|Polish Music Newsletter|
UPDATE ON THE POLISH NATIONAL ARCHIVES COLLABORATION
From October 1 - November 15, 2015, the Polish Music Center hosted Robert Górski, a scholar and archivist with the Central Directorate of the Polish National Archives (NDAP) in Warsaw. This residency was the latest installment in a partnership and professional exchange that has been developing between the National Archives and the PMC over the last five years. Since 2013, two scholars have spent extended periods at the Polish Music Center, teaching PMC staff and cataloguing our extensive archives, and PMC staff have visited various branches of the National Archives in Poland, learning archival and restoration techniques and sharing our skills for the development of English language terminology and databases. This ongoing partnership is co-funded by the NDAP, the PMC, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.
Mr. Górski is not only a skilled and diligent archivist, he is also perhaps the world’s leading expert on the current contents and location of all of the various parts of the archives of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, which have been scattered around the world since Paderewski’s death. Given this expertise, Mr. Górski delved into the PMC’s extensive Paderewski Collection immediately upon his arrival and continued to explore its many facets for the following 6 weeks in Los Angeles. Many exciting discoveries were made as he worked to fit the PMC’s collection into the larger context of all extant Paderewski archives around the world. Below is an excerpt from his report on his time at the PMC:
Indeed, there is still much work to do, within the Paderewski Collection as well as within the many other rare and valuable parts of the PMC’s archives. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the National Archives in 2016 and beyond.
2015 FUND DRIVE
Los Angeles, 1 December 2015
2015 proved to be a busy year at the PMC! This year marked our 30th anniversary, and we celebrated with several special events and projects described below. Some of you already honored this milestone by contributing to our “30 for 30” drive online, and we are most grateful for your recognition of Stefan and Wanda Wilk’s legacy. At the same time we would like to encourage those who did not yet have a chance to support us this year, or who would like to add a year-end gift, to do so with this annual appeal.
The year began with a two-week residency by the scholars of the Cracow Duo, who researched our Stojowski Collection and gave a fantastic performance on February 24. Then at the end of March, in collaboration with the USC School of Cinematic Arts, we produced the "Measures & Frames" concert that combined projections of original video with live accompaniment provided by the Toronto-based Penderecki String Quartet (PSQ). The highlight of this event was the world premiere of David Lynch’s 10-minute animation film (pictured below) with music by PMC Director Marek Zebrowski. Newman Hall was packed to the rafters with students, faculty and film industry professionals.
During late June and early July we organized another Cultural Exchange Program in Poland in conjunction with the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. Two winners of the Paderewski Youth Competition in Paso Robles spent two weeks in Poland studying piano, chamber music and composition at Paderewski’s former manor house in Kąśna Dolna. Concerts at the manor house, Jagiellonian University and visits at Chopin’s birthplace of Żelazowa Wola were supplemented by sightseeing and exploration of Poland’s culture and history.
Also during the summer, PMC Assistant Director Krysta Close spent four weeks at the Gdańsk branch of the National Archives, learning various best practices for archiving rare materials such those we have in our collections. Our collaboration with the National Archives continued this fall when we hosted Mr. Robert Górski, who spent six weeks at the Polish Music Center patiently cataloguing the unique photographs housed in our Paderewski Collection.
In celebration of Polish Heritage month, on October 9 and 18 we presented two concerts of early Polish music and a special anniversary reception. Performed by the USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia led by Adam Gilbert, the program of rarely-heard Polish masterpieces from 1500-1750 elicited an enthusiastic response from both the performers and the audience, and was broadcast worldwide on KUSC-FM on November 9. Our unique library holdings will be used to produce additional concerts of early Polish music next year.
Paderewski’s November 6 birthday is celebrated every year in Paso Robles, California with the Paderewski Festival that we organize and run. From a one-concert event in 2006, the Festival now is a four-day feast of concerts, lectures, and film screenings on Polish music. With a lineup including such world-renowned virtuosos as the Motion Trio from Poland, the 2015 Festival also presented Paderewski’s film Moonlight Sonata, and a recital of the Youth Competition winners held in the historic Paso Robles Inn where Paderewski used to stay between 1914 and 1939.
Other important PMC news is the donation of manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, concert programs and other documents from the family of Roman Ryterband (1914-1979), a noted composer and pianist, who spent the last twelve years of his life in Palm Springs, California. His widow and daughters spent the year organizing and delivering the collection, which will enrich our archives with another important Polish composer’s music and provide a unique window into Polish culture and history for scholars and musicians to explore.
Unlike our 30-day, web-only campaign held in October, this letter is our sole annual appeal for your support. Since the Polish Music Center is not endowed with operational funds, each year we must raise the capital required to cover our costs, such as renting USC venues, hiring performers, printing program booklets, and promoting concerts, as well as hiring student help, supporting researchers worldwide, maintaining our vast and informative website, and covering housing and transportation for visiting scholars. As always, we are very grateful to those who have supported us financially, attended concerts, volunteered at events, assisted in our library, helped with our monthly Newsletter, or spread the good word about us. We know how important our one-of-a-kind Center is to our Polish-American community and beyond, and how its continued mission enriches the cultural landscape of California and the world. Therefore, each year we ask you to consider making a fully tax-deductible gift to support the institution whose innovative projects have advanced Polish music and culture for 30 years. As always, your gift will be recognized in our concert programs throughout the year. The first 25 donations of $100 or more will receive a recording of our early Polish music concert held on 18 October 2015.
To donate by credit card, contact the PMC directly or visit giveto.usc.edu—you will find a PMC checkbox under University-wide Giving Opportunities > Centers and Institutes > Music. Checks may also be sent to our mailing address: 840 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851. Please indicate “USC Polish Music Center” in either the remittance line of your check or the online form, to ensure your contribution is routed directly to us.
As always, we invite you to stop by the Polish Music Center to experience first-hand the impact of our exceptional programs and learn more about how your year-end gift advances the profile of Polish music around the world. Please contact us at (213) 821-1356 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or to schedule a visit.
Thank you for your consideration. With our best wishes for the Holiday Season, we remain sincerely and gratefully yours,
Marek Zebrowski, Director Krysta Close, Assistant Director
P.S. Please mark your calendars for our next concert on 2 April 2016 at 8:00 pm. in USC’s Newman Recital Hall, featuring music by Roman Ryterband, whose portrait is pictured at the right. At this concert, you’ll have a chance to meet the composer’s family and hear a solo and chamber music program of his works. It would be great to see you, thank you personally for your support, and invite you to other concerts that we plan for next year.
RECENT DONATIONS TO THE PMC
From Thomas Pandolfi (2 self-released CDs):
From Maja Trochimczyk (1 Book):
From Divine Arts Recording Group (3-Part CD Set):
Thank you for expanding our collection!
NEW YORK TIMES FEATURES AGATA ZUBEL
Young Polish composer, singer and percussionist Agata Zubel was recently featured in the prestigious New York Times. Read an excerpt from the article by Ginanne Brownell Mitic, entitled “Agata Zubel, Contemporary Music’s Multiple Threat,” below:
Read the full article at www.nytimes.com.
KOMOROWSKI PREMIERES AT THE 25th PORTRAITS OF COMPOSERS
The Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) will celebrate its 70th anniversary with its annual concert series, Portraits of Composers. The event will be hosted at the Mazovia Institute of Culture, whom has also co-organized the event for several years now. The program includes works by two contemporary Polish composers – Piotr Komorowski and Sławomir Zamuszko, both of whom will be attending the concerts as well.
A special highlight of the 25th Portrait of Composers will be the World Premiere of two of Komorowski’s works: Sonata for cello and piano and Hidden World for accordion and electronics. The compositions will be performed by outstanding soloists and chamber players, such as Stanisław Miłek (accordion), Julia Samojło (piano), Tomasz Strahl (cello), Łucja Szablewska-Borzykowska (mezzosoprano), Flute O’Clock and Opium Quartet.
PAWEL PRZEZWANSKI PREMIERE
The world premiere of Pawel Przezwanski’s latest piece, Immer-ten-sion for orchestra and live electronics, is sure to dazzle audiences on December 11. Inspired by the contrast drawn between two domains—the cosmos and human existence—the composition will be performed by violinist Jan Mráček and the Kalisz Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra during the Amber Road Festival in Kalisz. The program also includes Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D. major, Op. 61 and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in B minor, D. 759 “Unfinished”.
MACIEJ BALENKOWSKI US PREMIERE
On December 4 in their program entitled “Twenty Somethings (1875-Present),” the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra (UPCO) will perform several compositions originating from Prague to Poland. Amongst the various selections, Maciej Balenkowski’s Sinfonietta – Time is Ticking will be given its US Premiere. This award-winning piece reflects Polish tradition by capturing the unique echoes of the Rite of Spring. The audience can also look forward to the East Coast premiere of Julia Seeholzer’s Yours, featuring soloists from the UPCO. Works by George Walker and Antonin Dvorak are included in the program as well.
LUTOS AIR & LUTOSŁAWSKI QTET PERFORM NEW POLISH MUSIC
An all-Polish concert will be performed by the Lutosławski Quartet (Bartosz Woroch and Marcin Markowicz – violins, Artur Rozmysłowicz – viola, and Maciej Młodawski – cello) and the Lutos Air Quintet (Jan Krzeszowiec – flute, Wojciech Merena – oboe, Maciej Dobosz – clarinet, Alicja Kieruzalska – bassoon, and Mateusz Feliński – French horn) with Rafał Łuc – accordion and Maciej Koczur – conductor on December 17 in the Sala Czarna [Black Hall] of the new National Music Forum in Wrocław, Poland.
The program, entitled “The Ubiquity of Sound” [Wszechobecność], will include new works by Paweł Hendrich (b. 1979): Pteropetros – concerto for accordion, wind quintet and string quartet; Paweł Szymański (b. 1954): Five pieces for string quartet; Rafał Augustyn (b. 1951): Rondeau; and Wojtek Blecharz (b. 1981): A bright empty square for woodwind quintet.
NEHRING AND SATANDER ORCH ON TOUR
Honorable Mention and Audience Prize winner of the 2015 Chopin Competition Szymon Nehring, who was also the only Pole among this year’s laureates, is currently on tour of some of Poland’s greatest orchestral venues performing Chopin’s Concerto No. 1 in E minor op. 11. Nehring shares the tour with the Satander Orchestra, which is organized and funded by the main sponsor of the 2015 Chopin Competition: Bank Zachodni WBK – Satander Group.
The tour will include:
CELEBRATING YOUNG COMPOSERS AND TRADITIONAL INSTRUMENTS
On December 6, Maestro Szymon Bywalec will lead the New Music Orchestra (OMN) and soloists Jadwiga Czarkowska and Tomasz Żymła – clarinet and Bartłomiej Duś – saxophone in a concert celebrating “Traditional instruments in new terms” in the chamber hall of the new NOSPR Hall in Katowice. The program will include works by young Polish composers Tomasz Opałka – D.N.A. Concerto for bass clarinet and chamber orchestra, and Aleksander Nowak – Niebo w Niedabylu for soprano saxophone and sinfonietta, as well as by a giant of contemporary music, Iannis Xenakis – Échange for bass clarinet and instrumental ensemble.
URBANIAK & AUGUSCIK – FIRST DUO CONCERT
“Don’t Play the Music! Let the Music Play!” – M. Urbaniak
On December 4, Polish musicians Michał Urbaniak and Grażyna Auguścik will come together for a concert at the Copernicus Center in Chicago. Although both have been living and performing in the US for most of their careers, this will be there first concert together ever, joined by other jazz and blues musicians from the Chicago area. Michal Urbaniak will perform blues with Felton Crews – bass, Rick Hall – guitar, Marty Sammon – keyboard and Brady Williams – drums, while Grażyna Auguścik will sing jazz with Rob Clearfield – piano and keyboard, Jon Deitemyer – drums, John Kregor – guitar and Matt Ulery – bass.
Michał Urbaniak, a Polish-born “citizen of the world” who became famous after recording the album Tutu with the greatest jazz legend, Miles Davis. Urbaniak is a violinist, composer, arranger and leader of projects, including: “Urbanizer,” “Urbanator,” “UrbSymphony,” “Fusion” and “Jazz Legends.” He was the first to play on a violin with five strings, built especially for him. Urbaniak has performed at all of the major jazz venues and festivals throughout the world, but his is also associated with film and theater. He was the first person to introduce jazz and rap to the symphony format through a project called “UrbSymphony.” Urbaniak has made over 60 albums, and his last album Miles of Blue was certified platinum. A book about his life entitled I, Urbanator was written by Andrew Makovetski in 2011.
Grażyna Auguścik is a singer, composer, producer and arranger. Auguścik’s unique style challenges traditional definitions of jazz, showing that she is a musician without boundaries. Auguścik’s discography contains 17 albums, 10 of which were released under her own record label, GMA Records. Auguścik’s Pastels album was chosen as one of the best albums of 1998 by National Public Radio listeners. The prestigious European Jazz Forum Magazine named her the best Jazz vocalist of 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. The Grażyna Auguścik Orkestral Universale Project, presented at Millenium Park in Chicago in 2006 received a standing ovation. Her Chopin World Sound concert in 2010 that gathered over 10,000 people in Chicago’s Millenium Park was chosen as one of the 10 most important performances during the last three decades in the Chicago area. “She’s a music machine” declared C. Loudon of the Jazz Times.
BECZAŁA SINGS RIGOLETTO AT THE MET, VEGAS-STYLE
Polish tenor Piotr Beczała is currently performing in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, in the role of the licentious Duke. Serbian baritone Željko Lučić reprises his acclaimed performance of the title role in Michael Mayer’s electrifying production, set in 1960 in a Las Vegas casino, with American soprano Nadine Sierra in her Met debut as Rigoletto’s innocent daughter, Gilda. Roberto Abbado conducts this production of Verdi’s timeless tragedy, which runs from October 20-December 17.
Beczała and Sierra most recently performed together in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at the San Francisco Opera in October. Read a review of this performance at www.sfexaminer.com.
KATARZYNA SĄDEJ IN SAN DIEGO
On December 8, mezzo-soprano Katarzyna Sądej will perform a short vocal cycle—Louis Vierne’s Les Angélus—with organist Gabriel Arregui at St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego. The piece being performed was meant for the vibrant acoustics of a cathedral, so it will be very interesting acoustically. This 30-minute free concert is part of St. Paul's organ recital series.
Polish-Canadian Mezzo-soprano Katarzyna Sądej was born in Wroclaw, Poland. She has sung internationally in concert, opera, chamber music, oratorio and recital. Sądej has performed numerous world premieres and has had over a dozen new works composed especially for her. She is a featured solo performer on the Metier Records 2013 CD and world premiere recording release of Rising at Dawn: Chamber Music with Brass by Carson Cooman, about which her performance was hailed by James Altena of Fanfare Magazine as “nothing short of enthralling.“ Sądej specializes in recital performance, and has performed numerous recitals in Canada, USA, England, France, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro.
Having recently move to Southern California, in the fall of 2015 Sądej made her debut with The Industry, L.A.’s cutting edge contemporary opera company, as River Voice in the world premiere of HOPSCOTCH. In the summer of 2015, Sądej made her debut at Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, singing the mezzo-soprano solos in J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor. As the 2015 winner of the Marcella Kochańska Sembrich Competition, she appeared in Chicago in August, presenting an all-Polish recital with works by Chopin, Moniuszko, Paderewski, Szymanowski and Karłowicz. The award was presented by The American Council for Polish Culture, and acknowledged Sądej’s long-time work as a proud ambassador for Polish music.
[Sources: press release, katarzynasadej.com]
CHOPIN CONCERTS IN MIAMI
Commissioned by the Chopin Foundation of the United States, several intimate series of concerts are held to celebrate and showcase the newly crowned laureates from the organization’s preceding event, the National Chopin Piano Competition (NCPC). This year, the three “Master Winners” of the competition will be featured. In the Chopin for All concert series starting in November, winners Eric Zuber and George Li will give encore performances of their sheer talent. Additionally, the audience will be able to enjoy a wine reception and performances by Jon Nakamatsu, the winner of the NCPC in 1995 and of the Van Cliburn Competition in 1997, during the Chopin Salon Concert series.
[Source: press release]
CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF THE ADAM MICKIEWICZ INSTITUTE
On December 10, Sinfonia Varsovia will present a special concert, commissioned by and in celebration of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s 15th anniversary at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Sinfonia Varsovia will be joined by horn soloist Stefan Dohr, from the Berlin Philharmonic, performing the World Premiere of Voyski’s Horn Concerto by Chinese composer Dai Bo with conductor Maciej Tworek. Krzystof Penderecki’s Sinfonietta per archi will also be heard, with the composer on the podium, as well as Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No.7 Op.70 in D minor.
PIOTR PESZAT CONCERT
Six compositions by young Polish composer Piotr Peszat will be performed in Kraków on December 5. The works are from his Erwachsenen Szene cycle: Birth of Venus – for amplified cello, any string instrument, sampler and lights; Even More Glory [????] of the human voice – for piano and smartphone /or/ for two pianos /or/ for pianist and actor; Duck and Cover – for amplified cello and video; Ririchiyo – for chamber ensemble and sampler; $w33t – for acoustic and virtual instruments, sampler and video; and Peszat’s got talent – for chamber ensemble, sampler, video and strobe. The concert will be performed by Spółdzielnia Muzyczna Contemporary Ensemble with Dominika Feiglewicz
Piotr Peszat is currently studying at The Royal Academy of Music in Aarhaus under Simon Steen-Andersen and previously studied composition under Krzysztof Meyer. Peszat has been the prize winner of many Polish and foreign composer compositions. His music has also been widely performed at many international contemporary music festivals, including, but not limited to the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music, RAMA Festival, Axes-Triduum Muzyki Nowej, and China Day Music Festival.
ANDRZEJ NIKODEMOWICZ TRIBUTE
In honor of Polish composer, pianist and pedagogue, Andrzej Nikodemowicz, the Chamber Hall of the Institute of Music of the Maria Skłodowska-Curie University will host a recital concert to celebrate his 90th birthday. The event is commissioned by the Lublin Section of the Polish Composers’ Union and will be comprised of classical repertoire by Chopin and Liszt, performed by Michal Drewnowski.
Born in January 2, 1925 in Lviv, Nikodemowicz studied chemistry and composition at prestigious institutions in his hometown. He later went on to teach composition, music theory and piano at the Lviv Conservatory. In 1973, he was persecuted and removed from the university for religious beliefs. Three years later, Nikodemowicz moved to Lublin, where he began teaching at the Maria Skłodowska-Curie University and the Catholic University of Lublin. He has been awarded numerous achievements since, including the Blessed Friar Albert Award (1981), the President of the City of Lublin Award (1999), the Polish Composers’ Union Award (2000), and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Award (2000).
NATIONAL COMPOSITION COMPETITION IN KALISZ
In celebration of the 100th birthday of priest Jan Twardowski, the National Composers Competition is organized by the Department of Music Education of the Kalisz Branch Campus of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. The subject of the competition is a vocal piece for acapella choir, voice and string orchestra, or choir and string orchestra. The competition is open to composers of all nations and must be no older than 35 years old this year. Each participant may submit more than one score—all submissions must be made anonymously. It is possible to submit works already performed, excluding compositions already published and awarded in other competitions. Works cannot be previously published, made public or have won awards in other competitions. The score must also bear the emblem with the note “songwriting competition” and be accompanied by a live demo recording or computer simulation on a CD.
The members of jury are all distinguished directors of the Department of Music of Education, Department of Sacral and Choral Music, and Kalisz Philharmonic: Agnieszka Sobczak – chairman, Adam Klocek, Mieczysław Szcześniak, Fryderyk Stankiewicz, and Beata Michalak. The jury will announce the results of the competition in the second half of December. The winner will receive a cash-reward of 15.000 PLN.
‘SONG OF HOPE’ CD RELEASE
On December 27, vocalist and violist KaroliNa (Karolina Naziemiec) will release her new album, Songs of Hope, at Vitello’s Italian Restaurant in Los Angeles. That evening, KaroliNa will take the stage for one set, joined by her fellow recording artists: Tom Ranier – piano, Darek “Oles” Oleszkiewicz – bass, Larry Koonse – guitar, Alan Kaplan – trombone, Bob Sheppard – saxophone.
KaroliNa (Karolina Naziemiec) graduated from the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, Poland and the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. She is currently working as a performing and recording artist in Los Angeles.
KaroliNa also gave a live interview on December 7 during LA Talk Radio’s “Accent On!” program hosted by Ilona Europa. The December 7 program—“Accent On! TV - The Best of Poland and Europe,” co-hosted by Marek Bacik and Lucie Hill—showcased the multiple facets of Polish and European culture with guests from the world of entertainment, fashion, culinary, visual and audio arts to the political, business and scientific fields. Watch the entire show at latalkradio.com/sites/default/files/Videos/Accenttv-120715_0.mp4.
[Sources: press release, latalkradio.com]
HOLIDAY CONCERTS IN THE US
Slavic Choral Christmas Concert in San Francisco
The 12th annual Slavic Choral Christmas Concert delivers a glorious tapestry of traditional carols and winter songs sourced from the rich textures of East European folk and sacred holiday music, sung and played in styles ranging from simple time-honored folk themes to sacred carols rendered in four-part harmonies. Artists dressed in authentic regional costumes, perform beloved seasonal repertoire from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Jewish traditional music from Eastern Europe, Moldova, Poland, and Ukraine.
The Christmas traditions of Poland are presented by the Lowiczanie Polish Carolers, directed by Jola Jankowska, together with the Kuzyni Band, co-directed by Bogdan Komorniczak and Piotrek Filipowski. They are joined by the Ukrainian Bay Area Carolers, directed by Andriy Kryshtafovych; the Bulgarian Koledari Singers, directed by Tanya Kostova; and the Hungarian Singing Circle, directed by Zina von Bozzay. Also returning this year are soloists Lilla Serlegi, accompanied by Ferenc Tobak, presenting Croatian carols, and the musicians of the instrumental "Hurra!" Folk Band, featuring virtuoso Moldovan accordionist Nicolai Prisicar, fiddler Susan Worland and Roman Titcu, also from Moldova, on the cimbalom.
Joining the evening's eclectic program for the first time this year is the Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco, celebrating 90 years of performance. Members will sing a Yiddish program drawn from their repertoire of East European beloved melodies.
The concert concludes with several multi-cultural selections of seasonal songs sung by audience members in a popular rousing sing-a-long. The performers may even treat audience members to a line-dance in front of the stage to close out the evening!
Concert-goers can arrive early to enjoy a complimentary glass of hot mulled cider or wine ("grzaniec" in Polish), as well as rich Polish hunters' stew ("Bigos"), and homemade pastries, priced by item, and may secure a seat under one of the hand-made "stragany," the replica Christmas market stalls of Eastern Europe. A small folklore table offers holiday shopping opportunities including hand-crocheted tree ornaments from Poland.
The Slavic Christmas Concert is produced by Lowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble of San Francisco, in 2015 celebrating 40 years of community service. The mission of Lowiczanie is to entertain and educate audiences through presentations of traditional Polish folk and gentry's music, song and dance.
Carols Concert in Chicago
This Christmas season, the Lira Ensemble will present a program featuring carols sung in Polish and English in three cities: Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. Also appearing will be the acclaimed jazz stylist Grażyna Auguscik with fresh interpretations of classic Polish carols. The Lira Singers will perform accompanied by the Lira Symphony, under the baton of acclaimed conductor Mina Zikri.
The concerts in Cleveland and Detroit took place in November, but the upcoming concert in Chicago will take place on December 13. Details are below.
Christmas across the World in New York City
On December 16, the Skowronki [Skylarks] Girls’ Choir from Poznań, Poland will make their Carnegie Hall debut with a program entitled "Christmas across the World." The Skowronki Girls’ Choir is an internationally known European ensemble that has given over a thousand concerts in over 20 countries since 1991 and has been awarded first prize at numerous festivals, such as the Grand Prix at the Ohrid Choir Festival, the International Music Festival in Spain, and the 54th European Festival of Youth Choirs in Belgium. For 25 years, the choir has been conducted and inspired by Artistic Director Alicja Szeluga, a teacher and authority on choral music. In this program, the choir will perform Polish, Scandinavian and French Christmas carols as well as a selection of contemporary works by Marten Jansson, Lisa Young, Batrosz Banasewicz, and Grzegorz Miskiewicz. Vocal soloists will include Marzena Michałowska, soprano and Monika Krajewska, mezzo-soprano, and the singers will be joined on stage by percussionist Beata Polak and pianist Chaslau Lynsha.
2015 CHOPIN COMPETITION WINNERS
On October 20, 2015, the final-round auditions of the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition were completed. The 17-person jury, led by Prof. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń, awarded the following prizes and honorable mentions:
The auditions for the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition began on October 3. Chosen from a record number of over 450 applications from all over the world, 78 pianists from 20 countries took part in the 2015 Competition. Appearing in the finals were 10 pianists from 8 countries, who performed one of Fryderyk Chopin’s piano concerti with the Warsaw Philharmonic under the direction of Jacek Kaspszyk. Nine of the participants selected the Concerto in E minor op. 11; and only one, Charles Richard-Hamelin, the Concerto in F minor op. 21.
The organizer of the Competition is the Fryderyk Chopin Institute. The project is included in the Accessible Culture Program of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. The Competition Patron is Bank Zachodni WBK Santander Group. The Principal Partner is Totalizator Sportowy. The Competition Co-organizer is Channel 2 of Polish Radio. The Competition Partners are: Google, Hotel Regent Warsaw, Lexus, Warsaw Philharmonic, Technics, Huawei, Polish Television, Steinway Lyngdorf, Polska Wytwórnia Papierów Wartościowych, Chopin Airport Developement Allianz, and Atman; and the Official Airport, the Fryderyk Chopin Airport. The Competition Media Partners are: Polish Radio, Gazeta Co Jest Grane, Gazeta Wyborcza, Gazeta.pl, AMS and Metro. The project is co-financed by the Capital City of Warsaw. Cooperation: Royal Łazienki Museum, Phonak, Infor IT, Accor Hotels. The Fryderyk Chopin Institute’s Partner is Yamaha. Pianos were provided by: Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai, Fazioli. The Competition is under the Honorary Patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda.
2015 KORYFEUSZ AWARDS
On November 11, during the official event at W. Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio in Warsaw, the winners of the fifth edition of “Koryfeusz [Coryphaeus] of Polish Music” award were announced. Organized by the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT), this year’s award attracted 160 nominees from the musical community. The prizes were then chosen by the Electoral College—consisting of the presidents of different music academies, universities and institutes; music journalists; representatives of different associations and organizations connected to music; and all the award winners from previous editions—and awarded in the following three categories:
The gala concert celebrating the winners was entitled “Polish Parade” and the program included works by Henryk Wars, Władysław Szpilman, Jerzy Wasowski, Włodzimierz Nahorny and Włodek Pawlik. Soloists included Viktoria Nowak (Eurovision Young Dancers 2015 winner), Włodek Pawlik (2014 Grammy Award winner), Dorota Miśkiewicz with members of her band—Tomasz Kałwak (piano), Artur Lesicki (guitar), Michał Kapczuk (double bass) and Robert Luty (drums)—and the Polish Radio Orchestra conducted by Michał Klauza. The Programme of this concert contains.
The title “Polish Parade” refers to the war-time artistic episode of Henryk Wars. At the outbreak of WWII, Wars was recruited and fought during the Polish September Campaign. He was taken prisoner by the Soviets, but he managed to escape to Lviv where, in 1940, he created a band of popular music named “Tea-Jazz” with Eugeniusz Bodo. In 1940-1941, the band performed in the USSR and then, in 1942, many of the members joined the army of General Anders and became known as the “Polish Parade” band. As the leader of “Polish Parade,” Wars composed many songs and musical numbers, many of which have been lost. Having travelled from Tehran to Baghdad and from Palestine to Italy with Anders, at the end of WWII Wars was awarded the Cavaliere della Croce medal by the last king of Italy, and the band “Polish Parade” received a prize for the best music band among the Allied forces.
The “Polish Parade” gala concert was organized by the Institute of Music and Dance and by Polish Radio Program II. The ceremony was presented by Agata Kwiecińska and Marcin Majchrowski and was broadcast live online at www.koryfeusz.org.pl. The award winners received a statue of Koryfeusz designed by professor Adam Myjak, as well as financial prizes from the Authors Associations ZAiKS and STOART. The event is sponsored by: Polish Radio, TVP Kultura, Rzeczpospolita, Polish Music Information Centre, Jazz Forum, Jazzarium.pl, Jazzpress and MuzykaTradycyjna.pl
WINNERS OF THE 5th BACEWICZ INT’L COMPOSER COMPETITION
The results of the 5th Grażyna Bacewicz International Composer Competition, organized by the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź, were recently announced:
According to the rules, winning composers receive cash prizes (first prize: 26.000 PLN, second prize: 17.000 PLN, third prize: 9.000 PLN), and winning compositions are performed in concert during the Bacewicz International Festival in Łódź as well as the 1st Bacewicz International Violin Competition.
The first concert took place on November 27-28, when the Łodz Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and featured soloists Agata Ptiorowska-Bartoszek (oboe), Dagna Sadkowska (violin) and Manuel Blanco (trumpet), were conducted by Szymon Bywalec. On December 13, the prize-winning compositions will be showcased along with Grazyna Baecwicz’s Music for Strings, Trumpets and Percussion.
The jury was composed of the following composers: prof. Zygmunt Krauze - Chairman of the Jury; Mauricio Sotelo; prof. Steven Stucky; prof. Berislav Šipuš.
GLOBAL GAME AWARDS WIN
Video game soundtracks contribute greatly to a game’s success in terms of setting its tone and atmosphere for consumers. The action role-playing video game “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” has won over 300 awards, most recently “Game of the Year” at the Global Game Awards. The incredible award-winning score of the video game was written by Polish composer Mikołaj Stroiński. Stroinski’s work has originally been for television programs, but he has since expanded to the video game industry. His compositions have already been widely appraised by video game critics for enormously successful video games, such as “Dark Souls 2” and “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter” in addition to his latest project “The Witcher 3,” which was release in May earlier this year.
HCMF FEATURES POLISH MUSIC
On the program of the Festival were works by Agata Zubel (b. 1978), Jagoda Szmytka (b. 1982), Tomasz Sikorski (1939-1988), Zbigniew Karkowski (1968-2013), and Eugeniusz Rudnik (b. 1933), and performances by Zubel as well as sound artist Robert Piotrowicz, psychedelic-folk group Księżyc, experimental musician Tomasz Mirt.
INT’L PENDERECKI FESTIVAL – LEVEL 320
The Polish premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s new work for Trumpet and Orchestra took place during the 3rd International Krzysztof Penderecki Festival – Level 320 (Oct. 23-25, 2015) in Zabrze, Poland. Artists featured at the Festival’s concerts included Internationally renowned artists, such as Gábor Boldoczki, Michel Lethiec, Shanghai Quartet, Sławomir Zubrzycki, Sinfonietta Cracovia, and Art Color Ballet. The festival is also comprised of many accompanying events, including those for a younger audience, as well as a mural promoting this unique event in Silesia produced amidst the sounds of Krzysztof Penderecki’s music.
The Polish premiere of the Festival patron’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra was performed during the final concert on October 25 in the House of Music and Dance in Zabrze. The piece was written for the internationally renowned Hungarian trumpet virtuoso, Gábor Boldoczki. Sinfonietta Cracovia – one of the partners commissioning the piece—accompanied the soloist under the baton of Jurek Dybał.
10th INTERNATIONAL GORCZYCKI FESTIVAL
The Gorczycki Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary edition with a “Baroque Jubilee” theme in tandem with the 330th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach. The program contains connotations reaching beyond Baroque music and style: it’s about artistic confrontations between Gorczycki’s music and Leszek Możdżer’s world of jazz, Richard Galliano’s accordion and Bach’s compositions, violinist Rainer Honeck and AUKSO Chamber Orchestra performing Mozart and Górecki, Gorczycki interpreted by Concerto Köln, London Baroque, and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and many others. The festival is co-organized by Sinfonietta Cracovia.
23rd INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL
Starting November 21, the 23rd International Chamber Music Festival "Silesian String Quartet and Its Guests" will present 5 concerts in the NOSPR Chamber Hall (Nov. 21 & 25) and the Concert Hall of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music (Nov. 29, Dec. 2 & Dec. 5) in Katowice. The central theme of this year’s edition of the event is “Master and Disciple,” which will be explored through many examples in history, including Ginastera – Piazzolla, Voughan Williams – Ravel, Mendelssohn – Gade, Bridge – Britten, Maliszewski – Lutosławski, Gliére – Prokofiev and Miaskowski. The Silesian String Quartet and other artists will examine the many cases in which the pupil surpassed their instructor through their illustrious works, and thereby assured the mentor’s place in history.
5TH ACTUS HUMANUS FESTIVAL
This year’s Actus Humanus Festival (December 7-13) will showcase masterpieces of early music, including compositions associated with Christmas time. It is the Festival’s carefully selected repertoire and the unquestionable musical authorities invited to perform that have turned Gdańsk, a lively city full of cinematic and theatrical culture, into one of the hottest spots on the European early music scene. This year’s Festival is no exception, featuring such highly regarded artists and ensembles as Giuliano Carmignola and Ottavio Dantone, Les Talens Lyriques with Christophe Rousset, Les Arts Florrisants with Paul Agnew, Graindelavoix with Björn Schmelzer and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.
CELEBRATING PADEREWSKI AT THE PMA
On November 21, 2015, the Polish Museum of America (PMA) in Chicago celebrated the 155th Anniversary of Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s Birth, in conjunction with the 2nd Ignacy Jan Paderewski International Festival.
The evening began at 5:30 pm at the PMA with a tour of the I.J. Paderewski Room. A concert performance by Marta Szlubowska, violin, and Svetlana Belsky, piano, followed at 6:30 pm, including works by Grażyna Bacewicz, Fryderyk Chopin, and Paderewski. The documentary film, “Paderewski: The Man of Action, Success and Fame,” directed by Wiesław Dąbrowski (2013, in English), was then screened at 7:30 pm. During the event, Anna Mycek-Wodecki signed copies of her book Ignaś. The boy with the colorful head.
The Ignacy Jan Paderewski Room at The Polish Museum of America explores the life of this great statesman and musician. In this dedicated space, carefully renovated in 2009, visitors are welcome to view the artifacts, such as: handwritten letters and speeches; photographs, paintings, and sculptures of Paderewski; original piano rolls of his compositions; and much more.
‘A QUARTET OF QUARTETS’ JOINS POLAND AND ITALY
Two concerts of contemporary music entitled A Quartet of Quartets [Kwartet Kwartetów] took place in Warsaw on November 15 in the Fabryka Trzciny Art Center and on December 2 in the Mediateka Start-Meta. Encompassing various styles of musical composition ranging from sonorism to punctualism, the works presented by the Two plus 2 Quartet were included: Girolamo Deraco - Citta Fantastica; Claudio Jose Boncampagni – Cordes; Marcin Piotr Łopacki – String Quartet, Op. 45; Andrzej Karałow – String Quartet.
The events are organized by the Ensemblage Foundation and Italian association of composers “Cluster,” both of which focus on promoting contemporary music and talented artists specializing in performing contemporary music. The cooperation between Ensemblage and Cluster had already resulted in concerts of Polish music in Lucca and Genoa, performed by Italian chamber ensembles.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON - CHOPIN INST. COLLABORATION
2015 Chopin Piano Competition Winner: Seong-Jin Cho
Deutsche Grammophon and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute have launched a bold strategic partnership to connect global audiences with Chopin’s music and the best of the International Chopin Piano Competition. The first manifestation of this new collaboration—an album of highlights of the winner’s live performances at the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition—was released on November 6 , just two weeks after the live recording of those piano recitals. The unique arrangement to release a recording from an as yet unidentified artist was based on Deutsche Grammophon’s firm belief that the world’s next great classical pianist would be discovered at the Competition.
The partnership also encompasses a high-profile international PR and marketing campaign for the 2015 winner’s album. This initiative marks a strategic collaboration between the Chopin Institute, organizer of one of the world’s most prestigious classical music competitions, and DG, the leading label for classical music, aimed at promoting the Polish composer and highly talented interpreters of his works. Announced at a press conference in Warsaw on Wednesday 12 August, the partnership will be officially launched in October at the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition.
L to R: Stanisław Leszczynski, Artistic Director of Chopin and his Europe Festival;
“This is a collaboration between two partners who are already closely associated,” notes Costa Pilavachi, Universal Music Group International’s Senior Vice President of Classical A&R. “No other contest has discovered so many top artists with such consistency over so many years and a substantial number of these world-renowned pianists have chosen to entrust their recording careers to DG. Every five years, music lovers around the world await the judgement of the Chopin Competition jury with keen anticipation and one of our goals is to present this year’s prize-winning pianist to the largest possible global audience as soon as possible after the event.”
Artur Szklener of the Chopin Institute sees the arrangement with DG as a major development for the Warsaw-based organization and its mission to promote Poland’s music heritage. “Chopin’s art speaks to the highest aspirations of human creativity. Our aim is to share his legacy with both new audiences and existing music-lovers by presenting them with fresh, insightful interpretations of his work. Through this partnership Chopin’s timeless music is certain to attract even greater attention, and this first release will provide a wonderful artistic and professional showcase for the eventual winner of the 2015 competition.”
DG has collaborated with the Chopin Institute on important events in the past, notably the ‘Chopin Year’ in 2010 and the acclaimed ‘Chopin and his Europe’ festivals, artistically directed by Stanisław Leszczyński. The renewed partnership will also yield a commemorative, 11-CD box set entitled Great Chopin Pianists, slated for release in late 2015. Drawing on the riches of the DG catalogue and the Chopin Institute’s extensive archive, the box set will contain performances of Chopin works from the top-prize-winning pianists of every Chopin Competition between 1927 and 2010.
KRÓL ROGER ON DVD
Szymanowski: Król Roger
Król Roger, Szymanowski's major operatic work, played at the Royal Opera House during the Spring 2014/15 season. Following these performances directed by Kasper Holten, the production has now been released in DVD and Blu-Ray. Król Roger is sung in Polish by an all-star cast that includes two Polish artists: baritone Mariusz Kwiecień, who has been championing the title role of this opera around the world in recent new productions, and mezzo-soprano Agnes Zwierko, who sings the role of Deaconess. Antonio Pappano conducts Szymanowksi’s opulent and beautiful score in three short acts. Szymanowski’s music brilliantly expresses the inner struggles of the protagonist, King Roger, who is torn between duty and desire.
[Sources: Royal Opera House, naxos.com]
SZYMANOWSKA’S COMPLETE DANCE COLLECTION
SZYMANOWSKA, M.: Dances for Solo Piano (Complete) (Kostritsa)
Greatly admired by her contemporaries, who included Beethoven, Cherubini, Field and Tomášek, Maria Szymanowska is a well-renown pianist all across Europe. She was once employed by the Russian imperial court as First Pianist to the empress and proved to be a sensation in Warsaw’s salons. Consequently, Szymanowska’s light and inventive collections of dances were written for aristocratic salons. Her delightful music can be heard in Alexander Kostritsa’s short, impromptu performance that was posted on www.youtube.com along with the release of the CD. These beautifully written miniatures also include more challenging pieces such as the Polonaise No. 4 and the Mazurka No. 17 whose darker moments foreshadow the early German Romantics.
KAROLINA NAZIEMIEC PRESENTS ‘SONGS OF HOPE’
Songs of Hope
In commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe, vocalist and violist KaroliNa (Karolina Naziemiec) has released a new CD: Songs of Hope. The songs included on the album are love songs about longing and loss of loved ones, primarily honoring Polish, American, and British couples forced to separate during the war. The CD release party will be held on December 27 at Vitello’s in Los Angeles.
Watch more about the making of "Songs of Hope" on youtu.be.
[Sources: press release, amazon.com]
IN MEMORIAM: JERZY KATLEWICZ
On November 16, prominent Polish conductor Jerzy Katlewicz died in Kraków at the age of 88. Born on April 2, 1927 in Bochnica, Katlewicz studied piano under John Hoffman. A graduate of the State Higher School of Music in Kraków, his artistic career was inseparably linked with the city’s Philharmonic, which was the venue of his diploma concert in 1952; after graduation, he served as conductor of the Kraków Philharmonic for many years as well as the longest serving Music Director, from 1968 to 1980. He also served as conductor for the Kraków Opera between 1954 and 1958, and as the new artistic director of the Symphony Orchestra and Choir of the Polish Radio and Television state agency in Kraków from 1984 to 1985.
Katlewicz’s international career as a conductor took off in 1955 after winning first prize in the Competition for Young Conductors in France. He performed in all major centers in Europe and also in Japan, China, Mongolia, Cuba, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon. He achieved his reputation particularly for his interpretations of works by Krzysztof Penderecki (Cosmogony, Utrenja and Magnificat), Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and other contemporary Polish composers. He worked as the artistic director of the Noordhollands Philhamonisch Orkest in Haarlem from 1979 to 1982.
From 1979 to 1999, he was also a jury member of the International Conducting Competition and a member of the Association of Polish Artists and Musicians SPAM and the Association of Authors ZAIKS. He taught at the Academy of Music in Krakow in 1972, where he later became a professor.
Katlewicz was honored with many awards and honors, including the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Reborn Poland (1993), the “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” Medal from the Holy See for the popularization of the masterpieces of sacred music (1993), as well as the Order of Saint Gregory the Great on the 50th anniversary of his artistic activity (1999). In 2000, he was granted honorary citizenship of the city of Bochnia as well.
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski, Tomasz Fechner
Layout Assistance: Thuy Le
Ted Ancona, Wiesław Dabrowski, Joanna Domańska,
Marcin Stańczyk, Terry Tegnazian
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute (NY & UK), Adam Mickiewicz Institute, PWM,
Nowy Dziennik, Polish Music Information Centre - Warsaw, Polish American Journal,
Poland.pl, PAP, ZKP, infochopin.pl, Ruch Muzyczny, Gazeta Wyborcza
Formatting by Thuy Le, December 11, 2015.
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