|Polish Music Newsletter|
PADEREWSKI FESTIVAL FUNDRAISER
Join concert pianist Marek Zebrowski in the vineyard at Cass Winery for a program of featured works by Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms, accompanied by the Upstream Ensemble—Joel Pargman, violin; Thomas Lea, viola; Simone Vitucci, cello; and Maggie Hasspacher, double bass. A special stage has been set up at the base of Cass vineyard's premium Cabernet Sauvignon block for the event, creating a beautiful and bucolic setting for an outdoor concert near the tasting room.
Following the concert, enjoy gourmet picnic fare and sparkling wine organized by Cass' Chef Jacob Lovejoy, caterer Charles Paladin Wayne, and Chef Brandon McPartlan. To top off the afternoon, some of the area's great artists will have vineyard and winery-themed original art available for silent auction. Artists include William Grove, Anne Laddon, Hellie Blythe and many more.
The winery is located at 7350 Linne Road, six miles east of downtown Paso Robles. Directions to the winery can be found at www.casswines.com and the winery phone number is 805-239-1730.
Proceeds benefit the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles.
A PERMANENT HOME FOR PADEREWSKI IN PASO!
With snapshots of happy tourists from Poland splashed across the front page of the Paso Robles Press, Polish hearts are smiling all across the world: Paderewski’s presence in this Central Coast town continues to inspire the locals and visitors alike. The latest group to visit Paso in the footsteps of Paderewski arrived from Poland in mid-April. Shown around by Steve Cass and Joel Peterson—the current and former directors of the Paderewski Festival—the group visited several important landmarks, sampled local foods, and tasted a variety of regional wines. Norma Moye, Executive Director of Paso’s Main Street Association and Paderewski Festival Advisory Board member, was also on hand to introduce the visitors to the fascinating history of Paso Robles and its most famous resident.
The highlight of the tour was a visit to the future site of the Paderewski monument that will be unveiled this fall. Paderewski’s monument will be placed next to the Carnegie Library in the City Park, at the heart of downtown Paso Robles. The Festival Board’s Paderewski monument initiative culminated last month, when the City of Paso Robles officially approved placing a memorial to its most famous citizen and issued a permit for the November 10 unveiling ceremony. This happy occasion will be one of several exciting events planned for the 2012 Paderewski Festival.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski arrived in Paso Robles in January of 1914 to take the famous hot springs cures. Within a few months he acquired thousands of acres of land and, during the next twenty-five years, transformed the local almond and winemaking industries. Celebrating this legacy each November, the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles—founded in 1991 and successfully restarted in 2006— offers its audiences performances by world-class artists, recitals of young local talent, an international cultural exchange program, lectures, exhibits, and educational programs.
Paderewski always considered himself an honorary resident of Paso Robles. Once again—and this time permanently—Paderewski will return to the only place in America that he once considered home.
More information on the Paderewski Festival and other related events can be found at: www.paderewskifest.com.
GIFTS TO PMC
Violetta Rotter-Kozera (above), a TV journalist, director of many excellent documentaries and a graduate of Music Theory, Composition and Conducting Department of the Katowice Music Academy visited the Polish Music Center at USC in late November 2011. The purpose of her trip to Southern California was to gather materials for her upcoming documentary on Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. In addition to researching materials on Górecki at the PMC library and archives, Ms. Rotter-Kozera interviewed professors Donald Crockett and Elizabeth Hynes, who were closely involved with Górecki’s residency at USC in October 1997 and who performed his music on campus. Ms. Rotter-Kozera also interviewed the former PMC Director, Dr. Maja Trochimczyk and attended a Jacaranda Music Series concert in Santa Monica devoted to Górecki’s music in commemoration of the first anniversary of his death.
Two months later, the PMC received several unexpected gifts from Ms. Rotter-Kozera. Arriving in different packages, they included two DVDs of Ms. Rotter-Kozera’s films: Karol Stryja—Ślązak, który zdobył świat [Karol Stryja—A Silesian who Conquered the World] and Pod banderą Chopina [Under the Flag of Chopin]. The first DVD documents the life of Karol Stryja (1915-1998), a distinguished conductor and music director of the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra in Katowice. His long career spanned over 900 concerts in Poland and over 700 concerts throughout Europe, North and South America, and Asia. A student of Grzegorz Fitelberg, Maestro Stryja took over the Silesian Philharmonic in 1951 from Stanisław Skrowaczewski. He also launched the Silesian Chamber Orchestra and appeared as guest conductor for the Silesian Opera in Bytom, Baltic Opera in Gdańsk, and was the principal guest conductor of the Odense Philharmonic in Denmark. Karol Stryja was especially noted for his championing of music by Bolesław Szabelski, Wojciech Kilar, and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki.
The second DVD documents the sailing of the Polish Maritime Academy training ship—a three-masted frigate, Dar Młodzieży—from Gdynia to Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Oslo, Folkestone-Dover, and Boulogne-sur-Mer in fall of 2010. With the National Philharmonic Orchestra on board, in each port of call the ensemble featured concerts of Chopin’s music with soloist Philippe Giusano and Maestro Jacek Kaspszyk. The repertoire on this cruise also included music by Roman Maciejewski, Edvard Grieg, and Carl Nielsen, accenting the links of these composers with Gothenburg, Oslo, and Copenhagen, respectively. In particular, the orchestra’s performances of Debussy’s La Mer and Britten’s Sea Interludes in various concert halls on dry land seemed to be informed by the musicians’ experience of the North Sea. This lyrical close-up look at the sailing ship on high seas filled with music and musicians makes for a delightful and very interesting presentation.
In addition Ms. Rotter-Kozera’s care package for the Polish Music Center included Katowice Music Academy t-shirts and an assortment of Polish gingerbread delicacies. Without a doubt, the two DVDs are welcome and very useful additions to the PMC’s audiovisual library. The t-shirt will be proudly worn on the LA streets and beaches, spotlighting the Katowice Music Academy, and the delicacies were already consumed by the PMC staff with the afternoon tea. Many thanks! Dziękujemy!
KULENTY / KRONOS PREMIERE
On May 19, 2012, the world-renown Kronos Quartet will perform the world premiere of Hanna Kulenty's String Quartet No.5 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The work was commissioned by Kronos, who are considered “probably the most famous 'new music' group in the world” and have performed Kulenty’s String Quartet No. 4 many times throughout the world (see hannakulenty.com for details). Also on the program are other Kronos commissions—WTC 9/11 by Steve Reich, Aheym [Homeward] by Bryce Dessner, and String Quartet No. 3 by Valentin Silvestrov—as well as works arranged for Kronos: La Sidounak Sayyada [I’ll Prevent the Hunters from Hunting You] by Omar Souleyman (arr. Jacob Garchik), Sim Sholom by Alter Yechiel Karniol (arr. Judith Berkson), and Raga Mishra Bhairavi: Alap by Ram Narayan (arr. Kronos, transc. Ljova).
[Sources: press release, hannakulenty.com]
From the Fever-World for mezzo-soprano, string quartet, and piano—a new work composed by Joanna Bruzdowicz, based on prize-winning poetry by the American writer Jehanne Dubrow—will be premiered on May 13 in the Chicago area. The piece was commissioned by the Pilgrim Chamber Players and will be premiered during their concert entitled “Across Musical Borders” at the Highland Park Community House. Performers for the evening are: Julia Bentley, mezzo-soprano; Michele Lekas, violin; Renée-Paule Gauthier, violin; Doyle Armbrust, viola; Mark Lekas, cello; and Sung Hoon Mo, piano. The powerful Duo for Violin and Cello by the Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff will follow the Bruzdowicz premiere and the concert will conclude with Maurice Ravel’s ravishing String Quartet. Both composer and poet will be present at the concert to speak to the audience before the performance.
Joanna Bruzdowicz (R) with fellow composer Veronika Krausas
To learn more about former Paderewski Lecturer Joanna Bruzdowicz, please visit her newly updated PMC Composer Page.
[Source: pilgrimplayers.org; Photo: Krysta Close, PMC Archives]
Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.
Co-commissioned by the National Theatre and the Grand Theatre [Teatr Wielki] - Polish National Opera— Poland’s two largest stage companies—composer Agata Zubel and director Maja Kleczewska have joined forces to create a new dramatoopera entitled Oresteia, using Maciej Słomczyński’s translation of the great Greek text. The two artists have worked together before, on the highly acclaimed Sudden Rain/Between and the monumental Marat-Sade based on Weiss at the National Theatre, a production that has earned the reputation of a major theatrical event of recent seasons. Oresteia was premiered on April 14 at the Grand Theatre - Polish National Opera in Warsaw.
The Oresteia [Ορέστεια] by Aeschylus—the only surviving example of a complete ancient trilogy—is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for European arts. For centuries, people have drawn upon the myth of Orestes, son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, who killed his mother and her lover to avenge his murdered father. It is a raw and shocking tale about the tragic curse that afflicts the Pelopides, in which murder after murder befalls consecutive generations and there is no end to the settling of accounts: “Death here – death there, he who killed must pay with blood.” The final part of the trilogy shows the madness of Orestes as he is pursued by the Furies and finally a court in which gods also take part and break the cycle of revenge and bloodshed.
This premiere is presented as a part of "Terytoria" [Territories], a chamber series addressing the fact that 20th and 21st century works of opera and ballet are almost absent from Polish theatres. To collaborate on the pieces, Polish National Opera invites the most interesting contemporary musical, theatrical and visual artists. Terytoria is an attempt to seek new aesthetic qualities and forms of expression, to delineate innovative veins, to release unknown visions and associations. Modern, sophisticated, contemporary, exploring extreme sometimes ultimate emotional states, the new creations are usually inspired by great works of literature.
PREMIERES @ MUSICA POLONICA NOVA
Eleven concerts of chamber and symphonic music were held during the 28th edition of the Festival of Polish Contemporary Music Musica Polonica Nova’ (April 20-28, 2012), one of the most important events presenting contemporary music in Poland. In view of the festival’s 50th anniversary, the main emphasis was on the world premieres of works commissioned by Musica Polonica Nova and premieres of works offered to the festival, and especially those written by Wrocław composers, now among the most interesting composers in Poland. Twenty composers, whose links with Wrocław are permanent or occasional, created a kind of ‘prelude’ to the 2014 International Music Days, organized by ISCM/ Polish Society for Contemporary Music, to be held in Wrocław. It was also an introduction to Wrocław as the European Capital of Culture in 2016. Beside the subsequent editions of Musica Polonica Nova, auditions for UNESCO’s International Composers Rostrum are scheduled for 2014 and 2016 (for the first time in Poland).
The following compositions were given their world premiere at the 2012 Musica Polonica Nova Festival:
For details on the performers, dates and venues of each of the premieres, please see the full 2012 program at www.musicapolonicanova.pl.
Outstanding Polish and international interpreters of new music were among the performers, including: Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra, Jacek Kaspszyk – conductor, Laterna, Transemble, Maciej Frąckiewicz and Rafał Łuc – accordion, Marek Moś – conductor and Cantores Minores Wratislavienses. In addition to those listed above, the program includes composers such as Witold Lutosławski, Paweł Mykietyn, Andrzej Krzanowski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Elżbieta Sikora, Wojciech Ziemowit Zych and Zbigniew Bargielski.
The Polish Composers’ Union – Wrocław Division provides these words about the history and the future of the Festival:
Polish-Canadian composer Piotr Grella-Możejko has had performances of world premieres of several of his works throughout the months of March and April. These premieres were held in Poland, Greece and the US.
In the US, the world première of Stolte for alto saxophone and computer soundtrack (2010) was given by its dedicatee, Charles Stolte, on March 16. The performance took place as part of the Biennial Conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance held at Arizona State University in Phoenix.
During the Festival of Polish Music (April 12-27) at the Philharmonic Hall in Kielce, Poland, Grella-Możejko gave a multimedia concert entitled “Canadian Electroacoustic Music” on April 19. The program included the world premiere of Τάρταρος IV [Tartarus IV] for digitally processed sounds and video (2012). On the following day in the same hall, Grella-Możejko’s Tombeau sur la mort de Monsieur Górecki for amplified alto flute, live electronics and orchestra (2010) was given its world premiere. The soloist was flutist Agnieszka Kaćma, who performed with the Kielce Philharmonic orchestra conducted by maestro Alexander Walker from the United Kingdom. The composer says this about this piece:
Written thanks to the grant received through the Alberta Creative Development Initiative/The Canada Council for the Arts, Tombeau sur la mort de Monsieur Górecki for amplified alto flute and small orchestra was originally intended to be an entirely different piece. But, on 12 November 2010 everything changed. This is my tribute to the man who died on that day.
Surrounding the premieres in Poland were two others performed in Greece. First, the world premiere of IWONAriette for flute solo (2012) was given by its dedicatee, Iwona Glinka, on April 17 in Cephalonia, Greece. IWONAriette is a piece which pays a tribute to the incredible interpretive sensitivity and immense technical skill of the soloist. It is built of two identical sections, of which the second is significantly altered by heavy ornamentation, lending justification to the title. Later in the month, the world première of Xρόνοστάσις (Theodore Antoniou at 77) for woodwind quintet (2012) took place in Athens, Greece on April 24. The work was presented by the excellent local ensemble, Aiolos Woodwind Quintet, at the Hellenic American University.
For more information about the composer and his works, visit mozejko.org.
The world premiere of Zygmunt Krauze’s new work 11 Preludes by Chopin for wind instrument ensemble was performed by the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble during their tour of the Netherlands. The tour consisted of four concerts: April 18 in Zutphen, April 19, in Helmond, April 21 in Den Haag, April 22 and 23 in Amsterdam.
11 Preludes by Chopin is a cycle of eleven preludes, interspersed with brief interludes, written for wind ensemble (two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, trumpet, and trombone), piano, pianino, violin and double bass. Between each of Krauze’s preludes, the pianist performs selections from Chopin’s 24 preludes. The piece was commissioned by the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, who last year celebrated its 50th anniversary.
NEW DIRECTOR FOR NIFC
On May 1, musicologist Artur Szklener becomes the new director of the National Chopin Institute in Warsaw. The competition for this post was announced in January 2012 and Mr. Szklener’s candidacy was suggested to Cultural Minister Zdrojewski, who accepted the proposal. The Minister further announced that a new curator of the Chopin Museum should be appointed soon after Mr. Szklener begins in his new post—Alicja Knast, the former curator of the Chopin Museum, is now working in the Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
Mr. Szklener (b. 1972) is a native of Kraków and a 1997 graduate of Jagiellonian University. He also studied abroad in Exeter, London, Prague and Brno. He is a lecturer in the Department of Musicology at the Jagiellonian University and has worked for the National Chopin Institute since 2001. Since 2009, he has served as deputy director of the Institute and is one of the coordinators of the facsimile edition of Chopin’s works that was prepared for the composer’s bicentennial in 2010.
KRAKÓW PHIL DIRECTORSHIP COMPETITION
The political leadership of the Małopolska Voivodship decided to announce a competition to decide the next director of the Kraków Philharmonic. The competition will be decided by July 31 and candidates are expected to have completed graduate studies of management and have at least five years of directorial level experience.
The Voivodship has asked Minister of Culture, Bogdan Zdrojewski, for a consultation regarding the dismissal of the Philharmonic’s current director, Paweł Przytocki (pictured at right). According to Krzysztof Markiel, the spokesman of the Voivodship, Maestro Przytocki has also expressed a wish to resign from his current position. Paweł Przytocki is a graduate of Kraków Music Academy and has served as the artistic director of the Kraków Philharmonic since 2009, following the resignation of Tadeusz Strugała from his post.
KWIECIEŃ SINGS GIOVANNI AT LA PHIL
The Los Angeles Philharmonic begins its three-year “Mozart/ Da Ponte Trilogy” project this May with the masterful dramedy Don Giovanni. The production will feature the stunning voice and memorable presence of Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecień, who considers this lead role somewhat of a calling card for his dashing yet lyrical style. Kwiecień will be joined on stage of Walt Disney Concert Hall by fellow Pole Aga Mikolaj, who will sing the role of Donna Elvira.
All three operas of the epic “Mozart/ Da Ponte Trilogy” project will be conducted by L.A. Philharmonic Music Director, Gustavo Dudamel, and will feature stage design by architect Frank Gehry and costumes by Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy.
[Sources: press release, laphil.com]
PLOWRIGHT ON PADEREWSKI
Jonathan Plowright writes about his recent recording, Homage to Paderewski (Hyperion CDA67903), for recent issues of Musical Opinion and Klassisk Musikmagasin. Entitled “Paderewski After 70 Years,” the article explores Paderewski’s legacy as a performer and a composer, as well as Plowright’s enjoyment of following Paderewski’s footsteps in the US as a participant in the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and Paderewski Lecture-Recitals at USC (2006 and 2010). Below is an excerpt of the article:
Read the entire article at www.jonathanplowright.com.
HEGGIE’S ANOTHER SUNRISE PREMIERE & LAKS 3rd STRING QTET
In commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Seattle-based chamber music group Music of Remembrance (MOR) will present the world premiere of Another Sunrise by internationally acclaimed opera composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer. MOR’s newest commission stars soprano Caitlin Lynch in the role of Polish resistance fighter and poet, Krystyna Zywulska. The premiere will take place on May 14, 2012, at the Ilsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. Also included on the program is Szymon Laks' Third String Quartet—parts for this unpublished work were furnished via the PMC Manuscript Collection.
Another Sunrise is a chamber opera based on the true day-to-day fight for survival of the spirited, quick-witted Krystyna Zywulska during the Nazi occupation of Poland. With her mother, Zywulska walked out of the Warsaw ghetto in broad daylight in 1942, and joined the Polish resistance. Captured by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, she wrote satiric poems that became camp anthems of resistance. This was a dangerous notoriety, because she was still trying to hide her Jewish roots from camp informers. (She publicly revealed herself as a Jew only in later life).
Composer Heggie explained: “I’m particularly inspired by stories of social justice and the inequities of life, and how we are all connected as human beings despite those inequities. The full breadth of Krystyna Zywulska’s work as a memoirist, poet and satirist is still being revealed and given new appreciation. Her story cries out to be told through theater and poetry.” For more information about this commission, see Another Sunrise in the New Works section of MOR’s website: www.musicofremembrance.org.
The audience will also hear works by Szymon Laks and Pavel Haas, eloquent celebrations of national identities under assault by the Nazis. Laks’ Third String Quartet (1945)—his first composition after liberation from Auschwitz—revives folk and dance elements from regions of his native Poland. In his Suite for Oboe and Piano, composed just after the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Haas expressed an intense love of country by incorporating the melody of the St. Wenceslas chorale—the emblematic Czech musical symbol.
Also, the celebrated Northwest Boychoir returns to MOR to sing hauntingly beautiful Yiddish and Hebrew folk songs in arrangements created by Viktor Ullmann in the Terezín concentration camp.
[Source: press release, musicofremembrance.org]
The first issue of the exclusive and prestigious magazine Music in the City [Muzyka w Mieście, or MWM], published by the Wrocław Philharmonic, was distributed at the beginning of March 2012. This one-of-a-kind magazine in Poland is geared towards discriminating connoisseurs as well as to the novice music lovers. The magazine’s creators wish for it to become a meeting place for top-ranked artists as well as persons outside of musical circles, who are able to beautifully share their love of music. Music in the City will also serve as an exceptional guide to the events organized by the Wrocław Philharmonic and other important undertakings of Wrocław’s cultural institutions. Piotr Matwiejczuk (Polish Radio, Program 2) will serve as Editor-in-Chief of the magazine.
In the first issue of the magazine, maestro Gabriel Chmura talks about music by Schubert and Hindemith, about his childhood in Wrocław and his studies with Karajan, whereas Jarosław Thiel, director of the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, argues that there is other equally fascinating Baroque repertoire besides that of Vivaldi and Bach. Anna Czartoryska, an excellent actress, reveals the secrets of theatrical manipulation and proves that music is always real. Tomasz and Bartosz Minkiewicz, authors of the popular comic strip, “Wilq,” create a series of illustrated orchestra stories. Marcin Majchrowski writes about the ways in which musicians survived in Stalinist Soviet Russia, Kacper Miklaszewski answers the question of how to listen to classical music, Bartosz Kamiński reports on the war of musicians against cell phones, and Beata Maciejewska sketches a short history of Liberty Square in Wrocław—the site where the National Music Forum is being erected.
GRZYBOWSKI IN SANTA MONICA
Pianist Maciej Grzybowski will present his Keys & Clouds Recital at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica on Friday, May 11at 7:00 p.m. The concert is co-organized by Modjeska Club, in association with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute of Poland.
Grzybowski’s program will include music by Polish composers Paweł Mykietyn, Witold Lutosławski, Paweł Szymański, Fryderyk Chopin, as well as Western classics—Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, and Maurice Ravel.
Born and educated in Warsaw, Maciej Grzybowski is the winner of the First Prize and the Special Prize at the 20th Century Music Competition for Young Performers in Warsaw (1992). He made numerous phonographic, radio and television recordings as a soloist and chamber musician and collaborated with Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by such maestros as Jan Krenz, Witold Lutosławski and Krzysztof Penderecki. From 1996 to 2000 Grzybowski was a co-director of the "NONSTROM presents" concert cycle in Warsaw. He took part in numerous music festivals in Poland, e.g., the Warsaw Autumn, Musica Polonica Nova, Witold Lutoslawski Forum, Warsaw Musical Encounters, and Polish Radio Music Festival. He also performed at the Biennial of Contemporary Music in Zagreb, Hofkonzerte im Podewil, Berlin and festivals in Lvov, Kiev, and Odessa (Ukraine). In March 2005 Grzybowski’s recital at the Mozart Hall in Bologna was recognized as the greatest event of the decade. After Grzybowski’s U.S. debut in New York, in August 2006 EMI Classics released his second solo CD with works by Paweł Szymański. He also appeared in three concerts at the critically acclaimed Festival of Paweł Szymański's Music in Warsaw. In February 2008 he premiered a Piano Concerto by an unjustly forgotten composer, Andrzej Czajkowski. Bohdan Pociej, one of the most famous Polish music critics said: “How refreshing and exciting it is to be in the presence of such great art of interpretation akin to a genius!”
[Source: press release]
MARLENA DZIS IN CONCERT
The Polish Roman Catholic Union of America and the Polish Museum of America present Marlena Dzis, lyric coloratura soprano, in an evening of art songs and arias by Moniuszko, Chopin, Delibes, Mozart, Offenbach, Dell’Acqua and Bellini. Ms. Dzis will be accompanied by pianist Jennifer McCabe, and joined in duet by Natalie Chami, mezzo-soprano and Joseph A. Drobot, Jr., baritone.
For a full bio, please visit: polishmuseumofamerica.org
[Source: press release]
‘CHOPIN FOR ALL’ PRESENTS KHOZYAINOV
The Chopin Foundation of the US and Southern Wine & Spirits of America present the last FREE concert of the ‘Chopin for All’ season, featuring the phenomenal young Russian pianist Nikolay Khozyainov. Khozyainov was the youngest finalist of the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition held in Warsaw, Poland, in October of 2010. The concert will include music by Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven and Liszt—for a detailed program, visit www.chopin.org.
All concerts in this series are presented in two locations: on Saturdays at Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale, and on the immediately following Sundays at Granada Presbyterian Church in Coral Gables.
The Chopin for All free concert series will return on October 20 and 21, 2012 presenting two outstanding 2012 Chopin Scholarship recipients.
[Source: press release]
TVP POLONIA AWARD FOR PMC DIRECTOR
Poland’s International Television Network, TVP Polonia, has selected Director of the Polish Music Center at USC in Los Angeles, Marek Żebrowski, for its annual TVP Polonia Award. This award is given annually to persons who have made significant contributions to the promotion of Poland and Polish culture abroad. The award presentation ceremony was held in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle in Warsaw on April 23, 2012. Other winners of the 2012 Award included special honoree Lech Wałęsa, founder of the Solidarity trade union and President of Poland after the fall of communism; Mieczysław Mokrzycki, the archbishop of Lwów (now Lviv); and professor Władysław Bartoszewski, Minister of Foreign Affairs and a World War II resistance hero.
The awards ceremony—which also included a performance of Paderewski’s Menuet by Żebrowski and a song recital presented by Michał Bajor—was broadcast internationally on May 2 and May 3. More photos and descriptions of the event are available at www.tvp.pl.
In addition to his role as Director of the PMC in USC’s Thornton School of Music, Marek Żebrowski is the Artistic Director of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, as well as a pianist and composer who performs internationally. His books—including Celebrating Chopin & Paderewski and Paderewski in California as well as books on film directors and cinematographers—have been published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Tumult Foundation. Marek is also an organizer of the Camerimage International Film Festival in Poland.
An international Steinway Artist, Marek Żebrowski began his piano studies at the age of five and graduated with the highest honors from the Poznań Music Lyceum. He continued on to study with Robert Casadesus and Nadia Boulanger in France and Russell Sherman at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he received his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees. Hailed as “firm and eminently musical” by the Boston Globe, “strong and noble” by the Washington Post, and accorded highest accolades by the world press, Żebrowski has appeared as soloist in recital and with symphony orchestras throughout the world. He has recorded works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin and Prokofiev for the Polish Radio and works by Ravel and Prokofiev for Apollo Records in Germany, and his performances and compositions are featured on the Titanic Records and Harmonia Mundi labels.
Recognized as a composer with a catalogue of orchestral and chamber works, piano compositions and transcriptions, and film and stage scores, Żebrowski has received commissions from Meet the Composer and The New England String Quartet, among others, as well as composition prizes in the Netherlands. Mr. Żebrowski's works were premiered throughout the United States, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, and South Africa. For the past several years he has collaborated with director David Lynch and their album of free improvisations, Polish Night Music, was released in April of 2008.
Marek Żebrowski has lectured for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Harvard University, and The New England Conservatory of Music, and for several years was a contributing writer for the Boston Book Review. He has given master classes and has coached various chamber music ensembles and chamber orchestras throughout the world. His academic career has included teaching at the University of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and UCLA.
2012 FRYDERYK AWARDS
The voting results of the 1,200-member Polish Phonographic Academy were announced on April 26 during the gala award ceremony in the Warsaw’s Teatr Dramatyczny. An honor similar to the American Grammy Awards, the 2012 Fryderyk trophies were awarded in 34 categories of popular, classical and jazz music.
The 2012 Award for Lifetime Achievement, or Golden Fryderyk, went to Wojciech Kilar (pictured at right in his studio).
Having studied with Bolesław Woytowicz at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, Wojciech Kilar is known throughout the world for his dramatic music for films and for the concert stage. Kilar’s compositional techniques have evolved throughout his long and successful career, with stylistic inspirations ranging from neo-classicism and sonorist constructivism to folklore and sacred meditation. He has written music for over 140 films, collaborating with directors including Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Roman Polański and, most famously, Francis Ford Coppola on the film Dracula in 1992.
This year, Kilar also celebrates his 80th birthday. In honor of this anniversary, PWM has commissioned commentaries on the evolution of Kilar's style from two of his prestigious colleagues: Maestros Wojciech Michniewski and Antoni Wit.
Below are the winners in the classical and jazz categories:
Album of the Year – Opera, Operetta & Ballet: GIACOMO OREFICE – CHOPIN OPERA IN 4 ATTI (DUX 0775/0776) – Mariusz Godlewski (bar.), Steven Harrison (ten.), Evgeniya Kuznetsova (sop.), Gracjan Szymczak (piano), Ewa Vesin (sop.), Damian Konieczek (bass), Choir and Orchestra of the Wrocław Opera, Ewa Michnik (cond.)
For a list of all the nominees and winners, visit: zpav.pl
GOLDEN GLORIA ARTIS FOR DĘBICKI
Edward Dębicki is a composer and poet who, in 1955, founded the Roma Music Theater as well as the Society of Authors and Friends of the Gypsy Culture. For the past half century, Mr. Dębicki has organized numerous meetings and conventions for Roma artists and performers. He is also the author of a 1993 book of poetry entitled Pod gołym niebem [Under the Naked Sky] and the 2004 Ptak umarłych [The Death Bird], which describes the tragic fate of gypsy families in the Ukraine during World War II.
Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski, honored International Roma Day (celebrated annually on April 8) by personally awarding the Golden Gloria Artis Award for Culture to Mr. Dębicki at a ceremony on April 12.
BEYONCÉ HONORS JIMEK
L.A.-based producer Jimek—son of composer Krzesimir Dębski and singer Anna Jurksztowicz—is the winner of BEYONCÉ’s “End Of Time” Remix Competition. The Warsaw native’s remix was selected as the best from over nearly 3,000 mixes received over the four weeks of competition, which started on February 8.
Initial voting by fans, DJs and remixers through the SoundCloud community narrowed down the top 50 entries. All eligible entries were voted on the basis of originality, creativity and musicality. The final winner was selected by an international panel of judges, including BEYONCÉ, British musician Isabella Summers of Florence & The Machine, Dutch music producer and DJ Afrojack, the duo DJ and producing team from Poland, WAWA, New York premier DJ Jus-Ske and Oscar-winning producer and composer Giorgio Moroder.
As the winner, Jimek will take home $4,000 USD and will have his remix appear on “4: The Remix.” The EP, filled with fan-favorite remixes including "Countdown" by Isa Machine and an extended version of "End Of Time" by WAWA, will be available digitally on April 24. The 25 participating countries in the “End Of Time” Remix Competition include: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK, and US.
DIDUR INT’L VOCAL COMPETITION
About 60 young vocalists from ten countries participated in the Adam Didur International Opera Vocalists’ Competition that took place in Bytom and Katowice. The first stage of the 2012 auditions was held at the Katowice Music Academy and the later stages at the Bytom Opera, where the finalists were expected to perform two arias in full costume, including one by a Polish composer. The final stage of the 2012 Competition opened on Sunday, April 15 with a performance of Verdi’s Don Carlo. The winners’ concert was held on Sunday, April 22 at the Bytom Opera and was repeated a day later at the Teatr Śląski [The Silesian Theatre] in Katowice.
After having auditioned 14 finalists who performed three opera arias with the orchestra—including one acted out in a costume—the Jury granted the following prizes in the 3rd International Adam Didur Opera Singers’ Competition:
Adam Didur (1874-1946), a famous bass and a soloist in the New York’s Metropolitan Opera for over 25 years, was also the founder of the Silesian Opera in Bytom after World War II. The quadrennial Didur Competition dates back to 1979 and, since its founding by the Silesian Opera, it has acquired a widespread international prestige. The auditions are held in three stages and the contestants are expected to perform the operatic repertoire of Mozart, Puccini, Beethoven as well as arias by Polish composers, including Stanisław Moniuszko and Karol Szymanowski.
FESTIVAL OF FILM MUSIC
The 5th edition of the Festival of Film Music (FMF) will take place from May 24-26 in Kraków. Taking place right after the Film Festival in Cannes and a week before the Kraków Film Festival, the Festival of Film Music arouses great interest in the film environment and attracts modern elites of the world of music, culture and film to the capital of Małopolska, as well as lovers of cinema and film. Organized by the Kraków Festival Office and RMF Classic, FMF is entirely dedicated to music created for the needs of picture and features performances of that music by leading musicians and orchestras. Some of this year’s performers include: Sinfonietta Cracovia, Pueri Cantores Sancti Nicolai Boys’ Choir, the Pro Musica Mundi Choir, NOSPR, Iwona Hossa – soprano, Marek Szlezer – piano, and José Maria Florêncio – conductor.
The program is dedicated to genre diversity: from retrospectives and exclusive ceremonial concerts, through monographic concerts of chosen and distinguished composers of film music, and finally at massive outdoor shows. The monumental musical and film concerts of FMF are distinguished by boldness in production and innovation in the sphere of sound and picture technology, but also by the artistic standard of performers and works presented, as well as the presence of the most outstanding creators and composers. These events do not have their equals in Europe. This year’s highlight concert will be the Festive 80th Birthday Gala celebrating Wojciech Kilar.
Thanks to the festival’s breadth, international promotion, and above all the presence of fantastic guests from the film industry, cooperation with the film and production environments, the festival is becoming a recognizable brand in Europe, the United States and in Canada. The Festival of Film Music was twice nominated for the Media Award Niptel 2008 for its innovativeness. The Academy honored the organizers for the courage of creating an event with international reach and standard, as well as presenting film music in an interesting and able way, arousing interest, curiosity and delight amongst the festival’s multi-generational public. The portal Muzykafilmowa.pl, bringing together fans, reporters and critics of film music, announced the festival as “the Event of the Year”.
7th FELIX MENDELSSOHN MUSIC DAYS
The Felix Mendelssohn Music Days, held for the 7th time in Kraków from May 11-19 at the Center for Jewish Culture in Kazimierz. Pieces by Mendelssohn will be presented in piano arrangement (Krzysztof Książek), and performed by chamber orchestras (Śląski Quartet, Lutosławski Quartet, TenHagen Quartett) and on an organ at the Dominican Church (Julian Gembalski). The program also features other composers from around Europe, including Mendelssohn’s contemporaries Schumann, Chopin, Liszt and Schubert at a recital by Wojciech Waleczek, as well as works by Karol Szymanowski, Witold Lutosławski, and Mieczysław Weinberg, whose songs will be sung by Małgorzata Pańko accompanied by Gabriel Chmura on piano.
For a full program and to learn more about the Festival, visit www.judaica.pl.
The 60th anniversary edition of the Musica Moderna sessions is focused on young artists presenting works by young composers, in particular the students of composition classes of the G. & K. Bacewicz Music Academy in Łódź. Due to great interest in students presenting their own compositions and programs of new music, the festival will include two concerts entitled “Young Composers, Young Performers.” Such intense promotion of young artists and performers is indeed a permanent part of the tradition of Musica Moderna.
The program of this year’s Festival is as follows:
BECZAŁA IN L.A. – RECITAL DEBUT
Chris Pasles of the Los Angeles Times said this of Beczała’s recital debut:
Read the entire review here: articles.latimes.com.
Born in Poland, this Grammy-winning tenor Piotr Beczała is in such international demand for the operatic repertoire that the lyric tenor now seems to live on stage. He’s been accused in the press of “stealing the show” as Faust and declared “MVP” as Rodolfo in La Bohème. Opera News declared his recording of Slavic Opera Arias (Orfeo 814101A) to be “brilliantly sung [and] emotionally rich.” For detailed biography of Piotr Beczała, please visit www.beczala.com.
[Sources: press release, articles.latimes.com]
JOSEFOWICZ AT LA PHIL
Polish-Canadian violinist now residing in Los Angeles, Leila Josefowicz was the featured guest performer in a concert performances at the LA Phil and masterfully performed the Violin Concerto of John Adams. The concerts took place on April 5-7, 2012 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (above) with the composer at the helm as conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Josefowicz played this piece absolutely amazingly with enthusiastic fervor and technical excellence. Her special talent greatly enhanced the enchanting evening of music.
According to the LA Phil program notes: “In Adams' extraordinary Grawemeyer Award-winning Violin Concerto (1993), the soloist plays virtually without pause, with the orchestra serving as a backdrop. The strong sense of rhythm throughout the piece is connected to the fact it was co-commissioned by the New York City Ballet.” John Adams dedicated the Violin Concerto in memory of David Huntley—a longtime enthusiast and great champion of much of Adams’s contemporary work.
Also on the concert program were Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten by composer Arvo Pärt and the West Coast Premiere of LA Phil Commission Symphony No. 9 of composer Phillip Glass.
Perched just above and behind the orchestra I felt a part of the percussion section as I could literally read and see their scores. This offered me a unique perspective and experience of the music. Now I know how an eagle feels; soaring with beautiful classical music in an exhilarating evening of great composers.
Josefowicz has certainly won the hearts of audiences around the world with her fresh honest approach to the repertoire and her dynamic virtuosity, as her biography professes. One can only address her with many platitudes for being one of the greatest Polish violinists of her generation.
Recent appearances in North America include performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Blatimore, Dallas, Houston and Cincinatti symphonies; a performance of John Adams' Violin Concerto in Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra under the baton of Mr. Adams; and recitals in San Fransisco, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall.
Josefowicz first came to national attention in 1994 when she made her Carnegie Hall debut with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and has since appeared with many of the world's most prestigious orchestras and eminent conductors. A regular, close collaborator of leading composers of the day such as John Adams and Oliver Knussen, she is a strong advocate of new music - a characteristic which is reflected in her diverse programs and her enthusiasm for premiering new works. During the 08/09 season Josefowicz premiered concertos written for her by Esa-Pekka Salonen/Los Angeles Philharmonic and Steve Mackey/St. Louis Symphony and played first performances of Thomas Adès’ violin concerto Concentric Paths with the Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco and Seattle symphonies. In October 2009 she premieres another concerto written for her by Colin Matthews with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In recognition of her passionate advocacy and genuine commitment to the music of today, she was awarded a 2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Josefowicz performs on a Guarnerius Del Gesù made in 1724.
Composer, conductor, and creative thinker—John Adams occupies a unique position in the world of American music. His works, both operatic and symphonic, stand out among contemporary classical compositions for their depth of expression, brilliance of sound, and the profoundly humanist nature of their themes. Over the past 25 years, Adams’ music has played a decisive role in turning the tide of contemporary musical aesthetics away from academic modernism and toward a more expansive, expressive language, entirely characteristic of his New World surroundings.
Born and raised in New England, Adams learned the clarinet from his father and played in marching bands and community orchestras during his formative years. He began composing at age ten and heard his first orchestral pieces performed while still a teenager. The intellectual and artistic traditions of New England, including his studies at Harvard University and attendance at Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts, helped shape him as an artist and thinker. After earning two degrees from Harvard, he moved to Northern California in 1971 and has since lived in the San Francisco Bay area.
Adams taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for ten years before becoming composer-in-residence of the San Francisco Symphony (1982-85), and creator of the orchestra’s highly successful and controversial “New and Unusual Music” series. Several of Adams’ landmark orchestral works were written for and premiered by the San Francisco Symphony, including Harmonium (1980-81), Grand Pianola Music (1982), Harmonielehre (1984-85), and El Dorado (1991).
After Josefowicz’s extraordinary concert performance, Adams suddenly gave her a huge hug and planted an affectionate kiss on each cheek. The audience was amazed by her endurance and her extraordinary gift of music.
The L.A. Phil is truly a great orchestra and Walt Disney Concert Hall is a great venue to listen to music!
Gary Fitelberg is a musicologist, music critic and historian.
MET STAR KURZAK IN ŁÓDŻ
The Łódź Philharmonic’s series “Metropolitan Opera Stars in Łódź” featured soprano Aleksandra Kurzak in an April 20th concert of arias from Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Semiramide, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and Lucia di Lammermoor, and Verdi’s La Traviata. The orchestra was led on that occasion by maestro Evgeny Volynsky. Previous guests in this series included baritone Andrzej Dobber and mezzo-sopranos Elina Garanca and Waltraud Meier.
CHORAL CELEBRATION OF ŁUKASZEWSKI AT WARSAW PHIL
On March 17, 2012, the Warsaw National Philharmonic hosted a concert featuring the choral music of Paweł Łukaszewski (right), who is currently serving as composer-in-residence of the orchestra for the 2011/2012 season. Performers for the evening were the Choir and Brass Band of the National Philharmonic, with conductor Henryk Wojnarowski and organ soloist Andrzej Białko. The program included Messa per voci e fiati [Mass for voice and flute], Ave Maria, Nunc dimittis, and Veni creator by Łukaszewski, as well as Ave Maria, Canticum Simeonis (Nunc dimitis), Veni Creator, Msza F-dur [Mass in F major] by Józef Elsner.
PACKER & IMAGINARY VARIATIONS IN SF
After her passionate performance at the PMC’s Festival of Premieres in Los Angeles on March 24, violinist Janet Packer took her program to San Francisco for the Old First Concerts series at Old First Church. As in L.A., Packer delighted audiences with a performance of Imaginary Variations, a new work for violin and piano that she commissioned from Polish composer Krzysztof Meyer. San Francisco Examiner reviewer Stephen Smoliar considered Meyer’s work the “highlight of the evening… the ‘heart and soul’ of [which] resided in Meyer’s imaginative approaches to rhetoric and the expressiveness that Packer brought to his inventions.”
The March 30 program, which Smoliar likened to “an adventurous journey of discovery,” also included Claude Debussy’s Violin Sonata in G major, Vittorio Rieti’s Rondo Variato, Gabriel Pierné’s Violin Sonata D major—the last two pieces varied from Packer’s offering in Los Angeles. Janet Packer was joined by New York pianist Geoffrey Burleson for her San Francisco concert.
EUYO IN US – 1st TIME IN 20+ YEARS
On Monday, April 9, 116 young musicians from the European Union Youth Orchestra took off for the experience of a lifetime to the United States of America, under the baton of their Music Director, Vladimir Ashkenazy. Amongst this group of musicians from around the EU were violinists Anna Muzyk and Maria Podhajksa (EUYO member since 2010) and horn player Dominik Kosyrczyk (EUYO member since 2009) of Poland..
The US tour of EU Youth Orchestra—the first there since 1988—was a chance for these young musicians to share the stage with some of their musical heroes: violinist Pinchas Zukerman performed with them at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC on April 15, Itzhak Perlman joined them at Carnegie Hall in New York City on April 18, and Yefim Bronfman was the star performer at Symphony Hall in Boston on April 20. To celebrate the many cultural ties that link the United States to Europe, the EUYO also invited 15 young American musicians to join them as orchestral musicians for some of their concerts; and in the Washington DC area, EUYO musicians took their passion into local high schools for a series of informal workshops.
For the full program of concerts, visit: www.youblisher.com.
LISIECKI DEBUT ALBUM ON DG
JAN LISIECKI - MOZART
17-year old Polish-Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki makes his debut recording on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label with an inspired, masterful interpretation of Mozart piano concertos.
BARENBOIM PERFORMS CHOPIN
Chopin Nocturnes – Barenboim
ŁUKASZEWSKI & PODLASIE PHIL ON CENTAUR
Duo Concertos for Alto Saxophone, Flute and Orchestra
Lukaszewski’s concerto from 2007 is the only non-arranged work on this program (except for the short piece by Raman) and is unusual for being in a slow-fast-slow sequence. Rich harmonies and hints of minimalism sometimes suggest the powerful film scores of Kilar or other Polish composers of that generation. The other pieces are all very melodious examples of neo-romanticism with jazz elements also present in Morgan’s piece.
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
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Marek Żebrowski, Gary Fitel berg, Piotr Grella-Mozejko, Marta Ptaszyńska,
Wallace Cunningham, Chris Onzol, Joseph A. Herter & Timothy Perry
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, May 9, 2011.
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