|Polish Music Newsletter|
PMC FESTIVAL OF PREMIERES: MARCH 23-24
The Polish Music Center at the USC Thornton School of Music will present a two day Festival of Premieres with concerts on Friday March 23 and Saturday March 24, held in the Alfred Newman Recital Hall on the USC campus. World premieres of UN-intermezzi (2012) for piano by Veronika Krausas and Five Piano Preludes (2000) by Marek Żebrowski as well as California premiere of Pasaka by Vykintas Baltakas are featured on March 23 during a USC Thornton Faculty Recital by pianist Aron Kallay celebrating Polish and Lithuanian composers. The PMC’s Festival of Premieres will continue with the “Imaginary Variations & Beyond” concert on Saturday, March 24, performed by violinist Janet Packer and pianist Anthony Padilla, and will feature the California premiere of Imaginary Variations by Krzysztof Meyer.
The PMC Festival of Premieres seeks to explore the contemporary cultural landscape of Poland and its eastern neighbor, Lithuania. The two countries have shared a long common history, beginning with the Union of Lublin Treaty in 1569 that joined Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania into a Commonwealth administered by a Polish monarch. This innovative political concept featured strict controls on the powers of the crown, guarantees of religious tolerance enshrined in the Warsaw Confederation Act of 1573, and high levels of ethnic diversity on the Commonwealth’s territory which was the largest political entity in Europe at that time. The nineteenth century partitions and the spell of Communist government during the twentieth century finally gave way to independent Poland and Lithuania in the late 1980s. Since then both countries began to flourish under democratically elected governments and became active members of the European Union. By presenting premieres of works by contemporary composers from both countries, this Festival celebrates the cultural bonds that exist in the region to this day.
The two concerts of the Festival of Premieres will feature three distinguished performers: violin virtuoso Janet Packer and pianists Aron Kallay and Anthony Padilla. Violinist Janet Packer has appeared in concerts throughout the world, recorded solo violin, violin and piano, and violin and orchestra works for the CRI and MMC labels, chaired the Longy School of Music String Department for twelve years, and has given frequent master classes at music conservatories and universities worldwide. Dr. Kallay is a pianist and composer who champions contemporary and microtonal music, and music that combines electronics with acoustic instruments. He is a member of the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music and Chapman University. Anthony Padilla is a prizewinner of the Concert Artists Guild, Gina Bachauer, William Kapell and Walter Naumburg International Piano competitions. He has been professor of piano and chamber music at the Lawrence Conservatory since 1997 and Artist-in-Residence at the Bay View Music Festival since 1995.
The Friday night program of premieres will include music by Vykintas Baltakas, whose 1997 Pasaka uses Lithuanian texts that, according to the composer, will “… distance the audience from the narrative, so that they could use their fantasy andlisten to the musical act.” Veronika Krausas [pictured at right], an Assistant Professor in the Composition Department and the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Theory at the USC Thornton School of Music, was inspired to write her latest piano composition by the novel Un-Lun Dun by the English writer, China Miéville. Krausas’s UN-intermezzi for Piano reflect, in the composer’s own words, “the floating quality of Brahms’s Intermezzo Op. 119, no. 1 […] the Gigue from Bach’s Partita in B-flat Major, and […] pay homage to the whimsical style of Erik Satie.” PMC Director and composer Marek Żebrowski describes his Five Piano Preludes, which will also recieve their premiere, as “positioned somewhere between a suite and a group of etudes that explore various technical and musical aspects of piano playing.”
Keeping to a theme of music from the lands of former Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Piano Sonata (composed in 1956, revised in 1990), Joanna Bruzdowicz’s Erotiques pour piano (1966), and Five Character Pieces by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis will round off Dr. Kallay’s evening fare of fascinating piano literature.
The highlight of the Saturday afternoon concert will undoubtedly be the California premieres of a new work by Polish composer Krzysztof Meyer [pictured at left]. Completed in 2010 Meyer’s Imaginary Variations for violin and piano was commissioned by Janet Packer with funding from the Pro Violino Foundation, Inc., and premiered by Ms. Packer in November 2011 at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago. Commenting on his composition, Mr. Meyer stated that,”…the Imaginary Variations owes its existence to the beautiful recordings made by Janet Packer that I listened to with great pleasure before embarking on my task of composing the work.”
Accompanied by pianist Anthony Padilla, Ms. Packer will also present Debussy’s Sonata for Violin and Piano and two virtuoso works by Henryk Wieniawski on her March 24 program.
With its two springtime concerts, the Festival of Premieres celebrates the history of concerts in noble residences and royal castles of Warsaw and Vilnius, where music from all corners of Europe resonated happily for centuries. By presenting programs of new and old music by contemporary Polish and Lithuanian composers, the Polish Music Center wishes to remind its audience of the longstanding cultural bonds linking the two nations. Admission to the “The Polish-Lithuanian Connection” Friday evening concert and to the Saturday afternoon’s “Imaginary Variations and Beyond” is free and open to the public and we hope it will prove a memorable experience.
Pianist and pedagogue Madeleine Forte has donated three CDs of her performances to the Polish Music Center, including:
Thank you for your generosity!
ZALEWSKI PREMIERE & GENERATION XV DEDICATIONS
2012 marks the 75th anniversary of “Dwójka” [Channel 2], the station of Polish Radio dedicated to cultural programming. In celebration, a concert entitled “Generation XV on the Birthday of Polish Radio Channel 2” was performed by the Polish Radio Orchestra with soloists Katarzyna Duda – violin, Leszek Lorent – percussion, Kamil Walasek – viola, with conductor Szymon Bywalec.
Held in the Polish Radio’s Lutosławski Studio Concert Hall in Warsaw on March 4, the program featured the World Premiere of Anger for orchestra (2011) by Ignacy Zalewski, as well the World Premiere of works commissioned in honor of the occasion—all entitled Dedykacja—from some of the most prominent young Polish composers: Ignacy Zalewski, Paweł Buczyński, Dariusz Przybylski, Aleksander Kościów, Maciej Zieliński and Tomasz Jakub Opałka.
Also on the program: Buczyński - Litania na orkiestrę symfoniczną (1978), Przybylski - Katabasis for symphony orchestra (2010), Kościów - Voces for small symphony orchestra (2005), Zieliński - Barocode I for violin, viola and string orchestra (2011), and Tomasz Jakub Opałka - Vitality concerto for percussion & orchestra (2011).
BACEWICZ COMPOSER COMPETITION
Prof. Sławomir Kaczorowski, Director of the 2012 International Grażyna Bacewicz Composer Competition, has announced the 2012 Competition in Łódź, Poland. Organized by the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź and the Arthur Rubinstein Łódź Philharmonic, the Competition is in its fourth year. The 2012 Jury will consist of eminent composers: Zygmunt Krauze (Poland), Agustin Charles (Spain), Paul Patterson (United Kingdom) and Chen Yi (China, USA).
The competition is open to composers of all nations regardless of age. Each participant may submit more than one score. The application deadline is August 31, 2012. More information can be found at www.amuz.lodz.pl and www.facebook.com.
[Sources: press release, amuz.lodz.pl]
PENDERECKI’S PASSION ON STAGE
The World Premiere performances of a staged version of Krzysztof Penderecki’s St. Luke’s Passion will take place on March 31 and April 1 at the Alvernia Studios near Kraków. Directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna, the event is produced by the National Audiovisual Institute as the follow-up to the National Cultural Program presented during the Polish presidency of the European Union in 2011.
The staged Passion will accompany the events of this year’s Misteria Paschalia Festival, and the performers include soprano Iwona Hossa, baritone Thomas Bauer, and bass Piotr Nowacki. The soloists will be accompanied by the Camerata Silesia vocal ensemble, Pueri Cantores Sancti Nicolai boys’ choir, and AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy, led by the composer. The concerts will be recorded for a CD release.
Originally written to commemorate the celebrations of one thousand years of Christianity in Poland, Penderecki’s Passion was premiered in Germany in March of 1966. That concert proved an immense success and Penderecki’s work has been heard in concert throughout the world since that time.
NEW INSTRUMENTS FOR PODLASIE PHIL
About one million dollars’ worth of instruments is coming to the Filharmonia Podlaska in Białystok. The lot includes 11 upright pianos, 10 trumpets, violas, cellos, flutes, trombones, and several other instruments that also include a 130-year old violin and a new concert grand piano. The new instruments will arrive in time for the opening of the organization’s new building in late September 2012. Many of the items are copies of the Baroque-era instruments that will enable the orchestra to create and program period music.
A new organ has already been installed in the building and, according to director Roberto Skolmowski, it is the second largest such instrument in Poland. The instrument will be fully ready after all finishing work inside the new building is completed in late summer. Currently, the main task for the builders and contractors is to equip the space with new lighting and a multimedia network. This is the largest project of the local government in the Podlasie region and it is co-financed by the European Union. The total cost of the new facilities will be in the range of 220 million PLN, or about $70 million USD.
MACIEJEWSKI ON TVP KULTURA
Outsider, czyli portret Romana Maciejewskiego [Outsider, the portrait of Roman Maciejewski], a 1993 documentary film by Stefan Szlachtycz was shown on February 29 on Polish Television’s culture channel, TVP Kultura. The film features rare footage of the composer attending the performance of his monumental Requiem when he returned to Poland for a visit in the early 1990s. During the past two decades, Maciejewski’s Requiem gained more performances worldwide, including England and the U.S.
THE LABYRINTH ON POLISH TV
The Labyrinth is a moving documentary film about Marian Kołodziej, a famous Polish artist and survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Produced by Ron Schmidt and the LA-based December 2 Productions Company, the film is an intimate tour of the museum where Mr. Kołodziej’s dramatic images of Holocaust are currently housed. Invited to dozens of festivals throughout the world during the past year, the film has garnered many accolades for its moving portrayal of Mr. Kołodziej and his visual testimony of human suffering during the dark years of World War II, including: Grand Prix (2011 Magnificat Film Festival; Minsk, Belarus); Best Short Documentary (2011 Ventura Film Festival; The Reel Rose Award for Best Short Film (2011 John Paul II Film Festival; Miami, FL); The Redemptive Storytelling Award (2011 Redemptive Film Festival; Newport News, VA); Honorable Mention Award (2011 Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival); 2012 SIGNIS Award, Spiritual Section, 2012 Dhaka International Film Festival (Dhaka, Bangladesh). The music for the film, composed by Marek Żebrowski, was also recently recognized with the 2011 Telly Award.
Throughout the month of March, Canal+ in Poland will air The Labyrinth for viewers. This documentary will be aired by on March 5 at 10:40 p.m.; March 10 at 1:30 p.m.; March 13, at 1:00 p.m.; March 17 at 8:55 a.m.; and March 19 at 5:00 p.m. (local times listed). More information on the film: www.thelabyrinthdocumentary.com
[Source: press release]
STOJOWSKI IN AND ON THE AIR
As time goes on, the rediscovered music of Zygmunt Stojowski becomes increasingly popular. Recently, the February online version of Opera News came out with a review of last November’s 110th anniversary concert of the Warsaw Philharmonic which included Stojowski’s Symphony in D minor. This was the second performance of the Symphony in Warsaw last year, the other performance having been played in June by the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the talented young conductor Łukasz Borowicz. Here is what Opera News had to say:
Mr. Meyers need not worry. Hyperion Records in Great Britain has announced that they will issue the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s live performance of the Symphony later this year. Complementing the Symphony is Stojowski’s Rhapsodie Symphonique for piano and orchestra with the brilliant British pianist Jonathan Plowright. Polish-American music scholar Joseph A. Herter will write the liner notes.
Classical music FM Radio Station WFMT in Chicago has also announced that it is in the throes of preparing a two-hour Stojowski special. It will be broadcast at the beginning of July, and its host is the British musician and radio producer Jon Tolansky. Both of Stojowski’s sons (Alfred and Henry who are in their 90s) will be interviewed for the program as will pianist Jonathan Plowright, conductor Łukasz Borowicz and music scholar Joseph A. Herter.
Alfred and Henry Stojowski (left, ccenter) with Jonathan Plowright (right) at the 2006 Paderewski Lecture-Recital
CHOPIN'S BIRTHDAY FÊTED
Warsaw / Żelazowa Wola
March 1 is the day when Chopin and his family celebrated his birthday, even if his birth certificate listed the date of February 22. The National Chopin Institute commemorated the composer with two concerts on March 1, a noontime recital by Magdalena Lisak that was broadcast live from the composer’s birthplace of Żelazowa Wola, and an evening recital in Warsaw by Lukas Geniušas. Ms. Lisak, a finalist in the 1995 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, presented a selection including the Polonaise-Fantaisie, Barcarolle, Berceuse, and Scherzo in B-flat minor, Op. 31. Mr. Geniušas, the 2nd Prize winner ex-aequo at the 2010 Chopin Competition, presented a concert with the Warsaw Philharmonic that included three of Chopin’s massive Piano Sonatas: Op. 4, Op. 35 and Op. 58.
The San Francisco Chapter of the Chopin Foundation presented a Chopin Birthday Concert with pianist Eric Zuber at Old First Presbyterian Church on February 26. . Mr. Zuber's concert featured the monumental final piano sonata of Beethoven, Op. 111, and the complete book of Chopin's Etudes, Op. 10—a work of daunting pianistic challenges—as well as Chopin’s Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante in E-flat major, Op. 22, and selected sonatas by Scarlatti.
One of the leading American pianists of his generation, Eric Zuber has won major prizes in seven of the world's most prestigious international piano competitions: Cleveland, Arthur Rubinstein, Dublin, Seoul, Sydney, Minnesota, and Hilton Head. After making his debut at 12 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he has gone on to perform with major symphony orchestras around the globe including the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic, and has given solo performances in such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the National Concert Hall in Ireland and the Seoul Arts Center in Korea. He has received degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, the Curtis Institute, and the Juilliard School where his teachers have included Boris Slutsky, Leon Fleisher, Claude Franck, and Robert McDonald
[Source: press release]
NEW WEBSITE CELEBRATING KILAR
In celebration of the composer’s 80th birthday, Polish Music Publishers [Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, PWM] has developed a new website for Wojciech Kilar. Having studied with Bolesław Woytowicz at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, Wojciech Kilar is known throughout the world for his dramatic music for films and for the concert stage. Kilar’s compositional techniques has evolved throughout his long and successful career, with stylistic inspirations ranging from neo-classicism and sonorist constructivism to folklore and sacred meditation. He has written music for over 140 films, collaborating with directors including Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Roman Polański and, most famously, Francis Ford Coppola on the film Dracula in 1992. Kilar’s music is celebrated and performed worldwide, including at the PMC’s 2008 Paderewski Lecture and Independence Day Celebration.
Learn more about Kilar at wojciechkilar.pl
SZALONEK MEMORIAL CONCERT
Polish Music Publishers (PWM) and the Katowice Chapter of the Polish Composers’ Union celebrated the 85th anniversary of the birth of Witold Szalonek (1927 - 2001) with a March 2 concert at the Music Academy in Katowice. The composer was remembered with a program that included Trzy szkice na harfę solo [The Sketches for Solo Harp], Quattro monologhi per oboe solo [Four Monologues for solo oboe], and Pawana na śmierć i zmarchtwychwstanie pewnych iluzji [Pavane for the Death and Resurrection of Certain Illusions].
AUGUSTYN RECITAL IN NYC
Kinga Augustyn will perform a recital in New York City on March 10, accompanied on piano by Anna Shelest. The recital will inaugurate a new concert series presented by the prestigious Sorel Organization. The concert will include solo violin works works by H. M. Gorecki, F. Kreisler, J. Massenet, F. Chopin, F. Liszt, P. de Sarasate, J. S. Bach, N. Paganini and E. Ysaye.
[Source: press release]
CANTORES MINORES LENTEN CONCERTS
The Archdiocesan St. John Cathedral choir of men and boys—better known as Cantores Minores—will give two Lenten concerts in Warsaw this month. The first takes place on Sunday, March 18, at 8:00 p.m. at the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Mokotów, and the second is on Sunday, March 25 at the Basilica of the Holy Cross at 5:00 p.m.
The program will include Parce Domine by Feliks Nowowiejski and Attende, Domine—an anonymous chorał mozarabski—as well as music by Martin How, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Thomas Tallis, and others. The choir is conducted by its founder, Joseph Herter, and accompanied by Franciszek Kubicki, who has been singing in the choir since it was founded 22 years ago. The St. Cecilia Singers, a smaller ensemble consisting of older singers, will also perform during the concert under the direction of Henryk Grocholski, another 22-year veteran of Cantores Minores. Featured soloist on the Vaughan WIlliams songs is baritone Jakub Wójcik.
Admission is free and all are cordially invited to attend.
[Source: press release]
CHOPIN FOR ALL
On Saturday, March 24 in Ft. Lauderdale and Sunday, March 25 in Coral Gables, Florida, the Chopin Foundation of the U.S. will present a concert in their "Chopin for All" series. The program will feature 31 of the best local piano students, ages 9 to 17, in an ALL-CHOPIN PROGRAM.
[Sources: press release, chopin.org]
MARCH AT THE KOSCIUSZKO FDN NY
The Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City and Stephen C. Josephs present the New York String Society and the Statue of Liberty Band. Featuring Chopin Mazurkas arranged by Stephen Josephs (World Premiere) and music to honor General Kosciuszko The Revolutionary Rondo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart arranged by Stephen C. Josephs (World Premiere). Performers include: Pawel Knapik - Double Bass/Composer/Arranger, Violetta Koss – Piano, Isrea Butler – Trombone, Stephen C. Josephs - Flute/Composer/Arranger [pictured at left].
The Kosciuszko Foundation’s 2012 Sembrich Voice Scholarship Competition will take place on Friday, March 9 beginning at 10 a.m. Auditions are open to the public. The final round will begin at 3 p.m.
Members of the Slavic Arts Ensemble— Krzysztof Kuznik, I violin; Mieczysław Gubernat, II violin; Maurycy Banaszek, viola; Wojciech Szczęch, cello—will present the music of Fryderyk Chopin.
Camerata New York, one of New York's most distinguished chamber ensembles, joins together with Polish-Canadian pianist Katarzyna Musial (right) to perform at the Kosciuszko Foundation. The group's music director, Richard Owen, will conduct the program, which will include Henryk Mikołaj Górecki's Concerto for Harpsichord/Piano and Orchestra. Originally a commission from Polish Radio, this unusual, highly rhythmic work, which draws on music from Poland's mountain regions, is comprised of two up tempo movements with large dynamic changes. It is short, light, and effective instrumentally, easily approachable and gives great satisfaction to the performers. As one of Gorecki's later works this piece comes as a surprise, especially after such serious pieces as his 2nd and 3rd Symphonies. The composer himself describes the work as being a musical prank.
[Sources: press release, thekf.org
SONGS OF THE SEA WITH MALINOWSKI
The Kosciuszko Foundation’s Washington D.C. chapter is kicking off the sailing season with a concert by Krzysztof Malinowski. Born in Poland's lake region of Warmia and Mazury, Krzysztof now lives in Canada. He is a sailor, artist, master of the guitar and author of many ballads of adventure in the rhythm of the tide. He takes part in music festivals in Poland, Canada and the US, and has collected numerous awards. His work was documented so far on two CDs: “Gdzieś na Wielkim Morzu” and “Pytania.” Krzysztof's unique, warm personality combined with his masterful performance on guitar and harmonica will make the show truly unforgettable.
There are two more performances scheduled during Krzysztof's US Concert Tour:
PENDERECKI HONORED AT ICMA 2012
The Jury of the International Classical Music Awards (ICMA) has announced the winners for 2012. "For our international and independent Jury,” said Remy Franck, President of the ICMA Jury, “musical quality is the only criterion for selection. The winners come from a nomination list comprising 250 CD and DVD productions and are the expression of the highest artistry. In a musical world showing an increasing number of recordings, our choice honors outstanding productions of superior quality and provides reliable guidance to the music lovers. The ICMA also include six awards to pay respect to exceptional musicians and producers.”
For 2012, the renowned Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award; French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is Artist of the Year; German pianist Joseph Moog is the Young Artist of the Year; and Ondine is the Label of the Year. A Special Achievement Award goes to the producer and re-recording engineer Ward Marston. The Classical Website Award goes to classicalplanet.com, an outstanding project coordinated by the Fundación Albéniz and offering musical content as well as a social networking platform for young musicians. Among the recipients of the Awards in the 14 CD and DVD categories, the Jury selected the ECM recording of piano works by Robert Schumann played by András Schiff as Recording of the Year.
For the complete list of the 2012 ICMA Awards please visit www.icma-info.com.
2012 LUTOSŁAWSKI STIPEND
The family of Gabriela and Martin Bogusławski presented the 2012 Witold Lutosławski Stipend to composer Tomasz Jakub Opałka. It was awarded on behalf of the Witold Lutosławski Society based on the recommendation of the jury composed of: Elizabeth Markowska, Łukasz Borowicz, Chris Jakowicz, Eugene Knapik, and George Kornowicz.
NEW FILM MUSIC AWARD: MocArty
“MocArty” is a clever pun in Polish that combines the word “moc” [power] with the Polish spelling of “Mozart” (as in W.A. Mozart) and the suffix “arty” (no translation needed here!). The Award’s motto, Bo wARTo! [Because it’s worth it], further emphasizes the artistic connection. These linguistic fireworks refer to the new RMF Classic Radio prize that will be given to a young composer of film music. Only those composers who have not yet reached their thirty-fifth birthday and have already been recognized for their achievements in film music are eligible to apply.
This year’s finalists were: Bartosz Chajdecki, Krzysztof A. Janczak, Antoni Komasa-Łazarkiewicz, Paweł Lucewicz, and Mikołaj Stroiński. The jury—including Oscar-winning composer, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, and his fellow film composers Krzesimir Dębski and Michał Lorenz, with film producer, Michał Kwieciński—awarded the 2012 MocArty Prize to Bartosz Chajdecki, a graduate of Kraków Music Academy at a gala ceremony on February 22 in Warsaw. Mr. Chajdecki composed the score to a television series, Czas honoru [The Time of Honor].
The winner received a statuette, a cash prize of ten thousand Euros, and a year’s worth of media patronage by the RMF Classic. The statuette was given to the recipient by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek while Jerzy Mazgaj, Chairman of the Board of the Vistula Group, presented Mr. Chajdecki with the check.
During its meeting on February 21, the Institute for Music and Dance (IMiT) selected four ensembles and four young composers for funding through its Composer-in-Residence program. This is the second edition of this annual grant program. The 2012 jury included Krzysztof Knittel (representing the Polish Composers’ Union, ZKP), Katarzyna Janczewska-Sołomko (representing the Association of Polish Artists-Musicians, SPAM), and Brygida Błaszczyk (representing IMiT). The winners were selected from among fifteen applicants.
The Świętokrzyska Philharmonic in Kielce will be paired with composer Bartosz Kowalski, who will write a new work for saxophone and chamber orchestra. Mr. Kowalski has already established his reputation with a number of premieres and awards worldwide. Paweł Gusnar, one of the most promising young talents, will be the saxophone soloist for the premiere of this work.
The Amadeus Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra led by Agnieszka Duczmal is an extremely well-known ensemble. They have invited Barbara Kaszuba, a violinist and composer, to write for them a new work string orchestra. The provisional title of Ms. Kaszuba’s composition is Musique pour Amadeus.
Toruń Symphony Orchestra will present a work commissioned from Jędrzej Roch Rochecki, a composer, violinist and sound designer. He will write a large-scale work for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, mixed choir, organ and large orchestra, entitled Symfonia Thorunium that will be presented at the opening concert at the 2012 Festival “Europa-Toruń—Muzyka i Architektura.”
Płock Symphony Orchestra has commissioned a Concerto for Clarinet, Harp and Orchestra from a composer Zuzanna Fabijańczyk, who also serves as the first clarinet in the ensemble. The premiere will be given by the orchestra on October 19, 2012.
PANUFNIK SYMPHONIES VOL. IV
Panufnik: Sacra - Symphonies Vol.4
In Vol. 4, the aspiring young conductor Borowicz leads the larger forces of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin through the adventurous scores of the Second and Third Symphonies and indeed the rest of the series. Panufnik’s Third Symphony “Sacra” is his most performed symphony even today.
Read a review in the Guardian here.
NEW ON NAXOS
PENDERECKI: Sinfonietta Nos. 1 and 2 / Capriccio / 3 Pieces in Old Style / Serenade
"...played with elegant warmth by the Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra in the latest of Antoni Wit’s excellent Penderecki series for Naxos." - The Observer (London)
[Source: press release]
NEW ON DUX
Chopin: Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor Op.11 & Works for Piano Solo
Camerata Silesia Sings Kilar
Polish Chamber Music for Wind Instruments
Requiem Old Polish Funeral Mass
Bronisław Kazimierz Przybylski My Home Orchestral Works CDs 1&2
Mercadante | Doppler | Karłowicz
Witold Szalonek: Medusa
Bogusław Shaeffer: Assemblage CD1&2
Szymanowski Piano Sonatas CD 1&2
MOŻDŻER IN COPENHAGEN
Leszek Możdżer was a featured performer at the Vinterjazz Festival in Copenhagen in February. He appeared in the prestigious Black Diamond Hall in the Danish capital. A screening of the documentary film Komeda—Muzyczne ścieżki życia [Komeda—A Journey in Musical Life] preceded his recital. Since the 1960s Copenhagen has hosted various Polish jazz greats, including Krzysztof Komeda, Tomasz Stańko, and Michał Urbaniak. The Festival, which ran through February 19, also featured a number of young Polish jazz musicians, who performed in concerts together with their Danish colleagues.
PADEREWSKI IN TORUŃ
The Toruń Symphony Orchestra hosted pianist Paweł Kowalski and conductor Jerzy Kosek for a concert at the Dwór Artusa on February 24. The program included Paderewski’s Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 17 as well as Dvorak’s Symphony in E minor, Op. 95 “New World.”
WRYK DEBUT WITH VIRGINIA OPERA
Polish mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk made her professional debut with the Virginia Opera in the role of Aglaonice in a production of Phillip Glass' Orphee on January 28, 2012. Other performances were presented throughout February in Norfolk, Richmond and Fairfax, Virginia. Ms. Wryk will be an artist-in-residence with the Virginia Opera for the 2011-2012 season.
Marta Wryk is an opera singer and recitalist who performs throughout Europe and the United States. In New York City, she has appeared at Symphony Space, the Kosciuszko Foundation, the Caramoor Music Festival and the DUMBO Arts Festival. In Europe, she has performed at the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg, the Philharmony of Poznan, the International Festival Art-Connection in Rotterdam, the Forum of Baroque Music in Warsaw, and the Chopin Konfrontacje Festival in Antonin, Poland. While a student at the Manhattan School of Music, she performed the role of Prince Orlofsky in Die Fleidermaus, Mirtillo in Handel's Il Pastor Fido, and Third Lady in The Magic Flute. She was praised by Bruce Michael Gelbert of Q on Stage for her "radiance [and her] clear sound and assured presence". Recently, Ms. Wryk won first prize at the International Voice Competition in Gorizia, Italy.
Ms. Wryk holds a degree from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. She has also studied at the Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in the Humanities at Warsaw University where she majored in Musicology. Currently she is a degree candidate in voice at the Manhattan School of Music.
CONCERT PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
The Szymanowski Quartet amazed and delighted an audience of over 200 at the ACE Gallery in Beverly Hills on February 18, 2012. While in line anxiously waiting for the doors to open, I stood in line behind a gentleman who boasted to have known the great Polish conductor, composer and pedagogue Emil Młynarski and a lady who claimed that she was related to Artur Rubinstein through her paternal family. The gentleman explained to the lady (who was completely unfamiliar with Szymanowski) that Szymanowski is the most famous Polish composer after Chopin. After the Szymanowski Quartet concert performance it is unlikely that any of the largely American audience will ever forget the name of composer Szymanowski in their lifetime. The Szymanowski String Quartet is largely responsible for bringing acclaim and attention to his career as composer.
The Szymanowski Quartet—Andrej Bielow (violin), Grzegorz Kotów (violin), Vladimir Mykytka (viola) and Marcin Sieniawski (cello)—was founded in Warsaw in 1995, and has developed into one of the most exceptional international string quartets of its generation. Their sophisticated programs present a harmonious and perfect balance between intellect and passion; characteristics with which the Szymanowski Quartet captivates its audiences playing concerts at numerous halls and festivals throughout Europe, the United States, Asia, Australia, and South America. During 2005, they were honored with the "Szymanowski Award" of the Karol Szymanowski Foundation in Warsaw—the only time this honor has been bestowed upon a string quartet. In 2007 they were awarded the Polish government’s Medal of Honor for their service to Polish culture.
The concert program consisted of German, Polish and Russian composers. Featured were Felix Mendelsohn (1809-1847) and his Capriccio in E major, Op. 118 and Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) and his String Quartet No. 2 in F major as the opening pieces. Both received polite yet warm reception by the audience. The Szymanowski Quartet moved the audience with the centerpiece of the concert—Szymanowski’s Nocturne and Tarantella. This enchanting and evocative piece received thunderous applause and brought the rather calm, cool, collected audience to a complete standing ovation in a rather enthusiastic manner. Thus the mood was set for the rest of the concert, consisting of composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) and his String Quartet No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59, no. 2 which was played masterfully and superbly. It also received a rather emotional thunderous standing ovation which brought back the Szymanowski Quartet for a personal expression of gratitude and encore.
It was a special delight for me to hear a performance of this Szymanowski piece—once arranged for orchestra by Szymanowski’s close colleague, composer Grzegorz Fitelberg, who also conducted the premieres of many Szymanowski works.
Musicologist Hugh Macdonald wrote the following about this piece:
After the concert performance, one of the attendees who attends all of the concerts at ACE Gallery, expressed to me that she has never experienced such a warm welcome and reception to any of the string quartets who have presented concerts there—usually the audience largely regulars, respond politely but reserved, and she has never seen such an overwhelming display of emotional genuine affection, applause and appreciation as for the Szymanowski Quartet.
Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra
An enchanting and exhilarating evening of Polish music and musicians...During their North American tour (February 23-26, 2012), members of the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra brought some truly great Polish music to Los Angeles. Works by Chopin, Szymanowski, and even Dvorak were well received in a concert performance at the CSUN Valley Performing Arts Center on February 23, 2012.
The program consisted of composer Karol Szymanowski's Concert Overture, Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, and Dvorak's Symphony No. 7 in D minor. Szymanowski, of course, is the best known and most famous Polish composer after Chopin. Szymanowski was part of a famous group of Polish composers known as Young Poland [Młoda Polska], whose founder was Grzegorz Fitelberg under the financial sponsorship of Prince Władysław Lubomirski. "Young Poland" consisted of Fitelberg as well as composers Ludomir Rożycki, Apolinary Szeluto, Karol Szymanowski and later Mieczysław Karłowicz who later affiliated himself with the group. Grzegorz Fitelberg not only conducted the premiere of this composition was himself its dedicatee. This was a real special treat, especially for me as a member of the Fitelberg family!
According to the publisher of much of Szymanowski’s extensive catalog, Universal Edition:
The centerpiece of this concert performance—Chopin's Piano Concerto, No. 2, Op. 21 in F minor—featured the exceptional pianist Garick Ohlsson, who masterfully played the piece in complete harmony and precision with the well-rehearsed orchestra. A standing ovation by the enthusiastic crowd brought him back for an encore performance.At the intermission the Ohlsson humbly and graciously made himself available to the audience to sign autographs. This is a rarity.
A rousing rendition of Dvorak was presented by the maestro Jacek Kaspszyk, the ensemble’s artistic director and conductor, who led the disciplined orchestra in a performance of perfection. The audience was blessed to hear this and gave the maestro a seemingly endless standing ovation and called for an encore performance.
The Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra has evolved into an exceptional orchestra with quite a varied repertoire and more than 100 programs presented annually. This outstanding European symphonic orchestra draws upon the rich culture of its home city, which has played host to such legendary artists as Brahms, Mahler, Wagner and many more. Maestro Jacek Kaspszck leads the orchestra, and is renowned for his powerful interpretations of late romantic and contemporary repertoire. The Wrocław Philharmonic players are not only professional musicians, but also passionate aficionados of music, representing several generations that form a truly authentic ensemble.
Joining the North American tour is piano soloist Garick Ohlsson, recognized worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although Ohlsson has long been regarded as one of the world's leading exponents of Chopin, he commands an enormous repertoire which ranges the entire of piano literature. A student of the late great Claudi Arrau, Ohlsson is noted for his masterly performance of the works of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the Romantic repertoire. His concerto repertoire alone is unusually eclectic and wide-ranging—from Haydn and Mozart to works of the 21st century—and to date he has at his command some 80 concertos. Simply remarkable.
We hope that the concert halls in America, especially California and specifically Los Angeles, will bring many more Polish musicians and music to their venues again soon. This concert performance was a truly enchanting and enjoyable evening!
Gary Fitelberg is a musicologist, music critic and historian.
IN MEMORIAM TADEUSZ ZIELIŃSKI
Tadeusz Zieliński, a leading Polish musicologist and music critic, died in Warsaw on February 25 at the age of 81. Specializing throughout his life in twentieth century music, he wrote a number of books that were later translated into German and French and garnered international recognition with such prizes as Le Prix des Muses, Le Salon du Livre, and MUSICO-RA. Among the catalogue of titles that he penned are Koncerty Prokofiewa (1959) [Prokofiev’s Concertos], Style, kierunki i twórcy XX wieku (1972) [Styles, Trends and Twentieth Century Creators], Spotkania z muzyką współczesną (1975) [Encounters with Contemporary Music], and Problemy harmoniki nowoczesnej (1983) [Issues in Modern Harmony]. Zieliński’s books on Bela Bartók (1969), Kazimierz Serocki (1985), and Liryka i ekstaza (1997) [The Lyrical and the Ecstatic] about Szymanowski have entered the canon of scholarship on these composers.
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Layout Assistance: Charles Bragg
Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski
Marek Żebrowski, Joseph A. Herter and Gary Fitelberg
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute (NY & UK), Adam Mickiewicz Institute,
Nowy Dziennik, Polish Music Information Centre - Warsaw, Polish American Journal,
Poland.pl, PAP, ZKP, infochopin.pl, Ruch Muzyczny, Gazeta Wyborcza
Formatting by Krysta Close, March 9, 2012
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