|Polish Music Newsletter|
PMC SPRING CONCERT: ‘A TRIBUTE TO ROMAN RYTERBAND’
On April 2nd, the Polish Music Center presents an exploration of the newly re-discovered music of Polish Jewish composer Roman Ryterband (1914 - 1979). A master of the chamber ensemble, Ryterband enjoyed a career spanning half of the world before settling in Palm Springs, California. Now, an extensive collection of his personal correspondence and musical manuscripts has been donated to the PMC by the composer’s family, and we celebrate this historical gift with a concert of his works for flute, harp, piano and guitar.
The program of this monographic concert will include: Three Preludes for Piano (1945), selections from Suite Polonaise for piano (1944), Sonatina for Guitar (1978), Two Desert Scenes for harp and flute (1975), Two Images for Harp Solo (1943), Piece sans titre (1952) for two solo flutes, and Double Flute Quintet (1961) [World Premiere]. Performers for the evening’s concert include NY-based Polish pianist Tadeusz Domanowski, Fulbright scholar from Poland and guitarist Tomasz Fechner, and the esteemed duoKYaria (Ko Ni Choi - harp and Yoon-Hee Jung - flute), who will be joined on stage by Dan Fellows - viola, Yong Mi Choi - flute, Hee-Seung Lee - harpsichord, and Coleman Itzkoff – cello.
This event is generously supported by the Ryterband and Eisele families, POLAM Federal Credit Union, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, and Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles.
PADEREWSKI FESTIVAL EXCHANGE PARTICIPANTS IN LVIV
Educational opportunities for participants in the 2016 Paderewski Festival Youth Cultural Exchange continue to flourish. Thanks to a fruitful relationship with Adam Bala, Director of the Paderewski Polish-Ukrainian Foundation that has developed over the last year, 2016 Exchange students from Ukraine and Poland were invited to participate in piano workshops held February 20-21 at Lviv Conservatory and perform in concert at Lviv Philharmonic’s Chamber Auditorium on February 22, 2016.
Led by pianist Marianna Humetska, Exchange participants Sasha Dzvinkovskiy and Yulia Medynska from the Podolia Region of the Ukraine (Paderewski’s birthplace), and Miłosz Marcinkiewicz and Magdalena Kuropatwa of the Tarnów Region (home of Paderewski’s former estate at Kąśna Dolna) were joined by several of Humetska’s students as well as other regional piano teachers for intensive master classes before they gave a concert at the Lviv Opera House on February 22. Accommodations and meals, sightseeing and other cultural attractions for all participants, including additional students from Poland and Ukraine (Dmitro Avilov, Oleksandra Kiryak, Bohdan Terleckiy and Franciszek Słoniowski) were also generously provided by Mr. Bala and the Polish-Ukrainian Foundation.
PMC INCLUDED IN THE ‘GOOD PRACTICES HANDBOOK’
Continuing on the theme of partnership with the Paderewski Polish-Ukrainian Foundation in Warsaw, this organization has recently published the “Good Practice Handbook on Management of International Musical Projects,” a research project conducted by the Foundation’s Manager, Katarzyna Renes. Renes’ research was conducted across the United States, Canada, and Poland from June to September 2015, within the framework of a scholarship awarded by the Minister of Culture and the National Heritage of Poland. This handbook is an attempt at dissemination of good management practices for people dealing with international musical projects in Poland and Ukraine, in comparison and contrast to the North American system of cultural management.
Renes selected several cultural institutions in North America (USA and Canada) that were interesting due to the fact that the profiles of their activities were diverse but all of them were similar in terms of one key aspect: all are organizers of international musical events on the highest level. These cultural institutions included:
Members of these organizations were observed and interviewed extensively then compared to the Ludwig van Beethoven Association in Kraków, one of the most professional cultural organizations with a mission to promote Polish culture globally.
Read this thorough report at paderewski.eu.
[Sources: press release, paderewski.eu]
RECENT DONATIONS TO THE PMC
From mezzo soprano Katarzyna Sadej (1 CD):
From Agnieszke Swoinska & Dariusz Wyczolkowski (2 CDs):
Thank you for expanding our collection!
EWA FABIAŃSKA-JELIŃSKA PREMIERE
On April 3 a new work by Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska—entitled Dziadek przyjdzie [Grandfather Comes], written to the words of Maria Konopnicka—will be given. Held at the I. J. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań, the concert will be performed by the ‘Skowronki’ Girls’ Choir, under the direction of Alicja Szeluga.
2016 WORLD MUSIC DAYS
Themed "Sounds of Tomorrow," this year’s ISCM World Music Days Festival will be held in South Korea, organized and hosted by the Tongyeong International Music Foundation. The festival will begin on March 29 and last until April 3. Among the 66 works that were announced in the program is Five Miniatures for orchestra by Elżbieta Sikora and Three Polish Dances: Mazur, Kujawiak, Oberek for brass quintet and organ by Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska. The Gyeonnggi Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Shi-Yeong Sung, and the Gaia String Quartet & Brass Ensemble will be performing these compositions on March 30 and 31 respectively at the Tongyeong Concert Hall.
To hear these intricate and mystical works and partake in the festival, visit worldmusicdays2016.kr.
AUGUSTYN FEATURED BY PRESTO
Kinga Augustyn, a Polish violin virtuoso now living and working in New York City, gave an extensive interview in February for Presto, a Polish-language periodical covering music, film and arts. Titled, “Ten niemożliwy Nowy Jork” [This Impossible New York], the article covers Augustyn’s artistic trajectory and provides her explanation of why New York City is sometimes considered “impossible.”
As it turns out, Augustyn’s settling in New York City was an accident of fate. While still in high school Augustyn commuted between Wrocław and Hamburg, where she took lessons with Professor Petru Munteanu. Disappointed with the family with whom she lived in Hamburg, Augustyn flew to New York to audition for Juilliard School of Music and, against very high odds, was accepted. The incredibly competitive atmosphere of this amazing school actually suited Augustyn quite well and she made lots of friends among her fellow students, graduating with Bachelors’ and Masters’ Degrees from Juilliard. She followed it with a doctorate from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Summing up her experience, Augustyn said that, “my teachers at Juilliard had forever inculcated in me the drive to constantly refine my skills and continue my artistic development. It’s not about being a workaholic—it’s about something much larger than that.”
Augustyn’s impressions of New York are shaped by the very high cost of living and the great variety of concerts—some truly excellent, others less so. “There is so much going on here that every day there are hundreds of artistic events—a paradise for the music lover. As far as performing goes, there are many orchestras where you can find work. You can also play gigs. Everyone can find something.” In spite of her respect and admiration for many superb orchestral musicians, Augustyn doesn’t see herself in that environment. “I much prefer solo work and recitals, including chamber music concerts. Therefore I strive to continue doing that kind of work and expanding its scope. Besides that I love to teach and I have a knack for it. I have several good students.”
Asked about her everyday life, Augustyn said, “I simply love New York… I’ve become accustomed to the city’s life. I like the ‘quick pulse’ of this metropolis, even the city’s proverbial ‘rat race’ that my mother noticed after visiting me here. I considered leaving and resettling in another town, trying something different. The truth is that in my line of work—i.e. concertizing—travel is a big factor. […] It’s easier to move around the world now as compared to fifty years ago. But this is my home base and my starting point. My contacts are here. I consider New York the most appropriate place for me. From here I aim to achieve my highest potential.”
Augustyn has performed in some of New York’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie and Weill Recital halls, and Metropolitan Museum of Art and has made recordings of violin and piano music (see here recordings for Naxos and other labels at kingaaugustyn.com). Clearly, Augustyn finds New York “impossible” only in the sense that it would indeed be impossible not to live there. She concluded that, “I think that to answer your question we could jointly agree that, in a way, New York is a place of possibilities. One has to create them for oneself, which doesn’t happen on its own. It isn’t easy either.”
[Sources: press release, prostoomuzyce.pl. Photo: PeterSchaaf]
SZYMANOWSKI, STRUSIŃSKA & SAŁACZYK IN BIAŁYSTOK
On March 11, the Podlaskie Philharmonic Orchestra will present a concert featuring Maestra Ewa Strusińska and pianist Piotr Sałajczyk. On the program will be Karol Szymanowski’s Etude in b minor Op. 4 No. 3 and his Symphony No. 4‘Symphonie Concertante’ Op. 60 for piano and orchestra, as well as Sergei Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances Op. 45.
RUCIŃSKI AT THE MET
Polish baritone Artur Ruciński made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in February on the opening night of a new production of Puccini’s famous opera, Madame Butterfly. Ruciński shares his role with American baritone Dwayne Croft as Sharpless, the American consulate at Nagasaki. Though he only has two more performances at the Met in March, there is no doubt that Ruciński is greatly satisfied with his experience as he tells Polskie Radio: “What else could I expect from a debut performance? I feel great. The atmosphere was fantastic right from the start. I got support from other members of the cast, from the conductor and the Met management. I am extremely happy.”
MECCORE STRING QUARTET IN US
For their third tour of the US, the Meccore String Quartet is going coast to coast – starting in California then immediately going across the country to play in Florida. Audiences will also hear them in Alabama and Idaho, where Meccore String Quartet will present their colorful repertoire, including works by Szymanowski, Beethoven, Haydn, Ligeti and Sibelius. This American tour will end again in California, from where the artists will go back to Poland to play concerts during the Beethoven Easter Festival. Concerts are not the only MSQ activity planned for their stay in the USA. The members of the ensemble will give several masterclasses, and in Boise they will be judges at the International Competition for String Quartets.
BALTIC PHILHARMONIC IN CALIFORNIA
Founded in 1945 on the heels of postwar Polish independence, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic [Filharmonia Bałtycka] is the largest music institution in northern Poland. Finishing their extensive tour of the US in the West, the Baltic Philharmonic will be in California for most of March.
On March 9, the musicians from Gdańsk are scheduled to perform at the Cohan Performing Arts Centre at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where the featured soloist, Marcin Koziak, will perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Koziak will also join them for an all-Beethoven program at the Marin Center in San Rafael, CA on March 12 and an “Afternoon of Tchaikovsky” at the Harris Center in Folsom, CA on March 13. Pianist Adam Golka will serve as soloist for an all-Beethoven program at the Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, CA on March 15, and then their dates in California will end with Koziak again performing Chopin at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA on March 16.
[Sources: press release, latimes.com]
SZPAKIEWICZ PERFORMS BENEFIT CONCERT
On March 13, Polish cellist Marek Szpakiewicz will join the partially-deaf legendary pianist Fuzjko Hemming who returns to Los Angeles for a special concert commemorating the 5th anniversary of earthquake & tsunami in Japan. The program will encompass many favorite works for cello and piano, including Chopin’s Introduction et Polonaise Brillante, Op.3, as well as solo works for each instrument.
Despite her severe hearing difficulties and turbulent life story, including a time spent under refugee status, Fuzjko Hemming has beaten the odds to become a highly- acclaimed concert pianist who performs around the world. At the age of 16, this Swedish-Japanese classical icon was struck with deafness and remains partially deaf today. In 1999, her documentary broadcast in Japan created a huge sensation, which made her a star with the multi-million selling debut album La Campanella in her late 60s. She received the Classical Album of the Year Award at Japan’s prestigious Gold Disc Awards, not only once but four times—an unusual success that has never been achieved by any other artist.
This charity concert will also feature hailed Polish cellist Marek Szpakiewicz, residing in Los Angeles. Celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma described Marek as an artist “whose energy, motivation, earnestness and generosity of spirit are evident through his work.” His solo performance can be heard on several soundtracks, including the film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale starring Richard Gere.
The recital is supported by Consulate General of Japan Los Angeles and Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles. A portion of the proceeds from this recital will go to 2011 Japan Relief Fund, organized by Japan America Society.
[Sources: press release, facebook.com]
KENNER FEATURED AT CHOPIN RECITAL
Commissioned by the Chopin Foundation of the United States, the third recital of the Chopin Salon Series will take place on March 13. The evening will consist of a delightful concert featuring internationally acclaimed American pianist and 1990 National and International Chopin Competition laureate, Kevin Kenner, followed by a wine reception and dinner.The program will include selections from Schubert’s Moments musicaux, D. 780, Paderewski’s Humoresques de concert, Op.14, and Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 62 No. 2 in E Major and Sonata in B minor Op. 58. Kenner currently serves on the faculty of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and is a visiting professor at the Academy of Music in Łódź, Poland.
[Sources: press release, chopin.org]
CANTORES MINORES LENTEN CONCERT
Cantores Minores, the men's choir from the archdiocesan cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Warsaw, gives a free concert of Lenten music on Sunday, March 6, 2016. The concert is held at the Holy Cross Basilica on Krakowskie Pzedmieście Street in Warsaw, where the choir is accompanied by the Basilica's organist, Michał Dąbrowski.
Among the dozen works found on the program, three were written by Polish composers: an adaption of Chopin's Prelude in C minor, op 20 nr 28 to the medieval poem, Stabat Mater dolorosa; Parce, Domine a chorus from Feliks Nowowiejski's oratorio The Exaltation of the Holy Cross; and the Kyrie from Mass in Honor of St. Michael the Archangel by Feliks Rączkowski, the Holy Cross Basilica organist from 1945 to 1970.
The first part of the concert is conducted by Henryk Grocholski, a chorister who has sung in the choir since its beginning in 1990, and the second half of the concert is conducted by the choir's founder and director, Joseph A. Herter.
[Source: press release]
INTERNATIONAL FLUTE COMPETITION
Application submissions for the 7th International Flute Competition Kraków 2017 will be open from March 1 to October 31. The Competition is open to international participants who were born after April 2, 1984. Prize winners will be expected to perform in 3 different stages of competition held from April 2-8, 2017, in addition to a preliminary round on December 3rd and 4th, and a final performance on April 9, 2017. All competition events will take place at the Academy of Music in Kraków.
For competition rules and regulations, visit konkursfletowy.krakow.pl.
KARŁOWICZ REMEMBERED IN ZAKOPANE
The Mieczysław Karłowicz Society in Zakopane, organizer of the Muzyka na Szczytach [Music at the Summits] Festival, celebrated the anniversary of Mieczysław Karłowicz’s death in by organizing a hike to a spot where he died in an avalanche on February 8, 1909. Braving a strong chinook wind, the group managed to reach the memorial stone and their trek in the high Tatra Mountains has been edited into a short video. It includes interviews with one of the organizers, Tomasz Sztencel, and a son of one of the rescue squad members who retrieved the composer’s body from the accident site. Narrated in Polish, this clip includes several interesting historic photographs interspersed with beautiful vistas of the mountains where Karłowicz loved to ski and hike. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti6BOjfPPlw&feature=youtu.be
[Source: press release]
2016 FRYDERYK NOMINATIONS
The 2016 nominations for the 22nd edition of the Fryderyk Awards were announced on March 9 by the organizers at ZPAV, the Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Similar to the Grammys in the US, the Fryderyk is the highest award for success in the recording industry in Poland. For a full listing of all 2016 nominees in the categories of jazz, popular and classical music, visit: zpav.pl. The Gala announcing the winners will be held in April.
Below are some of the highlights of this year’s nominees in the Classical Music category:
Album of the Year – Choral, Oratorio or Opera
Album of the Year – Symphonic or Concert Music
Album of the Year – Solo Recital
Album of the Year – Contemporary Music
Album of the Year – Best Polish Album Recorded Abroad
Album of the Year – Best Recording of Polish Music
For a full listing of all 2016 Fryderyk nominees, visit: zpav.pl.
SZEWCZYK & THE VIOLIN FUTURA PROJECT
The Violin Futura Project was developed in 2005 by Polish violinist and composer Piotr Szewczyk to create and reinvent solo violin repertoire. Over the span of five years, more than thirty international contemporary composers (from the United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Mexico, Hong-Kong, Finland, China, Japan, Germany, and Canada) have crafted a collection of culturally and musically diverse miniatures for the Violin Futura Project, included in the release. The album features compositions from Szewczyk himself at the end of each disc, though the polished and wondrous sound of his violin can be heard throughout.
Szewczyk is currently a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, but has also performed as both a soloist and a guest concertmaster with a number of orchestras. He has won various competitions and awards for violin and composition, including the American Prize, the Project Trio Competition, the FSU Doctoral Concerto Competition, and the New World Symphony Concerto Competition.
[Sources: press release, navonarecords.com]
DELJAVAN RELEASES CHOPIN ETUDES
CHOPIN Complete Etudes
This recording has received a Gramophone review by Patrick Rucker, from which the following is an excerpt:
TANSMAN ON ‘BRILLIANT CLASSICS’
Tansman: Complete Music for Solo Guitar
Twentieth-century Polish composer Alexandre Tansman is an original and accessible voice in contemporary music. This two-disc set contains his entire catalogue of music for solo guitar. The pieces presented here are beautifully played by Cristiano Poli Cappelli, who also wrote the liner notes in Italian and English.
CONTEMPO CONCERT FEATURES ZUBEL AND WIELECKI
On February 29, Contempo—the renowned contemporary music collective at the University of Chicago, now headed by Polish composer Marta Ptaszyńska—looked across the ocean to examine today’s leading European composers during their “Contempo: Focus on Europe” program. Held at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts in Chicago, this compelling concert featured such award-winning compositions as Agata Zubel – Not I, Tadeusz Wielecki – The Thread is Spinning, Christophe Bertrand – Madrigal, Marta Ptaszyńska – Mosaics, and Alfred Schnittke – String Quartet No. 2. Members of eighth blackbird and the Pacifica Quartet were joined by the electric soprano Agata Zubel, making a return to Contempo, and Tadeusz Wielecki, director of Warsaw Autumn Festival, who performed in their own works as well as Bertrand’s Madrigal (Zubel). Before the concert, a panel discussion with Seth Brodsky and the composers was held.
Critic John von Rhein wrote a review of the concert for the Chicago Tribune, of which the following is an excerpt:
Read the full review at: www.chicagotribune.com.
[Sources: press release, chicagotribune.com]
CHOPIN IN CHICAGO
Organized by the Chicago Chopin Foundation, in cooperation with the Polish Museum of America, a concert dedicated to Frederic Chopin took place on February 28th in the PMA’s Sabina P. Logisz Great Hall in Chicago. Internationally acclaimed violinist Daniel Kurganov and violist Aurelien Fort Pederzoli were featured at this event, where they performed the musical masterpieces of Chopin to celebrate his music, his accomplishments, and his life.
The Chicago Chopin Foundation is currently working on a project to erect a replica of the iconic Art Nouveau Chopin Monument in Royal Baths Park in Warsaw, Poland. The 21 foot tall bronze statue would serve as a centerpiece for the Chopin Garden in Grant Park – a public space where Chicago shares the art of Chopin and other great music with the world.
SĄDEJ & BOCHENEK IN SAN DIEGO
On February 10, mezzo-soprano Katarzyna Sądej and pianist Basia Bochenek performed a recital for the Music at the Carmel Valley Library concert series. Entitled "Art Songs of the 20th century, from France to Poland to the United States," heir 45-minute program featured rare works by Lili Boulanger, Jerzy Petersburski, Ned Rorem, Charles Ives and Tom Cipullo.
Sądej and Bochenek have been collaborating for a few years and, now that both are based in Southern California, they are planning many upcoming projects, including a proposed recording featuring rarely performed and brand new art songs from Poland and the US.
[Source: press release]
DEBUT OF SAMOJLO AT CARNEGIE HALL
Solo pianist and chamber musician Julia Samojlo made her debut at Carnegie Hall on November 11, in a collaborative concert with cellist Karolina Jarowszewska. Their joint performance included Chopin’s Polonaise brillante in C Major, Op. 3 and various classical pieces by polish composers, like Penderecki, Franck and Ysaye. Samojlo’s performance was applauded by the New York Concert Review:
Read more at nyconcertreview.com.
3rd INT’L MARIA SZYMANOWSKA SYMPOSIUM
The 3rd International Symposium ‘Colloque international Maria Szymanowska (1789-1831) et son temps’ [International Colloquium ‘Maria Szymanowska (1789-1831) and Her Times’] took place on November 25-27, 2015 at the Polish Academy of Sciences’ Paris Center, the site of two earlier conferences cosponsored by Maria Szymanowska Society in 2011 and 2014. This edition of the Symposium was dedicated to "Talents of Women: Myths and Reality," placing Maria Szymanowska in the context of her female colleagues, mentors, and peers.
Former PMC Director Maja Trochimczyk attended the conference and she muses: “What is it about Maria Szymanowska that attracts so much attention of scholars and musicians alike? Is it her personal charm, as depicted in the numerous portrait? Is it the sentimental or virtuosic quality of her music? Is it the association with the"stars" of Polish romanticism, Fryderyk Chopin and Adam Mickiewicz? Maybe a little bit of all...” To read her full review of the event and to see photos and video, please visit chopinwithcherries.blogspot.com.
[Sources: press release, chopinwithcherries.blogspot.com]
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Layout Assistance: Charles Bragg, Thuy Le
Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski, Tomasz Fechner
Kinga Augustyn, Joseph. Herter, Keiko Mori, Katarzyna Sądej, Piotr Szewczyk,
Marek Szlezer, Maja Trochimczyk, Marek Żebrowski
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 11, 2016
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