|Polish Music Newsletter|
POLISH STATE ARCHIVES AT PMC
From July 5 - August 12, 2017, the PMC continued our ongoing collaboration with the State Archives in Warsaw, a project that began in 2012. Co-organized by the PMC and NDAP, or the Head Office of the State Archives, each installment of this professional exchange involves specialized State Archives staff coming to the PMC to support our extensive archival holdings, or PMC staff visiting various outposts of the State Archives in Poland to learn different techniques first hand. This year we again hosted Dr. Robert Górski, an archivist and Paderewski specialist from NDAP, and Anna Czajka, a UN-certified preservation specialist from the Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych (AGAD). The work that they have accomplished while at the PMC—both during this installment and previously—is truly invaluable to the organization and conservation of our archival collections. In addition to the gift of time and training with these highly skilled archivists, during this round the NDAP also provided new, archival-grade protective packaging material for those items in our collections that are most vulnerable to degradation.
One of the continuing areas of focus for our archival partners is our “Paderewski Archive – the Paso Robles Collection.” Previously, Robert Górski had spent much of his time at the PMC organizing, cataloging and scanning the over 800 rare photographs taken by Paderewski and his household circle. Anna Czajka had also surveyed the photographs of the construction of the Trans-Siberian railroad (pictured below left), taken by the father of Mme. Paderewska’s secretary, Helena Liibke. During this visit to the PMC, Czajka and Górski organized and supervised the scanning of the Liibke photos, which are in fragile condition due to their age, the photographic medium that was used, and the acidic conditions under which they were stored. Also scanned were the copious negatives associated with the Paderewski photographs. The scanning was carried out by our new PMC student worker, Joanna Velez, who has proved an invaluable addition to our team this summer. Also within the Paderewski collection, rare manuscripts and artwork were removed from all non-archival frames, and, along with other musealia as well as the scanned photos and negatives, were repacked in the archival quality storage folders and boxes provided by NDAP (pictured below right). During this trip, Dr. Górski moved on from photographs to tackle the personal and professional papers of the Paderewski Collection, some of which were part of the initial donation and some of which were added subsequently, a process that will continue into his next visit.
Another collection targeted by our colleagues at this time was the “Zygmunt & Luisa Stojowski Collection,” which is closely related to the Paderewski Collection due to the fact that Stojowski was a close friend and disciple of Paderewski. One of the jewels of this collection is a rare score of Paderewski’s “Polonia” Symphony in B-minor (pictured at right). This score is made even more rare by the fact that the composer had allowed Stojowski to make approved cuts to the score for performance—cuts which were meticulously marked with paper clips and written out on an included index card by Luisa Stojowska. Recognizing the advanced degradation of this important document, preservationist Anna Czajka slated this item for immediate scanning, which was carried out by PMC Assistant Director Krysta Close using equipment on loan from USC Special Collections, followed by archival bookbinding. As seen below, such book-binding required knowledge ranging from thread tension to glue chemistry, and was rendered more challenging by the lack of specialized equipment available on hand. However, many creative solutions were invented on the spot, and the week-long process of many delicate steps was carried out by the expert hands of Ms. Czajka. Once complete, she was able to focus on other crucial aspects of dealing with this already crumbling archive, including: a complete review of all items; a prioritized listing of conservation needs; and repacking of the most precious and fragile items into archival folders.
Our “Henryk Wars Collection” is a smaller and less varied archival collection compared to the Stojowski and Paderewski collections. However, as it contains orchestral manuscripts and many rare first edition printings of one of Poland’s most beloved popular songwriters, it is no less fascinating in its contents. Due to its size and almost entirely musical content, this was one of the initial collections organized by Dr. Monika Płuciennik, our first State Archives partner to visit the PMC in June 2014. As organization was mostly complete, it was easy to do some much needed repacking of the most delicate items into new archival folders during the latest visit. Also, it served as an ideal training tool for Robert Górski to further educate Asst. Dir. Close on various aspects of archival standards and cataloguing techniques, solidifying knowledge that has been gained over the course of the four year collaboration between the NDAP and PMC. This solid knowledge base will greatly help the PMC staff to not only complete the Wars collection, but also to work on other archival collections more independently from our NDAP colleagues.
Speaking of educational opportunities, we used this installment of the State Archives visit to connect with colleagues at the Getty Research Institute (GRI) and Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). On July 27, we visited their pristine, hillside facilities for a day of learning and information sharing. We first met with Michał Łukomski, a Polish physicist in charge of Preventative Conservation at GCI, who shared some of the GCI’s groundbreaking work in the field of cultural preservation and who, along with his colleague David Carson, gave us a tour of their state-of-the-art labs. We also spoke with scientists Art Kaplan and Joy Mazurek about current research in the area of photographic conservation. Next, we moved over to GRI, where we met with archivist Isabella Zuralski-Yeager, and thus began an in-depth discussion of archival description, management and storage techniques. Ms. Zuralski-Yeager also introduced us to many other informative colleagues: Kathleen Salomon, Assistant GRI Director and Chief Librarian of the Getty Library; Lisa Forman, Head of the GRI Conservation lab; and Teresa Soleau, Head of the GRI Digitization department. Meeting these colleagues and experiencing first hand their resources and depth of knowledge was inspiring. We look forward to collaborating with the Getty for years to come.
Another collaboration that was further cemented during this visit was that between the PMC and USC Special Collections. Most of the PMC’s archives are physically housed in our library, however our first archival holding—the Manuscript Collection (established in 1984) —is housed in the Special Collections department in USC’s Doheny Library. Again using the opportunity of our guests from Warsaw, we visited with Head of Special Collections, Sue Luftschein, to further compare American and Polish archival techniques and to deepen the connection between our departments. This meeting allowed us to gain access to USC’s portal on ArchivesSpace, the standard tool for description and finding aids in the US, and also to introduce the Special Collections staff to our other impressive archival holdings at PMC.
Overall, it was a very successful month with our expert visitors from the National Archives. We are deeply grateful to Robert Górski and Anna Czajka for their priceless gifts of time and knowledge; to General Director of the State Archives, Dr. Wojciech Woźniak, for his ongoing support of this initiative; to Katarzyna Kiliszek, who from the beginning has managed this project from the NDAP Department of Organization and Access; and to all of the staff at NDAP, AGAD and the Ministry of Culture who make these visits possible. This cooperation is also partially funded by generous support from the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles. We look forward to continued collaboration in 2018 and beyond!
PMC/LAMOTH COLLABORATIONS CONTINUE:
On Saturday, August 26, 2017, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles and USC Polish Music Center present an afternoon of events in honor of the 40th anniversary of the death of composer Henry Vars. First, at 2:30 p.m., there will be a Holocaust Survivor Talk with the children of Henry Vars—Diana Mitchell & Robert Vars (pictured at right)—moderated by Dana Schwartz. Then, at 4:00 p.m., there will be a Vars Concert by the Darek Oleszkiewicz Trio—bassist Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz, pianist Kuba Stankiewicz and drummer Tina Raymond (below center)—featuring hit Polish and American tunes by Vars. Space is limited and reservations are required (for the concert only). RSVP here: lamoth.ticketleap.com/henryk-wars.
Along with fellow USC Thornton faculty member and Grammy Award-winning percussionist Peter Erskine, Darek Oleszkiewicz and Kuba Stankiewicz recently released an album entitled The Music of Henryk Wars (Warner, 2017), featuring arrangements of many classic Vars tunes. Click on the links to hear them on Youtube: Miłość Ci wszystko wybaczy [Love Forgives All] (1933); Ach, jak przyjemnie [Ah! It’s So Pleasant] (1938); Nic o Tobie nie wiem [I Know Nothing about You] (1939); Sleep My Child (1948); I Remember (1949); Flipper (1963).
Henryk Warszawski was in born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1902. After graduating from the Warsaw Conservatory of Music in 1925, Warszawski began to compose and arrange popular tunes, working with a variety of performers, at first mostly in a cabaret setting. By the very end of the 1920s he started to work in film, scoring the first Polish “talkie,” Na Sybir (To Siberia). Adopting the stage name "Wars," he became a prolific film composer. More than a third of all Polish films made in the 1920s and 1930s were scored by Wars, and many of his screen melodies ended up on singles’ hit lists. Most songs written by him in the 1930s still enjoy the timeless popularity accorded to the show tunes of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin in America.
During World War II, Wars was sent to the front. He was taken prisoner, but escaped a POW train transport and reached Lwów (then under Soviet occupation) in 1940. Meanwhile, his wife and two children were forced to leave their apartment in Warsaw and move into the Warsaw Ghetto. In Lwów, Wars gathered other refugee musicians, organizing a musical theatre performing group and touring the Soviet Union. In early 1941, Wars was able to obtain official papers from the Soviet authorities allowing his wife and children to leave the Warsaw Ghetto. When they got to Lwów, they were told Wars was on tour. As Germans began to bomb Lwów, Wars' wife and children boarded trains heading east and began a long trek to find him and be reunited.
In 1947, Wars and his family left for the United States. Changing his name to “Henry Vars,” he settled in Los Angeles. Initially Vars joined film studios as arranger, copyist, conductor and the anonymous composer of numerous film cues. Later he composed a number of film scores, including several Westerns made by, among others, John Wayne’s production company. His most famous achievement was the soundtrack for feature film Flipper as well as music for the follow-up television series based on the same story.
Vars' most enduring Polish hit, “Miłość ci wszystko wybaczy" [Love Forgives All] remains one of the most popular Polish songs of the past 50 years and was used in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List.
2017 PADEREWSKI FESTIVAL EXCHANGE IN POLAND
This June, as in all odd-numbered years since 2009, selected winners of the Youth Piano Competition administered by the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles travelled to Poland on the Festival’s International Cultural Exchange Program. Our partners in Poland—the Province of Tarnów and the Paderewski Center in Kąśna Dolna—once again provided the venue and accommodations for students from three regions around the world—California, Małopolska, and Podilya—that are linked to Ignacy Jan Paderewski. A total of six students accompanied by chaperones participated in this year’s program that was held June 23-July 6 in Kąśna Dolna, Poland.
The venue for the Exchange Program workshops, master classes and concert was Paderewski’s early 19th century manor house in southeastern Poland. All students, faculty and chaperones were housed in the former servants’ quarters building, converted to an artists’ retreat. Daily individual lessons with cellist Lars Hoefs (faculty at Sao Paulo State University in Campinas, Brazil), and pianists Marianna Humetska (faculty at National Music Academy in Lviv, Ukraine) and Marek Zebrowski (Artistic Director of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and Director of the USC Polish Music Center), were interspersed with group lessons in harmony, composition and arranging, as well as in copious amounts of daily solo and joint practicing in various rooms of Paderewski’s historic residence.
After a week of intense preparations, the six students presented a series of concerts across southern Poland. The first, on June 30, was held at the Łącko Arena at the invitation of the Cracow Duo and their annual summer music program, Małopolska Akademia Talentów [The Małopolska Talent Academy]. All of the Exchange Program performers enjoyed demonstrating their solo and chamber music repertoire on the concert grand Fazioli piano that was on loan for this festival by the Warsaw Philharmonic.
July 1 was the concert night at Paderewski‘s manor house in Kąśna Dolna. The program opened with each student performing with cellist Lars Hoefs one of the movements from Pequena Suite by Heitor Villa-Lobos. With Prof. Hoefs remaining on stage, all six students then took their turns to world-premiere their own arrangements of Polish folk songs for cello and piano.
That done, the evening moved to showcase the solo skills of each young pianist, beginning with Małgorzata Machowska from Poland performing works by Debussy and Grieg (above right). She was followed by Antón de la Fuente from California in repertoire of Ravel and Chopin. Beethoven and Rachmaninov came next in performance by Bohdan Terletskyy from Ukraine (above left), and Californian Luke Kim continued the concert with music by Paderewski and Chopin. Sofiya Dashak, also from Ukraine, was heard in works by Beethoven and Schumann and this portion of the concert closed with Piotr Lara’s exclusively Polish presentation of two works by Chopin.
To close this rich survey of classical piano repertoire, the students sat down in pairs to perform some of the best-known Gershwin tunes in their own arrangements for piano 4-hands. Małgorzata Machowska and Bohdan Terletskyy were heard in The Man I Love, Sofiya Dashak and Antón de la Fuente performed Fascinating Rhythm, and Piotr Lara and Luke Kim closed the evening with Novellette in Fourths.
The same program was repeated on July 2 at the beautiful, late Gothic Dębno Castle (pictured at the top of the article), located about 30 miles west of Kąśna Dolna. This was a new venue for the Exchange Program and it came to pass this year after a gracious invitation was extended to us by Krystyna Gurgul, director of the Dębno Castle that serves as a branch of the Tarnów District Museum. The enthusiastic organizers’ earnest efforts to gather an overflowing audience for the concert led to an extended and well-deserved standing ovation for the young musicians at the end of their program. Read a review of the concert at Dębno Castle (in Polish) with more photographs here: muzeum.tarnow.pl.
On the morning of July 3 the Exchange Program departed from Kąśna for Kraków. In addition to sightseeing many historical attractions in this ancient Polish capital, the theme of Paderewski was ever-present for the duration of the group’s visit there. The students saw the Battle of Grunwald Monument (funded by Paderewski to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Battle in 1910), the Słowacki Theatre and Hotel Saski (connected to Paderewski’s friendship with actress and patron, Helena Modjeska), and culminated in a concert at the Paderewski Institute of Musicology (part of the Jagiellonian University) on July 5. Professionally organized every two years since 2009 by Dr. Sitarz from the Institute, the Exchange Program concert there drew a distinguished audience of scholars, composers, local faculty, and performers. Again, the warm reception there validated the Exchange Program students’ countless hours of hard work and solid preparation. Also in Kraków, the group had a chance to attend a dress rehearsal of a piano 4-hand concert by pianists Grzegorz Mania and Piotr Różański, featuring works by several Polish composers from the late romantic era.
The concert in Kraków represented the official ending of this round of the 2017 Exchange Program. The second round—featuring the same participants—will take place in November of 2018 when these young pianists will visit California, visit with host families, attend classes at local high schools, and perform at the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles.
After Kraków, the two students from California, Antón de la Fuente and Luke Kim, spent the remaining few days in Poland by visiting Warsaw. There, upon the invitation of Riff Piano Salon—the official Steinway & Sons representative in Warsaw—they presented a short piano recital on the evening of July 7 (pictured above). It was another instance of a great organization and publicity as well as a very attentive audience that heartily applauded Antón and Luke in their solo presentations of works by Ravel, Chopin and Paderewski.
Continuing the theme of Chopin, the following day, July 8, was spent on travelling to the composer’s birthplace of Żelazowa Wola, some 30 miles west of Warsaw. Thanks to our friends Dr. Artur Szklener and Joanna Bokszczanin at the National Chopin Institute [NIFC] in Warsaw, we were provided a van and a driver to get us comfortably to Żelazowa Wola and back. After a tour of the manor house and grounds with the charming host, Tadeusz Owczuk, the California group had the privilege of listening to the noontime recital given by a young Polish pianist, Piotr Pawlak, in the very room where Chopin was born. Back in Warsaw, the rest of the afternoon was devoted to the truly unique Chopin Museum (pictured at right). Once again, thanks to our friends at NIFC we had an English-speaking guide and enjoyed an extensive tour of the premises.
Besides a rich musical heritage, Poland’s capital city has many historical and culinary attractions to offer, among others. Happily, the California visitors enjoyed both in equal measure, traversing Warsaw’s storybook Old Town, visiting the Royal Castle (another Paderewski connection), sightseeing inside the glittering Royal Łazienki Palace and strolling through its extensive grounds on a warm summer afternoon. The group also spent a good part of Sunday, July 9 at the Museum of Polish Jews learning a lot about Poland’s more recent history. Each evening the culinary tour continued, culminating at a different restaurant every night. At every instance—with different menu and theme from Polish to international cuisine—there was a rave review in every case of the dishes served.
Gastronomic glee notwithstanding, the musical theme was never far from the summer strolls along Warsaw’s streets, as well as bus and tram rides all across town. During these peregrinations we passed the elegant Bristol Hotel (built and co-owned by Paderewski who stayed there as well), Warsaw University with Chopin’s flat right across the street, dropped by a church where Chopin played the organ at times, and went by the residence of his sister, who lived with her husband nearby. Then there was the Church of the Holy Cross, where the Chopin family were parishioners and where his heart has been entombed after Chopin’s sister, Ludwika, brought it from Paris in the early 1850s.
All of these points of interests were on the itinerary because the Cultural Exchange, as organized by the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, has always been more than just a music camp abroad. Since 2009, the Program’s goals have included not only bringing students from three different regions connected by Paderewski’s life story together to prepare and perform a wide range of piano repertoire, but also to sample Polish culture, history, and customs and, most importantly, to bring together young artists from various places on earth to work in harmony with each other.
THE RYTERBAND COLLECTION GROWS
Roman Ryterband’s daughter, Diana Eisele, stopped by the PMC recently with another valuable donation, an orchestral score of her father’s ballet music, Herakles and The Argonauts. “It was a real find,” Diana said with a smile, “because for many years we’ve considered this score lost.” Commissioned by Walter Fischer, a Swiss acquaintance of the composer who also provided libretto for this ballet in five scenes, Roman Ryterband initially produced a version for two pianos and percussion. A copy of the score of this version and a recording of the concert performance in the Bay Area were donated to the PMC by the composer’s family over a year ago.
At some point in the late 1970s, Ryterband outsourced the orchestration of the ballet to the Kraków-based conductor and composer, Tadeusz Dobrzański (1916-1996). The orchestral score of Herakles and the Argonauts eventually ended up in possession of violinist and composer, Francois D’Albert—a friend of Roman Ryterband from Montreal and later from Chicago, where D’Albert moved to assume the directorship of the Chicago Conservatory College of Music. Ryterband later also joined the Chicago Conservatory faculty and was active there as a composer, conductor and performer.
In a 1961 letter, the Swiss-American pianist Rudolph Ganz wrote, “… I have heard several works of Roman Ryterband and seen several orchestral scores from his pen. The all show excellent craftsmanship and sympathetic imagination. Conductors should do well by becoming interested in Mr. Ryterband’s compositions … for eventual performances.” As it turns out, there were attempts to perform the fully orchestrated Herakles and the Argonauts. Together with the score, we received from Diana Eisele a copy the April 4, 1979 letter from Patricia Neary, Director of the Zurich Opera Ballet to the librettist, Dr. Walter Fischer. In it, Ms. Neary mentions that programs for the 1979-1980 season were already set by Mr. Balanchine, the Artistic Advisor of the Zurich Ballet, and the staging of Herakles and the Argonauts was not possible. Thereafter, the score and the materials were returned to the United States, probably just after Ryterband’s death in November of 1979.
His widow, Clarissa Ryterband, continued to advocate for the score and sent it on to various friends and performers. Decades had passed, nothing happened, and the score was considered lost until a few months ago when Clarissa Ryterband received a call about the score from D’Albert’s family. They had found the composer’s phone number among D’Albert’s papers. Fortunately, after moving house following her husband’s passing, Clarissa retained the old phone number, so the connection was made. After waiting for many suspenseful weeks with no follow-up, Diana Eisele sprang to action and traced the D’Albert relatives in Chicago. After her gentle nudge, the orchestral score of Heracles and the Argonauts finally circled back to the family on August 2, as a kind of a posthumous gift from the composer on his 103rd birthday!
As of August 15, the orchestral score of Ryterband’s Herakles and the Argonauts resides with the rest of his archival collection at the PMC, next to a set of beautifully hand-copied orchestral parts. Anyone interested in performance of this ballet music? Please let us know!
MORE GIFTS TO PMC: JULY-AUGUST 2017
Edited and extensively introduced by Irena Poniatowska, Wdzięk afektu—teksty o tempie rubato [The Charm Affect—Texts about Tempo Rubato] is a wonderful new publication of the National Chopin Institute in Warsaw. This small hardcover book is a treasure trove of fascinating texts about interpreting music and the pulse of musical narration. Leading with an extensive article by Ignacy Jan Paderewski first published in 1910 to coincide with Chopin’s centenary, this book also contains Łucjan Kamieński’s essay O tempie rubato [About Tempo Rubato] published in Königsberg in 1918 as well as entries by two Italian writers, Brenno Boccadoro and Gastone Belotti. Boccadoro’s article appeared originally in 2006 as Aux sources du rubato: Diligens negligentia ou du “non fini” dans la musique de la Renaissance, and Belotti’s 1967 essay, Le origini italiane del “Rubato” Chopiniano, looked for the Italian roots of Chopin’s rubato. Thank you, Professor Poniatowska for this gift that should be a required reading, and not only for pianists!
From Dr. Grzegorz Zieziula at the Polish Academy of Sciences we received a truly princely gift—a massive, four-volume, clothbound facsimile edition of Stanisław Moniuszko’s arguably most famous opera, Halka. Beautifully illustrated and introduced with an extensive article by Dr. Zieziula, the reader is instantly enmeshed in thousands of fascinating details, from the process of publishing this seminal stage work in Poland to its distribution following the January 1858 premiere in Warsaw. Echoes of this opera and interest in it came from across Europe, including Prague and Paris as well as Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev, and we also learn from the introduction that after becoming familiar with the score of Halka, Rossini sent Moniuszko his autographed photo. Richly illustrated with sketches, historical photographs and reproduction of the 1858 poster of Halka’s world premiere, this unique edition will take a pride of place in the Polish Music Center’s library. Thank you, Dr. Zieziula!
Our former student research assistant, Tomasz Fechner, recently returned to campus bearing gifts from colleagues in Poland. Maciej Staszewski, a guitar and composition professor at the Bacewicz Music Academy in Łódź, sent us his latest recording, Fantasía Ibérica (DUX 1336, 2016). Professor Staszewski will be visiting this USC campus later this fall to work with guitar students and visit the PMC. Another recording added to our large collection came from Szymon Morus, conductor of the 'Progress' Chamber Orchestra: their 2014 CD entitled “Elgar – Shostakovich – Penderecki” (Acte Préalable 353). Equally at home with traditional and contemporary chamber repertoire, Progress and Morus collaborated with Fechner and Staszewski on a concert during which they premiered a new arrangement of Krzysztof Olczak’s Koncert Gdański for 3 guitars and orchestra (1997) at the Guitar Festival in Tczew, Poland on May 21, 2017. Thank you, Tomek, for introducing us to Prof. Staszewski and Szymon Morus!
KOCZALSKI: PREMIERE PERFORMANCE AND RECORDING
The Second Piano Concerto of Raul Koczalski (1885-1948) was premiered on June 17, 2017 at Radziejowice Palace by the superb Polish pianist Joanna Ławrynowicz performing with the ‘Sinfonia Varsovia’ orchestra during the 9th Summer Festival of Jerzy Waldorff in Radziejowice. Along with Koczalski’s First Piano Concerto, these works were recently discovered by Jan A. Jarnicki of Acte Préalable records. The world premiere of the First Concerto took place last year in Słupsk, as performed by the Koszalin Philharmonic Orchestra during the closing concert of the Polish Pianism Festival.
The world premiere recordings of the First and Second Piano Concertos were made in July in Rzeszów, Poland. Both works were performed by Ławrynowicz and the outstanding Italian conductor Massimiliano Caldi, leading the Filharmonia Podkarpacka. The recording will be available on CD later this year.
In late June, the Dallas Opera announced the participants in the Third Annual Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors, scheduled to run Nov. 5-19 in Dallas, Texas. There were 161 applicants from 33 countries who competed this year for admission to the program, and Polish maestra Monika Wolińska was one of the six selected for this exclusive program. The distinguished faculty will include Marin Alsop, Nicole Paiement, Carlo Montanaro and Alex Treuhaft. Other women conductors in this year’s program include Alba Bomfim (Brazil), Mélisse Brunet (France), Linda Gonzales-Granados (USA/Colombia), Karin Hendrikson (USA), and Carolyn Watson (USA/Australia).
The Hart Institute for Women Conductors is a unique residential program that seeks to provide training and career support for the most talented women conductors. The sessions will include leading concerts of the Dallas Opera Orchestra, seminars in career advancement and administration, as well as a five-year program of summer master classes with pianists and singers.
We congratulate Monika Wolińska on this well-deserved honor and look forward to her conquering of opera stages in Dallas and elsewhere across the globe!
URBAŃSKI AT THE BOWL
On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbański will take the stage at the Hollywood Bowl, the vast and prestigious summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. They will be joined onstage by pianist Behzod Abduraimov for a program of works by Rachmaninoff and Mussorgsky.
Despite his young age, Urbański has just finished his sixth season as the highly acclaimed Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, following several impressive appointments at orchestras throughout Europe. In June 2015 Urbański received the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Award at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. Notably, he is the first conductor to have ever received this award. Read more at krzysztofurbanski.com.
POLISH MUSICIANS PERFORM AT CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER
On Wednesday, August 23, Polish violinist Kinga Augustyn will perform a recital at the Chicago Cultural Center, as part of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series featuring emerging artists from around the world. At 12:15 PM CST, this recital will be broadcast live online by classical music station WFMT. Together with Macedonian pianist Kalina Mrmevska, Augustyn will perform the following program: Henryk Wieniawski - Polonaise de concert in D Major, Op. 4; Sergei Prokofiev - Sonata No. 2 in D Major, Op. 94bis; and Fritz Kreisler - Three Viennese Dances (Liebesfreud, Liebesleid, Schön Rosmarin).
On Wednesday, August 30, Polish pianist Adam Piotr Żukiewicz will also perform a recital at the Chicago Cultural Center, as part of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series featuring emerging artists from around the world. At 12:15 PM CST, this recital will be broadcast live online by classical music station WFMT. The repertoire of his solo recital will include: Chopin - Scherzo in B-flat Minor, Op. 31 and Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 53; Gershwin - 3 Preludes for Piano; Scriabin - Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 30; and Beethoven: 6 Variations on ‘Nel cor piu non mi sento’, WoO 70.
FILM SCORING WORKSHOPS IN GDYNIA
The Gdynia Film School organizes film scoring workshops for music school students and graduates of music academies interested in composing film music. The program will be held October 9-15, 2017 and applications must be submitted by September 10 to email@example.com.
All studio facilities of Gdynia Film School will be open to the participants, who will attend group lectures and individual coaching sessions led by the Oscar-winning composer, Jan A. P. Kaczmarek. Organizer anticipate about 12 active participants, who may receive up to 20 hours of lectures and 1 hour of individual instruction. The tuition fee for active participants is 1500 PLN and it does not include housing, board or transportation. Tuition for auditors is 800 PLN. Candidates will be chosen after submitting two scores of two original works or sound recordings of their compositions.
More information and application forms can be found at: www.gsf.pl
RYWALSKI KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN
Have you ever been interested in supporting talented Polish musicians directly? Szymon Rywalski is a young Polish student from Wejherowo, Poland who has been accepted to study horn at the prestigious Peabody Institute in Baltimore. He would be part of the studio of Ms. Denise Tryon, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra and one of the finest horn pedagogues in the world. One can see why Mr. Rywalski would be recruited by Peabody in videos such as this YouTube video, however this young student lacks the means to attend. Although his tuition will be covered by a $40,000 merit scholarship, he needs to raise the rest of the money required to cover his other educational and living costs.
If you like to back Szymon Rywalski’s music education campaign, please visit www.gofundme.com/rywalski-college-fund to help him raise the necessary $12,000. Thank you for your support of the arts!
[Sources: press release, gofundme.com]
‘WARSAW AUTUMN’ 2017 PREVIEW
The iconic festival of contemporary music, Warszawska Jesień [Warsaw Autumn], celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Held in various venues around Warsaw from September 15-23, 2017, its programs will examine and illustrate the phenomenon of the avant-garde. Works by the composers who were part of the original avant-garde will be juxtaposed with the composers whose works came about in the decades following the first Warsaw Autumn Festival, held sixty years ago.
Several world premieres are planned, featuring works of Wojciech Błażejczyk, Jan Duszyński, Vladimir Gorlinsky, Maxim Kolomiietsa, Mauro Lanza, Wenchen Qin, Szymon Stanisław Strzelec, Piotr Tabakiernik, Haakon Thelin, Lubawa Sydorenko, and Artur Zagajewski. Leading Polish and foreign ensembles will be heard, including the National Polish Radio Orchestra directed by Alexander Leibrecht, the National Philharmonic with Jacek Kaspszyk, Experimentalstudio des SWR from Freiburg, the EWCM Orchestra led by Rüdiger Bohn, as well as orchestras such as the Tempo Reale from Florence, Les Percusions de Strassbourg, and Nostri Temporis.
Further program details can be found at: www.warszawska-jesien.art.pl
2017 ‘CHOPIN & HIS EUROPE’ FESTIVAL
The 13th ‘Chopin and His Europe’ Festival will take place between August 12-30, 2017 at several of Warsaw’s premiere venues for classical music. This year’s edition, subtitled ‘Before the Great Jubilee – From Bach to Chopin’, is a peculiar prologue to the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Poland’s regaining of independence, which will fall in 2018.
Amongst the many incredible performers featured at this Festival, a pride of place is given to laureates of the prestigious International Chopin Competition, which is run by the same organization as the Festival—the National Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw (NIFC). Laureates on the program this year include: Garrick Ohlsson, Yulianna Avdeeva, Seong-Jin Cho, Yundi, Eric Lu, Gabriela Montero, Paweł Wakarecy, Krzysztof Jabłoński, and Szymon Nehring. Polish composers whose works will be performed include: Karol Szymanowski, Mieczysław Wajnberg, Karol Kurpiński, Stanisław Szczepanowski, Witold Lutosławski, Władysław Żeleński, Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński, Franciszek Mirecki, Paweł Szymański, Juliusz Zarębski, Zygmunt Stojowski, and, of course, Fryderyk Chopin.
2017 ‘SOLIDARITY OF ARTS’ FESTIVAL
From August 14-30, 2017, the Solidarity of Arts Festival will take place in Gdańsk representing, as it has for the past nine years, the ideas of solidarity in many different ways—in art, for art and through art. The event is organized by the city of Gdańsk and the European Solidarity Centre. The five evenings and almost twenty hours of the Festival will be filled with greatly varied music, played by soloists, trios, quartets, septet, orchestras and choirs.
The musical program of the Festival refers to this year’s theme of ‘Peace’ through an artistic vision of the harmonic coexistence of differences. The invited artists represent various, often aesthetically distant styles. The repertoire features a spectrum of works from piano chamber music and classical orchestral forms, to jazz and electronic music, through dub techno.
During the opening concert, the Orchestra of Polish Baltic Philharmonic under the baton of Paweł Przytocki will perform works of Barber, Bach, Shostakovich and also the Violin Concerto of Andrzej Panufnik, performed by Polish violinist Janusz Wawrowski.
In the final concert of the festival held on August 30, in the Winter Garden of the European Solidarity Centre, we will have a chance to hear opera Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven dir. by Julien Salemkour. Fidelio’s libretto explores the topic of a rebellion against enslavement and a call for freedom and peace. It will be performed by 7 soloists, a mixed choir of 60 people, a children’s chorus and the Expat Philharmonic Orchestra—an ensemble comprised of migrants and refugees from countries undergoing conflicts.
SUMMER SERIES OF SACRUM NON PROFANUM
Since 2012 the International Festival ‘Sacrum Non Profanum’ has adhered to the mission of presenting music of the current times. Recent editions of the Festival brought retrospectives of music by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wojciech Kilar, Karol Szymanowski and Witold Lutosławski. Works by these composers were presented alongside traditional concert repertoire in performance by world-class artists as well as young artists who made their Festival debuts.
Held during the second half of August, Festival programming for 2017 will be devoted to compositions by Sir Andrzej Panufnik. Concerts will take place in Poland (in the region of Szczecin and in the seaside resort of Trzęsacz) as well as in Berlin, Germany. In addition to concerts, Festival events also include exhibits, meetings, theatre performances, and other accompanying events. The Festival’s special guest will be the composer’s widow, Lady Camilla Jessel-Panufnik.
‘MUSIC IN OLD CRACOW’ 2017
Now in its 42nd year, ‘Music in Old Cracow’ is one of the oldest Polish festivals. Cultural tradition in the ancient capital city of Kraków creates a special aura conducive to music. Many outstanding European composers such as H. Finck, L. Marenzio and D. Cato worked here; G. Palestrina, G. Ph. Telemann and J. S. Bach all dedicated works to Polish kings. Liszt, Brahms, Paderewski and Rubinstein played here their concerts. Programming for the Festival pays homage to these great aspects of the city’s cultural history. The Festival has hosted, so far, such artists as Henryk Szeryng, Ida Haendel, Jordi Savall, Shlomo Mintz, Krystian Zimerman, Krzysztof Penderecki, Emma Kirkby, Grigory Sokolov, Rafael Puyana and Igor Kipnis, as well as ensembles: Philharmonia Quartett, Melos Quartett, Academy of Ancient Music, Canadian Brass, Israel Chamber Orchestra, National Philharmonic, The Hilliard Ensemble, Chanticleer and many others. The concerts take place in various historical venues, what allows to see the most beautiful places in Cracow, in addition to musical impressions.
The 42nd edition of the ‘Music in Old Cracow’ Festival will take place from August 15-31, 2017, featuring a wide range of music – from the oldest to contemporary. Amongst many great composers from around the world, especially those associated with Kraków as listed above, many Polish composers from all eras will be performed, including: M. Karłowicz, W. Żeleński, L. Różycki, A. Panufnik, W. Lutosławski, J. Zarębski, B. Pękiel, G. G. Gorczycki, M. Zieleński, and Jan z Lublina. Next to the world-famous artists performing, such as Chanticleer, young talented musicians at the beginning of their careers, such as the Emes Piano Duo (Anna Młynarczyk and Małgorzata Strzelczyk), are also invited to the festival.
For a full program, visit: mwsk.pl.
‘KOLORI POLSKI’ FESTIVAL 2017
The 18th edition of the ‘Kolori Polski’ [The Colors of Poland] Festival, organized by the Łódź Philharmonic, takes place during the weekends from June to September 2017. This Festival celebrates appreciation for classical music and for the history, folk traditions and architecture of Łódź.
Nearly all of the twenty concerts will be performed in a different venues, including old churches and monasteries; mysterious castles and museums; valuable exhibits; and parks and forest glades. Listening to music in such places differs from the traditional concert experience offered by the Philharmonic during the fall/spring season. Projects inspired by folk culture, old art and unconventional arrangements of classical and popular music—many created newly for the Festival—dominate in the program. Audiences have the chance to hear not only well established artists but also musicians just starting their careers. Some features offered to those who are not afraid to experience something new include: rare instruments, folk artists sharing the stage with professionals, and courageous improvisations.
On August 20, one of the highlight concerts of the Festival will feature proMODERN contemporary vocal ensemble performing at a church in Krośniewice. Composed of six outstanding singers, this ensemble has attracted a lot of attention from composers who either wrote specifically for them or made arrangements for the group. They have performed these new works all across Poland, proving that contemporary music can be beautiful and approachable.
Since 2016 was widely celebrated as the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, proMODERN ensemble prepared a special project, “ShakeSpired,” which includes works by Polish composers written especially for the occasion. They were commissioned and co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage program, “Collections—Composers’ Commissions Prioritized” and administered by the Institute of Music and Dance. The August 20 concert will include works by Miłosz Bembinow, Krzesimir Dębski, Krzysztof Herdzin, Paweł Łukaszewski, Stanisław Moryto, Tomasz Opałka, Dariusz Przybyski, and Maciej Zieliński.
AUKSO SUMMER PHILHARMONIC – PIENINY 2017
On August 12-14 and September 23, 2017 the Aukso Chamber Orchestra from Tychy, directed by Marek Moś, have organized and will perform concerts in the Pieniny mountains. Among some of the highlights of this year’s 18th Summer Philharmonic Festival are film and theater composer Zygmunt Konieczny—who celebrates his jubilee this year—tenor Karol Kozłowski, cellist Dominik Połoński and the Zakopower band. The Festival program will also include other Polish contemporary composers, Sławomir Kaczorowski and Zbigniew Bargielski, as well works by Benjamin Britten, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Georg Philipp Telemann.
The Aukso Summer Philharmonic Festival is a cultural and educational project that brings the highest quality art to the residents of small towns who do not have everyday access to such opportunities. The program of events taking place in Szczawnica, Niedzica and Jaworki features orchestral concerts, chamber music, masterclasses, meetings and presentations of artists connected with the culture of southern Poland. As a part of the program, people will have a chance to learn the secrets of a luthier’s work from Wojciech Topa, who is a member of the highland quartet accompanying the Zakopower group. There will be also a meeting with Burkhard Damman—a German specialist in relaxation and physiotherapeutic techniques dedicated to musicians.
NOVO-NOWOWIESKI CONCERT SERIES
Novo-Nowowiejski is a summer series of free events featuring the music of Feliks Nowowiejski performed on Hammond organ, held on Saturdays in late July and August at various open-air venues in Poznań. The performers featured on the program are:
The aim of the Novo-Nowowiejski project is to commemorate the 140th birth anniversary of Feliks Nowowiejski, who was a composer, conductor and an organ player who lived in Poznań, and to show his works from a new perspective of the invited Hammond organ players. Audiences will hear pieces such as Kujawiak, Nie tobie smutki piosenki, Kołysanka, Królowa niebios, Pasterka, Nie odwracaj czoła, and also Nowowiejski’s most recognizable work, Rota. The arrangements of these pieces were made by a composer, Iwona Witek, however the performers will decide about how to combine classical compositions of Nowowiejski with the jazz sound of the Hammond organ.
2017 SOPOT CLASSIC FESTIVAL
The International Music Festival 'Sopot Classic' is a proposition for admirers of classical music and others musical forms that are present on the Polish and international stage. Varied programs highlighting current performing trends around Europe, talented artists, young composers and performers, musical representations of other nation’s cultures—the Sopot Classic contains it all.
From July 30-August 6 2017, audiences enjoyed five varied concerts that enriched the cultural repertoire of Sopot, and welcomed all vacationing in the Tricity area. The Opening Concert highlighted the voice of Nancy Fabiola Herrera, mezzosoprano, and the guitar performance of Łukasz Kuropaczewski
The Sopot Classic Festival was created in 2011 on the initiative of management of the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Sopot and City of Sopot. The Sopot Classic Festival producers wanted to create an offering of various musical styles, but bonded together by the highest performing standard, with excellent preparation and care for artistic and organizational details.
MUSIC AT TRANSATLANTYK 2017
The Transatlantyk International Film Festival was held from July 14-21, 2017 in Łódź—the city at the heart of the Polish film industry. Founded and directed by Polish Oscar-winning film composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, this Festival puts a strong spotlight on the music aspect of film creation, especially in the form of two international film composition competitions: Transatlantyk Film Music Competition ™ (TFMC) and the Transatlantyk Instant Composition Contest ™ (TICC).
TICC jurors were Michael P. Aust (director of the international film festival in Brunswick and the international festival of film music soundtrack Cologne), Matthijs Kieboom (composer, winner of the competition the TICC in 2011), Piotr Metz (famous music journalist) and Jan A. P. Kaczmarek. The FMC jury was comprised of: Anne-Sophie Bion (Editor), Jean-Michel Bernard (film composer), Wiesław Komasa (outstanding Polish film and theater actor), Michael Seresin (cinematographer of Birdy and Harry Potter) and Jan A.P. Kaczmarek.
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Layout Assistance: Charles Bragg
Translation Assistance: Tomasz Fechner, Marek Zebrowski
Kinga Augustyn, Piotr Gajewski, Marek Zebrowski
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
Uploaded by Krysta Close, August 5, 2016
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