|Polish Music Newsletter|
Anne Strakacz-Appleton died in Sacramento, California on Friday, 31 July 2015. She was 93 years old. Widow of Louis B. Appleton, Jr., she leaves daughters Amy and Louise, residing in California, daughter Marguerite, a resident of Kansas, and four grandchildren.
Born in Warsaw on 17 March 1922, Anne Strakacz was the only child of Sylwin Strakacz, a career diplomat and longtime secretary to Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Anne’s mother, Aniela Karszo-Siedlewska, came from a very prominent Warsaw family of politicians, doctors and lawyers.
Known to her family and close friends as Anetka, she grew up between Warsaw and Riond-Bosson, Paderewski’s long-time residence near Lausanne, Switzerland. A precocious child, she was articulate and outspoken from an early age. Her mother recalled Anetka’s christening at the Sypniewski estate in Poland in November 1924 (pictured at left). As soon as Anetka was held up by Paderewski, she solemnly enquired if he had his own teeth. This unexpected question elicited gales of laughter, also from her new godfather, who obligingly demonstrated that the teeth were still firmly his.
Educated in the prestigious Miss Platter’s School in Warsaw, throughout her life Anetka was fluent in Polish and French, and later mastered English when she and her family followed Paderewski on his last voyage to the United States in 1940. Throughout the 1930s, Anetka’s spirited presence was much appreciated by Paderewski, especially after his wife died in 1934. Her summer visits in Switzerland gradually extended to a permanent residence as the political situation throughout Europe worsened on the eve of World War II.
As a teenager, Anetka was a direct eyewitness to many truly fascinating events and met a great number of prominent musicians, intellectuals and politicians. Blessed with clear and unfailing memory, she faithfully remembered Paderewski’s piano students (Aleksander Brachocki, Stanisław Dygat, Stanisław Szpinalski, Henryk Sztompka, Albert Tadlewski), Paderewski’s co-editors of the monumental Chopin Edition (Ludwik Bronarski, Józef Turczyński), the visits of Polish politicians associated with the so-called Front Morges political faction (Józef Haller, Wojciech Korfanty, Gen. Władysław Sikorski), as well as many other notables from practically every corner of the world. Conversing with Anetka about almost any topic—history, politics, music or poetry—was always a rare delight, since probing insights and mesmerizing details were invariably forthcoming, oracle-style, practically without prompting.
Just like her father to whom she was especially close, Anetka was a devoted and courageous advocate for Paderewski, her benevolent and ever-present godfather. It became especially true after Anetka’s father died in Los Angeles in 1973, and she resolutely continued the family mission of honoring Paderewski’s good name. Anetka’s dedication to this task was exemplary and unrelenting: her steely wit and unassailable intellect are on full display in an op-ed published by the New York Times in 1990, where in a bravura argument she methodically demolished a myth about Greta Garbo visiting Paderewski in Switzerland in 1938. Over Paderewski’s long and eventful life, there were many wild tales about him and those she could refute, Anetka certainly did. After all, she was there, she met the people, she saw things, and she knew the facts.
Strakacz family in Riond-Bosson, c. 1940
Some facts were almost too cinematic and needed no embellishment, like Paderewski’s last moments, witnessed by Anetka and her mother in a New York hotel on a hot June 1941 evening. In his last breath Paderewski’s quietly had asked for a sip of champagne. Indeed, it was exactly like that and, quite possibly in honor of Paderewski’s memory, Anetka always had a chilled bottle of choice champagne on standby for visitors who called on her for decades to come.
After Paderewski’s death, the Strakacz family moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles, where Anetka—with her beauty and unmistakably continental flair—enjoyed a brief acting career in Hollywood and worked as a make-up artist and the main representative for Max Factor in Europe. Endowed with a great singing voice and truly spellbinding stage presence (inheriting her father’s musical talents and her mother’s 1930s glamour), Anetka often performed with such notable Hollywood film composers as Henry Vars or Bronisław Kaper, who accompanied her at the piano.
Also in Hollywood, Anetka met Louis B. Appleton, Jr. (pictured below), a producer, writer and director whom she married in 1949. They were married for 63 years until Louis died in 2013 at the age of 98. Eventually retiring to Rancho Murieta in northern California, Anetka bravely continued to champion Paderewski’s legacy. She gathered a number of memorabilia left to her by Helena Liibke (Madame Paderewska’s secretary who came to live with the Appletons in Rancho Murieta) and cooperated on preserving them with Małgorzata Perkowska at the Institute of Musicology at Jagiellonian University in Kraków as well as with a number of researchers at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California. This is how young Paderewski’s letters to his future wife were donated to Jagiellonian University, that’s how Hoover Institution over the years has amassed a significant portfolio of Paderewski’s papers, and that’s how Polish Music Center became a repository for many of Paderewski’s personal items, correspondence, photographs and concert programs.
Surrounded by books and still more books, and propped in her favorite, semi-reclined position with an old-fashioned IBM Selectric typewriter on permanent stand-by, Anetka would engage in her other great hobby—writing and translating poetry. This she did almost to the end of her life, patiently correcting proofs and continuing to devour volumes of Polish, French and English poets. Reading well into the night, as was her lifelong habit, she finally fell asleep to the cadence of music and verse that accompanied her entire storied life.
Anetka and Louis, 2008
[Photos from the Paso Robles Collection of Paderewski Memorabilia, Polish Music Center USC, Los Angeles. All rights reserved]
On August 3, Adam Walaciński—composer, music critic, retired professor and vice-president of the Music Academy in Kraków—passed away at 87 years old. He was a student of a violin class at the Eugenia Umińska Music School in Kraków, but then he changed his major and attended the composition class of Artur Malawski. After some time he left the school to become a private student of Stefan Kisielewski. After completing the class of Bogusław Schaeffer, he finally graduated in 1974 from the Kraków Music Academy, where he later became a professor.
He was an active member and afterwards the president of the Polish Composers Union (ZKP) and the “Grupa Krakowska” Artistic Association. He also worked with the Polish Music Publishers (PWM) as the head of the 20th Century Composers department.
In addition to his symphonic and chamber works for the concert stage, he also composed film and theater music (such as scores for Faraon and Matka Joanna od Aniolow directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, and Czterej Pancerni I Pies, the TV series by Konrad Nalecki), for which he won several awards. He was also honored with the City of Kraków Award (1976), the Ministery of Culture and Art Award for pedagogy (1981) and the ZKP Award (2003), among others.
THE 2015 PADEREWSKI EXCHANGE: A CHRONICLE
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Jointly run by the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and Tarnów Province in Poland, the 2015 edition of the Cultural Exchange Program was held June 27-July 6 at Paderewski’s former manor house in Kąśna Dolna, Poland. Initiated with an official agreement signed in 2008, this unique program now joins the three places associated with Paderewski—Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast, Kąśna Dolna in the southern province of Poland’s Małopolska region, and the area of Khmilnyk in the Podolia Region of today’s Ukraine, where Paderewski was born in 1860. Selected by locally held competitions, young musicians from these three very diverse constituencies gather under Paderewski’s hospitable roof in southern Poland during the odd-numbered years, while in even-numbered years the same group of students visits Paso Robles to participate in the annual Paderewski Festival held in early November.
This year’s program began when Daniel Ha and Kannan Freyaldenhoven touched down at the Kraków Airport on Friday, June 26. These two Central Coast musicians—winners of the Youth Piano Competition in Paso Robles—were accompanied by Kannan’s mother, Misha, who served as the group’s chaperone.
As always, the staff of the manor house in Kąśna sent a car to Kraków to collect the Californians at the Balice Airport. The ever-cheerful Mr. Witold Baran welcomed the visitors and drove them to Kąśna, located about 90 miles southeast of Kraków. Hot weather and keen interest in sightseeing necessitated a quick stop for ice cream and a stroll through the main square in the town of Brzesko. A statue of St. Florian with a bucket (he is the patron saint of firefighters) elicited much interest from the American visitors. After arriving at the manor house’s peaceful grounds, the group relaxed and unpacked before supper. It was, as usual, expertly catered by Pan Mariusz, the good-natured owner of the Galicja Restaurant in the nearby town of Ciężkowice, the source of many delicious meals throughout the entire stay at Paderewski’s former residence.
By the end of Saturday, the entire complement of students had arrived in Kąśna. The Province of Tarnów was represented by two young pianists, Magdalena Kuropatwa and Miłosz Marcinkiewicz. They were delivered to the manor house by their parents, who appeared slightly anxious to leave their offspring with their American and Ukrainian peers.
After a very long drive from Khmilnyk in central Ukraine, Sasha Dzvinkovskiy, Yulia Medynska and their chaperone, Galia Terentieva, arrived at the manor house just in time for supper. With pianist Marek Zebrowski already in Kąśna from Los Angeles, and cellist Lars Hoefs also arriving late Saturday from very distant Sao Paulo, everybody was finally—and happily—under the same roof....
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[All photos are by Misha Freyaldenhoven. Used by permission]
PMC HOURS IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER
Due to upcoming international travels by PMC Director Marek Żebrowski and Assistant Director Krysta Close, the Polish Music Center will have limited hours of operation from August 14 – September 14, 2015.
Thank you for your understanding as the Polish Music Center continues to expand its network into the world and improve its services for you, our patrons!
WORLD PREMIERES AT SUMMER FESTIVALS IN POLAND
During the Karol Szymanowski Music Days Festival (July 25 – Aug 2) in Zakopane, there were two premieres: Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska’s String Quartet ‘Mater Dei’ and Mikołaj Górecki’s Trio Concerto for clarinet, horn, piano and strings. Mater Dei was performed on July 27 by the Navis Quartet. Trio Concerto by Sinfonietta Cracovia under the direction of Maestro Massimiliano Caldi, with soloists Joanna Domańska – piano, Roman Widaszek – clarinet and Tadeusz Tomaszewski – horn. The August 2 program also included works by M. Karłowicz, W. Lutosławski, W.Kilar and H.M.Górecki.
This year’s Opening Gala of the Transatlantyk Festival (August 7-14) in Poznań will feature the premiere of Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s Interlude, performed by the Transatlantyk Symphony Orchestra led by Monika Wolińska, as well as Bartosz Michałowski's Poznań Chamber Choir.
Later in August, world premieres of pieces by Andrzej Czajkowski – Sonata for viola and piano and Paweł Szymański – Sonata for viola and piano will take place at the Chopin and His Europe Festival (August 15-29). The two new works will be performed by Maciej Grzybowski (piano) and Krzysztof Chorzelski (viola) on August 17, 2015 at the Witold Lutosławski Studio of the Polish Radio.
Finally, during the Solidarity of Arts Festival (August 14-23, 2015) in Gdańsk, the Baltic Philharmonic will perform a concert featuring world premieres of pieces by Polish composers Paweł Pudło - War Horns (the ten French horns concerto) and Paweł Łukaszewski - Arioso for flute and organ on August 23. Entitled "Stars present World Premieres," the concert will feature soloists from around the world—for the full list of performers, visit www.solidarityofarts.pl.
CAMERATA SILESIA: 25th ANNIVERSARY & WORLD PREMIERES
In 2015, the Katowice-based ensemble Camerata Silesia—one of the best chamber choirs in Europe today—celebrates 25 year of excellence of musical work. Critics have noted the group’s skills and the beauty of its sound, emphasizing the role of founder Anna Szostak, who meticulously trained each of the musicians.
Camerata Silesia extraordinarily wide repertoire spans music from the renaissance, baroque, romantic and contemporary periods, including popular music, musicals and even Christmas carols. The group’s openness to new music and to developments and trends in contemporary music has made them extremely attractive to composers—not only in Poland but also abroad. They have performed often at many of the world’s greatest contemporary music festivals, including Warsaw Autumn. Their repertoire and recordings include a number of works from Polish contemporary literature, such as compositions by Roman Palester, Andrzej Panufnik, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Krzysztof Penderecki and Agata Zubel, among others.
Camerata Silesia's upcoming concerts with the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (NOSPR) include performances with pianist Leszek Możdżer (Sept. 5), guitarist Paco Peña (Sept. 12) and the London Baroque Orchestra (Sept. 6). The September 5 performance with Możdżer will feature program of all Polish composers with several World Premieres:
NEW LEADERSHIP AT ZKP: KOMINEK & PENDERECKI
On June 18, at the XXXVIII General Assembly of the Polish Composers' Union (ZKP), internationally renowned composer Krzysztof Penderecki received the first ever title of Honorary President of the Polish Composers' Union. During this General Assembly marking the 70th anniversary of the Union, Mieczysław Kominek was elected president of ZKP. A musicologist, Kominek currently serves as the Director of the Polish Music Information Centre in Warsaw. He replaces outgoing ZKP President Jerzy Kornowicz, who has fulfilled the role since 2003.
Also during the meeting, renowned Ukrainian composer, pianist and pedagogue Andrzej Nikodemowicz, who has resided in Poland for 35 years, was named an Honorary Member of ZKP.
NEW PUBLICATION FROM THE CHOPIN INSTITUTE
The multimedia lexicon Fryderyk Chopin. Life of the creator, by the eminent Chopin scholar Mieczysław Tomaszewski, is an exceptional source of knowledge about the most outstanding Polish composer and is the fruit of many years of research into Chopin’s life and work. The elaborate structure of the lexicon comprises dozens of multi-layered screens, designed in detail by the author, filled with facts from the composer’s life, excerpts from correspondence, quotations and interpretations regarding his music, musical analysis of selected works and a voluminous Chopin bibliography. The work comes with hundreds of illustrations and musical examples, as well as recordings of Chopin’s compositions made by world-famous artists in the series The Real Chopin.
To purchase, visit sklep.nifc.pl.
JAN KIEPURA DOCUMENTARY
Documentary filmmakers Michał Góral and Bogusława Plisz-Góral are currently preparing the first ever documentary feature length film about the life and career of the world famous Polish-American opera tenor and actor, Jan Kiepura.
Jan Kiepura (1902-1966) led a fascinating life from his modest upbringing in the little town of Sosnowiec, Poland, to the spotlights of the world’s most famous opera houses and onward to starring roles in many Hollywood features. His place in the pantheon of the world’s greatest tenors was best described by Placido Domingo: “… If he were alive today, there would either be four of us, or one of us would have to give up our place to Kiepura.”
The project, entitled Idol, is being produced in Poland for a world-wide market. Partial funding for the film has already been secured in Poland and the filmmakers are currently looking for additional funding sources either in the form of sponsored donations (sponsorship) and/or through possible co-production financing arrangements.
The filmmakers are also seeking individuals who personally knew or knew of Jan Kiepura and are interested in sharing their personal recollections or mementos related to him or his professional career.
Interested parties are invited to contact the filmmakers – Michał Góral or Bogusława Plisz Góral at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The trailer for the film can be viewed at: https://vimeo.com/127816019 Password: jan2015
[Sources: press release]
WARSAW CAMARATA PERFORMS POLISH MUSIC
During the final concert of their Letni Festiwal Nowego Miasta [New Town Summer Festival], the Warsaw Camerata will perform an all-Polish program featuring violinist Zbigniew Pilch and the ensemble’s Artistic Director, conductor Paweł Kos-Nowicki. The program includes: Feliks Janiewicz – Violin Concert No. 5, Romuald Twardowski – Suita staropolska, and Mieczysław Karłowicz – Serenade for strings.
MISIEWICZ AT EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL
The Polish and Taiwanese-Canadian duo of Barbara Misiewicz (cello) Grace Mo (piano) will perform on August 18 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Entitled “C H O cello P I N,” their program includes Chopin’s cello sonata – ‘meditative, introspective and profoundly original’ (Jim Samson), together with Debussy’s cello sonata – a programmatic masterpiece, evoking old Italian theatre, as well as one of Chopin’s earliest published pieces: the exquisite Introduction and Polonaise Brillante, Op.3.
These internationally acclaimed musicians bring their technical wizardry and impressive attention to detail to this concert at the request of The Chopin Circle in Scotland, which promotes continuing the appreciation of Fryderyk Chopin, his music and his influence on subsequent composers.
[Sources: press release, tickets.edfringe.com]
‘MOSTLY CHOPIN’ IN L.A.
On August 19, L'Ermitage Foundation Concert Series presents a “Mostly Chopin” concert presented by pianist Mary Au and friends. Mary Au is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the University of Southern California. She is much loved by aficionados as a favorite collaborative and ensemble pianist on Southern California's vibrant chamber music scene. This is a chance to experience her artistry in a solo recital.
One of Los Angeles' best-kept secrets, L'Ermitage Foundation offers its members a rare concert series in an intimate salon setting by internationally recognized artists who perform on leading concert stages worldwide. Now in its 31st year, the Foundation currently is financially supporting Center Stage Strings, Children's Hospital, Education through Music, Luzerne Music Center, Para Los Niños, and Venice Family Clinic.
[Source: Clickable Chamber Music Newsletter]
ERIC LU PERFORMS CHOPIN IN L.A.
Eric Lu, the First Prize Winner of the US National Chopin Competition in 2015, continues his US tour with a Los Angeles debut at the South Pasadena Public Library on August 30. This is one of Lu's final concerts before he competes in the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland, and his program will consist entirely of Chopin repertoire.
[Sources: press release, chopinswcouncil.com]
POLES HONORED WITH L’ORPHÉE D’OR 2015
Ewa Podleś (pictured above) is widely recognized as the most authentic contralto of her generation by Opera International, Orpheus, Gramophone, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Examiner, Opera News and The Financial Times due to the specific color, huge range and agility of her voice. On June 24, Ewa Podleś was awarded the Prix Prestige Lyrique l'Orphée d'Or 2015 from the Académie du Disque Lyrique in Paris, one of the world’s most coveted prizes in phonographic recognition. She was recognized for two remarkable recordings: recital of Mussorgsky’s songs on the DVD Ewa Podleś & Garrick Ohlsson: Live at The Fryderyk Chopin University in Warsaw, and a selection of operatic arias recorded in 2014 at the University Concert Hall in Poznań with conductor Łukasz Borowicz on the CD World Opera Stars: Ewa Podleś live with Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra. Both live recordings were released on the Warsaw-based DUX label.
Sinfonia Viva Orchestra
Other Polish musicians were also honored. The Sinfonia Viva Orchestra and Bartosz Michałowski’s Poznań Chamber Choir were awarded the Prix Hector Berlioz for the double CD Oratorio la morte di San Filippo Neri. The work was conducted by Tomasz Radziwinowicz and the aforementioned ensembles were joined by singers Iwona Hossa, Anna Mikołajczyk-Niewiedział, Agnieszka Rehlis and Rafał Bartmiński. Also, pianist Mariusz Rutkowski was recognized with the Prix Gerald Moore for Oskar Kolberg composer Vol. 2: Songs, featuring tenors Karol Kozłowski, Dariusz Stachura and Tadeusz Szlenkier, and mezzo-soprano Anna Radziejewska. These recordings were also released by DUX.
The awards were presented in Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on June 24, 2015. Many famous musicians were among this year’s laureates of the Golden Orpheus as well, including Pierre Boulez – a 90-year old prominent French composer and conductor, who received the Grand Prix de l’Europe, as well as other opera stars: French tenor Roberto Alagna (Prix du Jury), sopranos Sonya Yontscheva (Prix Georg Solti) and Anna Netrebko (Prix Gabriel Dussurget).
CHOPIN AND HIS EUROPE
The 11th International Music Festival ‘Chopin and His Europe’ will be held from August 15-29, 2015. Entitled, “Before the Great Competition. From Chopin to Scriabin,” the Festival will include 32 recitals, chamber and symphonic concerts. Repertoire will include classical music hits from Beethoven, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Wieniawski, Rachmaninov, Paderewski, Sibelius and Elgar in masterful renditions, as well as Polish music from Chopin, Ogiński, Dobrzyński, Kurpiński, Szymanowska, Wolff and Lipiński, and world premières of pieces by Andrzej Czajkowski and Paweł Szymański. Artur Szklener, the director of the National Chopin Institute in Warsaw, the main organizer of the event, told the Polish Press Agency that the program reflects the festival’s continued commitment to promote Polish composers whose music deserves a wider exposure.
This year’s edition, following the model of previous years, will take an open-minded and curious look at the 19th century to get a feel for its legacy and the role played in it by the Festival’s patron. It will not, however, pass over earlier the artists out of whose work Romanticism grew, not infrequently seeing them as its models. It will also introduce us to the œuvre of later composers – heirs of the Romantic tradition. As has also become a tradition, it will also highlight the significance of the jubilees which the whole musical world is observing this year: Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Alexander Scriabin and Jean Sibelius.
Among the performers who will be appearing are orchestras from Moscow, London, Freiburg and Warsaw; Chopin Competition winners, including those who triumphed at its most recent edition; but also other musicians of great international renown, such as Alexandre Tharaud, Sergej Krylov, Louis Lortie, Nelson Freire, Andreas Staier, Nikolai Lugansky, Jan Lisiecki, Ivo Pogorelić, Truls Mørk, Matthias Goerne, Sol Gabetta and Bertrand Chamayou.
The sensational Apollon Musagète quartet (left) will appear; also planned are two concerts by Tobias Koch – a pianist who has won music lovers’ hearts with his interpretations of Polish music. And this time, he will perform music from Chopin’s era on at least three different pianos, not forgetting, as well, about Michał Kleofas Ogiński – a distinguished artist of great significance to at least three different nations.
There will also be two concerts presented by the Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Mikhail Pletnev – which will perform, among other works, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ‘Polish’ Symphony, Henryk Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto in D minor and Mieczysław Karłowicz’s ‘Rebirth’ Symphony – and the appearances of one of Europe’s best orchestras: the London Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy, who will lead the ensemble in Elgar’s Polonia, Sibelius’ Symphony no. 2 and Paderewski’s Piano Concerto with soloist Dang Thai Son (the 1980 winner of the Chopin Competition), who will play a piano that once belonged to the composer.
Without doubt, the culminating points of the Festival will include such events as Philippe Giusiano’s performance of Dobrzyński’s Variations on ‘La ci darem la mano’; Matthias Goerne’s vocal recital with Piotr Anderszewski; the Freiburger Barockorchester’s appearance with Telemann’s Concerto Polonaise in B-flat major, along with three Bach concerti, one of which we will hear on a piano from Chopin’s time; and a recital by Sol Gabetta, the winner of an award for her wonderful recording of Chopin’s ’Cello Sonata in G minor, who will be playing at the Chopin and His Europe Festival for the first time.
What promises to be equally sensational is the grand finale concert, during which three contrasting styles of pianistic interpretation will be juxtaposed: in the course of one evening with the Warsaw Philharmonic conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk, we will hear Yulianna Avdeeva, Ingolf Wunder and Krzysztof Jabłoński.
This edition of the Festival, subtitled ‘Before the Great Competition’, will also present a series of late night concert featuring the Polish participants in the world’s most important Chopin competition, which will begin on 1 October. From August 17 to 25, there will be an hour-long Chopin recital daily at 10:00 PM at the Holy Cross Basilica, where the young pianists will play in the presence of Chopin’s heart on an original period piano: an 1855 Erard.
SOLIDARITY OF ARTS FESTIVAL
The annual Solidarity of Arts Festival (August 14-23, 2015) welcomes you to a very special place on Europe’s map: Gdańsk, where the notion of freedom is coded into its DNA. In the last century alone, the city lifted the entire continent to rise against oppression on two separate occasions. Today it attracts first-class artists who respect and continue to search for freedom in everything they do. Experiences of the Festival remain in people’s memories long after the Festival is done, as shown for example by the 2010 Możdżer+, 2011 Marcus+, 2012 Stańko+, 2013 McFerrin+ and 2014 Esperanza+ shows.
During this year’s 7th edition, the host of the flagship "+" concert will not—for the first time—be a jazz personality, but an entire jazz era. The show is called Swing+ (Aug. 15) and aside from brilliant soloists from Poland and from abroad, it will feature some of Europe’s top-shelf big bands. The very next day, also in the open-air area next to the Polish Baltic Philharmonic, our festival will stage a premiere of a classical version of the "+" format called Górecki+, showcasing the music of the renowned Polish composer and starring the Orchestra of the Polish Baltic Philharmonic, Poland's brightest piano star Leszek Możdzer, the accordion virtuosos Motion Trio, the best Polish jazz violin band Atom String Quartet and the only Polish winner of the Paganini competition, violinist Mariusz Patyra. On August 19 the European Solidarity Centre will host the Gdańsk premiere of the "Think:Film Award" (2015 Berlin Intl. Film Festival) winner The Performer, a story of (and following the screening a conversation with) Oskar Dawicki. The closing event of this year's festival is yet another unique undertaking at the Baltic Philharmonic: an Aug. 23 concert featuring world premieres of pieces by Paweł Pudło, Paweł Łukaszewski and Enjott Schneider.
The Solidarity of Arts Festival Festival is co-organized and co-sponsored by the City of Gdańsk, Pomorskie province, Polish Film Institute, European Solidarity Centre, Polish Baltic Philharmonic and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
Outstanding films and music from all around the world. Legendary and young artists, representatives of all film and music professions, hundreds of screenings and music events. The Transatlantyk Festival will be held from August 7-14, 2015 in Poznań, Poland, celebrating its 5th edition, 120 years of cinema and the ŠKODA company. A new artistic platform aimed at building a stronger relationship between society, art and the environment through music and film. It strives to inspire discussions on current social issues. Transatlantyk is Glocal and Open. Academy Award-winning composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek is the Founder and Director of the Festival.
This year’s Opening Gala will feature the premiere of Jan A.P. Kaczmarek’s new piece Interlude, performed by the Transatlantyk Symphony Orchestra led by Monika Wolińska, as well as Bartosz Michałowski's Poznań Chamber Choir. The program will pay tribute to recently deceased film composer James Horner. The Closing Gala ceremony will feature handing out of the two most important awards of Transatlantyk Festival: Glocal Hero Award and Audience Award, as well as the announcement of laureates of international competitions for young composers: Transatlantyk Instant Composition Contest 2015 and Transatlantyk Film Music Competition 2015. The music program of the Gala includes interpretations of pieces created by the most magnificent composers of the twentieth century, presented by Kwadrofonik, as well as the performance of Aleksander Dębicz – the winner of the first prize of Transatlantyk Instant Composition Contest 2013 – who will present the pieces featured on his debut album.
For more information, visit transatlantyk.org.
KAROL SZYMANOWSKI MUSIC DAYS
The annual Karol Szymanowski Music Days Festival was held from July 25-August 2 in the resort town of Zakopane, Poland. The theme of this year’s edition was based on the composer’s wistful words from a 1933 interview: “I often miss Ukraine, its sun, its far horizon, I loved the climate’s beneficial effect, its luxuriance and sweetness. I floated above beautiful Ukraine to settle down in the Tatra Mountains.” Apart from the Evenings with the Music of Karol Szymanowski festival held in Katowice, which is also organized by the Szymanowski Music Society in Zakopane, it is the only annual festival in the world devoted to the works of Karol Szymanowski (1885-1937), who is considered to be the father of Polish modern music.
The program of this year’s 38th edition of the Festival included chamber and orchestral concerts as well as performances by Polish and Ukrainian folk bands. Featured musicians came from Poland, Canada, the Czech Republic and Italy.
The festival opened with a concert featuring a two-piano version of Szymanowski’s ballet Harnasie, performed in a two-piano version by Joanna Domańska and Andrzej Tatarski—this version has also been recorded by the same duo on the album Karol Szymanowski. Phantasy, Masques, Harnasie (DUX 0576). Inspired by Polish highland folklore, the ballet depicts the abduction of a bride on her wedding day by Harnaś, leader of a band of highland robbers.
In addition to the inaugural concert, book promotions with Szymanowski scholar Teresa Chylińska and other discussions, eight different concerts were held in the most important landmark buildings in Zakopane. The repertoire of the festival included Ukrainian and Highland music performed by ensembles Zornica and Młyneczek; a solo recital by Mikolaj Warszyński, a pianist from Canada; a recital by the Sedlacek Quartet from the Czech Republic; and a final orchestral concert conducted by Massimiliano Caldi. Polish artists were represented by Trebunie-Tutki, flautist Lukasz Długosz, clarinetist Roman Widaszek and the chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Cracovia.
ON THE TRAIL OF POLISH MUSIC IN ŻUŁAWY
The originator and mastermind of the Muzyka Polska na Żuławach Festival (July 17-22, 2015) is Elblaska Orkiestra Kameralna (pictired above). The aim was to present the places on the Żuławy gothic churches trail connected with Polish music. The chamber musicians under the supervision of the Maestro Marek Moś with soloists Iwona Sobotka and Szymon Komasa gave concerts in 6 different towns in Żuławy. The artists presented Polish masterpieces from Chopin, Moniuszko, Szymanowski, Karłowicz and—representing the more contemporary composers—Tadeusz Baird.
For more information, visit www.eok.elblag.eu.
NOVA MUSIC & ARCHITECTURE IN TORUŃ
The 19th Nova Music and Architecture International Festival will be held from June28 - August 29 in Toruń, Poland. The festival has a new name, but the idea remains the same: it will make the historic interiors resound with classical music. It will feature many exciting international artists, including: Laurence and Daniel Benzakoun from France, Carlo Torlontano from Italy, Miriam Rodriguez Brullova and Pavol Remenar from Slovakia, Peter Mante’s Gospel Project from Germany, and Petri Tapio Mattson, Louna Hosia, Ilpo Laspas from Finland. The “Three Tenors Evening” will feature three Polish soloists: Adam Zdunikowski, Tadeusz Szlenkier and Slawomir Chrzanowski. Also, the world’s best young pianists will present the pieces of the greatest old masters as a part of the Paderewski Piano Academy.
Additional attractions include movie screenings at the Planetarium-Torun, Alliance Francaise Café and Hanza Café, and two exhibitions: “The Architecture of Music around the Globe” and “Versatile Artisans and Talented Artists: The RZUT Co-operative Society 1935-1996.”Also, photos inspired by Chopin’s music taken by the Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will be displayed, as well as a “In the Footsteps of Fryderyk Chopin” sightseeing tour will be on offer for the youngest participants.
GOŚCIE POLSKIEGO CHÓRU KAMERALNEGO:
The “Polish Chamber Choir & Friends” summer concert series is held at The Oliwa Park, Gdańsk. The topic of this year’s edition, which takes place on June 27-August 15, is Polish Music in the Gazebo. The concerts take place on every Saturday, 12pm. Admission is free.
There will be a wide range of different kinds of music presented there: old Polish dances; works by Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Lubomir Rozycki, Fryderyk Chopin; the 18th century instrumental compositions of George Philipp Telemann; the music of Jan Nepomucen Bobrowicz; and the music of 20th century composers Aleksander Tasman and Antoni Szalkowski. There are also some film compositions and the popular music of Maryla Rodowicz, Marek Grechuta and Ewa Bem included in the repertoire. Performers include Bianco Fiore, Les Femmes, Boreas Ensemble, Dorota Dabrowska, Monika Dzula-Radkiewicz, 4OnE, and Natalia, Dariusz and Daniel Egielman.
Organized by the Łódź Philharmonic, the ‘Colors of Poland’ Festival (June-August) is a mix of sightseeing and the music. Each of the concerts is going to take place in a different town or city—in old churches and cloisters, mysterious castles and museums or in the gardens of the manor houses and forest glades.
The music at the events is less serious and more diverse than the one we can find at the Philharmonic hall. There are many authorial projects inspired by folklore and old art, and unconventional presentations of classical and light music, some of them created especially for the event. Audiences are able to explore the music of rare musical instruments, as well as joint performances given by professionals and folklore musicians, leading to courageous improvisations.
After 10 years of working together, the Kwadrofonik Ensemble—comprised of pianists Emilia Sitarz and Bartłomiej Wąsik and percussionists Magdalena Kordylasińska and Miłosz Pękala—is organizing the first edition of the Kwadrofonik Festival in various studios of the Polish Radio in Warsaw. During the weekend of September 4, 2015, this contemporary chamber music marathon will present works created by the most interesting international composers, directors and video artists of Generation X and Y, including: Simon Steen-Andersen, Michael Beil, Wojciech Blecharz, Laurence Crane, Vladimir Gorlinsky, Aleksandra Gryka, Georg Friedrich Haas, Ole Hübner, Andrzej Kwieciński, György Ligeti, Sergej Maingardt, Brigitta Muntendorf, Oxana Omelchuk, Matthew Shlomowitz, Tomasz Sikorski, Marcin Stańczyk, Øyvind Torvund, Sławomir Wojciechowski, Wojciech Ziemowit Zych. In addition to concerts, the festival also includes workshops for children as well as open conversations with musicians and journalists.
Special guest performers are Garage Ensemble from Germany and Asamisimasa from Norway, two internationally renowned champions of avant-garde music who will both perform in Poland for the first time. Also performing are the Lutosławski Piano Duo, vocalist Barbara Kinga Majewska, and Pękala/Kordylasińska/Pękala.
MEYER WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING
The twin series of symphonies and string quartets stand at the center of Krzysztof Meyer’s achievement as one of the most renowned composers of our time. His mastery of the chamber medium is also revealed in the two works presented here. The Piano Quartet, Op. 112, heard here in its world première recording, is unusual in Meyer’s output for its one-movement structure with several contrasting sections. Elegy, threnody and caprice co-exist in an intense interplay of great passion. In its scale and impact the Piano Quintet recalls similar such pieces dating back to Brahms.
[Sources: Naxos newsletter, naxos.com]
NONESUCH GÓRECKI RETROSPECTIVE PRE-ORDERS NOW AVAILABLE
The Uk’s Nonesuch Records will release the late Henryk Górecki’s final composition, Symphony No. 4, Tansman Episodes, on October 16, 2015. The recording was made during the 2014 world premiere performance at Royal Festival Hall with co-commissioner London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrey Boreyko. The piece, which pays homage to Górecki’s fellow Polish composer Aleksander Tansman, was incomplete at the time of Górecki’s 2010 death and thus missed its previously scheduled premiere. However the score had precise indications for orchestration, which Górecki’s son Mikołaj, also a composer, used to complete it. The Daily Telegraph said the piece "caps Górecki's reputation as an orchestral composer, but it also contains some surprises. The music … features some brutal juxtapositions of massively powerful music with slow, intimate passages for solo instruments, including prominent parts for piano and organ."
Symphony No. 4 will be released individually and as part of Henryk Górecki: A Nonesuch Retrospective, a seven-disc box set containing all Nonesuch recordings of Górecki works—Lerchenmusik; Symphony No. 3; String Quartets Nos. 1, 2, and 3; Miserere; Kleines Requiem für eine Polka; Harpsichord Concerto; and Good Night. The first vinyl LP of the beloved 1992 Nonesuch recording of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 also will be released on October 16. Pre-orders of all of these releases are available in the Nonesuch Store.
Born in 1933, Henryk Górecki spent most of his life in southern Poland. He was a leading composer of the Polish avant-garde in the 1950s and later reached a worldwide audience in the 1990s thanks to the success of his Symphony No. 3. The work was composed in 1976, and was at that time shocking in its tonality and simplicity, but it was with the release of the 1992 Nonesuch recording of the piece, featuring Dawn Upshaw and the London Sinfonietta, that it attracted international attention, selling more than a million copies and climbing to the top of the classical music charts in both the US and the UK. On the unexpected popularity of the piece, the composer remarked, "Perhaps people find something they need in this piece of music ... somehow I hit the right note, something they were missing. Something somewhere had been lost to them. I feel that I instinctively knew what they needed."
The London Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1932 by Sir Thomas Beecham. Since then, its principal conductors have included Sir Adrian Boult, Sir Georg Solti, Klaus Tennstedt, and Kurt Masur. In 2007, Vladimir Jurowski became the Orchestra’s principal conductor. The London Philharmonic Orchestra has been performing at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall since it opened in 1951, becoming resident orchestra in 1992. It also has residencies in Brighton and Eastbourne, and performs regularly around the UK. The Orchestra frequently tours abroad: highlights of the 2014–15 season included appearances across Europe, including Iceland, and tours to the USA (West and East Coasts), Canada, and China. The Orchestra broadcasts regularly on television and radio, and has recorded soundtracks for numerous films including The Lord of the Rings. In 2005 it began releasing live, studio, and archive recordings on its own CD label.
Symphony No. 4 received its US premiere in January of this year, by co-commissioner Los Angeles Philharmonic, and was performed in February by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw (which is home to the piece’s third co-commissioner, the ZaterdagMatinee concert series). This recording was supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music program.
ZIMERMAN & RATTLE: LUTOSŁAWSKI RECORDING
In 2013, pianist Krystian Zimerman and conductor Sir Simon Rattle—both great aficionados of Witold Lutosławski’s music—met at Berliner Philharmoniker. They performed the Piano Concerto (a piece the composer dedicated to Zimerman) and Symphony No. 2. Now, a recording of this concert is to be published. The release was made possible thanks to the Berliner Philharmoniker, Deutsche Grammophon, and Polska Music.
It is hard to think of a better choice of artists to perform the music for this concert. Krystian Zimerman, one of the Poland’s finest pianists and winner of the 9th International Chopin Piano Competition, a man who supported Lutosławski and encouraged him to compose a piano concerto ('It is not a secret that Krystian Zimerman’s encouragement and interest were a great inspiration for me to write this concerto,' said the composer). Simon Rattle scheduled a series of Witold Lutosławski’s concerts in the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2012/2013, in honor of the composer’s centenary. He has also performed the Symphony No. 2 and No. 3, as well as the Piano concerto (with Zimerman), Double concerto, Cello concerto and Preludes and Fugue.
In 1989, a recording of the Piano concerto conducted by Lutosławski and performed by Zimerman and the BBC Orchestra was released by the Deutsche Grammophon. 26 years later, in July 2015, Zimerman's new interpretation of this score, along with the Symphony No.2 and with Simon Rattle conducting, was released by the Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings and Deutsche Grammophon, and will be available internationally as of August 14.
CINEMATIC PIANO COLLECTING INTERNATIONAL PRAISE
The debut album of pianist Alexander Dębicz is winning the hearts of international audiences. The UK’s Classic FM has made "Cinematic Piano" its Album of the Week, marveling at the young Polish pianist with the following review:
[Sources: press release, classicfm.com]
RATTLE & ZIMERMAN IN LONDON AND BERLIN
In a rare London appearance, Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman performed Brahms’ Piano Concerto No.1 with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle at the Barbican on July 2, 2015. This followed a performance of the same work under Rattle the week before in Berlin with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Reviewer Chris Garlick wrote the following of the London performance on bachtrack.com:
NOWAK LEADS STUDENTS TO TRIUMPH IN FLORIDA
On July 17, Polish conductor Grzegorz Nowak led the Miami Summer Music Festival Orchestra in “A Hero’s Concert” at Barry University in Miami Shores. The first half of the program was devoted to performances by four young winners of the Festival’s concerto competition, conducted by Nowak and two conducting students. However the pride of place on the program was reserved for an ensemble performance of Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben [A Hero’s Life]. Reviewer Lawrence Budmen was extremely impressed with Nowak’s ability to raise this young orchestra up to the daunting challenge of Strauss megalomaniacal work, as he explains in the review “With Nowak, the Miami Summer Music Fest Orchestra hits its stride in Strauss”:
To read the full review, visit: southfloridaclassicalreview.com.
BRUZDOWICZ IN GERMANY
Photo: © Ruder
On July 19, the ‘Sonare a Tre’ ensemble performed Trio per Trio by Joanna Bruzdowicz (b. 1943) at the Church of The Apostles in Weilheim, Germany. Sonare a Tre is comprised of Franziska Dahme-Kole (flute), Dagmar Becker (violin) and Ingrid Sonn-Knee (harpsichord). Entitled “From ancient sages to young wildlings,” their program also included works by Baroque masters George Frideric Handel, the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach and Johann Jakob Froberger, as well as Nino Rota (composer for The Godfather) and Jaques Ibert (1890–1962). Violinist Dagmar Becker provided the audience with excellent information about these composers from the stage during the concert.
Regina Wahl-Geiger of the Münchner Merkur wrote that this “challenging repertoire [made] strong impressions… and what the [program] title suggested, was as promised”
[Source: press release, Photo: merkur.de]
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
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Translation Assistance: Lidia Tułodziecka, Marek Żebrowski
Appleton Family, Dagmar Becker, Michał Góral, Barbara Misiewicz, Grzegorz Nowak,
Chris Onzol, Maria Peryt, Monika Płuciennik, 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,Ruch Muzyczny, Gazeta Wyborcza
Formatting by Krysta Close, August 7, 2015
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