|Polish Music Newsletter|
AN EVENING OF SOUND AND IMAGE
Held on March 28, 2015, this year’s PMC spring concert was a truly special affair. Organized as part of the prestigious Visions & Voices event series at USC, it celebrated ‘visual music’ through the juxtaposition of live musical performance and short film or animation projections. Entitled “Measures & Frames,” the concert’s goal was the exploration of the serendipitous connections made within the real-time merger of music and the moving image. The concert program featured works for string quartet by composers Thomas Adès, Joanna Bruzdowicz, Jeffrey Holmes, Veronika Krausas, and Marek Zebrowski. Each of their compositions was paired with video presentations by filmmakers David Lynch, Michael Patterson, Candace Reckinger, and Agnès Varda. The performers for this memorable evening were the Penderecki String Quartet and soprano Rebekah Ann Barton.
Held in the Alfred Newman Recital Hall, the concert began with an evocative montage of scenes from Agnès Varda’s 1985 feature film, Sans toit ni loit [Vagabond]. Once filming was complete, Varda heard Polish composer Joanna Bruzdowicz’s String Quartet No. 1 “La Vita” and decided to use the haunting music of the quartet’s second movement in her film, a poignantly-narrated story depicting the demise of a young homeless woman. As the film was projected on a huge screen covering the entire back wall of Newman Hall, from the darkened stage the Penderecki String Quartet gently launched into the plaintive opening of Bruzdowicz’s quartet, instantly creating a magical mood for the audience.
Sans toit ni loit [Vagabond] by Agnès Varda
behind the Penderecki String Quartet
Three short movements from Jeff Holmes’s String Quartet No. 2 Kirugi followed, to the accompaniment of video images newly created for the occasion by Michael Patterson, Candace Reckinger and a group of their students from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Varying between abstract and geometrical and semi-realistic shots of a deserted Highway 1 on California’s Central Coast, the imagery provided a new dimension to Holmes’s fluid musical statement.
Another USC composer, Veronika Krausas, was represented on the program by her midaregami, a work for string quartet and soprano in seven movements dating from 1996. Soprano soloist Rebekah Barton added a beautiful layer to the spare and rarefied string textures employed by Krausas for accompanying of poems by Akiko Yosano. Patterson and Reckinger’s videos here relied on graphic conventions from the late Meiji and Taisho era aesthetics, which complimented the overall theme.
The Patterson/Reckinger team and their students drew upon the overt literary, musical and cultural references present in Thomas Adès’s 1994 Arcadiana for their visual representations of his music. Video footage of Venice, water scenes, and dancing skeletons flowed from such movement titles as Venezia notturno, Auf dem Wasser zu singen, and Et… (tango mortale). The music itself—both dense and ethereal in turn—provided the biggest challenge of the evening for the filmmakers, performers and the audience.
The program closed with the American premiere of a 2015 animation short by David Lynch, entitled Fire (Pożar), with music written by Marek Zebrowski. In this case, Zebrowski’s accompanying Music for David was written after the animation was complete, and the inspiration that was taken from Lynch’s hand-drawn, stark black and white imagery was clear and direct. After many years of musical collaboration, the synergy between these two artists yielded an exquisite blending of tone, which was then expertly matched by the Penderecki String Quartet in perfect synchronicity with the film.
Immediately following the concert, filmmakers David Lynch, Mike Patterson and Candace Reckinger were joined on stage for a Q&A by composers Joanna Bruzdowicz, Jeffrey Holmes and Marek Zebrowski and violinist Jeremy Bell representing the Quartet. Moderated by Veronika Krausas, who was the leading team member on this complicated and exciting Visions & Voices project, the panel had a chance to share with the audience some of their thoughts on both the inspiration and the technical challenges of this particular concert.
The overflowing crowds in Newman seemed to enjoy the immersive experience of hearing excellent musicians in an inspiring setting, with simultaneous video projected on three sides of Newman Hall. Being surrounded by images and music and synthesizing the experience in a live setting was certainly something one never encounters in movie theatres, and rarely at concerts. Three digital projectors especially installed in Newman for this concert were expertly run by Michael Fullman and Vartan Tchekmediyan from VT Pro Design. The entire staff of Newman Hall and of Visions & Voices, with Daria Yudacufski and Mary Megowan in the forefront, made sure that everything went very smoothly indeed. The audience—including many leading LA filmmakers, artists, and a large cross-section of USC students—will certainly treasure impressions of this extraordinary event for a long time.
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PMC DIRECTOR ABOUT TOWN
Pacific Symphony / Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
In addition to preparing for this summer’s Paderewski Festival Youth Cultural Exchange (June/July), and the fall’s Paderewski Lecture (Oct. 18) and Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles (Nov. 5-8), during the month of April PMC Director Marek Zebrowski will be involved in several musical events in L.A. First is an April 14 lecture on the subject of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. The lecture is organized by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), in relation to the Pacific Symphony’s performance of the same work at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall during the weekend following the lecture.
L.A. Musical Salon
On April 18, 2015, the L.A. Musical Salon will host a dinner concert with the City of Angels Saxophone Quartet—Bill Wilson, soprano sax, Sean Stackpoole, alto sax, Cynthia Swanson, tenor sax, and Matt Germaine, baritone sax. In a unique and fun multimedia concert, the group will swing from classical to jazz and Big Band, including a short but fascinating visual tour through the history of saxophone quartets. The evening will also include the West Coast premiere of Valse Scherzo, a saxophone quartet composed by PMC Director, Marek Zebrowski, based on a short waltz theme written by military hero and amateur musician, Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Kościuszko (1746-1817).
RECENT DONATIONS TO THE PMC LIBRARY
From Polish dermatologist Michal Kasperkiewicz, who is currently doing research at USC:
From Marek Szlezer and Jan Kalinowski of the Cracow Duo:
From Jerzy Kapłanek and the Penderecki String Quartet (CDs)
Thank you for expanding our collection!
WORLD PREMIERES OF POLISH MODERN MUSIC
During the third weekend of April, Katowice will become ground zero for new music. From April 17-19, 2015, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) will host the Festival of Premieres of Polish Modern Music in their new venue. This is the sixth edition of the festival and almost 30 pieces by Polish composers of various generations will be presented in a series of several exciting concerts.
Besides NOSPR, such ensembles as AUKSO Orchestra of the City of Tychy, the Katowice Vocal Ensemble, Camerata Silesia, Silesian String Quartet, Kwartludium, and Orchestra for New Music will be heard in performance with soloists, including Marco Blaauw, Dario Calderone, Maciej Frąckiewicz, Joanna Freszel, Marcin Koziak, Piotr Sałajczyk, and Tomasz Strahl.
This biennial Festival has been held in Katowice since 2005 and the idea for it came from director Joanna Wnuk-Nazar, who stated already ten years ago that, “The Festival of World Premieres aims to present to music lovers—those attending concerts in Katowice and those listening to Polish Radio’s Program II—the widest possible spectrum of the latest works by our contemporary composers.” By design, this Festival presents only those works that weren’t performed anywhere before or didn’t have a Polish premiere thus far.
This year’s concert programs are as follows, with World Premieres marked in bold (all other pieces are Polish Premieres):
April 17, 2015 | 5 p.m.
April 17, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.
April 18, 2015 | 12 p.m.
April 18, 2015 | 5 p.m.
April 18, 2015 | 7:30 p.m.
April 19, 2015 | 12 p.m.
April 19, 2015 | 6 p.m.
* The world premieres of the above works by Justyna Kowalska-Lasoń, Sławomir Wojciechowski, Hanna Kulenty, PRASQUALA, Maciej Jabłoński, Jan Duszyński, Rafał Augustyn, Marcin Bortnowski, Cezary Duchnowski and Andrzej Kwieciński were co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Republic of Poland (MKiDN) within the program “Collections” [Kolekcje] – spotlighting “Commissioned Compositions” [Zamówienia kompozytorskie] as implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT).
COMPOSER ALIVE: POLAND PRESENTS STULGIŃSKA PREMIERE
Access Contemporary Music (ACM) has teamed up with the Polish Consulate and 98.7 WFMT to celebrate the vibrant legacy of Polish classical music in Chicago. Held on April 10, the concert presents music by some of the most esteemed living composers in Poland today, including Krzysztof Penderecki, and the culmination of an exciting collaboration with Warsaw composer Agnieszka Stulgińska. As a part of their annual Composer Alive project, Stulgińska will be present for the World Premiere of her new piece Dance With my Breathwritten especially for ACM and performed by ACM’s Palomar Ensemble.
In keeping with the Composer Alive format, Stulgińska wrote the new piece in three installments for the Palomar Ensemble to perform and record between January and March. After having collaborated with Palomar over email and video throughout the process, the April 10 premiere will be the final step in the creation and presentation of this new work.
Also on the program: Moon Flowers by Marta Ptaszyńska, In C by Marcel Chyrzyński, Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio by Krzysztof Penderecki, Seven One Minute Waltzes by Alicja Gronau, Shades of Ice by Agata Zubel and Quatour pour la naissance by Zygmunt Krauze
ACCORDION CONFERENCE & WORLD PREMIERES
From April 9-10, the conference "Between tradition and avant-garde – accordion in the musical culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries" will be held at the F. Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. Organized by the Międzyuczelniana Katedra Accordionistyki—an inter-departmental organization encompassing music academies in Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Krakowi Łódź, Poznań, Warsaw and Wrocław—this Jubilee Conference celebrates 50 years of accordion education at the Warsaw Academy of Music (now known as the F. Chopin University of Music in Warsaw).
Below is a listing of the programs of world premieres that will be presented during the conference:
* The world premieres of the works by Michał Moc and Miłosz Bembinow were co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Republic of Poland (MKiDN) within the program “Collections” [Kolekcje] – spotlighting “Commissioned Compositions” [Zamówienia kompozytorskie] as implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT).
PREMIERES AT POZNAŃ SPRING
The 44th edition of the International Festival of Contemporary Music "Poznań Musical Spring" was held on March 23-30, 2015. Showing a great respect for tradition, the festival program reminded audiences of the works that constitute the canon of Polish twentieth century music, but also presented new compositions by young composers and highlighted interesting phenomena in music currently being created by both Polish and foreign artists. As always, admission to all concerts during the week of the "Poznań Musical Spring" was free.
Premieres are an important part of all festivals of new music, and so it is with the Poznań Spring. This year, audiences heard 9 new works for the first time by the following Polish composers:
Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska (left) —Hommage a Marc Chagall for string quartet (2014/2015): premiered on 3/27 by the NeoQuartet
Barbara Kaszuba—Innuendoes for piano solo (2014/2015): premiered on 3/24 by Tomasz Sośniak, piano
Piotr Moss (left) —Berceuses pour Hugo for two flutes (2012): premiered on 3/25 by Łukasz Długosz and Agata Kielar-Długosz, flutes
Bogusław Schaeffer—Kwartet na cztery altówki (2011): premiered on 3/29 by Lech Bałaban, Kamil Babka, Beata Żołnierczyk and Andrzej Hop, violas
Audiences also heard two premieres by foreign composers:
GERPE PERFORMS SZYMANOWSKI IN DOWNTOWN L.A.
On April 28, the prestigious Piano Spheres continues its new Satellite Series of emerging pianists with pianist Nic Gerpe, Los Angeles-based concerto soloist and chamber musician who has performed throughout U.S and international festivals. On his program “Ces Espaces Infinis,” Gerpe will perform Karol Szymanowski’s Métopes, Op. 29: L’île des Sirènes, Calypso, Nausicaa, as well as works by Alexina Louie, Juhi Bansai and George Crumb. The concert will take place in the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), an interdisciplinary contemporary arts center for innovative visual, performing and media arts located in downtown Los Angeles inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex.
Gerpe (left above) is one half of the Panic Duo
POLISH MUSIC & PERFORMERS IN LONDON
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Grzegorz Nowak
On Sunday , April 19, Polish maestro Grzegorz Nowak will lead the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) in an unmissable matinee of Tchaikovsky's most celebrated works. Nowak has held the role of Permanent Associate Conductor of the RPM since January 2015, before which he served as the ensemble’s Principal Associate Conductor from 2008-2015. The April 19 program will feature the incomparable Piano Concerto No.1, performed by the talented Alexandra Dariescu, and the one and only 1812 Overture, followed with a sensational firework finale to end this breathtaking gala.
Royal Opera House / Król Roger / Mariusz Kwiecień & Agnes Zwierko
Starting May 1, the Royal Opera House will present a new staging of Karol Szymanowski's sumptuously scored opera, Król Roger [King Roger]. According to the ROH website, “Kasper Holten's new production (The Royal Opera's first) finds in Roger's indecision an expression of the struggle we all face – the struggle between intelligence and instinct in what is the innate duality of human nature.” Król Roger will be sung in Polish by an all-star cast that includes two Polish artists: baritone Mariusz Kwiecień, who has been championing the title role of this opera around the world in recent new productions, and mezzo-soprano Agnes Zwierko, who will sing the role of Deaconess.
London Symphony Orchestra / Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1
On May 3 at the Barbican Centre, Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbański will lead the London Symphony Orchestra’s International Violin Festival, featuring young violin phenome Nicola Benedetti. Winner of the 2007 Prague Spring Conducting Competition, Urbański makes his debut with the LSO in two key works of the Russian repertoire, Glinka’s whirlwind overture and Mussorgsky’s vivid evocations of visual scenes from Russian life and legend. Benedetti’s stellar career took off after she won the 2004 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition playing Szymanowski’s lyrical First Concerto, which she reprises as the centrepiece of this popular program.
ALVIN AILEY PERFORMS TO GÓRECKI AT L.A. MUSIC CENTER
As a part of the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center series, the Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater will perform choreography set to the music of Henryk Mikolaj Górecki in mid-April. The work called “Polish Pieces” (choreography: Hans van Manen) will be presented on the “Joy of Ailey” program, which will be performed in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on April 17-18, 2015.
Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance. The Ailey company has gone on to perform for an estimated 25 million people at theaters in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents -- as well as millions more through television broadcasts. In 2008, a U.S. Congressional resolution designated the Company as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world,” one that celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage. Today, the Company continues Ailey's mission by presenting important works of the past and commissioning new ones. In all, more than 235 works by over 90 choreographers are part of the Ailey company’s repertory.
The Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater first appeared at The Los Angeles Music Center in 1998, fulfilling a long time dream of Mr. Ailey and Judith Jamison, Artistic Director Emerita. It is one of the most popular dance companies to regularly perform in the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center series, having previously been presented four times.
POLAND CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY
UNESCO has proclaimed April 30 to be International Jazz Day, so as to "better realize the value of the international community of jazz as an educational tool and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and cooperation between peoples." At the culmination of International Jazz Month, International Jazz Day is an opportunity for governments, organizations, institutions and individuals discover a "greater appreciation not only for the music itself, but also the contribution they can make to build more inclusive societies." On this day, there are concerts, conferences and meetings of jazz music lovers organized all over the world – below are examples of those being held in Poland.
Katowice JazzArt Festival
The city of Katowice happily celebrates International Jazz Day with the Katowice JazzArt Festival—a series of concerts scheduled for April 21-30, 2015. Many different kinds of jazz, from traditional to contemporary, will be presented in a variety of concerts scheduled for the fourth edition of this unique festival.
The roster of distinguished artists opens with Stacey Kent’s concert on April 21. Concerts by Cuefx and Hauschka follow on April 22 and 23. The James Carter Organ Trio performs on April 24 and a screening of Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser is scheduled for April 25. Another film screening of A Great Day in Harlem takes place on April 26 and will be followed by concerts by Maria Joao and the Joe Lovano Village Rhythm Band (April 27 and 28). Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler will hold workshops on April 29 and appear in concert later that day. The last day of the Festival will feature several lectures as well as concerts by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, Moon Hoax and Alladin Killers.
International Jazz Day will also be celebrated in the Southern Polish region of Jastrzębie-Zdrój with JAZZstrzębie 2015. Organizers will present a seminar with jazz musicians and writers, as well as two concerts—a recital of jazz standards with Robert Czech and a concert of the Piotr Schmidt Electric Group—and a jam session. All events except for the final jam session are free. For a full schedule, visit jastrzebianie.pl.
QUARTA – MARCH 2015
The latest issue of Quarta (March 2015)—the periodical magazine published by Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne (PWM Edition)—has been published on issuu.com. The topic of this quarter’s publication is “Music Scenarios – About Film Music” [Muzyczne scenariusze – O muzyce filmowej].
According to Daniel Cichy, Editor-in-Chief of PWM Edition:
IMiT IN SUPPORT OF YOUNG MUSICIANS
Screen debut of Premiere and Conductor-in-Residence
The premiere of two films produced by the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw (IMiT)—Premiere and Conductor-in-residence—was held on Wednesday, 25 March at 7 pm at the Mazovia Institute of Culture. Written and directed by Maja Baczyńska, the films were produced by the young artists of MUDO Music Documentaries. The executive producer is the Society of Polish Musical Artists SPAM, and the media patron is Presto.
Both films were commissioned and produced by the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT) to promote young artists taking part in the institute's programs "Composer-in-Residence" and "Conductor-in-residence" and to raise the awareness about the programs themselves.
The films were shot during the 2013/14 artistic season in association with institutions hosting IMiT's residencies for emerging artists: the Centre for Art Eduction – Gorzów Philharmonic, the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, the Jan Szyrocki Academic Choir of the West Pomeranian University of Technology (Composer-in-residence) and the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic of Łódź, the Henryk Mikołaj Górecki Silesian Philharmonic, the Oskar Kolberg Philharmonic in Kielce and the Toruń Symphony Orchestra (Conductor-in-residence).
The films' protagonists are young composers: Wojciech Błażejczyk, Tomasz J. Opałka, Ignacy Zalewski; and conductors: Rafał Kłoczko, Maciej Koczur, Krzysztof Kozakiewicz and Maciej Tomasiewicz. Viewers saw large fragments of the premiere performances of new works written by the young composers on commission within the “Composer-in-residence” program, as well as footage of rehearsals and concerts conducted by the young conductors, along with interviews with the residency organizers and the artists themselves.
New Face of Music – first edition
IMiT has posted its first gallery of photographs of young composers and performing artists, taken as part of the first edition of the New Face of Music program: imit.org.pl/news/1644/58/New-Face-of-Music-outcomes-of-the-programme-s-first-edition.html. The photographs were taken by Magda Hueckel.
Addressed to Polish composers, performing artists (instrumentalists, vocalists, conductors) and music ensembles (chamber, vocal, and mixed bands), this program offers young artists a professional photo session. The initiative aims to help emerging artists enter the music market, and complements IMiT’s residency programs. Participants have been selected by way of competition. The program is run by the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw and the Polish Composers' Union, and financed by a subsidy awarded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage for this purpose.
As part of the first edition, six photo shoots were held and the following young composers and performing artists have been photographed: pianist and vocalist Katarzyna Brzóska (Cailloux), mezzosoprano Barbara Kinga Majewska, composer Justyna Kowalska-Lasoń, conductor Paweł Pietruszewski, the Wakarecy Piano Duo and Extempore – 17th and 18th Century Music Ensemble.
CHOPIN FDN SCHOLARSHIP FOR YOUNG PIANISTS –
The purpose of the Chopin Foundation Scholarship Program is to support and encourage young, talented American pianists through up to four years of preparation for the National Chopin Piano Competition of the US, which is held in Miami, Florida, every five years.
Up to ten (10) renewable scholarships of $1,000 are awarded each year on a competitive basis to outstanding young American pianists who demonstrate a special affinity for the interpretation of Frédéric Chopin's music. In addition, the Scholarship Committee may grant half-awards in the amount of $500 to qualified applicants.
PLEASE NOTE: As of this year, all Scholarship Applications must be done ONLINE at app.getacceptd.com. The application deadline is May 15, 2015. Please contact the Chopin Foundation with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-868-0624.
[Sources: press release, app.getacceptd.com]
“BLANK PAGES OF MUSIC” –
The launch of the 5th edition of the ''Blank Pages of Music” research grant program—run by the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT)—has been announced. The call for applications is addressed to Polish and foreign scholars who intend to carry out research related to neglected or little known areas of Polish music and dance. The research may span a broad chronological spectrum and a variety of genres, and may investigate composing, artistic activity, musicological activity, reception of music, as well as the history, theory and aesthetics of Polish dance, in particular performance dance.
Prospective study subjects will be submitted to the Institute of Music and Dance directly by the researcher or a group of researchers (up to 3 persons). The outcomes – such as an academic paper, catalogue of an artist’s output, database, reconstruction of a piece, study of source materials – will be financed and published by IMiT. Eligible researchers must have a diploma of higher education and a documented history of past research achievements.
Twenty-five percent of the 2015/16 edition’s budget shall be earmarked for research devoted to the life and work of Michał Kleofas Ogiński, the history of the genre and practice of playing and dancing the polonaise, as well as the history of the Podhale bagpipe, its construction and method of playing. If they are not used for the original purpose, the funds shall be used to support other projects submitted.
The deadline for applications is May 31, 2015. The program will last from October 1, 2015 until June 30, 2016. Final qualification of projects for the program will take place by August 31, 2015.
More details on “Blank Pages of Music” along with its Rules and Regulations are available in the Programs section of the IMiT website.
BACEWICZ COMPOSER COMPETITION –
The 5th Grażyna Bacewicz International Composer Competition, held in Łódź, Poland in September 2015, has been announced. Organized by the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź and the Arthur Rubinstein Łódź Philharmonic, the subject of this year’s competition is a work for:
The competition is open to composers of all nations regardless of age. Each participant may submit more than one score.
Application deadline is August 31, 2015. Results of the competition will be announced in the first half of September 2015.
The members of the jury are: Zygmunt Krauze (Poland) – Chairman; Mauricio Sotelo (Spain); Steven Stucky (USA); and Berislav Šipuš (Croatia). Full details can be found at www.amuz.lodz.pl.
KOCYAN PERFORMS CHOPIN AT LMU
“The genius of Wojciech Kocyan… world class artistry…” The Gramophone
On April 11, Polish piano virtuoso and Loyola Marymount University Artists-in-Residence Wojciech Kocyan presents a recital of exciting piano works, including: Four Impromptus by Frédéric Chopin, Intermezzo in A-flat major by Francis Poulenc, Sonata No. 7 by Sergei Prokofiev, and Sonatas Hob. XVI:20 and Hob. XVI:26 by Joseph Haydn. There will be a reception immediately following the concert in the George A.V. Dunning Courtyard.
[Sources: press release, cal.lmu.edu]
BACZEWSKA AROUND NYC IN APRIL
Polish-born pianist, harpsichordist and educator Magdalena Baczewska has several interesting concerts related to her position as Director of the Music Performance Program at Columbia University during the month of April. On April 15, she will participate in the Miller Theatre Children's Concert, an interactive concert aimed at 5-7 year olds. Coloring books and crayons will be provided. The concert will feature Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" and some favorite children's songs. On April 22, she will give a recital entitled "Concert Spirituals and the Black Soprano" with soprano Marti Newland at the St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia University, followed by a panel discussion on blackness and vocality. Finally, on April 24, she will play continuo for the Barnard-Columbia Chorus and Chamber Choir in their Spring Concert performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion at the Church of the Ascension.
All concerts are FREE. Details are below.
CHOPIN IN TARZANA
On April 19, the Classical Encounters Foundation presents a recital by pianist Dmitri Ratser. His program will feature several works by Chopin: Polonaise in C-sharp Minor, Op.26 No.1; Two Mazurkas: C-sharp Minor, Op.6 No.2 and F Minor, Op.63 No.2; Two Waltzes: A Minor, Op.34 No.2 and C-sharp Minor, Op.64 No.2. Also included on the program are Liszt: Fantasia quasi Sonata "Apres Une Lecture Du Dante" ; Sonetto del Petrarca in E Major, No.104; Transcendental Etude in F Minor, No.10; Rachmaninoff: Sonata No.2 B-flat Minor, Op.36 and Alexander Rosenblatt (b.1956, Moscow): Jazz Variations on a Theme by Paganini. A delicious buffet will follow the program.
Dmitri Ratser was born in Moscow into a family of professional musicians. While still a child, he was accepted to study under at the Moscow Conservatory, and later at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Shortly after graduating, Mr. Ratser won First Prize at the prestigious All-Soviet Union Rachmaninoff Competition (Moscow), and three years later won First Prize at the Liszt International Jubilee Competition (Budapest). His expertise in Rachmaninov—he is one of the few pianists to include in his repertoire the composer's complete works for piano and orchestra—led to Ratser's selection as a key performer in the ceremony commemorating the composer's 125th anniversary at his birthplace in Ivanovka, Russia.
[Source: Clickable Chamber Music Newsletter]
LAURELS FOR AUGUSTYN
Violinist Kinga Augustyn, who is already known to audiences in California after appearing at the 2012 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles (pictured at right), has just been recognized with the 2015 “Outstanding Pole Abroad” Award [Wybitny Polak za granicą]. This year marks the fifth anniversary of this prestigious competition organized by the Polish National Emblem Foundation [Fundacja Polskiego Godła Promocyjnego], the organization that also runs the “Poland Now” [Teraz Polska] awards.
Local editions of the Outstanding Pole Abroad Award competitions have taken place in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and the United States. The US contingent of this competition is coordinated among the Polish Consulates in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and the Pangea Alliance. According to Grzegorz Fryc from the Pangea Alliance, “the mission of the Outstanding Pole Abroad Award competition is to create a positive image of Poles residing all over the world.” According to Mr. Fryc, many prominent Poles living abroad remain completely unknown to most residents in Poland.
Mateusz Stąsiek from the Polish Consulate in New York and Leszek Sadowski from the New York’s daily Nowy Dziennik jointly mentioned that the jury had a difficult decision to make given a great number of highly qualified candidates competing this year. After much discussion, the New York edition of the Outstanding Pole Abroad Award in the “Young Pole” category was given Kinga Augustyn. The jury noted Kinga’s studies in her native Wrocław and in New York’s Juilliard School of Music, where Ms. Augustyn received her Doctorate in violin studies, as well as her rapidly growing musical career with numerous concerts throughout the U.S., Poland, and several other countries.
Other 2015 winners include Adam Szala (Business Category), Krzysztof Wodiczko (Culture Category) and Dr. Jerzy Król (Science Category). Awards also went to Antoni Chrościelewski (Personality of the Year) and to Fr. Łucjan Królikowski (Honorable Mention).
DOUBLE ANNIVERSARY FOR STRUGAŁA
Maestro Tadeusz Strugała, one of the leading Polish conductors, recently celebrated his 80th birthday and the 60th anniversary of his artistic career. Since 1979 Strugała was associated with the National Philharmonic in Warsaw as its conductor and deputy artistic director. Besides his concert engagements, Maestro Strugała is a noted pedagogue and organizer of musical events throughout Poland.
Recently, Strugała’s long and distinguished career in music has been recognized by two major awards. In October 2014, the Minister of Foreign Affairs awarded Tadeusz Strugała an honorary Bene Merito Badge for “efforts in strengthening of the Polish position in the international arena.” In 2011, Polish Radio bestowed the Diamond Baton Award—one of the most distinguished honors in this field—upon the maestro for his “exceptional artistic creativity, promotion of Polish music in Poland and abroad and bringing it closer to Polish Radio audiences, as well as for achievements in Poland’s and the world’s musical heritage together with the conducting activities that are especially meaningful for the musical scene in Poland.”
Maestro Strugała is also the recipient of such great honors as the Golden Gloria Artis Medal (pictured at right), L’Ordre du Merite Culturel, the Commanders’ Cross and Star of Polonia Restituta, Kulturpreis Schlesien des Landes Niedersachsen, and the Honorary Doctorate awarded to him by his alma mater, Wrocław Music Academy. Earlier, Strugała was recognized with the Orfeusz Award (1986), Grand Prix du Disque for recordings of works by Franz Liszt (1987), and the Polish Composers’ Union Award (1991). Strugała’s recording of Roman Maciejewski’s Reqiuem was nominated for the Recording of the Year in 1991 by Gramophone, and the 2011 reissue of this CD received the Fryderyk Award. Also in 2011, Fono Forum Magazine gave Strugała the Stern des Monats Award for his Collins Classic disc of works by Scharwenka.
Tadeusz Strugała graduated from Wrocław Music Academy, majoring in theory, composition and conducting. He continued his studies in Weimar and Venice before being appointed the Artistic and Managing Director of the Wrocław Philharmonic during the years 1969-1980. For the 1975-1976 Season, Strugała was also the Artistic and Managing Director of the TV and Radio Orchestra in Katowice and for the next two seasons served in the same capacity for the Presidential Symphony Orchestras in Ankara and Istanbul. Back in Poland, Strugała was Artistic Director of Kraków Philharmonic during the years 1981-1986. For over twenty years, Strugała also held a professorship at the Wrocław Music Academy and since 2007, he serves as professor of conducting at the Kraków Music Academy.
Another aspect of Maestro Strugała’s distinguished service to Polish music is his leadership as Artistic Director of the Chopin Festival in Duszniki-Zdrój (1975-1985), the Wratislavia Cantans Festival (1968-1997), as well as the Wrocław Festival of Polish Contemporary Music.
Since the early 1960s, Strugała has appeared as guest conductor all across Europe, United States, Australia and Asia, leading touring Polish orchestras and foreign ensembles. Among well over 140 orchestras Maestro Strugała has led so far are such noted ensembles as Bamberger Symphoniker, Berliner Staatskapelle, RIAS Berlin, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Dresdner Philharmonie, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester des MDR-Leipzig, Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Helsinki Radio & Philharmonic, Stockholm Radio Symphony, Südwestfunk Baden-Baden Orchestra New World Symphony Orchestra, Norfolk Symphony Orchestra, Tokio Yomiuri Nippon Orchestra, Osaka Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Japan Radio Symphony Orchestra Yamagata, Israel Sinfonietta, City of London Sinfonia, and London Mozart Players.
In addition to his philharmonic concerts, Maestro Strugała often leads operatic performances in Warsaw, St. Petersburg, Graz, and has also appeared in the closing scenes of Polanski’s film, The Pianist, and recorded the film’s soundtrack, featuring music by Wojciech Kilar.
In private life, Tadeusz Strugała’s many interests include drawings and paintings as well as collecting historical conductors’ batons. His collection of them now exceeds 100 items and has been exhibited in Poland and abroad.
The National Philharmonic in Warsaw celebrated this extraordinary artist’s double jubilee with a weekend of concerts held on March 13 and 14, featuring music by Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Mahler. Violinist Vadim Guzman joined Maestro Strugała for a performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto while the Laureate himself led the ensemble in Schubert’s Fourth Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, and Mahler’s famous Adagietto that rounded off the program.
SVRČEK & BACEWICZ IN LOS ANGELES
On March 17 in the Colburn School of Music’s Zipper Hall in Downtown Los Angeles, pianist and contemporary music specialist Susan Svrček (pictured at right) performed Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz’s Sonata No. 2 (1953). Entitled “Oh, for the love of...,”this Piano Spheres program also included Domenico Scarlatti’s Three Sonatas, Lou Harrison’s Six Sonatas, Chen Yi’s China West Suite and Julia Gomelskaya’s Gutsulka-dance (performed with percussionist Yuri Inoo), and the World Premiere of Preludes 4, 5, and 8 by Frederick Lesemann (Svrček’s husband).
In his review of the concert for the Los Angeles Times, entitled “Piano sonatas at Monday Evening Concerts and Piano Spheres reveal futuristic visions,” Mark Swed writes the following about the Bacewicz Sonata and Svrček’s performance of it:
PASADENA MASTER CHORALE PRESENTS ‘THE SOUND OF HEAVEN’
Haunting and beautiful harmonies of modern master composers Arvo Pärt, John Tavener and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki were performed by the Pasadena Master Chorale on March 21 and 22, 2015. Singer and writer Lauri D. Goldenhersh, of singer networking website www.laurislist.net, wrote a review entitled Heaven in SoCal: Modern choral with Pasadena Master Chorale. Below is an excerpt:
BORN THIS MONTH:
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Layout Assistance: Charles Bragg
Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski
Mason Funk, Grzegorz Nowak, Monika Strugała, Marek Żebrowski
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute (NY & UK), Adam Mickiewicz Institute, PWM,
Nowy Dziennik, Polish Music Information Centre - Warsaw, Polish American Journal,
Poland.pl, PAP, ZKP, infochopin.pl, Ruch Muzyczny, Gazeta Wyborcza
Formatting by Krysta Close, April 10, 2015
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