|Polish Music Center|
The Polish Music Center (PMC) is a research and information center devoted to gathering and disseminating knowledge about all aspects of Polish music to researchers, students, and music lovers. In addition to the information available on our extensive website, the PMC publishes a monthly Newsletter, a semi-annual scholarly Polish Music Journal, as well as the Polish Music History Series, published since 1982. The PMC is associated with the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, Robert Cutietta, Dean, and together we organize many concerts and special events.
The PMC houses the largest collection of Polish music in the U.S. and is the only center at an American university devoted solely to Polish music. Selected items from our collection are available on loan for exhibitions (see Reference Services). Copies of PMC-owned materials may be obtained for a fee. Copyrighted materials still in print are subject to appropriate clearances from publishers. Copies of manuscripts and early prints may be provided for research purposes only. Users of PMC materials are required to acknowledge the Polish Music Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, as the owner and source of the materials.
The Center is located in Stonier Hall (STO) on the USC University Park Campus: 837 Downey Way, Los Angeles, Room 120 (1st floor, East hallway). Until September 2000, it was known as the "Polish Music Reference Center." For further information on all Polish Music Center's services, including applicable fees, please write, call or e-mail:
Polish Music Center
Joanna Bruzdowicz * Henryk Górecki * Jacek Kaspszyk
Zygmunt Krauze * Marta Ptaszyńska * Stanisław Skrowaczewski
Adrian Thomas * Teresa Zylis-Gara * Krystian Zimerman
Dr. Stefan Wilk and Mrs. Wanda Wilk
Wanda Bacewicz * Alina Baird-Sawicka * Witold Lutosławski
Dr. & Mrs. Zbigniew Petrovich * Dr. & Mrs. Clark Halstead * Helena Nowicka, M.D.
Dr. & Mrs. Kenneth Harris * Lottie Harasimowicz * Dr. & Mrs. Matthew S. Mickiewicz
who receive a name plate on the wall of the PMC library room).
The Polish Manuscript Collection at the PMC was created in 1985 with a gift of five original manuscripts from Witold Lutosławski (with Mi-Parti, Paroles tissées, Prelues and Fugue, and Novelette). Works by Grażyna Bacewicz, Tadeusz Baird, Joanna Bruzdowicz, Marta Ptaszyńska and Stanisław Skrowaczewski created the core of the collection, enlarged in 2000-2002 by gifts from over 30 Polish composers (Rafał Augustyn, Zbigniew Bujarski, Krzysztof Knittel, Zygmunt Krauze, Hanna Kulenty, Szymon Laks, Roman Maciejewski, Krystyna Moszumanska-Nazar, Krzysztof Meyer, Krzysztof Penderecki, Elżbieta Sikora, Edward Sielicki, Aleksander Tansman, Romuald Twardowski, Tadeusz Wielecki, Lidia Zielińska, and many others).
Lutosławski's Manuscripts, photo by Maja Trochimczyk, 2000.
The Center has organized various festivals, conferences and special events dedicated to Polish music, including:
The creators and sponsors of the Wilk Prizes, Dr. Stefan Wilk and Mrs. Wanda Wilk, initiated the competition for best essays on Polish music written in English by a non-Polish author in 1982. The competition is intended to stimulate research on Polish music in academic circles outside of Poland. The winners include such experts in Polish music as Stephen Downes, Jeffrey Kallberg, Martina Homma, Anne McNamee, Barbara Milewski, James Parakilas, Sandra Rosenblum, John Rink, Adrian Thomas, and others. The prizes are awarded in two independent competitions, each held biennially (in different years):
The Polish Music Center provides information about various aspects of Polish music to researchers, students, and music lovers. Copies of PMC-owned materials may be obtained for a fee (basic handling fee of $20 plus additional copying costs, in the case of large items). For copyrighted, in-print material the Center will refer you to the publishers. Copies of manuscripts and early prints will be provided for research purposes only. E-mail inquiries are answered without charge, unless large scans of pictures or text files are requested.
Certain parts of our collection are available on loan for exhibitions about such composers as Karol Szymanowski, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, and others. Users are expected to pay a one-time loan fee of minimum $50, or more if numerous items are requested, and return all borrowed item after the completion of their exhibition.
All users of our reference services are asked to acknowledge the Polish Music Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, as the owner of the material provided to them, when using it in their research and/or publications (the specific copyright formulae will be provided with copies of the items).
Officially dedicated in January of 1985 in the presence of Witold Lutosławski and other distinguished guests, the endowment fund of the Polish Music Reference Center has grown over the years, enlarged by generous contributions and donations from the Wilk family, Witold Lutosławski, Dr. and Mrs. Zbigniew Petrovich, Dr. and Mrs. Clark Halstead, Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Harris, Dr. Helena Nowicka, and Lottie Harasimowicz. The Center's Manuscript Collection began with the donations of manuscripts by Stanisław Skrowaczewski and Witold Lutosławski in 1985. In subsequent years manuscripts by Grażyna Bacewicz (gift of Wanda Bacewicz), Tadeusz Bird (gift of Alina Baird-Sawicka), Szymon Laks (gift of Andre Laks), Krzysztof Meyer, and of works by Lutosławski and Penderecki (gift of Józef Patkowski), further enlarged the Collection.
The first Director of the Center, Wanda Wilk, introduced many initiatives and programs, beginning in 1982 with a series of books on Polish music. She also established the Wilk Prizes for Research in Polish music, enlarged the Center's collection of books, scores, recordings, and manuscripts. During her eleven year tenure, she organized numerous concerts featuring music by Polish composers, answered all inquiries about Polish music, and served as an invaluable resource to scholars and others interested parties. Wanda Wilk continues to support activities of Polish Music Center as its Honorary Director, past Editor of Polish Music History book series, and the President of Friends of Polish Music.
Marek Żebrowski, a pianist and composer with a distinguished worldwide concert and academic career became the new Director of Polish Music Center in September of 2004. The Center's new Manager and Librarian, Krysta Close, is a graduate of USC Vocal Arts Program and has performed throughout the United States. Using their backgrounds in performance, the Center's new leadership will continue to promote Polish music through book, journal and newsletter publications, and organizing concerts throughout Southern California.
The library contains manuscripts, scores, books, periodicals, and recordings of Polish music. At the moment about 600 items are in the USC Libraries online catalog system (HOMER). You might also visit the site about our Manuscripts. The library is open on weekdays: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
In residence at USC through next Wednesday, Lutosławski is conducting and rehearsing his own music and is talking to students and faculty at the university. He will also attend the inauguration of the new Polish Music Reference Center at USC where he will donate five of his personal manuscripts - Novelette, Mi-Parti, Preludes and Fugue, Mini Overture, and Paroles tissées. [Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times, March 1985]
Górecki took back his Symphony, making a highly unlikely appearance to conduct it with the USC Symphony Orchestra and soprano Elizabeth Hynes at USC's Bovard Auditorium as the high point of the School of Music's five-day Górecki Autumn festival. The performance was simply extraordinary, practically unfathomable under the circumstances. Górecki's personality is like a force of nature, and he achieved an intensity that I have never heard equaled in this music from far more accomplished professional orchestras. At the end of the performance Górecki, as irresistibly impetuous as ever, excitedly clawed the cellophane of a bouquet handed him so he could share the flowers with the orchestra. It was one more gesture of triumph, and triumph this concert was for USC and its Polish Music Reference Center, which lured the composer out in to public in a way no one else could have.
[Mark Swed in Los Angeles Times, October 1997]
Not until October 3, 1997 did anyone outside Poland hear Górecki conduct the symphony that made him world famous. Thanks to the efforts of Stefan and Wanda Wilk—two staunch local champions of Polish music—and the Polish Music Reference Center, USC not only lured Górecki onto Bovard Auditorium it built a five-day mini-festival called Górecki Autumn around his appearance, adding two chamber music concerts, a symposium and lecture.
[Richard S. Ginell, American Record Guide, January/February 1998]
In December 1996 I returned from a trip to Germany singing the praises of a young composer named Hanna Kulenty (b. 1961) . . . Kulenty was at USC last Saturday, participating in panels organized by the School's Polish Music Reference Center on what it means to be a Polish composer and what it means to be a woman composer. At night three chamber works by Kulenty were performed, one, A Sixth Circle, for trumpet and piano, had its world premiere. . . . I will continue to sing her praises. What I have heard of Kulenty tells me of a head-strong experimenter with some powerful ideas about pounding on and rewarding a hearer's senses. . . . Tell me about there not being any new composers.
[Alan Rich, "A Little Night Music" in Los Angeles Weekly, April 1998]
Last week the Polish Music Center at USC presented an engrossing two-day academic conference on Polish Jewish music, along with two concerts that paid particular attention to three all-but-forgotten composers who were victims, in one way or another, of the Holocaust. [...] The Holocaust did an effective job of terminating the category of Polish Jewish music. And we can again credit our search for its meaning for reminding us of the likes of Józef Koffler, Karol Rathaus and Alexandre Tansman, Polish Jewish composers who thrived before the war.
[Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, November 1998]
An ambitious music lover and web surfer will be delighted to find the English-language pages about Polish music on the server of the University of Southern California. The pages include a monthly newsletter about music in Poland, numerous important links, and a semi-annual academic Polish Music Journal with scholarly articles about Polish music. . . Everything that the Polish Music Center now offers about music remains a true gift of Providence. There is no time or room here to describe all the achievements of the Californian center—it should be a subject of a different article.
[Grzegorz Zieziula, Rzeczpospolita, September 2000]
This richly textured collection of essays, employing diverse historical and analytical methodologies, considers "the three Polish composers of the greatest international significance over two centuries"—Chopin, Szymanowski, and Lutosławski—and "topics of music and national identity." Trochimczyk's Introduction and her notes to the historical essays of Part I provide valuable orientation and background. The variety of significant subject matter and recurring themes—including issues of Polish national culture, the methodological richness, and the originality of thought make this volume an important source for anyone seriously interested in Polish music.
[Review of Trochimczyk's After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music, Sandra P. Rosenblum, Notes, June 2002]
Every so often, the Polish Music Center at USC reminds us—with festivals, conferences, and concerts—that Polish music did not begin and most certainly did not end with Chopin. This year, it has come up with a new way of bringing music-making Poles to the wider attention, by instigating an annual Paderewski Lecture. USC's connection with the legendary Polish pianist, composer and statesman is that the University gave an honorary degree to Ignacy Jan Paderewski in 1923, and the center holds some of his papers. The first "lecture" Friday night in Newman Hall featured the Polish composer and pianist Zygmunt Krauze. Though more concert than discourse, Krauze did touch on matters Polish, such as explaining the historical traditions of folk music and dance. He had the use of a local troupe, Polish folk Dance Ensemble Krakusy, which demonstrated the steps of the polonaise and mazurka. And Krauze connected his own modern style to Chopin by playing a mazurka and polonaise augmented with his improvisations. But interesting as this was, the real value of Krauze's appearance was simply to provide an arresting composer, a major figure in Europe though inexplicably little known in America, with a rare local forum
Though more concert than discourse, Krauze did touch on matters Polish, such as explaining the historical traditions of folk music and dance. He had the use of a local troupe, Polish folk Dance Ensemble Krakusy, which demonstrated the steps of the polonaise and mazurka. And Krauze connected his own modern style to Chopin by playing a mazurka and polonaise augmented with his improvisations. But interesting as this was, the real value of Krauze's appearance was simply to provide an arresting composer, a major figure in Europe though inexplicably little known in America, with a rare local forum.
[Review of the First Annual Paderewski Lecture given by Zygmunt Krauze; by Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2002]