Polish Music Newsletter

December 2017, Vol. 23, No. 12. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California

 Anniversaries  | Awards | Discography | Festivals | News 
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PMC NEWS
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2017 PMC FUND DRIVE

Donate $100 or more today - the first 25 donors at this level will receive an exclusive 2018 PMC calendar featuring rare historical photos from our Paderewski Archive, celebrating the centenary of Poland’s independence. Please visit https://giveto.usc.edu and find the PMC checkbox under University-wide Giving Opportunities > Centers and Institutes > Music.

Dear Friend of the Polish Music Center,

Thank you for considering this appeal. As in the past, we are sending our annual letter to let you know what we have accomplished at the Polish Music Center and to ask you for your generous support, which is the lifeblood of everything we do. You may already know some of the highlights after attending our concerts and festivals or reading our online Newsletters, where we have shared the latest developments with our worldwide audience. Nonetheless, here are some of our most important milestones that occurred since our letter to you last December.

PMC Director Marek Zebrowski was in Poland at the end of last year for lectures, master classes and concerts. While in Warsaw to present at the conference of Music Libraries in Poland, he also gave interviews for TVP Kulturalni and Halo Polonia, discussing concerts at Teatr Nowy and Łazienki Palace where music by Henryk Wars, Roman Ryterband, and Zygmunt Stojowski from the PMC’s Archival Collections was performed. Dir. Zebrowski also spoke at a Kraków Music Academy conference on Paderewski’s concert repertoire, highlighting programs from our Collection, and performed Tadeusz Majerski’s little-known Piano Quintet with the Messages Quartet in Florianka Hall. Finishing his busy visit in Poland, Dir. Zebrowski lectured on Paderewski for the Senate of the Republic of Poland and performed in recital at the Belvedere Presidential Palace. See the January 2017 Newsletter for details

polska-muzyka-odnaleziona

In January 2017, the PMC and Dir. Zebrowski collaborated with Brazil-based cellist Lars Hoefs to present music by Chopin, Paderewski and Villa-Lobos at Pasadena Presbyterian Church concert series, and in February (also with Lars Hoefs) Dir. Zebrowski performed works by Chopin, Paderewski and Villa-Lobos for the LA Musical Salon. March was also a busy month with the PMC Spring Concert at Newman Hall, featuring music by Polish avant-garde composers in performance by the highly acclaimed gnarwhallaby ensemble. At that concert, we also launched our online “Website Reboot Campaign” that successfully raised funds needed for a complete redesign of the PMC website, which is currently underway.

Later last spring, Dir. Zebrowski had talks with music publishers in Berlin, performed Wars’s Piano Concerto with the Gorzów Philharmonic, and met with directors of the State Archives in Warsaw. In mid-May the PMC was also instrumental in organizing a series of meetings between the Kraków Music Academy and USC Thornton School of Music Dean, Dr. Robert Cutietta, which laid preliminary groundwork for academic exchange programs between USC and the Academy.

Paderewski Youth Exchange 2017The summer began with the Youth Cultural Exchange Program between the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and the Province of Tarnów in Poland. Two young pianists from the Central Coast joined their peers from Poland and Ukraine for a week of intensive workshops and master classes at Paderewski’s manor house in Kąśna Dolna in late June. In partnership with the Kraków-based Academy of Young Talents, Dębno Castle, and our biennial sponsor, the Paderewski Institute of Musicology at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, during the first week of July this group of young piano students appeared in joint concerts at Łącko, Dębno and Kraków. Later on, the young American pianists continued on to Warsaw to perform at the Steinway Salon, visit Chopin’s birthplace in Żelazowa Wola and tour the Chopin Museum in Warsaw. The entire program was coordinated by the PMC with Dir. Zebrowski, cellist Lars Hoefs and Ukrainian-Polish pianist Marianna Humetska providing faculty guidance and instruction.

NDAPThe months of July and August at the PMC were devoted to working alongside two experts from the State Archives in Warsaw—Dr. Robert Górski and Anna Czajka. The former, a Paderewski specialist, continued to catalogue and describe unique photographs, negatives, and documents in our “Paderewski Archive: the Paso Robles Collection.” The latter, a world-class preservation expert, worked on protecting our Paderewski and Stojowski Collections, mending books and musical scores and preserving manuscripts, images, and other documents in special packaging materials procured for us from the Beskid Company by the State Archives. See the August 2017 Newletter for details

This year the PMC also initiated cooperation with the LA Museum of the Holocaust to present concerts of music from our collections of manuscripts. In May we staged a concert of music by Roman Ryterband given by local artists, and in late August music by Henryk Wars was performed by pianist Kuba Stankiewicz and bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz, commemorating the composer’s 40th death anniversary. For both concerts, members of the composers’ families were on hand to enjoy the music.

The Fall season opened with the PMC’s flagship event, the 2017 Paderewski Lecture-Recital in October, featuring music by Marcel Chyrzyński—Head of Composition Studies at the Kraków Music Academy and President of the Kraków chapter of the Polish Composers’ Union. As a special gesture, Dr. Chyrzyński composed a chamber work for clarinet, cello and piano that was world-premiered at this concert. Dedicated to the Polish Music Center and instantly published by Polish Music Editions (PWM), this score is the latest addition to our fine music library. The featured performers for the October concert at USC, the world-famous Cracow Duo, also appeared at LACMA and in San Diego, Pasadena, San Francisco, Paso Robles, Chicago and New York, with the PMC coordinating all of the Cracow Duo’s concerts all the U.S. this fall. See the October 2017 Newsletter for a review

The other big item on the PMC calendar was the annual Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. Each year we contract artists, coordinate logistics, write press releases and biographies, and contribute to designing and editing the Festival program booklet. This year’s Paderewski Festival was a great success with programs including “American Jazz Standards by Polish Composers,” winners of the Youth Competition and a Gala Recital by pianist Magdalena Baczewska with repertoire of Chopin, Paderewski and Szymanowski. Also this year, in cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, we were able to introduce Festival patrons to the finalists in the “Paderewski Cycle” musical theater project, who performed selections from their treatments and shared their ideas about creating this exciting project. See the November 2017 Newsletter for a recap

All these initiatives aside, throughout the past twelve months we have answered countless inquiries, hosted several scholars from across the U.S. and Poland, worked on the monthly Newsletter with our student workers and volunteers, continued to transfer our website pages to the new design template, scanned over a thousand photos and negatives from our Paderewski and Stojowski Collections, and much more. Each of the past 52 weeks went by all too quickly, with more and more to do in the coming days and months in order to keep up and fulfill our mission.

Speaking of plans for 2018… Two of our big concerts—the spring concert on March 24 and the Paderewski Lecture-Recital in October 14—will be devoted to celebrating the centenary of Poland’s independence. The March concert will present music of the ‘Młoda Polska’ era composers, and the October event will focus on music composed during the inter-war period, featuring USC Thornton’s own Polish musicology specialist, Dr. Lisa Cooper Vest. Dir. Zebrowski will present several lectures on “Paderewski and World Politics” at the Los Angeles Public Library (January), Forum on Polish History in Washington, DC (January), University of Washington, Seattle (March), and in Lyon and Toulouse, France (June). Another Paderewski-related initiative—organized jointly with the State Archives in Warsaw—will be the creation of a touring exhibit about Paderewski, featuring rare photographs from the PMC’s Paderewski Archive with Polish and English texts. Not to forget other musical projects, we will also continue our cooperation with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by presenting music by Mieczysław Weinberg (February) and Bronisław Kaper (April).

Such an ambitious program can be realized only with your generous support of our annual budget, which we solicit only once a year. Many of our fixed costs include renting USC venues, hiring performers, printing program booklets, and promoting concerts, as well as hiring student help, supporting researchers worldwide, maintaining and updating our vast website, and covering costs for visiting scholars. As always, we are very grateful to all those who have supported us financially, attended concerts, volunteered at events, assisted in our library, 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 over thirty years. As always, your gift will be recognized in our concert program booklets throughout the year. Also, the first 25 donations of $100 or more will receive a complimentary 2018 PMC calendar created in celebration of the centenary of Poland’s independence, richly illustrated with rare historical photos from our Paderewski Archive.

To donate by credit card, please visit https://giveto.usc.edu—you will find a PMC checkbox under University-wide Giving Opportunities > Centers and Institutes > Music. You may also call us at (213) 821-1356 to give by phone. Checks may also be mailed to: 840 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851. Please indicate “USC Polish Music Center,” either in the remittance line of your check or in the online form, to ensure that your contribution is routed directly to our department. Your donation to our non-profit is tax deductible, as USC is 501c3 institution.

As always, we invite you to stop by the Polish Music Center to experience the impact of our exceptional programs and learn more about how your year-end gift can advance the profile of Polish music around the world. Please call us at (213) 821-1356 or email polmusic@usc.edu if you have any questions or to schedule a visit.

Thank you for your consideration. With our best wishes for the Holidays, we remain sincerely and gratefully yours,                                                      

                                                 
Marek Zebrowski, Director                                              Krysta Close, Assistant Director

 

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RECENT GIFTS TO PMC

zelenski_ap0384.jpgSławomir Dobrzański, piano professor at Kansas State University and author of Polish Music History Series vol. 9, has sent another addition to our CD collection: Władysław Żeleński – Songs, Duets ...  (AP0384). This world premiere recording on the Acte Préalable label features songs and duets by Władysław Żeleński (1837-1921), performed by Marta Trybulec – soprano, Witold Wrona – tenor, Elżbieta Konopczak – piano, and Wiktora Zawistowska – mezzo-soprano.

 

NEWS

KULENTY PREMIERE: CONCERTO ROSSO

On December 3, 2017, Concerto Rosso—a new work by Polish composer Hanna Kulenty—was given its world premiere in the Main Hall of the National Forum of Music in Wrocław, Poland. The premiere was performed by the Atom String Quartet (Dawid Lubowicz – violin, Mateusz Smoczyński – violin, Michał Zaborski – viola, and Krzysztof Lenczowski – cello) and the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra, led by Christian Danowicz.

Below are Kulenty’s own thoughts on the composition, as provided by her publisher, Donemus:

‘Concerto Rosso’ (2017) is a sort of concerto grosso, because it was written for string quartet and string orchestra, especially for Atom String Quartet and Leopoldinum String Orchestra. I liked to name it ‘rosso’ for a good reason. It fits my new composition style that I came up with a few years ago, called ‘musique surrealistique’. In this style I not only try to ‘transform’ the nature and music conventions but above all the emotions connected with music… It is like drinking a good glass of red wine, after which you can also change a bit or transform… is it not? Of course this is a metaphor and I do not encourage you to get drunk while composing. I myself don’t do this, but what I try to do is to transform reality into my new composition technique. So far I manage to maintain a proper balance between content and form, and the musical language that I cultivate does not disturb (generally speaking) the harmony of the universe…

‘Concerto Rosso’ – although composed in strict measures – gives great possibilities for improvisation. Let me put it like this: I prefer to write exactly what I want to hear. From there you can move away, rather than doing it the opposite way: in a sense I am the architect of the idea where the musical material is more controlled by the performers. I myself improvise and play jazz too … It will be good!

(Hanna Kulenty, November 2017)

[Sources: facebook.com, donemus.nl]

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MOSS & GÓRECKI PREMIERES IN KATOWICE

Two new works by Polish composers were premiered at the Silesian Philharmonic Hall in Katowice on December 1, 2017. The works premiered were Musique pour cordes by Piotr Moss and Concerto no. 2 for Flute and String Orchestra by Mikołaj Górecki. They were performed by the Silesian Chamber Orchestra with flutist Jadwiga Kotnowska, to whom Górecki’s newest work is dedicated, led by conductor Robert Kabara. The performance was part of the “Katowice Henryk Mikołaj Górecki Day” annual series of concerts.

According to the website of the Górecki’s publisher, PWM:

In examining the œuvre of Mikołaj Górecki, it seems that – despite his varied interests – he has a particular predilection for the string orchestre sound, examples of which are such pieces as the 'Concerto-Notturno' for Violin and String Orchestra from 2009 and the 'Elegy' for Cello and String Orchestra from 2015. In the case of 'Flute Concerto no. 2', the string orchestra sounds permits the solo part to be additionally highlighted. The composition displays the variety of colors and articulation possibilities of the instrument.

December 1, 2017
Katowice Henryk Miko
łaj Górecki Day: Premieres by M. Górecki & P. Moss
Silesian Philharmonic Hall
ul. Sokolska 2, 40-084 Katowice, Poland
Info: filharmonia-slaska.eu

[Sources: filharmonia-slaska.eu, pwm.com.pl]

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MEYER PREMIERE

On December 17, 2017, the world premiere of Musica Concertante by Krzysztof Meyer will take place at the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music in Lusławice, Poland. This virtuosic work for cello, piano, percussion and strings will be performed by Sinfonietta Cracovia under the baton of Jurek Dybał, with soloists Jan Kalinowski (cello) and Marek Szlezer (piano) of the Cracow Duo. The program will also include symphonic works by Haydn, Mozart, Schoenberg and Penderecki.

This event is the final concert in the annual “Sinfonietta Cracovia International Conductor Course” with the world famous Finnish Maestro, Jorma Panula, held from December 12-17. Reservations are required for this free concert.

December 17, 2017
Sinfonietta Cracovia Int’l Conductor Course Final Concert: World Premiere of Meyer’s Musica Concertante
Concert Hall – Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music
Lusławice 250, 32-840 Zakliczyn, Poland
FREE Admission
Details & Reservations: penderecki-center.pl

[Sources: pwm.com.pl, penderecki-center.pl]

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OCHLEWSKI COMPOSER’S COMPETITION

Pwmlogo.jpgThe Tadeusz Ochlewski Composer's Competition has been organized by Polish Music Editions (PWM) since 2003 and aims to promote young composers of Polish descent who are under thirty. The subject of the competition is the original composition which was not previously released, performed or awarded. Every year, a different instrumental composition of the competition composition is announced. The patron of the Competition is the founder of PWM and the animator of musical life in Poland - Tadeusz Ochlewski.

The subject of the 2017 edition of the Tadeusz Ochlewski Composer's Competition is a work for soprano and symphony orchestra, 15-20 minutes in length. Young composers of Polish nationality born no later than September 1, 1999 are invited to participate.

Submission deadline: January 31, 2018 (find submission details at: pwm.com.pl)

The jury will be comprised of PWM Editor-in-Chief Dr. Daniel Cichy and composers Prof. Eugene Knapik, Jerzy Kornowicz, Paweł Mykietyn and Dr. Elżbieta Sikora. The prize for the winning composition will be: PLN 10,000 cash; publication by PWM and inclusion of the work in the PWM catalog; and an audio recording and public performance of the awarded composition.

This year's edition of the competition is part of the "100 of 100 – Musical Decades of Freedom" project, implemented as part of the multi-year "Niepodległa" program. The main goal of the project is to make a wide audience aware of a carefully selected group of works by Polish composers of the last century, creating a collection of the 100 most important works of Polish music.

Please send questions regarding the competition to the address: konkurs@pwm.com.pl

[Sources: pwm.com.pl, pwm.com.pl]

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PREMIERES AT “COMPOSER PORTRAITS” SERIES

On December 4 and 5, 2017 at the Łowicka Center in Warsaw, the 27th edition of the “Composer Portraits” concert series will take place. “Composer Portraits” have been organized by the Polish Composers' Union (ZKP) since 1988. Every year during this festival chamber music of several contemporary composers is presented. The honorees of this year's edition are Carlos Malcolm and Agnieszka Stulgińska.

Indeed, it's hard to imagine a greater contrast between the two composers than the one between this year's "Portraits" honorees. On the one hand, a gentle neoclassicist with Iberian color and distant echoes of the music of Gabriel Fauré and Claude Debussy. A day later—a new avant-gardist, looking for a metaphysical justification in psychology, biology and physics of elementary particles. On Monday, Carlos Malcolm—a Cuban born in 1934, who pampers his audience with the words of Caribbean poets, using a modest, classic cast. On Tuesday, Agnieszka Stulgińska—born almost half a century later, who presents instrumental theater, amplified gifts of the earth and an almost physical battle on the stage.

During the series, there will be two premieres of works that were commissioned by the Polish Composers' Union, thanks to the support of the PZU Foundation. Momento musical for piano 4 hands (2017) by Carlos Malcolm is the result of his most recent composing experiences in Poland. The work was performed by the composer and Korean pianist Kyeong-Yeon Seo. Trzy kobiety [Three Women] for three women and 10 instruments (2017) by Agnieszka Stulgińska is a piece about femininity, motherhood, living a difficult and raw life, travel, space, longing, intimacy, strength and generations. It was performed by singers Maniucha Bikont and Marta Grzywacz and the Hashtag Ensemble.

December 4 and 5, 2017 | 6:00 pm
“Composer Portraits” feat. Carlos Malcolm and Agnieszka Stulgińska

Łowicka Center
ul. Łowicka 21, Warsaw
FREE Admission
Info: www.zkp.org.pl or lowicka.pl

[Sources: polmic.pl, zkp.org.pl, lowicka.pl]

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TRIBUTE: GRAŻYNA PSTROKOŃSKA-NAWRATIL

On December 10, 2017, the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław and the Wrocław Branch of the Polish Composers' Union organized a Tribute Concert in honor of faculty member and renowned composer, Prof. Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil. The event started with a discussion with the composer, entitled "... between the sounds ...". It was followed by a concert of works dedicated to Pstrokońska-Nawratil, performed by faculty members, graduates and students of the Lipiński Academy of Music in Wrocław. Nearly 40 one-minute songs were specially composed for the event, which was accompanied by an exhibition entitled “Professor Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil - artist, educator, pioneer,” prepared by the Main Library of the Academy of Music from the private collections of the composer.

December 10, 2017 | 5:00 p.m.
Tribute Concert: Prof. Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil

Concert Hall, Karol Lipiński Academy of Music
pl. Jana Pawła II nr 2, 50-043 Wrocław, Poland
FREE Admission, Reservation required
Info: www.amuz.wroc.pl

[Sources: polmic.pl, amuz.wroc.pl]

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CHOPIN, THE POET & MUSICIAN

"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art."
~ Frédéric François Chopin

On December 10, 2017, the exclusive ‘Le Salon de Musiques’ series presented a program entitled “Frederic Chopin, the Poet & Musician” in Downtown LA’s elegant Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Musicians for this delightful afternoon of music included: Katarzyna Sądej – mezzo-soprano, Jessica Guideri – violin, Eric Byers – cello, Kevin Kwan Loucks – piano and François Chouchan – piano. This all-Chopin program featured his Songs for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano, op. 74; Nocturne in C-sharp minor for Violin and Piano; Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano, op. 65; and Piano Trio in G minor, op. 8. In addition to the concert, the event featured a includes a high tea gourmet buffet catered by Patina with French Champagne.

Sunday, December 10, 2017 | 4:00 PM
Le Salon de Musiques: “
Frederic Chopin, the Poet & Musician
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tickets: Student: $45 - Regular: $85
Info: www.lesalondemusiques.com

[Sources: press release, www.lesalondemusiques.com]

 

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AWARDS

ICMA FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

The following albums featuring Polish composers and artists have been nominated for prestigious International Classic Music Awards (ICMA) for 2018. The winners of the Awards will be published on January 18, 2018, and the Award Ceremony will be held in Katowice, Poland on April 6, 2018.

Of the 357 finalists, the following were among the final nominees:

Choral

Felix Nowowiejski: Quo vadis
W. Chodowicz, R. Gierlach, W. Gierlach, S. Kaminski
Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir, Poznan Philharmonic, Lukasz Borowicz – cond.
cpo 5550892

Solo Instrument

Schubert: Piano Sonatas D 959 & D 960
Krystian Zimerman
Deutsche Grammophon 4797588

 

Assorted Programs

Chopin Evocations
Daniel Trifonov
S. Babayan, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, M.Pletnev
Deutsche Grammophon 4797518

 

Weinberg: Chamber symphonies No. 1-4, Piano Quintet op. 18 (Arr.)
Y. Avdeeva, Kremerata Baltica, G. Kremer, M. Bekavec, M. Grazinyte-Tyla
ECM 4814604

 

Other Polish artists and recordings that were named as finalists in the first round of eliminations: Chopin Recital 3 – J. Filkowska, Espressione – L. Krupinski, Sequenza – J. Wawrowski, and Chopin: Nocturnes Nos. 1-21 – N. Goerner (Solo Instrument); EMERGE  (T. J. Opałka) – J. Czarkowska, Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic Artists, Chamber Orchestra of the Chain X Festival, Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, K.Slowinski, W. Michniewski, L. Borowicz and K. Meyer Works for Choir & Orchestra - A. Adorjan, A. Bialko, The Polish Radio Choir Krakow, National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, A.Wit, T. Wojciechowski (Contemporary); Works for Violin & Piano (Szymanowski & Franck) – F. Pietsch, D. Eisinger and Anton Arensky Piano Trios – Wilkomirski Trio (Chamber Music); Szymanowski/Karlowicz: Violin Concertos – T. Little, BBC Symphony Orch., E. Gardner, Chopin: Piano Concertos – S. Nehring, Sinfonietta Cracovia, K. Penderecki, J. Dyba, Flute Reflections – Ł. Długosz, A. Kielar- Długosz, Witold Lutosławski Chamber Philharmonic Łomża, J. Miłosz Zarzycki and Chopin: Works for Piano & Orchestra – J. Lisiecki, NDR Elbphilharmonie. K. Urbanski (Concertos); Karłowicz: Violin Concerto + The Sorrowful Tale + Lithuanian Rhapsody – B. Niziol,  Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra, L. Borowicz, Weinberg: Flute Concertos No. 1 & 2 + 12 Miniatures op. 29 + Trio op. 127 - A. Styczen, Polish Chamber Phlilharmonic Orchestra Sopot, W. Rajski and Szymanowski: Litany to the Virgin Mary + Stabat Mater + Symphony No. 3 – A. Kurzak, A. Rennis, D. Korchak, A. Rucinski, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, J. Kaspszyk (Assorted Programs); Salve Festa Dies – Les Traversées Baroques and E. Meyer (Best Collection); Chopin: Various works – M. Block, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, W. Rowicki (Historical)

[Sources: facebook.com, icma-info.com]

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G. FITELBERG INT’L COMPETITION FOR CONDUCTORS

fitelbergcomp2017.jpg

On November 24, 2017, the jury of the 10th International Grzegorz Fitelberg Competition for Conductors announced the winners of this year’s edition. The jury—composed of: Juozas Domarkas - Chairman of the Jury, Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk, Tomasz Bugaj, Mykola Diadiura, Piotr Gajewski, Eugeniusz Knapik, Charles Olivieri-Munroe, Jorma Panula, Marek Pijarowski, Ken Takaseki and Michael Zilm—awarded the following prizes and distinctions:

  • FIRST PRIZE (Gold Baton and € 25,000)—Su-Han Yang, funded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage
  • SECOND PRIZE (Silver Baton and € 20,000)—Bar Avni, funded by the Marshal of the Silesia Province
  • THIRD PRIZE (Bronze Baton and € 15,000)—Modestas Barkauskas, funded by the President of the City of Katowice
  • First distinction (€ 10,000)—Aleš Kománek, funded by Powszechna Kasa Oszczędności Bank Polski SA
  • Second distinction (€ 7,000)—Boon Hua Lien, funded by Mokate SA
  • Third Distinction (€ 5,000)—Iaroslav Zaboiarkin, funded by The Music Foundation of the Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors, The Association of the Friends of Silesian Philharmonic and The Henryk Mikołaj Górecki Silesian Philharmonic

In addition to the prizes listed above, over 20 more “extracurricular prizes” were awarded to various participants as well, including further cash awards and many conducting opportunities throughout Poland. For the full list of prizes and details, visit: fitelbergcompetition.com.

In addition to works by such well known symphonists as Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, or Tchaikovsky, participants in the 10th Grzegorz Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors also presented their interpretations of works by Polish composers. Polish music by composers including Stanisław Moniuszko, Karol Szymanowski, Witold Lutosławski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, and Krzysztof Penderecki constitutes a dominant in the competition repertoire and is an obligatory element of each stage of the auditions. Throughout the duration of the competition, Competition organizers PWM Edition provided free copies of these scores from the PWM catalogue on the Issu platform, allowing listeners the unique opportunity to follow along with the relevant scores during competition events.

[Sources: pwm.com.pl, fitelbergcompetition.com]

 

FESTIVALS

KWADROFONIK FESTIVAL

 

 

 

 

The 3rd edition of the Kwadrofonik Festival will be held on December 14-15, 2017 at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN) in Warsaw. Protest and the energy it creates are the leitmotif of this year’s Festival. Members of the Kwadrofonik ensemble—Emilia Sitarz, Magdalena Kordylasińska-Pękala, Miłosz Pękala and Bartek Wąsik—along with their guest musicians, will recall works confronting political reality and artists who, by means of their art, have extended the area of freedom, manifested solidarity with those who stand up for their rights on streets, and brought the spirit of improvisation and, at times, musical rebellion to concert halls.

Composer and pianist Julius Eastman, as both an African-American and a homosexual, made his identity the key motif of his works. He belonged to an avant-garde circle of the minimal music, yet his repetitions are considered a Sisyphean labor: an arduous, repeated ad infinitum endeavour that is full of frustration and anger, what can be clearly heard in his provocative Evil Nigger. This piece and Gay Guerilla will be performed by the Lutosławski Piano Duo of Emilia Sitarz and Bartek Wąsik along with pianists Joanna Duda and Mischa Kozlowski during the first night of the Festival.

The next hero of the 3rd edition of the Kwadrofonik Festival is Frederic Rzewski, an American composer of Polish origin, who believes revolution lies ahead, though we still don’t know what shape it will take on. Rzewski is a declared musical activist, outsider, critic of capitalism (including music-related institutions, the publishing system, etc.), believer in a utopia in which improvisation shall rule, with free jazz at the forefront. In 1976 Rzewski recorded one of his most important works The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, variation drawn from a song which was sang by Chilean workers taking to streets to protest against Pinochet’s putsch. It is going to be performed by Michael Noble, the artistic director of the festival Music of Changes, visiting Poland for the first time.

For the second time since its premiere in 2016, Ksenofonia—composed by Miłosz Pękala and Bartek Wąsik—will be heard at POLIN, performed by Kwadrofonik and the Royal String Quartet accompanied by VJ Wiktor Podgórski on Friday. Behind the intriguing title lies a composition written to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Poznań June. Underneath the martyrological narrative, the young composers noticed a story of protest, individual rebellion, risk and courage. Losing doesn’t have to mean defeat, and each strike and protest, each and every sign of resistance, shows potential in an uprising and the spirit of freedom, of which authorities are always afraid. There is no better moment to connote major musical manifestos, and it’s hard to imagine a better setting than the POLIN Museum for such a take on music and history.

The world of minimal music will also be represented by Steve Reich, whose Daniel Variations pay tribute to Daniel Pearl—a journalist of The Wall Street Journal assassinated in 2002 by Islamic fundamentalists. In the piece which makes reference to The Bible, quotes Pearl’s last words and recalls the journalist’s passion for musical darkness clashes with light. The world in which we live carries out the most somber prophecies. During the final concert on Friday, this profound piece will be performed by an unusual ensemble combining voice, pianos, string quartet, clarinets and percussion, led by Maestra Monika Wolińska.

December 14, 2017 | 8:30 & 10:00 PM
2017 Kwadrofonik Festival: Concert 1 & 2
Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN)
Anielewicza 6, 00-157, Warsaw, Poland
Free admission but RSVP required: bilety.polin.pl

December 15, 2017 | 7:00 PM
2017 Kwadrofonik Festival: Concert 3

Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN)
Anielewicza 6, 00-157, Warsaw, Poland
Free admission but RSVP required: bilety.polin.pl

[Sources: polmic.pl, kwadrofonik.com.pl]

 

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DISCOGRAPHY
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PENDERECKI/SINFONIA VARSOVIA ON WARNER CLASSICS

symvarso.jpgPenderecki / Dvořák / Sinfonia Varsovia
Penderecki: Symphony #2 "Christmas" (1980); Dvořák: Symphony #7 in D minor, Op. 70 (1885).
Sinfonia Varsovia, Krzysztof Penderecki - cond.
Warner Classics 0190295732721

The new album by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, released with Warner Classics, is a musical gift on the birthday of Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki, the artistic director of the orchestra. On it he conducts both the heroic and elegiac moods represented in Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70 (1885) by Antonín Dvořák, as well as his own work—the Symphony No. 2 "Christmas" (1980).

"The Polish premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's Symphony No. 2 (commissioned by Zubin Mehta and premiered in May 1980 by the New York Philharmonic) during the "Warsaw Autumn" Festival in 1981 caused some consternation among the audience and critics - this is a composer who, at the dawn of his career as an icon of Polish and international avant-garde, he presented a work very strongly oriented towards the past, close to the traditional (although significantly extended) tonality, and above all - full of exuberant, neoromantic expression.” (Piotr Maculewicz)

The juxtaposition of Penderecki’s Symphony No. 2 "Christmas" with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 is a fascinating picture of the evolution of the Slavic tradition of composing. Both Penderecki and Dvořák consciously draw on the heritage of their national music, at the same time undertaking a creative dialogue with the achievements of modern times. Thanks to this, their music has an extraordinary culture-creating value while maintaining a direct, emotional impact on the listeners.

[Source: sinfoniavarsovia.org]

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NEW ON DUX

Roman Maciejewski Piano Music
Lullaby • 4 Miniatures • Mazur (version I) • Mazur (version II) • Mazurka ”Echo from the Tatras” • Sparking dance • Fandango • Triptych
Mariusz Ciolko (piano)
DUX 1410

 

Feliks Nowowiejski To Those Who Love Me
Weihnacht in der uralten Marienkirche zu Krakau. Fantasie op. 31 nr 3 • Polish Phantasy “Christmas Eve on Wawel Hill”, Op. 9 No 1 • Noël en Pologne op. 31 nr 4 • III Symfonia Organowa op. 45 nr 3
Elżbieta Karolak (organ)
DUX 1416   

The year 2017 marks the 140th anniversary of the birthday and the 70th anniversary of the death of Feliks Nowowiejski and this CD has been developed under a program commemorating this very interesting, yet somewhat forgotten composer. Nowowiejski, a highly versatile composer, was in the first place an organist, and he achieved genuine mastery in playing this instrument. This proficiency is perfectly rendered by the excellent interpretation of Elżbieta Karolak, which the listeners of this recording can enjoy. The characteristic practice of the organ improvisation is reflected in three compositions which directly refer to Christmas by quotations from Polish Christmas carols, as well as in the colorful, illustrative music of the Organ Symphony No. 3.

Fuguecraft
Sweelinck: Fantasy No. 3; JS Bach: Partita No. 6 in E minor, BWV 830 (1730); Beethoven: Sonata #29 in Bb major, Op. 106
Piotr Słopecki (piano)
DUX 1397/1398 

Piotr Słopecki—one of the most interesting Polish pianists—has accustomed us to his outstanding interpretations of Bach’s music (The Goldberg Variations or the cycle Die Kunst der Fuge). His newest album is a kind of phonographic opening of this versatile artist—pianist, organist, composer and arranger, who is familiar with jazz—to the other worlds of the music he practices. This is a very discrete opening, as the album dedicated to three outstanding composers only seemingly differs from the atmosphere of Bach’s works. The amazing Partita in E minor BWV 830, the first Bach’s composition published during his lifetime, is accompanied by the Fantasia No. 3 by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, whose compositional technique was one of the inspirations for the works of the Master of the Fugue. Ludwig van Beethoven returns to the counterpoint technique in the Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106, which allows for discovery of this absolutely innovative work in the mainstream of the music directly referring to the output of the Cantor of Leipzig.

 

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PERFORMANCES

ZIMERMAN & NOWAK IN ITALIA

The world renown pair of Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman and Polish conductor Grzegorz Nowak were on tour of Italy together in November. On the program was a combination of works by Berlioz, Bernstein, Beethoven and Mussorgsky. They performed with the Arturo Toscanini Philharmonic for the first three concerts, and then ended the tour with the Teatro Petruzzelli Orchestra. The tour stops included:

Zimerman and Nowak will perform in Italy again on March 11, 2018 with the Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova.

[Source: press release]

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SINFONIA VARSOVIA PERFORMS NOWOWIESKI ORATORIO

On 24 November, Feliks Nowowiejski’s oratorio Kreuzauffindung [Finding the Holy Cross] was presented for the first time in Warsaw at a special “Professor Mieczysław Nowakowski in memoriam” free concert on the occasion of the Feliks Nowowiejski year. It was performed at the Basilica of the Holy Cross by Sinfonia Varsovia and the Warsaw Philharmonic Chorus under the baton of Sebastian Perłowski. Solos were sung by mezzo soprano Ewa Biegas and baritone Krzysztof Szumański. The performance was broadcast live.

Considered by critics to be Feliks Nowowiejski’s finest oratorio, this monumental work was written in 1905–09. It was first performed (prior to the composer’s changes to the score) to great success in Lviv in 1906, but the winds of history prevented it from becoming a staple of the Polish oratorio repertoire. The libretto was written by Arno Herolaska. The work was performed in the original German.

[Sources: pwm.com.pl, nowowiejski2017.pl, sinfoniavarsovia.org]

 

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ANNIVERSARIES

BORN THIS MONTH:

  • 3 December 1896 - Bolesław SZABELSKI, composer (d. 1979)
  • 5 December 1899 - Bolesław WOYTOWICZ, composer (d. 1980)
  • 6 December 1933 - Henryk Mikołaj GÓRECKI, composer (d. 2010)
  • 11 December 1876 - Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ, composer (d. 1909, under an avalanche in Tatra mountains)
  • 14 December 1789 - Maria SZYMANOWSKA, composer, virtuosa pianist (d. 1831, of cholera). Read her biography: PMHS Vol. 9
  • 18 December 1907 - Roman PALESTER, composer, broadcaster (d. 1989)
  • 23 December 1830 - Adam MINCHEJMER, composer and conductor (d. 1904)
  • 24 December 1859 - Roman STATKOWSKI, composer, teacher (d. 1925)
  • 29 December 1902 - Henryk WARS (Henry Vars), film and popular music composer (d. 1978)

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DIED THIS MONTH:

  • 3 December 2004 - Marek STACHOWSKI, professor, composer, and administrator at the Music Academy in Kraków (b. 1936)
  • 11 December 1945 - Seweryn EISENBERGER, pianist (b. 1899)
  • 20 December 1834 - Maurycy MOCHNACKI, music critic, writer, pianist (b. 1804)
  • 21 December 1938 - Arnold LUDWIK, violin maker (b. 1873)
  • 21 December 2005 - Ryszard SIELICKI, pianist and composer (b. 1916)
  • 23 December 1885 - Artur BARTELS, pop singer (b. 1818)
  • 23 December 1869 - Julian FONTANA, close friend and musical associate of Chopin (b. July 1810)
  • 24 December 1898 - Eugeniusz PANKIEWICZ, pianist and composer (b. 1857)
  • 26 December 1945 - Stefan STOINSKI, music ethnographer, writer, conductor (b. 1891)
  • 29 December 1913 - Jadwiga SARNECKA, pianist, composer, poet (b. 1877)
  • 31 December 1944 - Marian Teofil RUDNICKI, conductor, composer (b. 1888)

Back to PMC Home Page PMC Newsletter Archive

Copyright 2017 by the Polish Music Center

Send your comments and inquiries to: polmusic@thornton.usc.edu
Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Layout Assistance: Charles Bragg

Contributions from:
Charles Bragg, Grzegorz Nowak, 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


Formatting by Krysta Close, December 12, 2017

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