|Polish Music Newsletter|
2015 - YEAR IN REVIEW, PT. 1
(January - June, 2015)
2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the Polish Music Center at the USC Thornton School of Music—a library and cultural outreach center established in 1985 for the promotion of Polish music and culture that has no equal anywhere in the world. Read an overview of the anniversary in our Feb 2015 Newsletter.
Poland’s premiere music publishers, Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne SA (PWM), celebrated 70 years of operations in 2015. It is appropriate that this anniversary lines up with the PMC’s own celebration of 35 years, as it was the close relationship with PWM—cultivated by PMC founder Wanda Wilk—that led to the development of the PMC’s extensive collection of published music. According to Daniel Cichy, PWM Editor-in-Chief: “We will celebrate the 70th anniversary with the slogan: "We play fair. And we've done it for 70 years" in mind. Let's make music together!”
On March 13, the Warsaw National Philharmonic celebrated the 80th birthday of Maestro Tadeusz Strugała, who has long been associated with the Philharmonic and continues to serve as deputy Artisitic Director and permanent guest conductor. Since his career began 60 years ago, as an oboist with the Wrocław Symphony Orchestra, Strugała has been a vigorous organizer of musical life—not only in Poland, but around the world. Read more about Tadeusz Strugała’s extensive career at culture.pl or www.strugala.com
In 2015 the world will celebrate the 85th birthday of Romuald Twardowski. Born in 1930 in Vilnius, Twardowski is one of the greatest composers of Polish choral music. Apart from vocal works, he is also the author of numerous theatre and symphonic compositions.
The Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra in Łódź celebrated its centenary in 2015. In celebration, on Feb 17 the ARPO will hold an Anniversary Gala Concert featuring the World Premiere of Krzysztof Meyer's Musica festiva for two organs and orchestra.
Celebrating their ‘Joyous Jubilee’ of 50 years of artistry, the Lira Ensemble performed a “Music Just for Lira” benefit concert in Chicago on March 11.
Polish Radio celebrated its 90th anniversary with a gala event at the National Opera in Warsaw on April 21. During the evening, Jacek Kaspszyk, the Artistic Director of Warsaw Philharmonic was presented with the Diamond Baton Award, one of the most important professional accolades given by the Polish Radio, “in recognition of his conducting career together with gratitude for his devotion to public broadcasting, to which he has contributed a truly astonishing amount of studio and concert recordings.”
A very special concert was held in Kraków on May 31, the eve of the 125th death anniversary of Oskar Kolberg. The musicians from the Kraków Music Academy, the Men’s Choir Lutnia, and the Kraków Military Orchestra presented the exact replica of program commemorating Kolberg held in 1899. The concert featured works of Frederic Chopin, Władysław Żeleński, Stanisław Moniuszko and Oskar Kolberg, as well as selections of folk songs and poetry by Adam Asnyk.
Between May 30 and June 14, the Silesian Opera in Bytom celebrated its 70th anniversary with a program devoted to operatic works by Polish composers, including two works by Stanisław Moniuszko: his one-act opera Verbum nobile and ballet Na kwaterunku [At the Campside], Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s Manru, Ludomir Różycki’s Pan Twardowski, and a special concert presented by the Silesian Opera Choir with a guest artist, mezzo-soprano Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa, who will celebrate her 60th year of professional music career. The final gala will feature Moniuszko’s most famous opera, Halka, a work that has remained in constant repertoire of the Silesian Opera ever since its first performance after World War II in Poland.
The Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) announced the winners of the PAHA awards for 2014 at the 72nd Annual Meeting in New York (January 2-4, 2015): the Amicus Poloniae Award “recognizing significant contributions enhancing knowledge of Polish and Polish‐American heritage by individuals not belonging to the Polish‐American community” was given to Ms. TERRY TEGNAZIAN, co‐founder of Aquila Polonica Publishing, and Dr. MAJA TROCHIMCZYK, of Moonrise Press and former PMC Director, received the Distinguished Service Award “given occasionally to a member of PAHA who has rendered valuable and sustained service to the organization.”
On January 28, Poland's Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN) published the results of the call for applications for the 4th edition of the ministry's program "Collections – Composing Commissions," which is operated by the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw (IMiT). 90 pairs of composers and music organizations were awarded grants amounting to a total of 2 million PLN. Amongst the 2015/2016 winners are Hanna Kulenty/Warsaw National Philharmonic, Rafał Augustyn/NOSPR, Tomasz Opałka/Kraków Music Academy, Anna Ignatowicz-Glińska/ZKP, Aleksandra Gryka/Kwartludium New Music Foundation, Krzysztof Wołek/“Crossroads” Center for Intercultural Creative Initiatives, Paweł Mykietyn/Baltic Philharmonic in Gdańsk, Wojciech Ziemont Zych/Kwadrofonik Association, Joanna Woźny and Lidia Zielińska/National Music Forum, and many others.
Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice list included three recordings featuring several Polish composers and performers: No. 1: JS BACH English Suites Nos 1, 3 & 5 – Piotr Anderszewski, piano (Warner Classics); No. 5: PENDERECKI Chamber Works, Vol 1 – Jan Kalinowski - cello, Maria Machowska - violin, Artur Rozmysłowicz - viola, Marek Szlezer - piano, Tadeusz Tomaszewski - horn, Roman Widaszek – clarinet (DUX 0780); No. 6: CHOPIN Études complete – Zlata Chochieva, piano (Piano Classics PCL0068)
On February 23, two Polish musicians were awarded the Decoration of Honor “Meritorious for Polish Culture” from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage [MKiDN]: virtuoso violinist and cultural organizer Janusz Wawrowski, and pianist, theoretician and composer Marcin Tadeusz Łukaszewski.
Winners of the 9th US National Chopin Piano Competition, organized by the Chopin Foundation of the United States in Miami, were First Prize: ERIC LU; Second Prize: RACHEL NAOMI KUDO, Third Prize: GEORGE LI; Fourth Prize: ERIC ZUBER; Fifth Prize: JOSHUA WRIGHT; and Sixth Prize: ALEXANDER BEYER
Violinist Kinga Augustyn was recognized with the 2015 “Outstanding Pole Abroad” Award [Wybitny Polak za granicą] in the “Young Pole” category. 2015 marked the fifth anniversary of this prestigious competition organized by the Polish National Emblem Foundation [Fundacja Polskiego Godła Promocyjnego], which also runs the “Poland Now” [Teraz Polska] awards.
Winners of the first edition of the Kropka Competition for music critics were: Anna Burzyńska (Didaskalia), Karolina Kolinek-Siechowicz (Ruch muzyczny), and Barbara Kinga-Majewska (Glissando). The best debut certificates went to Katarzyna Trzeciak and to Worldpress blogger Aleksandra Bliźniuk. And special prizes went to Alex Ross (The New Yorker) – prize for foreign critics, Maciej Froński – Piotr Metz Award for Popular Music, Aleksandra Bliźniuk – PWM Editor-in-Chief Award, and Rafał Augustyn – the MEAKULTURA Foundation Award.
One of the newest installments in Google’s Cultural Institute initiative is the exhibit Witold Lutosławski 1913-1994, an interactive exploration of the life and works of the famous Polish composer, through images and text. This is the third Cultural Institute exhibit to be curated by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute/Culture.pl.
There was a strong Polish presence at the January 29 opening of the Metropolitan Opera’s new double-bill of two rarely performed operas: Tchaikovsky's Iolanta and Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle. A co-production of the Met and Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki-Polish National Opera, both operas are staged by acclaimed Polish director Mariusz Treliński, in his Met debut, and Iolantafeatured Polish tenor Piotr Beczała as Count Vaudémont.
Award-winning Polish composer Marta Ptaszyńska (right) will succeed Shulamit Ran as the artistic director of Contempo, the University of Chicago’s renowned contemporary music collective. Over its 50 year distinguished history, the ensemble has garnered many accolades for its fearless performance of contemporary music.
Winner of the 2nd prize at the 2012 London International String Quartet Competition, the Meccore String Quartet (violinists Wojciech Koprowski and Jarosław Nadrzycki, violist Michał Bryła and cellist Karol Marianowski) toured the US in February, with programs including Szymanowski's String Quartet no. 1—an uncanny blend of late German romanticism, impressionism, and the avant-garde—and Laks's Quartet no. 3 on Polish Themes.
From February 4-5, 2015, the Copernicus Program in Polish Studies at the University of Michigan welcomes Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stańko to campus. On Feb 4, the 71-year-old gave the 2015 Copernicus lecture, an annual lecture at U-M that highlights the rich variety of Polish intellectual and cultural life. On Feb 5, the Tomasz Stańko New Balladyna Quartet performed Balladyna (ECM Records).
The Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw (IMiT) premiered two new projects: a duo of films—Premiere and Conductor-in-residence—that followed young composers Wojciech Błażejczyk, Tomasz J. Opałka and Ignacy Zalewski, and conductors Rafał Kłoczko, Maciej Koczur, Krzysztof Kozakiewicz andMaciej Tomasiewicz; and the first edition of the New Face of Music program—a gallery of photographs of young composers and performing artists (pictured at left).
The international musical significance, as well as the personal friendship, of Witold Lutosławski and Arne Nordheim—who both raised the contemporary music of their respective countries of Poland and Norway to global levels—was celebrated with an international musicological conference entitled “Cultural heritage and dialogue. Lutosławski – Nordheim” at the Norwegian Academy of Music. The conference was a central event in the “Between identity and a community of cultures: from Chopin and Tellefsen to the twenty-first century” project—a multi-year series of symposia and concerts made possible through the collaboration of several important cultural institutions in Poland and Norway, and with financial support from the European Economic Area.
The Centre for Dialogue and Analysis THINKTANK and Orange Poland organized a debate on the theme of “Nowe dźwięki, Nowe trendy, Nowe możliwości” [New sounds, new trends, new opportunities], discussing the interaction between music, technology and business. It was held on May 15 in Warsaw’s Miasteczku Orange.
According to front man and producer Jimmy Page (above right), the band Led Zeppelin was inspired by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki (above left) in the creation of the band’s iconic sound. In February 2015, Page said to Kory Grow of Rolling Stone Magazine: “I wanted to get the density, if you like, of an acoustic guitar tuned into a chord and just sort of bowing and just building it up like you'd have over an orchestral thing almost or [modern classical composer] Krzysztof Penderecki. He would have liked that [laughs]. The idea of using the drone even preceded that album [‘Physical Graffiti’], but it really comes into effect there, that's for sure. It was the early days of ambient music, if you like.” Page had previously mentioned Penderecki’s influence during a 2014 interview with Luke Turner on www.wonderingsound.com.
Writing for The Guardian on April 8, Andrew MacDowall painted a picture of how tourism in Poland is affected by the world’s fascination with Fryderyk Chopin, in the article “Chopin movement music to ears of Polish tourism officials.”
Polish saxophonist and composer Maciej Obara toured the US and Canada in June, hitting some of the biggest jazz festivals in North America: Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, TD Edmonton International Jazz Festival, TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center
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.
Professor Andrzej Koszewski died in Poznań on February 17 at 92. A renowned composer of choral music and a musicologist, he was also a professor of composition at the Poznań Music Academy, whose students included Krzesimir Dębski and Lidia Zielińska.
2015 began with one-time performances of two rarely heard but groundbreaking operas, presented by the Poznań Opera Theatre. The first was Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Portrait, presented at the Moniuszko Auditorium on January 16, and the second was their production of Krzysztof Meyer’s Cyberiada (1967 - manuscript pictured at left), staged at the Grand Theatre-National Opera in Warsaw on January 18
From January 23-25, Sinfonia Varsovia performed extensively during the La Folle Journée 2015 in Nantes, France, with programs including Polish composers Fryderyk Chopin, Zygmunt Noskowski and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki.
The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the German Nazi concentration camp, on January 27, 2015 was celebrated with music around the world, including concerts in Kraków, Minneapolis and Seattle.
Winner of the 2nd prize at the 2012 London International String Quartet Competition, Poland’s Meccore String Quartet performed across the US in February, with programs featuring Karol Szymanowski's String Quartet no. 1 and Szymon Laks's Quartet no. 3 on Polish Themes
2005 winner of the Chopin Piano Competition, Rafał Blechacz (left), is a rare guest in Poland these days, but he returned to the Warsaw Philharmonic on Feb 24 performing works by Beethoven under Jacek Kaspszyk.
On March 17 in the Colburn School of Music’s Zipper Hall in Downtown Los Angeles, pianist and contemporary music specialist Susan Svrček performed Grażyna Bacewicz’s Sonata No. 2 (1953) on a program cheekily entitled “Oh, for the love of...”
As a part of the Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center series, the Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theater performed choreography set to the music of Henryk Mikolaj Górecki in a work called Polish Pieces (choreography: Hans van Manen), which was presented on the “Joy of Ailey” program in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles on April 17-18, 2015.
In May, London’s Royal Opera House presented Król Roger [King Roger] by Karol Szymanowski. The new production was 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.
On May 3 at London’s Barbican Centre, Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbański led the London Symphony Orchestra and young violin phenome Nicola Benedetti in a program including Szymanowski’s lyrical First Violin Concerto.
For two weeks in February, Jan Kalinowski and Marek Szlezer from the Kraków Music Academy conducted extensive research in the Polish Music Center’s Zygmunt and Luisa Stojowski Collection. On February 24, performing as the Cracow Duo, they presented a recital featuring works by Aleksander Tansman, Krzysztof Meyer, Tomasz Opałka (world premiere), and Frederic Chopin, among others. Read more from our March 2015 Newsletter.
The 2015 PMC spring concert was a collaboration between the PMC, the USC Thornton School of Music’s Composition Department, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Entitled “Measures & Frames” and presented by Visions & Voices on March 28, the evening combined music and film, seeking to discover the hidden and serendipitous connections between these two disciplines. The audience experienced the merging of music and video imagery, created by leading composers (Joanna Bruzdowicz, Jeff Holmes, Veronika Krausas, Marek Zebrowski, and Thomas Adès) and filmmakers (Michael Patterson, Candace Reckinger, Agnès Varda, and David Lynch), and performed by the Penderecki String Quartet and soprano Rebekah Barton. Read a review in the April 2015 Newsletter.
The new Roman Ryterband Collection was started within the PMC Archives over the course of 2015, thanks to the generosity of his widow Clarissa Ryterband and his two daughters, Diana Eisele and Astrid Ryterband. The donated materials will allow for a reassessment of this fascinating composer’s contributions to Polish music history in the twentieth century, and will be celebrated with a concert at USC on April 2, 2016. For donation details, see the May 2015 Newsletter.
On May 9, the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles presented pianist Kuba Stankiewicz and bassist Darek ‘Oles’ Oleszkiewicz at the “Jazz in the Ballroom” concert. Stankiewicz and Oleszkiewicz were joined by percussionist Kristina Raymond to play this fundraiser for the Paderewski Festival’s Youth Cultural Exchange, which sent two U.S. students to Poland in July. The concert featured music by two great Polish composers: Bronisław Kaper (1902–1983) and Victor Young (1899–1956).
The late Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Symphony No. 4 “Tansman Episody”— the final version was orchestrated by Górecki’s son, Mikolaj Górecki—had its US Premiere on Jan 16-18, 2015 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall, led by maestro Andrey Boreyko with violin soloist Nikolaj Znaider. The World Premiere of Górecki’s Symphony No. 4 was performed by the London Philharmonic with violinist Julian Rachlin and maestro Boreyko in the Royal Festival Hall in London on April 12, 2014, and the Polish Premiere was given by Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk and the Henryk Mikołaj Górecki Silesian Philharmonic in the concert hall of the Łódź Philharmonic on February 15, 2015. Read a review of the L.A performance in the Feb 2015 Newsletter.
On Jan 25, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players [SFCMP] performed the World Premiere of Polish composer and vocalist Agata Zubel’s new chamber piece, entitled Where To in Berkeley, CA. It was second concert in the ensemble’s Project Ten Fourteen— series of four programs featuring world premieres simultaneously commissioned from ten distinctive composers all challenged to reflect upon and address the human condition, common to us all.
On Feb 13, the World Premiere of ocean is not enough for 13 performers by Wojtek Blecharz was given by the Klangforum Wien, conducted by Clemont Power. This new work by Blecharz was commissioned as a part of Klangforum’s “impuls” program, and the premiere took place during the impuls Festival 2015.
The Moniuszko Grand Theatre in Poznań commissioned a new opera by Aleksander Nowak, Space Opera, czyli mężczyzna, kobieta i…. [Space Opera, or a Man, a Woman, and…], which was premiered in Poznań on March 14, 2015 in conjunction with the International Opera Conference.
The 44th edition of the International Festival of Contemporary Music "Poznań Musical Spring" (March 23-30, 2015) presented the World Premieres of 9 new works by the following Polish composers: Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska, Barbara Kaszuba, Monika Kędziora, Martyna Kosecka, Katarzyna Kwiecień-Długosz, Piotr Moss, Bogusław Schaeffer, Katarzyna Taborowska and Zdzisław Wysocki.
From April 9-10, the conference "Between tradition and avant-garde – accordion in the musical culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries" was held in Warsaw. Organized by the Międzyuczelniana Katedra Accordionistyki—an inter-departmental organization encompassing music academies in Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Krakowi Łódź, Poznań, Warsaw and Wrocław—this Jubilee Conference celebrates 50 years of accordion education at the Warsaw Academy of Music (now known as F. Chopin University of Music in Warsaw). The conference included World Premieres of works by: Edward Sielicki, Żaneta Rydzewska, Aleksander Kościów, Wojciech Kostrzewa, Michał Moc, Miłosz Bembinow, Jerzy Mądrawski, Barbara Kaszuba, Dominik Lasota, Jacek Dziołak and Cezary Duchnowski.
Access Contemporary Music (ACM), the Polish Consulate and 98.7 WFMT celebrated the vibrant legacy of Polish classical music in Chicago with a concert entitled Composer Alive: Poland on April 10, featuring the Premiere of Agnieszka Stulgińska’s Dance With my Breath performed by ACM’s Palomar Ensemble. Also on the program: Moon Flowers by Marta Ptaszyńska, In C by Marcel Chyrzyński, Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio by Krzysztof Penderecki, Seven One Minute Waltzes by Alicja Gronau, Shades of Ice by Agata Zubel and Quatour pour la naissance by Zygmunt Krauze.
From April 17-19, 2015, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) hosted the 6th edition of its Festival of Premieres of Polish Modern Music in Katowice, giving World Premieres to almost 30 new pieces by Polish composers of various generations. To read the full listing, visit our April 2015 Newsletter.
Organized by the Warsaw branch of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP), the 29th edition of the Warszawskie Spotkania Muzyczne [Warsaw Music Encounters] was held from May 9-15, and included the World Premieres of 16 new works by Polish composers. See the full list of works in our May 2015 Newsletter.
The third edition of the hottest young Polish creators in the Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera’s Project ‘P’ series had its world premiere on May 22, 2015. The latest composers commissioned in this series are Katarzyna Głowicka(Requiem for an Icon) and Sławomir Kupczak(Voyager).
A new work by Canadian-Polish composer Piotr Grella-Mozejko entitled ...only Midnight... per due pianoforti (2009) had its world premiere in Edmonton, Canada on May 22, performed by the dedicatees: the husband-wife piano duo of Mikolaj Warszynski and Zuzana Simurdova. It was also the North American launch of pianist Warszynski’s latest Anima Records release, Mikolaj Warszynski – Piano Solo.
Held in Kielce April 10-24, the Świętokrzyskie Music Days Festival was dedicated to new and rediscovered music. Two World Premieres of works commissioned by the Kielce Philharmonic were presented—Figury na piasku [Figures Drawn on Sand] for flute quartet by Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil and Ideograms for Orchestraby Rafał Zapała, who is also the composer-in-residence for the current season of the Kielce Philharmonic—as well as a new work by Krzesimir Dębski.
The Gaude Mater International Festival of Sacred Music (April 20 - May 8) celebrated its 25th anniversary with the World Premiere of Missa pro Maria for soprano, bass, trombone, organ and mixed choir by Aldona Nawrocka, and the Polish Premiere of the Symphony No. 3 "Symphony of Angels" by Paweł Łukaszewski
The International Festival of Kraków Composers (formerly known as Days of Music by Kraków Composers) was held from April 18-26 and featured World Premieres by 16 Polish composers. See the full listing in the June 2015 Newsletter.
The 6th edition of the KODY [CODES]—the Festival of Traditional and Avant-garde Music—featured the Polish premiere of three works commissioned by the Festival by young Polish composers: Krzysztof WOŁEK – Błoto / Mud (2015), Jarosław SIWIŃSKI – Timecode (2015) and Artur ZAGAJEWSKI – Woodcuts (2015), performed by the US ensemble Bang on a Can on May 17.
On May 19, the National Philharmonic in Warsaw presented the concert “Zygmunt Krauze – A Composer Portrait,” highlighting the oeuvre of one of the most original Polish modern composers as well as that of two of his students: World Premieres by Wojciech Błażejczyk’s Muzyka strun and Marcin Stańczyk’s Posłuchy were also heard.
The first concert played by the Warsaw National Philharmonic in its hall, newly-reconstructed after war-time destruction, was given on Feb 21, 1955. The recording of this historic concert—now digitally re-mastered by Grammy Award winning sound engineers Aleksander Nagórko and Andrzej Sasin—was released on Warner Classics under the title Warsaw Philharmonic Archives: The 1st Concert 1955 on Feb 23 as part of Warner’s new series “Warsaw Philharmonic Archives”
Highlighting the brilliant pianistic fireworks of virtuoso Aleksander Dębicz on his debut album for Warner Classics, Cinematic Piano combines spontaneous energy and vitality with a pinch of nostalgia and filmic tension. This artist is distinguished by a unique touch that brings out the instrument’s light and transparent qualities, while simultaneously remaining clear and precise.
2015 brought two new releases of Polish music recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and their Permanent Associate Conductor Grzegorz Nowak: Kletzki, Szymanowski & Lutosławski: Music for Violin and Orchestra (RPO Records) and Ju-Young Baek Plays Penderecki and Szymanowski (RPO Records)
The new Opus Series on Requiem Records—debuted on April 11 at the POLIN Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw—will produce a series of recordings spanning a wide spectrum of works written for classical-style ensembles and acoustical instruments as well as works for live electronics, improvisations, and other pioneering genres. Curated by composer and organist Dariusz Przybylski, the Opus Series will present already established artists along with the artistic debuts.
On May 26, the US-based Warner Music Group (WMG) announced that its Polish subsidiary has finalized its acquisition of Polskie Nagrania 'MUZA', Poland’s longest-running record company. Polskie Nagrania was previously owned by the Polish government, which offered the label up for auction in January of this year after having declared bankruptcy in March 2010.
PMC IN POLAND AND GERMANY
In late November and early December, PMC Director Marek Zebrowski was in Poland and Germany, stopping in Warsaw, Pułtusk, Julin, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Kraków, Kąśna Dolna, Berlin and Gdańsk, to meet with a number of government officials and leaders of various civic organizations, as well as colleagues in music publishing, libraries, music schools and universities. Director Zebrowski’s visit was related to the PMC’s operations in Los Angeles as well as to the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and its Cultural Exchange Program, for which Zebrowski serves as Artistic Director.
The long round of appointments began with a meeting in Warsaw with Adam Bala (pictured at right with Marek Zebrowski), director of the Discovering Paderewski Festival in Lviv, Ukraine, and member of the board of Wspólnota Polska—an organization devoted to preserving links with the Polish diaspora around the world. Also present at the meeting was Katarzyna Renes, who provided expert insight into various grants and funding mechanisms that could assist with PMC’s annual operations budget. Later that day, another executive at Wspólnota Polska, Marek Różycki, joined in the meetings to discuss the potential sources of funding the publishing the Polish language version of Zebrowski’s Paderewski in California as well as the 2016 edition of the Exchange Program, when young pianists from the Tarnów region in Poland and Khmilnyk in the Ukraine will visit California.
Later, Mr. Bala had graciously taken Dir. Zebrowski to tour the Dom Polonii in the town of Pułtusk, located about 50 miles north of Warsaw. Dom Polonii occupies a carefully renovated mediaeval-era castle, picturesquely located on the banks of the River Narew. Standing at the end of a very long and narrow old town square, the castle offers luxurious and elegantly-appointed rooms and apartments with excellent local cuisine on display at several of the castle’s stylish dining halls (see photos here). Welcomed by its director, Mr. Jerzy Rosa (pictured at left), after an extensive tour of the building and grounds, the guests were treated to a veritable culinary feast of Polish delicacies. One of the salons upstairs is dedicated to Paderewski, who had visited the castle right after World War I. His bust graces a space that is an intimate concert venue, capable of seating about 100 guests. Cooperation with Wspólnota Polska, the hosts of this amazing place, may lead to a 2017 Exchange Program visit and concert on the premises.
Continuing on the Paderewski theme, Mr. Bala then drove Dir. Zebrowski to Julin, a property about 30 miles northeast of Warsaw that Ignacy Jan Paderewski acquired in 1919. That’s where Madame Helena Paderewska (pictured at right) founded a home for girls in and to this day, this elegant fin-de-siècle villa with extensive gardens serves as a home for orphaned youth. Krzysztof Fedorczyk, the Supervisor of the Węgrów District, welcomed Mr. Bala and Mr. Zebrowski with another delicious meal prepared especially for the visitors by the home’s staff. A tour of the property included a delightful visit with the kids who lived there and were happily working on painting and decorating heaps of Christmas ornaments. With time, Julin’s facilities may be turned into a local cultural center and possibly be linked to future Exchange Program calendar of visits and performances.
Leaving the Paderewski-themed visits aside for a few days, the next place to visit was Gorzów Wielkopolski, a mid-sized town located between Poznań and Szczecin in northwestern Poland. For a few years now Gorzów’s Philharmonic Hall has been a shining example of modern architecture that combines excellent design with superb acoustics and ample facilities for the resident orchestra and visiting musicians.
About two years ago, Monika Wolińska, the Gorzów Philharmonic’s Artistic Director, suggested cooperation with the Polish Music Center on re-orchestrating film scores by Bronisław Kaper that form the core of PMC’s Kaper Collection. Selections from Kaper’s features, including Green Mansions, The Stranger, The Glass Slipper, Tobruk, The Way West and Lili (for which Kaper received the Academy Award), were sent to Krzesimir Dębski for re-orchestration based on Kaper’s original indications notated in the so-called short scores, which are held in the Center’s Collection. This project eventually added film music by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek—the other Polish Oscar winning composer—and the November 29 concert in Gorzów presented the music by both composers as well as promoted the superb recording of film cues by Kaper and Kaczmarek, performed by Monika Wolińska and her young and excellent orchestra. Krzesimir Dębski and Marek Zebrowski provided commentary during the entire concert, giving insights on the film music in general and this project in particular. Kaper’s works, which filled the second half of the concert, elicited an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end and Maestra Wolińska was more than happy to oblige with an encore presentation of her favorite cue from The Way West. Immediately after the concert, the spacious lobby of the Philharmonic was filled the audience who rushed en masse to purchase the beautifully-produced CD featuring music by Kaczmarek and Kaper, released on Warner Music Poland.
With the successful conclusion of the Gorzów Philharmonic project, it was time to take a long trek across Poland—from Gorzów in the northwest to Kąśna Dolna in the southeast–to meet with an enthusiastic Exchange Program supporter, Mr. Dawid Niedbała. Dir. Zebrowski’s few days in Kąśna Dolna were ably organized by Mr. Niedbała jointly with the new director of the Paderewski manor house, Łukasz Gaj, and director of the Domosławice Music School, Kazimierz Wojnicki. During two long days of piano workshops, about two dozen students had a chance to present their repertoire and work on refining its delivery for a student recital that closed Dir. Zebrowski’s productive and intensive visit in Paderewski’s former home. With a firm declaration of cooperation from the director and faculty of the Domosławice Music School and a happy consent from the new director of the Kąśna Dolna manor house, future workshops and the Exchange Program that was established in 2009 are scheduled to continue with the financial support of supervisors in three southeastern provinces of Poland—Tarnów, Brzesko, and Nowy Sącz.
As soon as the piano workshops were over, Dir. Wojnicki arranged for meetings at the European Penderecki Music Centre in Lusławice and Dębno Castle—both locations within an easy drive from the manor at Kąśna Dolna. Alfred Wolanin (pictured above, right), the administrative manager, gave a thorough and fascinating tour of the Penderecki Center with its incredible facilities that include two excellent Steinway concert grands, great performing spaces (the Main Auditorium with its superb acoustics and the smaller chamber-sized concert venue), as well as practice rooms and lodging space for visiting artists. This is another prestigious location for future Exchange Program concerts organized jointly by the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and its partners in Poland.
The next stop on the journey from Kąśna to Kraków was Dębno Castle. Dating from 1480, this picturesque Gothic structure is a pristine example of a mediaeval knight’s residence. Its beautifully authentic interiors now serve as a branch of Tarnów Regional Museum and feature numerous examples of interior furnishings, armor, and other household items spanning the long history of this stunning place. The great surprise of a lovely tour—given by the enthusiastic and erudite curator of the place—was that the Knights’ Hall on the Castle’s piano nobile has an excellent 1880s Knabe concert grand in ideal condition (pictured above), so Exchange Program concerts there are certainly on the “must-do” list for the summer of 2017!
Kraków—Poland’s first capital—is only a half-an-hour drive west from Dębno and the Kraków Music Academy was the next stop on Dir. Zebrowski’s itinerary. Cooperating with Marek Szlezer and Jan Kalinowski—members of the Cracow Duo and faculty members at the Music Academy —Zebrowski gave two days of master classes for a large group of piano students from all over Europe currently studying at the Academy. A sizeable group of other students as well as few professors from Kraków and Katowice Music Academies were in the audience for this event.
The next two meetings were in Berlin with Frank Harders-Wuthenow, Promotion Executive at Boosey & Hawkes/Bote & Bock Publishers in Berlin. His energetic promotion of music by Polish composers in print, concert support, recordings, and organizing events accompanying presentation of Polish music all across Europe perfectly dovetails to our Polish Music Center mission. Possibilities of promoting Józef Koffler (and the PMC publication about him) in conjunction with concerts of Koffler’s music in the spring of 2016, as well as joint projects on Henryk Wars [Henry Vars], Roman Ryterband, and other, lesser-known names in Polish music were discussed. After receiving a large sample of materials from the Polish Music Center—concert programs, recordings and other information—Mr. Harders enthusiastically opined that, “I hope we can collaborate on many projects and try to create a strong LA-Berlin axis to promote Polish music in the future!”
Gdańsk was next on Dir. Zebrowski’s itinerary. The most important meeting was with Dr. Monika Płuciennik (pictured above) at the Gdańsk branch of the National Archives. During her PMC residency in June of 2014, Dr. Płuciennik initiated the long overdue process of cataloging the PMC’s Kaper and Wars Collections. Next in the professional exchange sponsored by the National Archives, PMC Assistant Director Krysta Close spent four weeks of last summer in Gdańsk, learning the latest techniques for archiving manuscripts and collections. Dir. Zebrowski also met with the Gdańsk Music Academy Head Librarian, Anna Michalska, to discuss ways of processing and cataloguing materials that are continuously donated to the Polish Music Center. Lastly, there were meetings with Liliana Górska, faculty at the Gdańsk Music Academy, and the NEO Quartet, following on the concerts jointly given by the Quartet and Mr. Zebrowski at the 15th Festival International de Musique en Catalogne in Céret, France, last August.
Back in Warsaw, Mr. Zebrowski met with the PMC’s partners at the National Archives—Director Andrzej Biernat, Katarzyna Kiliszek (representing the Department for International Cooperation) and Anna Krochmal, Head of the Department for International Cooperation. Also present at the meeting was Robert Górski, the intrepid archivist from Warsaw who spent six weeks last fall at PMC cataloguing photographs from our Paderewski/Paso Robles Collection. Following wide-ranging discussions plans were made for continuing our cooperation and inviting Mr. Górski to Los Angeles later this year.
Finally, just before leaving for Los Angeles, Dir. Zebrowski had a chance to meet with the Secretary of State at Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan Dziedziczak. This was by far the most important opportunity to present to the highest levels of Polish government the scope of the Polish Music Center’s activities in promoting Polish music, the legacy of Paderewski, and the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles with its unique international Cultural Exchange Program. As a follow-up, a package of programs from PMC concerts and Paderewski Festivals were sent to Secretary Dziedziczak’s office.
As 2016 is just beginning, all of us here at the PMC are looking forward to continued progress on all of the projects and issues that were discussed and put in motion through our joint efforts during the past year. News of it will be, as always, shared on these pages with our dear readers and supporters.
The month of December encourages world-wide a Holiday spirit of gift-giving, and this year especially the Polish Music Center found itself on the receiving end of many wonderful gifts and donations from our friends across the globe.
Teresa Chylińska—the world’s leading expert on Szymanowski anda great friend of PMC—donated two important publications to us recently. The first is a booklet of the Kraków Opera production of Szymanowski’s Król Roger, which was premiered in Kraków in mid-November 2015 with Mariusz Kwiecień in the main role and the Kraków Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet led by Łukasz Borowicz. Teresa Chylińska’s extensive notes in Polish and English will certainly be very useful to all our patrons interested in researching Szymanowski’s celebrated opera. Also from Teresa Chylińska we received a new Ashgate publication, The Szymanowski Companion, edited by Paul Cadrin and Stephen Downes. This handsome presentation includes a number of essays by Chylińska including, among others, on Szymanowski’s correspondence, family, genealogy, education, politics, patriotism, patrons, and linguistic abilities. With essays by other Szymanowski experts—Paul Cadrin, Stephen Downes, Zofia Helman, Didier van Moere, Andrzej Tuchowski and Alistair Wightman, The Szymanowski Companion is an excellent addition to our expanding reference library.
Another valuable gift we received in December is a book by Elżbieta Jasińska-Jędrosz, Rękopisy Muzyczne w zbiorach archiwum kompozytorów polskich Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie[Musical Manuscripts in the Collection of Polish Composers’ Archive at the Warsaw University Library]. Covering entries from A-Ł—beginning with Henryk Konrad Adamus (1880-1950) to Wojciech Łukaszewski (1936-1978)—this is only the first volume of a much needed comprehensive listing with short descriptions of manuscripts held at the Warsaw University Library. With Polish and English introduction as well as illustrations of selected manuscripts at the end of this volume, one can hope that Volume II of this great resource is already in the works and will be published very soon. This particular volume comes with a handwritten dedication from the author to the Polish Music Center!
Director of the National Chopin Institute Library, Dr. Mariusz Wrona, presented Dir. Zebrowski with two beautiful publications—Adam Kaczkowski’s album of photographic portraits of Żelazowa Wola, Chopin’s birthplace with English and Polish texts and Irena Poniatowska’s Fryderyk Chopin—człowiek i jego muzyka[Fryderyk Chopin—the Man and His Music], also in a bilingual edition. Both books were published by Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina and were presented to Dir. Zebrowski during his visit in Warsaw with Dr. Artur Szklener, Director of the Chopin National Institute in Warsaw.
Krzysztof Fedorczyk, Supervisor of the Węgrów District just east of Warsaw, donated two very interesting books to our library during Dir. Zebrowski’s visit in Poland in December. The first, Paderewscy w Julinie [The Paderewskis in Julin] chronicles the little-known history of a property bought by Paderewski in late December 1919, which Helena Paderewska promptly turned into a school for orphaned girls. To this day this property serves as a well-run home for children and an educational center. The other book Supervisor Fedorczyk gave to the Polish Music Center, Powiat Węgrowski—Kraina znad Liwca [The County of Węgrów—Lands along the River Liwiec] gives the history of the county with its many points of interest, including the villa in Julin once owned by the Paderewskis.
Following a nice lunch in Warsaw with author Piotr Witt and his wife, Maria, the Polish Music Center library gained two titles linked to Chopin’s debut in Paris. Piotr Witt’s lavishly illustrated Ambassade de Pologne—Hôtel de Monaco provides the fascinating history of the opulent palace where Chopin’s incomparable artistry was first noticed in Paris on 30 December 1832. Further details of this concert—and the exhaustively-researched background of Chopin’s first months in Paris are the subject of Piotr Witt’s gripping tome, Przedpiekle sławy [The Fame’s Antechamber of Hell] that also joins the PMC library.
Betty Harford Naszódy, a dedicated long-time friend and supporter of PMC, has been on the lookout for all kinds of items related to Paderewski. Her latest and most welcome gift is two issues of The Etude Magazine, featuring extensive articles about the great Polish pianist and statesman. The first is the July 1939 issue, that came on the heels of Paderewski’s last U.S. tour and the article by B. Meredith Cadman is a review of Paderewski’s Memoirs. The August 1948 Etude features an article, “Paderewski—Pianist and Patriot” by Antoni Gronowicz. These two historical periodicals will augment our Paso Robles Collection that contains many rare Paderewski photos, documents, and personal memorabilia.
Another great PMC friend and supporter, Dr. Ewa Muchnick continues to furnish us with rare materials relating to two of her close friends and film music composers, Henryk Wars [Henry Vars] and Bronisław Kaper (above). Searching her attic recently, Dr. Muchnick found some old cassettes and VHS tapes. The cassette has Dr. Muchnick’s mother’s writing, “The Film Music of Bronislaw Kaper” and because of its fragile state, we have not yet ascertained what music was recorded on this tape. As far as the VHS tapes, Dr. Muchnick provided us with a DVD transfer copies. The first tape, “Henryk Wars w Polsce” is a TV broadcast featuring Wars’s greatest hits performed by leading Polish actors and singers as well as a 6-minute interview with Henryk Wars himself, conducted by Lucjan Kydryński during the composer’s visit in Poland in 1967. The other DVD is from Piwnica pod Baranami—a well-known Kraków cabaret venue that presents a show of Wars tunes, showcasing local artists. These items will join the Kaper and Wars Collections at PMC, aiding in recent resurgence of interest in music by these two great Polish film composers.
Speaking of Bronisław Kaper…the Gorzów Philharmonic and its dynamic young conductor, Monika Wolińska presented us with a beautifully produced and splendidly performed recording produced by Warner Records of film music by Mr. Kaper, in new re-orchestrations by Krzesimir Dębski as performed at the Nov. 29 concert in Gorzów alongside film music by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek. Monika Wolińska’s gift to PMC also includes 3 copies of the concert program booklet.
From Monika Strugała, our friend at the National Chopin Institute in Warsaw, we received the CD The Best of Chopin: The Real Chopin (NIFCCD 099) and from Maestro Krzesimir Dębski two of his most recent recordings of Violin and Saxophone concertos (PRCD 1943 & PRCD 1855-1856).
Composer Paweł Łukaszewski generously provided us in December with 2 CDs and 2 DVDs, including his Musica Sacra 5 (DUX 1135) and Prayer (DUX 0779) as well as Musica Celestis-2016 (MSE 045) and Symphony of Providence (DUX 8152).
Dr. Monika Płuciennik from the Gdańsk Branch of the National Archives provided us with a recent publication on the half century of Society of Polish Archivists in Gdańsk that she authored. Jan Topolski’s gift to the PMC included a copy of the latest issue of Glissando Magazine (#27/2015) with a CD attached. Professor Joanna Domańska, a pianist on the faculty of the Katowice Music Academy, gave Dir. Zebrowski 2 CDs featuring her performances of Karol Szymanowski (DUX 0576) as well as a disc of works by Dobrzyński, Kilar and Lessel (DUX 0857).
We also received a copy of Benjamin Schultz’s book, Singing in Polish: A Guide to Polish Lyric Diction and Vocal Repertoire, courtesy of Roman & Littlefield Publishing Group. This donation is in recognition of the PMC’s role in supporting Mr. Schultz's extensive research for this useful publication.
The Portuguese language translation of Henryk Opieński’s book about his friend, Vida de Paderewski, is a gift from Lars Hoefs, a dedicated PMC friend, virtuoso musician, and tireless ambassador for Polish music, most recently in Brazil, where he is on the faculty of Universidade Estadual de Campinas. This volume proves that interest in Paderewski’s life was still fresh in Brazil, where he performed on his South American tour in 1911.
Finally, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, Mariusz Brymora, donated to us a recently-issued CD recording of Włodek Pawlik’s Trio album, America (Fonografika, May 2015). With bassist Paweł Pańta, drummer Cezary Konrad and guest cello solo by Łukasz Pawlik, this album follows Mr. Pawlik’s triumph last year with Grammy Award for his Night in Calisia, a large ensemble jazz album recorded with Randy Becker and Kalisz Philharmonic Orchestra.
As always, great thanks to our generous friends and donors—Dziekujemy!
VILLA-LOBOS FESTIVAL FEATURES ZEBROWSKI
From January 13 to February 13, 2016, the 2nd annual Villa-Lobos International Chamber Music Festival will be held in Southern California. Twelve concerts celebrating Villa-Lobos and other Latin American composers with emphasis on Ginastera this year in honor of his 100th birthday, will take place in Riverside, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Temecula, and Encinitas. One of the highlights of this inclusive Festival will be the second ever screening of a 2015 short animated film by David Lynch, Pożar [Fire], with a live performance of the string quartet Music for David written by PMC Director Marek Zebrowski as accompaniment to the film. This film and string quartet were premiered at the Polish Music Center’s event “Measures & Frames” at USC on March 22, 2015 (pictured above).
The screening and concert will take place during a program entitled “Ginastera at 100, Part II – Music and Film” on January 22 at 7:00 pm, held in the Culver Center of the Arts in Riverside, CA.
[Sources: villalobosfestival.com, facebook.com]
POLISH PREMIERES AT DISNEY HALL
On January 19, the LA Phil New Music Group presents a program of premieres entitled "Contemporary Poland" at Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Led by maestro Łukasz Borowicz, the ensemble will be joined by soloists Burt Hara, clarinet and Agata Zubel, soprano. The 8:00 p.m. concert will be preceded by Upbeat Live, a pre-concert talk with composer and USC faculty member Veronika Krausas, at 7:00 p.m.
As a part of the renowned Green Umbrella series, the beating heart of a vibrant Poland will resound through Disney Hall in a program of works by five visionary composers, from Krzysztof Penderecki to Agata Zubel, who will sing the world premiere of her own Chapter 13 for soprano and ensemble. The text to this 9-minute piece comes from the 13th chapter of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Also, the LA Phil's own Burt Hara plays the haunted, lyrical and thoroughly virtuoso Sinfonietta that Penderecki arranged from his popular Quartet for clarinet and string trio.
This event is supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music Program, in partnership with Polish Music Editions (PWM) and the Polish Music Center at USC’s Thornton School of Music.
LUTOSŁAWSKI PREMIERE AT ‘CHAIN VIII’ FESTIVAL
The Witold Lutosławski Festival "Chain XIII" will be held from January 31 - February 13, 2016 in the concert halls of the National Philharmonic and Polish Radio Lutosławski Studio in Warsaw. Under the theme of “the musical friendships of Witold Lutosławski,” the Festival will be presented in five symphonic and chamber music programs, featuring great musicians from Poland and abroad and celebrating the important anniversaries of two great Polish maestros: Jan Krenz and Jerzy Maksymiuk.
On Sunday January 31, the French virtuoso Gautier Capuçon and the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Liebreich will open the festival, performing Lutosławski's Cello Concerto and Henri Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain..., as well as works by Jan Krenz and Luigi Dallapiccola. The performance of maestro Krenz’s Capriccio per 24 strumenti at the inaugural concert of the Festival, as well as his Symphony No. 3 during the closing concert, will celebrate the 90th birthday of this great Polish conductor (pictured below).
A week later on February 6, the World Premiere of Lutosławski’s Interludes for oboe and bassoon, which the composer worked on throughout the war, will be presented by a stellar group of chamber musicians from Warsaw: Sebastian Aleksandrowicz – oboe, Julian Paprocki – clarinet, Artur Kasperek – bassoon, Aleksandra Kwiatkowska – violin, Karol Marianowski – cello, and Maciej Grzybowski – piano. They will also present the legendary, although rarely performed, Quintet of Constantine Regamey, and works by Włodzimierz Kotoński and Béla Bartók.
The next day, the Chamber Orchestra of Tychy ‘AUKSO’ and conductor Marek Moś will be joined by Maciej Kułakowski – the winner of the first prize (ex aequo) at the last Witold Lutosławski Cello Competition. They will present compositions patron of the festival, as well as the Cello Concerto of Lutosławski's cabaret colleague, Andrzej Panufnik, and works by Béla Bartók.
On February 11 members of the Chain Ensemble will perform string sextets by Panufnik and Brahms, as well as festival patron miniatures based on themes of folk. The Chain Ensemble is comprised of Krzysztof Bąkowski – violin, Anna Kwiatkowska – violin, Artur Rozmysłowicz – viola, Paweł Czarny – viola, Krystyna Wiśniewska – cello, and Andrzej Bauer – cello, conductor.
The final concert will feature the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra with violinist Jakub Jakowicz, performing Witold Lutosławski’s Chain II and Symphony No. 3, and the Third Symphony of Jan Krenz. The concert will be conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk, in celebration of the maestro’s 80th birthday.
INCREASED CULTURAL SPENDING ANNOUNCED FOR 2016
Poland’s Deputy Minister of Culture, Jarosław Sellin (pictured at right), has announced that overall spending on culture will increase by 9.5% in 2016, relative to spending levels for similar projects in 2015. Some more details about these spending increases include: art education by 5%, university art education by 5.5%, culture and protection of cultural heritage by 13.5%, cultural heritage sites by 50%, and the ‘Patriotism for tomorrow’ program by 100%.
Read more about the announcement at www.thenews.pl.
KWIECIEŃ SOARING AT THE MET
Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecień is having great success in his current lead role in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Georges Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles [The Pearl Fishers], produced by Penny Woolcock. According to culture.pl, the opera will be broadcast in HD in Poland on January 16 in selected venues, including Kino Praha and Teatr Studio in Warsaw, CK Zamek in Poznań and the Łódź Philharmonic.
In a review for the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini wrote:
URBAŃSKI SF SYMPHONY DEBUT
Krzysztof Urbański is in the fifth season of his tenure as Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The highly-regarded international conductor and artistic leader has worked with over 20 different orchestras throughout his career thus far. This month, audiences will be able to enjoy two splendid orchestral masterpeices that will be brought to life by Urbański and the San Francisco Symphony: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World. The concert will also feature Grammy Award winner and classic pianist, Emanuel Ax, who will be performing with the orchestra.
ORPHÉE ENCORE AT WARSAW CHAMBER OPERA
After its successful premiere in December 2015, the critically acclaimed opera Orphée by Polish composer Dariusz Przybylski and Latvian artist Margo Zālīte will take the stage of the Warsaw Chamber Opera once again in 2016. The production is centered upon the tragic yet enchanting tale of Orpheus, an ancient Greek hero endowed with superhuman musical skills, who travels to the underworld to save his beloved, Eurydice. Przrybylski’s and Zālīte’s innovative interpretation of the Greek myth and its protagonists are portrayed by various soloists, the proMODERN ensemble, the vocal ensemble of the Warsaw Chamber Opera, and the Warsaw Chamber Opera Sinfonietta, under the musical direction of Maja Metelska.
KAROLINA BRINGS MORE 'HOPE'
On December 27, vocalist and violist KaroliNa (Karolina Naziemiec) held a successful release party for her new album, Songs of Hope, at Vitello’s Italian Restaurant in Los Angeles. That evening, KaroliNa was on 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.
Earlier in the month, KaroliNa was interviewed by Bożena U. Zaremba for the Dec. 06 2015 edition of Przegląd Polski. Entitled “Hope Still Needed,” the English version of the interview can be found here and the Polish version can be found on www.dziennik.com.
[Source: press release]
ADAM DIDUR COMMEMORATION CONCERT
Though the Silesian Opera was first established in 1901, the establishment enjoyed its first successes in 1945 with the premiere of Moniuszko’s opera Halka, the first post-war opera performance in Poland. Under the direction of the famous opera singer, Adam Didur, the Silesian Opera gained the reputation of a major opera stage for outstanding artists and ensembles in Poland under his direction. In honor of the 70th anniversary of Didur’s death, a concert dedicated to the first director of the Silesian Opera was held on January 9 in the concert hall. The program included various operas, operettas, and musical performances by Cezary Biesiadecki, Stanisław Duda, Bogdan Kurowski, Wojciech Paczyński, Aleksander Teliga, and Romuald Tesarowicz – who first debuted at the theatre, among others.
CHOPIN & THE UNIVERSITY OF WARSAW
A series of five concerts will be performed at the University of Warsaw starting January 6. The university campus is a significant place in relation to Fryderyk Chopin’s life: he was not only an alumnus of the Music School, but also faculty in the Fine Arts and Sciences department. Moreover, in 1817 his family took residence in the rector house for ten years.
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the facility, the first Chopin Concert will be performed by American pianist Eugen Indjic, prize-winner of many international competitions, including the 8th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, the Leeds International Piano Competition and 2nd prize in the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv. Indjic will perform Chopin’s Mazurka in F minor, D flat minor, and C sharp minor along with pieces by Schumann and Beethoven. The next cycle of concerts will take place in the following months, featuring Markus Groh (Germany), Ingolf Wunder (Austria), Daniil Trifonov (Russia), and Benjamin Grosvenor (United Kingdom).
DUCZMAL BIRTHDAY CONCERT
Polish conductor Agnieszka Duczmal will be celebrating her 70th birthday this year. Duzcmal has won many prestigious awards and honors, including National Competition for Conductors in Katowice, the Silver Medal of Herbert von Karajan at the International Meeting of Young Orchestras, and the title of "La donna del mondo" awarded by the International Cultural Centre. She has also made a vast number of recordings for Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio and Television and the “Amadeus” Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio as well as the BBC in London, the CBC in Montreal, and other radio and television recordings in Germany, Belgium, Mexico and Japan. The concert program consists of Fryderyk Chopin’s Piano Concerto in F minor, Op. 21 No. 2, Bedřich Smetana’s String Quartet in E minor No. 1 "From My Life" and Bogusław Schaeffer’s Kesukaan I.
BALTIC PHIL ON US TOUR
On January 13, 2016, the Baltic Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra [Orkiestra Polskiej Filharmonii Bałtyckiej] begins a concert tour of the US that will include 43 concerts in the most prestigious venues in 18 states. The longest concert tour in the orchestra’s history, it will continue until March 20, 2016. The program features Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor by Fryderyk Chopin and Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor by Henryk Wieniawski, as well as some of the finest works written by Richard Wagner, Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov.
The orchestra will be accompanied by violinist Jarosław Nadrzycki, winner of many prestigious international violin competitions, and pianist Marcin Koziak, semi-finalist and winner of three prizes at the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (2010).
Photos documenting the tour will be available at the Orchestra’s FB profile: www.facebook.com/filharmonia.
KAROL SZYMANOWSKI FOUNDATION AWARDS
On January 9, 2016, opera singer Mariusz Kwiecień (left) and musicologist Alistair Wightman received the 2015 Karol Szymanowski Foundation Annual Award. The jury members (Teresa Chylińska, Agnieszka Chwiłek, Zofia Helman (chairperson), Witold Karol Juchniewicz, Eugeniusz Knapik and Zdzisław Szakiewicz) awarded Kwiecień in recognition of his interpretation of the role of Król Roger [King Roger] and promoting Karol Szymanowski’s opera worldwide, whereas Alistair Wightman received the award for his publications and studies on Karol Szymanowski's compositions.
The Foundation was established in 1996. In previous years the award was given to: musicologist Teresa Chylińska, violinist Wanda Wiłkomirska, pianist Jerzy Godziszewski, singer Stefania Woytowicz, conductor Simon Rattle, pianist Piotr Anderszewski, director Mariusz Treliński, musicologist Zofia Helman, conductor Jerzy Katlewicz, conductor Jan Krenz, musicologist Elżbieta Markowska, singer Zofia Kilanowicz, pianist and musicologist Reilnild Mees, Szymanowski Quartet, singer Urszula Kryger, curator of ”Atma” – Karol Szymanowski Museum – Maciej Pinkwart, director Józef Opalski, director Wojciech Graniczewski, violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann, conductor Antoni Wit, musicologist Didier van Moere, composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, singer Elżbieta Szmytka, conductor Valery Gergiev, musicologist Edward Boniecki.
BACEWICZ INT’L VIOLIN COMPETITION: Ist EDITION
The first Grażyna Bacewicz International Violin Competition was held in Łódź from December 9-13, 2015. The Competition was open to violinists of all nationalities with no age limit. The following prizes were awarded:
The winners also received special prizes funded by Penderecki European Music Centre (half-recitals during the ‘Emanacje’ Festival). Sławomira Wilga also won two additional awards: financial prize funded by Rector of the Academy of Music in Łódź and a high quality bow funded by Marcin Mazur Violin Maker Workshop.
Diplomas for outstanding pianists were awarded to: Michał Francuz, Hanna Holeksa, Wojciech Kubica, Marcin Sikorski, Krzysztof Stanienda, and Wojciech Wołoszyn.
SECOND INTERNATIONAL SZYMANOWSKI CONTEST FOR COMPOSERS
The Second International Karol Szymanowski Competition for Composers in Katowice concluded on December 10 with the announcement of the winning work, Snowise, snowhere, snoway. Snowsence by Daniele Gasparini of Italy. This year’s Szymanowski Competition specified a 10-20-minute long work for large symphony orchestra. The Competition jury, including Eugeniusz Knapik, Krzysztof Meyer, Rafał Augustyn and Sławomir Czarnecki, reviewed 139 compositions sent in from 35 countries.
The Second Prize was awarded to South Korean composer Hyunsuk Jun for Vistara, and the Third Prize went to the American composer Jonathan Posthuma for Strings of Pearls. Polish composer, Andrzej Karałow received an Honorable Mention for his work Multicolour Horizon.
All of the prize-winning works will be performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio (NOSPR) in Katowice, the Szymanowski Philharmonic in Kraków, and the Karol Szymanowski Academic Symphony Orchestra in Katowice during the 2016-2017 concert season.
The First International Karol Szymanowski Competition for Composers was held in Katowice in 2012 to commemorate the 130th anniversary of Szymanowski’s birth. 176 works by composers from 36 countries across the world were submitted on that occasion with the Spanish composer’s Oscar Prados Sillero, Chant des nuages du soir, winning the top honors. Karol Szymanowski Music Society and the Katowice Music Academy jointly organize this Competition.
[Source: email from Prof. Joanna Domańska, President of the Szymanowski Society]
NONESUCH GÓRECKI RETROSPECTIVE
Henryk Górecki: A Nonesuch Retrospective
After several delays, Nonesuch Records will finally release the a 7-disc retrospective featuring late Henryk Górecki’s final composition, Symphony No. 4, Tansman Episodes, on January 22, 2016. The recording was made during the 2014 world premiere performance at Royal Festival Hall with co-commissioner London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrey Boreyko. The piece, which pays homage to Górecki’s fellow Polish composer Aleksander Tansman, was incomplete at the time of Górecki’s 2010 death and thus missed its previously scheduled premiere. However the score had precise indications for orchestration, which Górecki’s son Mikołaj, also a composer, used to complete it. The Daily Telegraph said the piece "caps Górecki's reputation as an orchestral composer, but it also contains some surprises. The music … features some brutal juxtapositions of massively powerful music with slow, intimate passages for solo instruments, including prominent parts for piano and organ."
Symphony No. 4 will be released individually and as part of Henryk Górecki: A Nonesuch Retrospective, a seven-disc box set containing all Nonesuch recordings of Górecki works—Lerchenmusik; Symphony No. 3; String Quartets Nos. 1, 2, and 3; Miserere; Kleines Requiem für eine Polka; Harpsichord Concerto; and Good Night. The first vinyl LP of the beloved 1992 Nonesuch recording of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 also will be released on October 16. Pre-orders of all of these releases are available in the Nonesuch Store.
MARTHA ARGERICH: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS ON DG
Martha Argerich: The Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
MAKSYMIUK AT 80 CELEBRATED ON WARNER MUSIC
Maksymiuk | Sinfonia Varsovia
The new album ‘MAKSYMIUK | Sinfonia Varsovia’ records the history of an unusual artistic friendship written down in music. It displays the quintessence of the style and repertoire of the charismatic Maestro on his 80th birthday and his beloved orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, whose international renown he helped create and to which he is strongly attached to this day.
SINFONIA VIVA – POLISH MUSIC
Sinfonia Viva – “Polish Music”
The Sinfonia Viva Orchestra adds a new album to their extensive collection of recordings in honor of the orchestra’s 17th anniversary. This British virtuoso ensemble was founded in 1982 and has since become a leader in creative musical experiences around the world. The organization has fostered enriching collaborative environments for all ages in the UK through education and outreach programs. Sinfonia Viva has also participated in many music festivals and has even hosted the Association of British Orchestra’s national conference in 2012. ,
MEYER & MOSZKOWSKI ON NAXOS
MEYER, K.: Instrumental Music
This recording presents chamber music by Krzysztof Meyer (b. 1943) composed over a 30-year period and for a variety of instrumental combinations. The lyrical Canzona, the bravura cello solo Moment musical and the atmospheric Misterioso are all miniatures, the latter a competition test piece demanding expressive melodic shaping and delicate sustained harmonics. The substantial Piano Trio develops over recurring motifs, taking flight through striking contrasts over a tonal center of C. The Imaginary Variations suggest Classical form through constant change, with piano and violin interacting in a rich interplay of layers, rhythms and imitation.
The Poznań Piano Trio was formed on the basis of prior cooperation among three Poznań-based women instrumentalists of the rising generation, and a successful recital debut in Carnegie Hall in NYC in October 2002 by two of its members. The pianist Laura Sobolewska is an Associate Professor at the I. J. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań, a versatile artist and a valued chamber musician who collaborates with renowned soloists. The violinist Anna Ziółkowska gives solo concerts and performs with the T. Szeligowski Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra as the concertmaster. The cellist Monika Baranowska also collaborates with the T. Szeligowski Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra – previously she used to performed with the Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra Amadeus.
MOSZKOWSKI, M.: Violin and Piano Works
Moritz Moszkowski has been hailed as the Chopin of the 19th century for his exquisite compositions. Before developing a nervous condition in his thirties, he earned international recognition for being a talented violinist, conductor and composer. Moszkowski’s success continued to grow through his countless arrangements for ensembles and solo instruments despite his troubles. This new Naxos album consists of light piano and violin compositions performed by renowned pianist Daniel Grimwood and violin virtuoso Mazrin Rashidova, who plays both violin parts in Suite for 2 Violins. In addition, it concludes with various encore arrangements by dual violinists and composers, including Jascha Heifetz, Fabian Rehfeld, Pablo de Sarasate and Emile Sauret.
[Sources: newsletter, naxos.com]
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Los Angeles Philharmonic, Karolina Naziemiec, 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
Published by Krysta Close, January 23, 2016.
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