Polish Music Newsletter

March 2016, Vol. 22, No. 3. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California

Anniversaries | Awards | Discography | News | Performances | PMC News

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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.

Saturday, April 2, 2016 | 8:00 p.m.
PMC Spring Concert: ‘A Tribute to Roman Ryterband’
Alfred Newman Recital Hall, USC (see AHF on the campus map)
3616 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 90089
FREE Admission; Campus Parking: $12 (enter USC Gate 3 at Figueroa St. & McCarthy Way)
Info: www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/pmcevents/ryterband2016.html, 213.821.1356 or polmusic@thornton.usc.edu





warsztaty-i-koncert_lviv-2016.jpgEducational 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.

Participants at the Lviv Opera House



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_podrecznik2016Renes 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:

  • Grant Park Orchestral Association (Chicago)
  • Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles)
  • John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts (Washington, DC)
  • Musical Saw Festival (New York)
  • NDTV (New Jersey)
  • The Marcella Sembrich Memorial Association (Bolton Landing, NY)
  • Les AMIS Concerts (Toronto)
  • Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Toronto)

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]



From mezzo soprano Katarzyna Sadej (1 CD):

  • Rising at Dawn: Chamber Music with Brass by Carson Cooman (MSV 28538), performed by Katarzyna Sadej, mezzo soprano, Chris Gekker, trumpet & flugelhorn, Mark Nelson, tuba, Rebecca Smith, harp, and Jeffrey Grossman and Marie Sierra, piano

From Agnieszke Swoinska & Dariusz Wyczolkowski (2 CDs):

  • Gorecki: Symphony No. 4 (Nonesuch 549570), performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrey Boreyko
  • Astrolabium Sings Bembinow (Sarton 011-2), performed by the Astrolabium Choir, conducted by Kinga Litowska

Thank you for expanding our collection!



Composer/Fabianskaewa.jpgOn 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.

[Source: pwm.com.pl]




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.

[Source: pwm.com.pl]



AugustynKinga_cPeterSchaaf.jpgKinga 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.”

Discography/Jun13/augustyn_naxos.jpgAugustyn 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]



operapodlaska.jpgOn 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.

March 11, 2016 | 7:00 p.m.
Symphonic Concert: Piotr Sałajczyk & Ewa Strusińska perform Szymanowski

Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic – European Art Centre in Białystok, Poland
Tickets & Info: oifp.eu

[Source: oifp.eu]



rucinski.jpgPolish 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.”

March 2 and 5, 2016 | 8:30 p.m.
Madame Butterfly
Metropolitan Opera
Lincoln Center, New York, NY 10023
Admission: $25
Tickets & Info: metopera.org

 [Sources: thenews.pl, facebook.com]




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.

March 4, 2016 | 8:00 p.m.
Meccore String Quartet in San Diego
Conrad Prebys Concert Hall, UCSD – San Diego, CA
Info: musicweb.ucsd.edu

March 6, 2016 | 3:00 p.m.
Meccore String Quartet in Mobile

LaidLaw Performing Arts Center, University of South Alabama – Mobile, AL
Info: southalabama.edu , mobilechambermusic.org or (251) 478-6021

March 8, 2016 | 7:30 p.m.
Meccore String Quartet in Palm Beach

Flagler Museum – Palm Beach, FL
Info: flaglermuseum.us

March 11, 2016 | 7:30 p.m.
Meccore String Quartet in Boise
Morrison Center Recital Hall – Boise, ID
Info: boisechambermusicseries.org

March 13, 2016 | 3:00 p.m.
Meccore String Quartet in Irvine
Irvine Barclay Theatre – Irvine, CA
Info: thebarclay.org

[Source: meccorequartet.com]



balticphil_gdansk.jpgFounded 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.

Saturday, March 12, 2016 | 3:00 p.m.
Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra Performs Beethoven

Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium
3501 Civic Center Dr, San Rafael, CA
Admission: $25-$65
Tickets & Info: tickets.marincenter.org

Sunday, March 13, 2016 | 2:00 p.m.
An Afternoon of Tchaikovsky

Harris Center
10 College Pkwy, Folsom, CA
Admission: $34-$65
Tickets & Info: harriscenter.net

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 | 8:00 p.m.
All-Beethoven Polish Baltic Philharmonic

Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA
Admission: $35-$255
Tickets & Info: philharmonicsociety.org

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | 7:30 p.m.
Polish Baltic Frederic Chopin Philharmonic
McCallum Theatre
73000 Fred Waring Dr, Palm Desert, CA
Admission: $45-$75
Tickets & Info: psfp.org

 [Sources: press release, latimes.com]



szpakiewicz_marek.JPGOn 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.

Sunday, March 13, 2016 | 7:30 p.m.
Marek Szpakiewicz & Fuzjko Hemming in Concert
Zipper Hall – Colburn School
200 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Admission: $35, $25 ($15 for seniors & students)
Tickets & Info: hemming.brownpapertickets.com or (800) 838-3006

[Sources: press release, facebook.com]



kennerkevin.jpgCommissioned 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.

Sunday, March 13, 2016 | 4:00 p.m.
Chopin Salon Concert
La Gorce Country Club, 5685 Alton Rd, Miami Beach
Admission: General $45/ All Inclusive $100/ Chopin Members Free
Tickets & Info: 305.868.0624 or chopin.org

 [Sources: press release, chopin.org]




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.

Sunday, March 6, 2016 | 5:00 p.m.
Cantores Minores Lenten Concert
Holy Cross Basilica, Krakowskie Pzedmieście 3, Warsaw, Poland
Admission: FREE
Information: 696 047 600 or facebook.com

[Source: press release]




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.

[Sources: musicalamerica.com, konkursfletowy.krakow.pl]



Karlowicz2009.jpgThe 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]



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

Ewa Podleś: World Opera Stars
Ewa Podleś and the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Łukasz Borowicz DUX 1134

Discography/jan16/ musicacaelestis.jpgMusica Caelestis (DVD)
Choir of the Warsaw-Prague Cathedral ‘MUSICA SACRA’ and Joanna Łukaszewska, Anna Krawczykiewicz, Konrad Tanewski, Małgorzata Kołcz, Łukasz Farcinkiewicz, Michał Markuszewski under the direction of Paweł Łukaszewski
Musica Sacra Edition MSE045

Album of the Year – Early Music

Gdańsk Baroque Cantatas. Cantatas for the Ascension and Pentecost from the collections of the PAN Library Gdańsk
Goldberg Baroque Ensemble and soloists: Ingrida Gapova, Klaudia Trzasko, Bettina Ranch, Georg Poplutz and Stefan Geyer under the direction of Andrzej Mikołaj Szadejko
Sarton Records 017-1

Kodeks Wrocławski
Ars Cantus under the direction of Tomasz Dobrzański
Wrocławscy Kameraliści WK004

verbum-incarnatum-200.jpgVerbum Incarnatum
Paweł Gusnar (saxophone) and Mulierum Schola Gregoriana Clamaverunt Iusti under the direction of Michał Sławecki
Ars Sonora ARSO 59

Album of the Year – Chamber Music

zubel-lutos_dream-lake.jpgDream Lake (Witold Lutosławski, Andrzej Czajkowski)
Agata Zubel (soprano), Joonas Ahonen (piano)
CD Accord ACD 216


Przemyk-Bryła, Kulka, Strahl – Chopin Chamber Works
Agnieszka Przemyk-Bryła, Tomasz Strahl, Konstanty Andrzej Kulka
DUX 1163

RAVEL PIANO DUO: A Polish Kaleidoscope (Dobrzyński, Moszkowski, Zarębski, Palester)
RAVEL PIANO DUO: Agnieszka Kozło and Katarzyna Ewa Sokołowska
DUX 1174

Album of the Year – Symphonic or Concert Music

gorecki-autso-200.jpgGórecki / Aukso
Orkiestra Kameralna Miasta Tychy AUKSO under the direction of Marek Moś
Instytucja Kultury Katowice - Miasto Ogrodów

PANUFNIK in memoriam
Paweł Kowalski (piano), Roman Perucki (organ), Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Ernest van Tiel and Łukasz Borowicz
Polska Filharmonia Bałtycka im. Fryderyka Chopina w Gdańsku

FirstConcert-200.jpgWarsaw Philharmonic: the 1st Concert in the Rebuilt Hall
National Philharmonic Orchestra (1955) and Wanda Wiłkomirska (violin) under the direction of Witold Rowicki
Warsaw Philharmonic

Album of the Year – Solo Recital

Kazimierz Serocki: Pianophonie
Szábolcs Esztényi, Jerzy Witkowski, Polish Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra in Krakow; Stanisław Wisłocki – dyr.
DUX/Bolt BR 1032

Meyer Vol 2-200.jpgKrzysztof Meyer: Piano Works vol. 2
Marek Szlezer (piano)
DUX 0505

Szymon Nehring. Chopin, Szymanowski, Mykietyn
Szymon Nehring (piano)
DUX 1198

Album of the Year – Contemporary Music

 Krzesimir Dębski
Łukasz Błaszczyk (violin), Adam Bogacki (kontrabas) and the Polish Radio Orchestra under the direction of Krzesimir Dębski
Agencja Muzyczna Polskiego Radia PRCD1943

Discography/mar16/freszel_real-life-song.jpgreal life song. Joanna Freszel (Bembinow, Borzym jr, Szwed, Janiak, Kościów, Zamuszko, Zubel, Szmytka)
Joanna Freszel (soprano) and Agata Igras-Sawicka, Piotr Zawadzki, Łukasz Piotrowski, Marek Szlezer, Mariusz Rutkowski, Krzysztof Garstka, Zuzanna Elster, Maksymilian Grzesiak, Kamila Wąsik-Janiak, Katarzyna Grygiel, Jan Kalinowski, Dominik Płociński, Andrzej Kopeć, proModern Ensemble; conductors: Andrzej Borzym Jr., Rafał Janiak, Marta Kluczyńska, Jarosław Praszczałek
DUX 1239

Album of the Year – Best Polish Album Recorded Abroad

Bacewicz-quartets_n1.jpgGrażyna Bacewicz: Complete String Quartets. Volume 1
Lutosławski Quartet: Jakub Jakowicz (violin I), Marcin Markowicz (violin II), Artur Rozmysłowicz (viola), Maciej Młodawski (cello)
NAXOS 8.572806

Krystian Zimerman, Berliner Philharmoniker, Simon Rattle - Lutosławski: Piano Concerto, Symphony No. 2
Krystian Zimerman and Berliner Philharmoniker under the direction of Simon Rattle
Deutsche Grammophon 0289 479 4518 5 CD DDD GH

Discography/mar15/hyperion_mykietyn+szymanski.pngSzymański, Mykietyn - Music for String Quartet
Royal String Quartet: Izabella Szałaj-Zimak (violin I), Elwira Przybyłowska (violin II), Marek Czech (viola), Michał Pepol (cello)
Hyperion Records CDA68085

Album of the Year – Best Recording of Polish Music

MECCORE STRING QUARTET – Szymanowski & Debussy
Meccore String Quartet (Wojciech Koprowski, Jarosław Nadrzycki, Michał Bryła, Karol Marianowski) lukaszewski_symph-providence_musica-sacra-200.jpg
Polskie Nagrania

Paweł Łukaszewski: Symphony of Providence (DVD)
Anna Mikołajczyk-Niewiedział, Agnieszka Rehlis, Jarosław Bręk, Polish Radio Choir in Kraków, Orchestra and Choir of the Podlasie Philharmonic under the direction of Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski
DUX 8152

For a full listing of all 2016 Fryderyk nominees, visit: zpav.pl.




Discography/feb16/ violinfutura_250.jpgViolin Futura
Ephmeral Rhapsody; Mister Blister; The Doors in the Sky, Op. 706; Sizzle; Blue Berceuse; Red Bull #3; Homecoming; Left for the Dogs; Fish Gotta Swim; Żubrówka; Toward the Other Shore; Rush; Cirque; Real Phone Key; Fp (For Piotr); Midnight Dance; All Wheel Drive; Buyer’s Remorse; Coming Undone; Scatterbrain; Benediction; Caprice; Respite; Puce; Swoosh; Memories; Yang-Ge Dance; Gegenschein; Tossing and Turning; Moto Prepetuo; Whiffet; Idylle (Idyl); First Coast Groove  
Piotr Szewczyk, violin
Navona Records NV6028 (February 2016)

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]



Mar16/chopin_deljavan.jpgCHOPIN Complete Etudes
Frédéric Chopin: Etudes
Alessandro Deljavan, piano
Brilliant Classics (Nov 2015); Available at amazon.com

From Amazon.com:

Chopin threw down the gauntlet for all who would come after him. These 24 studies, and the three works published as 'Nouvelles Etudes' within the Méthode des Méthodes de Moscheles et Fétis—a publication including studies by Henselt, Liszt, Mendelssohn and Thalberg—probe and refine every aspect of a pianist's technique, as one might expect from the technical and didactic implications of their title. What distinguishes them, however, from the hundreds of other similar volumes published throughout the 19th century and beyond, is the melodic genius, harmonic novelty and long-range structure that is peculiar to Chopin. Alessandro Deljavan is a young Italian pianist whose previous recordings for Brilliant Classics include the violin sonatas of Anton Rubinstein (BC94605), played with his regular duet partner Daniela Cammarano.

This recording has received a Gramophone review by Patrick Rucker, from which the following is an excerpt:

[I]n his latest offering, Chopin’s 27 Etudes, his musical and pianistic personality is displayed in high relief. Deljavan is first and foremost a lyrical player. For him, the phrase is paramount, an excellent attribute in a Chopin player. His imagination is vivid, though sometimes it leads him into a stylistic no man’s land, where details are worried to death and the forest is lost for the trees.

The exquisite E major Etude (Op 10 No 3) maintains a persuasive lyrical calm, followed by a C sharp minor (No 4) that is furious, galvanised and exciting. The sprightly energy of ‘Black Keys’ (No 5) seems particularly apt, and the ‘Revolutionary’ (No 12) roils without becoming overblown. The sustained cantabile of the ‘Cello’ Etude (Op 25 No 7) rises to poignant eloquence.

 [Sources: gramophone.co.uk, amazon.com]



tansmanguitar.jpgTansman: Complete Music for Solo Guitar
Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986): Ballade, Cavatina, Danza pomposa, Hommage à Chopin, Suite in modo polonico, Inventions, Pièce en forme de passacaille, Deux chansons populaires, Sonatine, Variations sur un theme de Scriabin, Prélude et interlude, Pezzo in modo antico, Suite, Hommage à Lech Walesa, Pièces brèves, Mazurka, Quattro tempi di mazurka
Cristiano Poli Cappelli, guitar
Brilliant Classics (2 CDs, Feb 2016)

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.

[Sources: brilliantclassics.com, amazon.com]




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:

The diverse program suggested that living Eastern European composers march to a rather different aesthetic than their colleagues in the West. At the risk of generalizing, theirs is a more ideological music, music that asks big, serious questions and assumes rigorous ethical positions. It is not about putting note patterns on paper that would necessarily please the listener; rather, it is more about disturbing listener preconceptions about what expressive boundaries music can and should cross.

zubel_agata.jpgZubel's "Not I" (2012), a setting for vocalist, ensemble and synthesized sounds, of excerpts from Samuel Beckett's monologue of the same title, is such a piece. The protagonist — here, the composer herself — engaged in a kind of heightened Sprechstimme (speech song), singing, speaking, crooning, laughing and whispering in increasingly intense dialogue with a churning welter of instrumental sounds and her recorded alter ego.

Even though long stretches of the absurdist English text were unintelligible when all of the musicians (including a percussionist wailing away on drum kit) were going full tilt, Zubel scored an amazing tour de force of vocal virtuosity. Having taught herself to sing her music out of practical necessity in her native Wroclaw, Poland, the composer-performer displayed uncanny accuracy of pitch and dramatic intensity as she navigated the jagged intervals of song and recitation. "Not I" tests the stamina of performers and listeners alike and goes on longer than it has to. But no matter: Zubel clearly is to her generation of new-music vocalists what the great Cathy Berberian was to hers.


Wielecki_fotMarekSuchecki.jpgThe Warsaw-based Wielecki is active as a double bass performer when he isn't directing the famed Warsaw Autumn Contemporary Music Festival. His piece for solo bass and ensemble, "The Thread Is Spinning ... IV" (2012), is part of an open-ended cycle of works for string instruments. Wielecki's deep-throated double bass functioned here as a rude sonic catalyst, sparking murmurous, whistling, sometimes extremely subtle eruptions of musical activity from the other players. I didn't find much expressive coherence in the score's disparate gestures, but they were brilliantly taken by the fearless bassist and the intrepid blackbirds, fresh from their fourth Grammy Award win.

Read the full review at: www.chicagotribune.com.

[Sources: press release, chicagotribune.com]



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.

[Sources: press release, eventbrite.com, chopingarden.com]




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]



julia.jpgSolo 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:

Samojło tossed off the difficult opening passagework with playful ease and lightness of execution. Indeed, her playing throughout the polonaise was indicative of an understanding of the composer which is rarely seen these days … Samojło, however, … made an even greater impression in many moments of austere beauty, her tone exquisite at the close “Like Blossom Dew-Freshen’d To Gladness” and the floating, Debussian quality she brought to “The Little Island.”

Read more at nyconcertreview.com

[Source: nyconcertreview.com]



szymanowska-conf_paris2015.jpgThe 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]




  • 1 March 1810 - Fryderyk Chopin, virtuoso pianist, composer
  • 2 March 1927 - Witold Szalonek, composer (d. 2001)
  • 3 March 1922 - Kazimierz Serocki, composer, co-founder of the Warsaw Autumn Festival
  • 6 March 1785 - Karol Kurpinski, composer, father of national opera
  • 6 March 1835 - Ludwik Grossman, composer, pianist, and piano merchant (d. 1915)
  • 7 March 1911 - Stefan Kisielewski, composer, essayist, writer
  • 10 March 1937 - Bernadetta Matuszczak, composer
  • 14 March 1913 - Witold Rudzinski, composer
  • 17 March 1901 - Piotr Perkowski, composer
  • 17 March 1925 - Tadeusz Prejzner, composer, jazz pianist (d. 2010)
  • 18 March 1961 - Hanna Kulenty, composer
  • 21 March 1936 - Marek Stachowski, composer
  • 23 March 1933 - Andrzej Trzaskowski, composer, jazz pianist and conductor
  • 23 March 1888 - Lidia Kmitowa, violinist and teacher (d. 1980)
  • 27 March 1927 - Joachim Olkusnik, composer
  • 28 March 1954 - Pawel Szymanski, composer
  • 1 March 2004 - Janina Garscia, composer of music for children and teachers
  • 2 March 1887 - Wilhelm Troschel, singer and son of piano maker
  • 2 March 2010 - Wanda Tomczykowska, founder Polish Arts and Culture Foundation [PACF] of San Francisco (b. 29 August 1921)
  • 3 March 2011 - Bohdan Pociej, critic, musicologist, author
  • 4 March 1939 - Józef Sliwinski, pianist, composer (b. 1862)
  • 4 March 1925 - Maurycy (Moritz) Moszkowski, composer and pianist (b. 1854)
  • 4 March 1895 - Stanislaw Niedzielski, singer (baritone), choral conductor.
  • 14 March 1954 - Ludomir Rogowski (b. 3 Oct 1881)
  • 15 March 1883 - Karol Studzinski, violinist (b. 1828)
  • 15 March 1948 - Konrad Neuger, conductor, active in the U.S. since 1931 (b. 1890)
  • 16 March, 2010 - Tadeusz Prejzner, composer, jazz pianist (b.1925)
  • 19 March 1876 - Józef Stefani, composer, conductor, violinist, son of Jan (b. 1800)
  • 21 March 1973 - Antoni Szalowski, composer
  • 22 March 1893 - Adam Herman Hermanowski, cellist, child prodigy and virtuoso (b. 1836)
  • 29 March 1937 - Karol Szymanowski, composer, pianist (b. 1882)
  • 29 March 1959 - Zdzislaw Szulc, curator of music instruments museum in Poznan
  • 31 March 1880 - Henryk Wieniawski, composer, virtuoso violinist (b. 1835)
  • 31 March 1946 - Aleksandra Stromfeld-Klamzynska-Szuminska, soprano (b. 1859)


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Copyright 2016 by the Polish Music Center

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

Contributions from:
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, PWM,
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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