|Polish Music Newsletter|
2017 - YEAR IN REVIEW, PT. 1
(January - June, 2017)
UNESCO proclaimed the year of 2017 as "Year of Kosciuszko" honoring the bicentennial of his passing in 1817. General Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1746-1817) was a national hero in Poland and the US, a freedom fighter and military leader, and an ardent advocate for the rights of European serfs, African Slaves, Native American Indians, Jews, women and all other disenfranchised social groups on two continents.
2017 also marked the centenary of the Polish avant-garde movement, which was celebrated with concerts, exhibits and conferences around the world.
The 140th birth anniversary of Polish composer, conductor, organist and teacher Feliks Nowowiejski (February 7, 1877 – January 18, 1946) was celebrated in 2017, particularly by the Feliks Nowowiejski Society in Poznań that organized a series of events throughout Poland.
The Karol Szymanowski Music Society celebrated its 40th anniversary in March with the “Evenings with music by Karol Szymanowski” Festival.
The international conference “Homage to Aleksander Tansman (1897-1986)” was held from March 13-14, devoted to the 120th birth anniversary of composer Aleksander Tansman and organized by Lipiński Music Academy in Wrocław.
A special concert celebrating composer Zbigniew Bargielski's 80th birthday and composer/conductor Wojciech Michniewski's 70th birthday was held on Mach 26 at the Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz with soloists Magdalena Mórawska (soprano), Justyna Gęsicka (alto), Krzysztof Zimny (tenor), Łukasz Jakubczak (bass), Krzysztof Książek (piano), Agata Kruszewska (percussion) and the Choir and Symphony Orchestra of the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, under the baton of Wojciech Michniewski.
During the 59th edition of the Grammy Awards (February 12), Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki and the Choir and Orchestra of the Warsaw Philharmonic (Henryk Wojnarowski – choir director) won the "Choral Music" category for the album "Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, Vol. 1.” The first of a planned series of studio recordings with the Philharmonic for Warner Records, the album features soloists Johanna Rusanen – soprano, Agnieszka Rehlis – mezzo-soprano, and Nikolay Didenko – bass.
On April 23, the Polish Authors’ rights society (ZAiKS) recognized many artists as chosen by their peers the ZAiKS Award. Laureats working in the musical field included Piotr Bakal, Zbigniew Krajewski, Zbigniew Kozub, Henryk Kuźniak, Zbigniew Namysłowski and Krzysztof Sadowski.
On April 24, the 23rd annual ‘Fryderyk’ Awards for the ‘Classical Music’ category were presented by Związek Producentów Audio Video (ZPAV). The Golden Fryderyk Award for Classical Music was awarded to Piotr Paleczny for his outstanding artistic accomplishments. Other top award winners were the Silesian Quartet (Grażyna Bacewicz: Complete String Quartets, Chandos 10904), composer Paweł Łukaszewski (Polish Psalms of the 20th and 21st Century, Witold Lutosławski NFM / CD Accord 221; Musica Profana I, DUX 1276; and IV Symfonia – Symfonia o Bożym Miłosierdziu, Musica Sacra Edition MSE 048) and violinist Janusz Wawrowski (Sequenza feat. Bacewicz, Penderecki, Opałka and Przybylski, Warner Music Poland).
During the International Opera Awards 2017, sponsored by Mazars in association with BBC Radio 3 and Opera Magazine, Polish conductor Grzegorz Nowak and the Teatr Wielki / Polish National Opera won the “Rediscovered Work” award for their revival of Żeleński's Goplana.
On May 19 in Palermo, Brut for 11 instruments (2014) by Polish composer Artur Zagajewski (b. 1978) was one of two compositions selected for the prestigious 64th International Rostrum of Composers (IRC) in the “General” category. In the “Under 30” category, L’Atelier de sensorité by Szymon Stanisław Strzelec, was also awarded a “recommended” designation.
Polish pianist Szymon Nehring won the first prize at the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv, one of the most prestigious competitions for young pianists (ages 18-32).
The Polish Academy of Sciences hosted its 1st Musicological Conference "Creators - Sources - Archives" on January 25-26 in Warsaw, organized in the “Polish Music Abroad” cycle of conferences devoted to Polish musicians who live(d) abroad and whose output is kept in foreign libraries and archives.
Sydney Opera House presented Król Roger by Karol Symanowski from January 20 – February 15 in a co-production with the Royal Opera House in London presented in collaboration with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music program. Performances were sung in Polish with English surtitles. (above)
On January 22, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) in Katowice presented a monographic concert of songs and film music by Zygmunt Konieczny, under the baton of Paweł Przytocki. The composer’s most popular movie themes were interpreted by NOSPR plus soprano Agata Zubel, cellist Andrzej Bauer, pianist Bartek Wąsik, and electronic instrumentalist Cezary Duchnowski.
In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on January 25 the Whizin Center and the Sigi Ziering Institute together with the Consulates of Poland, Germany and Israel presented “A Friendship Concert with Trio Artus” in Los Angeles. Trio Artus is comprised of Esti Rofe – flute, Krzysztof Kaczka – flute and Perry Schack – guitar, and they were joined by pianist Jasna Popovic at the American Jewish University.
On February 10, the Gorzów Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra celebrated the music of three great Polish composers living at the turn of the century—Zygmunt Noskowski, Karol Szymanowski and Ignacy Jan Paderewski—with mezzosoprano Anna Lubańska and led by conductor Agnieszka Kreiner.
The II Festival of Polish Music was held from April 3-6 at the Casa do Lado and Teatro Castro Mendes in Campinas, Brazil, with programs including works by eminent Polish composers, such as Chopin, Opałka, Tansman, Mykietyn, Moss, Penderecki, Majerski, Róžycki, Nowowiejski, and Ryterband performed by musicians from Poland and Brazil.
A chamber concert entitled “Kwartet Śląski / To co najlepsze. Polska i świat” [Silesian Quartet / All the best. Poland and the World] was given by the Silesian Quartet on April 8 at NOSPR Hall in Katowice and included such works as Beethoven’s famous Grand Fugue in B-flat major, op. 133 and H. M. Gorecki's String Quartet No. 3.
On April 8, the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York presented a recital by Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński and Polish pianist Michał Biel with operatic works by K. Szymanowski, T. Baird, and P. Łukaszewski, and others. All proceeds from the event went to the KF Cultural Events Fund to support the 2018 Marcella Sembrich International Vocal Competition.
Under the baton of Łukasz Borowicz, the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra presented the “Ocalić od zapomnienia” [To Save From Oblivion] concert on April 27, featuring pianist Jonathan Plowright and including the following rare works: Paul Kletzki’s Variations for Orchestra op. 2, Aleksandre Tansman’s Piano Concerto no. 2, and orchestral music from Roman Palester’s ballet The Song of the Earth (1937).
During the Poznańska Wiosna Muzyczna [Poznań Musical Spring] Festival, an intended performance by the distinguished ElettroVoce ensemble of the world premiere of Ryszard Osada’s Creation was forbidden when the head of the Electro-Acoustical Department at the Poznań Music Academy, composer Lidia Zielińska, was interrupted during her introduction by Academy rector Halina Lorkowska (right). Lorkowska forbade the use of the Academy’s sole Steinway piano for the performance, despite the century-old practice of piano preparation.
The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra in Białystok, led by Maestro Jason Lai, presented a fascinating concert on June 9, spotlighting major works by Aleksander Tansman. On the program were Tansman’s Symphony No. 2 in A minor and his Symphonie-concertante, featuring soloists Rafał Dudzik – violin, Jakub Grabe-Zaremba - viola, Jan Kalinowski - cello and Marek Szlezer - piano.
On January 11, PMC Director Marek Zebrowski and internationally renowned cellist Lars Hoefs performed the inaugural concert of the 3rd edition of the Villa-Lobos International Chamber Music Festival at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church in a program entitled “Hommage à Chopin.”
L.A.-based gnarwhallaby ensemble (above) revealed rare facets of avant-garde expression in contemporary Polish music at “Exploring the Avant-Garde,” the 2017 PMC Spring on March 25. Featured composers were Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Zygmunt Krauze, Hanna Kulenty, Krzysztof Meyer, Bogusław Schaeffer, Witold Szalonek, and Tadeusz Wielecki. Read a concert review here.
On May 12, PMC director Marek Żebrowski launched the 5th Wojciech Kilar Festival of Contemporary Music at the Gorzów Philharmonic with a performance of the Piano Concerto by Henryk Vars, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the composer's death.
The PMC launched its collaboration with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust with a concert dedicated to Polish composer and Holocaust survivor Roman Ryterband on May 21 at the Museum.
Thanks to a wide range of generous donors, our online *Website Reboot* fundraising campaign was an overwhelming success! We reached our goal of 50 donors, which invoked a special Angel Donor gift, and raised $15,076—well over our $10,000 total monetary goal—in support of updating the internet's primary English-language resource for Polish music information. Our staff and USC ITS are currently hard at work to make this new iteration of our site a reality… stay tuned!
In June, the Polish Music Center launched its own Youtube channel!
The "Days of New Music" Festival (Jan 18-22, Gdańsk) featured various premieres, including: Radar by Polish drummer Krzysztof Topolski (Arszyn) and Robert Skrzyński (Micromelancolié) (Jan 18), vlna by Polish violinist and composer Olga Wojciechowska and Serbian guitarist Vukasin Djelic (Jan 19), and collaborative works by NeoQuartet and Kwartludium (Jan 22) as well as the electro-acoustic duo Pękala and Japanese artist Asuna Arashi (Jan 20).
On March 5, the Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej (OMN) presented “Matematyka i asceza” [Mathematics and Asceticism], a concert at the NOSPR Concert Hall in Katowice featuring the world premiere of Paweł Hendrich (b. 1979) – Hordiaver, which was commissioned by OMN and co-financed by IMiT’s “Composer-in-Residence” program.
From March 24-26, the Festival of Premieres ‘Polish Modern Music’ in Katowice presented premieres by such Polish composers as: Rafał Augustyn, Zbigniew Bargielski, Marcin Bortnowski, Sławomir Czarnecki, Krzesimir Dębski, Jacek Domagala, Gregory Duchnowski, Ryszard Gabryś, Justyna Kowalska-Lasoń, Zygmunt Krauze, Hanna Kulenty-Majoor, Sławomir Kupczak, Jarosław Mamczarski, Krzysztof Meyer, Piotr Moss, Aleksander Nowak, Prasqual, Dariusz Przybyłski, Piotr Radko, Marcin Stańczyk, Krzysztof Wołek, and Lidia Zielińska.
The International Festival of Contemporary Music "Poznań Music Spring" (March 27 and April 4) featured the following premieres: Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska (Poemat SymFoniczny for orchestra) , Zbigniew Kozub (Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra), Monika Kędziora (Mulceofor flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano), Jaromir Gajewski (Trio for violin, cello and piano), Katarzyna Kwiecień-Długosz (Fulcrum for viola and piano), Janusz Stalmierski (Wędrujący obłok for viola and piano), Anna Zawadzka-Gołosz (Sussurando campane for piano), and Rafał Zapała (Concentus Appparatus for violin, clarinet, piano, trombone and electronics).
On April 7 at the National Forum of Music, the premiere of Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil’s concerto Assisifor cello, children’s choir and orchestra was performed by the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic with maestro Marek Moś, the NFM Boys’ Choir, Con Brio Choir, cellist Andrzej Bauer and electroacoustician Cezary Duchnowski.
On April 9, the New Music Orchestra (OMN) premiered Cello Concerto by Krzysztof Wołek and Drogi powietrza, Splątane Echa[Roads of the Air, Tangled Echoes] for contrabass flute in C, contrabass clarinet in B-flat, spatial amplification and chamber orchestra by Wojciech Ziemowit Zych.
On April 23 and 24, two premieres by Marta Ptaszyńska happened around the world. First, master percussionist Matthew Duvall and guests presented “Whisper(s)” centered around the premiere of her Voice of the Winds for 100 percussionists, and then in Cambridge, UK, the premiere of another fascinating Ptaszyńska piece entitled Luna, Stelle was performed by four virtuoso players: pianists Vivian Choi & David Christophersen, and percussionists Dave Ellis & Derek Scurll.
A new work by Elżbieta Sikora, Trois tunnels et un arrêt, was premiered on April 26 at the L’Espace Senghor in Brussels during the “Multiphonie/Stéréophonie: Penser, Construire Et Partager L'espace” colloquium presented by Musiques & Recherches, and in May, Sikora completed her 6-year tenure as Artistic Director of Musica Electronica Nova - International Festival of Electroacoustic Music in Wrocław with the premiere of Sonosphere III and Sonosphere IV. Also premiered at MEN were works by Ryszard Osada, Rafał Zalech, Adrian Foltyn, Cezary Duchnowski, Jacek Sotomski, Piotr Bednarczyk, Adam Porębski, Mateusz Ryczek, Kuba Krzewiński, Ryszard Lubieniecki, Teoniki Rożynek, Monika Szpyrka, Marta Śniady, and Anna Zaradny.
On April 27 at the Austrian Forum of Culture in Warsaw, 3 works by young Polish composers were premiered by the by the Dziołak/Stankiewicz Duo: Sun-chants by Andrzej Karałow, Four temperaments by Aleksandra Chmielewska, and Tagtraum by Żaneta Rydzywska. Born out of the international friendship amongst the young generation of composers, the “Perspectives” series aims to promote contemporary music and performers specializing in it.
The 31st edition of Warsaw Music Encounters "Early Music - New Music” in May featured 3 world premieres of works subsidized by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage’s 'Composing Commissions' program: Aleksander Kościów – Noumen for two pianos and two percussions (2017), Edward Sielicki – Secondo Concerto per archi “Hortus conclusus” (2017), and Hanna Kulenty – When the Morning Light starts glowing for string orchestra(2017)
On May 24, the University of Music Fryderyk Chopin hosted the world premiere of Piotr Moss's new work, Concerto élégiaque for viola and orchestra, performed by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra under the baton of Jerzy Maksymiuk, with soloist Katarzyna Budnik-Gałązka, the violist to whom the work is dedicated.
In their follow-up to the Grammy-winning album “Penderecki conducts Penderecki,” Warner Classics released a new CD featuring music by Karol Szymanowski, performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir under the baton of Jacek Kaspszyk, with soloists: soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, mezzosoprano Agnieszka Rehlis, baritone Artur Ruciński and tenor Dmitry Korchak.
On their 10th anniversary, the Lutosławski Quartet has released an album on CD Accord (ACD 233) featuring works written for them by Andrzej Kwieciński, Paweł Mykietyn and Marcin Markowicz. The release is a kind of summary of a decade of the Wrocław-based quartet’s activities, during which they presented mainly Polish chamber music on almost every continent.
Released in March, “39’45” (Warner Music Classics 0190295917517) features breathtaking performances by the renowned Sinfonia Varsovia recorded under the baton of Jerzy Maksymiuk and Renato Rivolta of works from the orchestra’s native Poland written during the Second World War by Lutosławski, Rathaus, Tansman and Panufnik.
The Messages Quartet (Małgorzata Wasiucionek, Oriana Masternak – violin; Maria Dutka – viola; Beata Urbanek-Kalinowska – cello) released an album of “Szymon Laks String Quartets” (DUX 1286) that received a cascade of great reviews, including “magnificently played” (Crescendo Magazine) with “spontaneity and joy” (Ruch Muzyczny).
“Premiere” (DUX 1362) is the phonographic debut of Duo Karolina Mikołajczyk & Iwo Jedynecki comprised of new music for violin and accordion by composers from both Poland—including Ignacy Zalewski, Barbara Kaszuba, Miłosz Bembinow, and Edward Sielicki— and elsewhere. Many of the works have been dedicated to the duo and/or were performed by them duo for the composers.
“Made In Poland” (DUX 1298) is an interesting collection of Polish music for strings, both new and not so new, as performed by the fast-rising Atom String Quartet with the Leopoldinum Chamber Orchestra and violin soloist Christian Danowicz.
The Neo Temporis Group is a contemporary music collaboration of the Polish ensemble NeoQuartet (Gdańsk) and Ukrainian Ensemble Nostri Temporis (Kyiv), and is a unique phenomenon on the European music scene. The ensemble’s main objective is to create lasting international cooperation, based on the mutual exchange of experience and musical quality in search of a new modern musical art. In doing so, they have recorded new works by 5 Polish and Ukrainian composers on a new album entitled “Dialog bez granic” (DUX 1360).
“POLSKA : Choral Music - Szymanowski, K. / Penderecki, K. / Górecki, H. / Lutosławski, W. 9” (SWR Classic) presents a collection of great Polish choral works that go between religion, war and Polish folk culture. It is performed by the South West German Radio Vocal Ensemble with Marcus Creed – cond.
Warner Classics released an album of motets by Polish composer Paweł Łukaszewski, a leading Polish composer of his generation, including seven world premiere recordings. The album shimmers in intense, immersive beauty with performances of his original works by the excellent Polish Chamber Choir under the baton of Jan Łukaszewski.
Stanisław Skrowaczewski (October 3, 1923 in Lwów, Poland – February 21, 2017 in Minneapolis, MN): composer and conductor
Leoncjusz Ciuciura (June 22, 1930 – February 28, 2017): composer and contemporary music cultural organizer
See their manuscripts held in the PMC Manuscript Collection
Elżbieta Chojnacka (September 10, 1939 - May 28, 2017): virtuoso harpsichord player and pedagogue
Jerzy Milewski (September 17, 1946 in Warsaw, Poland – June 23, 2017 in Curitiba, Brazil): virtuoso violinist
100 YEARS OF POLISH INDEPENDENCE
INDEPENDENCE POLONAISE COMPETITION
Sinfonia Varsovia has announced a competition for Polish composers to write a gala polonaise commemorating the centenary of Poland’s independence. The submitted work for a full symphony orchestra should not exceed 10 minutes in length and there is no age limit for entrants. The three winning works will be performed during celebrations later this year and will be recorded by Sinfonia Varsovia. The aim of the competition is to expand Polish music literature and to give Warsaw residents music an excellent concert, but also to encourage performance of this Polish national dance.
The submission deadline is March 1 and competition rules and application are available in Polish here: www.sinfoniavarsovia.org/pl/warszawski-polonez-dla-niepodleglej-konkurs-kompozytorski.html. Presided over by Krzysztof Penderecki, the jury will also include composers Paweł Mykietyn, Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil, Paweł Szymański, and Agata Zubel as well as conductor Tadeusz Strugała and Janusz Marynowski, director of Sinfonia Varsovia. Funded by the Warsaw City Council and City President, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, together with Sinfonia Varsovia, the First Prize will be 50,000 PLN, the Second 30,000 PLN, and the Third Prize 20,000 PLN. Winners will be announced on June 4, 2018.
100 FOR 100!
Polish Music Publishers [PWM] has announced an ambitious initiative to honor Poland’s independence—“100 na 100. Muzyczne dekady wolności”—aiming to record and publish 100 works by over 80 Polish composers, written between 1918 and 2018. These works will be performed worldwide on 11 November 2018 in the most prestigious concert halls in Poland and across the globe.
The PWM Director and Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Daniel Cichy, plans for 11 concerts in Poland, starting at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11 in Kraków, and continuing on to Katowice (NOSPR), Wrocław (National Music Forum), and philharmonic halls in Szczecin, Poznań and Białystok, ending with an evening gala concert at the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw. Some of these concerts—as well as concerts in New York, Paris, Vienna, London and Tokyo—will be recorded by radio and television for live broadcast.
PWM is also planning to publish Danuta Gwizdalanka’s volume about Polish music during the past century and have it translated into eight foreign languages. This project is financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage under the multi-year “Independent Poland” program that runs until 2021.
The upcoming 135th anniversary of Karol Szymanowski’s birth (as well as his 80th death anniversary) will also be commemorated by PWM and the National Chopin Institute with a new edition of Szymanowski’s works prepared by Teresa Chylińska. Two other new books about Szymanowski—one by Danuta Gwizdalanka, showing the composer in a social, family and cultural context, and another by Teresa Chylińska, exploring the composer's youthful years based on his correspondence and friendships—will also be published.
Aside from celebrating this year’s anniversaries, Dr. Cichy also mentioned that PWM will continue to publish a wide variety of Polish composers, starting from the modern classics (like Witold Lutosławski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, or Wojciech Kilar), to the leading figures in Polish music today including Marta Ptaszyńska and Zygmunt Krauze. The PWM catalogue also includes works by younger composers like Aleksander Lasoń, Eugeniusz Knapik, Marcel Chyrzyński and Agata Zubel, as well as those just developing their careers, like Andrzej Kwieciński or Dobromiła Jaskot.
‘PADEREWSKI & WORLD POLITICS’ LECTURE
Given the centenary of Poland’s Independence in 2018 and Paderewski’s important role in those historical events, PMC Director Marek Zebrowski has prepared an extensive lecture about “Paderewski and World Politics.” This lecture focuses on Paderewski's political activities between 1910 and 1922, his role in the "Front Morges" political formation in Switzerland in the 1930s, and on his last year of life, when Paderewski became a World War II refugee in America. This richly illustrated lecture features images from the PMC’s Paderewski Archive: the Paso Robles Collection. Dir. Zebrowski will be presenting this lecture in several cities during the first few months of 2018.
GIFTS TO PMC
From Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s director, Krzysztof Kur we received a CD of the symphonic music by Henryk Wars (1902-1977), known in the U.S. as Henry Vars. This unique and exciting project was a collaboration between Dir. Kur, the Narodowe Centrum Kultury (Jakub Kruczała and the Department of Cultural Projects), and Polish Radio’s Archives Division (Monika Mandau). This CD represents the world premiere recording of the recently discovered, large scale orchestral works by Wars, including Symphony No. 1 (1949), a three-movement orchestral suite City Sketches (1951; rev. 1971), Piano Concerto (1950), and Maalot—Elegy for Orchestra (1974). Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra shines in richly orchestrated and complex orchestral textures under the baton of Michał Klauza. Piotr Orzechowski, also known as “PianoHooligan” is the soloist in Wars’s brilliant and late-romantic Piano Concerto. The CD album also comes with extensive program notes in Polish and English, and is illustrated with several rare photographs from the Wars family archive, which were made available for this project by the composer’s children, Diana Mitchell and Robert Vars. Facsimiles of manuscripts held in the PMC’s archives provide additional insights into these unusual and worthy compositions that deserve wider recognition. With such a fine recording in general distribution since December 8, many musicians should be encouraged to hear it and take up the challenge of performing these works in concert!
From Adam Bala and the Paderewski Polish-Ukrainian Foundation in Warsaw we received the book Ignacy Jan Paderewski—Kompozytor i polityk, issued in conjunction with a concert “W hołdzie Paderewskiemu” held at the Belweder Palace in Warsaw in December of 2016. The CD recording featuring Marianna Humetska, Aneta Łukaszewicz and young pianists from Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine with accompanying text about Paderewski’s pianistic and political career.
From pianist Jakub Tchórzewski we received his fascinating recording Roman Palester: Piano Music 1, featuring Piano Sonata No. 1 (1971), Variations (1972), Passacaglia (1973), and Espressioni (1975). Recorded at the excellent Lutosławski Studio in Warsaw, this joint project brought many organizations together, including the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Polish Radio/Program II, and Warsaw University Library, where manuscripts of these still unpublished compositions are held. An excellent and deeply insightful performance by Mr. Tchórzewski coupled with detailed program notes (in Polish, English and German) authored by Beata Bolesławska-Lewandowska make this CD—issued by Warner Music, Muza Polskie Nagrania and Polskie Radio Dwójka—a very attractive addition to our library of recordings!
From jazz pianist Leszek Kułakowski we received two of his CDs: Love Songs, an album of original vocal and instrumental compositions to lyrics by Zbigniew Książek, and Chopin Impressions, a selection of Chopin’s best-known works in Mr. Kułakowski’s arrangements for jazz quartet. Both recordings richly demonstrate the imaginative and deeply musical nature of the artist who is often called a jazz visionary, and who combines classical, symphonic, chamber and jazz genres into his own, specific language of creative expression.
Henryk Martenka, Director of the Paderewski Music Association in Bydgoszcz and the main organizer of the International Paderewski Piano Competition gave us a two DVD set of footage captured during the 2016 Paderewski Piano Competition. Several fascinating pianists’ solo performances during the Competition stages are featured, as well as the Winners’ Concert with the phenomenally gifted Korean pianist, Hyuk Lee, who at the age of 16 was the youngest ever to win the top prize in this prestigious competition.
We also received Mr. Martenka’s Jak cię widzą, tak cię piszą [They Write It as They See It] with scores of his delightful essays on a truly astonishing variety of subjects. Henryk Martenka’s superb wit, great powers of observation, keen feeling of social satire and sterling writing skills make this generous sample of his writing a highly recommended read.
From Prof. Tomasz Król, Dean at the Łódź Music Academy and a fine violin virtuoso, we received several fascinating items following a visit at the Academy in December of 2017. Leading the list is the recording of Stanisław Moniuszko’s Songs by Irena Santor and with it also came a richly illustrated book highlighting Santor’s long and illustrious career, published by Łódź Academy in connection with the honorary doctorate granted to this iconic Polish vocalist. The other generous gift from Dean Król is the 2 CD set of complete Violin and Piano Sonatas by Grażyna Bacewicz performed by Dean Król and pianist Paweł Skowroński. This attractively packaged album with program notes in Polish and English is of great interest to us since recordings of all five of Bacewicz’s Sonatas are very rare and this is a top-notch performance.
Recently we also received a few more recordings from jazz pianist and longtime friend of the PMC, Kuba Stankiewicz. Issued in the RFM Classics Series—Muzyka z klasą [Music with Class]—Stankiewicz’s solo piano Kilar CD features twelve tracks of musical numbers from Wojciech Kilar’s scores for such well-known films as Portrait of a Lady, The Promised Land, or Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Kuba also presented us with copies of his 2 CD set, Chopin Songbook, which offers listeners many new musical perspectives on these well-known classics.
Following a late November 2017 visit at Willa Decjusza (also known as Villa Decius in English), and a delightful tour of the premises led by its director, Dr. Dominika Kasprowicz, PMC Director Marek Zebrowski received several interesting publications attesting to a great variety of programs and initiatives carried out by Dr. Kasprowicz and her staff. The materials we received, including an English language brochure about Villa Decius as well as their publications—Millenium Goals of Culture, Toleration and Tolerance, and The Return of the Fallen Empires—will be added to our library. So, too, will the leaflets with information about the Polish-British Round Table, Visegrad Summer School, and Polish Prize commemorating Sergio Vieira de Mello. All of these items will greatly enrich our library and will be made available to interested students and researchers. We are also looking forward to cooperating with Dr. Kasprowicz and Villa Decius on joint projects promoting Polish music and culture in 2018 and beyond.
From Dr. Marek Szlezer, professor at the Kraków Music Academy and a fine (as well as extremely busy) concert pianist, we received an exceptionally interesting book he recently published in Poland. Opracowanie Mazurków Chopina [A Guide to Chopin’s Mazurkas] is based on Zygmunt Stojowski’s papers, held in the PMC’s Zygmunt and Luisa Stojowski Collection. Dr. Szlezer not only translated into the Polish sections of Stojowski’s fascinating interpretative comments about Chopin’s Mazurkas, but also placed them in context of editorial practices prevalent in the 19th and 20th centuries. Very helpfully, Dr. Szlezer’s book also discusses Chopin, Stojowski and the Polish Piano School, compares various editions of Chopin’s works, and debates a variety of approaches taken by a number of distinguished editors over the past two centuries. It is hoped that the entire text of Stojowski’s fascinating and valuable point of view will become available to the Polish readers and that—maybe in the coming years and with enthusiastic support for Dr. Szlezer—the original English version of Stojowski’s writings will also see the light of day.
Pianists Grzegorz Mania and Piotr Różański from Stowarzyszenie Polskich Muzyków Kameralistów [Polish Chamber Music Society] have gifted us a recently published volume, Władysław Żeleński i krakowski salon muzyczny [Władysław Żeleński and Kraków Art Salon]. This publication sheds a fascinating light on the “at home” music making prevalent in pre-World War I Kraków. Various articles accompanying festival-related concert programs—be it a study of Władysław Żeleński’s compositions, essays on musical salons during the 19th and early 20th centuries, or descriptions of interactions between the Kraków-based artists—paint a vivid portrait of intellectual life in Poland’s cultural capital.
From Monika Strugała, our dear friend in Warsaw, we received a wonderful book published by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw. Authored by Mariola Wojtkiewicz, Żelazowa Wola - the History of Chopin’s Birthplace is a well-researched, richly illustrated, and attractively presented book. Architectural drawings, historical documents, records and photographs as well as detailed timelines of this charming Mazovian village provide an ideal mis-en-scène for understanding Chopin’s origins and insights into his music.
From Dr. Daniel Cichy, Director and Editor-in-Chief at PWM [Polish Music Publishers], we received an excellent biography of Grażyna Bacewicz, authored by Małgorzata Gąsiorowska. This is the first comprehensive monograph on the life and compositions by the most famous Polish woman composer of the twentieth century. Filled with musical examples, family photographs and many other fascinating documents, this volume’s excellent scholarship is to be recommended to anyone interested in Baczewicz’s work and musical career. Perhaps, in the coming years, the English translation of this book will elevate Grażyna Bacewicz to bigger recognition all across the world, especially since 2019 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of her death.
Mariusz Wróbel, director of the Gorzów Philharmonic, sent us a beautifully produced booklet with detailed description of the orchestra’s 2017-2018 concert season. It is very encouraging to see the breadth and scope of the programming and be truly impressed by Gorzów Philharmonic orchestra’s artistic plans for the near future.
From Val Kuklowsky (pictured at the PMC, with composer Veronika Krausas and PMC Asst. Dir. Krysta Close) we received a CD of solo piano music and scores of two symphonies—Symphony No. 1, Op. 15 and Symphony No. 2, Op. 22—written by his father, Kir Kuklovsky (1913-1999). Born in Lutsk, in 1934 Kuklovsky graduated with honors in conducting and composition from Lwów Conservatory and was active in Stanisławów (now Ivano-Frankivsk in Ukraine), leading musical ensembles and orchestras there and in Kraków. In 1950, Kuklowsky and his family emigrated to the U.S. from Paris and he spent the rest of his life around New York City and New England. Together with the CD recording, this donation allows a fascinating glimpse into the personal history and musical oeuvre of this little-known composer.
The Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group sent us their latest musical print offering, Experiencing Chopin—A Listener’s Companion, by Christine Lee Gengaro. Directed toward the average listener and concertgoer, this volume surveys various aspects of Chopin’s life and music in the context of his family, friends and audience reception.
POLACZYK PREMIERE BY AUGUSTYN IN NYC
On Sunday, January 14 at Spectrum, a popular new music venue in New York City, Polish violinist Kinga Augustyn will present the world premiere of 3 Inks (2017), a work written by young Polish composer Jakub Polaczyk (b. 1983) for the performer. Entitled “Music of the 20th and 21st Century,” the program of Augustyn’s solo violin recital will also include other virtuosic 20th/ 21st Century works such as: Luciano Berio – Sequenza VIII (1976); Sean Hickey – Dance Apotheosis (2017) (East Coast Premiere); and Eugène Ysaÿe – Sonata No. 2, Op. 27 (1923).
MYKIETYN & PESZAT PREMIERED IN SZCZECIN
New works by Polish composers Paweł Mykietyn and Piotr Peszat were premiered by the Beethoven Academy Orchestra (OAB), led by conductor Wiktor Kociuban, on December 17, 2017 at the hall of the Mieczysław Karłowicz Orchestra in Szczecin, Poland. The pieces were Piotr Peszat - The Artist’s way for recitation (taped) and orchestra and Paweł Mykietyn - Herr Thaddäus for bass (tape) and orchestra (commissioned by: Fundacja Delirium). Special guests for the evening were Łukasz Konieczny - bass, Barbara Sieroslawski – recitation, Grzegorz Mart – video, and Mirosław Bałka – scenography and video.
The program was repeated two days later in Kraków, at the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre.
BAŁDYCH PREMIERE IN KALISZ
The Kalisz Philharmonic Orchestra presented the world premiere performance of Adam Bałdych’s Pamiętniki [Memoirs]—a work commissioned by the ensemble—on December 15, 2017. This work for improvised solo violin, cello, harp, voice and percussion blends elements of classical and jazz music, reflecting the composer’s background as virtuoso classical and jazz violinist. Besides Mr. Bałdych, the soloists for this concert included cellist Michał Barański, vocalist Karina Srocka-Bałdych and percussionist Dawid Fortuna, with Adam Klocek serving as conductor. This composition was supported by grants from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage under the Composers’ Commissions Program administered by the Institute of Music and Dance [IMIT].
CHYRZYŃSKI MONOGRAPHIC CONCERT IN KRAKÓW
Following on their successful October 2017 concert in Los Angeles as a part of the PMC’s Paderewski Lecture-Recital series, the Cracow Duo will lead an ensemble of musicians in another monographic concert featuring the music of Marcel Chyrzyński. Entitled “Clarinet in Marcel Chyrzyński’s Works,” the January 19 concert at Florianka Hall in Kraków will present the composer’s “Kwazi” series (Quasi Kwazi I, Quasi Kwazi II, and Quasi Kwasi III for clarinet solo), Three Preludes, Dance of Death, and Haiku No. 2 for clarinet and piano, as well as Reflection No. 4 for flute, clarinet, cello, percussion and piano.
The closing work on the program—Death in Venice for clarinet, cello and piano—will receive its Polish premiere on this occasion, following the world premiere of this piece at the PMC’s October 2017 concert and subsequent performance of it in South Korea in early December.
Performers for this concert include clarinetists Barbara Borowicz, Jarosław Sroka, Oleh Malovichko, Izabela Żurczak, flutist Martyna Klupś-Radny, percussionist Bartosz Sałdan, cellists Pola Benke and Jan Kalinowski, and pianists Wioletta Fulda and Marek Szlezer.
POLISH MUSIC IN ICELAND
During the Dark Music Days Festival in Rejkjavik, Iceland, the Elbląg Chamber Orchestra led by Maestro Marek Moś will give and all-Polish concert of chamber works on Thursday, January 25. Their program includes the following works by outstanding contemporary composers: Grażyna Bacewicz – Concerto for String Orchestra (1948); Witold Lutosławski – 5 Folk Melodies for String Orchestra (1945, ork.1952); Mikołaj Górecki – Divertimento for string orchestra (2009); Wojciech Kilar – Orawa (1986); Sławomir Czarnecki – Hombark Concerto per violino e archi op. 32 (1995).
KUROPACZEWSKI, GAJEWSKI & SINFONIA IUVENTUS IN WARSAW
On January 20 in the Lutosławski Polish Radio Studio in Warsaw, one of the most outstanding contemporary guitarists—Łukasz Kuropaczewski—will perform with the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra conducted by Piotr Gajewski. Entitled “From Seville and the Aranjuez Gardens,” the program will include Joaquin Rodrigo – Concierto de Aranjuez, Georges Bizet –Suites No. 1 & 2 from Carmen, and Mikołaj Górecki – Arioso e Furioso. Concerto for guitar, string orchestra and percussion.
COMPOSING COMMISSIONS 2018-2019
On December 19, 2017, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage launched the 7th edition of the ‘Composing Commissions 2018-2019’ program, which is managed by the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT). The ‘Composing Commissions’ Regulations can be found at the website of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (www.mkidn.gov.pl) and also at the IMiT’s own websites: www.zamowieniakompozytorskie.pl (or www.composingcommissions.pl) and imit.org.pl.
The applications for the ‘Composing Commissions’ program can be submitted by state and local government-run cultural institutions, non-governmental organizations, churches and religious associations, art universities and colleges, public and non-public art schools, as well as private business entities. The budget for the program in 2018-2019, including cancellations, has been set at PLN 2 300 000.
The final deadline for submissions is January 31, 2018.
The goal of the ‘Composing Commissions’ program is to support contemporary music by commissioning new compositions and creating conditions conducive to their permanent presence in public space. In the six editions of the program that have taken place thus far, there were almost 550 new works commissioned from more than 270 composers.
Detailed information about the program, a database of all compositions, and profiles of the composers can be found at www.composingcommissions.pl.
‘PATRI PATRIAE’ INT’L COMPETITION FOR YOUNG COMPOSERS
The Third International Composers’ Competition “Patri Patriae” invites high-school aged students of composition and young composers to submit a work dedicated to the memory of Pope John Paul II. The application deadline has been extended to February 5, 2018. The submitted work should be one of the following types: composition for any solo instrument (including organ); a work for female choir a cappella (including one or two vocal soloists); a work for chamber orchestra (with a possible soloist); or a work for chamber orchestra and female choir.
Eligible are high-school age students and composers born after January 1, 1992. All entries should be submitted anonymously and should not have been previously performed or published. The winning compositions will be performed at concert in April 2018 and recorded. This competition is organized by the Kilar Music School and Szymanowski Music School in Katowice, the Center for Artistic Education and Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP).
More information about this competition in Polish and English is available here: 2st.zpsm.edu.pl.
CHOPIN COMPETITION IN NEW YORK CITY
The Kosciuszko Foundation announces the 66th Chopin Piano Competition. The Semifinals and Finals will take place on September 29-30 at the Kosciuszko Foundation House in New York City. Contestants will be notified about admission to Semifinals by 15 June 2018. Winners will compete for prizes totaling $20,000 and concert engagements. Further information and registration forms can be found here: www.thekf.org/kf/programs/competitions/chopin.
Application deadline: May 1, 2018
The Kosciuszko Foundation's Chopin Piano Competition was established in 1949, in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Frederic Chopin. Over the years, many outstanding musicians have been associated with the competition including Van Cliburn, Ian Hobson, and Murray Perahia.
[Sources: press release, thekf.org]
CHOPIN COMPETITION IN HARTFORD
The 9th edition of the Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford, Connecticut will take place at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford on March 7-11, 2018. The three age categories of pianists include Juniors (under 12 years old), Young Artists (under 17) and Professionals (no age limit). Presided over by Dr. Krystian Tkaczewski, the international jury will include Prof. Choi Sown Le (China), Prof. Olga Kern (USA), Prof. Veda Kaplinsky (Israel/USA), Prof. Philippe Raskin (Belgium), and Jan Popis (Poland).
[Sources: press release, chopincompetition.org]
RAVEL PIANO DUO IN CONCERT AND ON CD
The Ravel Piano Duo (Agnieszka Kozło and Katarzyna Ewa Sokołowska) will present a concert launching their second CD recording featuring works by Polish composers. Entitled “A Polish Kaleidoscope 2," the album includes works by Jerzy Bauer, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Witold Lutosławski, Roman Maciejewski, Władysława Markiewiczówna, Michał Spisak and Romuald Twardowski. The ensemble’s first recording of music for piano four hands in 2015 brought the Ravel Piano Duo a prestigious Fryderyk Award.
This concert takes place on January 21 at the Concert Hall of the Chopin Music School on Bednarska Street in Warsaw. Following the free concert, a Q & A session with the artists will be moderated by Kinga Wojciechowska, editor of Presto music magazine.
GÓRECKI IN CONTEXT – ESSAYS ON MUSIC
Górecki In Context – Essays on Music
Moonrise Press announces the publication of Górecki In Context – Essays on Music, edited by former PMC Director Maja Trochimczyk. This volume gathers interviews and studies of the music of the Polish composer, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933-2010). Contributors include the composer himself—in a series of interviews spanning his entire career, from 1962 to 2008—as well as leading Górecki scholars from Poland, the U.K., the U.S., and Australia. Chapters highlight three of the four symphonies: the Second Copernican (Kinga Kiwała), the Third, The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs (Maja Trochimczyk) and the Fourth Tansman Episodes (Andrzej Wendland). Two studies by eminent Polish scholar and Górecki’s personal friend, Prof. Teresa Malecka, present the composer’s links to Polish musical traditions and an overview of his piano music. An overview of Górecki’s life and career, and a case study of his visit to Los Angeles in 1997 when he conducted his Third Symphony for the first time outside of Poland, round out the volume. The collection includes also a list of works, music examples, portraits, photographs, and a bibliography.
Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D., is a music historian, poet, photographer, and non-profit director born in Poland and living in California (www.trochimczyk.net). Her work on Górecki was previously published in Musical Quarterly, the Polish Music Journal, and Organized Sound. She has published six books on music: After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music, The Music of Louis Andriessen, Polish Dance in Southern California, A Romantic Century in Polish Music, Lutoslawski: Music and Legacy (co-edited with Stanislaw Latek) and most recently Frédéric Chopin: A Research and Information Guide (Routledge, co-edited with William Smialek, rev. ed., 2015). She has also published 27 peer-reviewed articles in such journals as Computer Music Journal, Contemporary Music Review, Leonardo, American Music, Muzyka, Musical Quarterly, Polish Review, Studia Musicologica, Polish American Studies, and Tempo, as well as 18 book chapters in edited volumes on Chopin, Lutosławski, women composers, Polish music after 1945, and ecomusicology. Hundreds of her articles and poems appeared in English, Polish, as well as in German, French, Chinese, Spanish and Serbian translations. As one of the organizers of the 1997 Górecki Autumn Residency at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and the composer’s personal translator and guide, she had an unusually close contact with the reclusive composer and was able to present his views in two interviews and several articles, with a focus on the Third Symphony.
[Sources: press release, www.moonrisepress.com]
Commemorating the 245th anniversary of world premiere of Mozart’s Exultate, jubilate in Milan, Italy, Polish Music Publishers [PWM] have published Romuald Twardowski’s Exultate, jubilate for mixed choir a cappella. Written in 2015, this is Twardowski’s most recent work for this ensemble. It is available at PWM stores as well as online and more information on Twardowski’s choral works can be found in the PWM’s Scala Magazine, also available online.
LUTOSŁAWSKI INT’L CELLO COMPETITION
The International Lutosławski Cello Competition in Warsaw is the first and still the only competition in Poland where the complete portfolio of cello works by Lutosławski are included in the repertoire. Running since 1997, the 11th edition of the Competition takes place January 29 - February 10 at the National Philharmonic Hall. Rounds 1 and 2 will be open to the public, followed by a Final Round to be performed with orchestra. A total amount of no less than €25,000 will be distributed by the jury among prize winners during the Concert of Laureates on February 10.
Some important changes this year include increasing the eligible age from 24 to 28 and holding the competition in one of the most prestigious venues in Poland, the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw. Sixty-seven cellists from twenty-three countries (including seventeen from Poland) will compete and present a variety of works from the Baroque era to the present. Special emphasis this year was placed on presenting music by contemporary Polish composers, including Jerzy Bauer, Krzysztof Penderecki, Marta Ptaszyńska, Witold Szalonek and Paweł Szymański. A new work by Dariusz Przybylski, entitled Out for cello, was composed specifically for this year’s Competition.
Members of the international jury include Andrzej Bauer, Roman Jabłoński, Kenji Nakagi, David Geringas, Antonio Meneses, Pieter Wispelwey, Louise Hopkins, Ivan Monighetti, and Marcin Zdunik, with Kazimierz Michalik as the Honorary Chair. The Competition’s Director, Bogdan Pałosz, brought together the Foundation for Young Cellists, National Chopin Institute and National Philharmonic to cooperate on this year’s edition of this exceptional event.
JACARANDA PRESENTS RZEWSKI
On January 20, the Jacaranda series presents pianist Inna Faliks joined by Scott Dunn, Billy Childs, Louise Thomas, and Daniel Schlosberg in a program entitled “Indivisible.” They will perform the epic protest classic The People United Will Never Be Defeated (1975) by Polish-American composer Frederic Rzewski, and the LA premiere of Gay Guerilla by African-American composer Julius Eastman, in observation of Inauguration Day.
CHOPIN IN FLORIDA
On January 13 and 14, the Chopin for All Free Concert Series features Alex Beyer, a laureate of the 2015 National Chopin in Miami, Bronze Medalist of the 2016 International Queen Elisabeth Competition held in Brussels, and a finalist of the 2017 American Pianists Association Awards. Beyer’s program will include all of Rachmaninoff’s 13 Preludes Op. 32, as well as a selection of music by Chopin.
On January 21, the Chopin Foundation of the US continues its 2018 offerings with the Chopin Salon Concert, featuring pianst Mei-Ting Sun—winner of the 2005 National Chopin Competition. The program of this elegant afternoon of wine and music will include Chopin’s Impromptu No. 1 in A-flat major, Op. 29; Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 45; and Andante Spianato in G major and Grande Polonaise Brilliante in E-flat major, as well as a selection of transcriptions by Art Tatum.
[Sources: press release, chopin.org]
POLAND WELL REPRESENTED AT ICMA 2018
For the 2018 International Classical Music Awards, the ICMA Jury has once more selected musicians and organizations that have distinguished themselves through outstanding achievements. The independent and international jury has also chosen their favorites from 357 nominated audio and video releases. The list of all the winners is available in the section ‘Winners’ of our website.
The National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) will host the ICMA Award Ceremony and the Gala Concert on April 6, 2018 in Katowice, conducted by Alexander Liebreich. Given this collaboration, the ICMA Jury paid special attention to Polish musical life, and in particular awarded an Outstanding Young Polish Artist Award to pianist Szymon Nehring. Other Poles who were laureates this year:
For a full list of the 2018 winner, visit www.icma-info.com/winners-2018.
BLANK PAGES OF MUSIC 2017
The commission for the ‘Blank Pages of Music’ Program met on October 30, 2017, at the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT) headquarters in Warsaw to select the best projects to be carried out in the seventh edition of this IMiT program. The commission was composed of experts recommended by the following institutions: the Musicologists’ Section of the Union of Polish Composers [Związek Kompozytorów Polskich] – Prof. Agnieszka Draus; the Art Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences [Polska Akademia Nauk] – Dr Jacek Jackowski; the Open Forum of the Dance Community – Aleksandra Bilińska-Słomkowska; and a representative of IMiT – Brygida Błaszczyk-Podhajska.
‘Blank Pages of Music’ is dedicated to supporting Polish and foreign scholars who plan to conduct their professional research in neglected and lesser-known areas of Polish music and dance. The priority set for the 2017/18 edition is to document the musical life in Poland after the country’s partitions and before its reunification and independence.
Amongst the 30 applications submitted for the financial support, the commission has selected the following research projects:
The commission justified its selection by providing the following set of observations regarding the best projects:
These research proposals are well planned and promise to bear measurable results, which have been specified in the applications to be achieved in a given time. The applicants whose projects have been chosen to benefit from financial support possess—in the opinion of the commission—the sufficient expertise, skills and experience to carry out the research in the chosen field and to achieve the set goals.
SUCCESS FOR PENDERECKI IN BRAZIL
The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Polish composer/conductor Krzysztof Penderecki and German violinist Isabelle Faust have received a prize for “Best Orchestral Concert 2017” from the Brazilian Concert magazine. Held on September 14-16, 2017, the concert at the Sala São Paulo was performed under the baton of Krzysztof Penderecki and featured his Hymn to St. Daniil and Symphony No. 4 as well as Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, with soloist Isabelle Faust.
PADEREWSKI & STOJOWSKI BY PLOWRIGHT & BOROWICZ
Polish Music for Piano and Orchestra
“Any new Jonathan Plowright recording is a cause for celebration, even more so when he brings to the catalogue a world premiere… Stojowski’s Symphonic Rhapsody is a worthy addition to [Plowright 's] valuable and impressive discography of neglected music by Polish composers...Plowright is one of those pianists who can make even the most banal ideas seem original and rewarding...His partnership with the talented Łukas Borowicz is proving to be most fruitful.”
British pianist and champion of Polish romantic piano repertoire Jonathan Plowright has teamed up with Polish conductor Łukasz Borowicz for another excellent recording, this time with the Polish Orchestra Sinfonia Iuventus for Warner Classics
LT. GEN. EDWARD LEON ROWNY
Edward Leon Rowny, a retired U.S Army Lieutenant General, died on December 17, 2017. He was 100 years old. A commanding officer in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Gen. Rowny served as military advisor to five U.S. presidents and was one of the negotiators of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Born in Baltimore, MD on 3 April 1917, Rowny graduated from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in 1933 and travelled to Poland on a Kosciuszko Scholarship to study Polish history in Kraków. Rowny also held engineering degrees from Johns Hopkins University, West Point, and Yale as well as Masters’ Degree in International Affairs from Yale and a PhD in International Studies from American University.
Gen. Rowny’s stellar military career included serving as a spokesman for Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Korea, deputy chief to Gen. Andrew P. O’Meara in charge of relocation of NATO troops from France and, since 1971, as US representative to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks under presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter. Later, Gen. Rowny was appointed Ambassador, Chief Negotiator and Special Advisor on Arms Control by President Ronald Reagan and continued serving in this capacity for the first two years of President George H.W. Bush’s term.
Retiring after fifty years of Government service, Gen. Rowny turned his attention to Ignacy Jan Paderewski—a pianist he heard perform and was introduced to as a child by his grandmother, Adamina Radziszewski. Some sixty years later, in 1992, together with Presidents George H.W. Bush of the US and Lech Wałęsa of Poland, Gen. Rowny accompanied Paderewski’s remains as they were repatriated to Poland from Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. In 2004 Gen. Rowny established the Paderewski Scholarship Fund to help Polish university students study American democracy at Georgetown University. Remaining active in his advocacy for Poland, Gen. Rowny served as Vice President and President of the American Polish Advisory Council and was recognized with numerous medals and awards for his military, diplomatic and humanitarian achievements, including the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, Walter Judd Freedom Award, and South Korea’s Order of Military Merit, among others. His books, It Takes One to Tango (1992) and Smokey Joe and the General (2013) contain many revealing and delightful anecdotes from his long career as military advisor and diplomat.
In spite of poor eyesight in his later years, Gen. Rowny made every effort to attend as many political, cultural and social events all around Washington, DC, as possible. His towering figure and sunny disposition, his great knowledge of American foreign policy and Polish history, and his noble and well-informed patriotism made him a shining example of an individual whose life mission was to serve his country and honor his heritage. In these efforts he succeeded as only a few other mortals do.
The funeral mass for Gen. Rowny will be said at 11 a.m. on Saturday January 27, 2018, at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament on 3630 Quesada Street NW in Washington D.C.
A-Ż FESTIVAL IN ŁÓDŹ
The fifth A-Ż Festival in Łódź was held Nov. 24-Dec. 9, 2017. All nine concerts were presented at the Concert Hall of the Łódź Music Academy. Living up to the billing, this Festival presented a wide range of programs and performers, beginning with the opening concert that featured film music written for the best-known Polish films, shot in the city’s famed film studios. Students of the Academy also presented a concert of love songs and ballads, the Academy’s Baroque Orchestra gave a concert of Handel’s Water Music, and String Orchestra PRIMUZ featured Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as well as works by Krzysztof Grzeszczak. Not forgetting about popular music, the Festival also welcomed American trumpet virtuoso Rex Richardson and presented the Łódź Music Academy big band ensemble. The Belgian Brass ensemble gave a concert of favorite arrangements of music by Mozart, Bizet and Bernstein for brass quintet and the Festival ended with a performance of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Third Symphony.
The Festival ended with the 71st session of the Musica Moderna conference, held in various Łódź Music Academy venues from December 10-14, 2017. This year’s program included compositions by faculty of the Academy as well as performances by a marimba duet from Warsaw and Kraków, and the Sepia Ensemble representing Poznań Music Academy. Premieres of student compositions were heard alongside works by Keiko Abe, Marcin Błażewicz, Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska, Robert Gogol, Tomasz Goliński, Sławomir Kaczorowski, Artur Kroschel, Marta Ptaszyńska, Dominika Puka, Katarzyna Taborowska-Kaszuba, Marta Śniada, and Agnieszka Zdrojek-Suchodolska.
ŁAŃCUCH FESTIVAL XV
The 15th edition of the Łańcuch Festival will take place in Polish Radio’s Lutosławski Studio from January 27 - February 11. Besides Lutosławski’s compositions, his contemporaries including Grażyna Bacewicz, Jerzy Fitelberg, Artur Malawski and Zbigniew Turski, as well as works by Karol Szymanowski, will be featured on the Festival concert programs. In addition, more recent works by Zygmunt Krauze and Krzysztof Meyer—two composers associated with Lutosławski’s legacy—will also be heard. The overall aim of this year’s programming was to feature Polish music from the last century, spotlighting the centenary of Poland’s regained independence that is being celebrated throughout 2018.
OPERA RARA IN KRAKÓW
A total of fourteen events, including three piano/voice recitals, three orchestral concerts, two concert staging of operas and two new premieres written especially for the local audiences represent the 2018 Opera Rara Festival that takes place in Kraków from January 18 - February 13. Works by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Christoph Willibald Gluck, Marc-Antoine Charpentier will be presented alongside the premiere of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat written by Michael Nyman in 1986, and a presentation of the 1683 opera Venus and Adonis by John Blow.
Szymanowski’s Third Symphony and Schoenberg’s Erwartung will also be heard at the Słowacki Theatre on the edge of Kraków’s Old Town. Christopher Maltman, Anna Larsson, Roberta Mameli, Juan Sancho and Natalia Kawałek will be heard in voice and piano recitals while the Capella Cracoviensis, Festival Orchestra Kraków and Sinfonietta Cracovia with Jurek Dybała complete the roster of distinguished participants in this fine festival.
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Layout Assistance: Charles Bragg
Translation Assistance: Marek Zebrowski
Kinga Augustyn, Vladek Juszkiewicz, Maja Trochimczyk, Marek Zebrowski
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 26, 2018.
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