchildren of these families, still better integrated into the mainstream culture, were able to further their musical interest into the realm of professionalism. Among the first to attain the status of professional musicians were pianists Edward Wolff (a professor at the Paris Conservatory) and Bohemian-born Alojzy Zygmunt Tausig.
Given the high rate of conversions among Warsaw’s enlightened Jews and the growing concept of secular Jewishness, it is difficult to draw the line between Jews and persons of Jewish descent. The matter is further complicated by the increasingly hostile attitudes towards person of even distant Jewish ancestry. In the liberal atmosphere of Warsaw during the Congress Kingdom (1815-1830), acts of hostility were infrequent — the most notorious being the one directed at the local Frankists. In a slanderous campaign, the private concerts of Maria Szymanowska, famous pianist of Frankist descent, were denounced as secret subversive gatherings. However, only after 1858 did the antagonistic sentiments begin to truly color the assimilation process. Interestingly enough, this phase of history was launched by a concert review in a Warsaw newspaper, in which Jews were accused of a massive conspiracy supporting its members, “whether he is a banker or a tenor; whether a profiteer or a violinist.”
Following this change in attitudes, the later part of the century was characterized by a rather mixed position toward the Jews: while some continued to support their assimilation, others did everything to discourage Jews from integrating into Polish society. But it was too late to reverse the effects of cultural integration — music lovers and musicians of Jewish origins were fully involved with Warsaw’s musical life. Some were professionals (Adam Munchheimer, Ludwik Grossman, Adolf Gustaw Sonnenfeld, and Izydor Lesser, while others were music-lovers or amateurs (Henryk Toeplitz and Leopold Julian Kronenberg.) Others still made splendid international careers (the violinists Izydor Lotto and Henryk Wieniawski, and the pianist Karol Tausig). Although the relations between Polish Christians and Jews grew increasingly more complex and uneasy, the musical coexistence — initiated in the tolerant milieu of the first part of the nineteenth century and strengthened by mutual commitment to the propagation of Polish musical culture, continued until the destruction of Polish Jewry.
11:50 – 12:10 | Prof. Dr. hab. Marian FUKS, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw, POLAND
“Musical Traditions of Polish Jews” (paper translated by Maria Piłatowicz and read in absentia)
This paper presents an overview of musical traditions of the Jewish community in Poland, with its roots in folklore and in the religious culture centered in synagogues. Religious services could often be described as sui generis concerts for the cantor and the choir. The cantorial traditions were divided into schools established by famous singers, who all had strong voices and great musical abilities, especially of improvisation. The voice of Joel Jaszunski (d. 1850) delighted Stanisław Moniuszko and other Polish composers of the nineteenth century; tenor Gershon Sirota (1877-1943) was the most famous cantor during the interbellum period; known as the “Jewish Caruso,” he often gave concerts of secular music.
The development of religious music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was stimulated by the creation of many large synagogues, e.g. the Grand Synagogue on Tłomackie Street in Warsaw (built in 1878, destroyed during World War II and never reconstructed) which allowed for organ accompaniment. Its choir was directed by David Ajzensztadt (1892-1942). Chassidic music, located on the borderline between sacred and the secular, and integrally connected with dance, was only rarely notated or transcribed, and its creators were mostly anonymous. Jewish folk music absorbed influences from many national traditions, including the Polish one. Klezmer ensembles performed at Polish weddings, in Polish inns, occasionally at courts. Among the many klezmer poets who improvised their texts and music, Mordechai Gebirtig (1877-1942) is the most famous. Instrumental ensembles of klezmer musicians were active in Poland since the sixteenth century. The musicians did not have formal training, did not know musical notation, but delighted listeners with their originality. Józef Michał Guzikow (1806-1837) was a virtuoso on the “straw harmonica” (the predecessor of the xylophone); known in all of Europe, he was heard by Lipiński, Chopin, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Liszt, Sand, and Lamartine. Considering himself a Polish Jew, he improvised many fantasias on Polish themes, he played mazurkas, polonaises, as well as Jewish, Byelorussian, and Polish folk songs.
In 1805, Józef Elsner wrote for the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung that “Jewish musicians play the polonaise in such an exquisite Polish spirit that no-one can be their equal.” Polish Jews valued music very highly and developed various forms of music making for their community. They also participated in Polish musical life, for example staffing the orchestras, or funding their creation (e.g. Aleksander Reichman, the founder of the Warsaw Philharmonic). This orchestra saw the beginnings of the international careers of Paweł Kochański (violinist), Gregory Piatigorski (cellist), and Grzegorz Fitelberg (conductor). Orchestral musicians included the families of Szulc, Ginsburg, and Szpilman, most of whom perished in the Holocaust. Many world-famous musicians had roots in Polish Jewry: Paul Klecki (conductor), Artur Rubinstein (pianist), Bronisław Huberman, Henryk Szeryng, and Ida Handel (violinists), Wanda Landowska (harpsichordist), and others. Polish composers of Jewish descent active in the nineteenth century include Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1888), whose father, Tobiasz Pietruszka, converted to Catholicism. Ludwik Grossman (1835-1915) was known for his operas, his pianos (he owned a factory), and his musical salon in Warsaw. Adolf Sonnenfeld (1837-1914) composed operettas, ballets, and popular dances. The latter was the primary domain of Leopold Lewandowski (1831-1896), violinist, composer and conductor, who penned over 300 popular Polish dances. In the twentieth century there were many important composers of Jewish descent: Józef Koffler (1896-1944), Karol Rathaus (1891-1954), Szymon Laks (1901-1983), and Aleksander Tansman (1897-1986). Numerous musicologists (Józef Reiss, Zofia Lissa, Mateusz Gliński) created the foundations for this discipline in Poland. Between the wars, the Polish “music industry” was dominated by composers of Jewish descent: Henryk Gold, Jerzy Petersburski, Henryk Wars, etc. The composer of the beloved war-anthem “Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino” [Red poppies on Monte Cassino] was Artur Schlitz. Despite the destruction of the Jewish community in Poland during World War II, the music of the many Polish Jews is a testimony of the existence and vitality of Jewish musical culture that had flourished in Poland.
12:10 – 12:30 | Dr. Isachar Fater, Ramat Aviv, ISRAEL
“Special Features of Jewish Music in Interbellum Poland” (Paper translated by Maria Piłatowicz and read in absentia)
During the nineteenth century, music was the most neglected branch of art in Jewish cultural and social life. While there were numerous congresses about literature and theater, and many art exhibits, the Jewish community still lacked organized musical activities. The great musical revolution achieved in Russia by Joel Engel and his associates from the Jewish Music Society in Petersburg was possible thanks to good advice of non-Jewish musicians, such as Rimsky-Korsakov and his students who were convinced of the value of the Jewish musical heritage. Jewish contemporary music developed in three great musical centers: America, Palestine, and Poland. The musical traditions of each of these centers were different; each carried their own burden of foreign influences that needed to be controlled.
Jewish musicians in America sought integration. All that was characteristic for America was adapted by Jewish music; atonal Indian cantilenas, angular melodic contours, and modern harmony based on dissonance became a stylistic source for such composers as Gershwin, Weill, or Bernstein. These artists did not respect the tradition, they were indifferent towards the national history. In general, Jewish music in America may be described as opportunistic, not flowing from the depth of the soul and not fulfilling the spiritual needs of the people. In Palestine, from the time of Chibat Cijon, Jewish music was a faithful reflection of the new life in the old/new country. At first, the music mixed various styles, expressing enthusiasm and patriotism, religious and familial feelings. Joel Engel introduced many new elements, while preserving the national heritage—he created an original Hebrew song tradition. However, younger generations of composers did not maintain close connections to their musical past. The Jewish folk music traditions were neglected and destroyed. Israeli cities had a rich musical life and enjoyed close ties with various countries of the world, but the artists ignored their own heritage created in the diaspora, including even liturgical music.
In contrast to these two centers, the best conditions for the development of Jewish music existed in Poland. Here, the music remained a natural continuation of the past; it was not influenced by artificial, academic factors (as in the U.S.), and it was not permeated with a search for the foreign element (as in the Palestine). Folk song was a part of daily life of every Jewish home; Jewish people in Poland sang always and everywhere. At the time when the first organizations were created to collect and preserve Jewish song in Petersburg and Moscow, Warsaw and Łódz already had Jewish concert organizations, e.g. “Hazamir” [Nightingale], sponsoring a rich musical life. Even before World War I there were hundreds of choirs in many cities. Liturgical music had the highest position in society, but the development of music for theatrical performances was also quite impressive, especially since the time of the pioneering achievements of Abraham Goldfaden. In interbellum Poland there were many theatres and theatrical ensembles, each with its own orchestra. Many songs by Josef Kaminski, Isa Szajewicz, Henech Kon, and others became very popular. Various parties, groups and cultural societies initiated the creation of music schools, organizations, institutions, and courses. During the 1930s these activities intensified, as Jewish musicians began to lose their jobs elsewhere and Jewish community organizations established Jewish concert series and orchestras. Nonetheless, the greatest wonder in the world of Jewish music in Poland was the Jewish audience filling the halls for an immense number of performances, concerts, opera spectacles and other musical occasions. Concerts given by cantors, symphonic orchestras and choirs became holidays, with halls filled to the brim. When discussions about “what is Jewish music?” were conducted in America and in the Palestine, Jewish composers, conductors, and music lovers, as well as choirs and orchestras were thriving in Poland. On the shores of the Vistula they composed, arranged folk songs, gave concerts, and enjoyed the traditional Jewish melodies. This treasure of Jewish music in Poland should not be forgotten.
12:30 – 1:10 | Prof. Philip Cohen and Prof. Anna Szpilberg, Leonardo Project, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
“The Virtuoso Connection (Godowski, Friedman, Rosenthal, and the Cosmopolitan Imperative)” Lecture-Recital (Cancelled)
Consummate virtuosi in a golden age of virtuoso pianism, Leopold Godowsky, Ignacy Friedman and Moritz Rosenthal shared a broadly educated, multi-talented, multi-lingual cosmopolitanism rooted in the European cultural legacy. Throughout their lengthy careers — roughly five decades spanning the turn of this century — they enjoyed virtually uninterrupted acclaim, as much for their wit and breadth of interests as for their transcendent musicianship. The lecture/demonstration will discuss: (a) the degree to which the cosmopolitan experience informed the lives, work, values and aspirations of these supremely gifted artists; (b) what — if any — inferences can be drawn from the experience that might illuminate Polish Jewish cosmopolitanism in the twilight years leading to the Second World War.
The illustrations at the piano will focus on passages selected from works composed by all three artists. In this regard it is important to note that while their pre-eminence as virtuoso pianists is a matter of historical record, few of their original compositions have survived in the standard repertoire. (One would, for example, be hard put today to find a concert program featuring selections from Godowsky’s four hundred odd works for piano — apart from the occasional performance of a song transcription or notoriously demanding “arrangements” of the Chopin Etudes). When heard, however, in a context that includes documented interviews with the artists, their personal correspondence, concert reviews, dedications, pedagogical contributions and related memorabilia, these works rise above period piece limbo to illuminate a way of life and art that flourished for a few precious years before vanishing forever. As a consequence the paradoxes that emerge and the questions that are raised endow these musical gems with a poignancy well beyond mere nostalgia. Most compellingly, they recall a commitment to a world view that endured until the mounting spectre of barbarism extinguished all hope.
1:10-2:10 | Lunch Break
USC Campus, Arnold Schoenberg Institute Auditorium
Session organized in cooperation with the USC Institute for the Study of Jews in American Life.
Session Chair: Prof. Paul Knoll, History Department, USC College of Letters Arts & Sciences.
2:10 – 2:50 | Asst. Prof. Maria Anna Harley (Maja Trochimczyk), USC
“The Question of Identity: Polish Jewish Composers in California”
In 1996, Adam Scharf, a Jewish scholar from Poland who settled in England, wrote: “Poles have always taken me for a Jew, Jews for an Englishman, the English for a Pole, I myself could say that I look upon England as a wife, Israel as a lover, on Poland as a step-mother,” In naming Poland a (wicked?) stepmother, Scharf bemoaned the non-inclusivity of the traditional definition of Polish national identity: “Polish = Catholic.” Obviously, if this was the case, there could be no Jewish Poles. This study presents an overview of the issue of national identity and ethnic belonging of Jewish emigrants who left Poland at different times to settle in various countries, including the U.S. These “displaced persons” were faced with one of the most difficult tasks — that of re-defining their personal and national identity. After an examination of the interrelationships between personal, communal, ethnic, religious and national definitions of “Jewishness” and “Polishness” (identities which may be either inherited or selected) we may try to understand how “Jews from Poland” [or “Polish Jews” or “Jewish Poles”] have adjusted to their new societies.
I will discuss three cases of emigrants to California: Aleksander (or Alexandre) Tansman, Roman Ryterband, and Henry Vars. Tansman, born in an affluent family in 1897, was assimilated to Polish culture (Polish was his first language), but left for France in 1919, to settle in Paris and never return to the country of his birth (d. 1986). He expressed his Polishness by composing more mazurkas, polonaises and obereks than almost any other composer after Chopin. Tansman described himself as “un compositeur polonais,” but spoke French at home; after Hitler’s rise to power the internationally known composer gradually reclaimed his Jewish roots. In 1941 Tansman left for California where he became a member of the international community of refuge artists, a personal friend of Igor Stravinsky, and a successful film composer. However, he was not able to adjust to the “American way of life” and accept American popular culture; in 1946 he returned to Paris. The typical dictionary description of Tansman as a “French composer of Polish descent” overlooks his Jewishness which remained untouched by any influences of an American identity.
Roman Ryterband, born in 1914 in Łódz, survived World War II in Switzerland, where he received a degree in musicology and became a conductor. In 1955 he emigrated to Canada and in 1960 to the U.S. The last move, to Palm Springs, California, occurred in 1967; he died there in 1979. His music manuscripts were deposited at the Americana Collection in the Houghton Library of Harvard University. Ryterband and his family were americanized without forgetting their Polish roots. The composer regretted the suffering and discord caused by differences between the world’s people and saw in music “the most sublime international language” that should be used to advocate understanding and the “ideals of harmony, happiness, and mutual respect” pursued by the citizens of the U.S. since its inception.
Poland’s foremost film composer, Henryk Wars (b. 1902 in Warsaw as Henryk Warszawski, d. 1977 in Beverly Hills), after emigrating to the U.S. in 1947 changed his name to “Henry Vars.” The demands of Vars’s career as a successful composer of music for films, TV, and popular songs provided the motivation for these name changes. Vars’s family has remained active in the Polish American community in California — participating in the community functions and supporting its organizations. Vars shared Ryterband’s belief in the power of music as an “international language” and strove for excellence in his art. While his name usually appears in books about “Jewish music in Poland” his way to a Hollywood career led through Polish popular culture, not through the Yiddish culture that had flourished in the country of his birth.
NOTE: This paper is forthcoming in Polin, vol. 19, special issue on Jewish-Polish relations in America.
2:50 – 3:30 | Dr. Linda Schubert, UCLA, Los Angeles
“Recovering a Repertory: The American Film Scores of Henry Vars”
Polish composer Henry Vars [Henryk Wars, born Warszawski] (1902-77) wrote many popular songs between the wars and provided the music for more than one third of the sound films made in Poland before World War II. A member of the Polish armed services during World War II, Vars escaped imprisonment by the Nazis and became the leader of the music group “Polish Parade.” (This group eventually joined General Anders’ Second Polish Corps which traveled first to the Middle East then on to Italy to win the Battle of Monte Cassino.) After the war Vars and his wife Elizabeth came to the United States, where Vars continued his career as a film composer in Los Angeles. Perhaps best known for his score to Flipper (both the film and television series), Vars scored over 80 films in his career. He also composed for television and continued to write popular songs.
For the most part, American studio composers of the 1950s still wrote within the musical conventions of the classic Hollywood style that crystallized in the 1930s. In many ways Vars was a typical industry composer of the time, writing scores (often anonymously) for a variety of popular genres including mysteries, crime dramas, science fiction films and westerns. He, too, worked within musical conventions that emphasized leitmotifs, the use of a full symphony orchestra, and late nineteenth century harmonies. But Vars was also unique in the breadth of musical experience that he brought to his work.
Though he accomplished much, Henry Vars has been all but forgotten in the United States, though his music (particularly the songs) is still played and admired in Poland. This paper is intended to give an overview of Vars’ American film scores, to set them within the context of industry practices of the time, to discuss some of the influences on and characteristics of his scores: in short, to re-introduce listeners to his music. Information on Vars is not readily available in the U.S. and I will, therefore, discuss some of the particular research problems that have developed, as it may throw light on the process of film music research in general. The paper will include biographical information, an outline of Vars’ filmography, and a discussion of several individual scores.
NOTE: This article appeared in Polish Music Journal 4 no. 1 (2001).
3:30-3:50 | Coffee Break
USC Campus, Arnold Schoenberg Auditorium.
Session Chair: Asst. Prof. Timothy Cooley, UCSB, Ethnomusicology.
3:50 – 4:30 | Dr Jordan Charnofsky and Leo Chelyapov, The Brandeis-Bardin Klezmer Ensemble, Los Angeles.
“Two Voices on Klezmer Music” (Lecture-Recital)
USC graduate, classical guitarist, Jordan Charnofsky and Leo Chelyapov, originally from Russia, discuss the various folk sources and styles of klezmer music as well as the approach of their group to this musical repertory.
4:30 – 5:10 | Hankus Netsky, Instructor, New England Conservatory, Boston; Ph.D. Candidate, Wesleyan University.
“Three Klezmorim From Poland (Frydman, Rosner, Bazyler)”
Although it was never the heartland of Jewish dance music, Poland was the birthplace of a large number of skilled and influential klezmorim. I examine the lives and repertoire of three twentieth century professional Jewish folk instrumentalists, Carl Frydman, Leo Rosner, and Ben Bazyler, focusing special attention on how their Polish origins and adopted homes influenced their careers.
5:10 – 6:00 | Bret Werb, Staff Musicologist, Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
“A Musical Parergon to Chone Shmeruk’s Mayufes: A Window on Polish-Jewish Relations”
“Mayufes: A Window on Polish-Jewish Relations,” an article in Polin (v. 10) by Chone Shmeruk, tells the story of a musical phenomenon that is uniquely Polish-Jewish. Yet the Polin article lacks musical examples of any kind. In “A Musical Parergon” Mr. Werb recounts his attempts to supplement Shmeruk’s literary survey with examples of notated or recorded music. The paper concludes with some reflections on musical caricature as a possible subject for ethnomusicological investigation.
6:00-8:00 | Dinner
USC Campus, Arnold Schoenberg Auditorium.
- Prof. James Smith, USC and students of classical guitar at USC: Kate Lewis, Tiong Kiat-Yeo, Billy Arcilla, Camille Downey, Sean Idol, Ryoji Sekizuka, Michael Al, Rahul Puhar, Liliana Ramirez, Jeff Thygeson, Brian Head.
- Dr. Donal Pirone (piano, CUNY, New York);
- Dr. Kathleen Roland (soprano) with Victoria Kirsch (piano), and Jan Jakub Bokun (clarinet).
- Aleksander Tansman —Suite in Modo Polonico for guitar solo, excerpts (Entree, Galliard, Kolysanka No. 2, Alla polacca, Kujawiak, Oberek (performed by Kate Lewis and Tiong Kiat Yeo)
- Józef Koffler — Miłość [Love] Cantata for soprano, clarinet, viola, cello. Movements: Adagio, Andante tranquillo, Allegretto moderato, Tempo primo (performed by Kathleen Roland, soprano, Jan Jakub Bokun, clarinet, Ji Young Moon, viola, and John Moerschel, cello)
- Aleksander Tansman — Cinq Mélodies pour chant et piano (texts by Anna Tansman), for soprano and piano 1. Dans le secret de mon âme (Moderé); 2. Hélas (Viv); 3. Sommeil(Lent); 4. Chats de gouttière; 5. Bonheur (Moderé) (performed by Kathleen Roland, soprano, and Victoria Kirsch, piano)
- Maurice Ravel — Two Hebrew Songs and , for soprano and piano (performed by Kathleen Roland, soprano, and Victoria Kirsch, piano)
- Karol Rathaus — Fourth Piano Sonata, op. 58. Movements: Allegro impetuoso, Andante, Allegro non troppo (Don Pirone, piano)
- Szymon Laks — Five Songs to texts by Julian Tuwim. Selections: Modlitwa [Prayer], Szczęście [Serenity], Przymierze [Covenant] (perf. Kathleen Roland, soprano, and Victoria Kirsch, piano)
- Aleksander Tansman — Charleston from Translatlantic Suite, arr. Jim Smith for 2 guitars (perf. Brian Head and James Smith, guitars)
- Igor Stravinsky — Tango arr. by James Smith, for 4 guitars (perf. Billy Arcila, Camille Downey, Sean Idol, and Ryoji Sekizuka, guitars)
- Igor Stravinsky — Circus Polka arr. by James Smith, for 4 guitars (perf. Michael Ann, Rahul Puar, Liliana Ramirez, and Jeff Thygeson, guitars)
This concert presents the rich musical personality of Aleksander Tansman, set against the background of works by his colleagues and friends. The mood of the music ranges from the funereal to the comic, embracing the full scope of human emotions, from tears to laughter. While considering himself a Polish composer and while drawing from the music heritage of mazurkas and polonaises, Tansman settled in Paris where he was a member of the international avant-garde and a protégé of Ravel. During his years in California, Tansman became a friend of Stravinsky (1941 – 1946). Tansman’s contemporaries in Poland, coming from the same group of Western-oriented, cosmopolitan Polish-Jewish musicians, include Koffler (student of Schoenberg, Poland’s first 12-tone composer), neo-romantic modernist Rathaus, and neoclassicist Laks. This concert, featuring pieces selected by Maria Anna Harley, Kathleen Roland and James Smith, may be seen as an anniversary tribute to Laks (b. 1 November 1901), Koffler (b. 28 November 1896), Rathaus (d. 21 November 1954) and Tansman himself: On 15 November 1998 we celebrate the 12th anniversary of his death.
Aleksander Tansman (b. Łódz, 1897, d. Paris, 1986) was a composer, conductor, and pianist. He studied at the Łódz Conservatory (with Piotr Rytel) and took courses in law and philosophy at Warsaw University. In 1919 he settled in Paris where he met the leading artists of his time, including Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, and others. As a pianist he toured Europe, Canada and the Middle East with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Serge Koussevitzky. His music was performed by the most famous soloists and ensembles of his time; his champions included conductors Stokowski and Toscanini. Tansman survived the war in the U.S.; after returning to France in 1946 he continued to compose and to write about music, including a book on Stravinsky. Tansman repeatedly expressed the conviction that his music is rooted in Polish culture, and he included Polish dances, rhythms, and topics in many pieces (e.g. cycles of Mazurkas, the Polish Rhapsody, works inspired by and dedicated to Chopin). The composer also cherished his Jewish heritage, expressing it in many works written throughout his career, e.g. the Hebrew Rhapsody (1938), oratorio Isaiah The Prophet (1950), Apostrophe to Sion (1978), and other pieces. Tansman’s music belongs to the realm of neoclassicism, enriched by a plurality of influences and models, including jazz, folk dances, and the music of the Far East. The author of a Javanese Dance, he also composed a Blues, an Oberek, and the virtuosic Mazurka and Toccata. During the post-war years he displayed no interest in avant-garde experimentation and remained faithful to his unique brand of the neoclassical style. Tansman’s extensive list of works contains compositions for the stage (operas, ballets), pieces for orchestra, chamber music, and songs in several languages. His music links intuition and spontaneity with logical order of structure, virtuosity and elegance. His individual style is characterized by clarity of form, lyrical expression, and the use of rich and varied instrumental colours. One of the instruments that he favoured was the guitar, for which he composed numerous Polish dances and the Suite in Modo Polonico heard today. The Suite (1962), commissioned by, and dedicated to “the king of guitarists,” Andres Segovia, may be considered the crowning achievement among Tansman’ s works for guitar. Segovia had requested the inclusion of several earlier works in this suite, such as the Mazurek of 1925, the Berceuse d’Olient, and Alla polacca of 1954. The celebrated guitarist recorded this virtuosic set of 10 short pieces five times and performed it during many concert tours, establishing the Suite as one of the staples of the guitar repertoire.
Tansman’s songs blend traits of his elegant neoclassicism with expressiveness; his harmonic inventiveness underlies the rich piano accompaniments. The Cinq mélodies pour chant et piano (1927) use French texts by the composer’s first wife, Anna Eleonora; the songs are dedicated to personal friends and family members. The fourth song, for instance (Chars de gouttière), is a humorous complaint against the brother of Tansman’s wife who had just emigrated to the U.S. The lyricism and humor of Anna Tansman’s texts is reflected in the music including national influences (no. 2), elements of a stylized lullaby (no. 3) and an almost romantic poignancy (no. 5). The Charleston is the final movement in Tansman’s Transatlantic Sonatina that owes its unusual tide to the fact that it was composed during a trans-Atlantic journey from Hollywood back to Paris (1930). The Sonatina is, essentially, a suite consisting of Tansman’s interpretations of four American dance and song forms: foxtrot, spiritual, blues, and charleston. Since the composer himself prepared versions of this work for piano, two pianos, and orchestra, he would have welcomed a setting for two guitars. [Maria Anna Harley (Maja Trochimczyk)]
Józef Koffler (b. Nov. 28, 1896; d. 1944). Born in the province of Galicia, Józef Koffler would live through many of the defining moments of the first half of the twentieth century. Always idealistic, he fought continually against the dilletantism and conformity he perceived as spreading through Polish music in the late 1920s and 1930s. Koffler’s mature compositional technique, modeled on Arnold Schoenberg’s twelve-tone system, was not well-received among Polish critics; an avid writer, Koffler often engaged in literary debates in defense of modernism. Koffler’s efforts gained him a worldwide reputation among the avant-garde, but left him isolated in his own homeland, with critics declaring his style to be that of “destructive radicalism.” His last years were spent in hiding from the Nazis; sometime between 1943-44, Koffler and his family were found and shot.
The Cantata Miłość [Love], for voice, clarinet, viola, and cello, Op. 14, is one Koffler’s most well-known surviving works. It was written in Lvov (completed on April 12, 1931), during Koffler’s most prolific and creative period of composition. In the cantata, Koffler sets to music the “Hymn of Love” passage from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (Cor. 13, 1,13), using a precise, but unconstrained mono-serialistic technique. The evocative emotions of the piece were most likely a result of his recent marriage, and, in many ways, Love is a summary of Koffler’s feelings towards his wife, his music, and his own ideological convictions. The cantata manifests Koffler’s belief that “music is one of the factors — and there are not many after all — which are able effectively to fight against that evil in the human spirit.”
The first movement, Adagio, is a theme with variations and features both homophonic and polyphonic textures, moving by way of sequence to better illustrate the subtitle of the movement, “Though I speak with the tongues of angels.” Andante tranquillo (“And love is patient and kind”), is a passacaglia, fortified by a succinct thematic structure, with sections transforming in retrograde and inverted transpositions for the successive affirmation of love that pervades the movement. The third movement, Allegretto moderato (“And love cannot perish”) is characterized by a fughetta structure, effecting the cohesion of the form through the rhythm of constant six-bar units. The final movement, Tempo primo, subtitled “Now we see through the mirror”, is the climax of the composition, manifesting Koffler’s musical lyricism and penetrating reflection with these final words: “And now faith, hope, and love persist, and the greatest of them is love.” [Diana Diskin]
Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937) included Kaddish in Deux Mélodies Hébräiques of 1914. Together with L’Enigme éternelle, Kaddish marks a further venture by Ravel into an exploration of European folkoric musics by setting two traditional Hebrew texts. Ravel’s setting of Kaddish is a psalmody on one of the most sacred texts of the Jewish liturgy —a prayer for the dead, this time offered for Ravel’s friend, Aleksander Tansman. The work begins with a drone-like statement from the piano and a melismatic chanting in the voice, emulating the Chazzan. The word “created” (“according to His will”) instigates a lengthy descent by a sparse accompaniment of the piano which stabilizes at “Amen.” The piano then proceeds to release a series of harp-like arpeggios, and against these and sextuplets the singer/cantor weaves the text through major and minor modes until once again reaching an “Amen.” It is in this final climax that Kaddish proves most difficult for the singer. If the last melisma does not challenge the endurance of the singer, the spiritual passion necessary to deliver it most undoubtedly will. [Brian Harlan]
Karol Rathaus (1895 – 1954) was born in Tarnopol, Poland and showed signs of a musical talent at a very young age. He was eventually accepted to Franz Schreker’s composition class in Vienna, and later he continued studying with the master at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin during the early 1920’s. It was within this great musical capital that Rathaus lived and worked, and where he absorbed and came to terms with such diverse musical ideas and trends as Schoenberg’s serialism, Bartók’s exploration of Eastern modes and folk music and, of course, the influences of Debussy’s impressionism and Stravinsky’s La Sacre du Printemps.
As a young composer, however, Rathaus quickly found his own voice. With his first Piano Sonata, Op. 2, which his friend Stephen Askenase premiered, he won a ten year contract with Universal Edition. He had already written his first symphony, and soon to follow was Symphony No. 2, which attracted much attention and, according to the composer, even triggered “violent reactions.” On the one hand, conservative critics were outraged by this “radically modern work;” in other circles, the Symphony was considered original and progressive, and Rathaus was hailed as one of “the greatest hopes for New Music.” Such controversy helped Rathaus to gain notoriety and many of his works were conducted by such luminaries as Furtwangler, Horenstein, Kleiber and Szell. He was also commissioned to write the music to the film Der Morder Dimitri Karamasoff, which earned him a reputation as the most important composer of film music of his era. Commissions for further film and theater music followed. Rathaus’s promising career came to a halt after Hitler seized power. Suppressed by the Third Reich, his music was branded entartet, or decadent. To escape physical and artistic persecution, the composer moved from Berlin to Paris in 1932, to London in 1934 and finally to America in 1938, where, after a brief encounter with Hollywood, he accepted a professorial position at Queens College, New York.
Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 58, was composed in 1946, in New York. It is the last piano sonata written by the composer, followed by only one more solo piano work. Tonight’s premiere performance in California marks an important event for this unpublished work: although it had been played in its early years in New York by colleagues of the composer at Queens College, it was not until 1986 that it was performed at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York and received the critical acclaim it deserves. Written in three movements, the Sonata manifests the composer’s later style; one in which seemingly spontaneous and improvisatory textures alternate between lean, two-voice imitative polyphony, and rich, full-throated chordal sonorities. Tonally-oriented for the most part, atonality and bi-tonality also persist, keeping the music from becoming predictable or complacent. Scales comprised of symmetrical intervalic relationships (such as alternating whole and half steps, or whole-tone sequences), and the use of chords built on fourths and tone clusters are also prevalent. These angular, jagged percussive sections are often enunciated by rhythmic and harmonic ostinato, which heighten their contrast to the surrounding lyrical and cantabile florid passages. The score calls for frequent tempo changes and a rubato performance style which, in conjunction with its bravura keyboard style and colorful, grandiloquent sonorities, emulates an impassioned and dramatic aesthetic typical of the late romantic era.
Tugging at the strings of this romantic aesthetic, however, is an underlying grid of twentieth century language, woven together by a highly organized and developmental treatment based on various permutations of the major third. Supported by elaborate tremolos, this motive is announced at the beginning of the work (Allegro impetuoso) and quickly begins a metamorphosis into various structural and musical permutations, helping the listener to discern a quasi-sonata form in the first movement. Here, for example, a rhythmic, energetic developmental section culminates in a triumphant recapitulation of the opening thematic motive in its original form. An imitative dialogue, which was also heard at the beginning of the movement, follows, leading to a pensive and improvisatory andante section which ultimately cajoles the listener into a molto ritmico and explosive coda. In the A B A second movement (Andante), an alternating third emerges at the beginning of the second theme area, however it is an extended rhythmic variation of the original motive. Later on, in the return of the A section, the original rhythmic pattern reappears, though the oscillating third has now been transformed into alternating stepwise and intervallic turns. The two outer sections of the last movement, (Allegro non troppo), comprise a fugal, contrapuntal theme juxtaposed with a chordal, lyrical section. Interspersed between these two larger sections is the original rhythmic motive supported by ostinato figures conflicting with alternating linear passage work. The rhythmic motive increases in intensity and sonority and overpowers the middle section leading to a climactic return of the fugal theme. A Molto accelerando drives a flurry of fortisissimo octaves down the keyboard to an exciting, dramatic closing.
One might keep in mind that Rathaus was an accomplished pianist who used the keyboard to compose. He was renown in music circles for his prodigious ability to improvise, and he performed his own music often, purportedly with great freedom (according to recollections from his students and colleagues at Queens College). He often cautioned his students, however, that composing was not just a result of improvising: “… the idea might come easily, but it is what to do with the idea is not easy.” Indeed the Fourth Piano Sonata does evoke an improvisatory style, but—as is typical of the piano music of Karol Rathaus—there also seems to be an inherent need for a spontaneous approach, one which enhances the sudden, frequent mood changes, and adds depth to the wide range of dynamic contrasts and registral changes. Perhaps it has to do with his mention of the following words by his contemporary, Arnold Schoenberg: “All music, all human work, has a skeleton, a circulatory and nervous system. I wish that my name should be considered as an honest and intelligent person who comes to us saying something he feels deeply and which is of significance to all of us.” [Donald Pirone]
Szymon Laks (born in 1901 in Warsaw, died in Paris in 1985), was a violinist, conductor, and composer. In 1921-24 he studied composition and conducting at the Warsaw Conservatory, with Piotr Rytel and Henryk Melcer, among others. He also studied mathematics at the Universities of Warsaw and Vilnius. From 1926 he lived in Paris, where he was a student of Pierre Vidal (composition) and Henry Rabaud (conducting) at the Paris Conservatory. From 1941-45 he was a prisoner in Auschwitz and Dachau. He lived through the inhumanity of the Nazi concentration camps to tell his story in a poignant and witty book of memoirs, La musique d’un autre monde (Paris 1948, English translation 1989). Music, one might say, literally saved Laks’s life: as a member of the Auschwitz camp orchestra (he worked there as a violinist, conductor, and arranger) he was spared the daily ordeal of physical labour that killed so many around him. At the same time, Laks was a witness to the disappearance of his compatriots in the furnaces of Auschwitz; he also experienced first-hand the irrelevance of art amidst the total destruction of all human values such as occurred in those camps. After the war he returned to Paris and became active in the Polish emigré circles.
Laks’s compositions may be described as neo-classical; he left several string quartets, symphonic suites, as well as many other chamber works. A large number of his manuscripts were lost during the war. The deeply moving, lyrical songs constitute a particularly interesting part of his output. Some songs are based on Jewish folklore (Jewish Songs); others include settings of texts by Polish-Jewish poets such as Julian Tuwim or Mieczysław Jastrun. Many of Laks’s texts deal with the trauma of war, suffering and loss, e.g. the disappearance of a way of life bemoaned in the Elegy of Jewish villages and the tragedy of the Holocaust reflected upon in the Funeral. The Five Songs draw texts from the poetry of Julian Tuwim (1894-1953), one of Poland’s most important twentieth century poets and the author of a dramatic war-time manifesto and protest against the destruction of Polish Jewry, We, Polish Jews… (1944). The poems of this cycle are addressed to God and comment on the spiritual value and meaning of life. The introductory Prayer continues the Biblical tradition of arguing and fighting with God, whose presence, however, brings the narrator the only source of happiness in the second song, Szczęście. The bliss of closeness to the Creator is further relished in the The Covenant recalling the peace of Noah, with a dove bringing an olive twig to the faithful, who are gathered under the rainbow, in a new House of God and God’s people. The humorous Erratum describes a spiritual failing as a mistake on the narrator’s C.V. where: “At the high point at the age of forty and somewhere close to the end of my journey one reads ‘despair’ but it should be ‘love’.” This grievous error should be corrected and the final song of the cycle points out the perfect way of doing this, i.e. offering one’s whole life (All) in complete devotion to God. The spiritual reflections and gentle humour of Tuwim’s melancholy poems find an appropriate setting in Laks’s music, with its poignant dissonances, complex harmonic progressions, expressive melodic lines and through,composed forms. [Maria Anna Harley (Maja Trochimczyk)]
Igor Stravinsky‘s (1882-1971) first published piano piece after moving to the United States was this Tango (1940, arranged for guitars by James Smith). Later, Stravinsky arranged it for winds and strings, yet, like his Circus Polka, the Tango has been frequently arranged by others. Though it has been speculated that Stravinsky’S use of this Latin American rhythm (often defined as a mixture of Argentine and Cuban dance forms) had something to do with his recent resettlement in America, the 1940 Tango was actually his third use of the form. Preceding it by almost twenty years are his stylized tangos in L’Histoire du soldat (1918) and Les Cinq doigts (1921 ). The Tango shows a mature understanding of not only the rhythmic phrasing of the dance, but of the melodic style as well. Stravinsky’s frequent use of thirds in the melody line is somewhat reminiscent of the vocal duets popular in Argentine tangos of the 1930s. From the 1940s to the present, the tango continues to procure new significance in orchestral music through works of such composers as Astor Piazzolla. Stravinsky’s tangos, to be sure, were equally inspirational for this development in the 1940s as they are today.
Much consideration has come to surround Stravinsky’s motivation behind writing a Circus Polka (1942) for Ringling Brother’s Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. Nevertheless, whether the decision was penny-wise or artistically induced, Stravinsky’s newest ballet boasted five ton ballerinas complete with floor-length snouts which swung through the sawdust in Center Ring. The commission made by the choreographer George Balanchine was met enigmatically by Stravinsky under the stipulation that the elephants were indeed, young elephants. The premiere of the Circus Polka took place at Madison Square Garden in New York with an arrangement for wind band by David Ruskin. The characteristic duple rhythm of this Bohemian dance was initially introduced into orchestral music in Smetana’s Bartered Bride (1886); the polka is now the national dance of the Czechs and the main ethnic dance of Polish Americans.
Though Stravinsky’s Polka was originally published in a piano version, the composer first conceived of it for two pianos and military band. It is unclear just why he did not arrange it for this instrumentation himself— he did publish an orchestral arrangement of the polka later the same year (today’s version has been arranged for guitars by James Smith). Stravinsky treats the dance as did the elephants—sluggishly packing the two-measure rhythm over four and five bars, muscling through storms of changing meters, and maneuvering delicately around crevices left by empty down beats. In fact, at the first production of the Circus Polka, it was only through the steady beat in Stravinsky’s quotation of a passage from Schubert’s Marche militaire No. 1 (1826) that the elephants began to get a feel for their steps. According to the participant bandleader of Ringling Brother’s, Merle Evens, the music of the Polkawas not what these dignified animals deserved—citing also that the little tutus made the bulls look silly. Evens was purportedly bracing for a stampede that first evening. Still, the elephants did finally get the hang of it; the ballet was performed four hundred and twenty-five times. [Brian Harlan]
USC Campus, Newman Recital Hall (Hancock Building).
Session Chair: Prof. Bryan SIMMS, USC School of Music.
9:00 – 9:40 | Dr. Martina Homma, Cologne, Germany
“But not Enough Jews in the Strings”: Personal Bonds, Patriotism and Internationalism in the Work of Grzegorz Fitelberg
Grzegorz Fitelberg (1879-1953), a violinist, conductor and composer, was a son of the musician Hojzasz Fitelberg, born in Dzwinsk (Dünaburg, now a part of Latvia). Fitelberg was one of the leading personalities in the musical life of Poland. As a composer he was one of the founders of the influential group “Młoda Polska” (Young Poland); he composed original works and arranged a considerable number of Polish compositions for the orchestra. After World War II Fitelberg returned to his home country and directed the newly-created orchestra WOSPR Katowice (Great Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio, Katowice); this ensemble soon became the most renowned symphony orchestra in Poland. Enthusiastic about the music of contemporary composers, he premiered many new works — by Prokofiev, Stravinsky, nearly every composition by his friend Karol Szymanowski, but also works by younger composers, such as Tadeusz Baird or Witold Lutosławski, who admired him deeply. Grzegorz Fitelberg had close personal ties with nearly every personality in Polish musical life and has been labeled the “Ambassador of Polish Music” because of his program policies when performing abroad. In addition, he successfully worked as a conductor in many countries of Western Europe, in Russia and America. His international performances included conducting the Russian Ballets in Paris, premieres by Strauss and Prokofiev, Russian operas and works by several Latin American composers that he insisted to include into his programs in Argentina (though the critics did not praise him for doing so). More than once, before and after World War II, he found himself and his programming decisions at the center of a vehement and controversial discussion about “national” or “international” music.
Fitelberg (as well as Karol Szymanowski) is known to have admired the violin playing of Jewish musicians; the remark quoted in the title of this paper was his comment while conducting the Copenhagen Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1933. Its string sound, thus criticized by Fitelberg, can be judged on the ground of a historic recording of Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 4 with Fitelberg conducting and the composer playing the piano. The string section of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, that Fitelberg was conducting at that time, included a considerable number of musicians of Jewish origin. These musicians later followed Bronisław Huberman to Palestine and became members of the Philharmonic Orchestra in Tel Aviv (founded in 1936). In his correspondence, Fitelberg expressed a wish to meet his musicians there and to make music together, but his intention was not realized. Regardless of such deep personal bonds, Fitelberg’s orchestral repertory was characterized by a programmatic “internationality,” promoting Polish music in Western Europe, Russian music in America, German music in Poland, and music by Latin American composers in Argentina. Fitelberg’s concert repertory has been published recently together with other important material about his work [Iwona Bias and Lilianna M. Moll 1979, 1983, 1987 as well as Roza Broda-Miliczek 1991 and Leon Markiewicz]. Its analysis illustrates Fitelberg’s practice of adjusting his international repertory to the needs of the national musical life in each country in which he worked. Nonetheless, the promotion of Polish contemporary music remained his main concern.
9:40 – 10:20 | Prof. Dr. hab. Maciej Gołąb, University of Warsaw, Poland
“Koffler—the First Polish Composer of 12-Tone Music”
Controversies that still characterize the reception of the works of Józef Koffler, the most important Polish composer of the first half of the twentieth century after Szymanowski, are the result of strong tensions between the different components of his musical aesthetics. From the diachronical point of view, the evolution of Koffler’s dynamic but unlimited style moved from interests in Polish music folklore and early European examples of serialism to attempting to implement the doctrine of social realism which was unprecedented in the Polish musical tradition.Simultaneously, Koffler’s earlier folklorism was fused with experiences of the European avant-garde. Koffler’s dodecaphony incorporates neoclassical features of texture and form (of French as well as German provenance), and his last realizations of social realism are not deprived of individual artistic ambitions under conditions that radically reduced them of means of expression.
10:20 – 10:40 | Coffee Break
USC Campus, Newman Recital Hall.
Session Chair and Organizer: Prof. Halina Goldberg, Indiana University
10:40 – 11:20 | Dr. Christopher HAILEY, Director of the Schreker Foundation, L.A.
“Rathaus, Schreker and the Aesthetics of Personality”
Karol Rathaus studied with Franz Schreker at the Vienna Academy from 1913 to 1920 and thereafter at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik until 1923. These were the years during which Schreker’s music stood at the forefront of stylistic developments, his operas were assuming a prominent place in the central European repertory, and his remarkable pedagogical gifts established him as one of the foremost teachers of the time. From his Vienna and Berlin classroom a new generation of composers and conductors emerged that included, in addition to Rathaus, Ernst Krenek, Alois Haba, Felix Petryek, Wilhelm Grosz, Josef Rosenstock, and Jascha Horenstein. The training with Schreker was rigorous, particularly in contrapuntal forms, but his composition instruction was exceptionally liberal and allowed his students wide latitude. Thus, the Schreker School was noted for its high level of technical proficiency and its extraordinary range of styles.
Although elements of Schreker’s own musical language inevitably influenced the early works of his students, his principal goal was to develop their individuality. The evolution of Karol Rathaus’s style can be taken as representative. During the mid and late 1920s his decisive move away from the sphere of Schreker’s influence, especially in terms of formal and harmonic language, was entirely in keeping with his teacher’s insistence upon personality as the defining element of compositional style. For Rathaus this included an embrace of his Polish heritage in striking contrast to Schreker’s avowed internationalism.
If in his music Rathaus parted ways with his teacher’s style, his artistic personality was nonetheless significantly shaped by his experiences within Schreker’s circle in Vienna and Berlin. The musical encounters of those early years continued to resonate throughout his life, the friendships he formed were long-lasting, and the aesthetic precepts he absorbed from his teacher guided him through the sea of “isms” that marked the cultural turmoil of the 1920s and allowed him to establish his own identity as a composer and a teacher.
11:20 – 12:00 | JolantaGuzy-Pasiak, Institute of Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
“The Evolution of Rathaus’ Compositional Style in his Piano Sonatas”
The music of Karol Rathaus (1895-1954) includes various genres and forms, works composed for all basic instrumental settings and compositions performed and appreciated by the most eminent musicians of his time. However, the limited scholarly literature on this subject centers primarily on documentation and source research; it is now important to focus on the issue of the development and characterization of Rathaus’s individual style. Today I will discuss two pairs of interrelated aspects of the musical work: (1) syntax and form, (2) tonality and harmony. I will limit the study of compositional technique to Rathaus’s works belonging to the same genre. It is possible to trace changes of individual style in a composer’s output if two conditions are fulfilled: (a) the works selected for analysis represent the same musical genre, and (b) this genre appears in the whole output of the composer. Rathaus’s four piano sonatas, two of which have been published and two remain in manuscript (op. 2 , 8 , 20 , 58 ) fulfill both conditions. Their choice is also motivated by the high rank of the sonata cycle in Rathaus’s music and in the history of music in general. The sonata form — a paradigm of tonal music — plays an important role in twentieth century music, where is serves as a realm of confrontation of new types of pitch organization with formal plans developed on the basis of functional harmony.
In addition to its focus on piano sonatas, the analytical part of this paper will also refer to realizations of the sonata schema in Rathaus’s chamber music (duets, piano trios, and string quartets). An examination of the group of compositions mentioned here allows us to distinguish two basic phases in Rathaus’s music on the basis of pitch organization. The first stage may be characterized as a continuation of the European tradition of tonal music, with a tendency to break away from the “major-minor” tonality and with numerous borrowings from German music (Sonata no. 1 was composed during Rathaus’s Viennese studies with Franz Schreker). A clear-cut stylistic gap appears between the first sonata and the remaining three. In the later works, Rathaus’s musical language reflects the process of the disintegration of the tonal system that occurred simultaneously in the music by other composers. The second, atonal, stage in his output includes breaking away from the functional tonality (Sonatas no. 2, 3, 4). It is characterized by the presence of various quasi-tonal gestures (tonal centers and polytonality) which have been used universally in the context of the neoclassical aesthetics. The features of Rathaus’s compositional technique in this period allow us to classify his works as belonging to the neoclassical style, or, rather, to be more precise, to its parodic variety (I am borrowing this term from the theory of Maria Piotrowska).
An examination of musical syntax and form, while somewhat helpful during harmonic analysis, does not provide us with arguments that allow us to distinguish the various stages in the composers’ output. Obviously, the composer was not interested in breaking the norms and rules of the genre. However, all formal plans in Rathaus’s sonatas are variants of the typical plan; thus, the results of formal analysis also allow us to draw conclusions about the individuality of his style. In conclusion, I would like to point out that the proposed division of Rathaus’s output is based on analysis, especially on changes of tonal features and harmony. The style of Karol Rathaus evolves following the same path as that was chosen by his contemporaries, the path leading from tonality to an atonal idiom. Nonetheless, the individual tonal and structural solutions introduced in his second, atonal period are a testimony of his creative originality.
12:00 – 12:40 | Dr. Don Pirone, The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, City University of New York, New York
“Romantic or Modernist: Karol Rathaus’s Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 58”
Karol Rathaus (1895 -1954) was born in Tarnopol, Poland and studied composition with Franz Schreker in Vienna and later at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. Exposed to and stimulated by the several musical trends and influences taking place at that time, he managed to find his own individual and distinctive style of composition. The composer often quipped “…they don’t know what pigeon hole to put me in.”
Indeed, the Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 58, exemplifies such a writing style. On the one hand, it looks back to the Romantic fashion of writing with its lyrical, cantabile florid passage work, frequent tempo changes and rubato performance style. Improvisatory in nature, the work also contains bravura passage work, with colorful, grandiloquent sonorities often emulating and impassioned and dramatic aesthetic. On the other hand, however, there is the composer’s unique blend of twentieth century techniques: for example a mixture of tonality, bi-tonality, atonality; conventional chords, tone-clusters, chords built on fourths, as well as diatonic, modal and symmetrical scale patterns. Ostinati also prevail, often creating rhythmic drive and tension, and establishing tonal centers. Unifying these Romantic and twentieth century elements is a tightly-knit developmental style achieved through the use of motivic development, and an economy of thematic material (via a “metamorphosis” or variations — permutations of a motivic material). In doing so, Rathaus gives the sonata a solid structural foundation which not only helps the listener to distinguish a central thematic idea that unifies the three movements, but also helps to discern formal symmetry and cohesion throughout.
Upon discussing Karol Rathaus’s Piano Sonata No. 4, the composer’s twentieth century harmony and elements of pianistic style discussed above will be demonstrated at the piano. It will also be shown that the work is clearly rooted in the Germanic, contrapuntal style yet retaining elements which can firmly ground it in the Romantic — and at times theatrical — aesthetic as well. The unifying motive will also be presented and played; not only does it serve as a skeletal backbone of the sonata, but it also manifests the composer’s affinity for a particular idiom that can be found in much of his piano music, i.e., the polonaise rhythm.
12:40 – 1:20 | Dr. Martin Schüssler, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
“Karol Rathaus – An American Composer from Poland…: The Development of an Americanized View of Rathaus and its Consequences for the Reception of his Music”
1:20 – 2:20 | Lunch
Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, L.A. Campus. Anna Grancell Student Lounge/Martin Gang Lecture Hall
Session Chair: Bret Werb, Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington.
2:20 – 3:00 | Barbara Milewski, Princeton University, USA
“National Identity and ‘Authenticity’ in Aleksander Tansman’s Mazurkas”
It is clear from Tansman’s musical output and writings that the composer considered the mazurka one of the more important genres in which he worked; in addition to the four collections of mazurkas he composed for piano, the genre permeates his orchestral, chamber, piano, and stage works. Yet, while Tansman remained attached to the mazurka as an emblem of his national identity throughout the course of his life, until recently Polish scholars have viewed Tansman’s mazurkas as “cosmopolitan,” that is, not national, precisely because they are not based on so-called authentic Polish folk music. In this paper, I explore the political nature of this position. I argue that Tansman’s approach to the mazurka — nostalgic, original and one that lacks any concern for “pure” folk elements — places these works firmly within a Polish national music tradition that extends back to Fryderyk Chopin, the composer who first successfully cultivated these qualities in his own mazurkas.
3:00 – 3:40 | Dr. Anna Granat-Janki, Academy of Music, Wrocław, Poland
“Tradition and Modernism in the Music of Aleksander Tansman”
Aleksander Tansman, one of the most outstanding and earliest representatives of European and Polish neoclassicism, frequently referred to the musical heritage of the past generations in his own music. In his compositions, it is possible to find patterns borrowed from the Baroque, classicism, Romanticism, from Polish folk and popular music tradition, from Jewish and oriental music, from jazz, as well as the music of the twentieth century. References to the legacy of the past became characteristic features of Tansman’s style, not only in the years 1920-1941, when his musical language was being shaped, but also after 1941, in the period of his mature creativity.
Classicism has had the greatest impact on Tansman’s music. First of all, it has been manifested in the genres and forms such as sonata, quartet, symphony, concerto, rondo, and variations. The composer often used classical and Baroque architectonic models. The ties with the classical tradition are also clearly visible in the instrumental texture of his works. The heritage of Baroque music includes primarily the motor-like, repetitive rhythmic patterns. Tansman also took up polyphonic forms — canon, fugue and invention, and borrowed constructive principles from the concerto grosso. In the instrumental suites, he stylistically adapted Baroque dances such as the serabande, gavotte, rigaudon, or galliard. Apart from that, he also studied and arranged the works of an early Baroque composer — Girolamo Frescobaldi.
The facts that Tansman turned to the genre of vocal-instrumental symphony (Symphony no. 6) and that he used the principle of cyclical integration (with its recurring, common material), indicates his ties with the romantic tradition. Another manifestation of Tansman’s return to romantic music is the evocations of the works of romantic composers, such as Skryabin, Liszt, Strauss, and Brahms. His affiliation with Polish musical culture is visible primarily in the Mazurkas for piano, Four Polish Dances, and Polish Rhapsody; in which the composer turned directly to Polish folklore. However, the climate of Polish music can be heard in almost all of his works. Tansman’s Jewish origin seldom found its expression in music. Similarly, the fascination with jazz and oriental music that filled the inter-war years was temporary and transitory. In the stylistic “trips” to different periods and styles, Tansman did not miss the music of the twentieth century. In his works he referred to works by composers creating the musical tradition of the epoch contemporary to Tansman, such as Alberg Roussel, Darius Milhaud, and Igor Stravinsky.
In conclusion, I should point out that a wide musical and cultural context that Tansman referred to is a characteristic feature of his music. The composer was open to the past, he borrowed ideas from it, and transformed them creatively by means of modern technique. As early as in the first period of his creative activity, Tansman’s musical language revealed some innovatory characteristics, especially in the field of harmony, meter, and rhythm. His music also showed original traits in the domains of melody, instrumentation and musical expression. After 1941, the composer developed a principle of shaping the form by means of structural “bridges” (point transitoire). In 1960 he further enriched his language by introducing clusters — this harmonic development was a result of his interest in musical sonority. Among the consonances that the composer used in his music, a chord of a specific structure and an original tone is worth mentioning — the “Tansmanian chord.” Tansman was an artist who skillfully united traditions (his source of inspiration) with modern technique, creating his own, individual stylistic idiom.
3:40 – 4:00 | Coffee Break
Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. Anna Grancell Student Lounge/Martin Gang Lecture Hall
Session Chair: Maria Anna Harley (Maja Trochimczyk), USC School of Music.
4:00 – 4:40 | Prof. Michael Beckerman, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
“Neuro-Nationalism or Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?”
4:40 – 6:00 | Panel Discussion. “Is There Polish Jewish Music?”
Prof. Beckerman, Dr. Goldberg, Prof. Harley (Trochimczyk), Prof. Knoll, Dr. Homma, Mr. Werb.
According to comparative statistics published recently by Gabrielle Simoncini, various religious and ethnic minorities have constituted about 36% percent of the population of Poland before World War II and diminished to about 3.5% afterwards. . [Gabrielle Simoncini: “National Minorities of Poland at the End of the Twentieth Century”, The Polish Review vol. 43 no. 2, 1998, p. 173-194]. This tenfold decrease resulted from population losses due to the war and to the changed borders and political circumstances after 1945. The country was transformed from a multi-ethnic one to monolithically Polish also because it lost huge German, Ukrainian and Byelorussian minorities. Jewish people constituted an estimated 9% of the population before the war, and about 0.0002% now. In the cities, however, Jewish population was much higher: Warsaw was a Jewish metropolis, with 40% of its inhabitants being Jewish, while Łódz was 80% Jewish.
Jews living in Poland could take several paths to a full participation in musical culture: (1) they could remain a part of the Jewish society that spoke Yiddish and lived in the religious and ethnic communities of the shtetl, culturally separated from the Poles, (2) they could become assimilated to the Polish musical culture and participate in its events and institutions, (3) they could create a special community of Polish Jewry, with ties to both Polish and Jewish cultures. When they chose to emigrate they could (4) maintain ties with emigrants of either ethnic background, Jewish or Polish, or, (5) they could become assimilated to their new societies. If a personal identity of someone could be described as a “Jewish Pole” or a “Polish Jew” or a “Pole of Jewish descent” or a “Jew from Poland”, how would that plethora of labels relate to music? Could there be a Polish-Jewish music? Is music national, inter-national, trans-national? [Maria Anna Harley]
Discussion subject areas: Musicians who are “Polish-Jewish” i.e. assimilated, “Jewish in Poland” i.e. retaining their identity, “Jewish from Poland” who emigrated.
6:00-8:00 | Dinner: USC Hillel Center
USC Campus, Newman Recital Hall
- Anna Szpilberg (piano solo; appearance cancelled);
- Agnieszka Lejman (voice) with Radoslaw Materka (piano);
- Dominique Piana (harp) with Sherry Kloss (violin);
- Neal Brostoff (piano) with Zinovy Goro (clarinet).
- Leopold Godowsky — Elegy, No. 5 from Concert Album for the Left Hand alone (Anna Szpilberg, piano)
- Leopold Godowsky — Valse–Scherzo dedicated to H.R.H. The Princess of Wales (Anna Szpilberg, piano)
- Ignacy Friedman — Krakowiak, Op. 14, No. 4 (Anna Szpilberg, piano)
- Ignacy Friedman — Six Mazourkas, 0p. 85 (Anna Szpilberg, piano)
- Ignacy Friedman — Tabatière à musique from Drei Klavierstücke, Op. 33 (Anna Szpilberg, piano)
- Maurycy Rosenthal — From Ten Character Pieces (Anna Szpilberg, piano) Intermission
- Roman Ryterband — Trois ballades hebraïques: 1. Le Rêveur; 2. Le Maître joyeux; 3. Berceuse (Dominique Piana, harp and Sherry Kloss, violin)
- Ignacy Friedman — Trzy łodzie [Three Boats], Op. 41, No. 4 (Agnieszka Lejman, mezzosoprano and Radoslaw Materka, piano)
- Ignacy Friedman — Umarły moje pieśni [My Songs Died], Op. 55, No. 2 (Agnieszka Lejman, mezzosoprano and Radoslaw Materka, piano)
- Ignacy Friedman — Polały się łzy [Tears Fell], from 2 Songs Op. 23, No. 2 (Agnieszka Lejman, mezzosoprano and Radoslaw Materka, piano)
- Ignacy Friedman — Przestroga [Warning], Op. 41, No. 1 (Agnieszka Lejman, mezzosoprano and Radoslaw Materka, piano)
- Grzegorz Fitelberg — Tzu Der Chuppa (Musikalishem Bild) [To the Wedding. Music Picture]: 1. Kal-Besetzen; 2. Processional (Neal Brostoff, piano and Zinovy Goro, clarinet).
- Maria Szymanowska — Romance du Saule [Romance of the Willow] (Agnieszka Lejman, mezzosoprano and Radoslaw Materka, piano)
- Maria Szymanowska — Romance à la nuit [Romance to the Night] (Agnieszka Lejman, mezzosoprano and Radoslaw Materka, piano)
- Ignacy Friedman — Das Mädchen am Teiche singt [The Girl Sings at the Pond], Op. 5, No. 1 (Agnieszka Lejman, mezzosoprano and Radoslaw Materka, piano)
- Ignacy Friedman — Po rosie [On the Dew] (Agnieszka Lejman, mezzosoprano and Radoslaw Materka, piano)
- Ignacy Friedman — Z łąk i pól[From Meadows and Fields], Op. 25, No.3 (Agnieszka Lejman, mezzosoprano and Radoslaw Materka, piano)
RECEPTION, immediately after the concert, Newman Recital Hall foyer. Reception offered by the Friends of Polish Music (open to all attendees, including students).
This double recital highlights the virtuosic and expressive achievements of composers-performers who wrote brilliant piano music for themselves and charming, miniatures for their salons. Szymanowska is a nineteenth century virtuosa pianist; the names of Godowsky, Friedman and Rosenthal need no introduction to a lover of piano music. Some works by these pianist-composers belong to the catagory of ornamental salon pieces (e.g. Rosenthal’s Romanze). Other compositions share formidable musical and technical virtuosity with the masterpieces of piano literature (e.g. Friedman’s Paganini Variations). Friedman’s songs are well respected for their beauty, while Ryterband’s and Fitelberg’s pieces display the poignant and festive moods of Jewish music. This selection highlights both the cosmopolitan, international dimension of the art of these composers and the roots of their music that thrived on the Polish soil to enchant the world.
Ignacy (or Ignaz) Friedman (1882~ 1948) was born as Solomon Isaac Freudmann in a small village near Cracow and died in Sydney, Australia. His father and uncle ran a family orchestra which travelled on concert tours throughout Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S. playing Jewish and popular music. Friedman toured with this ensemble, but later decided to study piano performance with Theodore Leschetizky. The famous virtuoso had reservations about Friedman’s lack of proper technique, but took him on as a student. Friedman also studied composition and musicology, with Guido Adler in Vienna, and with Hugo Riemann in Leipzig. During his very active career he performed over 2,800 concerts in recitals as soloist or chamber musician. From 1905 he toured extensively including both Americas and Australia. He possessed a fine technique and a great control of timbre, but used these gifts freely, disregarding the composer’s indications for the sake of personal, idiosyncratic interpretations. Friedman left over 90 compositions, mostly of chamber music and piano works, the latter dominating his output. His piano works include transcriptions of eighteenth century pieces, large-scale, original compositions, and charming miniatures, such as the Tabatière a Musique, a “music-box” composition set in the highest two octaves of the piano.
Friedman’s songs, composed throughout his life, are expressive and melodious. His choice of texts ranges from folklore and its stylization, through verse by Poland’s greatest poets (Adam Mickiewicz, Maria Konopnicka, Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer), to symbolic and modernist poems of the fin-de-siècle, mostly in Polish (with the exception of 3 Songs, op. 5 to texts by O. Bierbaum, the first of which is heard today). The folk naïveté of the song Po rosie in which the piano imitates a melody played outdoors on the oboe underlies also Konopnicka’s text for Z łąk i pól (op. 25 no. 3); Friedman sets this song partly in the tempo di Krakowiak. Both songs are pastoral in character as they recount the beauty of love and nature. In contrast, the simplicity of G. Porębski’s Przestroga [A Warning] (op. 41 no. 2) is deceptive: the obsessive rhymes in this warning about the inevitability and closeness of death resemble the abrupt phrasing of the Baroque poetry of Father Baka, who achieved a certain fame, if not a notoriety, due to the startling, crude features of his language expressing profound and pessimistic insights. Porębski, not unlike his predecessor, dresses the serious content of “memento mori” in a comic garb; Friedman’s music underscores the humorous aspect of this reflection on death. A fascination with the funereal is one of the characteristics of the fin-de-siècle symbolic art; Friedman’s selections presented today include an expressive setting of Trzy Łodzie (op. 41 no. 4, to text by Stanisław Wyrzykowski) and Umarły moje pieśni (op. 55 no. 2, to text by Orkan). This set is complemented with a melancholy reflection on the experiences of life by Adam Mickiewicz, Poland’s foremost romantic poet, whose 150th death anniversary is celebrated this month (Polały się łzy, op. 23 no. 2). The symbolic, expressionist songs are set to more dissonant accompaniments and use more chromatic melodic lines than the folk music stylizations. [Maria Anna Harley]
Leopold Godowsky (born in 1870 near Vilnius, died in 1938 in New York) was a pianist and composer of piano music of great textural complexity. He began his career as a child prodigy, giving concerts in Germany and Poland. Following brief studies in Berlin, he toured in the U.S. and Canada; he then lived in France (where he studied with Camille Saint-Saëns), Germany, and Austria (where he was chair of the piano performance master class at the Academy of Music in Vienna). In 1914 he settled in the U.S., devoting this part of his life primarily to teaching and composing; his performance career came to an end while he suffered a partial paralysis when recording Chopin’s music (1930). Godowsky’s music displays both a perfectionist’s attention to detail and great complexity, with dense polyphonic textures requiring total independence of both hands and all fingers. His polyphonic skill is witnessed in Badinage — a superimposition of the two Chopin’s Etudes in G-flat — which challenges the limitations of the pianist. Badinage belongs to Godovsky’s best-known opus, a cycle of 53 studies based on the Chopin etudes. He also wrote concert paraphrases of works by Weber, Strauss, and Schubert, as well as studies for the left and right hand alone (e.g. the Elegia performed today), the Java Suite of 12 works, and miniatures for piano duo. [Maria Anna Harley]
Maurycy (or Moritz) Rosenthal (born in 1862 in Lemberg, i.e. Lvov, died in New York in 1946) studied at the Lemberg Conservatory (with Karol Mikuli) and in Vienna. An encounter with Liszt (in 1877) transformed his life: he became the old man’s last disciple for nine years, even following him into studying philosophy at Vienna University. In 1888-9, and in 1898 he toured the U.S., and in 1895 he gave concerts in London. Rosenthal settled in New York (with his wife, Hedwig Kanner) in 1938. The reviewers of his American concerts called him “an astonishing master of technique” and “the Prince of Technique” who plays “in a tremendously brilliant and telling manner […] with immense speed and precision.” At first he was admired solely for his extraordinary virtuoso technique; he is said to have played “like a thunderbolt” and certainly did not belong to the group of the “poets” of the piano. In time, Rosenthal became respected for his beautiful phrasing and great tone. He was even considered one of the finest interpreters of Chopin’s music. His compositions include highly difficult piano works, e.g. Papillons, as well as many transcriptions and variation cycles. He is also a co-author of an advanced piano method. [Maria Anna Harley]
Roman Ryterband (b. 1914, Łódz, d. 1979, Palm Springs), studied piano performance at the State Academy of Music in Łódz after initial studies in law. During World War II, Ryterband studied at the University of Berne, Switzerland, where he received his M.A. in musicology. In 1955, Ryterband moved to Canada with his wife Clarissa and two daughters. He was appointed Director of Music for a Canadian broadcasting company and also became a lecturer at McGill University in Montreal, while continuing his activities as a conductor of orchestral and choral music. Upon moving to Chicago in 1960, Ryterband joined the faculty of the Chicago Conservatory College, still continuing his conducting activities. He also became the chairman of the International Society for Contemporary Music. In 1967, Ryterband finally moved to Palm Springs. He received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for the Humanities and a commission to write Tunes of America for the U.S. Bicentennial Celebration. He also served as a founder and director of the Palm Springs Festival of Music and Art. In the late 1960s, Ryterband taught at the California State University in Los Angeles and performed as an accompanist and solo performer on the piano. He continued to compose chamber music, ballet scores, symphonic and choral works as well as solo works for the organ, piano, and especially the harp. His Suite Polonaise for piano won a Kosciuszko Foundation grant. Later, the composer expanded this piece into an orchestral work and dedicated it to Pope John Paul II. Ryterband’s manuscripts are preserved in the Harvard University Houghton Library. The Trois ballades hébräiques, originally composed for the violin and piano, were arranged for the violin and harp by the composer himself, who, thus, fulfilled a request from Nikanor Zabaleta. [Anne Desler]
Maria Szymanowska, born Marianna Agata Wołowska (on 14 December 1789, in Warsaw), was a Polish virtuosa pianist and composer of piano pieces, vocal and chamber music. Her parents belonged to the Jewish sect of the Frankists who all converted to Catholicism at the end of the eighteenth century and received the status of the gentry as a measure of personal protection. She studied the piano with Antoni Lisowski and Tomasz Gremm (until 1804) and gave first public concerts in Warsaw and Paris in 1810; little is known about her formal training in composition. During her marriage to Józef Szymanowski, which lasted from 1810 to 1820, Maria performed mainly for friends and visitors, and focused on composition. From this period come her best piano works (Vingt Exercices et Préludes) and the majority of her songs. In the years 1823-1827, Szymanowska toured Europe (Germany, England, France, Switzerland, Italy and Russia). In Berlin and London, she performed for the royal courts, in Weimar she played for Goethe. She settled in Petersburg in 1828, working as the court pianist of the tsarina and giving music lessons; her musical salon was frequented by Polish and Russian artists and aristocracy (Glinka, Pushkin, Mickiewicz). She died of cholera in Petersburg, on 25 July 1831.
Szymanowska left a mark on the cultural life of several countries, but was widely acclaimed for her performing capabilities, not for her music. Called “exceptional among women,” “the charming Allmighty of Sound” and “the queen of tones,” Szymanowska was praised for the brilliance and expressive quality of her tone. Among circa 100 compositions penned by Szymanowska, the most numerous and interesting are piano miniatures (etudes, preludes, dances, fantasias, mazurkas, etc.). She wrote over 20 songs with piano accompaniment and 3 chamber pieces; she left no orchestral music. Her compositions may be described as “pre- Romantic” and are characterized by brilliant virtuosity (piano works), pensive expressiveness (romances), simplicity of form and texture. Polish and Russian scholars consider her an important forerunner of Chopin, especially in the use of stile brillant — Polish dances, forms of concert etude, mazurka, and nocturne. Szymanowska composed songs throughout her career, but the exact dates of the creation of many works are not known. Her vocal music is best described by the term romance — understood as a general label for a wide variety of songs with simple to elaborate piano accompaniment, and with texts ranging from sentimental love songs to heroic chants. In the history of Polish literature, the poetic form of the romance has a special place: it heralded the beginning of the Romanticism, marked by the publication of Adam Mickiewicz’s Ballady i romanse of 1822.
The songs belong to two textual groups: (I) patriotic songs with Polish texts (II known, e.g. Śpiewy Historyczne); (2) romances with French or Italian texts, including translations from Shakespeare and Cervantes (11 known, e.g. Six romances, two of which are heard today). The composer’s choice to present these romances in the first volume of her works issued in Germany (1820) suggests the importance of this genre in her output. The romances vary from easy, strophic songs with triadic accompaniment to more elaborate songs in modified strophic form. The Romance du Saule is a dramatic quasi-recitative with a text adapted from Desdemona’s “Willow song” from Shakespeare’s Othello. Here, chromatic chord progressions portray the distress of the heroine. The Romance à la nuit is a nocturne in which interlocking dotted rhythms create a shimmering effect, evocative of the mysterious quality of the night. The romances reveal a predilection for flat keys, triple meters, and descending melodic contours in the opening of the vocal lines, endowing the music with a gentle, plaintive tone. The accompaniments often repeat one rhythmic figure throughout the whole song (à la Schubert), but the music captures and expresses the emotional quality of the text. Szymanowska’s romances achieve a balance between the vocal and the pianistic elements, and mark the beginning of solo art song in Polish music. [Maria Anna Harley]
Grzegorz Fitelberg (b. Dynaburg, Latvia, 1879, d. Katowice 1953) studied violin and composition at the Warsaw Conservatory. In 1896 he won the Paderewski Prize for his First Violin Sonata; however, Fitelberg continued to work as a violinist in the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra until 1904 when he made his debut as a conductor. Together with Szymanowski, Różycki and Szeluto, Fitelberg established the ‘Young Poland in Music’ movement and the Young Polish Composers publishing company, sponsored by Prince Lubomirski. As a conductor, Fitelberg enjoyed international success, touring Germany, Austria, and Russia, and collaborating with such outstanding figures as Stravinsky and Diaghilev. In the 1930s, Fitelberg organized the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Warsaw. His conducting activities continued to take him throughout Europe and the Americas, and Fitelberg persisted in championing new Polish music, conducting the first performances of most orchestral works of Szymanowski and Karłowicz. Most of Fitelberg’s compositions date from the years 1905-08. Although a great part of his output was based on the German late Romantics, he was also influenced by Russian music of the second half of the nineteenth century. The works Pieśń o sokole [Song of the falcon] and the First Polish Rhapsody, in which he made extensive use of Polish folklore are among Fitelberg’s most interesting orchestral works. In later years, Fitelberg made numerous orchestral transcriptions, especially of works by Szymanowski. [Anne Desler]
Tzu Der Chuppa (Musikalishem Bild) is typical for the art music and folk music arrangements by the St. Petersburg Group for the Preservation of Jewish Music, an organization which was indirectly formed at the suggestion of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov around the turn of the century. Rimsky-Korsakov suggested to his St. Petersburg Conservatory students that they use Yiddish folk song as a foundation for creating Jewish art music, something which by and large did not previously exist. An offshoot of that organization, the Zimro ensemble, emigrated to the United States in the 1920s and encouraged their former school colleague, Sergei Prokofiev, who was visiting New York, to write a chamber piece for them. The resultant Overture on Hebrew Themes continues to be a world-wide favorite. Zimro’s clarinetist, Semyon Bellison, was a great klezmer musician and was also playing principal clarinet with the New York Philharmonic. Bellison arranged Fitelberg’s Tzu Der Chuppa (copyright 1933, date of composition unknown) and Fitelberg dedicated the work to him.
The music portrays two events from a Jewish wedding, which is rich in ritual, before, during, and following the ceremony. Of particular beauty is the custom of having the female friends and relatives of the bride fawn over her before the wedding service — a ritual known as bedecken or besetzen. This custom also allows the groom to know that his veiled bride is truly his betrothed and not bogus. The biblical antecedent is that of Jacob being tricked into marrying Leah instead of his beloved Rachel who had been promised to him. In the opening movement Kale/Besetzen, two Jewish musical traditions are interwoven, and one can hear the recitative of the chazzan (cantor) or the riffs of the klezmer violinist or the clarinetist. The second movement, Processional, portrays the subsequent event of the wedding rite. After the besetzen, the formal processional of the bride and groom begins, preceded immediately by their closest family and friends, with men and women traditionally separated from each other. Klezmer musicians would be present to underscore all of these events with music. TheProcessional is a simple ABA dance,like tune, evoking klezmer and Chassidic melody types with alternating minor and relative major sections. Clarinet and piano engage in playful canons throughout. [Neal Brostoff]
Prof. Michael Beckerman is a specialist in Czech music, nineteenth century music, and national music. The author of Dvorak and His World (Princeton University Press, 1993) and Janacek as Theorist (Pendragon Press, 1994), he received his Ph.D. in 1982 from Columbia University and is a member of the musicology faculty at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Professor Beckerman serves as the President of Czech and Slovak Music Society and is a recipient of the Janacek and Dvorak Medals from the Czech government. In 1989 he received the MLA Publication Award. He was the Chair of the Program Committee for IREX in 1993 and now serves as a Council member of the American Musicological Society. His articles appeared in The Musical Quarterly, Nineteenth Century Music, Notes, and The New York Times. Recent research subjects include a study of the Gypsy culture in Eastern Europe and trans-national ethnic issues. At present, Prof. Beckerman is finishing a book for Norton, entitled New Worlds of Dvorak. He has conducted interviews with NPR, BBC, and PBS television and continues to contribute to “public musicology” in newspapers and on television.
Jan Jakub Bokun studied clarinet at the Wrocław Academy of Music and Conservatoire National Supérieure de Musique de Paris. As a soloist and a member of various chamber ensembles he has been a prize winner of numerous competitions. He has performed in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Holland, Germany, England, and the U.S. Mr. Bokun has made many recordings for the International Clarinet Association and Polish Radio and TV. He has been honoured with the Polish Culture Foundation Award, the French Government Grant and the Scholarship of the Polish Minister of Culture and Arts. His first solo CD will be released by Koch International, Poland, in 1999.
Pianist Neal Brostoff first played solos with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and other orchestras while still in his teens. Active as a chamber musician, Mr. Brostoff performed regularly at the Monday Evening Concert Series with the American Ballet Theater, and in recordings for motion pictures and television. Since 1971, when first employed as a synagogue organist, Mr. Brostoff has promoted Jewish arts education. He is a founding member of the highly acclaimed Brandeis-Bardin Klezmer Ensemble. Since May 1996, Mr. Brostoff has served as the Music Specialist for the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
Clarinetist Leo Chelyapov, founding member of the Brandeis-Bardin Klezmer Ensemble, immigrated to Hollywood after graduating from the Moscow College of Musical Arts in 1993. His artistic activities include concert engagements, soundtrack recordings, and television appearances. Mr. Chelyapov is also very successful as a composer and arranger, collaborating in performances and recordings with such ensembles as the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.
Guitarist Jordan Charnofsky received a Doctor of Musical Arts in Classical Guitar Performance at the University of Southern California. Mr. Charnofsky is currently a member of the education faculty of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony and the artist-in-residence at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, where he also acts as music director. As a featured soloist with symphony orchestras, in solo performances on television shows, during performances in Japan and Russia, Chamofsky excels as a solo performer and ensemble musician.
Prof. Philip Cohen is Artistic Director of the Leonardo Research Project at Concordia University in Montreal. A pianist, performance theorist and analyst, Professor Cohen has enjoyed a distinguished career as coach and consultant to performing artists worldwide. His research into creative variability in highly accomplished musical performers brings a unified perspective to the convergence of cognitive, biological, cultural and aesthetic ordering in the cultivation of virtuoso musicianship.
Dr. Isachar Fater is the leading Israeli expert on Jewish music in Poland. Born in Drobina, Poland, in 1912 as son of the cantor and composer Szmul Icchak Fater, he studied music at the Warsaw Conservatory. He survived the war in the Soviet Union, serving for a while as director of the State Philharmonic in Leningrad. After returning to Poland, Fater directed the culture department of the Central Committee of Polish Jews but left in 1947 to live in Paris, Antwerp, and in Rio de Janeiro. In 1962, he settled in Israel. The results of his life-long passion for documenting the musical culture of Polish Jewry is a monograph about Jewish musicians and singers in inter-bellum Poland (1918-1939), published in Yiddish as Jidishe muzyk in Pojlin swiszin bajde weltmilchomes, later appearing in Polish in 1997. In 1985, Fater published a study of Jewish Music and Its Problems.
Prof. dr. hab. Marian Fuks is affiliated with the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw (since 1968). Born in 1914, he studied journalism and humanities; he spent the war years as a member of the Polish Army, participating in the 1939 campaign, in the defence of Gdańsk and Gdynia. In 1967 Fuks joined the Army reserves in the rank of the colonel, having served as the editor of Przegląd Kwatermistrzowski. His doctoral dissertation, defended at the University of Warsaw, presented the history of Polish military press (1918-1939); his next book was a study of Jewish Press in Warsaw; 1823-1939 (1978). He is the author of the first monograph about Jewish music published in Poland, Muzyka Ocalona [Saved Music], which appeared in 1989. An expert in Jewish folk music, especially Chassidic musical traditions, Prof. Fuks is frequently consulted by composers who search for Jewish folk material. His second area of specialty is the music of the creator of Poland’s national opera, Stanisław Moniuszko. He has published a monograph about Jewish culture in Warsaw [Żydzi w Warszawie, 1996], two volumes of essays, From the Musical Diary, and a book about the Martyrology and Strugg1e of the Polish Jews. He is also a co-author of the album Polish Jews — History and Culture and a contributor to many encyclopedias and biographic dictionaries.
Prof. dr. hab. Maciej Gołąb studied musicology at the University of Warsaw with Prof. Józef Chominski (music history) and Prof. Zofia Lissa (music theory and aesthetics). Since 1978 he has been a faculty member of the Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw, now serving in the rank of Associate Professor (between 1991 and 1996 he was Deputy Director of the Institute). Prof Gołąb specializes in Polish music of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, especially Chopin, Webern and 12-tone music. He is the author of four books, all published in Polish: Dodecaphony, Studies in the Theory and Composition of the First Half of the Twentieth Century (Bydgoszcz 1987 — this study is based on his doctoral dissertation), Chromaticism and Tonality in Chopin’s Music (Krakow 1991, the monograph has also appeared in German), Transformational Changes in Chopin’s Style (Krakow 1993 — an edited volume of studies), and Józef Koffler (Krakow: Musica Iagellonica 1995). Prof. Gołąb teaches in Warsaw and Wrocław, and is currently the General Editor of the Polish Musicological Quarterly, Muzyka, and a member of the Editorial Board for an online Polish Music Journal.
Prof. Halina Goldberg is an American scholar of Polish Jewish descent, a Chopin specialist whose doctoral dissertation dealt with the social context of F. Chopin’s early life in Warsaw, and who is presently completing a book on music in Chopin’s Warsaw. Prof. Goldberg received her Ph.D. from the Queens College and Graduate School, City University of New York. This study presents a new direction in her research into various aspects of musical life in nineteenth century Europe. Since the Fall of 1998 Dr. Goldberg has been an Assistant Professor of Musicology at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Clarinetist Zinovy Goro was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and received his education at the State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Kiev, followed by further training in the United States at the Trebas Institute of Recording Arts in Los Angeles. Prior to his arrival in America, Mr. Goro was the principal clarinetist in the State honored Symphony Orchestra of Radio and Television. In the U.S., he has played in countless television and motion picture soundtracks and orchestra recordings for the Columbia, Decca, Philips, and RCA labels. As a composer, arranger, and clarinetist, Mr. Goro has worked with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Currently, he is the principal clarinetist for the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony.
Dr. Anna Granat-Janki (b. 1957) studied Music Theory at the National Academy of Music in Wrocław, Poland, graduating with honors in 1981. In 1985, she was awarded the French Government Grant which enabled her to study musical analysis and music aesthetics at the Sorbonne University, and to research the life and works of Aleksander Tansman. After obtaining her doctorate in the humanities in 1992 with a dissertation entitled Form in the Music of Alexander Tansman, she has published a book about this topic and several articles concerning the output of this composer. Dr. Granat-Janki has participated in various conferences in Poland and abroad and is on the committee of the honorary society Les Amis d’Alexandre Tansman based in Paris. She currently teaches at the Wrocław Academy of Music, pursuing her interests in the history and theory of twentieth century music.
Jolanta Guzy-Pasiak (b. 1968) is affiliated with the Institute of Arts of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Since she graduated from the Institute of Musicology at the Warsaw University, her interests focused on twentieth century music (especially the oeuvre of Karol Rathaus) and on Polish early music for plucked strings instruments. Ms. Guzy-Pasiak is the author of several publications concerning Polish early music and she has participated in the Institute of Arts’ Central Catalogue of Historical Monuments project. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation about the music of Karol Rathaus under the supervision of Prof. M. Gołąb.
Dr. Christopher Hailey is an independent scholar who specializes in early twentieth century music history. His publications include a biography of Franz Schreker, an edition of the correspondence between Schreker and the critic Paul Becker, editions of music by Alban Berg and Franz Schreker, and the translation of the Berg/Schoenberg correspondence and Theodor W. Adorno’s study on Berg. He is currently writing a biography of Schoenberg for Cambridge University Press. Dr. Hailey is director of the Franz Schreker Foundation and an artistic consultant for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Asst. Prof. Maria Anna Harley (Maja Trochimczyk), was born in Warsaw and studied musicology at the University of Warsaw (M.A. 1986) and sound engineering at the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw (M.A. 1987). She earned her Ph.D. in musicology from McGill University in Montreal in 1994 for a dissertation dealing with the notion of space in contemporary music. After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at McGill devoted to a study of Polish music after 1945, Dr. Harley joined the faculty of the School of Music, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1996). She is currently Assistant Professor of Music History and Literature and the S. & W. Wilk Director of the Polish Music Reference Center. Her research interests focus on music of the twentieth century and Polish musical culture. Her publications have appeared in American Music, Contemporary Music Review, Joumal of Musicological Research, The Musical Quarterly, Muzyka, and other journals and books. She is currently the General Editor of the Polish Music History Series (for Friends of Polish Music and Pendragon Press), and the Editor of the new, online, peer-reviewedjoumal, the Polish Music Journa1.
Dr. Martina Homma is a leading German specialist in Polish music. She studied Slavic languages, piano, music theory, German, musicology, and philosophy at the University of Cologne, Cracow Academy of Music and at the University of Warsaw. Her 1997 dissertation about the music of Witold Lutosławski received the highest academic award of “opus eximium” at the University of Cologne. Dr. Homma’s research interests include new music, sketch research, music history and the present situation in Eastern Europe, problems of reception and analysis, nineteenth century music aesthetics, and gender studies. She edited a book on Krzysztof Meyer and wrote over 20 scholarly papers and book chapters, mainly about twentieth century Polish music; she has also written entries for reference works, e.g. Komponisten der Gegenwart, Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Dr. Homma is a frequent contributor to the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Neue Musikzeitung, MusikTexte, and Muzyka; her radio programs were broadcast by Bayerischer Rundfunk, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Deutschland Radio, etc. A member of the board of the ISCM Cologne section ( KGNM), and of the editorial board of the Polish Music Journal, Dr. Homma is currently a Guest Professor of musicology at the University of Siegen.
Vocal coach and song recitalist Victoria Kirsch received her education at the Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara campuses of the University of California. Ms. Kirsch has served as a vocal coach for several Southern California opera companies and the Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and as a judge for the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions. In addition to numerous appearances in Southern California concert series such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Sundays at Four, Ms. Kirsch has concertized throughout the United States. She is currently serving as a vocal coach and teacher of song interpretation at the University of Southern California.
Sherry Kloss received her education at the Juilliard School of Music and holds the prestigious Honorary Degree of Excellence from Italy’s Academia Chigiana Musicale. Ms. Kloss served as master-teaching assistant to Jascha Heifetz who willed her the Heifetz-Tononi violin. In addition to pursuing an international solo career, Ms. Kloss is strongly dedicated to education, teaching master classes in music conservatories, universities and music festivals throughout the world, including a recent residency at The Eastman School of Music. Ms. Kloss serves as adjudicator for competitions, and makes sound recordings as well as television appearances.
Paul W. Knoll is professor of History and three-time Chair of the Department of History at the University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 1964, and has published widely on late medieval and Renaissance Polish history, including the Kosciuszko Prize winning book The Rise of the Polish Monarchy: Piast Poland in East Central Europe, 1320- 1370. His current interests focus on the history of the jagiellonian University in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Professor Knoll is a member of the editorial board for The Polish Review and has, since 1986, been a member of the Board of Directors for the New York based Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America (Polski Instytut Naukowy w Ameryce).
Mezzo-soprano Agnieszka Lejman has performed throughout the Los Angeles area with Long Beach Opera, L.A. Opera Chorus, I Cantori, and the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, and recently on a national tour with the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra and Anonymous 4. In summer 1997 she participated in a national workshop program with OperaWorks. Ms. Lejman is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California where she received her M.A. degree in Early Music Performance. Her thesis discusses the music of Barbara Strozzi.
Radosław Materka is pursuing his Master’s Degree in piano performance at the University of Southern California under the guidance of Prof. Daniel Pollack. A native of Słupsk, Poland, Mr. Materka graduated magna cum laude from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, where he studied piano performance and pedagogy with Prof. Ingrid Clarfield and piano accompanying with Dr. J. J. Penna. Recently, Mr. Materka won the NJMTNA Annual Piano Competition and the Arthur Dillsner Memorial Scholarship Competition in New York City. In March 1996, he performed at the Weill Carnegie Recital Hall as a part of the New York Music Teacher’s Association Annual Concert. Mr. Materka was a participant in master classes conducted by Alexander Fiorillo and John Perry. He has performed the Grieg piano concerto as well as several concerti by Mozart and Beethoven with the Slupsk Chamber Orchestra, and, most recently, Ravel’s piano concerto in G-Major with the Westminster Conservatory Orchestra.
Barbara Milewski is a Ph.D. candidate in musicology at Princeton University. After studies in political sciences at Bowdoin College, Ms. Milewski received master’s degrees in music history and in musicology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and at Princeton University. A recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, Ms. Milewski is currently completing her doctoral dissertation on the history of the mazurka, “The Mazurka and National Imaginings,” which explores musical nationalism in representative works by Chopin, Balakirev, Szymanowski and Tansman. In 1996 she was the recipient of an NSEP fellowship which enabled her to do doctoral research in Poland. She presently holds a Kosciuszko Foundation Dissertation Writing Grant. Ms. Milewski’s other research interests include popular music of the inter-war period in Poland, and political prisoners’ songs of the Nazi concentration camps. She has worked as a music consultant for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
Hankus Netsky is an instructor of jazz, Jewish music, and contemporary improvisation at Boston’s New England Conservatory, where he served ten years as chairman of Jazz Studies. He is the founder and director of the Klezmer Conservatory Band and has composed music to a number of popular films, videos, plays, and radio projects. Mr. Netsky has produced numerous Jewish music recordings, and has played a prominent role in Itzhak Perlman’s “In The Fiddler’s House” project. He is currently finishing a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University.
Belgian-born harpist Dominique PIANA received her education from the Royal Academy of Music in Brussels, from Frederique Cambreling in Paris, and the Claremont Graduate University. Ms. Piana has performed throughout the Unites States and Europe. While exploring the Sephardic tradition with cantor Gregory Yaroslaw, she collaborates with violinist Sherry Kloss. Piana champions contemporary solo works for the harp and records extensively. Ms. Piana currently holds the position of Adjunct Professor of Harp at the University of Redlands and La Sierra University, developing new creative approaches to teaching.
Throughout his career, pianist Donald PIRONE has dedicated himself to the promotion of twentieth century music. Having premiered several new works, he has also explored earlier twentieth century music, reviving and introducing works by lesser known composers, among them Karol Rathaus, whose piano concerto he has recorded to great acclaim with the London Symphony Orchestra. His research and study of the solo piano music of Karol Rathaus culminated in his doctoral dissertation at New York University, where he earned his Ph.D. Dr. Pirone is currently a member of the performance faculty at The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.
Dr. Kathleen Roland is active as a soloist in the realms of contemporary and orchestral music and opera. She has performed at international music festivals (e.g. The Britten-Pears Institute in England, Tanglewood where she was a fellow in 1992, 1993) as well as in numerous Southern California concert series (Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella series, Los Angeles County Museum series, Southwest Chamber Music Society). She also sung with Long Beach Opera and Pacific Serenades Chamber Music Series. Her repertory ranges from such works as Pierrot Lunaire to the roles of Siebel (Faust), Giulietta (Tales of Hoffmann) and Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus). Ms. Roland holds a doctorate of Musical Arts in vocal performance from the University of Southern California and is currently lecturing professor of voice on the faculty of USC. She is also on the faculty of the Pro Voce Vocal Intensive Retreat in New York and California, where she teaches classes on American art song and the performance of contemporary music.
Dr. Linda Schubert holds a Ph.D. in musicology/music history from the University of Michigan. Her area of study is film music and how it is used to shape viewers’ conceptions of history in period films and motion pictures from the 1940s and 50s. An independent scholar affiliated with UCLA, Dr. Schubert is the author of several articles published in the United States and Canada as well as a dissertation, Soundtracking the Past: Early Music and its Representations in Selected History Films.
Prof. James Smith is chair of the Classical Guitar Department at the University of Southern California. He is an active performer and has given numerous recitals throughout the United States both as soloist and chamber musician. Mr. Smith has premiered works by Musgrave, Reich, and Bogdanovich among others, and his recordings include first recordings of works by Schickele, Crockett, Pfister, and others. He served as president of the Guitar Foundation of America, and in 1986 organized the Segovia Master Classes and Commemorative, a two-week long tribute that was an event of international significance.
Dr. Martin Schüssler researched Rathaus’s music since 1992, completing his doctoral dissertation in 1997 at the Freie Universität Berlin. This pioneering work drew upon hitherto unknown sources in Europe and the U.S. including the composers’ private papers. Dr. Schüssler published several articles on Rathaus and helped to “rediscover” the composer’s music by editing his works for publication and performance.
Prof. Anna Szpilberg is Artist-in-Residence in Concordia University’s Leonardo Project (Montreal). A native of Poland she received her Diploma in Piano from the State School of Music (Bielsko-Biała), with adjunct studies in Warsaw on a special scholarship with the distinguished pianist and scholar, Jerzy Lefeld. After emigrating to Canada she earned a B.A. (with Distinction) at the McGill University (class of Charles Reiner). Her post-graduate work has included the Banff Advanced Music Program, Indiana University, and Graduate Diploma in Advanced Music Performance Studies at Concordia University. Ms. Szpilberg has concertized throughout North America and Europe in solo recitals as well as with orchestra and chamber music ensembles. Her tours included Poland — on invitation from the Fryderyk Chopin Society she performed at Chopin’s home in Żelazowa Wola. A recipient of Canada Council Artist Grants, Ms. Szpilberg has been featured artist in two documentary films: Beyond 2000 for Australian Television, aired in 82 countries (1993), and Shaping the Invisible for the Discovery Channel in Canada (1994-5). Ms. Szpilberg is on the faculty of Concordia University’s Music Department where she teaches piano and conducts performance seminars, as well as classes in the repertoire of piano performance.
Bret Werb has served as musicologist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. since 1992. He is a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Prof. Piotr Wróbel is a specialist in “minority” issues in Polish history. He graduate Magna Cum Laude in European History from Warsaw University (1977) where in 1984 he completed a doctoral dissertation about Veteran Movement in Germany, 1918-1939. This dissertation became one of Prof. Wróbel’s publications, soon joined by studies of the emergence of independent Poland after World War I (1988), the development of Byelorussian national awareness (1990), and the Jewish community in Poland. The author of The Outline of the History of the Jews in Polish Lands, 1870- 1918 (1991), Wróbel is one of the authors of A Contemporary History of the Jews in Poland (1993, with Józef Adelson, Teresa Prekerowa and Jerzy Tomaszewski), a contributor to The Golden Age and Beyond: Polish-Jewish Historyb(ed. Jacques Kornberg, 1997), and the co-editor of The Second Polish Republic. A Selection of Primary Sources (1990), Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Second Polish Republic (1992), Historical Dictionary of Poland 1945-1995 (1996). Prof. Wróbel was a research scholar at the Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw (1990-91), at the University of California, Davis (1989, 1992-4), a visiting professor at the University of Michigan (1989-90), Michigan State University (1991), and a research fellow at the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw (since 1995). He also taught history at the University of Warsaw (including a pioneering course on the history of Polish Jewry) before assuming his current post as the endowed chair in Polish History at the University of Toronto (in the rank of Associate Professor, 1994).