July 2004, Vol. 10, No. 7. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
The Polish Music Center will be in a mode of limited operations from June 18th through July 18th. The collection will not be available for use during that time. Email and phone messages will be answered as often as possible. The Newsletter will continue on its monthly schedule. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience that this may cause.
30 June - 4 July (revised schedule)
Warsaw - Ostrogski Castle, Poland
The National Polish Piano Competition For Frederick Chopin Artistic Scholarships will be held by the Frederick Chopin Society in Warsaw from 30 June to 4 July, 2004. The competition was first organized in 1968 at the initiative of Victor Weinbaum, director of TiFC at that time. The purpose of the Scholarship Competition includes the promotion of young pianists as well as their preparation for the International F. Chopin Competition, which will take place next year. Apart from a possibility to participate in concerts organized by Fryderyk Chopin Society, the winners receive a material assistance with which to support the beginnings of their artistic careers.For more information and a schedule of competition events, visit www.infochopin.pl or www.chopin.pl.
"POLISH PAGANINI" GUITARIST IN NY
Jacek Polak is not to be missed: clearly an emerging great in the art of the guitar—rock or otherwise. His renditions in a rock mode of Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms combine speed, precision, and the utmost respect for the masters. Jacek and his brother Grzegorz on guitar and drums, respectively, founded their band in Mielec, Poland, in 1989, that year of big changes. They called the band, complete with keyboard and bass, "Mr. Pollack", and soon began taking the music festivals by storm with breathtaking renditions of "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" or Brahms' "Hungarian Dance", and a succession of increasingly popular CD's like Qri, Manhattan-One, and Air on Six Strings.
On his first visit to the United States, Jacek Polak—who has been called the "Paganini of the Guitar"—is performing solo, which affords an opportunity to hear the artistry of this emerging master with exceptional clarity. He is clearly a rising star.Information about Jacek Polak and his performance were taken from www.polishculture-nyc.org.
Mr. Pollack will be in NY and NJ for 6 shows in July. See their website for dates and venues: www.mrpollack.pl.
A book on Michal Kleofas Oginski (1765-1833) has been published by the Polish Cultural Foundation in London. It contains a bibliography and index. Oginski was an aristocrat, diplomat and amateur composer. His most famous legacy is in the ever popular Polonaise Powrot do ojczyzny [Return to Native Land]. He is best known for his melancholy and elegiac polonaises and his romantic songs.
The first book on Ignacy Jan Paderewski in Russian has been published. The book is a translation of Ronald Stevenson's work, Paradox Paderewskogo [The Paderewski Paradox], plus supplemental information added by Russian editor Mikhail Mishtchenko: an introduction "V poiskah Paderewskogo" ["In search of Paderewski"] by M.Mishtchenko; fragments from Russian critics about Paderewski; and a list of Paderewski's works. It is published with the generous permission of Mr.Stevenson and with the support of the General Consulate of Poland in St.Petersburg.
ACADEMIC FOUNDATION "POLONIA"
Film has long been an art filled with talented artists of Polish decent. Two films are coming out this summer that feature Polish Directors of Photography:
THE TERMINAL by Steven Spielberg
DODGEBALL by Raawson Marshall Thurber
10 July - 8 August
Piwnica pod Baranami [The Cellar under the Rams] is one of the birthplaces of Polish jazz. This famous cabaret was founded in 1956, during the post-Stalin political relaxation, and it became a meeting place for Cracow's top jazz performers. Jerzy "Dudus" Matuszkiewicz, Andrzej Trzaskowski, Andrzej Kurylewicz, Wanda Warska were the founding personalities. They were joined by such musicians as Wojciech Karolak, Zbigniew Namyslowski, Andrzej Dabrowski and many others; together, they formed the artistic atmosphere of the Piwnica in the late 1950s. Last, but certainly not least in the creation of the legendary Piwnica, was a group of jazz aficionados and promoters of particular importance, comprised of such famous Cracovians as Jerzy Skarzynski, Marian Elie, Leopold Tyrmand and the Ferster brothers.Jazz has always been vivid at the Piwnica. In the sixties, musicians like Tomasz Stanko, Zbigniew Seifert, Janusz Muniak, Jan Jarczyk, Janusz Stefanski were playing there, and in the seventies and eighties the next generation appeared, with Jarek ˙mietana, Krzysztof Scieranski, Andrzej Cudzich, Marek Balata, and JBBO. Each concert was important and had specific atmosphere.
The Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica Pod Baranami was organized in 1996. It is a developed continuation and culmination of 50 years of jazz at the Piwnica.
18 Warszawska st.
PL 31-155, Krakow, Poland
1 - 10 July
Busko Zdrój - Sanatorium Marconi, Poland
The tenth edition of the International Krystyna Jamroz Festival of Music in Busko Zdrój in Poland starts on July 1st. Because of the tenth anniversary of the Festival this year, the program is exceptionally interesting. The opening concert features Sinfonietta Cracovia conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki. Chopin music lovers can also expect their share of great emotions - the second day, "Chopin Day", will be filled with Chopin recitals by Hubert Salwarowski, Indre Zelvyte, Regina Smendzianka and a concert featuring such piano celebrities as Philippe Giusiano and Jerzy Stryjniak. Another highlight of the festival is the "Young Age Virtosos" concert, featuring Stanislaw Drzewiecki and Maria Machowska (5 July).
For more information and a schedule of the festival (in Polish), visit http://www.wici.info/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2087.
24 June - 29 August
Warsaw (various venues), Poland
This festival aims to present and promote the most creative currents in contemporary jazz, no matter their origin. This year's special edition of the festival will span a period of ten weeks for the first time in its history and will feature jazz musicians from all parts of the world. Several dozen concerts have been scheduled and will take place at a broad range of venues around Warsaw, including the Congress Hall, the National Philharmonic, Krolikarnia Palace, Torwar Arena, the Traffic Club, as well as the square in front of the main entrance to the Palace of Culture and Science and the building's inner courtyard (Lapidarium). Satellite events will include the AUSTRIAN JAZZ DAYS, concerts organized in the "FRENCH JAZZ" series and as part of the NEW NEW YORKERS FESTIVAL, the TARGI POLSKIEGO JAZZU [Polish Jazz Trade Fair] and the WARSAW ELECTRONIC FESTIVAL. This extended edition of the jazz festival will feature a plethora of exciting events and will represent a first for Poland. Admittance to most concerts will be free of charge.
For more information and a schedule of the festival (in Polish), visit www.adamiakjazz.pl.
25 - 31 July
Warsaw (various venues), Poland
This festival is dedicated to all things Chopin. Performances and Lectures of the festival include: Chopin & Jazz, Laureates Recital, Solo e tutti, Inspirations, Operas of Frederick Chopin, At the Source of Chopin's Mazurkas, Nocturne, and the Piano Marathon. Visit www.infochopin.pl for more information on times and venues.
17 - 24 July
The "Rencontres Internationales Frédéric Chopin" Festival was first organized in 1997 to pay homage to the composer, whose name is intertwined with the house of George Sand. Nowadays, the festival is organized each year and lasts through eight consecutive days of the second half of July. Festival events include concerts, master classes and conferences conducted by experts from all over the world. The Festival always begins with a concert-lecture in the house of George Sand. Young soloists from fine French and foreign musical schools participate in master classes during the week and give a closing concert at the end of the Festival. Classes and conferences are held at the Théâtre de la Châtre, concerts are held in Nohant.
This year's festival celebrates the 200th anniversary of George Sand's birth. The organizers decided to emphasize the significance of the relationship of George Sand and Chopin for the composer's works. All of his pieces which were composed or completed in Nohant will be performed during this year's eighth edition of Rencontres Internationales Frédéric Chopin.
The Festival will feature eminent pianists who will perform Chopin's best pieces composed in the years of 1840, 1842, 1843, 1844, 1845, 1846 and 1847. Visit www.infochopin.pl for more information.
From 14th to 16th of May 2004, the Jury of the Kazimierz Serocki 9th International Composer's Competition met in Radziejowice Palace near Warsaw. Ninety-eight scores were submitted to the Competition from all over the world. Ten works had to be because of non-compliance with the competition rules.
The Jury consisted of the following internationally-renowned composers: Zygmunt Krauze (Poland) Chairman, Hanna Kulenty (Poland/Holland), Ana Lara (Mexico), William Kraft (USA) and Richard Tsang (Hong Kong). After examination of all submitted scores, the following prizes were awarded:
The awarded compositions were performed on 6th of June 2004 at 8pm, during a special concert organized by the ISCM Polish Section and Polish Radio Lutosławski's Concert Hall.Visit the official website of the competition at www.ptmw.art.pl.
The following choirs were the prize winners at the 39th International Festival of Choral Song in Miedzydroje:
First prize: the Russian Women's Choir "Podmoskowej" from Stupin, conductor Waldimir Gruniciew.
Second Prize: the Youth Choir "Tutti Cantemus" from Warsaw, conductor Izabela Tomaszewszka.
Third Prize: the Men's Choir "Cantores Minores" from St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw, conductor Joseph Herter.
The director of the festival is Dr. Richard Zielenski, conductor of CHAPS, the Chor Akademicki Politechniki Szczecinskiej [Szczecin Politechnical Chorus], artistic director of the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and professor of choral cnducting at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
CONCERTS AND PERFORMANCES
Polish jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stanko was featured on the NPR show Day to Day on 25 June, 2004. Music commentator David Was discussed the jazz great's recent North American tour in relation to his development as a musician. Stanko has been called "Poland's answer to Miles Davis". This comparison means more to Stanko than a good PR phrase. He sees Davis as a his personal teacher, both in music and in life. He learned from Davis the importance of being democratic with your fellow players, to share the spotlight and the glory. This was important to Stanko's experience, and that of his audience, in the 1960's, when jazz was protest music against the Communist rule. Today, Stanko still keeps his finger on the pulse of his audience, and rides the cutting edge of jazz. To learn more about Tomasz Stanko and his quartet, see our article in last month's newsletter.
For a recording or transcript of this NPR program, visit www.npr.org.
The Polish Theatre Institute of New York headed by Nina Palo, its director, presented an unusual program at the Polish Consulate in New York City on June 20th. The concert was composed of songs and piano works of the Polish composer Maurice Moszkowski (1854-1925), whose best-known work are the Spanish Dances for piano.
The concert included four-hand arrangements of Moszkowski's Polish, Spanish and German Dances performed by the incomparable pianist and artistic director of the PTI, Pablo Zinger, and pianist Miriam Conti. The rarely heard songs were sung by Malgorzata Flaszkiewicz and Robin Rubendunst. The Polish Music Center assisted in this artistic endeavor by sending two songs found in its Walter Martin Collection of over 3,000 Polish art songs to Mr. Zinger, who also served as accompanist to the singers.
For four nights (24-27 June, 2004), Opera Krakowska performed Moniuszko's Halka with a very appropriate backdrop. This opera's wonderful scenes depicting the life of the Polish gentry and highlanders, as well as spectacular dance sequences, was a perfect match for Twardowski's Cliffs, an uncommonly picturesque site just outside of Krakow that features excellent views of Wawel Castle, Skalka Church and a bend in the Vistula River. The stage area is surrounded by high limestone cliffs that provide good acoustic conditions.
This spectacular production featured some of the newest in stage devices and involve almost 300 artists and extras. It was staged and directed by Krzysztof Jasinski, with musical direction by Wojciech Michniewski, choreography by Emil Wesolowski, stage movement devised by Anatol Kocydlowski, scenery designed by Piotr Sobanski, and costumes by Magda Teslawska and Pawel Grabarczyk. The Ballet and Orchestra of the Krakow Opera accompanied a drove of outstanding soloists, including Ewa Biegas and Maria Mitrosz alternating in the title role, Maciej Komander and Tomasz Kuk as Jontek, Przemyslaw Firek and Janusz Borowicz as the Esquire, Andrzej Biegun and Andrzej Szkurhan as Janusz, and Edyta Piasecka and Joanna Tylkowska as Zofia.
Information about this performance was taken from the website of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, www.culture.pl.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
* For more Concerts in Poland, visit the website of Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzycne and search their concerts page. For events in France's Nova Polska Festival (a year-long celebration of one of the newest members of the E.U.), visit the June page of www.nova-polska.pl. *
by Wanda Wilk
Polish-born violinist, Joanna Kurkowicz, is a professor at Williams College near Boston and concertmeister of the Boston Philharmonic. In a featured article in Nowy Dziennik by Jerzy Barankiewicz of San Diego, we learn about her Polish background, as well as her affiliations with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston and the Chamber Music Festival of Plymouth, Massachusetts, since her arrival in the U.S. in 1992.The new CD, to be released by Chandos, will fill in a void in the recorded repertoire of Grazyna Bacewicz's (1909-1969) violin music, with the premiere recording of Capriccio for violin and piano. It will also include Sonatas No. 4 & 5, Oberek No. 1, and Sonata for violin solo and Partita. The program notes have been written by "our" author Judith Rosen, who wrote the very first book ever on this outstanding woman composer of the 20th century as the second monograph of the Polish Music History Series. This series was initiated by Wanda Wilk and published by the Friends of Polish Music at USC.
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© Copyright 2004 by the Polish Music
Center at USC, Los Angeles.
The publication of this Newsletter is made possible by a generous donation
from the Dr. & Mrs. Matthew S. Mickiewicz Family Fund, California. Send your comments and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editors: Wanda Wilk and Krysta Close.