Polish Music
Reference Center
July 1999, Vol. 5, no. 7
ISSN 1098-9188

Anniversaries * Calendar of Events * Chopin Year
Discography * Director's Report * News
Internet News * History: Polish Dance Orchestras
Recent Performances * Warsaw Autumn'99



The program of the 42nd International Festival of Contemporary Music includes a variety of themes and names. The cycle of "New Vocality" (i.e. new vocal techniques) includes a recital of Joan La Barbara, as well as performances of works by Berio, Ashley, and a collaboration of John King with Krzysztof Knittel. The cycle of "Musica Britanica" is accompanied by a selection of new works and styles from the U.S. "America Nova." There is a focus on the sonoristic music of Witold Szalonek, a retrospective of the musical avant-garde, night concerts of electronic music, a variety of miscellaneous projects, and what the program describes as "Basso Continuo" - that is rich offerings of Polish music, from the classics of this century to the youngest composers.

Program cover, Warsaw Autumn

    The festival opens with a monographic concert dedicated to the music of Grazyna Bacewicz and organized by PWM Edition (17 September, 4 p.m.). The program includes her Second Piano Sonata, Fourth String Quartet and First Quintet. This concert has a status of a "fringe event." The official program commences in the evening of the same day, with Szalonek's Les sons and a variety of Polish premieres by European composers. Pawel Mykietyn's Commencement du siecle will be heard on Saturday, 18th September along with works by Hanna Kulenty (Sinequan Forte B), and again, Szalonek (L'hautbois mon amour - Commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn). The next day will only include a piece by Anna Zawadzka-Golosz ( Mirrors - commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn). Monday, 20 September, will be a "field day" of Polish music - with works by Bogusław Schaeffer, Marek Chołoniewski, Ewa Synowiec, Barbara Buczkówna, Zbigniew Bujarski, Krystyna Moszumańska-Nazar. Tuesday, again, is quite rich in Polish pieces - works by Ewa Podgórska, Eugeniusz Knapik, Witold Lutosławski, Jerzy Kornowicz, and Henryk Górecki, as well as by the "honorary Pole" - Hungarian composer Szabolcs Esztenyi (new work commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn). On Wednesday and Thursday double opera by John King and Krzysztof Knittel will serve as the "Polish centerpiece" while Friday will feature pieces by Kazimierz Pyzik, Witold Szalonek, Zbigniew Penherski (commissioned by the Warsaw Autumn). The closing day will see a concert of the Youth Circle of the Polish Composers' Union (works by Małgorzata Gołab, Aleksander Kościów, Robert Kurdybacha, Piotr Majchrzak, and Jakub Sarwas). The events of the main program will feature pieces by Jarosław Siwiński and Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil.



Edyta Kulczak, one of the eight Polish Stars of Tomorrow program featured at the Kosciuszko Foundation this spring, received a full page spread about her budding career here in the U.S. in Zgoda, the Polish National Alliance newspaper. Written by its editor Wojciech A. Wierzewski, it mentions the help the young mezzo-soprano received from this Polish- American fraternal organization in the form of scholarships and concerts. With their help she studied at Northwestern University under Elizabeth Fischer. She also won this year's Bel Canto competition which will enable her to study in Italy under the famous maestro Carlo Bergionzi in Bussetto. She also won a competition in Los Angeles which resulted in a role in Handel's Rodelinda. She also performed at the Naples Music Club in Florida, at the Opera Spectacular Concert with the Riverside Symphony Orchestra in New Jersey conducted by Mariusz Smolij and in a fesitval of Polish Music at De Paul University.

The other Polish Stars of Tomorrow have been identified as Monika Krajewska, Wojciech Bukalski, Cezary Doda, Pawel Knapik and Walerian Ruminski.

Several artists of Polish descent wil be featured at various festivals this summer:


Tadeusz Wielecki
    The radio recording of the Violin Concerto by Tadeusz Wielecki (prepared in January 1999 by the WOSPR Orchestra of the Polish Radio conducted by Jacek Rogala, with Krzysztof Bąkowski, violin) represented the Polish Radio at the International Rostrum of Composers, organized yearly by UNESCO in Paris. The work found its way to the final 10, receiving the fourth prize. This means that the concerto will be broadcast by all the stations taking part in the Paris competition as well as offered to all the stations belonging to the European Radio Union. Congratulations to all the winners - the composer and the performers, as well as the Polish Radio. Wielecki's piece, with the full title of Concert a rebours for violin and orchestra received its world premiere at the 41st Warsaw Autumn, International Festival of Contemporary Music in September 1998. At that time the solo part was also performed by Krzysztof Bąkowski, who played the work with the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra under the baton of Jacek Kaspszyk.

The work, described in the Warsaw Autumn program as "chamber music blown up to symphonic proportions" was well received by the reviewers. As for its radio recording, it is the second recording conducted by Jacek Rogala that has been awarded a prize in the Unesco Rostrum of Composers competition. (The first one was a recording of Paweł Mykietyn's "3 for 13" of 1995).


During the summer of 1999 (16 August - 21 September) the Academy of Music in Kraków will offer a variety of courses for students and graduates of music schools, music teachers and students of high schools. The Academy will offer courses in performance on various instruments, chamber music and performance of contemporary music. Chamber ensembles can register as groups with the appropriate professors (strings and winds). The individual courses will be offered by the faculty of the Academy of Music, among others: Kaja DANCZOWSKA (Violin, September 1-7), Joachim GRUBICH (Organ, August 16-22), Adam KACZYNSKI (Contemporary music performance, September 1-8), Jan PILCH (Percussion, August 20-28), and Elzbieta STEFANSKA (Harpsichord, August 16-23). For more information visit the web site of the Cracow Academy of Music.


Program cover of the Colloquium
    An interdisciplinary colloquium was organized and sponsored by the Center for European and Russian Studies, UCLA, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (also sponsored by the Trust for Mutual Understanding). The colloquium, entitled "Exhibiting Central European Modernism" brought together scholars from the U.S., Canada, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Ireland, and Germany to explore themes and aspects that should be higlighted during the 2002 exhibit at LACMA presenting over 80 modernist artists from 4 countries in a broadest survey of its kind. The program included presentations on the notion of Central Europe, the ways of defining East/Central European literature and art, roles of various members of the artistic avant-gardes and their interplays, exhibition philosophies and techniques, as practiced in 1910-1930 and recently, and the interrelationship between modernist music and art.

At this event Poland was represented by Prof. Andrzej Turowski (currently teaching at University of Bourgogne in Dijon), the foremost expert on constructivism and the history of Polish avant-gardes, and by Prof. Maria Anna Harley whose paper, entitled "Parellels and Intersections: Constructing New Forms in Polish Art and Music" dealt with the reception of modernist art among Polish composers. Harley presented an array of musical examples, including Zygmunt Krauze's Piece for Orchestra No. 1 and other works inspired by the theory and practice of "unistic composition" of Władysław Strzemiński. She also highlighted the differences in the mode of existence of both artistic domains, the spatial and the (primarily) temporal as well as discussed the frequent non-overlap and distancing between avant-garde musicians and artists.


Gary Hayes, radio producer of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is currently preparing a proposal for a celebration of the great Polish harpsichordist, musician and composer, Wanda Landowska. The CBC hopes to be able to present a showcase of pictures, videos, books, a couple of lectures, and a concert featuring her music or works associated with her. Mr. Hayes would like to get the concert broadcast on CBC Radio along with a feature about Landowska. If any of our readers know of the location of Landowska's "Hebrew Poem" for orchestra (score, parts, recording), we would appreciate your input. Please contact Mr. Hayes at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Ottawa.


The Wall Street Journal announced that the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra World Tour is currently performing in the U.S. Composed of American and Russian musicians aged 17 to 26, the orchestra will travel to Russia and Central Europe. The group is co-conducted by Leon Botstein (American Symphony) and Dmitri Liss (Ural Philharmonic) and will feature a program of 20th century music by Ellington, Stravinsky, Barber, Rachmaninoff and Polish composer Karol Szymanowski.


The Ethel Enterprises Catalogue No. 133 provides a comprehensive list of the CDs in the Great Pianists of the 20th century Series being released by Philips. You can call a toll-free number (in the U.S.) for a catalog 1-800-648- 2042.

The catalog also lists CDs of Preisner's "Requiem for my Friend"; Karol Rathaus' Symphony No. 1 and his ballet "Der letzte Pierrot;" Rachmaninoff's piano roll performances of the music of Chopin and Paderewski; Pepe Romero's arrangment of Chopin's Mazurka in G# minor and many, many other interesting recordings of music by Polish composers.


Many new releases of pop and rock groups appear in the catalog of mitmusic. Their list includes golden oldies and hits from each decade (including folk, rock& pop, and disco polo), as well as such popular groups and singers as Hey, Anna Maria Jopek, Edyta Geppert, Malgorzata Ostrowska, Krzysztof Krawczyk, Dzem, Krzak, Republika, and others. More information may be found at the web site of this company: at mitmusic or polishmusic

Fryderyk Chopin



Masterclasses International has scheduled an International Piano Symposium dedicated to Chopin for August 1-8, 1999 at the Pepperdine Campus in Malibu, California. The Moscow Conservatory and world-renowned pianists from Poland and the U.S. will be featured:

Symposium Closing Concert by participating students: Sunday, Aug. 8 @ 3:00 p.m. Smothers Theatre, Center for the Arts, Pepperdine U., 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California. 310-456-4522.


Austrian pianist, Isabel Ettenauer, chose the theme of the 150th anniversary of Chopin's death as the main thread of her London recital entitled "The Ghost of Chopin." Her concert presented 20th century piano music thematically linked to Chopin and was given on 1 June 1999 at the British Music Information Centre in London. The program included:


The Chopin Council of San Francisco will hold a Chopin Piano Competition for pianists 18 to 30 years old in October at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The winner will travel to Miami to participate in the Sixth American National Chopin Competition (March 4-12, 2000) presented by the Chopin Foundation of the United States. The winner/s will then be eligible to participate in the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw.


The Polish Arts & Culture Foundation of San Francisco's Annual Polonaise Ball in November (6th) will honor Fryderyk Chopin this year. Pianist Jon Nakamatsu will perform.

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra has scheduled Chopin's F- minor Piano Concerto for next year (January 21-22, 2000). Jeffrey Kahane will conduct with pianist Christopher O'Riley as soloist.

The capital of Poland, Warsaw, will see a variety of Chopin concerts during this summer. From 26 June till 19 September, every Sunday will feature concerts at the Chopin monument in the Royal Baths park (Lazienki). From 25 July to 5 September, International Chopin Festival will present such pianists as Krzysztof Jabłoński, Rinko Kobayashi, Janusz Olejniczak, Kevin Kenner, Kazimierz Gierżod, Halina Czerny-Stefanska. The concerts will take place at the Royal Baths palace, at the Royal Castle (Zamek Królewski) and at the Castle of the Ostrogski (Zamek Ostrogskich, the site of the Chopin Foundation).

On 4-5 September in Milanówek a concert of "Chopin Inspirations" will take place. From the 10th of September an Chopin Poster exhibit at the Poster Museum in Wilanów, from the 17th of September a new exhibit at the Chopin society in Warsaw. On 22 and 26 September Yevgeni Kissin will perform Chopin's music at the National Philharmonic (concerti with orchestra and a solo recital).

The Radziwiłł palace in Antonin is a site of the 16th Chopin Confrontations, held in July and August, with recitals by Takako Takahashi, Magdalena Lisak, Karol Radziwonowicz, and others. Between 16-20 September 1999 the Antonin Palace will be a site of the 17th International Festival "Chopin in the Colors of Autumn" - with an array of eminent pianists (Regina Smendzianka, Piotr Paleczny) and Amadeus Chamber Orchestra conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal.

More information about upcoming Chopin events in Poland can be found on the site of the Chopin Year. Its address: www.chopin1999.org.


Participants of the Session, PIASA Meeting
    The 57th Annual Meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts And Culture of America took place at Fordham University in New York on June 17-19. The program included a session on Fryderyk Chopin organized and chaired by Prof. Maria Anna Harley. The session, entitled "Context and Reception of Chopin's Music" consisted of three papers, 30 minutes each: (1) Halina Goldberg (Indiana University): "Chopin in Warsaw Salons", (2) Barbara Milewski (Princeton University): "The Construction of 'Folk' Tradition for Chopin's Mazurkas" and (3) Maria Anna Harley: "The Reception of Chopin among Women Composers" (discussing Viardot, Wieck-Schumann, Chaminade, and Bacewicz). [In the photo, from the left: Thomas Pniewski, Barbara Milewski, Halina Goldberg, Diane Wilk].

The session was well received and issues raised were discussed by the audience that included Prof. Diane Wilk (University of Colorado, the PMRC Associate Director) and Mr. Ted Pniewski (Chair of Music Programs at the Kosciuszko Foundation). A longer report will be included in one of the future issues of the PMRC Newsletter.


A new edition of Idil Biret's fifteen-CD collection of the complete works of Chopin - for which she was awarded the Jury Prize at the "Grand Prix du Disque Chopin " competition in Poland - is about to be brought out in the United States by Naxos.

Turkish-born Idil Biret is one of the foremost interpreters of Chopin's concertos in the world today. A favourite and lifelong disciple of Wilhelm Kempff, she also studied under Alfred Cortot and Nadia Boulanger. Since graduating from the Paris Conservatoire with three first prizes at the age of fifteen, she has been giving world concerts with major orchestras such as the London Symphony and Philarmonic, Leningrad Philarmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Dresden Staatskappelle, French National Orchestra, Tokyo Philarmonic and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She has collaborated with the eminent conductors, among others, Monteux, Scherchen, Leinsdorf, Boult, Kempe, Sargent, Rozhdestvensky, Keilberth, Frühbeck de Burgos, Pritchard, Groves, Mackerras and Iwaki. Idil has over one hundred concertos in her repertoire and appears on over seventy recordings. Her awards include the Lily Boulanger Memorial (Boston) ; Polish Artistic Merit ; Adelaide Ristori prize (Italy) ; she is also a Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite in France and a State Artist of Turkey.


Britain's major retail store, Harrods, has commissioned a special limited edtion of 15 Bosendorfer pianos to be called the Model Frederic Chopin. It will be closely modeled on instruments that Chopin used during his final tour of England and Scotland in 1848. (as reported in Gramophone).


Logo of the Polish Fest

On June 18-20, the annual celebration of Polish heritage and folk culture took place at the Maier Festival Park in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The program included a huge variety of dance groups and polka ensembles performing on 5 stages, displays of Polish lowland sheepdogs, storytelling of Polish legends and folk tales, and live displays of folk art (pisanki - Easter eggs, wycinanki - paper cutouts, and glass painting). There was a variety of souvenir stands and many traditional food choices. This year's program included, for the first time, a "high art" component - i.e. a tribute to Fryderyk Chopin. A special exhibit of Chopin-related materials (a chronicle of his life and work, sepia pictures) was borrowed from the Chopin Society in Warsaw (with some additional material from the PMRC). The program featured also piano performances by local pianists and Piotr Folkert, as well as a competition for piano students.



A Polish American Musician Database is being developed by Mark Kohan and Steve Litwin. Mark is editor of the Polish American Journal and Steve is editor of the Polka Magazine. The list, which will include every Polish American musician who has ever recorded an album, CD, single or cassette, presently has 500 entries, but will grow to over 10,000 names when completed. You can access it through the PAJ website: Polish American Journal. The information will include vital statistics, primary band, a selected discography and major honors or awards received.


Nigel Bartram's ensemble EAE, scheduled a performance of Lutoslawski's Grave on July 19th, in Hull, England. The group has now put up some materials and links for many of the pieces in their concert including 'Grave'. Please visit www.eae.org to find out more about this program. If you click on 'Education' and then 'click to enter the project' you will see the composers and works listed.


Adam Jarczyk, the author of the very interesting site devoted to Polish early music, has just created a mailing list at the site: visit Completorium List to subscribe and receive further update newsletters. What's new? Not much, but probably interesting. Two MP3 files were added to collection, with Gorczycki's compositions performed by choir Resonans con tutti, the ensemble Concerto Polacco and Marek Toporowski at the organ, conducted by Waldemar Galazka. An essay of Polish secular music by Monika Fahrnberger was also added. You may visit the site at: Completorium: Polish Early Music

For more information about choral singing in Poland, check out: Choral Art in Poland



The end of concert season of Poland's large music institutions coincides with the start of many summer festivals. In June, one could hear the music of:


A "Concert for Peace" sponsored by the Toronto, Canada Polish community, featured music of Polish composers Henryk Gorecki and Wojciech Kilar. The Celebrity Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrzej Rozbicki performed the famous Third Symphony and Kilar's "Victoria."


Daniel Cariaga of the Los Angeles Times reported on the l4- year old List-Glenn Festival for Piano & Strings held at Cal State Los Angeles. Paul Van Ness, the founder of the festival, which honors the late American pianist Eugene List and violinist Carroll Glenn, "commenced that organization's sixth festival of summer concerts and master classes Monday night" playing a "provocative recital" which included the music of Chopin. "He succeeded most winningly at both ends of his program"...and in "Chopin's beloved Barcarolle, Opus 60" ..."Van Ness convincingly projected the composer's kaleidoscopic vision of kinetic activity through a controlled haze of pianistic textures and details. In the Barcarolle, he captured the flow of the work and laid out its progress apprehensibly and handsomely."


The program of the Annual Gregor Piatigorsky Seminar for Cellists, directed by prof. Eleonore Schoenfeld at the Flora L. Thornton School of Music, included two concerts and presentations of cello works by Polish composers: Witold Lutosławski (Sacher Variations for Cello Solo perfomed by student Dominik Polonski) and Fryderyk Chopin (Introduction and Polonaise Brillante for cello and piano op. 3, performed by Wendy Law, Cello and Weicong Zhang, piano).


by Maria Anna Harley

The 1998/1999 season of events organized by the Helena Modjeska Arts and Culture Club and the Friends of Polish Music in Los Angeles ended with a flourish. On 5 June 1999, the hospitable home of Dr. Stefan Wilk and Mrs. Wanda Wilk was transformed into a musical salon, in which the members of both organizations and their guests could listen to a piano recital by Kevin Kenner. The event, entitled "The Celebration of the Chopin Year," was prepared by members of the Modjeska Club Board, with President Yola Zych, and by Mrs. Wanda Wilk, President of the Friends of Polish Music and the charming hostess of the evening (Ms. Zych closed the day with announcements for the Modjeska Club and co-hosted the reception). In my report, I would like first to outline some details about Mr. Kenner's outstanding artistic achievements before moving on to my impressions of the recital.

Kevin Kenner
    According to one of his online biographies, Kevin Kenner's interest in the music of Chopin was sparked by Polish pianist Krzysztof Brzuza of San Diego, California, "who taught Kevin from the age of twelve to seventeen" (for more details visit the web site of the Chopin Foundation in Miami). His next piano teacher was the famous Ludwik Stefanski at the Krakow Academy of Music in Poland. At the age of 17, in 1980, Kenner won the 10th prize in the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. Determined to improve his knowledge of Chopin's music, Kenner returned to the competition in 1990 to win the highest award (as well as prizes from the audience, and for the best performance of a polonaise). In 1990 he also received the bronze medal (third prize) at the very difficult International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. To receive medals from both competitions was a major achievement of the young artist.

Our readers could deepen the knowledge about other details from Mr. Kenner's career at the Chopin Foundation site (which contains a brief biography and a longer essay portraying the artist in his human dimensions), or at his site which lists not only the many competitions, awards, concerts, tours, recordings, but also contains brief excerpts from various reviews praising the pianist as someone of a "stature as one of the finest American pianists to come along in years" (Chicago Tribune, 1994). In 1988, Ken Krehbiel observed in a review of Kenner's concert published in "The Washington Post" that the pianist's "rapt dreaminess was riveting in the Nocturnes and his virtuosity in the Scherzo was dramatically expressive, not merely showy." In 1992, James Roos announced in "The Miami Herald" that Kenner "has technique to burn wedded to musicianship of keen sensitivity." Finally, to quote just one more critical voice, Adrian Jack stated in "The Independent" (London, 18 April 1994): "The recital revealed a pianist not just with brilliant technique but also fine judgement, courage and depth of feeling....I have never felt so close to the truth in Chopin's Ballades.. .Kenner showed his rarest asset: a big heart which opens freely."

In addition to so highly regarded solo recitals and frequent appearances with major orchestras and conductors (as a soloist in concerti by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, etc.) Kenner enjoys playing chamber music. He frequently performs with his wife, Polish-English pianist, Sonia Dembinska - with whom he premiered, for instance, a new piece by young Polish composer, Jacek Grudzien. Kenner also performs on historical instruments (fortepianos from the first half of the 19th century). The CDs that he has issued contain: four Scherzi, four Mazurkas op. 67, two polonaises and a selection of other pieces (Floating Earth, 1997) and 24 Preludes, Nocturne op. 27 no. 2, Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante op. 22 (Polygram 1995). Kenner's current projects include lecture recitals celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Chopin's death - focusing on Chopin himself and illustrated with excerpts from diaries and letters ("Fifteen Scenes from Chopin's Life"), or on Chopin's relationship to his great contemporaries, such as painter Emile Delacroix, and pianist-composer Carl Maria von Weber. We hope to see him again during his next recital in Los Angeles. For more details about his career and contact information with his agents visit the Kevin Kenner web site at Compuserve.

What of the June 5 recital, though? The program, played without intermission, was divided into several blocks of shorter pieces. First, Mr. Kenner performed Chopin's Polonaise in A major op. 40 no. 1 following it with a set of: Polonaise in G minor (written by a 7 year old child prodigy, Chopin's first known work) and four Mazurkas (in Bflat major op. 7 no. 1, in c major op. 56 no. 2, in C minor op. 56 no. 2, in F minor op. 68 no. 4). The next block included selections from Preludes op. 28 (no. 8 in F sharp minor and no. 24 in D minor) as well as the Nocturne in C -sharp minor and the Waltz in F major op. 34 no. 3. The final segment of the program was the often heard Sonata in Bflat minor op. 35. To not end in a dramatic mood (this sonata includes the famous Funeral March and ends with a nightmarish Presto), Kenner played some more Waltzes for an encore. The recital did not consist only of Chopin's music. After the introductory Polonaise, the pianist rose from the piano to address the audience and introduce his program, giving his rationale for the inclusion of various works - that he selected to span Chopin's whole compositional career, including examples of the major genres.

Kenner's performance was dreamy and delicate in the quiet parts of the Nocturne, heroic in the Polonaise, brilliant and virtuosic in the Preludes and poignant, with a strong tragic undertone in the Sonata. At the end of the performance, which received a standing ovation, Mrs. Wilk stated that her piano had never sounded better. Indeed, I shared her admiration for the talent of the musician who could produce such an amazing variety of sounds from an instrument that I knew to be rather difficult and in acoustic conditions that were far from ideal. The lovely, though modest in size, living room of the Wilk residence was filled to its capacity with chairs and people (some 100 listeners attended this event). Such a massive audience in a "chamber-music" space does not enrich, but rather attenuates the sounds, thus making the task of the pianist much more difficult. Every note is heard clearly, there is no reverberation to "cover up" the mistakes, wrong notes, etc. I am happy to report that Kenner rose to the challenge and swept his listeners off their feet: I have never heard the Second Sonata played with such a full range of emotions, such a perfect formal balance, and such expressive richness. The tone of the funeral march was constrained enough to raise this segment to the level of the highest spiritual inspiration (it is too easy to exaggerate the dramatic and funereal aspects of the music). The tempo was somewhat faster than on some recordings that I know - that of a real march during the funeral. The final Presto captured the visionary aspects of Chopin's music, that harmonically and texturally was well beyond the understanding of his time. It is a very strange ending to a sonata - a mere 3 minutes of extremely fast passagework spanning through the whole keyboard, with strange harmonies and even stranger, relentless continuity. One could say that it sounds like an etude, but it is too dramatic for that... In Kenner's interpretation, the Sonata truly shone with all of its riches.

At the same time it showed off an incomparable dexterity of Kenner's fingers - his technique is impeccable and has a clockwork precision (it actually made me think of pianolas and synthesizers, where such details and exactness is possible). However, Mr. Kenner is not a machine: the expressiveness of his performance resulted in creating a full range of moods from the nostalgic and elegiac (Mazurkas), through the playful (though childish in the early Polonaise), to serene, whimsical, fantastic... One needs a thesaurus to give justice to the multifaceted scope of his interpretation. While listening to the whole recital (and not thinking that I should evaluate the performance of each individual work, one by one) I was struck by the image of Chopin that emerged from these torrents of sound: childhood happiness, romantic youth (heroic outbursts), longing for lost homeland (Mazurkas) amidsts salon distractions (Waltz), and a deep, pervading sense of tragedy (Sonata).

Congratulations to the pianist for such a musical feast! And congratulations to the hostess - Ms. Wanda Wilk has shown, once again, how to welcome guests from near and far, how to make everone feel at home and at ease, how to create an unforgettable musical event. Ms. Wilk initiated collaborations between the PMRC and the Modjeska Club; these joint events have previously included visits of Marta Ptaszynska (percussionist-composer, 1997) and pianists Barbara Hesse-Bukowska with Maciej Piotrowski (part of the USC "Heritage of Chopin" lecture series).



Mr. Robert Bates, the University Organist of Stanford University in California, will play a recital at St. Zygmunt Church in Zoliborz on Plac Konfederacji on Sunday, July 18, 1999. The program will feature music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, including works by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Dietrich Buxtehude, J. S. Bach, and Johann Gottfried Walther. Rarely can an American organist of such high caliber be heard in Poland. Mr. Bates is a native of Detroit and received his master's degree in music from Detroit's Wayne State University. Following further studies with the world-renowned French organist Marie-Claire Alain in Paris, where he received the Conservatoire de Rueil-Malmaison's Prix d' Excellence and Prix de Virtuosité, he completed his Ph.D. in musicology at Stanford University and then joined the University's faculty in 1985. Starting in September, however, Mr. Bates moves to Texas, where he has just been appointed Associate Professor of Organ at the University of Houston.

Bates has recorded the complete organ works of Johannes Brahms and Louis-Claude Daquin and is currently completing the recording of the complete organ works of the 17th century Spanish composer Correa de Arauxo. The year 2000 sees him as one of the featured performers at the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists. The concert is free of charge and everyone is cordially invited to attend. For further information contact Joseph A. Herter, Warsaw, Music Director, Choir of the John the Baptist Cathedral, Tel/fax: 48-22-826-9558


IN THE U.S. (1930s and 1940s)

by Barbara Zakrzewska-Nikiporczyk

While cataloging music scores at Polish Music Reference Center, I noticed a very interesting series entitled "ALBUM Wesolych Tańców Polskich na Orkiestrę" ("Album of merry Polish dances for orchestra") published by Ignacy Podgórski in Philadelphia. Nos 1-20 of this series appeared in the years 1933-1948. This series had been received by the PMRC from The Polish Arts & Culture Foundation, San Francisco. I think that this publication is an important source of information about the activities of Polish musicians in the field of popular music in various American cities, such as Philadelphia, Trenton, N.J., Meriden, Conn., Fall River, Mass., Flint, Mich., Chicago, New York Mills, N.Y., New Bedford, Mass., Indian Orchard, Mass., Schenectady, N.Y., Easthampton, Mass., and Brooklyn, N.Y.

Podgorski Orchestra
    What one can learn from the scores ? We may find out, for instance, that Ignacy Podgórski was a music publisher and owner of the music store in Philadelphia, at 2233 Orthodox Street. At the same time he was a violinist and conductor of his own dance orchestra, which performed in Philadelphia. As a publisher he was able to prepare the editions of Polish dances for dance orchestras with the instrumentation for the 1st Violin, B-flat Cornet or Bflat Ist Tenor Saxophone, E flat Alto Saxophone, Trombone or Cello, Bass, Piano accompaniment, Accordion and Piano solo. These dances also featured a melody line with words. When looking at the "Album" I noticed, that Podgorski was also a composer of several dances, such as: "Broncia, polka", "Wesoła kumoszka, polka", "Siwa gąska, siwa - polka", "Nasz kumoter, oberek", "Nowomodny oberek". "W jezioreczku bystra woda", W Warszawie być , walc", "Zakochany Franuś, oberek", "Polka, od Lwowa", "Na weselu u Pietruszki", "Marsz staropolski", "Za pieniądze wszystko można", "Polka Stasia", "Wesoła Mania, polka", "Oberek krakowski", "Moje złotko, walc", "Kujawiak od Kruświcy", "Polka od Rzeszowa", "Walc dla zakochanych", "Krakowiak", "Chłopski oberek", "Nikt nie winien, polka", "Malarz, oberek", "Złota rybka, polka", "Zalotna polka", "Polka wesołych muzykantów", "Na weselu, oberek", "Olemka, polka", "Skoczna polka".

Here I am mentioning only the titles of his dances, which have been published in the first two volumes of the series. But of course, he composed and published many more dances in the subsequent volumes; he also wrote songs for other publications, which appeared in various series issued by his publishing house: "Podgórski's Easy Polish album for junior orchestra", "Podgórski's Polish song book," "Podgórski's Favorite Polish song albums."

The repertoire of the Podgórski's Dance Orchestra is presented in the first six volumes of the series. Apart from the dances composed by Podgórski himself, his orchestra performed also the dances by Edward Piech, F. Kowal, P. P. Wilusz, and anonymous Polish dances arranged by E. Grudowski, P.P. Wilusz, F. Kowal, and W. Osowski. Dances published in volumes 7-17, 20 had been composed by Podgórski and by anonymous composers. Edward "Judy" Rominiecki published his dances with English titles in vol.18. Stanley J. Sosnowski included his compositions in vol. 19. Volume 14th, published during World War II, contained Feliks Nowowiejski's "Rota" [Oath] under title "Nie damy ziemi" [We shall not give away our land]; this composition had been expanded by Podgórski and arranged by E. Grudowski. During World War II several other pieces received patriotic titles: " Żołnierski marsz" [Soldiers March] by Podgórski (vol.13), "W wolnym kraju" [In a free country] (vol.14), and "Patriotyczny marsz" [Patriotic March] by Podgórski (vol.16). Sixteen pieces included in vol. 17 may be recognized as well-known but anonymous melodies of patriotic or popular songs, eg.: "Boże coś Polskę", "Już miesiąc zaszedł", "W poniedziałek rano", "Jak to na wojence ładnie", "Góralu czy ci nie żal", "Pije Kuba do Jakuba", "Upływa szybko życie", "Przybyli ułani", "Miała baba koguta."

From volume number seven onwards, pictures and names of other Polish dance orchestras are placed on the covers, so we learn how many different Polish dance orchestras performed during the 1930s and 1940s. The following orchestras are mentioned:

Pearl Predel and her Orchestra
    There are also two soloists presented on covers: Edward (Judy) Rominiecki (accordionist) from Philadelphia and Stanley Sosnowski (accordionist) from Brooklyn.

    It is interesting to note that among the above mentioned orchestras, one consists of women only (Pearl Predel and her Orchestra, the cover is reproduced on the side), and seven are radio broadcasting orchestras. During the war years many performance groups emerged in the U.S. that consisted only of women: men went to fight the war and their place had to be filled. The large number of radio orchestras indicates that the Polish dance groups played a significant role in their cities and that they presented a high artistic level. The majority of Polish dances issued in that series had been recorded on RCA Victor records. The last orchestra mentioned above - Walter Solek and his Radio Recording Orchestra - recorded many polkas on four cassettes ("Walt Solek sings", "Best of Walt Solek". "Dynamite polkas", "Super polkas") and one CD ("Crown prince of polkas").

As you see from this report, cataloging music scores does not have to be a tedious task. It may provide a curious individual with an opportunity to explore and examine the past. It is possible to discover many forgotten or unknown musicians, much music that is little known today. The history of Polish dance orchestras has not been written. The popular music series received at the PMRC from the Polish Arts and Culture Foundation in San Francisco is a historical document of the first magnitute and a proof of a continuous cultural vitality of the Polish community in the U.S.


by Wanda Wilk

Recent Releases:



by Maria Anna Harley


"Time flies if you are busy"- this is what one could say when summarizing the results of the 10-month-long visit to California by Dr. Barbara Zakrzewska-Nikiporczyk from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. On June 27, 1999, Dr. Zakrzewska left Los Angeles after the completion of her fellowship from the Kosciuszko Foundation. She spent that time at the Polish Music Reference Center working on projects that may be not very spectacular or highly visible, but which create the "fabric" of cultural life and are indispensable for cultural institutions to function properly. Her task was to correct, update and expand the catalogs of music holdings at the PMRC. Our collection was previously expertly catalogued by Jill Olechno-Huszcza and partly included in the databases of libraries at the University of Southern California. Unfortunately, due to errors conducted at the main library level, some of this data was lost; as a result for several years we only had listings on one computer in our office, plus printouts from our internal databases that could be consulted by our visitors and students at the PMRC. The catalog was in dire need of an update and we hoped, when applying for the grant for Dr. Zakrzewska from the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York, that one year would be enough to fix all the problems. Moreover, our collection has continued to grow. We had acquired much new material - for instance the music holdings of the Polish Arts and Culture Foundation in San Francisco. The Foundation had to move from its spacious headquarters and was forced to disperse its library that it no longer had a room for; after some deliberations, the PMRC decided to purchase its music holdings. (The transaction was completed thanks to yet another generous donation from Dr. and Mrs. Wilk).

I have only the highest words of praise for the meticulous working habits and perfect quality of the work of Dr. Zakrzewska. Her expertise in cataloging Polish music material is unique. Upon her arrival in California, in September 1998, she immediately started pursuing what seemed, at that time, to be an ideal course of action. She agreed to all the conditions of the Doheny Library and, after a brief period of familiarizing herself with the American cataloging systems, began her work on cataloging scores that had not been included in our listings. She had to look up every item on the internet, in the main music library database (OCLC), then check and describe each score, follow the guidelines in assigning the various numbers to it, and pass on her work to Dr. Kathy Glennan, the main music cataloger for USC. After Dr. Glennan's revisions, it was then entered into the computer system by a student assistant. Working in this fashion, Dr. Zakrzewska created records for 512 scores that had not been previously entered in the catalog. Unfortunately, Dr. Glennan was not able to process all the data prepared by Dr. Zakrzewska and returned to the PMRC, without entering the data, about 70 scores. Since the Doheny Library began preparing for its closure for the year 1999/2000 (due to a seismic retrofit supported by a federal grant), Dr. Zakrzewska moved back to the PMRC to work on our internal databases.

Barbara Zakrzewska
    In the period from December to June, she catalogued "from the scratch" our CD collection (200 items), as well as revised and updated our catalogs of LP recordings of music and poetry/prose, as well as the catalog of books. Some of the internally catalogued items are not yet included in the main library listings - this task will take a lot of time in the future (when the library has the proper resources for this purpose). At present, all the recordings are listed with each individual work receiving a separate record - we have ca. 1600 records for the CDs, 926 call numbers and 5,641 individual record numbers for LPs (including 340 newly added LPs from the San Francisco collection), and 20 call numbers (or 103 works of literature) in the database of recorded prose and poetry. Combing through all this data, and checking every single item, could be called a herculean task. Its magnitude can be appreciated, paradoxically, only by those who work in a similar domain. I should explain here that cataloging foreign material may be extremely slow - it sometimes takes several hours, or even a whole day, to recognize and describe a single item. Therefore, I am very impressed with the amount of work completed by Dr. Zakrzewska in such a short time.

Indeed, she completed much more than the updates to our listings: she wrote several reports and short articles about events "100 years ago" that appeared in the PMRC Newsletter, she wrote for "Ruch Muzyczny," attended meetings in the main offices of two important international music databases - RILM (music literature, including dissertations, books,a rticles, etc.), and RIPM (music periodicals) in Washington and New York. She also represented the PMRC at the Annual Meeting of the Music Library Association and, I hope, found time to have some fun.

But the work is far from being done. We have a lot of cassette tapes that have not been attended to yet, as well as a large collection of organ and church music that has not even been listed yet (the Slonimsky Collection). I hope that the extension of Dr. Zakrzewska's fellowship for another period of 3 months in the fall of 1999 will allow her to complete the work on our recordings, assist in preparing the online catalogs at our site, and complete the updates of the scores catalog. In the long-term it would be worthwhile for everyone to have all of our databases accessible as a part of USC Homer catalog - it is connected to all-California "Melvyl" catalog, and available online through "Worldcat." At present, due to structural work on the main library building, this project is impossible to be completed.

Instead, Dr. Zakrzewska will work on listings of the cassettes and help prepare our own online searchable catalogs. Her time spent re-organizing and cataloging our internal catalogs has been, and will continue to be a good investment in the future of the PMRC. It is not too difficult to create online search engines for databases posted on web sites and I intend to convert the ACCESS internal databases into searchable catalogs available 24-hours per day, 7 days of the week at the PMRC web site. At the moment the online catalog site only contains an html file specifying the contents of our manuscript collection (deposited at the Special Collection Department of the USC Library). The preparation of an online version of the database would be scheduled simultaneously with Dr. Zakrzewska's extended stay at the PMRC (September-November 1999), and would take very little of her time: this project should be realized by computer programers who specialize in this type of work. Her presence would allow to solve problems and issues arising from the conversion of data, and to properly prepare the categories for searching the database.

We will miss Dr. Zakrzewska during the time of her absence from California and hope to have her back for more than the 3 months supported by another Kosciuszko Foundation grant. Cataloging a growing collection (and growing rather fast, with all the donations received from individuals and institutions - there is hardly a day without a book or CD package in the mailbox), resembles housekeeping. No matter how much work has been done there are things to do. This work never ends, but when it is done properly, it benefits all. Thanks to the generosity of the Kosciuszko Foundation and its President Joseph Gore, and thanks to the expertise and diligence of Dr. Zakrzewska, the PMRC is now one step closer towards fulfilling its mission - making information about Polish music available to everyone in the U.S. and the world.


Exhibit at the Colburn School
    In May, the PMRC prepared an exhibit in the foyer of the Colburn School for Performing Arts, to accompany lecture of Dr. Christopher Hailey, who gave a talk about Contemporary Music in Central and Northern Europe as a part of the "Surprising Century" lecture series organized this year by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Our exhibit brought some information about contemporary Polish composers, including posters for the Chopin and Bacewicz years (courtesy of the PWM Edition, Krakow, promotional department), brochures for composers such as Bacewicz and younger members of the Polish Composers' Union (courtesy of PWM and the Composers' Union), and books, materials, posters, programs of past events published by the Polish Music Reference Center. The materials were handed out to all attendees of the lecture and disappeared very quickly.

In June, the PMRC was represented by its director at two conferences - Exhibiting Central European Modernism at UCLA, and 57th Annual Meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts and Culture of America held in New York. On June 5th, Wanda Wilk hosted the Kevin Kenner Chopin recital. Through May and June work on editing the volume After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music continued in a steady pace (with Anne Desler and Brian Harlan), while Michal Jankowski started a research assistantship supported by a grant from Southern California Studies Center at USC. Mr. Jankowski is working on statistical data for my project "Polish Dance in Southern California" to be completed by the end of the summer.

In the academic year 1999/2000 the PMRC will not host any large scale music events; instead the staff will focus on publications. Two issues of the second volume of the Internet Polish Music Journal will appear in 1999 - all the articles will be devoted to Fryderyk Chopin. Work has began on next three titles in the Polish Music History Series: Szymanowski Songs edited by Zofia Helman, Teresa Chylińska, and Alistair Wightman, Józef Koffler by Maciej Gołąb, and Górecki: An Autumn Portrait, edited by Maria Anna Harley. Ms. Małgorzata Szyszkowska, junior Fulbright Scholar from the University of Warsaw, will conclude her fellowship at USC under my supervision in August 1999 but we will continue hosting visiting scholars from Poland. Besides the extension of fellowship granted to Dr. Zakrzewska-Nikiporczyk (September-November), the Kosciuszko Foundation will also sponsor the research of doctoral student Adam Szklener, who will divide his studies in the U.S. between the PMRC and the University of Pennsylvania (with Jeffrey Kallberg).


Born this month:

    • July 04, 1904 - Artur Malawski, composer (d. 1957)
    • July 06, 1837 - Władysław Żeleński, composer (with a doctorate in philosophy, d.1921)
    • July 09, 1931 - Eugeniusz Knapik, composer
    • July 10, 1936 - Jan Wincenty Hawel, composer
    • July 10, 1835 - Henryk Wieniawski, violin virtuoso & composer (see his Page at the PMRC)
    • July 10, 1929 - Tadeusz Strumiłło, musicologist (d. 1956)
    • July 13, 1775 - Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł, composer, cellist, patron of arts (d. 1833)
    • July 14, 1926 - Jan Krenz, conductor & composer
    • July 16, 1947 - Grażyna Pstrokonska-Nawratil, composer
    • July 17, 1932 - Wojciech Kilar, composer
    • July 22, 1930 - Leoncjusz Ciuciura, composer
    • July 23, 1884 - Apolinary Szeluto, composer (Young Poland group, d. 1966)
    • July 26, 1928 - Tadeusz Baird, composer (d. 1982, see his Page at the PMRC)
    • July 26, 1922 - Andrzej Koszewski, composer (choral music)
    • July 29, 1943 - Marta Ptaszyńska, composer & percussionist (see her Page at the PMRC)

    Died this month:

    • July 6, 1911 - Kazimierz Hofman (b. 1842, pianist, composer, father of the renowned virtuoso and director of Curtis Institute, Józef Hofmann)
    • July 8, 1906 - Franciszek Bornik (b. 1870), priest, conductor, writer
    • July 21, 1964 - Zygmunt Sitowski (b. 1906), musicologist
    • July 23, 1829 - Wojciech Bogusławski (b. 1757), the first theatre director in Poland, the author of several opera libretti (set by J. Stefani and J. Elsner)
    • July 25, 1831 - Maria Szymanowska (b. 1789), pianist & composer (see her Page at the PMRC)

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Copyright 1999 by the Polish Music Reference Center
Send your comments and inquiries to: polmusic@usc.edu

Newsletter Editors: Wanda Wilk and Maria Anna Harley
Formatting by M. A. Harley, 1 July 1999