|Polish Music Newsletter|
STANKIEWICZ & OLESZKIEWICZ IN PASO ROBLES
On May 9, the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, CA brings two Polish jazz virtuosos—pianist Kuba Stankiewicz and bassist Darek ‘Oles’ Oleszkiewicz—to the stage of the Park Ballroom in the heart of downtown Paso Robles for a concert and wine reception. Stankiewicz and Oleszkiewicz will be joined by Kristina Raymond, a percussionist and drummer who tours and records widely. This concert is a fundraiser for the Paderewski Festival’s Youth Cultural Exchange, which is sending two U.S. students to Poland in July.
The “Jazz in the Ballroom” fundraising concert will feature music by two great Polish composers: Victor Young (1899–1956) and Bronisław Kaper (1902–1983). Although their names are not widely recognized among the public today, their compositions have been cherished by scores of musicians for many decades. Victor Young’s all-time hits include When I Fall in Love, Moonlight Serenade, Street of Dreams, Love Letters, My Foolish Heart, and Stella by Starlight, while Kaper’s On Green Dolphin Street, Invitation, Lili, and San Francisco firmly remain on the list enduring jazz standards. Both wrote hundreds of film scores during their careers, and were honored with Academy Awards—Kaper was the first Polish composer to win an Oscar for Best Music in 1953 and, after garnering 22 nominations, Young finally won his Oscar posthumously for Best Music in 1957.
Stankiewicz and Oleszkiewicz (pictured below) have recently released a recording of Young’s tunes on Warner Records, and are already working on another recording of Kaper, both of which also feature stellar percussionist and fellow Thornton faculty member, Peter Erskine.
Wines of Epoch Estate Wines and Cass Winery will be featured at the “Jazz in the Ballroom” reception beginning at 7 p.m., with music to follow at 7:30 p.m. Tickets at $30 per person can be ordered online at the Paderewski Festival website, www.paderewskifest.com. Around the corner, La Cosecha Bar & Restaurant will offer a special Paderewski cocktail before the concert, and the public is encouraged to join the jazz performers for dinner after the show at Il Cortile Restaurant. Further details can be obtained by contacting the Paderewski Festival at (805) 235-5409 or e-mailing email@example.com. For dinner reservations, please call the Il Cortile Restaurant directly at 805 226-0300.
PMC WELCOMES ANOTHER EXCITING COLLECTION
On April 17 we received a very special gift from a very special person. Precisely at noon, Diana Eisele arrived at Stonier Hall with a trunkful of boxes, cases, folders and framed artwork, all related to her late father—the distinguished composer, Roman Ryterband (1914-1979). Born to a family of lawyers and musicians in Łódź, Roman Ryterband studied music and law and made his first steps in establishing his musical career during the late 1930s. Ryterband was visiting France when World War II broke out and he just managed to reach Switzerland, where he spent the remainder of the war. There he began to compose in earnest, in addition to continuing his musical studies. For several years he studied musicology at the University at Bern, often appearing in concerts as choir and orchestral conductor. While living in Bern, he met a charming young Italian lady—Clarissa de Lazzari—and the two were married in February 1950. Their two daughters, Astrid and Diana, were born in Switzerland in the early 1950s.
By the mid-1950s, Ryterband had moved his family to Montreal, where he was appointed musical director of the CKVL Radio and invited to lecture at McGill University. During his sojourn in Canada, Ryterband also appeared in numerous piano recitals in Montreal. By 1960 the entire family moved to Chicago, where Ryterband continued to compose and perform as pianist, orchestra conductor and leader of a local Polish choral ensemble. He was also active as a teacher and widely-known as a tireless organizer of Chicago’s musical life.
Since 1967 the Ryterbands have lived in Palm Springs, California, where Roman founded and directed the Palm Springs Festival of Music and Art. Dividing his time between composing and performing, in the late 1960s Ryterband was also on the faculty of California State University in Los Angeles. Although he died in Palm Springs in 1979 at the age of 65, his musical legacy has been valiantly carried on by his widow, Clarissa, and their two daughters. A few years after Ryterband’s death, two suitcases filled with manuscripts were donated by Clarissa and Astrid Ryterband to the Moldenhauer Archive, now held at the Houghton Library, Harvard University. Other institutions that received Ryterband’s music include the UCLA Libraries and Loeb Library at San Diego State University. The repository of the American Harp society received some of Ryterband’s harp compositions and Temple Sinai in Cathedral City, California, received two boxes of Jewish liturgical music written by Ryterband for various High Holidays services.
The exceptional gift Diana Eisele recently delivered to the Polish Music Center will give a new perspective on Roman Ryterband the composer, pianist, musical organizer and private person. Known until now mainly as an author of chamber music with a large number of excellent works for harp and harp-based ensembles, as a result of this donation, Ryterband can now be seen as a master of large-scale symphonic forms, choral and vocal music, as well as instrumental concertos and virtuoso solo piano works. The preliminary list of the music contained in the Ryterband Collection, as received on April 17, includes the following:
In addition, the materials donated on April 17 include several folders of correspondence to and from Roman Ryterband, photographs, concert programs and posters, newspaper reviews and clippings, magazines with articles about Roman Ryterband, certificates, testimonials, diplomas, artwork, and other documents relating to his career as a musician, composer, pianist, broadcaster, concert promoter and writer.
The donated materials will allow for a reassessment of Roman Ryterband’s contributions to the history of Polish music in the twentieth century. In addition, like the Paso Robles Collection of Paderewski Memorabilia, Bronisław Kaper Collection and Henryk Wars Collection before it, the Ryterband Collection will deepen our knowledge of the specific impact that Polish musicians have had on cultural life in California. In the coming months a detailed list of this first installment of the collection will be made and, once cataloged, will be made available online. As we begin the monumental task of logging every single item, we would like to express our profound gratitude to the composer’s widow, Clarissa Ryterband and to her daughter Astrid, both still living in Palm Springs. The Los Angeles family of Roman Ryterband—Diana and Robert Eisele—have done a wonderful job of sorting and organizing the donated materials in a particularly thorough and careful fashion. Their ongoing assistance and offer of time to help with the continued organization in the coming weeks and months are particularly appreciated. Testimonials from Clarissa Ryterband, describing the genesis and history of many of the Ryterband Collection’s items, will be of tremendous help to all students, researchers and performers interested in this composer’s music.
Further news and details of this donation will continue to appear in the upcoming issues of this Newsletter. Once again, on behalf of the Polish Music Center we want to thank the composer’s family for their unprecedented gift that will substantially enrich the range of unique materials in our library that are related to the history of Polish music. Dziękujemy!
FRYDERYK 2015 LAUREATES
On April 23, the Fryderyk Awards Gala was held at the Teatr Polski in Warsaw and the 2014 winners were announced in front of leaders of Poland’s music industry. This 21st edition of the Awards was broadcast on TVP2. Organized by ZPAV—Poland’s Phonographic Academy—the full list of the 2014 winners is here at zpav.pl.
The main Gala honored laureates in the pop and jazz categories, as well as the recipients of the 2015 Golden Fryderyk Awards: Lech Janerka (jazz), Kazimierz Kord (classical music) and Janusz Muniak (pop music). Other winners in the jazz category were: Album of the Year – Marcin Wasilewski Trio for Spark Of Life (ECM), Jazz Debut of the Year – Nikola Kołodziejczyk Orchestra and Artist of the Year - Marcin Wasilewski.
Also on April 23, celebrations for the winners of this year’s Classical Music category were held in the Column Hall of the University of Warsaw. Hosted Piotr Polk and Andrzej Puczyński, Chairmen of ZPAV, the event featured the vocal sextet proMODERN – Poland's only vocal ensemble specializing in contemporary music—who also won the night with two awards (pictured above). The proMODERN ensemble is comprised of: Łucja Szablewska – soprano, Ewa Puchalska – mezzosoprano, Elżbieta Wróblewska-Rydzewska – mezzosoprano, Andrzej Marusiak – tenor, Artur Janda – baritone, and Piotr Pieron – bass/Artistic Director.
The awards given in the Classical Music Category were as follows:
DIAMOND BATON FOR KASPSZYK
Polish Radio celebrated its 90th anniversary with a gala event at the National Opera in Warsaw on April 21. During the evening, Jacek Kaspszyk, the Artistic Director of Warsaw Philharmonic was presented with the Diamond Baton Award, one of the most important professional accolades given by the Polish Radio. Maestro Kaspszyk was praised for “being one of the most important conductors of the times who for decades has collaborated with the Polish Radio” and the Diamond Baton Award for given “in recognition of his conducting career together with gratitude for his devotion to public broadcasting, to which he has contributed a truly astonishing amount of studio and concert recordings.”
The other Polish Radio awards that night included the Diamond Microphone Awards, given to Danuta Szaflarska and to the Kraków Trumpet Corps, who sound the famous call motive every hour round the clock from the tower of St. Mary’s Basilica on the Old Market Square in Kraków.
The multimedia entertainment for the evening included performances by the Warsaw Philharmonic under Maestro Kaspszyk and Alexander Liebreicht. The soloists included Philippe Giusiano—finalist in the 13th International Chopin Piano Competition, the Zakopower and AudioFeels ensembles, as well as the combined choir of the Grand Theatre and National Opera together with dancers of the Polish National Ballet. Representing her husband, Poland’s President, First Lady Anna Komorowska was the honored guest for this memorable evening.
‘GUARANTEE OF CULTURE’ AWARD
Every year, TVP Kultura bestows their "Gwarancje Kultury” Awards on those who were ‘guarantors’ of excellent culture experiences during the past year. Those awarded are the most interesting artistic personalities and cultural events in the categories of: Theatre, Literature, Film, Classical music, Jazz, Rock, Visual Arts, Culture Manager, Culture Online and “Supergwarancje”.
The 2014 winners were announced on April 25, 2015 during a ceremony marking the 10th birthday of the TVP Kultura station. The ceremony was broadcast live on TVP Kultura. The winners related to classical music are as follows:
The full list of honorees can be found here: tvpkultura.tvp.pl.
WINNERS OF THE KROPKA COMPETITION FOR MUSIC CRITICS
This unusual competition promotes the efforts of good musical reviewers writing about Polish musical events. After considering a great number of applications, the jury of the Kropka Competition—presided over by Dr. Daniel Cichy of PWM Editions—decided to award three Main Prizes. The recipients include: Anna Burzyńska (Didaskalia), Karolina Kolinek-Siechowicz (Ruch muzyczny), and Barbara Kinga-Majewska (Glissando). The best debut certificates went to Katarzyna Trzeciak and to Worldpress blogger Aleksandra Bliźniuk.
Alex Ross (The New Yorker) received a Special Prize for foreign critics, and the Piotr Metz Award for Popular Music was given to Maciej Froński. The PWM Editor-in-Chief Award went to Aleksandra Bliźniuk, and Rafał Augustyn received the MEAKULTURA Foundation Award.
The Gala-Finale Award Ceremony will be held on May 10 at the PWM headquarters in Warsaw. Aleksander Dębicz (right) will add to the occasion with a special piano recital that will spotlight his new recording, Cinematic Piano, which Warner Classics Poland will release on May 11.
Part of the 29th edition of Warsaw Musical Encounters, the Kropka Competition was supported by funds from ZAIKS, PWM, IMIT, and POLMIC, with the National Cultural Centre extending the honorary patronage.
KURZAK WINS INTERNATIONAL OPERA AWARD
Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak is a recipient of one of this year’s Readers' Awards for opera singers of the year at the 2015 International Opera Awards. The awards were presented on April 26, 2015 during a gala at the London Savoy theatre.
According to Filip Lech of Culture.pl:
YOUNG POLISH COMPOSERS HONORED IN OSTRAVA
The International Competition for Young Composers “Generance” has been organized by the Janaček in May Festival in Ostrava, Czech Republic for 37 years already. The competition is aimed at young composers from four countries: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. The subject of this year’s compositions was: for a solo instrument with accompaniment, for small chamber ensemble or for instrumental set. This year’s results were announced on March 24 by the Jury, comprised of: Milan Báchorek, Ivan Kurz, Hanuš Bartoň, Vít Zouhar (Czech Republic), Alexander Lasoń (Poland), Jevgenij Iršai (Slovakia) and László Tihanyi (Hungary).
In Category I (composers under 30) the Second Prize went to Przemysław Scheller for Czasojaśnienie, as well as an honorable mention to Robert Niepostyn for Blask for mixed choir a cappella. In Category II (composers under 21), Polish composer took the First Prize – Michał Lazar for Recytatyw, medytacja i taniec.
The composers will be recognized at a ceremony on May 27 at the Fine Art Gallery in Ostrava.
PREMIERES AT THE WARSAW MUSIC ENCOUNTERS
Organized by the Warsaw branch of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP), the 29th edition of the Warszawskie Spotkania Muzyczne [Warsaw Music Encounters] will be held from May 9-15, 2015. WSM is one of the most important festivals of early and new music, but also the first and the only one that has made it a principle to combine these two on a regular basis. Thanks to this principle, the Festival provides an opportunity for many early music enthusiasts to get acquainted with contemporary works and discover that they “don’t bite” after all. The position in the Festival is also confirmed by the ever-growing interest of Polish and foreign musicians who submit their program offers. For many years now, the Festival has featured excellent performers and exciting repertoire, “gaining momentum” with every new Festival year and meeting the tastes of a growing number of listeners.
Below is an outline of the works that will receive their world premieres at this year’s Festival—for a full listing of the program, visit www.wsm.art.pl. All concerts are presented free of admission.
On Saturday May, 9, 2015 in the Witold Lutoslawski Polish Radio Concert Studio, the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra with Leszek Lorent – percussion, Karol Radziwonowicz – piano and Krzysztof Słowiński – conductor will present the world premieres of:
Bartosz Kowalski (left) | Maciej Zieliński (right)
On May 13 in the Witold Lutoslawski Polish Radio Concert Studio, the Amadeus Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra with Agnieszka Duczmal – conductor and soloists Lech Bałaban – viola and Klaudiusz Baran – bandoneon will present the world premieres of:
On May 15 in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle, vocal sextet proMODERN will present the world premieres of:
* first performance
** first performance – co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of Republic of Poland (MKiDN) within the program “Collections” [Kolekcje], spotlighting “Commissioned Compositions” [Zamówienia kompozytorskie] as implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT)
LATEST INSTALLMENT OF PROJECT ‘P’
The third presentation of the hottest young Polish creators in the Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera’s Project ‘P’ series will have its world premiere on May 22, 2015. The latest composers commissioned in this series are Katarzyna Głowicka (Requiem for an Icon) and Sławomir Kupczak (Voyager). These chamber operas will be performed in the original Polish with English surtitles.
Sławomir Kupczak uses electronic media in his music but also leans towards neo-Romantic gestures that he instantly sets aside. Kupczak provocatively called his new chamber opera Voyager—which is a collaboration with librettist Michał Borczuch, considered a leading figure in young Polish theatre today—a ‘romantic opera’. Fragments of the most valuable texts of culture sent into space in the probe named in the opera’s title, likely to outlive the entire solar system, are an excuse to offer a far-from-optimistic diagnosis of humankind.
Katarzyna Głowicka is known for building deep sound spaces and intriguing combinations of classical sounds with ambient and minimal music. In her chamber opera Requiem for an Icon, she tells a story about the relations between Jackie Kennedy and Ron Galella, the legendary American paparazzo. The elements of this operatic presentation—Krystian Lada’s libretto inspired by historical documents and photos, the music for live instruments, voice and electronics, and finally fashion and dance—come together to create a fascinating portrait of a 20th-century icon.
GRELLA-MOZEJKO PREMIERE & WARSZYNSKI CD RELEASE
A new work by Canadian-Polish Piotr Grella-Mozejko entitled ...only Midnight... per due pianoforti (2009) will be given its world premiere in Edmonton, Canada on May 22. The piece is dedicated to the husband-wife piano duo of Mikolaj Warszynski and Zuzana Simurdova, who will perform the premiere at Muttart Hall at the Alberta Conservatory of Music, under the auspices of Mazurka Music and Art. Warszynski and Simurdova will subsequently perform the Asian premiere of ...only Midnight... as part of their upcoming China tour on May 28-June 9, 2015. Also on the May 22 program will be works by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Ravel and Rachmaninoff.
This concert will also serve as North American launch of pianist Mikolaj Warszynski’s latest Anima Records release, Mikolaj Warszynski – Piano Solo. The concert will feature works from Warszynski’s new solo album, as well as performances alongside special guests violinist Tatiana Warszynki and pianist Zuzana Simurdova.
[Sources: press release, mikolajwarszynski.net]
STAŃCZYK PREMIERE AT MUSICA MODERNA
The 66th edition of Musica Moderna Festival in Łódź was launched on April 20, 2015. This year’s program will present several interesting concerts featuring works by composers associated with the Łódź Music Academy. The opening concert was given by the Computer Studio of Electronic Music and it was accompanied by the exhibit of works produced by Music Academy students in the “Visual Forms Laboratory” program. Among the musical works by students and faculty, a composition by Marcin Stańczyk, Muzyka możliwa I [The Possible Music I] will receive its world premiere.
PREMIERES IN KIELCE
Held in Kielce April 10-24, the Świętokrzyskie Music Days Festival was dedicated to new and rediscovered music. Two world premieres of works commissioned by the Kielce Philharmonic were also scheduled. They included Figury na piasku [Figures Drawn on Sand] for flute quartet by Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil and Ideograms for Orchestra by Rafał Zapała, who is also the composer-in-residence for the current season of the Kielce Philharmonic.
Other programmed works included Rozmyślania przy fontannie [Daydreaming by a Fountain] for vibraphone and marimba by Maciej Malecki, Serenada by Zygmunt Krauze, Choroba na śmierć [A Deadly Illness] by Tomasz Sikorski, Go Dai Concerto by Marek Pasieczny, and a new work by Krzesimir Dębski, composed especially for music graduates participating in the Filharmonia! Ostrożnie wciąga [The Philharmonic! Perilously Addictive] program administered by the Institute of Music and Dance.
Other classics of modern symphonic literature, Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 3 and Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 were also heard during the Festival. The chamber side of its rich program offering also included Krzysztof Penderecki’s Flute Quartet and Paweł Mykietyn’s Epifora for Piano and Tape.
The rediscovered music on offer in Kielce included works by Franciszek Lessel, Zygmunt Noskowski, Władysław Żeleński, Józef Krogulski, Antoni Sztolpe, Antoni Rutkowski, and Witold Maliszewski. The final concert featured Karol Kurpiński’s Bitwa pod Możajskiem [The Battle of Możajsk], which is the precursor of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, although in Kurpiński’s case, he (expectedly but prematurely) celebrated Napoleon’s victory over the Tsarist army.
First inaugurated in the 1960s, this Festival was reinstated after a 30-year break by director Szymon Kawalla. Since 2002, the Świętokrzyskie Music Days Festival is directed by Jacek Rogala and the Festival’s main focus has been re-oriented towards Polish music, especially towards compositions heretofore not presented in Kielce’s main concert hall.
KRÓL ROGER IN LONDON
Starting May 1, the Royal Opera House will present a new staging of Karol Szymanowski's sumptuously scored opera, Król Roger [King Roger]. According to the ROH website, “Kasper Holten's new production (The Royal Opera's first) finds in Roger's indecision an expression of the struggle we all face – the struggle between intelligence and instinct in what is the innate duality of human nature.” Król Roger will be sung in Polish by an all-star cast that includes two Polish artists: baritone Mariusz Kwiecień, who has been championing the title role of this opera around the world in recent new productions, and mezzo-soprano Agnes Zwierko, who will sing the role of Deaconess.
‘LUTOSŁAWSKI & NORDHEIM’ CONFERENCE IN OSLO
The oeuvres of Witold Lutosławski and Arne Nordheim are of the utmost significance for the musical culture of Poland and Norway respectively. Among the most outstanding composers of the twentieth century, they both raised the contemporary music of their country to a global level. Interestingly, Lutosławski and Nordheim were friends. They met most often in Oslo. Nordheim lived there nearly all his life; in the case of Lutosławski, as an adult the Norwegian capital became, after Warsaw, a home away from home for him and his loved ones. Thus Oslo symbolically became a place where the great contemporary cultures of Poland and Norway met.
On May 4 in the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw is holding an international musicological conference entitled “Cultural heritage and dialogue. Lutosławski – Nordheim.” Some of the presenters include: Marcin Bogusławski, Grzegorz Michalski and Eva Maria Jensen. The conference is a central event in the “Between identity and a community of cultures: from Chopin and Tellefsen to the twenty-first century” project—a multi-year series of symposia and concerts made possible through the collaboration of several important cultural institutions in Poland and Norway, and with financial support from the European Economic Area.
DEBATE: NEW SOUNDS, NEW TRENDS, NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Centre for Dialogue and Analysis THINKTANK and Orange Poland have organized a music-related debate on the theme of “Nowe dźwięki, Nowe trendy, Nowe możliwości” [New sounds, new trends, new opportunities], which will be held on May 15, 2015 in Warsaw’s Miasteczku Orange. Music has always developed using new technologies. This revolution has picked up significantly in recent years. Universal access to music files and ease of music creation through applications and other technologies is changing business models and the culture of the music industry.
Participants in this debate will talk about what fosters close collaboration between music and technology as well as applications and other new solutions that are changing the music business, amongst other topics. Confirmed participants in the debate include Piotr Kabaj (CEO, Warner Music Poland), Piotr Metz (music journalist), Dr. Mirosław Pęczak (Cultural Studies, University of Warsaw) and Marek Włodarczyk (Member of the Board, Independent Digital).
Registration is available only online at: http://mttp.pl/rejestracja/miasteczko-mysli. Participation is free of charge. The meeting is part of the series of “Miasteczko Myśli” [Town Thoughts] – a project of Orange Poland.
JANOWSKI STEPS DOWN FROM BERLIN RSO
Musical America’s Susan Elliot reports the following:
Read the full article at www.musicalamerica.com.
Born in 1939 in Warsaw and educated in Germany, Marek Janowski’s artistic path led him from Assistant positions in Aachen, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Hamburg to his appointment as General Music Director in Freiburg im Breisgau (1973-75) and Dortmund (1975-79). Janowski has been Artistic Director of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin since 2002—at which time the ensemble had been without an artistic director for several years—and in 2005 he was also appointed Musical Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva (2005-2012). He is in demand as a guest conductor throughout the world, working on a regular basis in the USA with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (where he holds the Otto Klemperer Guest Conducting Chair), the Boston and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and in Europe with the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchester der Tonhalle Zürich, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen and the NDR-Sinfonieorchester Hamburg.
‘BEYOND CHOPIN: POLAND AND MUSIC TODAY’ IN ITALY
On May 5, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic will bring modern Polish music to the Teatro Comunale in Pordenone, Italy. Entitled “Beyond Chopin: Poland and Music Today,” the program is an exploration of the 'musical geographies' of Poland from the twentieth century to the present day, from rarely heard works such as Górecki’s Piano Concerto, to touching tributes to prominent figures in the recent history such as Penderecki’s Ciaccona. Performers joining the Baltic Philharmonic for this concert will be pianist Beata Bilińska and conductor Massimiliano Caldi.
The evening’s program will include: Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994) – Ouverture per Archi and Five Folk Melodies; Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1933-2010) – Three Pieces in the Old Style and Piano Concerto, op. 40; Krzysztof Penderecki (1933) – Three Pieces in the Old Style and Ciaccona (mvmt. XII in memoriam Karol Wojtyla from the Polish Requiem). Before the concert, Jas Gawronski will give a talk dedicated to Polish musical heritage at 6:00 p.m.
Founded in 1945 on the heels of postwar Polish independence, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic in Gdańsk is the largest music institution in northern Poland. The Philharmonic organizes symphonic concerts, recitals, and chamber music soirées performed by the most prominent Polish musicians as well as by many world-famous artists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Gdańsk, then German-administered Danzig, held the international spotlight as a point of contention between Germany, a budding independent Poland, and those proud locals who saw Gdańsk as an independent city-state, the crown jewel of the Baltic Sea. Throughout the mid-20th century, Gdańsk became the primary seaport of Communist Poland. Littered with charming architecture and wizened thinkers, Gdańsk became the location for the first initiatives and protests in the 1970s and 1980s of the Solidarnoœæ [Solidarity] movement, chaired by future president Lech Wałęnsa. This movement would soon lead to the breakdown of Communism in Poland, and contributed to the dissolution of the Second World as it was known throughout the Cold War Era.
SZYMON GRAB AT DISNEY HALL
On May 16 and 17, Polish organist Szymon Grab will perform with the L.A. Master Chorale for their “Music of Whitacre & Pärt” concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Grab will accompany the Master Chorale on the organ and piano as they perform these incredible choral works, utilizing especially Disney Hall’s majestic, custom-built organ.
SZYMANOWSKI COMPOSERS COMPETITION
The Karol Szymanowski International Composers Competition is organized by the Karol Szymanowski Music Society in collaboration with the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. The subject of this year’s 2nd edition of the competition is a piece for symphony orchestra with a required duration of 10 – 20 min. The competition is open to composers of all nations regardless of age. Each participant may submit more than one score—all submissions must be made anonymously. It is possible to submit works already performed, excluding compositions already published and awarded in other competitions.
The deadline for submitting scores is November 30, 2015 (based on postmark). Scores should be sent to the following address:
The members of jury are all distinguished composers and members of the Karol Szymanowski Music Society: Eugeniusz Knapik – chairman, Krzysztof Meyer, Rafał Augustyn and Sławomir Czarnecki. The jury will announce the results of the competition on December 10, 2015.
[Sources: press release, szymanowski-competition.com]
LED ZEPPLIN INFLUENCED BY PENDERECKI
According to front man and producer Jimmy Page, the band Led Zeppelin drew on inspiration such as the music of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki in the creation of the band’s iconic sound, which, by the time they recorded “Physical Graffiti” 40 years ago, included a full orchestra. In February 2015, Page talked about the album’s genesis with Kory Grow of Rolling Stone Magazine—below is an excerpt, regarding the unusual use of drone-like textures:
Read more at www.rollingstone.com.
This was not the first time that Page has referred to Penderecki’s musical inspiration. In a 2014 interview about his photo-autobiography, Jimmy Page, the guitarist mentioned the composer amongst the many influences that have “moved” him during his self-taught career. Read this interview with Luke Turner on www.wonderingsound.com.
CHOPIN & TOURISM
Writing for The Guardian on April 8, Andrew MacDowall paints a picture of how tourism in Poland is affected by the world’s fascination with Fryderyk Chopin, in the article “Chopin movement music to ears of Polish tourism officials.” Below is an excerpt:
According to Szklener, research indicates that more people came to Poland for the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth in 2010 than for the European football championship hosted jointly by Poland and Ukraine two years later. The bicentenary helped to galvanise the concept of Chopin tourism, which Poland is now developing as a central part of its tourism strategy.
SINFONIA VARSOVIA ASIA TOUR
Starting on May 2, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra is embarking on a concert tour of Asia. The ensemble will play 17 concerts at the La Folle Journée Festival in Japan, as is customary for the ensemble at this time of year. Also, for the first time in the history of the ensemble, the Orchestra will play three concerts in China (2-16 May 2015).
This year the main theme of the La Folle Journée festival is “Passions of the Heart and Soul.” In kind, Sinfonia Varsovia’s concert programs in Tokyo and Niigata will include works by Bach, Viennese classical composers Mozart and Beethoven, foremost representatives of the Romantic era: Chopin, Dvořák, Brahms and Grieg and composers of the 20th century: Rodrigo, Britten and Marquez. The Orchestra will be directed by young American conductor Robert Trevino, and among the many soloists playing with the Orchestra in Japan are violinist Augustin Dumay and pianist Yulianna Avdeeva.
After La Folle Journée in Japan, Sinfonia Varsovia will make its first appearance in China, where it will perform three concerts under the direction of Maestro Jerzy Maksymiuk. The artists will play in the most prestigious concert hall in China: the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. The Orchestra will also play at the Grand Theatre in Tianjin and at the Qintai Concert Hall in Wuhan. Concert programs include Serge Prokofiev’s Symphony No.1 Op.25 in D major “Classical” and works by Polish composers: Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Three Pieces in Old Style, Andrzej Panufnik’s Violin Concerto with soloist Jakub Haufa and Fryderyk Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2 Op.21 in F minor, interpreted by Paweł Wakarecy and famous Chinese pianist Chen Sa.
Sinfonia Varsovia’s concert tour of China is an event held as part of the Polish season in China, organized jointly by Culture.pl, The Polish Institute in Beijing, the Tianjin Grand Theatre, the National Center of Performing Arts and Beijing Poly.
POLISH AND CHINESE MUSIC STUDENTS COLLABORATE
Kraków Music Academy and Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing are jointly organizing a series of concerts from April 20 until May 5. Concerts of the combined orchestras from these two music schools will be presented in Kraków, Vienna, Beijing and Tianjin.
The Kraków concert was held at the Szymanowski Philharmonic Hall on April 23 and jointly led by maestros Xia Xiao Tang and Michał Maciaszczyk. The program included Krzysztof Penderecki’s Sinfonietta per archi, Janusz Bielecki’s Symfonia zmysłów [The Symphony of Senses], Fay Wang’s Friedrich’s Somniloquy, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
This concert’s aim is to promote Polish and Chinese culture, bringing closer the audiences of the two nations, and—most importantly—creating an outlet for young musicians to exchange their experiences and present their accomplishments. Closer integration of the faculties of the respective music academies is also among the goals set by the organizers.
BACZEWSKA IN CHINA
New York-based Polish pianist Magdalena Baczewska recently made her San Francisco Symphony solo debut on April 25, 2015, stepping in last-minute for a sold-out performance of Tan Dun's Banquet Concerto at the Davies Symphony Hall, with maestro Damian Ioro conducting. In May, Baczewska will return to Beijing, China, where back in October 2014 she performed with maestro Tan Dun and the China National Symphony Orchestra at the National Performing Arts Center. She will give Piano Master Classes in Beijing's Central Conservatory.
[Sources: press release, magdalenanyc.com]
CHOPIN FOUNDATION CONCERTS IN FLORIDA
Concert of Duo Klavitarre from Poland
Presented in collaboration with the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, the Chopin Foundation hosts a concert featuring Duo Klavitarre from Poland on May 3. Duo Klavitarre is comprised of the husband-wife duo of Jolanta Ziemska, piano and Maciej Ziemski, guitar. The concert will be followed by a sumptuous wine reception.
Chopin for All: Piano Recital by Anna Ha
The Chopin Foundation is pleased to announce a debut recital by Anna Han, an award winning young American pianist, who will perform music by Chopin, Scriabin, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff and more. Described by the Washington Post as “prodigiously gifted… a display of imagination, taste and pianistic firepower far beyond her years,” nineteen-year-old pianist Anna Han has won a number of prestigious international competitions, including the first prize of the 2012 New York International Piano Competition, the first prize of the 2011 New Orleans International Piano Competition for Young Artists, and the first prizes of both the 2011 and 2008 IIYM (International Institute for Young Musicians) International Piano Competitions.
All concerts in the Chopin for All series are presented twice: On Saturday at Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale, and on the following Sunday at Granada Presbyterian Church in Coral Gables.
[Sources: press release, chopin.org]
3rd OF MAY CELEBRATIONS
With a Polish population second only to that of Warsaw, Chicago is a city that revels in Polish holidays – and May 3rd Constitution Day is no exception! This year Chicago’s May 3rd Parade celebrating the Polish Constitution of 1791 will be held on Saturday, May 2 starting at 11.30 AM, with the annual parade following a new route along Dearborn Street, from Lake Street to Van Buren St. This 124th Chicago parade is in honor of the first democratic constitution in Europe and second in the world only to the United States Constitution. Every year Parade gathers thousands of people devoted to Polonia and Poland. Thousands more are expected to be drawn to the television coverage of the parade provided by Polish TV stations. Polish values, history, traditions and culture will be presented by the participants of this biggest outside Poland Parade.
As part of the Constitution Day celebrations, the Chicago Chopin Foundation with the Grant Park Conservancy will hold the Constitution Day Chopin Concert celebration at the Chopin Garden at 11th Street and Michigan Avenue in Grant Park on May 2nd, 2015 at 2:00pm. The festivities will begin with the renowned Polonia Dance and Song Ensemble bringing alive an historical scene from May 3rd, 1791 with excerpts from the new Polish Constitution, performed by a full theater company with twenty actors in period costumes. Next, the Ensemble will lead the traditional “May 3rd Polonaise” walking dance along the promenade of the Chopin Garden and entice the entire audience to join in this unique performance. The celebration will continue with the talented Harvard and New England Conservatory trained pianist Konrad Binienda who will stir hearts with a recital of Chopin’s greatest compositions, followed by a series of patriotic songs that will awaken the Polish spirit and move the spectators to sing along.
Since its founding in 1948, the Ohio Division of the Polish American Congress (PAC) has annually sponsored Ohio’s official celebration of the signing of Poland’s Constitution of May 3, 1791. This year, the Polish Constitution Weekend Celebration will take place May 2-3 and will entail:
‘ORAL HISTORY IN CENTRAL-EASTERN EUROPE’ CONFERENCE FUND
Marta Marciniak (PhD – University at Buffalo, SUNY), who previously presented a paper on Polish punk music and the politics during the PMC’s Sounds from Behind the Iron Curtain: Polish Music after World War II Conference in April 2013, is currently seeking funding to attend a new conference on the subject of "Oral History in Central-Eastern Europe: Current Research Areas, Challenges and Specificity” at the University of Łódź. After a lengthy and costly immigration process, Marciniak is finally able to return to her life’s passion, which is researching and telling the stories of those she interviews as an oral historian. It is also a rare opportunity to promote her book, A Transnational History of Punk in Poland: From Nihilism to Nothing Outside Punk (Lexington Books), which will be published in June 2015.
Please consider contributing to Marta’s scholarly www.gofundme.com campaign.
[Sources: press release, gofundme.com]
25 YEARS OF GAUDE MATER
The Gaude Mater International Festival of Sacred Music will be held from April 20 to May 8, 2015. This year, the Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary. Within a quarter of a century, the Festival has built upon its original formula, aimed at the promotion of sacred music and intercultural dialogue. This year's edition will summarize and consolidate existing activities by showing different views of "sacred" music—from Gregorian chant and Palestrina motets the jazz-inspired Misterium Stabat Mater of Włodek Pawlik and Requiem by Paco Penii, based on elements of flamenco music. Festival concerts are held in Częstochowa and 6 other Polish cities, including in Warsaw, Gdańsk, Bydgoszcz, Poznań, as well as Cologne, Germany.
The program of the Festival will consist of concerts of the best performers of previous editions. Music lovers will appreciate the re-appearance of German countertenor Andreas Scholl, Israeli soprano Talia Or, The King's Singers and Vienna’s Morphing Chamber Orchestra, and flamenco guitar virtuoso Paco Penii. The festival will also host performers GRAMMY winning Polish composer Włodek Pawlik, the Polish Chamber Choir "Schola Cantorum Gedanensis," the Katowice City Singers' Ensemble "Camerata Silesia," and the OH! Historical Orchestra, who will co-host the final concert of the Festival with the Orchestra and Choir of the Częstochowa Philharmonic.
The highlight of the festival will be the 25th concert to celebrate the 80th birthday of Arvo Pärt, opening the festival - with the composer. In addition, during the liturgical inauguration will take place the premiere of Missa pro Maria for soprano, bass, trombone, organ and mixed choir by Aldona Nawrocka, and at the end of the festival Polish audiences will hear for the first time the Third Symphony "Symphony of Angels" by Paweł Łukaszewski. There will also be a concert of 21st century music and awards ceremony for the 11th Composition Competition "Musica Sacra Nova" held on May 3 in Częstochowa.
KODY [CODES]—the Festival of Traditional and Avant-garde Music—is a new festival on Lublin’s cultural map. The first edition took place in May 2009. This year’s edition will be held from May 14 – 18, 2015.
The Festival is an international event devoted to the idea of combining the archaic and the new in music. The mixture of two distinctive canons of aesthetics forms a completely unique listening experience where magic and beauty co-exist. The festival gives excellent contemporary music composers and the representatives of the avant-garde jazz an opportunity to meet traditional musicians and artists reconstructing old music. The offer of the Festival includes concerts and the premieres of music projects by recognized artists, as well as young and talented musicians and composers. Lublin-born Jerzy Kornowicz, the commissioner of the Festival, is himself a composer of contemporary music and the president of Polish Composers’ Union.
This year’s edition brings together a fascination combination of performers—including Belgium’s Grandelavoix Vocal Ensemble, Poland’s Kwartludium and Austria’s Wiener Glasharmonika Duo—and repertoire from around the world. A program highlight includes the Polish premiere of three works commissioned by the Festival by young Polish composers: Krzysztof WOŁEK – Błoto / Mud (2015), Jarosław SIWIŃSKI – Timecode (2015) and Artur ZAGAJEWSKI – Woodcuts (2015), which will be performed by the US ensemble Bang on a Can on May 17 at 8 p.m. during a concert entitled “Field Recordings – Layers of Peculiarities.” For a full listing of all concerts, visit: codes-festival.com.
Q’ARTO MONDO FESTIVAL
The 6th edition of the International Chamber Music Festival "Q'arto Mondi" took place, just like every year, in Poznań during the month of April. Some of the world’s leading artists, intriguing repertoire and a few novelties were once again on the program. This year's inauguration was held at the Aula NOVA of the I.J. Paderewski Academy of Music. All other concerts were presented in the Red Chamber of the Działyński Palace, where the acoustic qualities of this noble venue encouraged an even wider audience to approach the ideal that the chamber music represents, with a special focus on the string quartet.
This year the festival hosted two "senior" quartets of great renown on all continents: the Vogler Quartett and Fauré Quartett. The festival stage was also open for the younger generation of quartets, represented this year by Armida Quartett and the hosts of the festival, Meccore String Quartet. As an alternative for the quartet in its classical form, there was also a concert of the Polish Cello Quartet. It is the festival's tradition to give the floor to some of the most outstanding students of I. J. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań, who had the chance to perform on the Meccore Proms concert.
CINEMATIC PIANO BY DĘBICZ
Highlighting the brilliant pianistic fireworks of virtuoso Aleksander Dębicz on his debut album for Warner Classics, Cinematic Piano combines spontaneous energy and vitality with a pinch of nostalgia and filmic tension. This artist is distinguished by a unique touch that brings out the instrument’s light and transparent qualities, while simultaneously remaining clear and precise. Particularly impressive are the shimmering, high-speed runs and breakneck acrobatics that Dębicz produces with a charming nonchalance and shameless ease. The piano, when under the fingers of the vibrant young Dębicz, grooves, flows and sparkles, with innumerable shades of color and emotion.
Born in Wrocław, Poland, Alexander Dębicz is a graduate of the Frederic Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, where his primary instruction was from prof. Elżbieta Tarnawska. Dębicz has participated in many national and international piano competitions, winning honors, special awards or achieving finalist status in many of them. Playing freely in a variety of musical styles, he is the laureate of numerous Polish and international competitions, including winner of the international competition of Instant Composition at the 2013 Transatlantic Instant Composition Contest. Alexander Dębicz has proven himself a versatile pianist and improviser. In 2014 he signed an exclusive artistic contract with Warner Music Poland.
Watch a trailer for the album at www.youtube.com.
NEW RELEASES OF RPO & MAESTRO NOWAK
Kletzki, Szymanowski & Lutosławski: Music for Violin and Orchestra
Paul Kletzi (1900-1973): Violin Concerto; Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937): Violin Concerto No. 2; Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994): Partita for Violin and Orchestra
RPO Permanent Associate Conductor Grzegorz Nowak conducts Polish music for violin (Robert Davidovici) and orchestra, featuring the World Premiere recording of Kletzki's Violin Concerto, along with works by Szymanowski and Lutoslawski, who are widely considered to be two of the greatest Polish composers of the twentieth century.
Ju-Young Baek Plays Penderecki and Szymanowski
Recorded at Cadogan Hall, Ju-Young Baek Plays Penderecki and Szymanowski is violinist Ju-Young Baek's first recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and their Permanent Associate Conductor Grzegorz Nowak.
WARSZYNSKI SOLO CD OF SZYMANOWSKI, CHOPIN
MIKOLAJ WARSZYNSKI PIANO SOLO : HAYDN, SZYMANOWSKI, LISZT, CHOPIN
For his debut album for Anima Records, Polish-Canadian pianist Mikolaj Warszynski has put together a recital of works by Haydn, Liszt, Szymanowski and an assortment of Chopin. The animated 'Grand Sonata' in C major by Joseph Haydn Hob. XVI:50, the voluptuous Shéhérazade by Karol Szymanowski, and the dazzling Mephisto Waltz by Franz Liszt, taken together form a luminous first half. These stand in marked contrast to the revolutionary nature of the works of Chopin in the second half: the big C minor Nocturne Op. 48 No. 1, the turbulent first Scherzo Op. 20 with its heavenly lullaby, and finally, two contrasting polonaises—the sombre and mysterious Polonaise in E flat minor Op. 26 No. 2, and the famous ‘Heroic’ Polonaise in A flat major Op. 53. Warszynski upholds that in these revolutionary works, “Chopin’s particular genius was one that was able to fuse his intuitive exhortations within the bounds of reason, but the music resonates with resolve and emotion on a prophetic scale symbolizing the struggles of his defunct nation.”
"Mikolaj's piano playing is stellar." —Michael Horwood, Tonus Vivus 2009
Mikolaj Warszynski has performed in recitals across North America, Europe and Asia, and enjoys a versatile career as a pianist, lecturer, and pedagogue. A Canadian pianist of Polish origin, his performances of Chopin and Szymanowski in particular have garnered critical acclaim on the world stage. Invitations to many prominent music festivals and societies have led to recent performances in South Korea at the Woobong Art Hall, in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts, in Czech Republic at the Janacek Hukvaldy Festival, and in Canada at the Place des Arts in Montreal. In Poland, Warszynski has performed in Warsaw at the Royal Łazienki Park under the Chopin monument, in Gdańsk at the Baltic Philharmonic, and most recently as soloist with the Kielce Filharmonic. He is also a founding member of the Warszynski Trio, dedicated to the promotion of contemporary Canadian composers, whose album Devil’s Dance was released on Clef Records. As part of the Canadian Piano Duo, together with his wife, pianist Zuzana Simurdova, Mikolaj gave the Canadian premiere of Disintegration by Claude Vivier, for the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec. Upcoming events incude a spring concert tour of China, a return to perform in Poland at the International Szymanowski Festival this summer, and master classes this summer at the Flaine Opus74 Academy in the French Alps.
LATEST RECORDINGS OF EARLY POLISH MUSIC BY THE SIXTEEN
The Blossoming Vine: Italian Maestri in Poland
Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki
British early music powerhouse ensemble the Sixteen and their associate conductor Eamonn Dougan have embarked on a successful “Polish series” of recordings for the group’s CORO record label. The series was launched with a disc devoted to one of the most eminent composers of the Polish 17th century, Bartłomiej Pękiel (COR16110)—watch a video of the recording, including an interview of Dougan, on the Vimeo page of Culture.pl.
The second disc in the series, The Blossoming Vine, explores a selection of fascinating music composed by the Italian maestri recruited to at the Polish Court of Sigismund III Vasa in the 16th and early 17th centuries. BBC Music Magazine named the disc its “Choral & Song Choice - August 2014” and gave it 5 stars for both Performance and Recording.
The third disc in The Sixteen’s acclaimed series of Polish music explores the work of Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (1665–1734). Regarded as the outstanding Polish composer of the high baroque, Gorczycki studied in Prague and Vienna in his early years and returned to Kraków in 1690 where he took holy orders. He was appointed Magister capellae at Wawel Cathedral in 1698, a position he held until his death. Like his predecessor Bartłomiej Pękiel (COR16110), Gorczycki wrote in both stile antico and stile moderno; the works featured in this recording display his skill in both genres. The Missa Rorate shows his mastery of counterpoint and sensitivity to word-setting, as does Illuxit Sol in which Gorczycki revels in the rhetoric of the text, painting it with lush five-part string writing; Conductus Funebris, a four-movement work setting text from the Burial Service, marries his contrapuntal skills with a more emphatic, declamatory style, while in the Litania de Providentia Divinae, Gorczycki unleashes the full power of his invention as he paints the virtues of "Divine Providence" with a glowing palate of colours.
Below are some of the latest reviews of the third disc in the series, Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki:
GOMÓŁKA ON CD ACCORD
Audite, Gentes! - Psalms of the Golden Age
Melodies for the Polish Psalter by Mikołaj Gomółka is a collection of 150 four-voice compositions intended as a musical setting for Jan Kochanowski’s poetic translation of the Book of Psalms. It ranks among the most significant works of Polish culture. Seemingly simple in style, Gomółkas Melodies are a true compendium of various musical forms. The performing practice was a lot less rigid than we might think today. The musical score of each psalm was really a proposal, opening up the possibility for many different interpretations, i.e. for several voices accompanied by lute, organ or other instruments; for solo voice accompanied by lute, vihuela or other harmonic or melodic instruments. Melodies could also be accompanied by percussion instruments, since the presence of dance forms can be found in many of Gomółkas psalms. Those same dances could also be included in the interpretation of Melodies as ritornelli or preludes. Mikołaj Gomółkas work offers rich interpretive possibilities. Its version for lute (by lute we also mean the vihuela and the renaissance guitar) is perhaps the one that lets us approach the text most closely and the one that moves the affections most. (by Fernando Reyes, reprinted from amazon.com)
DEBUT OF REQUIEM RECORDS’ OPUS SERIES AT POLIN
Music of the last few decades represents a lot of different stylistic trends which cannot always be easily classified. That’s why the Opus Series on Requiem Records—debuted on April 11 at the POLIN Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw—will produce a series of recordings spanning a wide spectrum of works written for classical-style ensembles and acoustical instruments as well as works for live electronics, improvisations, and other pioneering genres. Curated by composer and organist Dariusz Przybylski, the Opus Series will present already established artists along with the artistic debuts.
One panel discussion, five composers, four ensembles and four mini-concerts—this was the menu for the debut event on April 11. The evening at POLIN Museum’s Exhibit Hall featured a performance of music inspired by Buddhist philosophy, including a work for percussion and live electronics by Marcin Błażewicz and solo works by a Korean composer based in Warsaw, Eunho Chang. In the Main Hall of the Museum, Wojtek Psiuk and Paweł Janas performed works for saxophone and accordion by Rafał Janiak and Mikołaj Majkusiak. The final performance of the evening included works by Eunho Chang and Dariusz Przybylski for violin, clarinet, percussion, piano, and Hammond organ. The four mini-concerts were preceded by a meeting and discussion of contemporary music with the participating composers.
The media patron of the event, POLMIC, provides further details about the program at: polmic.pl
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Send your comments and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Layout Assistance: Charles Bragg
Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski
Tyrone Greive, Piotr Grella-Mozejko, Terry Tegnazian, Mikolaj Warszynski, 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, May 6, 2015.
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