Polish Music Newsletter

June 2017, Vol. 23, No. 6. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California

 Anniversaries  |  Awards  Discography | Festivals 
News | Obituaries |
Performances | PMC News

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Thank you so much to all of our wonderful donors who made our online *Website Reboot* fundraising campaign such a success! On May 17, we reached our goal of 50 donors, which invoked a special Angel Donor gift of $5,000. By the end of the campaign on May 24, donors from around the world had raised $15,076—well over our $10,000 total monetary goal! We are deeply touched that this campaign has received such widespread support, which serves as a directive for us to do great things with the internet's primary English-language resource for Polish music information.

Our goal for this reboot can be summed up in one word: dynamism. Our website is usually the first hit in a Google search about anything related to Polish music, but once you land on our site, it is easy to get lost amidst the amount of information available. One user recently likened our site to a static, printed textbook—and unfortunately, the doomed fate of much printed media is all too familiar these days. Our goal is to transform the static into the dynamic, without losing any of the research value of the amazing information within. Whether you are a casual reader, a working musician or a researcher in musicology, we want to add clarity and searchability to your experience, be it on a computer or mobile device, while establishing a more dynamic platform upon which to build our site into the future.

We look forward to launching our new site in the fall!



The composer's widow, Clarissa Ryterband (center), with her daughters Astrid Ryterband (left) and Diana Eisele (right), son-in-law Robert Eisele (far left) and granddaugher Marissa Eisele (far right)

Thank you also to those who attended our recent concert at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Dedicated to "The Music of Roman Ryterband," the program was a great success, and was witnessed not only by members of the Ryterband family but also other Holocaust survivors from the city of Łódź. It was a deeply moving and joyful affair!

The concert program was solely comprised of Ryterband’s works—Deux Images [Two Images] for harp solo, Trois Ballades Hebraiques [Three Hebrew Ballades] and Z Polskich Niw [Song of the Plains of Poland] for violin and piano, and Three Hebrew Songs, Two American Songs and Spring of Love - Concerto Waltz for soprano and piano—and was performed by pianist Nic Gerpe, violinist Chandler Yu, soprano Kirsten Ashley Wiest, and harpist Ko Ni Choi.

Videos from these incredible performances are now available online on the PMC's Youtube channel.

[Photo credit: Krysta Close. Property of the USC Polish Music Center]



paso pops 2017

On Saturday, July 1, the Paderewski Festival presents Paso Pops, the annual patriotic-themed concert and Independence Day celebration in Paso Robles combining great wine, beer and food with live music, family-friendly activities and fireworks at the Paso Robles Horse Park.  The 2017 “Pops” program has been announced, with an important reminder to those planning to attend that the deadline for ticket purchases is June 29 – unless the event sells out earlier. No day-of tickets will be sold.

The San Luis Obispo Symphony, paired with Youth Symphony members, and led by Guest Conductor Christopher J. Woodruff will perform a 90-minute patriotic “Pops” program. Pieces to be performed will include: Bernstein’s Overture to Candide; Copland’s Variations on a Shaker Melody; Ward/Dragon’s America the Beautiful; Gershwin/Bennett’s Porgy and Bess: Symphonic Picture; and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture set to a cannon fusillade with a rousing fireworks finale.

Other planned highlights of the evening will be a Military Honor Guard presentation, the Star-Spangled Banner sung by Alodie Ayers with the Singing Hands Children’s Choir and Paso Robles High School Advanced Choir, and emcee Paso Wine Man Casey Biggs.  Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition Winners Jack Raventos and Sarah Girges will perform solos of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in g, Op 23 No. 5 and Chopin/Liszt’s The Maiden’s Wish.

A debut Paso Pops performance by the Swing Dolls of Los Angeles will include performances of “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”, “Hold Tight”, “Salute to the Armed Forces” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” 

A new addition for Paso Pops 2017 is an after party featuring music by Ricky Montijo and the Mojitos immediately following Paso Pops and fireworks finale for patrons who wish to extend the evening and avoid after-event traffic. 

The main sponsors of Paso Pops 2017 are Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Travel Paso Robles Alliance, Allegretto Resort and Cass Winery.

Net proceeds from Paso Pops will be distributed to the Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition and Student Cultural Exchange ProgramSan Luis Obispo Youth Symphony, Studios on the Park Youth Art Program and Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation.

To become a Paso Pops table sponsor, to purchase tickets, or for day-of information such as food and parking instructions, please visit www.pasopops.org.  Direct ticket purchases can be made at www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-paso-pops-tickets-29703806886?aff=eac2#tickets. For individuals without web access, call 805-235-5409.

paso pops, logo

The Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles is a 501c3 non-profit that sponsors an annual series of concerts featuring internationally acclaimed artists, the Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition and Youth Exchange Program, and other Paderewski-themed events.  This year’s Festival will be held November 2-5, 2017 at various venues in Paso Robles.



tomaszewski penderecki essaysDuring recent meetings with PMC Director Marek Zebrowski, officials from the Kraków Music Academy presented several items for the PMC’s ever-growing library. First, an important English-language resource by the esteemed musicologist and pedagogue, Mieczysław Tomaszewski, entitled Krzysztof Penderecki and His Music. Four Essays. We were also gifted 3 interesting CDs produced by the Academy: “Jazz in Academia – Big Band AM+” – the first recording of the Academy’s Big Band, under the leadership of Wojciech Groborz; a CD of Chopin works performed by current students and graduates of the Academy; and a CD of Paderewski’s Symphony in B minor op. 24 “Polonia,” as performed by the Symphony Orchestra of the Academy led by Wojciech Czepiel, cond.

weinberg_spmkPianist Piotr Różański of the Stowarzyszenie Polskich Muzyków Kameralistów recently donated the CD “Weinberg: Sonatas For Violin And Piano,” performed by his duo partner violinist Maria Sławek. Mieczysław Weinberg, a Polish Jewish composer who survived the Holocaust by escaping to the Soviet Union, has experienced quite the period of rediscovery during the last few years, and this album provides not only insight into his lesser known works for piano and violin, but also excellent liner notes written by Maria Sławek. cracowduo_spod-estrady

Our great friends pianist Marek Szlezer and cellist Jan Kalinowski of the Cracow Duo gifted us their not-yet-released book and CD entitled Spod Estrady. In it, musicologist Mateusz Borkowski interviews the duo on the occasion of their 15th anniversary of musical collaboration and adventure. The text is accompanied by many photos as well as a disc of music that is important to the musicians, including works by Aleksander Tansman, Marcel Chyrzyński and Bartosz Chajdecki.

June17/laks_messagesqtetFrom the Messages String Quartet we received an interesting new CD examining the three String Quartets by Szymon Laks that survived WWII and the composer’s time at the Auschwitz extermination camp: his String Quartets Nos. III, IV and V (DUX Records 1286). The Messages String Quartet is an all-female ensemble comprised of Małgorzata Wasiucionek, Oriana Masternak – violin, Maria Dutka – viola, and Beata Urbanek-Kalinowska – cello.

Dawid Pajdzik is the leader of the Gorzów Philharmonic’s viola section and a graduate of Wrocław Music Academy. A recent recipient of a semester-long scholarship from Lynn Music University in Boca Raton, Florida, Mr. Pajdzik also had a chance to perform with the New World Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Gustavo Dudamel. In addition to his orchestral work, Dawid also likes to compose original works and arrange music by other composers for a variety of ensembles. After Marek Zebrowski’s performance with the Gorzów Philharmonic in May, Mr. Pajdzik presented two of his compositions: Concerto for Clarinet, Viola and Strings and Sinfonietta for Strings, as a donation for the Polish Music Center. These two pdf scores will join our electronic library and will be made available to students and scholars interested in szymanowski-karaskiewiczcontemporary music by Polish composers.

Kathryn Marshall and Divine Art Records sent the PMC a promotional copy of their brand new release “Karol Szymanowski: Piano Music.” The CD is performed by Polish pianist Barbara Karaśkiewicz. With this album, she turns to the composer that she considers the most important in Poland and one for whose music there is a high demand.

naxos_nowakowskiFrom Naxos Records, we received a promotional copy of their new CD by Polish-American composer Mark Nowakowski. The works on this album are Nowakowski’s haunting tributes to the Polish people’s spirit of survival, and are performed by the Voxare String Quartet with soloist Emily Ondracek-Peterson and the composer performing electronics.




Artur ZagajewskiSzymon Stanisław StrzelecAndrzej Kwieciński
Zagajewski        |         Strzelec        |        Kwieciński

On May 19 in Palermo, Brut (2014) by Polish composer Artur Zagajewski (b. 1978) and Reachings (2014) by young Finnish composer Sebastian Hilli (b. 1990) were the works selected by radio music producers participating in the 64th International Rostrum of Composers (IRC) held in Palermo from May 16 to 20, 2017. A flagship program of the International Music Council, the prestigious IRC gathered representatives from 29 national radio networks from four continents, which presented 58 works composed within the five years preceding the Rostrum. 35% of these works were by composers under the age of 30. Evert van Berkel, recording producer for P2 live at the Swedish Radio, chaired the sessions. After the listening sessions, the assembly of delegates selected and recommended the most distinctive works in two categories: “general” and “young composers under 30.” The winning and recommended pieces will be presented in concerts and broadcast by participating IRC radio stations and across the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) via its wide network of members and associate satellite members, thereby reaching billions of listeners and ensuring excellent international coverage for the composers.

In the general category, brut (2014) for 11 instruments by Artur Zagajewski—premiered at the Warszawska Jesień Contemporary Music Festival in 2014 by cellist Dominik Połoński and the Arte dei Suonatori ensemble—was selected by the 2017 IRC delegates as most outstanding. Another work presented by Polish Radio Program 2, L’Atelier de sensorité by Szymon Stanisław Strzelec, was also awarded a “recommended” designation in the “Under 30” category.

Brut: a French word meaning raw, rough, unpolished, unworked, unpurified, primitive, primeval, brute…

“This piece was inspired by a fascination with Le Corbusier and brutalist architecture. I found it particularly interesting to combine this topic with the use of historical instruments, commonly associated with quite different canons of beauty. Brut was written on the initiative of the cellist Dominik Polonski.” (A. Zagajewski)

Also related to this year’s proceedings, another Polish composer—the 2014 ‘Under 30’ Category winner Andrzej Kwieciński—recorded his new work super [P|PE(s)] DEMO at the Radio France headquarters in Paris on 30 May 2017. The piece was played by the Ensemble 2e2m directed by Pierre Roullier and with the special presence of Ashot Sarkissjan from the Arditti Quartet who was invited for the occasion. super [P|PE(s)] DEMO will be broadcast from 19 to 23 June 2017.

Pursuing its mission to promote contemporary music creation through broadcasting for over sixty years, the annual Rostrum has this year again strengthened its role as one of the most important “rendez-vous” for professional exchange between radio producers. Its overall objective remains fostering the exchange of performances of contemporary music between broadcasting organizations. Since 2015, the IRC has been part of a larger project co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union, Rostrum+, which aims to rethink the ways in which contemporary music connects with audiences through radio network by exploring new strategies to develop audiences, promote new music, enhance the skills of radio professionals and inspire cooperation between musicians, higher music education institutions and broadcasting companies throughout Europe and beyond.

In its 64-year history, the IRC has revealed the emergence of many of the world’s most gifted composers whilst they are still young. Famous composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Luigi Nono and Murray Schafer, had their first international successes when they were presented at the Rostrum.

All IRC recordings, scores and notes are deposited at the Music Centre The Netherlands in Amsterdam.

[Sources: polmic.pl, rostrumplus.net]



Szymon Nehring

Polish pianist Szymon Nehring won the first prize at the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, which brought together more than 30 pianists from all over the world. Nehrig also won the Yehuda and Dolinie Izrael Audience Award, the Junior Jury Prize, the Best Performer of a Chopin Piece Prize and the Advance Studies Prize.

The Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv is one of the most prestigious competitions for young pianists (ages 18-32). The jury, under the supervision of prof. Arie Vardiego, included Hui-Qiao Bao, Josef Bardanashvili, Michel Béroff, Peter Donohoe, Janina Fialkowska, Ian Hobson, Menahem Pressler, Eliso Virsaladze, Ramzi Yassa and Dina Yoffe. The “junior jury,” composed of finalists of the 1st International Arthur Rubinstein Youth Piano Competition in Beijing in 2016, also deliberated during the competition. This year’s competition was held from April 25 – May 11.

[Source: beethoven.org.pl]



Photo by Franciszek Araszkiewicz

On May 26, 2017 the final concert of the 58th edition of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) Tadeusz Baird Young Composers' Competition was held at the Warsaw headquarters of the Polish Music Publishers (PWM). The Competition was organized by ZKP in cooperation with PWM and the Association of Authors ZAiKS, with the funds from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage under the “Muzyka” program.

After hearing the many excellent compositions submitted anonymously to the Compeition, the jury—comprised of such noted composers as: Paweł Szymański (chairman), Tomasz Opałka (secretary), Marcel Chyrzyński, Tadeusz Gadzina and Hanna Kulenty—declared the final verdict, then opened the envelopes revealing the true names of the composers who had won:

  • Tadeusz Baird Main Prize – Paweł Malinowski  for …über BWV 971
    (submitted under the pseudonym “Alfons van Worden”)
  • Distinctions – Michał Gronowicz for Suite pour le souper du…
    (submitted under the pseudonym “tuise”)
    and Franciszek Araszkiewicz for cum structura
    (submitted under the pseudonym “REVIECEDTAERG”)

Paweł Malinowski (b. 1994) is a third undergraduate student of music theory and composition in the class of prof. Wojciech Widłak at the Kraków Academy of Music. Michał Gronowicz (b. 1986) is a graduate of Kraków Academy of Music in the harpsichord class of prof. Elżbieta Stefańska and the composition class of prof. Zbigniew Bargielski. His works were performed in Poland and abroad (Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary). He is currently a lecturer at the Kraków Academy. Franciszek Araszkiewicz (b. 1986) studied composition at the Kraków Academy of Music under Prof. Krzysztof Knittel (2010-2013), then finished his masters studies under Dr. Marcel Chyrzyński (2013-2015). He is currently continuing his studies at the same university as a doctoral student. He is the author of instrumental, vocal-instrumental, electroacoustic, audiovisual, interactive and conceptual art as well as popular music.

The award ceremony for the Tadeusz Baird Young Composers' Competition will take place during the 2017 "Warsaw Autumn" Contemporary Music Festival in September.

[Sources: polmic.pl, zkp.org.pl]



grzegorz nowakteatr weilki logo, polish national opera

The winners of the International Opera Awards 2017, sponsored by Mazars in association with BBC Radio 3 and Opera Magazine, were announced on Sunday 7th May in a ceremony held at the London Coliseum.  Winners were selected by an international jury chaired by John Allison, editor of Opera Magazine and classical music critic with The Daily Telegraph. The coveted Opera Magazine Readers’ Award went to Juan Diego Flórez, with nearly 7000 votes cast online. Renata Scotto was at the ceremony to collect zelenski goplanaher Lifetime Achievement Award, with Lawrence Brownlee and Anna Netrebko taking the Male and Female Singer Awards respectively.

In the ‘REDISCOVERED WORK’ category, Polish conductor Grzegorz Nowak and the Teatr Wielki / Polish National Opera for their revival of Żeleński's Goplana that was produced in Warsaw during October/November 2016. It was after this production that Nowak was asked to return to the Polish National Opera as Music Director. Among the other nominees in this category were such esteemed opera theaters as La Scala, Berlin Komische Oper, and Teatro Regio di Torino.

[Sources: press release, broadwayworld.com]



The general opinion is that everyone can criticize others. A deeper reflection and careful assessment of the music phenomenon is a rare ability. Yet much rarer is the ability to make an original judgment in such a way that it attracts attention of casual readers. We believe that constructive music criticism can and should be considered as true art. That’s why we created the Competition for the Polish Music Critics “KROPKA” (“DOT”). This event has an opportunity to contribute to an integration of artistic communities, which due to their great diversity and niche music genres, remain disunited.

kropka competition

On Sunday, May 28 at the PWM headquarters in Warsaw, the award gala for the 2017 "KROPKA" [DOT] Polish Music Critics Competition, organized by the Meakultura Foundation, was held. During this year’s 3rd edition, prizes—including statuettes, diplomas, CDs, books and valuable audio equipment for the winner of Grand Prix—were awarded in the following categories:

  1. Grand Prix for the best text about music published in 2016: Kaja Prusinowska for the article “Mama ma, trochę dobra, trochę zła...” (Muzyka w Mieście).
  2. Two Main Prizes (for review/report and article/feuilleton): Małgorzata Gąsiorowska for the text “Kanon XIX/XX: Kisielewski” (Ruch Muzyczny)& Krzysztof Marciniak for the article “Międzynarodowe Letnie Kursy Nowej Muzyki w Darmstadcie” (Glissando)
  3. Distinction for a debutant, i..e., a person who has not completed studies related to music and does not work professionally in the field of journalism: Karolina Anna Pawłowska for the text “Ratując Pigmejów od zapomnienia” (Meakultura.pl),
  4. Special Award for a text on Polish music published outside the country: David Pountney for the article André Tchaikowsky: from Warsaw to Belmont via a wardrobe” (The Guardian)

This year are also planned:

  • Piotr Metz Individual Award for article about popular music: Dominik Gac for the text “Let The World Burn” (Gazeta Magnetofonowa)
  • PWM Director- Editor in Chief Award: Jakub Dymek for the article “Bez winylu” (Dwutygodnik.com)
  • Foundation MEAKULTURA Award for outstanding achievements in the field of music criticism: journalist and music critic Tomasz Szachowski for his many years with Polish Radio and Jazz Forum magazine
  • Special Prize of Polish Composers Union (ZKP) Musicologist Section for promoting music in radio and television: Polish Radio publicist Marek Zwyrzykowski
  • Audience Award for the best book on music published in 2016: Leszek Gnoiński for the book Republika. Nieustanne tango

The award ceremony gala was graced with musical performances by saxophonist Cezariusz Gadzina, cellist Krzysztof Lenczowski and harpsichordist Maurycy Raczyński. Actor Maciej Makowski presided over the ceremony.

The competition received support from Polish Society of Authors and Composers ZAiKS Fund and from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

[Sources: press release, fundacjameakultura.pl, facebook.com]



ada sari 2017

The Ada Sari International Vocal Artistry Competition in Nowy Sącz is the second biggest International Vocal Competition in Poland. This year's edition (May 12-21, 2017) had a record number of applicants from 17 countries.

The Jury of the 17th Ada Sari Competition awarded the following Prizes:


  • 2nd PRIZE - MOJCA BITENC (Slovenia) soprano
  • 3rd PRIZES (ex aequo) - ALEKSANDRA JOVANOVIĆ (Serbia) soprano & HANNA OKOŃSKA (Poland) soprano


  • 1st PRIZE - DOMEN KRIŽAJ (Slovenia) baritone
  • 2nd PRIZE - PAWEŁ TROJAK (Poland) baritone
  • 3rd PRIZE - ALBERT MEMETI (Poland) tenor


  • MONIKA BUCZKOWSKA (Poland) soprano
  • SŁAWOMIR KOWALEWSKI (Poland) baritone
  • DAMIAN WILMA (Poland) baritone


[Sources: press release]


By Tomasz Fechner

Tczew, 2017

On May 19-21 the II International Tczew Guitar Festival was held in the Center of Culture and Arts in Tczew. This year’s edition of the festival featured a competition for soloists and ensembles in three age groups, allowing for the participation of not only students of universities but also children who have just started their journey with music.

Despite the fact that it was only the second edition of the festival, 48 soloists and 19 ensembles came to participate. The jury members: Jan Paterek (The Head of the Jury), Emilia Majewska, Bartosz Paprot, Tomasz Fechner, Maciej Staszewski, Zbigniew Dubiella and Monika Dżuła-Radkiewicz picked the following 1st prize winners in each division:

Group I (ages 8-14)

  • Solo: Olaf Dziak and Maja Magiera (ex aequo)
  • Ensemble: Maja Jodłowska & Maja Rynkiewicz

Group II (ages 15-21)

  • Solo: Beata Atłas and Marianna Kowal (ex aequo)
  • Ensemble: Felice Guitar Quartet (also the winners of Grand Prix for the highest score)

Group III (undergraduate students)

  • Solo: Tomasz Radziszewski
  • Ensemble: Damian Wyżykowski, Kuba Niewczas, Natalia Udke

In addition to the competition, the audience in the Center of Culture and Arts had a unique chance to listen to concerts performed by young emerging artists and people with already established concert careers. On the first day of the festival, the stage belonged to Jagoda Świdzińska –Grand Prix winner of the 2016 Competition—and Tomasz Fechner—a doctoral student and teaching assistant from the USC Thornton School of Music. It was an unusual occasion to listen to two solo guitar recitals on the stage.

The second concert of the festival was performed by Monika Dżuła-Radkiewicz, a guitar teacher from the Gdańsk Academy of Music, who shared the stage with young Polish artist Katarzyna Smolarek, who is a current student of Marco Tamayo in Salzburg.

For the final concert of the festival the organizers have prepared something special, a performance of Koncert Gdański by Krzysztof Olczak for three guitars and the chamber orchestra. Soloists Tomasz Fechner, Bartosz Paprot and Maciej Staszewski performed this unique piece with the “Progress” Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Szymon Morus (pictured above).

The festival was held under the auspices of the president of the city of Tczew - Mirosław Pobłodzki, and sponsored by Fundacja Domu Kultury, Centrum Kultury i Sztuki w Tczewie and Interton Music Shop.

[Source: press release, ckis.tczew.pl]





piotr moss

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. The Concerto was performed by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, under the baton of Jerzy Maksymiuk, featuring soloist Katarzyna Budnik-Gałązka, to whom the work is dedicated and inspired. At the request of Budnik-Gałązka, the composer introduced a part of alto saxophone obbligato modelled, to a certain extent, after the soprano obbligato from his saxophone concerto entitled Angst und Form. As with many of Moss’s other works, there are hints of early music in the Concerto, but also many quotes from his own output and a number of somewhat forgotten musical gestures. The composition incorporates dynamic fragments, strongly rhythmic and motoric. Although the mood is predominantly desolate, tragic, and mournful, the whole work concludes with a bold Allegro.

[Source: sinfoniavarsovia.org, polmic.pl]



Miłosz Bembinow’s latest work, Amor et Psyche for Choir, Big Band and String Orchestra was world-premiered on May 20 at the closing concert of the Universitas Cantat Festival in Poznań. The composer used the Latin version of this ancient story to produce a contemporary work that uses extended vocal techniques (whispering, speaking, and shouting) alongside more traditional melodic structures and harmonies. The use of big band and strings with a large-sized choir blends various European and American stylistic approaches and, in a sense, Amor etPsyche reflects Bembinow’s wide range of inspiration that has already translated itself into acatalogue of chamber, orchestral and oratorio-styled works as well as pop, film and theatre music. Bembinow’s music has been recorded on well over 30 CDs, many of which were recognized with the Fryderyk and Złoty Orfeusz Awards, and managed to reach gold and platinum status in sales.

[Source: polmic.pl]



aleksander tansmanThe Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra in Białystok presented a fascinating concert on June 9, spotlighting major works by Aleksander Tansman. On this occasion the orchestra was led by Maestro Jason Lai, who conducts the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra and also serves as Assistant Conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. The concert opened with George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture and the rest of the program included Tansman’s Symphony No. 2 in A minor and his Symphonie-concertante. Soloists in the former included violinist Rafał Dudzik and violist Jakub Grabe-Zaremba, and in the latter cellist Jan Kalinowski and pianist Marek Szlezer, known worldwide as the Cracow Duo.

Friday, June 9, 2017 | 7:00 p.m.
Composer Portrait – Aleksander Tansman
Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic, Concert Hall
Podleśna 2, 15-406 Białystok, Poland
Info: oifp.eu

[Source: polmic.pl]



In the latest issue of Gramophone, Jeremy Nicholas wrote an article about “Forgotten Romantic violin concertos” and the value of unearthing them for presentation to concert and media audiences. In his article, he highlights works by Polis composers Moritz Moszkowski, Henryk Wieniawski and Mieczysław Karłowicz. Below are highlights from the article:

moszkowski soundmarkMoszkowski - Violin Concerto (Soundmark Records: 48238): Moritz Moszkowski was a German-Jewish composer, pianist, and teacher of Polish descent on his paternal side, who was born in 1854 in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland). His Violin Concerto, “with its coherent large-scale structure, skilful [sic!] orchestration and wealth of melodic invention – contradicts the view that Moszkowski merely wrote salon trifles.”

wieniawski, testamentWieniawski - Violin Concerto No 1 (Testament SBT61471): Henryk Wieniawski was born on July 1835 in Lublin, Poland, and wrote this Concerto at the age of 17, just after completing his composition studies at the Paris Conservatory. “[The first Violin Concerto] has never rivalled the popularity of his Concerto No 2 in D minor, but with several high-profile champions on disc, No 1 in F sharp minor should be better known to a wider audience. To my mind, Rabin with Boult in 1957 is one of the great recordings of a Romantic violin concerto, the epitome of all one expects from such a work – electrifying, moving, magisterial, exultant.”

Karłowicz, Violin ConcertoKarłowicz - Violin Concerto (Hyperion CDA67389): Mieczysław Karłowicz began his studies as a violinist but, after a few years, poor health (both mental and physical) forced him to give up the violin and he turned quickly to composition. His compositions were most representative of ‘Młoda Polska’ [Young Poland], the artistic movement based on the idea of a unification of modernistic tendencies and national tradition initiated by Różycki, Fitelberg, Szymanowski, and Szeluto. “The writing of this earworm concerto, though, shows how well he knew the instrument, placing considerable technical demands on the soloist. Tasmin Little tosses these aside with her customary aplomb, but it’s the central Romanza, providing an oasis of lyrical calm, that really grabs the attention.”

[Source: gramophone.co.uk]



by Marek Zebrowski


In many ways the Gorzów Philharmonic is unique among the music institutions in Poland. Established in 2011, it is a very young orchestra and—in spite of its babyish age—already a very accomplished and artistically important ensemble. Located in a regional center of Gorzów Wielkopolski—a city of 125,000 inhabitants located in northwestern Poland—this orchestra does not serve an established base of concertgoers, like the well-known orchestras in Warsaw, Katowice, or other major Polish cities. Instead, Gorzów Philharmonic seems to attract audiences from the entire region that encompasses such cities in western Poland as Zielona Góra, Poznań and Szczecin as well as the city of Frankfurt am Oder and other, smaller communities on both sides of the Odra River that has served as Poland’s international boundary since the end of World War II.

Gorzów Philharmonic’s other great asset is its brand new and acoustically perfect concert hall that would be a dream of any mid- or large-sized town anywhere on the planet. With a carefully-planned infrastructure that includes the main concert hall, chamber concert auditorium, rehearsal areas and extensive wing housing office space and conference rooms, the entire Philharmonic complex with its underground parking is an attractive seat for events of all kinds, from classical repertoire of symphonic music to ballet, children concerts, pops and jazz shows, community events, and more. Since its opening season, this very attractive venue had already hosted a number of great guest conductors, including Krzesimir Dębski, Kazimierz Kord, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wojciech Rajski, Tadeusz Strugała, Maxim Vengerov, Antoni Wit and such world-famous soloists as Thomas Hampson, Krzysztof Jakowicz, Ivan Monighetti, Adam Makowicz, Leszek Możdżer, Piotr Paleczny, Włodek Pawlik, and others.

In spite of its very young age, the Gorzów Philharmonic is already a very cohesive ensemble displaying admirable energy, enthusiasm and accomplished musicianship. The orchestra already produced two highly acclaimed albums, including the 2012 recording of violin concertos by Sibelius and Tchaikovsky with Soyoung Moon, a winner of the Wieniawski International Violin Competition, and the 2015 CD “Spotkanie” [Encounter], featuring film music by Bronisław Kaper and Jan A.P. Kaczmarek.

wolinska-monika_ph-barbara-piotrowskaIn many ways, the spectacular career of the Gorzów Philharmonic is the handiwork of Monika Wolińska, a gifted and dedicated conductor who assumed the reins of the Gorzów Philharmonic in April of 2013. This excellent and highly motivated maestra has been featured in concerts across the world and received an award from Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in 2011 for her services to Polish culture. Monika Wolińska is also the recipient of 2013 Beautiful Poland Award and the 2016 Gorzów Rotary Club Award for promoting the city of Gorzów around the world. Monika Wolińska began to study music at the age of six, concentrating on mastering the violin, vocal and instrumental conducting as well as orchestral conducting. She is currently a professor at the Warsaw’s Chopin University and recorded such rarely-presented repertoire as symphonic poems of Eugeniusz Morawski with Sinfonia Varsovia. Maestra Wolińska also held the reins of Sinfonia Iuventus during the concert season 2007-2008, performed at the Four Cultures Festival in Łódź on numerous occasions, and worked with the Warsaw Music Academy Symphony Orchestra during the years 2003-2009. She has also participated in a number of master classes led by such conducting legends as Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur, and Antoni Wit.

A great champion of contemporary music, Monika Wolińska has broadened the horizons of the Gorzów Philharmonic by programming a wide variety of repertoire, from classical staples to film and contemporary music. Since 2013 she has been the Artistic Director of the Wojciech Kilar Contemporary Music Festival. The latest—and fifth edition—of this Festival was inaugurated with a monumental concert at the Gorzów Philharmonic concert hall on May 12. The program began with John Corigliano’s Promenade Overture. Commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for its centenary season, this work was premiered in 1981 under the baton of John Williams. A virtuoso and highly effective work for a large orchestra, the Overture begins with the conductor presiding over a gradual entry onto the stage—section by section—of the entire orchestra that keeps building into a large and highly satisfying climax of this clever and well-constructed piece.

Having assembled her group on stage, Maestra Wolińska proceeded to lead Gorzów Philharmonic in a passionate rendition of Maciej Małecki’s Walc koncertowy na orkiestrę [Concert Waltz for Orchestra]. Written in 2007, this massive 20-minute work is a challenge to all sections of the orchestra, from winds and percussion to strings. A cross between Ravel’s Bolero and La Valse and Strauss’s Rosenkavalier, this demanding work had shown both the conductor and the ensemble more than equal to the task, and the audience was swept away by the grandiose and ultra-romantic language of this contemporary epic.

Next came the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Henryk Wars. Known for countless hit songs from the 1930s films in Poland, Wars (who adopted American spelling of his name, “Vars,” after settling in the U.S. in 1947) devoted a few early years of his American exile to writing symphonic music, a fact largely unknown until his scores were rediscovered in the 1990s and later donated to the USC Polish Music Center in Los Angeles. Besides his Piano Concerto, Wars left a four-movement Symphony, an orchestral suite, City Sketches, overtures and other incidental music that only recently has returned to the concert stage. Wars’s Piano Concerto is a one-movement work that successfully blends virtuosity with sweeping melodies of his hit tunes and successfully employs the Hollywood film music idiom that the composer employed to great advantage in music composed for his soundtracks to John Wayne’s Westerns and such popular favorites as the film Flipper or the Daktari TV series.

marek zebrowski, gorzow philharmonic
PMC Director Marek Zebrowski takes the stage with the Gorzów Philharmonic
as soloist for the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Henryk Wars

Keeping with the exciting programming selections, Monika Wolińska then paired Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Dwa postludia tristanowskie i chorał [Two Tristan Postludes and Chorale] Op. 82 and Mikołaj Górecki’s Nokturn na orkiestrę [Nocturne for Orchestra] as a musical tribute to this rather unique father and son relationship. Sketches for the Tristan Postludes were orchestrated after Górecki’s death by his son, Mikołaj, and his Nocturne is a touching tribute to Górecki senior by his son, a gifted composer in his own right. After the fireworks of the first half of the program provided by Corigliano, Małecki and Wars, this half-hour section of the concert after the intermission, provided a contemplative, quiet repose for the audience assembled at the Gorzów Philharmonic concert hall for the evening.

The rousing finale of the concert came with Wojciech Kilar’s Exodus for mixed choir and orchestra. Clearly modeled on Ravel’s Bolero and Orff’s Carmina Burana, Kilar’s epic work provided a stunning and highly successful conclusion to the concert. Prepared by Bartosz Michałowski, the Poznań Chamber Choir sang from the balconies on the upper right and left of the hall. The huge orchestral ensemble—with two harps that gently began the narration of the Exodus with its story of deliverance from Egypt—rose into a climactic crescendo with brass and choir singing about the memorable crossing of the Red Sea. This exalted and triumphant music catapulted the audience from their seats as soon as the last and frenzied chords and shouts of the choristers closed Kilar’s piece. A ten-minute standing ovation ensued with the audience deeply moved by the experience of this marathon, three-hour concert. The music rose to the sublime heights of passion under the baton of Monika Wolińska. The choir delivered with gusto the message of the Book of Exodus. The orchestra sounded like one of the best ensembles in the world—clearly a match for any American ensemble, from Boston and Cleveland, to Philadelphia and New York. The young musicians—and the average age of the players must be well under thirty—beamed with pleasure. Many in the audience shed a tear or two in tribute to great music and great interpretation. It was an evening to remember and cherish, especially since this is Monika Wolińska’s last season with the Gorzów Philharmonic. She built the orchestra up to a world standard and now she’s poised to move on to larger assignments. The orchestra that attained great excellence in the shortest of time—five seasons—is now poised to grow and continue, making great music not only for the provincial city of Gorzów Wielkopolski, but for the entire region of western Poland, eastern Germany, and beyond—as more concerts and recordings by this exceptional ensemble should follow.

grozow philharmonic, audience
The enthusiastic audience at the end of the concert, with the Poznań Chamber Choir in the balconies

Read another review of the concert at gorzow.wyborcza.pl.

[Note: all photos above are property of the Gorzów Philharmonic, with the exception of the solo photo of Monika Wolińska, which was taken by Barbara Piotrowska]



trzy-czte-ry 2017

Translated into English as Three-Four-Go!, this important and unusual festival will present 11 concerts between May 30 and June 28 at the Lutosławski Concert Studio in Warsaw, with pianist Maciej Grzybowski at the helm as the Artistic Director. Throughout the entire month of June, this year’s theme of “Context, Contrast, Confrontation” will be explored by hundreds of participating musicians—from soloists to chamber ensembles and orchestras, including Sinfonia Varsovia and AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy. Music by Jacek Grudzień, Włodzimierz Kotoński, Witold Lutosławski, Eugeniusz Morawski, and Andrzej Panufnik, among others, will be interspersed with a concert presenting compositions by Glen Gould, a two-piano concert of works by Messiaen, Ligeti and Mozart with Maciej Grzybowski and Maciej Piszek, a solo recital with pianist Ramiro Sanjines (works by Mozart, Messiaen and Debussy), and others.

The Trzy-Czte-Ry Festival opened on May 30 with Sinfonia Varsovia led by Maestra Monika Wolińska, and soloists soprano Agata Zubel and violist Katarzyna Budnik-Gałązka, and its closing concert on June 28 will feature AUKSO with Marek Moś and violin soloist Dorota Anderszewska. Music by Richard Strauss, Witold Lutosławski, Arnold Schoenberg and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will be an appropriate finale for a festival that seeks to confront the audiences with innovative approaches to modern and traditional music and features panel discussions following each concert.

May 30 and June 28, 2017
Trzy-Czte-Ry Festival
Lutosławski Concert Studio
Modzelewskiego 59, 02-679 Warszawa, Poland
Information: facebook.com

[Source: polmic.pl]



arena festival

Piotr Sułkowski will lead the Warmia-Mazury Philharmonic in the first edition of the Arena Festival, which is dedicated to film music. Scheduled for June 30-July 2, the three concerts group the music by themes, with “Fairy Tales” on the opening night followed by music from TV Series and ending on a “Music of the World” evening. Soundtracks from such international hits as The Lion King, Titanic, Love Story, The Godfather, Lord of the Rings, Forrest Gump, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Chariots of Fire, and The Mission, among others, will certainly keep the audience happily entertained throughout the entire weekend of concerts. Several Polish composers, including Bartosz Chajdecki, Abel Korzeniowski and Maciej Zieliński will also be represented on the program and the Festival plans to organize meetings with them for the public.

June 30 – July 2, 2017
Arena Festival

Nowowieski Warmia-Mazury Philharmonic
ul. B.Głowackiego 1, 10-447 Olsztyn, Poland
Info: filharmonia.olsztyn.pl

[Source: filharmonia.olsztyn.pl]



franciszek wybranczyk, sinfonia varsovia, to its city, festivalFor the 17th time, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra will present the Franciszek Wybranczyk SINFONIA VARSOVIA TO ITS CITY Festival, on June 3 – 11. Dedicated to Warsaw residents, the festival will consist of five concerts spread around the city, featuring star performers of classical music and jazz including Sergei Nakariakov, the Atom String Quartet, Adam Sztaba, Dorota Miśkiewicz, Kwadrofonik and Sinfonia Varsovia Brass.

Amongst the highlights of the Festival are the “Just like in the Movies!” on June 7 and “Sztaba & the Atoms” on June 10. Under the direction of Krzesimir Dębski, on June 7 Sinfonia Varsovia will play various film scores by renowned composers, such as Dębski himself, Wojciech Kilar, Władysław Szpilman, Hans Zimmer, and Krzysztof Komeda. The Orchestra will perform alongside Anna Jurksztowicz – an audience favorite, well known from Polish films and television series. On June 10, the Orchestra will be accompanied by the Atom String Quartet and Adam Sztaba on an open air stage. The concert program will include works written by musicians of the Atom String Quartet and by Adam Sztaba.

A full list of Festival concerts is below:

Saturday, June 3, 2017 | 6:00 p.m.
Paganini of the Trumpet!

Sowinski Park Amphitheatre
Elekcyjna 17, 01-128 Warszaw, Poland
Info: sinfoniavarsovia.org

Sunday, June 4, 2017 | 10:00 a.m.
Children's Day at Grochowska Street

Sinfonia Varsovia
Grochowska 272, 03-849 Warsaw, Poland
Info: sinfoniavarsovia.org

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 | 8:00 p.m.
Just like in the Movies! feat. Krzesimir Dębski, cond.
Parade Square
Plac Defilad, 00-901 Warsaw, Poland
Info: sinfoniavarsovia.org

Saturday, June 10, 2017 | 4:00 p.m.
Sztaba & the Atoms

Sinfonia Varsovia
Grochowska 272, 03-849 Warsaw, Poland
Info: sinfoniavarsovia.org

Sunday, June 11, 2017 | 4:00 p.m.
Brass at the End

Sinfonia Varsovia
Grochowska 272, 03-849 Warsaw, Poland
Info: sinfoniavarsovia.org

[Source: sinfoniavarsovia.org]



ewa trebaczOn June 21, Seattle-based French horn player Josiah Boothby will perform Polish composer Ewa Trębacz’s work Minotaur for horn and surround sound at the Abrons Art Center in New York during the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (NYCEMF).The NYCEMF is an annual, multi-day festival featuring works by emerging and established composers, performers, and sound artists from all over the world. From June 19 – 25, the 2017 festival will present 28 concerts, featuring 300 works by composers from 31 countries spanning five continents. The festival includes pieces for up to 16 channels of sound via live electronics, fixed media, acoustic instruments with electronics, visual music, and multi-media pieces (such as video and dance installations).  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 | 8:00 p.m.
New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival – Concert 9

Abrons Art Center, Playhouse
466 Grand St, New York, NY 10002
Info: nycemf.org

[Source: ewatrebacz.com]



On May 28 – June 4, the 57th edition of the Krakow Film Festival took place in Warsaw. The Festival is one of the oldest events in Europe dedicated to documentary, animated and short feature films. During the eight-day event, audiences enjoyed exhibitions, concerts, open-air shows and meetings with artists. Filmmakers from Poland and around the world also participated in four competitions of equal rank, evaluated by an international jury: documentary film competition, short film competition, national competition and the music documentary film competition, DocFilmMusic. At the end of the festival, a screening of the following award-winning films took place at the Małopolski Ogród Sztuki (June 4), following the awards ceremony (June 3).

The winners of the DocFilmMusic were a team from the US and Germany, however several films about music were amongst the winners in other categories, including:

  • Award for the best short and documentary films producer in Poland – Anna Gawlita for films: OPERA ABOUT POLAND (dir. Piotr Stasik) and FESTIVAL (dir. Tomasz Wolski, Anna Gawlita)
  • Best Cinematography Award under the patronage of The Polish Society of Cinematographers – Tomasz Wolski for the film FESTIVAL

[Source: krakowfilmfestival.pl]




szymanowski-karaskiewiczKAROL SZYMANOWSKI - PIANO MUSIC
Karol Szymanowski: Nine Preludes, Op. 1; Four Études, Op. 4; Masques, Op. 34; Two Mazurkas, Op. 62
Barbara Karaśkiewicz – piano
Divine Art Records DDA 25151 (June 16, 2017)

Barbara Karaśkiewicz is a Polish pianist of consummate skill with a natural empathy for Polish music, demonstrated by her critically acclaimed disc of music by Roman Statkowski (DDA 25129). She turns to the composer that she considers the most important in Poland and one for whose music there is a high demand.

To many, Szymanowski was the most important composer from Poland – taking the Romantic tradition of Chopin, and transforming it into a style which retained the Romantic ideals but firmly within the 20th century, approaching modernism with music of enormous vitality and requiring virtuoso performance. This selection of works from the beginning, middle and end of Szymanowski’s career follows the critically acclaimed disc of works by another Polish post-Romantic, the lesser known but equally skilled Roman Statkowski (DDA 25129).

[Source: press release]



pekielPĘKIEL, B.: Masses (Wrocław Baroque Ensemble, Kosendiak)
Bartłomiej Pękiel: Missa a 14; Canon a 6: Tres Canones Simul Cantatur 1; Missa senza le cerimonie; Canon a 6: Aliud. sex vocibus; Missa Paschalis; Canon a 6: Aliud. Sex vocibus; Missa senza le cerimonie II; Missa Concertata La Lombardesca
Wrocław Baroque Ensemble, Andrzej Kosendiak – conductor
ACD 240

This release is devoted to the mass – a musical form that has been present in European music since the Middle Ages. The mass cycles presented on this album are diverse in style, which shows with how much variety the 17th-century composers approached this form, even within their own body of work.

discoveriesDiscoveries: Polish Cello Quartet
Prosper Van Eechaute: Pièce Sonate pour 4 violoncelles Op. 9; Rudolf Matz: Quartet in D minor for four cellos; Kazimierz Wiłkomirski: Ballade and Rhapsody for cello quartet; Alfredo Piatti: In vacanza quartettino per violoncelli
Polish Cello Quartet: Tomasz Daroch, Wojciech Fudala, Krzysztof Karpeta, Adam Krzeszowiec
ACD 237

The Polish Cello Quartet (PCQ)—Tomasz Daroch, Wojciech Fudala, Krzysztof Karpeta, and Adam Krzeszowiec—was founded in 2011 by graduates of the Łódź and Katowice conservatoires, who continued their studies in, among others, Brussels, Cologne and Mannheim. It is the only ensemble of this kind in Poland and one of few of this class in Europe. Since 2014, PCQ is the resident ensemble of the National Forum of Music in Wrocław and a regular guest at Wrocław festivals such as Wratislavia Cantans, Musica Electronica Nova and Jazztopad. They have also appeard at the Internationaal Kamermuziekfestival Schiermonnikoog in the Netherlands and Music Masters on Air (MusMA)—the platform for European festivals presenting new directions in contemporary music—and the Poznań Chamber Music Festival Q’arto Mondi.

The four young virtuosos have one goal: to put the cello quartet in line with other chamber ensembles embedded in tradition and well established on stage. To accomplish this, they wander several paths, however sticking to the principle of building their repertoire of pieces written originally for a cello quartet by composers familiar with the specifics of this instrument, its technical and expressive capacity, and above all with its ‘rhetorical’ potential in the partnership of chamber playing.

MYKIETYN, P.: Symphony No. 2 / Flute Concerto (Długosz, Wrocław Philharmonic, Shwartz)
Paweł Mykietyn: Symphony No. 2; Concerto for flute and orchestra
Łukasz Długosz – flute, NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, Benjamin Shwartz – conductor
ACD 236

Professionally one of the busiest composers in today’s Poland, Pawel Mykietyn writes music for traditional chamber, orchestral and vocal-instrumental forces as well as for the modern electronic media. His collaboration with the cult theatre director Krzysztof Warlikowski has continued for more than twenty years, and he also works on specific projects with other Polish stage celebrities, such as Grzegorz Jarzyna. Since 2000, he has also provided music for the silver screen, winning four Golden Lions at Gdynia Film Festival and two Eagles – Polish Film Awards between 2004 and 2014 as the author of soundtracks for such films as Mariusz Trelinski’s The Egoist, Malgorzata Szumowska’s Stranger, 33 Scenes from Life, Sponsoring, In the Name Of…, Andrzej Wajda’s Sweet Rush and Walesa: Man of Hope, as well as Jerzy Skolimowski’s Essential Killing and 11 Minutes. In just one decade, Mykietyn achieved in this field more than his colleagues associated permanently with the film industry have accomplished in their entire lifetime. Mykietyn is also the music director of Warsaw’s Nowy Theatre and the artistic director of the International Chamber Music Festival ‘Music on the Heights’ in Zakopane. He serves on the juries of numerous competitions for composers and advises many young composers on their work. Like it or not (and frequently it may not quite be to the composer’s liking), Pawel Mykietyn has become a real one-man institution, even though he has only recently turned 45…

Peteris Vasks: Episodi e Canto perpetuo; Henry Cowell: Trio in Nine Short Movements HC 941; Rodion Shchedrin: Three Funny Pieces; Paul Schoenfield: Café Music
AdAstra Piano Trio: Anna Szabelka – violin, Łukasz Frant – cello, Joanna Galon-Frant – piano
ACD 231

Episodi is a debut release by the well-established AdAstra Piano Trio ensemble, spanning a diverse selection of 20th-century American and Easter European compositions. The choice of works to be included was by no means fortuitous, and each of the recorded pieces carries a deep personal meaning to the artists.

The music material creates a space where moods fluctuate between the extremes of high-pitched drama and humorous lightness, a realm that scintillates with a fantastic array of colors, emotions, and unconventional means of expression, whose refreshing forms are far from what could be considered a classical approach to this genre of music. Undeniably, it is this complexity and versatility — resulting, among other things, from the composers’ distant geographical backgrounds — that underlie the choice of repertoire for the album, and whose vivid presentation became not only the greatest challenge for the musicians, but also their shared artistic goal.



neo temporis group Neo Temporis Group Dialog bez granic
Jerzy Kornowicz: Ekstrema dla 11 wykonawców; Bohdan Sehin: Talos na kwartet smyczkowy; Maksym Kolomiiets: Supremus na zespół 11 instrumentów; Dariusz Przybylski: Green and Maron. Hommage a Mark Rothko op.71b na kwartet smyczkowy; Oleksii Shmurak: I have lost my Eurydice the four lost dances na zespół 11 instrumentów
Ensemble Nostri Temporis, Neoquartet, Jędrzej Kacprzyk – double bass
DUX 1360

In March 2013, during the first Ukrainian new music biennale, the Polish string quartet NeoQuartet (Gdańsk) and Ukrainian Ensemble Nostri Temporis (Kyiv) created a joint project – Neo Temporis Group. The Polish Ukrainian contemporary music ensemble 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.

Anna Maria Huszcza: Sonosfera for saxophone quartet, female voice and electronics; SaHarBAD for alto saxophone and harp; Kielmin for electronics; [untitled]; the wall for alto saxophone and piano; EtLuda for electronics; AbySsus for soprano and tenor saxophones and electronics; Nihanja for 13 saxophones
Zuzanna Elster – harp; Pablo Sánchez-Escariche Gasch – alt saxophone; Paweł Gusnar – saxophone; Andrzej Karałow – piano; LadieSaxophone Quartet; SOS Saxophone Orchestra
Requiem Records DUX 1380 (April 2016)

wydziwiAnki is the first monographic album of the composer Anna Maria Huszcza, featuring an unusual mix of electronic sounds, folk music and saxophone. Combining opposites, in this case folk music and electronics, is the leitmotiv of wydziwiAnki. The electronic layers include elements such as transformed recordings of singer Veronica Partyka, devilish sounds of the violin, of pipes and drums, and Polish folk songs performed by Walerii Żarnoch, Adama Struga, Anny Mikulskiej and Echo Łysicy.

The album is dominated by saxophone compositions, appearing as a solo instrument with electronic accompaniment (AbySsus, Intercosmic), in duos with harp and piano (SaHarBAD, the wall), in a quartet with electronics and “scream-singing” (śpiewokrzyk) (Sonosfera) as well as in a thirteen orchestra (Nihanja). The recording features musicians from Poland, Slovenia and Spain: Paweł Gusnar (saxophones), Zuzanna Elster (harp), Pablo Sánchez Escariche Gasch (alto saxophone), Andrzej Karałow (piano), LadieSaxophone SOS Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra.

Ignacy Zalewski: Mazurek; Graziane Finzi: Impression Tango; Andrzej Karałow: Karałow notturno; Barbara Kaszuba: Skrzyp-ak. Humoresque; Bartosz Kowalski-Banasewicz: In Affecto for solo violin; Miłosz Bembinow: Cantus Harmonicus for solo accordion; Arvo Pärt: Fratres (1977, 1980) to Elena & Gidon Kremer; Edward Sielicki: Rapido; Yuji Takahashi: Le double de Paganini; Rodion Shchedrin: Imitating Albeniz
Iwo Jedynecki – accordion, Karolina Mikołajczyk – violin
DUX 1362

“Premiere” is the phonographic debut of Duo Karolina Mikołajczyk & Iwo Jedynecki. It is the world's first CD with new music performed by a duo of violin and accordion. Surprising sounds from these instruments are present in profoundly interesting and diverse compositions of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The duo has performed all the album's pieces in concerts, often in the presence of their composers. The enthusiastic and favorable response from the audiences encouraged them to record this CD. It contains music by three generations of composers, whose life's work is contemporary to the duo. It consists of works by Polish composers, some of whose works were dedicated to them: Milosz Bembinow, Barbara Kaszuba, Andrew Karałowa, Bartosz Kowalski, Edwarda Sielickiego, Ignacy Zalewski; and foreign artists like Gracie Finzi, Arvo Pärt, Rodion Szczedrin, and Yuji Takahashi.

made in polandMade In Poland
Dawid Lubowicz: Ballad on the Death of Janosik for improvising string quartet and string orchestra; Karol Szymanowski: String Quartet No. 2, Op. 56 for string orchestra; Karol Szymanowski / Paweł Kochański: Highlander Dance from the ballet Harnasie, Op. 55 for string orchestra; Krzysztof Lenczowski: Iława for improvising string quartet and string orchestra; Grażyna Bacewicz: Concerto for string orchestra; Krzysztof Lenczowski: Namysłowiak for improvising string quartet and string orchestra; Mikołaj Górecki: Concerto Notturno for Violin and String Orchestra
Leopoldinum Chamber Orchestra, Atom String Quartet, Christian Danowicz – violin solo, concertmaster
DUX 1298

At least since the time of Nicholas Zieleński, music has been undoubtedly one of the best Polish export goods. Karol Szymanowski and Grażyna Bacewicz certainly occupy the leading positions in the 20th century.  Their style has created patterns in composition—such as folklore interest, formal discipline, and melodic invention—which are still a point of reference for contemporary composers. An interesting example of this is the work of Mikołaj Górecki or members of the Atom String Quartet. The album, in which the Quartet was invited to perform by the Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, introduces bold interpretations with elements of improvisation and folk music.

Whale’s Teeth
Marcin Dutka: Whale’s Teeth
Marcin Dutka – prepared piano
DUX 1379 

It would seem that the glorious years of the prepared piano have already passed, but the instrument still intrigues modern composers and, above all, improvisers. An example of this is Whale’s Teeth—a cycle of eight works performed ad libitum by Marcin Dutka. The intuitive improvisation recorded in 2004 explores the entire sound universe of the piano. Marcin Dutka has made a single orchestra instrument, using his painting experience to derive the maximum possibilities of color.

Leszek Lorent Tonisteon
Iannis Xenakis: Idmen b; Dariusz Przybylski: Hyperion; Ignacy Zalewski: Tonisteon; Marcin Błażewicz: Ineffabilis
Leszek Lorent – percussion
DUX 1361

“I have invited contemporary composers to work on their Xenakian power model, where sharp beats, accents, polyphony, and dynamic extremes play an overriding role. Marcin Błażewicz (a student of Xenakis) and Dariusz Przybylski and Ignacy Zalewski (graduates of Marcin Błażewicz's composition class) composed works for large-scale multiprocessor installations while under the influence of the widely understood inspiration of the Greek music. The performances and recordings were a real challenge for me.”-- Leszek Lorent

Rafał Grząka & Atom String Quartet Atom Accordion Quintet
Mikołaj Majkusiak: up2U; Piotr Wróbel: Suita 3-5-7; Krzysztof Lenczowski: Atom Accordion Quintet; Nikola Kołodziejczyk: Subliminal Folk Suite
Atom String Quartet; Rafał Grząka – accordion
DUX 1341

The initiator and originator of the project is the accordionist Rafał Grząka. The idea of ​​creating a CD was to prove to the public that contemporary music can be enjoyable and understandable for a wider audience—not only for real music lovers. The string quartet with accordion and the integration of such streams as folk, classical music, contemporary and jazz are the most important features of the presented album. Young Polish composers and great performers guarantee a high artistic level of music, but also great fun, surprises and allusions to music from a wide variety of genres.

Fryderyk Chopin - Maria Korecka – Soszkowsk
Fryderyk Chopin: Preludes Op. 28; Andante spianato and Polonaise in E flat major Op. 22
Maria Korecka-Soszkowska – piano
DUX 1372

Maria Korecka-Soszkowska, excellent pianist and experienced pedagogue, presents his vision of the cycle of Preludes from opus 28 - one of the most characteristic works of Fryderyk Chopin. This ingenious cycle perfected and completed during the winter (1838/39) of Chopin's stay in Majorca, carries with it many of the heavy atmosphere of those days, deepened by composer's illness and varying auras of aura.

The Grande Polonaise Brillante, from Andante Spianato, was completed in 1836 by a virtuoso piece, composed in a romantic Brillante style, characteristic of Chopin's youthful Warsaw period.


By Lars Hoefs

Adam Mickiewicz Instituteagat_szymczewska

Under the auspices of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and its “Lusitania Programme,” Polish conductor Michał Klauza and violin soloist Agata Szymczewska joined forces with the Orquestra Jovem do Estado de Sao Paulo [Sao Paulo State Youth Orchestra] for two performances of a program of Polish music in May: at the Teatro CIAEI in Indaiatuba on May 6, and at Brazil’s finest concert hall, Sala Sao Paulo in the city of Sao Paulo, on May 7.  I had the pleasure of hearing the first evening’s performance.

The program consisted of Andrzej Panufnik’s Heroic Overture; Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1; Mieczslaw Weinberg’s Polish Melodies, Op. 7 No. 2; and Wojciech Kilar’s Krzesany.  Ms. Szymczewska, who performed last year in Beverly Hills on tour with the Szymanowski Quartet, dazzled in the concerto.  She projected a shimmering, golden tone, with complete command and musical authority.  For an encore, the Indaiatuba audience was treated to Grażyna Bacewicz’s violin solo Kaprys Polski, or as Ms. Szymczewska announced to the delighted Brazilians, “Capricho Polonês.

Maestro Klauza likewise impressed with his technical ease and musical fluency. In between selections, Klauza spoke to the audience in Polish, with Karolina Małaczek of the Mickiewicz Institute providing real time translations in excellent Portuguese. Weinberg’s Melodies were a hit with the public, and Kilar’s Krzesany shocked and finally won over the Indaiatuba audience, a public generally unfamiliar with any Polish music beyond Chopin. The true heroes of the evening, however, were the musicians of the orchestra. By far the best youth orchestra in Brazil, and frankly better than many of the nation’s professional orchestras, the Orquestra Jovem do Estado (or “Estadualzinho” as they are affectionately known) is a testament to the remarkable talent and promise of Brazil’s young musicians. Regularly rehearsed and conducted by Claudio Cruz, the former concertmaster of the Sao Paulo’s State Symphony Orchestra, “Estadualzinho” has been doing fantastic programs recently—at the end of 2016, I heard them in tremendous performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 and Richard Strauss’ Don Juan. In this recent concert of Polish music with the excellent guest artists Klauza and Szymczewska, the young musicians of the orchestra entered unknown territory, and came out victorious (and fuller musicians as a result). The program continued a welcome trend in the state of Sao Paulo, that of programming and performing Polish repertoire through partnerships between visiting Polish artists and local Brazilian musicians and institutions. Earlier this year, Sao Paulo State University in Campinas (Unicamp) hosted the second annual “Festival de Música Polonesa”, and we look forward to the third edition of the festival in Campinas in 2018.

* * *

A cellist equally at home across a spectrum of musical languages, Dr. Lars Hoefs enjoys a multifaceted career as soloist, chamber musician, teacher, orchestral principal, recording artist, author and scholar. His performances and master classes have brought him to Brazil, Europe, Israel, and across the US. Now a resident of Brazil, Dr. Hoefs has given masterclasses at universities, conservatories, and social projects throughout the country, and has been featured as soloist with the Amazonas Filarmónica in Manaus, Campos Filarmónica in Campos do Jordão, Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira Jovem in Rio de Janeiro, Orquestra NEOJIBA in Salvador, and the Orquestra do 4th Encontro International de Cordas in Tatuí. A Professor of Cello and Music History at Unicamp in Sao Paolo, he serves as the Music Director of the Festival de Música Polonesa there, as well as the Villa-Lobos International Chamber Music Festival in Los Angeles, where he previously attended the USC Thornton School of Music.

[Sources: facebook.com, santamarcelinacultura.org.br, santamarcelinacultura.org.br]



godziemba-trytek_szymonOn May 31, the Polish Radio Choir performed a special concert at the Mościce Art Center near Tarnów, Poland. Led by maestro Szymon Wyrzykowski, with soloists including Malwina Paszek (voice), Michał Szymanowski (piano), Tomasz Drozdek (folk instruments), and a percussion ensemble, the Polish Radio Choir performed repertoire by Bolesław Wallek-Walewski, Tadeusz Szeligowski, Andrzej Koszewski, and Marek Jasiński. Etnos, a work by Godziemba-Trytka for voice, piano, folk instruments and percussion was the highlight of the program, celebrating this composer’s 2016-2017 season as Composer-in-Residence for the Polish Radio Choir.

[Source: polmic.pl]



Elzbieta Chojnacka

World renowned Polish harpsichord player Elżbieta Chojnacka passed away on May 28, 2017 at the age of 77. Chojnacka graduated from Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Muzyczna in Warsaw and then studied in Paris with Aimée van de Viele, who was a student of Wanda Landowska. After her studies, Chojnacka settled in Paris where she started her brilliant international career by giving the first recital of contemporary music on a harpsichord in 1970. In 1971 she recorded her first album, “Clavecin 2000,” on the Philips label.

Elżbieta Chojnacka recorded albums containing the complete harpsichord works of György Ligeti and Maurice Ohana. She was a regular guest of contemporary music festivals including Warsaw Autumn where she gave multiple performances. Elżbieta Chojnacka’s playing inspired several composers who wrote and dedicated works for her. Among them there are compositions for harpsichord solo and with electronics, chamber music and orchestral pieces by such famous Polish composers as Paweł Szymański, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Zygmunt Krauze.

For over 11 years, Elżbieta Chojnacka had been teaching in famous Mozarteum University in Salzburg. Among prizes she had received were: ZKP award, French Ordre National du Mérite, and the Polish government’s gold medal for merits in culture, “Gloria Artis”.

Funeral ceremonies will be held in Paris on June 7 at the St. Suplice Church and Père Lachaise cemetery.

[Source: polmic.pl]


  • June 1, 1909 - Maria DZIEWULSKA, composer and theoretician (d. 2006)
  • June 4, 1845 - Aleksander POLIŃSKI, music historian (d. 1916)
  • June 4, 1784 - Adam CZARNOCKI, music ethnographer (d. 1825)
  • June 5, 1865 - Felicjan SZOPSKI, composer and music critic (d. 1939)
  • June 6, 1929 - Bogusław SCHAEFFER, composer, writer
  • June 12, 1897 - Aleksander TANSMAN, composer and pianist,
  • June 16, 1923 - Henryk CZYŻ, conductor and composer
  • June 17, 1930 - Romuald TWARDOWSKI, composer
  • June 28, 1895 - Kazimierz SIKORSKI, composer and teacher
  • June 28, 1904 - Włodzimierz POŹNIAK, musicologist


  • June 1, 1869 - Jozef DULEBA, pianist and participant of January Uprising, died in a duel (b. 1843)
  • June 3, 1904 - Daniel FILLEBORN, singer and performer of main parts in Moniuszko's operas (b. 1841)
  • June 4, 1872 - Stanislaw MONIUSZKO, Father of Polish National opera (b. 5 May 1819)
  • June 5, 1964 - Henryk SZTOMPKA, pianist, Chopin specialist, teacher
  • June 9, 1932 - Natalia JANOTHA, pianist and composer, student of Clara Wieck-Schumann, Royal Pianist in London, 400 opus numbers (b. 1856)
  • June 10, 1953 - Grzegorz FITELBERG, conductor, composer, great promoter of new music, esp. Szymanowski (b. 1879)
  • June 28, 1938 - Ludwik DRZEWIECKI, pianist and father of Zbigniew Drzewiecki
  • June 29, 1945 - Kazimierz GARBUSINSKI, pianist, organist, composer
  • June 30, 1957 - Michal SWIERZYNSKI, composer and choral conductor

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Copyright 2017 by the Polish Music Center

Send your comments and inquiries to: polmusic@thornton.usc.edu
Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Layout Assistance: Thuy Le
Translation Assistance: Tomasz Fechner & Marek Żebrowski

Contributions from:
Lars Hoefs, Krzysztof Meyer, Tomasz Fechner, Marek Żebrowski

Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute (NY & UK), Adam Mickiewicz Institute, PWM,
Nowy Dziennik
, Polish Music Information Centre - Warsaw, Polish American Journal,
Poland.pl, PAP, ZKP, infochopin.pl, Ruch Muzyczny, Gazeta Wyborcza

Formatting by Thuy Le, June 12, 2017

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