|Polish Music Newsletter|
SUPPORT THE PMC IN 2015
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Another year has gone by and—at least for us—this year seemed to pass more quickly than others. Perhaps it was due to a great number of concerts and other initiatives promoting Polish music that we organized during 2014, a lot of hard work that we hope will continue to bear fruit in the months and years to come.
In March we produced a concert highlighting our unique collection of manuscripts; in this case it was music by Bronisław Kaper and Henryk Wars. The world-famous jazz pianist, composer and arranger Jan Jarczyk presented music by these composers, rescored for jazz trio and string quartet. It was a splendid collaboration between well-known jazz musicians and young Thornton School students, for whom this concert was a most exciting introduction to Polish film and stage music. Attended by several members of the Wars family, the concert also attracted a large crowd of local Poles who had known both composers personally, as they had made their homes in Southern California for several decades.
Continuing with concerts honoring Polish musical heritage, for the ninth year running we have programmed and organized the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast. This annual event in early November brings local performers and world-class artists to a variety of venues in a town Paderewski once considered his second home. Among many highlights of this year’s Festival were concerts of Polish choral music, an evening of Polish virtuoso violin and piano repertoire, a Gala Concert with the winner of the International Paderewski Piano Competition in Poland, and three concerts featuring young pianists from Poland and Ukraine, appearing under the auspices of the Festival’s Cultural Exchange Program. The Paderewski Festival is growing with each year, as it continues to present new aspects of Polish culture and history—this year included dance performances by the L.A.-based Krakusy Ensemble, a screening of Impromptu (a feature film about Chopin), and exhibits of Paderewski memorabilia. Our concert season ended back in L.A. on November 11, with a performance by virtuoso violinist Mariusz Patyra and pianist Krzysztof Herdzin in celebration of Poland’s Independence Day at USC.
Still another aspect of the Polish Music Center’s activities in 2014 was a 6-week long visit of Monika Płuciennik (left), an experienced archivist who began work on cataloguing our manuscript collections. Jointly-funded by the PMC with the National Archives in Warsaw, Polish Consulate in Los Angeles and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this undertaking will eventually lead to the proper listing and digitizing of all of our treasures, which will be searchable worldwide via the internet. Beginning with the Kaper and Wars Collections, we made an important first step in a project that is certain to take many years to complete due to its scope.
As you can imagine, all of our concerts and library-related projects require your continued and generous support. Since the Polish Music Center is not endowed with operational funds, each year we must raise the capital required for covering 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 have supported us financially, attended concerts, volunteered at events, assisted in our library, or spread a 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 contributes to the cultural landscape of California and the world. Therefore, each year we ask you to consider making a fully tax-deductible gift to support this vital institution, which has developed innovative new projects advancing Polish culture since its founding in 1985. To show our thanks for your support, your gift will be recognized in our concert program booklets throughout the year and the first 50 donations of $100 or more will receive Teresa Chylińska’s English-language book about Karol Szymanowski.
Please consider making a year-end, tax-deductible donation to sustain our concerts and programs throughout 2015. To donate by credit card, contact the PMC directly or visit https://giveto.usc.edu—you will find a PMC checkbox under University-wide Giving Opportunities > Centers and Institutes > Music. Checks may also be mailed to: USC Polish Music Center, 840 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851. All donations must indicate “USC Polish Music Center,” either in 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 can advance the profile of Polish music around the world. Please call us at (213) 821-1356 or email email@example.com if you have any questions or to schedule a visit to the Center.
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. We’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to our Measures & Frames concert on March 28, 2015 concert at 8:00 p.m. in USC’s Newman Recital Hall. This venue, well-known to our supporters, will be transformed by light and video presentations created by leading filmmakers, including Agnès Varda and David Lynch, with live accompaniment featuring the Penderecki Quartet from Toronto performing music by Polish, American and European composers.
2014 - YEAR IN REVIEW, PT. 1
(January - June, 2014)
The anniversaries of two great Polish musicians were celebrated in 2014: the centenary of composer Sir Andrzej Panufnik, and the bicentenary of musicologist and composer Oskar Kolberg
The 10th anniversary edition of the Łańcuch [Chain] XI Witold Lutosławski Festival coincided with the conclusion of the 2013 Lutosławski Year centenary and the 20th anniversary of his death (7 February 2014). The event featured an incredible group of international performers and music by Lutosławski, Kilar, Panufnik, Tansman, and Bargielski
Panufnik’s worldwide centennial celebration kicked off in Chile with a performance of the Pentasonata at the Semanas Musicales by pianist Marek Bracha on January 31
The London Symphony Orchestra inaugurated Panufnik Year celebrations in the UK on February 1 with Anne-Sophie Mutter – violin (left) and conductor Michael Francis
Throughout the first half of the year, Anna Maria Staśkiewicz – violin, Bartosz Koziak – cello, and Jakub Tchorzewski – piano performed Panufnik’s Piano Trio around the world
The Warsaw National Philharmonic celebrated the 70th birthday and 50th year of artistic activity of its former Artistic Director, maestro Antoni Wit, in February with a Great Symphonies Concert
The Warsaw Philharmonic inaugurated the Panufnik Year in Poland with two performances of his Sinfonia di Sfere on February 7 & 8
Classical and folk music came together as the Kolberg Year was inaugurated in Przysucha (Kolberg’s birthplace) on February 21 and in Warsaw at the National Philharmonic Hall on February 24
International conference: “Oskar Kolberg – forerunner of European folklorists” took place in Tyszkiewicz Palace in Warsaw in February
Lady Camilla Paunfnik was honored during Panufnik Year with a Lutosławski Year Medal (Feb. 8) and a Golden Gloria Artis award (Apr. 15)
Also in January, Polityka Magazine’s 2013 ‘Paszport’ in the Classical Music category was awarded to the Apollon Musagète Quartett for “consistently and effectively building a strong position in Europe’s musical life while always including Polish music in the repertoire, and for the outstanding ‘Multitude’ album”
French conductor Marc Minkowski received the Silver Gloria Artis medal for services to Polish culture at the Polish Embassy in Paris, France in February 2014
Musicologist Adrian Thomas, a leading authority on Polish music, was awarded the Golden Gloria Artis medal for his outstanding contribution to the study and promotion of Polish music by Poland’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Witold Sobków on April 12 in Royal Festival Hall
The 2014 Fryderyk Award winners included in the classical music category Artist of the Year: Piotr BECZAŁA; Album of the Year in Choral, Oratorio, and Opera: baritone Andrzej DOBBER – “Arias” (DUX 0959); Album of the Year in Chamber Music: saxophonist Paweł GUSNAR – “Saxophone Varie” (DUX 0992); Album of the Year in Symphony and Concert Music: “Kilar: Angelus | Exodus | Victoria” (DUX 0966); Album of the Year in Contemporary Music: Marian BORKOWSKI – “Choral Works” (DUX 0995); Album of the Year for Best Polish Music Abroad: Rafał BLECHACZ – “Chopin: Polonaises” (Deutsche Grammophon)
Andrzej Kwieciński (b. 1984) - Canzon de’baci won 3 honors at the highly prestigious 61st International Rostrum of Composers (IRC): best work by a young composer, a recommendation in the general IRC category, and a new commission from the International Music Council and Radio France
The World Premiere of Tomasz Opałka’s Entrada Concertante with the Oskar Kolberg Philharmonic in Kielce with conductor Krzysztof Jakub Kozakiewicz took place on February 7. The event was supported by the “Commissioned Compositions” program (MKiDN/IMiT) and IMiT’s “Conductor-in-Residence” program
ZKP and ZAiKS celebrated the Generations XVII Concert, featuring the World Premieres of Tadeusz Wielecki’s Dać słowu dźwięk na małą orkiestrę, Aleksander Nowak’s Kurczęta i robot na akordeon i orkiestrę, and Paweł Sydor’s Koncert podwójny na skrzypce i wiolonczelę oraz orkiestrę symfoniczną (Commissioned Compositions) performed by the Polish Radio Orchestra, Maciej Frąckiewicz – accordion, Dorota Imiełowska – cello, Tomasz Tomaszewski – violin and Szymon Bywalec – cond.
World Premieres at the Musica Polonica Nova Festival: Aleksander Nowak (b. 1979) Dziennik zapełniony w połowie [A Diary Half Full] for cello, percussion and strings (2013), Jacek Sotomski beautiful to me. Ah for accordion, computers and strings (2014), Dominik Lewicki (b. 1990) DIApreL (2014), Marcin Rupociński (b. 1971) Horao for strings (2014), and Paweł Hendrich (b. 1979) Acanthus for accordion and electronics (2014). Performed by the Wrocław Chamber Orchestra ‘Leopoldinum’ with Ernst Kovacic - cond. and soloists on April 10 in Wrocław
On April 12 the World Premiere of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Symphony No. 4—with orchestration completed by his son, Mikołaj Górecki—was given by the London Phil, featuring Julian Rachlin – violin and Andrey Boreyko – conductor
World Premieres at 2014 Warsaw Music Encounters (May 10-17) – Grzegorz Duchnowski: Radiants for orchestra (2007); Marcin Błażewicz: Kali-yuga for solo percussion, male voice and 28 instruments (2013/2014); Władysław Słowiński: Charon’s Small Boat - 5 Songs to poems by Tadeusz Różewicz for baritone and chamber orchestra (2013/2014); Tomasz Jakub Opałka: II Symphony - Emerge for symphony orchestra (2014); Zbigniew Bagiński: IV String Quartet (2013); Ignacy Zalewski: Violin Sonata (2013); Adam Sławiński: Music for strings (2013); Jerzy Maksymiuk: Dedications for string orchestra (2013); Maciej Małecki: 3 Songs to poems by Jan Kochanowski(2014); Krzesimir Dębski: Altruitki, Rajzefiberki and others for mixed choir a cappella to poems by Wisława Szymborska (2014); Zbigniew Penherski: Four Pieces without Words for mixed choir a cappella (2014); Alicja Gronau: The Struggle Between Winter and Summer for mixed choir (2014); Anna Ignatowicz-Glińska: Skotopaska 1: Małmazja shines for mixed choir a cappella (2014); Benedykt Konowalski: Pianist Fikus – humorousballade for mixed choir a cappella (2014); Maria Pokrzywińska: Cztery figliki for choir a cappella to poems by Mikołaj Rej (2014); Jan Oleszkowicz: The Beyond for mixed choir a cappella (2014); Andrzej Panufnik: Triangles for 3 flutes and 3 cellos (1971-72)
Excellent new works for the combination of cello and accordion composed by the winners of the 2014 Tadeusz Baird Competition for Young Composers were performed on June 9 by the celebrated TWOgether Duo of Magdalena Bojanowicz – cello and Maciej Frąckiewicz – accordion. Grand Prize (ex-aequo): Paweł Kwapiński - Przestrzenie akustyczne and Tomasz Szczepanik - Gangkhar II; Distinction: Marek Grucka
World Premieres at the 26th edition of the International Festival of Kraków Composers: Piotr Moss – Dédicace VI pour violon et alto à Bogusław Schaeffer pour son 85e anniversaire (2013); Jarosław Płonka – Rich and Timeless (2014) ; Juliusz Łuciuk - W intymnym nastroju – wokaliza (1958); The Children’s Tabernacle(1993); Pieśń o żołnierzach z Westerpalatte (1970); 4 Pieśni (1988-1990); and 3 Pieśni młodzieńcze (1957-58)
World Premieres at the 3rd ‘Instalakcje’ Festival: Aleksandra Gryka: W.ALTER’s(Z.). (2014); Andrzej Kwieciński: non si puo fuggire (2014); Sławomir Wojciechowski: Machina zawiła (2014); Wojciech Blecharz: September (the next reading) (2013-2014)
World Première of Moby Dick, the new opera by Knapik at the Teatr Wielki -Opera Narodowa, Warsaw
Polish-American saxophonist Greg Banaszak gave a concert and master class on January 23 at USC’s Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld Symphonic Hall
Polish-Canadian pianist Jan Jarczyk breathed new life into classic tunes of Henry Wars and Bronisław Kaper by arranging them for jazz trio and string quartet for a Polish Jazz Concert at USC on March 29, performed by the Jan Jarczyk Trio and Stella Cho Quartet
The Silesian Quartet [Kwartet Śląski], one of Poland’s leading string quartets, celebrated its 35th anniversary with a concert and 8-CD album release
In April, Naxos released ‘Krzysztof Penderecki Works’ (NAC-LP002-03), a 2-disc set recorded by Antoni Wit with the National Philharmonic and NOSPR
DUX released 2 albums of works by Witold Lutosławski: Chamber Works (DUX 0949) performed by the New Music Orchestra with Szymon Bywalec – cond., and his Vocal-Instrumental Works (DUX 0806), performed by the Łódź Philharmonic with Daniel Raiskin – cond. and soloists
With songs arranged in chronological order to track the development and transformation of the composer’s style, Kisielewski: Utwory fortepianowe [Works for Piano] (EMI Music Poland 14822414) was released by Magdalena Lisak, piano
The First example of Polish opera, Cud mniemany czyli Krakowiacy i Górale [An Apparent Miracle or The Cracovians and the Highlanders], got an exciting new production at the Bydgoszcz Opera Festival in May
KOLBERG YEAR FINALE
The Lutosławski Concert Studio in Warsaw hosted a special ceremony on December 11 that officially concluded the Kolberg Year celebrations. Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Professor Małgorzata Omilanowska, presided over the ceremony, handing the awards and medals to a number of laureates. Minister Omilanowska noted that:
The Kolberg Awards for Folk Art were given to sculptor Mieczysław Gaja, potter Jan Jurek, musician and choreographer Jan Kania, folk instrument maker Jerzy Walkusz, folk poet Barbara Krajewska, the Trebunio-Tutka Family folk music ensemble, the Boczki Chełmońskie Regional Dance Ensemble, ethnomusicologist and journalist for Polish Radio Maria Baliszewska, choreographer and lecturer Anatol Kocyłowski, to the Kaszubski Park Narodowy Museum, and to the Polish Radio Rzeszów.
The December 11 event also included a presentation of Glora Artis medals. The Gold Gloria Artis was given to Prof. Jan Święch. The Silver Gloria Artis went to Prof. Andrzej Bieńkowski, Kazimierz Albin Budzik, Zbigniew Butryn, Janusz Jaskulski, Tadeusz Jedynak, Mirosław Nalaskowski and Zofia Pacan. Katarzyna Markiewicz, Alicja Mironiuk-Nikolska, Stanisław Pietras, Janusz Prusinowski, Krzysztof Trebunia-Tutka and Marta Walczak-Stasiowska received Bronze Gloria Artis medals.
2014 marked Kolberg’s bicentennial and the year was filled with a number of concerts, educational initiatives, theatre premieres, festivals, workshops, competitions and recordings. A new internet site was launched as well as an interactive Kolberg Guide around Poland. Kolberg’s tomb at Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków was renovated, his writings were published and all extant manuscripts were digitalized and made accessible to the public. The Institute of Music and Dance coordinated the celebrations financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The Kolberg Year also enjoyed honorary patronage from UNESCO and the official summary of the bicentennial celebrations will be made in February 2015.
More information on the Kolberg Year can be found at: www.kolberg2014.org.pl
THE END OF THE PANUFNIK YEAR: A REVIEW
John Allison of the London Telegraph wrote a review of the culminating event in the UK’s Panufnik Year celebrations, speaking of the program’s “searing intensity” and the fact that “it rooted [Panufnik] firmly in Polish soil.” The review begins thus:
To read the entire review, visit www.telegraph.co.uk.
GÓRECKI’S 4th SYMPHONY – US PREMIERE
Written for orchestra, organ and piano, the Symphony No. 4 of the late Henryk Mikołaj Górecki will be given its US Premiere on January 16-18, 2015 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. As the composer was unable to finish the score in 2010 due to ill health, the final version was orchestrated by Górecki’s son, Mikolaj Górecki. Maestro Andrey Boreyko will lead the Philharmonic, joined by violin soloist Nikolaj Znaider.
Górecki’s Fourth bears the subtitle Tansman Episody, paying homage to fellow Polish composer Alexandre Tansman. Thus, Tansman’s own work Stelè in memoriam Igor Stravinsky—which captures the close, respectful relationship that Tansman and Stravinsky shared after meeting in Hollywood in the 1940s—is also on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s program. As final touch, the immensely popular Violin Concerto of Jean Sibelius completes the program of the weekend.
The World Premiere of Górecki’s Symphony No. 4 was performed by the London Philharmonic with violinist Julian Rachlin and maestro Andrey Boreyko in the Royal Festival Hall in London on April 12, 2014. Górecki’s Symphony No. 4 was commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Southbank Centre, London, with generous support from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Cultural Institute in London; The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association: Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director; and the ZaterdagMatinee, Dutch radio’s classical music concert series in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
On December 17, 2014 in the Studio Theatre in Warsaw, the World Premiere of a new piece for harpsichord by Paweł Szymański was heard. Harpsichordist Małgorzata Sarbak performed Counterpoint Dissociative Disorder (2014), which was commissioned for Sarbak by the LADO Cultural Association and funded by the Institute of Music and Dance with funds from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage collections, under the "Composing Commissions" initiative.
During the concert, Sarbak also performed Szymański’s Les Poiriers en Pologne ou une Suite de Pieces Sentimentales de Clavecin. She performed the world premiere of this piece as well in 2010.
On November 5-6, 2014, the FuturOpera project was presented at the Warsaw Chamber Opera. The project encompassed three chamber opera creations by contemporary composers of the young generation: Wasserstimmen by Dariusz Przybylski (a criminal opera based on a primaeval Inuit legend), Labirynt Orfeja [Orpheus' Labyrinth] by Nikolet Burzyńska (a synthesis of selected threads from Greek and Slavic mythology) and Three Tall Tales of Doctor Monsieur Façade by Ryan Latimer (a kind of fairytale intermezzo). Things all three of these works have in common are their original sonic language and setting – at the edge of a dream, in an extraordinary, hypnotic trance.
The author and music director of this project was Jarosław Praszczałek, and the stage design, direction, and costumes were provided by Ewelina Grzechnik, Marta Grądzka. A trailer for the event can be seen at www.youtube.com
ARTIST UPDATE: KUBA CICHOCKI
Pianist, improviser and composer, Kuba Cichocki was already a highly acclaimed musician in Poland and Europe before he came to New York in 2010. He had played and recorded with some of the greatest musicians of Polish and international music scene, including Michael Urbaniak, Zbigniew Namyslowski, Urszula Dudziak, Aga Zaryan, Zbigniew Wegehaupt, Jerzy Małek, Jaromir Honzak, Grzegorz Karnas, and Marek Napiórkowski. He had performed at important venues and jazz festivals in Poland, Germany, Slovakia, Iceland, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Hungary.
For the last couple of years, Cichocki has been active on the New York City music scene, playing solo concerts, leading his trios, quartets and quintets, and performing with various mainstream as well as avant-garde jazz groups. Among others, he has extensively collaborated with 5-time Grammy Award winner John Benitez, and shared a stage with such notable artists and groups as: Chris Potter, Billy Drewes, Westchester Jazz Orchestra, Eddie Allen Big Band, Clifton Anderson, Pat O’Leary and Colin Stranahan.
One of Kuba Cichocki’s recent projects was a tour in Asia in September and October 2014. He played 8 concerts in China and 9 concerts in South Korea with the Sarnecki/Cichocki Quintet. Cichocki and Rafał Sarnecki, who together composed all the music for the quintet, were backed up by the best Chinese and Korean rhythm sections and a Chinese saxophone star, Nathaniel Gao. The first part of the tour took place in Beijing, where they played at the most important jazz clubs, such as Jianghu, East Shore, and YUE FU. They also performed and gave master classes at WAB Jazz Festival of the Western Academy of Beijing and Contemporary Music Academy of Beijing. In Shanghai, the quintet played at the famous JZ Club, and in Chengdu—another Chinese metropolis—they appeared at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music to give workshops and more concerts.
The focus of the Korean part of the tour was the Jarasum International Jazz Festival, well established as one of the most significant international festivals. The performance of Cichocki and the quintet took place on the first day of the event and met with a highly favorable reception. The band was also invited to play at several of Seoul’s jazz clubs, including All That Jazz, Jazz Alley, Club Palm, Evans, as well as BOM Gallery in Yangpyeong.
Another recent project of Kuba Cichocki was a live recording of his quartet at Spectrum, a famous New York City art-and-music space that hosts and produces concerts of contemporary classical music, avant-garde rock, and progressive jazz. For his late-October performance at Spectrum, Cichocki invited some of the best artist of the Brooklyn improvised scene: Patrick Breiner, Flin van Hemmen, and Sean Ali. The experimental set included leader’s compositions as well as free improvisation, spoken word, and interaction with the audience.
On November 14, the artist performed at the XVI International Chopin & Friends Festival with the Pawel Ignatowicz Quartet. The festival is organized by New York Dance & Arts Innovations and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland and is held at the Polish Slavic Center in Greenpoint. It has become an important cultural event showcasing innovative and acclaimed artists.
[Source: press release]
KORZISTKA PERFORMS BENEFIT CONCERT FOR PMA
The Polish Museum of America and the PMA Library, along with the Chicago Chopin Society, present a recital by pianist Michal Korzistka on Saturday, January 31, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. in the PMA Sabina P. Logisz Great Hall. At the request of the artist, all proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Polish Museum of America Library’s Rare Book Conservation Project.
The evening performance features Michal Korzistka on piano, accompanied by a string quartet, presenting the talents of Miguel Garcia-Bender and Agnieszka Likos on violin; Davis Perez on viola; and Patrycja Likos on cello. The concert program will include the works of Fryderyk Chopin and Jarosław Golęmbiowski.
The Polish Museum of America Library initiated the Rare Book Conservation Project in 2012, focusing on approximately 300 rare books. Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the PMAL and grants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, forty books published in 16th, 17th and 18th century have been conserved under this project. Three of these books were conserved thanks to the proceeds of previous recitals by Michał Korzistka. As the average conservation cost per book is $500, the PMA Library is grateful for all the support the project has received in anticipation of the Library’s centennial.
[Source: press release]
UPCOMING AT THE KOSCIUSZKO FDN
Isadora Duncan and Frédéric Chopin: In Artistry of the Soul
The Kosciuszko Foundation in collaboration with The Isadora Duncan International Institute presents "Isadora Duncan and Frédéric Chopin: In Artistry of the Soul - A Live Performance of Music and Dance" Directed by Jeanne Bresciani with Carlos Rodriguez, pianist, the performance will be danced by Jeanne Bresciani and the Isadora Duncan International Institute Dancers, with special guest artists Cynthia Word and Ingrid Zimmer.
Piano Recital by Malgorzata Goroszewska
Malgorzata Goroszewska is a 26-years-old artist. She earned her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance under Professor Joseph Kalichstein at the Juillliard School (New York). A Polish native, she grew up with affinity for the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin. In 2010 she was honored by the Polish Institute in Vienna for her interpretations of Chopin's music and was awarded the Warsaw City Scholarship of John Paul II. In 2012, she toured with the international orchestra "I, Culture Orchestra", an ongoing project to bring Eastern and Western Europe together through music (concerts in Lublin, Warsaw, Minsk, Kiev, Chisinau and Tbilisi).
Malgorzata was born in 1988 in Bialystok (Poland). At the age of 7 she began her musical training studying piano and theory, and later included composition and chamber music. In her teenage years she participated in numerous music competitions as a soloist, chamber musician, collaborative pianist, theorist and composer in Poland and abroad.
PRESIDENTIAL AWARD FOR HUNDZIAK
A group of artists whose output is directed to young performers and audiences was recognized by Poland’s President and the First Lady at a December 10 ceremony held in the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. Composer Andrzej Hundziak (b. 1927) was lauded for being “one of a few contemporary composers who has devoted most of his creative efforts towards the young performers and listeners … His choral and instrumental works provide children with a direct contact to contemporary musical techniques.” Since this is the first time this particular award was given, it recognized honorees who had distinguished themselves in their respective fields over the past 25 years.
2014 NOMINATIONS: ‘POLITYKA PASSPORTS’
The popular weekly magazine Polityka has announced the 2014 nominations for its annual Passport Award. Candidates for this coveted cultural prize are chosen from the fields of film, literature, popular music, classical music, theatre, and visual arts. The “Passports” recognize talented young people who, with their activities in a given year, exert unquestionable influence on Polish culture and serve as perhaps the best Polish ambassadors in the world.
In the classical music category, the 2014 nominees are:
Winners will be announced during a gala at the Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera in Warsaw on January 13, 2015, which will broadcast on Polish Television Channel 2 [TVP 2].
STROINSKI NOMINATED FOR “ETHAN CARTER” SCORE
Polish-American composer Mikolaj Stroinski, who created the score for the game The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, has been nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition at the 18th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards. The D.I.C.E. Awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, Feb. 5 at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas at the end of the 2015 D.I.C.E. Summit; it will live stream in its entirety beginning 7pm PT/10pm ET via Twitch at twitch.tv/dice.
Hosted by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, the Annual D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Awards is the video game industry’s premier peer-based awards show and honors the year’s finest achievements in the industry. The 2014 leaders are Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor with nine nominations, including Game of the Year. Rounding out the Game of the Year nominations include: Destiny, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4 and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Several games received multiple nods, including Far Cry 4 with seven, Destiny and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft with six, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Monument Valley with five, and inFamous: Second Son, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Valiant Hearts: The Great War with four each. The complete list of Awards categories, finalists, and game maker credits is available here.
“The Vanishing of Ethan Carter” also earned Stroinski three nominations at the 2014 Annual Game Music Awards: Best Score – Cinematic/Orchestral, Outstanding Contribution – Newcomer, and Outstanding Achievement – Vocal Theme.
The idea behind the Łańcuch [Chain] Festivals is to showcase the music of Witold Lutosławski in an appropriate context. The 12th Łańcuch Festival encompasses five concerts, taking place in Warsaw from January 25 until February 7. Each evening, Lutosławski’s works will be juxtaposed against other works, including masterpieces by Bartok and Beethoven, as well as Scandinavian music, works related to World War II tragedies, and examples of Baroque polyphony.
Although related to the Festival, the 10th Lutosławski Cello Competition and the activities of the Chain Ensemble will be treated as separate events, just like the workshops for young performers, and the Łańcuszek [Little Chain] series of concerts for young audiences.
The Festival will be inaugurated on January 25 at the Chamber Hall of the Warsaw National Philharmonic when the Silesian Quartet presents Bartok’s III String Quartet and Beethoven’s Op. 135 Quartet along with Lutosławski’s String Quartet (1964). Admission is free.
On January 31 in the Lutosławski Polish Radio Studio, the National Radio Symphony Orchestra under Michał Klauza will pair Lutosławski’s Musique funèbre (1958), Interludium (1989) and Les Espaces du sommeil (1975) with works by Per Nørgård and Jean Sibelius.
The February 1 concert (also at the Lutosławski Polish Radio Studio) will feature a concert of works for solo voices, choirs and instrumentalists. Fragments of Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater will be juxtaposed with Lutosławski’s Lacrimosa for Soprano, Mixed Choir and Organ (1937-1946), Roman Padlewski’s Stabat Mater for Mixed Choir a cappella (1939), Luigi Dallapiccola’s Canti di prigionia (1941), and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Psalmy Davida.
The February 4 concert, held at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, will inaugurate the 10th International Lutosławski Cello Competition. Performers include soprano Agata Zubel, pianist Paweł Arendt, the Chain Ensemble, and conductor Andrzej Bauer. Besides Lutosławski’s La Belle de nuit for soprano and orchestra, the program will feature works by Giacino Scelsi, Agata Zubel, Györgi Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis, and Arvo Pärt. Admission to this concert is by invitation only.
Finally, on February 7 at the Lutosławski Polish Radio Studio, violinist Krzysztof Jakowicz, pianist Robert Morawski, the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra and Maestro Marek Moś will present Lutosławski’s Preludes and Fugue for 13 String Instruments (1973), Partita for Violin, Piano and Orchestra (1984/1988), and Interludium for Orchestra (1989), as well as works by J.S. Bach and Chopin (orchestrated by Paweł Mykietyn).
On February 6 and 7 the Little Chain Festival will be held at the Centre for Contemporary Art at the Ujazdowski Palace. Master classes and workshops accompanying the Łańcuch Festival will take place January 23—February 1 at the Radziejowice Artists’ Retreat.
NEW ON NAXOS
The Complete Piano Works of Szymanowski
This new recording of Dvořák’s substantial Requiem is under the authoritative direction of Polish conductor Antoni Wit, who is both a Naxos house conductor and renowned interpreter of Slavic music. Released in both CD and Blu-ray Audio formats, this optimized recording features the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, of which Wit is the former Artistic Director. See other recordings by Wit and the Warsaw Phil at www.naxos.com.
Antonín Dvořák’s huge popularity in England was built largely on the success of his Stabat Mater, which he had conducted there in 1884 and 1885. It was well suited to the country’s choral traditions and led eventually to a commission for a Requiem, which was premièred in Birmingham in 1891. Written in ten months during tours to Russia, England and Germany, its success was immediate. Sitting closer to the tradition of Cherubini than Verdi, its tone is compassionate and reflective, devoid of unnecessary drama, and movingly crafted with great sophistication.
[Sources: press release, naxos.com]
JERZY SEMKOW (1928-2014)
Jerzy Semkow, one of the most prominent Polish conductors and champions of Polish music around the world, died on December 23 near Lausanne, Switzerland after a long illness at the age of 86. Born in Radomsko, Poland, he first studied conducting in Kraków and later continued with the legendary Evgenii Mravinsky, the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra.
From 1965 until 1970 Semkow served as Conductor of the Royal Danish Opera and, during the
1970s, he was the principal guest conductor of Cleveland Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and RAI Orchestra in Italy. Starting in the 1980s, for almost three decades Semkow frequently appeared with the Detroit Symphony and served as Director of Rochester Philharmonic during the years 1985-1993.
Maestro Semkow also led Milano’s La Scala Opera orchestra and London’s Covent Garden Opera, as well as opera orchestras in Geneva, Rome and Florence. Sekow’s academic credits include lectures at Colorado State University, Yale University and Manhattan School of Music. He was also one of the founders of the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus orchestra. Always ready to promote music by Polish composers, Semkow presented works by Moniuszko, Kurpiński, Chopin, Szymanowski, Lutosławski, Baird, Szabelski, Penderecki and many others in concerts across the world. His last appearance with the Warsaw Philharmonic—an orchestra he first led in 1962—was scheduled for October 2014 but had to be cancelled due to illness.
Music critic for the Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker, remembered Semkow as:
A beloved musical citizen of the Motor City…. For many years he was a go-to conductor for core staples by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Bruckner and Tchaikovsky. The Old World depth and warmth he brought to these scores made for countless memorable nights in Detroit…. Semkow favored broad tempos, fleshy textures and flowing phrases that sighed with lyricism. He knew what he wanted, and it was usually a kind of clarified spiritualism, beauty and understanding.
PAWEL BUCZYŃSKI (1953-2015)
Paweł Buczyński, a composer and lecturer at the Chopin Music University, and member of the Polish Composers’ Union, died January 5 at the age of 62. He studied composition with Tadeusz Baird in Warsaw and later with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati in Vienna. Since 1979 he was associated with the Warsaw Music Academy and during the 1980s and the 1990s he held various leadership positions in the Polish Composers’ Union.
Winner of several competitions for composers, Buczyński received the 1980 Young Composers’ Prize for his Muzyka opadających liści [The Music of the Falling Leaves] for string orchestra. This work had also garnered an Honorable Mention at the UNESCO International Composers’ Tribune in 1985. His last composition, Benedictus – oratorium in honore beati Edmundi in partes quinque, was world-premiered in Warsaw on November 13, 2014 at the Lutosławski Concert Studio in Warsaw.
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Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski
Kuba Cichocki, Hanka Kolberg, Mikolaj Stroinski, Marek Żebrowski
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute (NY & UK), Adam Mickiewicz Institute,
Nowy Dziennik, Polish Music Information Centre - Warsaw, Polish American Journal,
Poland.pl, PAP, ZKP, infochopin.pl, Ruch Muzyczny, Gazeta Wyborcza
Formatting by Krysta Close, January 15, 2015.
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