Polish Music
Reference Center
May 1998, Vol. 4, no. 5
ISSN 1098-9188

Anniversaries Awards Books Calendar
Composer of the Month: M.K. Ogiński Director's Report
News Recordings Recent Performances



LYNN KAO was the First Prize Winner in the 1998 Kościuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition, held in New York City Saturday, April 4. Kao, an 18-year old student at Indiana University, was given her $2,500 cash scholarship by Abbey Simon, in ceremonies at the Kościuszko Foundation House that afternoon. In addition to the scholarship prize, Kao will be invited by Piotr Paleczny, artistic director of the International Chopin Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj, to perform there in August. She will also be invited to perform in New York City and at chapters of the Kościuszko Foundation in other cities.

Second Prize was won by MICHAEL SCHNEIDER, a 21-year-old student at North Texas State University at Denton; and Third Prize by PAUL HADLEY, a 17-year-old high school junior at the St. Louis Symphony Music School in St. Louis. They received cash scholarships of $1,500 and $1,000 respectively.

Born in Taipei, KAO is presently a freshman at Indiana University, where she studies with Karen Shaw. She began piano studies in Taiwan at the age of five, continuing when she came to the United States in 1991. She has received numerous awards, including prizes from the Stamford and Hartford Symphony Orchestras. In 1996, she was the youngest finalist in the Kościuszko Foundation Chopin Competition.

Fifteen contestants, ranging in age from 17 to 22, from all over the U.S.A. competed in the public auditions before a jury which included world-famous concert pianist and other distinguished musicians and teachers. All were required to prepare a full recital program, including at least two major works by Chopin, and representing all musical historical styles.

The Kościuszko Foundation Chopin Competition was established in 1949, in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Frederic Chopin. Over the years, many outstanding musicians have won prizes in the Competition, including Van Cliburn, Ian Hobson, and Murray Perahia. Today the Kościuszko Foundation Chopin Competition continues to encourage gifted young pianists to further their studies. Along with the Sembrich Voice Competition, first held in 1968, it promotes study and performance of Poland's rich musical heritage. Next year, in early April 1999, the Competition will celebrate its own fiftieth birthday as the world marks the 150th anniversary of Chopin's death.


VALERIAN RUMINSKI was the First Prize Winner in the 1998 Kościuszko Foundation Marcella Sembrich Voice Competition, held in New York City Saturday, March 21. Ruminski, a 30-year-old student at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, was given his $1000 cash scholarship by Teresa Kubiak, in ceremonies at the Kościuszko Foundation House that evening. In addition to the scholarship prize, Ruminski will be invited by Maria Foltyn, artistic director of the Stanislaw Moniuszko International Competition, to Warsaw, as her guest, to compete in that contest in October 1998. He will also be invited to perform at the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum, the great singer's former studio, in Bolton's Landing, N.Y.

Second Prize was won by soprano MONIKA KRAJEWSKA, a student at the Yale University School of Music; and Third Prize by bass WOJCIECH BUKALSKI, a student at the Boston University Opera Institute. They received cash scholarships of $750 and $500 respectively.

Born in Lackawanna, N.Y., RUMINSKI earned his Bachelor's Degree in Voice at S.U.N.Y. / Buffalo, where Metropolitan Opera baritone Louis Quilico was among his teachers. His present teacher at the Academy of Vocal Arts is Bill Schuman. This May, Ruminski will appear in a production of Le Nozze di Figaro at the Academy, and during the summer will apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera Company, singing in Salome.

Some thirty contestants, ranging in age from 22 to 33, from all over the U.S.A. competed in the public auditions before a jury which included world-famous soprano Teresa Kubiak and other distinguished musicians and arts administrators. All were required to sings Polish songs and arias, by Moniuszko, Chopin, Karlowicz, Bacewicz, and others; the judges remarked on the high quality of preparation, and all those present at the auditions and the awards ceremony were thrilled that the Sembrich Voice Competition produced such fine results.

First presented in 1968, the Sembrich Voice Competition honors the great Polish soprano Marcella Kochanska Sembrich (1858-1935) who won world-wide acclaim as an opera singer (at the Metropolitan Opera here as well as throughout the globe), song recitalist, teacher, and generous supporter of many social programs, including relief for the victims of the San Francisco earthquake and African-American schoolchildren. She also founded the voice departments of the Curtis Institute and Juilliard School. Over the years, the Competition has attracted and supported such talents as soprano Barbara Hendricks and bass-baritone Jan Opalach.


PWM, the Polish music publishers, now have a web site! You can order music scores, books, CDs and rent music on the internet. Both Polish and English texts. The URL is: http://www.pwm.com.pl. Recently, PWM has issued a new pamphlet on Grażyna Bacewicz and her music (in Polish and English) in anticipation of the 90th anniversary of her birth and 30th anniversary of death in 1999.

Dr. Richard Zielinski, one of the winners of the Wilk Prizes for research in Polish music, has been appointed music director of the Terre Haute Choral Society. He is also director of choral activities and coordinator of voice and choral division at Indiana State University.

The Polish American Journal, a weekly newspaper originating in Buffalo, NY, also has a web site. Visit http://www.polamjournal.com for information on things Polish and Polish-American. One of their reporters, Steve Litwin, reports about a Polka website: "Band leader Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push have, through the assistance of webmaster, Tom Salonick, produced a slick site, filled with plenty of information on the band and other polka items."


A fifth year student of the Music Academy in Katowice won 3rd prize in a composition competition sponsored by the European Parliament and the French Ministry of Culture. Sebastian Niedziela wrote a 10 minute hymn entitled, "Say," The 1st prize was won by 24yr. old Jorge Muniz Salas for APAX, a symphony.


New book on Poland’s foremost film composer, Wojciech Kilar, who also composed the music for the movie Bram Stokes's Dracula here in the U.S. The book, published by PWM, contains interviews with the composer by musicologists K. Podobinska and Leszek Polony. Entitled Cieszę się darem życia: Rozmowy z Wojciechem Kilarem [I am happy with my gift of life. Conversations with Wojciech Kilar], the book also includes a calendarium of the composer's life, a list of works and numerous illustrations.

Another new release from PWM: Jana Krenza Pięcdziesiąt lat z batutą. Rozmowy o muzyce polskiej. [Jan Krenz’s fifty years with a baton. Talks about Polish music.] Written by Elżbieta Markowska, the book of 209 pages also contains a calendarium of life and works, a list of selected compositions, list of radio recordings, list of concerts and illustrations; thus presenting a living history of Polish music of our times.

Lwowskie piosenki [Songs of Lwów], an authentic documentary of the city of Lwów’s dialect captured in its songs and life. Alphabetical listing of songs, bibliography, dictionary. 340 pgs. By J. Habela and Z. Kurzowa. PWM, 1998.

Historia muzyki polskiej [History of Polish music] by J. Chominski and K. Wilkowska-Chominska. In Polish. 2 volumes 1995-1996. PWM.


  • MAY 2: CONCERT OF POLISH MUSIC. Opening of the Sixth Warsaw Days of Literature. Concert Studio of the Polish Radio, Warsaw, Poland. Works by KURPINSKI (Ouverture "Dwie Chatki" [Two Cottages]), WIENIAWSKI (Violin Concerto No. 2), and JASINSKI (world premiere of Kantata). 6 p.m.

  • MAY 2: Piotr Folkert, piano. Music of Bach-Busoni, Brahms and Szymanowski. Kościuszko Foundation. 15 E. 65th St., 8:00 p.m. $15. Foundation members $12.

  • MAY 5: WORKS FROM THE MANUSCRIPT by JAN OF JASIENNA (15th c.). EArly music ensembles Bornus Consort and Ars Nova, National Philharmonic, Warsaw, Poland, 7 p.m.

  • MAY 7: MONIUSZKO'S 179th ANNIVERSARY CONCERT. Songs from Home Songbooks performed by R. Landowska (soprano), A. Wronska (mezzosoprano), M. Sobkowiak and M. Dubrawski (piano). Warsaw Music Society (WTM), Warsaw, 6:30 p.m.

  • MAY 6-7: Quo Vadis. Chamber opera by Bernadetta MATUSZCZAK performed by the Warsaw Chamber Opera, Warsaw.

  • MAY 10: Elsner String Quartet. Special Mother’s Day concert presented in association with WQXR radio. Graduates of the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, the quartet is studying at the Manhattan School of Music. Kościuszko Foundation, 3:00 p.m. $20/15.

  • MAY 11. Speculum Musicae. New music from Poland and the U.S. Music for strings and piano, includes rare solo violin work by Penderecki. Kościuszko Foundation. 8:00 p.m. $15/12.

  • MAY 19. The Music Gallery: Live broadcast over WNYC-FM 93.9, NY. Pawel Knapik, double bass, with Anna Kijanowska, piano.

  • MAY 24. Third Chopin Competition of Young Pianists (up to age 15). San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Free. Presented by the Chopin Council of San Francisco.

  • MAY 29. Midori, violin; Robert McDonald, piano. Sonatas by Beethoven, Faure and Brahms. Also Karol SZYMANOWSKI's Mythes. Wigmore Hall, London, England. 7:30 p.m.

  • MAY 31. Concert of Laureates of the Third Chopin Competition of Young Pianists. Kościuszko Foundation, New York.

  • MAY 31. Alexandre Tansman's Piano Trio no. 2, Washington premiere performance at the U.S. holocaust Memorial Museum's Meyerhoff Auditorium. Performers: Joseph Holt, piano, George Marsh, violin, and Steven Honigberg, cello.


  • JUL 7-26: Lincoln Center Festival, NY. U. S. Premiere of Penderecki's new oratorio, "Seven Gates of Jerusalem." For more informatiton call 212-875-5928. Web site: http://www.lincolncenter.org

  • JUN26 -JUL 11: Oregon Bach Festival. World premiere of Penderecki's "Missa." Penderecki String Quartet also scheduled to appear. For more information visit the web site: http://bachfest.uoregon.edu



  • MAR 27 - APR 23. Days of Music in Kielce. Honored guest - composer Wojciech Kilar. The inaugural concert featured pianist Piotr Paleczny with the Kielce Philharmonic. One day was dedicated to music of the gorale (inhabitants of the Tatra mountains) with baritone Andrzej Hiolski accompanied by the String Band of Andrzej Obrochta from Zakopane.

  • APR 19-25: 23rd Days of Organ Music. Cracow. Concert Included works by Krzysztof PENDERECKI (19 April), Marek STACHOWSKI (22 April, Jubilate Deo), Felix NOWOWIEJSKI (23 April).

  • APR 25: Polski Teatr Tańca (Polish Dance Theatre). Ballet Premiere "Przebudzenia" [Awakenings] with music by KNITTEL, KINIORSKI and CHOLONIEWSKI. Poznan, Grand Theatre.

  • APR 26-30: 2nd Forum of Contemporary Art "Witold Lutosławski". Lublin, Poland. Including concerts with works by Marta PTASZYNSKA (26 April), composers based in Lublin (MAZUREK, NIKODEMOWICZ; 27 April), Karol SZYMANOWSKI, H.M. GORECKI, Artur MALAWSKI (28 April), Tadeusz WIELECKI, Hanna KULENTY, Wlodzimierz KOTONSKI, Pawel MYKIETYN, Grazyna PSTROKONSKA-NAWRATIL, Lidia ZIELINSKA (29 April). The Forum ended with a performance of Górecki's Symphony no. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs).

  • APR 30: Concert to Commemorate 200 Anniversary of Dabrowski's Mazurka, the National Anthem. Music theatre "Do Ciebie, Polsko!" [To you, Poland!]. National Philharmonic, Warsaw. Peformed by the soloists, choir and orchestra of the Polish Army, cond. Boleslaw Szulia.

    IN THE U.S.:

  • APR 13: The Ensemble Capriccio premiered a work for String Trio and Clarinet by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski in Minneapolis at the Walker Center Auditorium.

  • APR 17: Pianist Garrick Ohlson appeared at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall performing Chopin's Scherzo no. 3, Introduction and Variations, Waltz in A-flat, Fantasy in F minor and Two Nocturnes, along with Beethoven and Prokofiev sonatas.

  • APR 18: Jazz singer Ursula Dudziak opened the concert of hip-hop/acid-jazz music featuring violinist Michael Urbaniak at the exclusive China Club in New York.

  • APR 18: Pianist Ewa Skardowska and violinist Adam Zarzycki performed the violin sonatas of Chopin and Paderewski at the Polish Consulate in New York. Sponsored by the Chopin Foundation, Prof. Jan Gorbaty, president.

  • APR 18/19: The Oregon Repertory Singers presented Penderecki's "Song of the Cherubim" in Portland.


To celebrate the anniversary of May 3rd Constitution:

CDs with Polish anthems, patriotic songs, popular folk and soldier songs:
  • Boże coś Polskę [God save Poland] Mazowsze Folk Ensemble sings religious chants and patriotic anthems, including "Bogurodzica" (a 13th c. anthem addressed to Mary and sung as coronation hymn of the Iagiellon dynasty, the earliest document of literary Polish), "Rota" (an early 20th c. hymn by Konopnicka/Nowowiejski), and the "Boże coœ Polskę" of the title. Polskie Nagrania Edition ECD 034, 1994.

  • Marsz, Marsz, Polonia [March, March, Polonia]. CD with recordings of Polish Army and Navy orchestras, performing the national anthem anda selection of historical military marches ("Marsz I Brygady, Szara Piechota, Strzelcy Maszerują," etc.). Polskie Nagrania Edition ECD 064. 1996.

  • Echa Ojczyzny [Echoes of the Homeland]. A Medley of Popular Folk and Army Songs. Recorded by soloists, choir and orchestra of the Polish Radio, cond. Jerzy Kołaczkowski. Including Hejnal from Cracow, Polonaise "Farewell to the Homeland" by Ogiński, and even the ever-popular birthday song, "Sto lat." Polskie Nagrania Edition. PNCD 088. 1996.

  • Białym Orłem Wzleć [Fly with a White Eagle]. A collection of patriotic choral works by several Polish composers, as well as "Bogurodzica" and the 1808 version of the national anthem. Compositions featured include MONIUSZKO's IV Litania Ostrobramska, as well as works by LUCIUK, MORYTO, SWIDER, SAWA, ŁUKASZEWSKI. Performed by S. Moniuszko Concert Orchestra of the Polish Army and Choir of the Academy of Catholic Theology, Warsaw. Issued by the Orchestra, 1996.

  • Mazurek Dąbrowskiego [Dąbrowski's Mazurka] Video Tape. A history of the national anthem. Distributed by Polart (Florida).

Some CDs "made in Poland" for early music lovers: