|Polish Music Newsletter|
PANUFNIK/KOLBERG YEAR 2014
2014 marks the centenary of acclaimed Polish composer Sir Andrzej Panufnik. Throughout the year many exciting events will take place around the world. Leading orchestras, conductors, chamber groups and soloists and radio stations in several countries and continents are planning Panufnik performances, education events and lectures which will be announced on the dedicated centenary page.
The centenary celebrations in the UK—where Panufnik spent half of his life in exile from Communist-controlled Poland—started officially on February 5th with the London Symphony Orchestra's performance of Panufnik's Symphony No.3, Sinfonia Sacra. The LSO will also perform his music in London and in Poland in October 2014.
International Concerts Celebrating Panufnik This Month:
KOLBERG YEAR IN MARCH
Two hundred years ago Oskar Kolberg was born in the village of Przysucha to become one of the most accomplished contributors to Polish culture and one of the most forgotten, as well. Thanks to this exquisite folklorist and ethnographer we know our forefathers’ folk melodies, dances, rituals, customs and beliefs.
To mark the bicentenary of the great researcher this year, Polish parliament’s lower house, the Sejm, has made 2014 the Kolberg Year. February starts the Kolberg Year celebrations in Poland.
A day before the folklorist’s birthday, on February 21, his hometown will host a gala concert, featuring Kolberg’s works performed by Iwona Kowalkowska (soprano), Wojciech Maciejowski (tenor) and Andrzej Tatarski (piano). The audience will also be treated to a performance of the Mogilianie regional ensemble, presenting a selection of folk music of the area of Przysucha and the region of Kraków.
On February 22, the day when Kolberg was born – the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw will launch its program titled “Give Kolberg thanks for his laborious work. Oskar Kolberg: ethnographer, musicographer, chopinologist.” Apart from a comprehensive temporary exhibition devoted to Kolberg, the narration of the museum’s permanent collection will be changed to include Kolberg themes.
February 22 will also see the launch of a special GPS application for smartphones enabling users to track and discover places connected with the ethnographer’s life and work. The application, downloadable for free, will be available in Polish and English for Android and, in a few months’ time, for iPhone too.
The official launch of the Kolberg Year will take place on 24 February at the Warsaw Philharmonic, with the participation of Bronisław Komorowski, president of Poland, and Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage. The gala will feature performances by Wielka Orkiestra Gaców, Trebunie Tutki, Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa, Zbigniew Namysłowski Quintet, and Magdalena Lisak accompanied by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under Jacek Kaspszyk. On the same day, selected folk artists and ethnographers will be awarded state distinctions and Gloria Artis Medals for their contribution to culture.
Oskar Kolberg has left behind opulent archives documenting the folklore of Polish territories of the 19th century, recorded in 33 volumes of his opus titled “Lud. Jego zwyczaje, sposób życia, mowa, podania, przysłowia, obrzędy, gusła, zabawy, pieśni, muzyka i tańce“ [The people, their customs, way of life, speech, legends, proverbs, rites, pagan ceremonies, games, songs, music and dances], which was published in his lifetime, and the same amount of materials in the form of the so-called “Kolberg files”. Underlying his lifetime of hard work was passion, commitment and a calling that he continued to follow in spite of numerous obstacles he faced. Today his output is instrumental to many researchers – ethnographers and musicologists, and inspirational for many different people.
The Kolberg Year will offer an array of events for different target groups, not only researchers and artists dealing with traditional music. Many projects have been devised specifically for young people, reaching out to them through the Internet and social networks.
For more information on the celebrations, event schedule and news, go to www.kolberg2014.org.pl.
The Kolberg Year Celebrations Office is run by the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw. The celebrations are held in association with the Oskar Kolberg Institute, the Forum of Traditional Music, Polish Ethnological Society, Open-Air Museum of Rural Architecture in Radom, Polish Radio, Folk Artists Association, Art Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Composers’ Union, the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, and the National Audiovisual Institute in Warsaw.
POLISH JAZZ CONCERT AT USC ON MARCH 29
The music on the Polish Music Center’s March 29 concert returns to the limelight two distinguished Hollywood composers, whose importance in the history of Polish music is certainly unquestionable. Bronisław Kaper (1902-1983) and Henryk Wars (1902-1977), quickly rose to fame in Europe in the 1930s with their popular theatre and cabaret songs and successful film scores. Both settled in Los Angeles—Kaper in 1935, Wars in 1947—and continued their careers here. Bronisław Kaper was the first Polish composer to receive the Academy Award in 1954 for the hit song, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo, from the film Lili with Leslie Caron. Henryk Wars (known as Henry Vars in America) scored the hit adventure feature, Flipper, as well as a number of Westerns for John Wayne’s production company.
Selections from some of the best-loved songs by Kaper and Wars will be performed tonight in new arrangements by Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer, Jan Jarczyk, whose own compositions will close the program. Led by Jarczyk, performers for this enchanting evening of jazz will include the Jan Jarczyk Trio (with bassist Dave Robaire and percussionist Efa Etorama) and the Stella Cho Quartet—violinists Hwi-Eun Kim and Jiyoung Park, violist Jason Karlyn and cellist Stella Cho.
ANNA FERENS - DOCUMENTARY FILM SCREENING AT USC
A Place to Stand—a documentary by noted Polish filmmaker, Anna Ferens—examines the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the role of the European Parliament in the process of political transformation of Europe during the years 1980-1990, and celebrates the tenth anniversary of Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004.
Based on unpublished archival materials and interviews with members of the European Parliament, the film also features extensive interviews with a number of democracy activists throughout the Eastern Block. Ms. Ferens’s film also highlights over fifty resolutions passed by the European Parliament during the seminal decade that began with the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland in 1980.
Recently screened in Brussels for the leaders of the European Parliament, the film was introduced by Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament from 2007-2009 and current Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation as well as member of the Reconciliation of European Histories Group.
* * * * *
During the past decade, the documentary film genre has experienced something of a renaissance among the filmmaking community and attracted numerous audiences interested in this important corner of cinematic legacy. Besides broadening the horizons of the film-going public, recent documentaries like Fahrenheit 9/11, Super Size Me, Roger & Me, March of the Penguins, or An Inconvenient Truth also proved to be big box office hits that elicited widespread praise for their fascinating choice of topics.
Research into subjects for documentaries and the methods of gathering and editing the material are among the many challenges facing the filmmaker. A solid grasp of history, politics and social interactions, coupled with sensitivity to cultural traditions and intimate knowledge of human relationships are but a few requirements expected of a good documentary film director. An intelligent and insightful commentary that places the material gathered for a given topic within the contemporary narrative is also a must. With such high setting of standards, making an interesting and worthwhile documentary is quite an achievement.
For Anna Ferens, an award-winning documentary director, screenwriter and journalist, with degrees in journalism from Warsaw University and the French Institute of Government in Warsaw, these challenges are actually an invitation to examine a wide range of fascinating current political, economic and social issues. Since the late 1990s, Ms. Ferens directed a number of films, including The Quiet Life of a Speculator (2001), Moscow According to Sasha (2002), The Buenos Aires Art Collector (2003), Where God Understands Polish (2003), Jews in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising (2004), Man Seeks Woman (2005), Where do the Wild Strawberries Grow? (2006), Three Buddies (2008), What Can Dead Prisoners Do? (2010), I Saw a Nation United (2011), The Art of Survival (2012), and A Place to Stand (2013).
Anna Ferens’s probing and often controversial documentaries were recognized with awards at such festivals as the 2006 European Crossroads Festival, Chicago International Television Awards (2007), New York Polish Film Festival (2008), Hollywood Eagle Documentary Award (2009), Roma Fiction Fest Award (2009), and Restored Memory Film Festival (2010), among others. Ms. Ferens also received The Polish Journalists’ Association Award (2008), the Małopolska Journalist Award (2009), and the Creator in Media Award (2009). She has lectured at the University of Wisconsin/Madison, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Chicago, Loyola and Northwestern Universities in Chicago, Hunter College/Columbia University in New York City, Bremen University in Germany, and Szczecin University in Poland.
In her latest documentary, A Place to Stand (2013), Anna Ferens examines the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the role of the European Parliament in the process of political transformation of Europe during the years 1980-1990. The release of this 58-minute film coincides with the tenth anniversary of Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004.
Based on unpublished archival materials and interviews with members of the European Parliament, A Place to Stand features extensive interviews with a number of democracy activists throughout the Eastern Block. Ms. Ferens’s film also highlights over fifty resolutions passed by the European Parliament during the seminal decade that began with the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland in 1980. Recently screened in Brussels for the leaders of the European Parliament, A Place to Stand was introduced by Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament from 2007-2009 and current Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation as well as member of the Reconciliation of European Histories Group.
Anna Ferens is currently collecting materials for her book and film on Bronisław Kaper.
POLSKA MUSIC NOW VOLUME 1 PUBLISHED
Under the leadership of Ewa Bogusz-Moore, the first volume of an annual magazine featuring the works of contemporary Polish composers has been published. In its stylish and carefully crafted pages, the booklet features essays pertaining to Polish compositions and composers as well as a calendar of events listing major events in Polish music history over the past eighteen months. The Polish Music Center at USC was an important partner in compiling and translating the calendar of events.
“The events listed in the calendar and the essays on selected topics will, as I hope, help outline the directions of development and dynamics of contemporary classical music in Poland,” says Bogusz-Moore.
“The aim of the programme created by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute is to intensify the presentation and increase the popularity of Polish classical music in the world with special focus placed on contemporary Polish composers. The programme supports Polish music performances by outstanding foreign and Polish artists abroad and promotes music from Poland by recordings and phonographic publications.”
More information as well as scans of the magazine in its entirety, can be found at its website: www.polskamusic.pl. For more information on the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, please visit www.iam.pl and www.culture.pl.
105TH ANNIVERSARY OF BACEWICZ
2014 marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of Grażyna Bacewicz, regarded as the greatest Polish woman composer of the twentieth century.
The Polish composer and violinist was born on 5 February 1909 in Łódź and died on 17 January 1969 in Warsaw. She studied at the Warsaw Conservatory under Kazimierz Sikorski (composition) and Józef Jarzębski (violin), and Józef Turczyński (piano) and earned her diploma in 1932. She also briefly studied in the faculty of philosophy at Warsaw University. She completed her studies in composition in Paris under Nadia Boulanger and violin playing under André Tourret and Carl Flesh. Until 1952, she combined compositonal and performance activities, which was met with numerous successes on European stages. She gave recitals and concerts directed by such eminent conductors as Paul Kletzki, George Georgescu, Hermann Abendroth and Constantin Silvestri.
She was awarded numerous times and her music—highly valued by both conductors and performers—was found increasingly in programmes of concerts and festivals in Poland and abroad. From 1953 onward, she devoted herself entirely to composition, which she had earlier combined with didactic work. She soon taught harmony, counterpoint and ear training, and later conducted the violin class at the Łódź Conservatory. Recognized as an authority both in the field of composition and violin playing, she served on juries of international violin competitions, chamber music competitions and contests for composers in Poland and abroad (Warsaw, Paris, Liege, Moscow, Naples, Budapest - among other places). From 1966 onward, she was a composition professor at the State High School of Music in Warsaw.
From 1955 to 1957 and again from 1960 until her death, she acted as the vice-chairman of the Polish Composers' Union.
Grażyna Bacewicz's creative output is extremely rich and varied, ranging from solo miniatures and chamber works to symphonies and concertos with solo instruments, songs, cantatas, ballets and a radio opera. She also wrote music for film and theatrical performances. Successful literary work was another facet of this comprehensively oriented creative personality, as she was open and sensitive to all the manifestations of the world around her.
The numerous prizes and distinctions with which she was honored are a symbolic expression of recognition for her titanic work and artistic and compositional achievements. She has deservedly gained a reputation as the greatest Polish woman composer—an outstanding figure of our century's music.
[Source: pwm.com.pl ]
WORLD PREMIERES AT LUTOSłAWSKI STUDIO
The Lutosławski Concert Studio at the Polish Radio will host the Generations XVII Concert, co-organized with the Polish Composers’ Union and the Authors’ Society, ZAiKS. The March 16 program includes Sir Andrzej Panufnik’s Landscape, Tadeusz Wielecki’s Dać słowu dźwięk na małą orkiestrę [Intone a Word for Small Orchestra], Aleksander Nowak’s Kurczęta i robot na akordeon i orkiestrę [Chickens and the Robot for Accordion and Orchestra], and Paweł Sydor’s Koncert podwójny na skrzypce i wiolonczelę oraz orkiestrę symfoniczną [Double Concerto for Violin and Cello and Symphony Orchestra]. The soloists Maciej Frąckiewicz, accordion, Dorota Imiełowska, cello, and Tomasz Tomaszewski, will be accompanied by maestro Szymon Bywalec leading the orchestra.
Works by Tadeusz Wielecki and Aleksander Nowak will be world-premiered at this concert. Commissioned by the Polish Composers’ Union, Wielecki’s and Nowak’s compositions were funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage through the “Collections—Commissions for Composers” program, administered by the National Institute of Music and Dance.
FREE CONCERT SERIES PRESENTS ZHEEYOUNG MOON
In March, the Chopin for All FREE Concert Series will feature young Korean pianist Zheeyoung Moon, first prize winner of the 2013 International Paderewski Competition in Poland. Zheeyoung Moon has been concertizing throughout Asia and Europe for many years. Her March concerts in Fort Lauderdale and Coral Gables will be first introduction to the South Florida audiences.
The Chopin for All FREE monthly concerts continue through May. Each concert in this series is presented twice. Admission for these concerts is free of charge; no tickets are required.
On Saturday at Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale, 100 S. Andrews Ave, Ft. Lauderdale and on the following Sunday at Granada Presbyterian Church, 950 University Drive, Coral Gables.
IGOR LIPINSKI - PORTLAND, OR DEBUT
Known for his creative programming, Lipinski incorporates surprising elements of magic in his classical concerts.
A celebrated performer at the 2012 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, CA, Igor Lipinski made his American orchestra debut with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra playing the Paderewski Piano Concerto under the baton of JoAnn Falletta. The performance was broadcast on National Public Radio's Performance Today. As a soloist, he recently performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra under Michael Butterman, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under Matthew Kraemer, and he made a special New Year's Day appearance with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra in Hyannis, Massachusetts under the baton of Jung-Ho Pak.
As a guest artist, Lipinski has made numerous appearances in Poland, Czech Republic, France, United Arab Emirates and United States including recitals in New York City, Chicago and Las Vegas. His recent appearances include sold-out recitals at the Steinway Concert Series at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg College Concert Series, Paso Robles Paderewski Festival in California, Lutkin Hall at Northwestern University, Summer Concert Hall at the Paderewski's Manor House in Poland, Paderewski Symphony Orchestra at Copernicus Theatre, Chicago Chopin Society Series, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland and Kosciuszko Foundation Series as a recipient of the prestigious KF Scholarship. Lipinski was a featured pianist in a Chicago premiere of 33 Variations, a theatre play based on Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, produced by the TimeLine Theatre Company. In 2012, Lipinski introduced a salon concert series in Winnetka, Illinois that features classical music concerts, inspired by the 19th century salons of Paris, in the most elite houses of Chicago's North Shore.
IMPASSIONED POLISH TENOR BECZAŁA EARNS PLAUDITS AT MET
Piotr Beczała has received rave reviews appearing as the Prince in a revival of Anton Dvorak’s Rusalka at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Reviewing the production in the New York Times, Zachary Woolfe wrote: “Piotr Beczała was wonderful as the Prince, his tenor elegant and impassioned.” Rusalka runs at the Met through 15 February.
Saturday’s production will be broadcast to some 2,000 cinemas and theatres in 64 countries as part of the ‘Met: Live in HD’ series. The venues include a cinema in Czechowice-Dziedzice in southern Poland, Beczała’s hometown, which recently granted the singer its honorary citizenship. Beczała maintains close contact with the town.
For the past few years, Beczała been sponsoring regular visits to opera performances and symphonic concerts in Warsaw, Krakow and Katowice for groups of children from his former school. “If only one of these kids became a professional musician or singer, I would see it as my great success,” Beczała told the Polish Press Agency.
Beczała sang in Met’s inaugural production of the current season, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in the autumn of 2013, and is due to return there next season in Tchaikovsky’s Yolanta and Verdi’s The Masked Ball.
[Source: thenews.pl ]
TKACZEWSKI AT MOUNT HOLYOKE COLLEGE
The Kosciuszko Foundation will present award-winning pianist Krystian Tkaczewski in a concert at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley entitled “The Romantics” and feature selections from Chopin and Tchaikovsky.
The concert will be preceded by an awards luncheon, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Willets-Hallowell Center. It celebrates the academic accomplishments of students who have received scholarships from the Kosciuszko Foundation and are of Polish descent or who are studying in disciplines related to Poland or Eastern Europe.
Pianist Tkaczewski, born in 1980 in Tarnów, Poland, received a graduate professional diploma from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. He currently is pursuing his doctor of musical arts degree there.
Among his many performances, he was featured at the Royal Castle in Warsaw for the 50th anniversary of the Society of Polish Artist Musicians gala, where he soloed with the Polish Radio Orchestra. He has received numerous awards including the grand prize in the 2001 European Piano Competition of Bari, Italy; the 2006 Artists International auditions in New York; and First Prize in the 2009 American Protégé Piano and Strings Competition.
Tkaczewski has been an active member of the Society of Polish Artistic Musicians since 2004. He also founded and served as artistic director and jury president of the First Chopin International Piano Competition in Hartford.
For information and membership in the Kosciuszko Foundation, visit www.thekf.org
[Source: masslive.com/entertainment ]
CHOPIN’S BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE
Saturday, March 1, was the final day of the week-long celebration of the 204th anniversary of Chopin’s birthday. In line with a long-standing tradition, the composer’s birthplace of Żelazowa Wola was the venue of a recital, broadcast live on Polish Radio 2 at noon.
The acclaimed Japanese pianist Akiko Ebi, a prizewinner at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1980, was the soloist. Chinese pianist Yundi, the winner of the 2000 Chopin Competition, was the soloist in the gala Chopin Birthday concert at the National Philharmonic that Saturday night.
Chopin’s birthday was celebrated with a wide-range of events starting on 22 February, as the exact date of the composer’s birth continues to be the subject for debate.
This year, Chopin’s birthday celebration coincided with the bicentenary of the birth of Oskar Kolberg, the famous ethnographer and composer, born on 22 February 1814. His multi-volume work on the folk music and culture of 19th-century Polish lands has served as a source of inspiration for successive generations of Polish composers, including such household names in 20th century music as Witold Lutosławski and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki.
[Source: thenews.pl ]
EWA FABIAŃSKA-JELIŃSKA AT THE BALTIC NEOPOLIS ORCHESTRA
The "composer-in-residence" project of IMiT aims to promote composers unknown or little known in a given community, embedding their names and music in the minds of listeners of a given philharmonic or orchestra through a systematic presentation of their selected works.
Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska, composer and musicologist, was born in Toruń in 1989. She began studying composition at age twelve at the K. Szymanowski School of Music in Toruń under the guidance of Magdalena Cynk. She is currently studying with Professor Zygmunt Kozub and pursuing a degree in composition at the I. J. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań. She received her Licentiate (equivalent of Bachelor’s) degree in musicology in 2011 from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. She is also a receipient of scholarships awarded by the Marshal of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship and the President (Mayor) of Toruń.
Her works have been performed at numerous festivals in Poland and abroad – including Music and Art Festival of the Baltic Countries “Probaltica” (Toruń), the International Festival of Women's Creativity “No Women No Art,” the International Jazz Workshop in Puławy, the Nationwide Improvisation Workshop at the “Zamek” Culture Centre in Poznań, the “Poznań Musical Spring” Festival of Polish Contemporary Music, “A Stave for the Pope” – the John Paul II in memoriam concert series, as well as a special concert in Warsaw honouring the memory of the victims of the Beslan Tragedy, concerts organised as part of the Chopin Year celebrations at the Chopin Centre in Szafarnia (2010), concerts celebrating the International Year of Astronomy (2009), as well as during the Summer Music Academy in Wrocław. Her work was heard in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and the United States.
As a composer, Ewa Fabiańska writes film music, animated film music and musicals for children. Her works have been performed at “KON-TEKSTY,” the International Festival of Contemporary Plays for Youth Children and Youth, the 18th Nationwide Art for Children Biennale and “Animator,” the International Animated Film Festival where she performed live music during the presentation of animated films with Animatic, a music group for Poznań. Fabiańska has also taken part in workshops for composers and culture animators (“Art for children – tradition in contemporaneity”), Student’s Interdisciplinary plein-air creative events (“The colour of sound – the sound of colour”), and workshops for composers, animators and filmmakers organized by the University of Arts in Poznań, as well as “Transatlantyk,” the International Film and Music Festival.
Her greatest achievements are: winning 3rd prize at the M. Gordiejuk Nationwide Composition Competition for secondary school students, organised by the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz (2007), a laureate’s title at the 32nd Artistic Olympics in Warsaw (2008), becoming a finalist of the Composing Competition organised during the Fr. S. Ormiński Religious Music Festival in Gdynia (2009), winning 1st and 2nd prize at a percussion works composing competition, organized by Oklahoma City University (Margaret E. Petrea College of Performing arts, 2010), taking part in the finale of “Gramodeska” European Young Composers Competition (Prague, 2011) and receiving 1st prize at the 9th Tadeusz Ochlewski Composition Competition for Miniatures Sonoristiques for prepared solo trombone (2011).
[source: pwm.com.pl ]
POLISH MUSIC IN THE NEW YORKER
An article pertaining to Paweł Szymański’s opera Qudsja Zaher, which was recently performed in Warsaw, was published in the March 2014 issue of The New Yorker.
"The devastation visited on Warsaw during the Second World War also wiped out a fair amount of music. Witold Lutosławski and Andrzej Panufnik, two young Polish composers who had played together as a piano duo in cafés during the German occupation, saw most of their scores destroyed. The loss was, in a way, liberating: Lutosławski and Panufnik carried on with increasing audacity, testing the aesthetic limits that fell into place after the Communist takeover. Panufnik defected to Britain, in 1954; Lutosławski remained, becoming the pilot figure in a remarkable surge of musical activity that has been named the Polish Renaissance."
[source: pwm.com.pl ]
CHOPIN SALON CONCERT FEATURING SEAN CHEN
The Chopin Foundation of the United States presents the Chopin Salon Concert featuring Sean Chen, the winner of Crystal Award at the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition and the 2013 Fellowship of the American Pianists Association.
MADAME PADEREWSKA’S DIARIES
Helena Paderewska and Ignacy Jan Paderewski in Santa Maria, CA. 1921
This spring’s exciting news from the Hoover Archives concerns the discovery of Madame Helena Paderewska’s diaries. They cover her husband’s activities during the years 1910-1920, and include fascinating insights to the daily routines of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, a virtuoso pianist and noted composer but also a great statesman on the international scene during the years of World War I.
Paderewski’s advocacy on behalf of Poland returned this noble republic’s independence after 123 years of partitions after the Great War ended in 1918. By 1919 Paderewski became the Premier of Poland and the representative of his homeland to the Paris Peace Conference. Madame Paderewska’s diaries thus offer a fresh perspective on a significant chapter of Polish history as it was being made. Her typewritten diaries were probably entrusted to Ernest Schelling, a famous pianist and Paderewski’s close friend. Ernest Schelling papers, recently deposited at the Hoover Archives, also contained Madame Paderewska’s diaries. More information about this fascinating story can be found at: http://www.hoover.org/news/167791
THE NINTH NATIONAL CHOPIN PIANO COMPETITION
Founded by Mrs. Blanka A. Rosenstiel in 1975, the National Chopin Piano Competition of the USA provides financial support to American pianists and allows them the opportunity to showcase their talents. The competition is held in Miami, Florida every five years and closely follows the regulations and requirements of the International Chopin Competition. This year, the competition offers the largest cash award of any piano competition in the United States, $75,000, to any pianist with US citizenship born between the years of 1985 and 1999, representing a professional level of performance.
In addition to this sum, the first prize winner will also receive automatic acceptance to represent the United States in the XVII International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland, and be booked for concert engagements in the U.S. and internationally. The second prize winner will also receive acceptance to the competition as well as a cash prize of $35,000. As well as smaller cash prizes, third through sixth place finalists will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Warsaw to attend the preliminary Round of the XVII International Chopin Piano Competition in April 2015.
The contest will take place in Miami, Florida from February 21, 2015 to March 1, 2015, and the application deadline to compete is November 3, 2014. Finalists of selected piano competitions listed on this website may be eligible to participate in this competition without having to participate in the selection process. More information can be found on the Chopin Foundation’s website at: http://www.chopin.org/competition.html
4th EDITION OF THE RMF CLASSIC ‘MOCARTY’ AWARD
The Fourth Annual “MOCARTY” Gala Awards were handed out on March 3 at the Concept 13 Restaurant in Warsaw. There were four categories of awards: the Person of the Year, the Event of the Year, the Film Music of the Year, and the “Classy Stuff” of the Year. Composer Tomasz Gąssowski was recognized for his soundtrack to the 2012 feature, Imagine, a story of a blind teacher who breaks the rules to help a female student rediscover the pleasures of life.
The awards presentation was accompanied by vocalist Monika Borzym and pianist Włodek Pawlik, the recent Grammy Award prizewinner for his jazz album.
CONDUCTOR MINKOWSKI AWARDED SILVER GLORIA ARTIST MEDAL
French conductor Marc Minkowski has received the Silver Gloria Artis medal for services to Polish culture.
The conductor, who is regarded as one of the world’s finest interpreters of Baroque music, was presented with the medal at the Polish Embassy in Paris. Minkowski served for several years as Music Director of Poland’s leading symphony orchestra – Sinfonia Varsovia.
He has also worked with the National Opera in Warsaw on the production of Moniuszko’s Halka, and he has conducted the Warsaw Philharmonic, Sinfonietta Cracovia, and the Aukso Orchestra from the town of Tychy.
Born in Paris in 1962, Marc Minkowski is a scion of a distinguished family of immigrants that has left its mark on French academia and culture over three generations.
[Source: thenews.pl ]
ANTONI WIT CONDUCTS HENRYK GÓRECKI
Górecki, H.: Antoni Wit conducts Henryk Górecki (3-CD Boxed Set)
1. Symphony No. 3 / 3 Olden Style Pieces (Kilanowicz, Polish National Radio Symphony, Wit) 8.550822
Naxos 8.503268 (March 2014)
A leading figure of the Polish avant-garde in the slowly cooling, post-Stalin atmosphere, Henryk Górecki’s uncompromising early, serialist, musical language gave way to the mystic and timeless scores from the 1970s onwards, including his symphonies. The contemplative and emotionally draining Symphony No 3 achieved unprecedented popularity years after its composition. This overview provides an essential look into one of Poland’s greatest masters of that country’s turbulent 20th century.
SATTERLEE PERFORMS RZEWSKI HITS
RZEWSKI, F.: Piano Music
Naxos: American Classics 8.559760 (March 2014)
Frederic Rzewski is one of the most influential figures in contemporary music. In the composer’s own words, for this second, 1999 version of Fantasia, “I…changed the music to obscure the tune, putting in lots of wrong notes and kind of stomping on and smudging everything.” Second Hand, or Alone at Last was written for Robert Satterlee, the left hand “executing the most spectacular acrobatics.” Described by the composer as “melodramatic oratorio” for speaking pianist, De Profundis is a startlingly original work which uses an Oscar Wilde text written during his imprisonment in Reading Gaol and requires the pianist to recite, sing, hum, whistle, use a Harpo horn, and hit his own body and the piano while playing a score of considerable variety and drama. Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated can be found on Naxos 8.559360.
YOUNG FRENCH CELLIST RELEASES ALBUM OF CLASSICS
Play (Works for cello and piano)
Warner Music 2564636958 (March 2014)
Edgar Moreau, a 20-year old French cellist, just released an album of music for cello and piano with pianist Pierre-Yves Hodique. The repertoire on this recording is a potpourri of salon favorites by, among others, Bloch, Dvorak, Elgar, Fauré, Françaix, Glazunov, Popper, Poulenc, Saint-Saens, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky. Saving the best for last, Chopin’s Introduction and Polonaise brillante, Op. 3, closes this Warner/Erato label release.
In spite of his young age, Moreau has already garnered a lot of recognition and prizes, including the Second Prize at the Tchaikovsky Competition, and a Special Prize at the 2009 Rostropovich Competition in Paris. During the past few years Moreau has performed extensively with a number of orchestras, led by such great maestros as Yuri Bashmet, Gustavo Dudamel, Valery Gergiev, Gidon Kremer, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Andras Schiff, among others.
ANDRZEJ PANUFNIK'S MUSIC AT THE NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC
Andrzej Panufnik, an eminent Polish composer, lighted his 100th birthday candle in 2014. On Friday, February 14th, the National Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of maestro Jacek Kasprzyk played, among other works, the Sinfonia di Sfere by Sir Andrzej Panufnik.
In addition, the concert programme featured the famous Violin Concerto by Jean Sibelius, the solo part of which was performed on a Stradivarius violin by the young, less than 20-year-old American star of violin - Esther Yoo, who was debuting on the stage of the National Philharmonic. The evening opened with the Third Symphony by Philip Glass, an immensely popular American composer classified into the trend of "minimal music." also the creator of film music (including the music to the movie The Hours).
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE WIENIAWSKI BROTHERS
From February 14 - March 16 the 1st International Festival of the Wieniawski Brothers took place in Lublin. The programme was filled with beautiful Polish music.
A special highlight of the 1st International Festival of the Wieniawski Brothers was performed at the crowning concert. For the first time, the instrument that belonged to Henryk Wieniawski himself was played in Lublin by Ilya Grubert.
[Source: pwm.com.pl ]
POLISH REQUIEM IN ISRAEL
The Israeli tour of Krzysztof Penderecki and Polish artists Agnieszka Rehlis, Rafał Bartmiński and Robert Jezierski has ended. Krzysztof Penderecki already conducted concerts in Haifa and Tel Aviv, where four concerts were held (12, 14, 15 and 18 February). The composer lead the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and The Gary Bertini Israeli Choir in his Polish Requiem. A concert was also held on 17 February at the International Convention Centre in Jerusalem.
3RD ANNIVERSARY OF ARCHBISHOP JÓZEF ŻYCIŃSKI’S DEATH
A concert to mark the third anniversary of Archbishop Józef Życiński’s death was held on 22 February at the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera. Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei for cello and orchestra Op. 47 and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Polish Requiem (Lublin version) was conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki. The performers included Iwona Hossa (soprano), Agnieszka Rehlis (mezzo-soprano), Rafał Bartmiński (tenor), Robert Jezierski (bass), the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, and the Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera. The cello part in Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei was performed by Rafał Kwiatkowski. Maja Komorowska and Krzysztof Zanussi served as Masters of Ceremonies for the concert.
GERMAN PREMIERE OF NOT I COMPOSED BY AGATA ZUBEL
On February 28 in Schauspielhaus in Munich Münchener Kammerorchester conducted by Clement Power will perform - for the first time in Germany - work of Agata Zubel entitled Not I for voice, instrumental ensembe and electronics.
"An advanced sonorist composition, written to Samuel Beckett's monologue. Beckett indicated that the text is to be performed in a darkened room, with the light focused only on the lips of the actress. Agata Zubel, respecting this instruction, has prepared a film to accompany the performance where you can see her mouth, saying / singing different fragments of the text. There are many capital moments in the work, where multiplied sounds made by the composer create mysteriously whispering choirs (the filmed mouth also appears multiplied in the image), upon which the very clear sound of the composer's live voice is heard. A work with an incredible, magical aura.” (Ada Ginał-Zwolińska)
[Source: pwm.com.pl ]
JAN KARSKI GETS MUSICAL TRIBUTE IN US
The National Philharmonic in Washington gave two concerts dedicated to the memory of the late Polish war-time hero Jan Karski, in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of his birth on 24 April.
The orchestra was conducted by Poland's Michał Dworzyński, Music Director of the Krakow Philharmonic, and the programme included music by Mozart, Stanisław Moniuszko (the concert overture Fairytale) and Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1, with the American pianist Brian Ganz as the soloist.
In a special address before Saturday's concert, the Polish Ambassador in Washington Ryszard Schnepf spoke about Karski's legacy. The concerts were held in the 2000-seat Music Center at Strathmore.
A few days before the concerts Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced a draft legislation to name April 24, 2014 'Jan Karski Day' in America.
The draft is co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Richard J. Durbin and Republican Senator Mark Kirk. The Jan Karski Educational Foundation in the United States was actively involved in the initiative.
Senator Durbin told the Polish Press Agency: “I had the honour to be Professor Karski's student at Georgetown University. He was an inspirational personality who had an influence on the lives of many people'. Senator Kirk added that 'many people should be grateful to Jan Karski for the heroism displayed during World War Two”.
As a member of anti-Nazi resistance, Jan Karski took part in courier missions with dispatches from the Polish underground to the Polish Government-in-Exile, then based in France.
During one such mission, in July 1940, he was arrested by the Gestapo in Slovakia, tortured and transported to a hospital in Nowy Sącz, from where he was rescued by Polish resistance. He soon resumed active service in the Information and Propaganda Bureau of the Home Army's High Command, and in the summer of 1942 was assigned to perform a secret mission to London on behalf of the Polish Government's Delegate in Poland and several political parties.
In order to gather evidence on the plight of Polish Jews, he was twice smuggled by Jewish underground leaders into the Warsaw Ghetto.
He met several Allied leaders, including Anthony Eden, Britain's foreign secretary, and US president Franklin Roosevelt, but failed to secure support for Polish Jews.
After the war, Karski settled in the United States and became a professor as Georgetown University in Washington. He remained an advocate of Holocaust memory until his death in 2000, aged 86. In 2012, he was posthumously decorated with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest American civilian honour.
Karski's Story of a Secret State, subtitled My Report to the World, was first published in the United States in 1944 and sold over 360, 000 copies there by the end of the war. It was re-issued by Georgetown University last year.
[Source: thenews.pl ]
KOSCIUSZKO FOUNDATION EVENTS IN MARCH
The Kosciuszko Foundation's Chopin Days 2014 was a two-part concert series celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Polish composer Frederic Chopin - March 1st, 1810. On Day 1, the Slavic Arts Ensemble presented a rare performance of Chopin's works arranged for string quartet and piano.
The Slavic Arts Ensemble was founded in 1977 by Mieczyslaw Gubernat, a former orchestra member of the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Poland, with the intent of presenting little-known Polish and Slavic compositions to American audiences and giving outstanding young musicians the opportunity to perform and gain the recognition they deserve. Some of New York City's well-known musicians have also performed with the Ensemble, including Christina Petrowska, Hanna Lachert, Jan Jozef Wnek, Teresa Kubiak, Krzysztof Witek, Ewa Jaslar, Mariusz Jagoda, Pawel Knapik, Mateusz Wolski, Eric Nowlin, and Rafal Jezierski.
The Slavic Arts Ensemble was joined by soloists: Krzysztof Kuznik – Violin, Tatiana Chulochnikova – Violin, Maurycy Banaszek – Viola, Fanny Nemeth-Weiss – Cello, and Martin Labazevitch – Piano. The program included Chopin - Sonata for Cello and Piano Op. 65, Chopin - Piano Concerto No.2 Op.21 (version for piano and string quartet), and Chopin - Waltzes, Nocturnes, and Mazurkas arranged for string trio.
CHOPIN IN INSTALLMENTS
By Marek Zebrowski
Pianist Brian Ganz, artist-in-residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and faculty at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, presented an all-Chopin recital at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland, on Saturday, February 22. It was a sold-out evening in a two-thousand seat modern and acoustically outstanding auditorium, located just across the District of Columbia line. Mr. Ganz’s recital was the fourth in a series of annual presentations of the complete works of Frederic Chopin, a project undertaken by the pianist to commemorate Chopin’s bicentennial in 2010.
“Chopin, the Storyteller,” a title penned by Mr. Ganz, applied equally well to the choice of the program and the performer. A generous selection of Mazurkas presented that evening by the soloist was artfully woven into other narrative selections that included the Op. 48 Nocturnes, the Op. 45 Prelude, as well as the Fourth Ballade and the Fourth Scherzo.
The Four Mazurkas Op. 17 that opened the program established Mr. Ganz’s strong credentials as a pianist with a discriminating touch and an innate sense of timing, crucial for a successful interpretation of this genre. Hector Berlioz, who witnessed Chopin’s concerts in Paris, noted the subtle tempo fluctuations in Chopin’s performances, marveling at the naturalness of and expressiveness of Chopin’s rubato. The audience at Strathmore was given a satisfying sample of this ephemeral technique by Mr. Ganz, who also presented two more Mazurkas in the second half of the recital and rewarded the enthusiastic crowd with Op. 24 no. 2 as an encore.
The novelties on the program included Chopin’s little-known Variations brillantes in B-flat major, Op. 12. Based on a once-popular aria from the opera Ludovic by Ferdinand Hérold, Variations date from 1831, shortly after Chopin had settled in Paris. Dominated by elegant passagework and clever iterations of the aria’s melody, the piece received a sympathetic treatment from Mr. Ganz along with questions of why other pianists shy away from occasionally programming this rarely-played work.
The F-minor Ballade Op. 52 that closed the first half and the Fourth Scherzo, Op. 54 that concluded the program proved to be the evening’s highlights. The narrative aspects of the Ballade were carefully laid out by Mr. Ganz and gradually built up to a dramatic and breathtaking finale, delivered with a virtuosic flair. The more pastoral and elfin aspects of the E-major Scherzo unfolded with easy grace and élan, appropriately so. The C minor and F-sharp minor Nocturnes as well as the Op. 69 Waltzes rounded off this year’s installment in Mr. Ganz’s long-term project. The evening was further enlivened by frequent and insightful commentary, delivered from the piano by the performer to a very sympathetic audience.
AMONG THE LAST OF THE GENERATION
Dorek Rusin’s passing in Santa Barbara on March 1 at the age of 100 marked another milestone in the history of the Polish Diaspora, created by turbulent political and social upheavals that affected Poland and its citizens throughout the twentieth century. During the decade preceding World War I, Poland was divided among the partitioning powers—Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary. When Dorek Rusin was born on January 8, 1914, the southern Polish village of Jaworze in the province of Cieszyn Silesia still belonged to the Habsburg Empire. Drafted to the Imperial Austrian Army, Dorek’s father was killed during World War I near the town of Graz. His widow struggled to raise four children but Dorek, a charming and intelligent lad with a bright outlook on life completed four years of village school and moved on to Bielsko-Biała to continue studying at the Business High School. His aptitude for trade and science subjects would later help him start his own business in California.
When Poland regained her independence in 1918, its population gradually began to rebuild the country torn by countless years of conflict. Upon reaching maturity, Dorek enlisted in the Polish military, which opened more possibilities of advancement for a motivated young man from an impoverished rural family. After a few years of service he reached the rank of Second Lieutenant and decided to return to civilian life. History intervened, however, and Dorek’s retirement from the military was extremely short. Only a few weeks later, in September of 1939, Germany invaded Poland and Dorek was called back to active service. Under constant Nazi air raids Dorek and a friend travelled together to join his regiment. As they drove southeast of Bielsko-Biała on September 17, they heard that Soviet troops had invaded Polish territory from the east. A few days later they encountered an armored Russian patrol and were informed by the commander that the Soviets came “to help the Poles.” Not trusting a word of this propaganda (especially since the tank’s guns were trained in their direction), Dorek and his companion stepped on the gas, leaving the stunned Soviet soldiers in a cloud of dust.
Like many young men eager to fight for Polish independence alongside the Allied forces, the 25-year old Dorek continued his escape from Poland via Hungary and Romania to Yugoslavia. Travelling from the Adriatic shores by boat, by early spring of 1940 he managed to reach France. Since France capitulated en masse to the Nazis on June 22, 1940, Dorek with many other young Polish refugees was forced to evacuate to England.
Assigned at first to serve with British troops in Nigeria, Dorek eventually joined his Polish compatriots and General Stanisław Maczek, the fabled tank commander of First Polish Armored Division. This unit of the Allied forces proved instrumental in the liberation of France during the famous battle of the Falaise pocket in August of 1944. An extraordinarily heroic action by Polish tanks led to the crushing defeat for several German Wehrmacht and SS divisions. Seriously injured by artillery shrapnel, Dorek was hospitalized and later decorated with the French Croix de Guerre as well as Belgian and Dutch military honors.
After the war, Dorek Rusin settled in London and started a family. By the mid-1950s he emigrated to California, joining his brother-in-law, Bruce Davis, in Santa Barbara. Although for the next half century he ran his own accounting business, by the 1960s Dorek decided to turn his interests towards sculpture and became a prominent artist. His work in wood was frequently exhibited at such noted Santa Barbara venues as Gallery 113, the Faulkner Gallery at the Public Library and in other galleries throughout Southern California, including the Hellada Gallery in Long Beach and the Polish Consulate in Los Angeles.
Active in the Polish community in Santa Barbara, Dorek also enthusiastically supported Polish art groups in Los Angeles area. A close friend of Dr. Stefan Wilk and his wife, Wanda, Dorek was one of the early patrons and firm supporters of the Polish Music Center at USC and a backer of the Children’s Medical Care Foundation. He regularly attended charity events organized by the Wilks at Toluca Lake Country Club, donating his artwork and sustaining various Polish charities with financial contributions. Occasionally leaving his artistic activities in Santa Barbara, Dorek and his close friend, Elizabeth Andrysewicz, travelled to Los Angeles for concerts and special events organized by Wilks and the Polish Music Center, including visits by Witold Lutosławski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, and the commemorative celebrations for Henryk Wars.
Accompanied by his son, Jamie, Dorek returned to his native village of Jaworze in 1969. According to Jamie Rusin, it was quite an adventure during the grim years of the Cold War era. Well-loved for his gentle humor and good nature, Dorek celebrated his 100th birthday earlier this year among scores of family and friends. He is survived by his longtime friend, Elizabeth Andrysewicz, daughter Anna M. Nett of Santa Ynez, son Dorek Jamie Rusin of Kensington, California, and three granddaughters. A mass followed by a reception will be held at noon on Saturday, March 29, at the Holy Cross Catholic Church, 1740 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara.
Donations in Dorek Rusin’s memory can be made to the Polish Music Center at the USC Thornton School of Music via giveto.usc.edu or by mail to: USC Polish Music Center, 840 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851. Another obituary for Dorek Rusin can be found at the Santa Barbara News-Press website.
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Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute (NY & UK), Adam Mickiewicz Institute,
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