|Polish Music Newsletter|
November 2008, Vol. 14, No. 11. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
PADEREWSKI'S LEGACY REMEMBERED...
INDEPENDENCE DAY GALA CONCERT
An exciting evening of music in celebration of the 90th Anniversary of Poland’s Independence Day will take place on November 10 at Bovard Auditorium on the campus of University of Southern California. Consul General Paulina Kapuscinska will preside over the official proceedings and deliver remarks on the history of Poland. She will also decorate Janusz Kaminski, the famous Polish cinematographer and Academy Award winner (pictured at right), with honors including the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit, bestowed by the President of the Republic of Poland.
Audience members will then be treated to an interview and concert of music by Wojciech Kilar, the Polish Music Center’s 2008 Paderewski Lecturer. Mr. Kilar (pictured at left) is a celebrated composer of symphonic and film music, and this concert will feature selections from his soundtracks to Roman Polanski’s The Pianist and The Ninth Gate, and Jane Campion’s The Portrait of a Lady. Kilar’s chamber compositions Quintet for Wind Instruments and Orawa for String Orchestra will round-off the program. Performers include Midnight Winds, USC Strings, soprano Krysta Close, and other assisting artists. The ensemble will be led by Sharon Lavery, a faculty member of the Thornton School of Music at USC and an internationally renowned conductor. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public, with a reception immediately following the concert.
Ninety years have passed since the conclusion of World War I. The end of this long and devastating conflict eventually proved to be a moment of great importance to all Poles, when Poland was reinstated as an independent country after 123 years of partitions. Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s tireless advocacy on Poland’s behalf across the United States and Europe in conjunction with the emergence of Polish political and military leadership under Pilsudski, led to the Polish cause being recognized at the Versailles Peace Conference.
Paderewski’s accomplishments as an artist, politician, and an outstanding humanitarian were recognized in 1923 by University of Southern California with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree. In recognition of Paderewski’s links to USC, the Polish Music Center established a cycle of Paderewski Lectures that introduce the leading Polish musicians to audiences in California. In addition, since its dedication in October of 2007, Paderewski’s monument graces the grounds outside the Thornton School of Music on the USC campus.
Wojciech Kilar’s musical career began with his avant-garde compositions in the early 1960s. By the early 1970s, Kilar’s interests and inspiration in the folklore of Tatra Mountains led to a string of very successful orchestral compositions, including Krzesany (1974), Koscielec (1976), and Orawa (1986). At the same time, Kilar also became a film composer, producing over 150 soundtracks to-date for such directors as Wajda, Zanussi, Polanski, Coppola, and others. Recipient of numerous international awards, Wojciech Kilar continues to compose, having turned recently to liturgical music with such masterpieces as Missa pro pace (2001), the Advent Symphony (2005), Magnificat (2006), and Te Deum, which was premiered earlier this fall.
We hope to see all of our friends and readers at this festive occasion, celebrating Polish history and honoring two of today’s greatest artists of film music and cinematography.
PADEREWSKI FESTIVAL IN PASO ROBLES
Once again the Central Coast community of Paso Robles will resonate with music by Paderewski, Chopin, Beethoven, Liszt, and many other composers. Revived three years ago, the 2008 Paderewski Festival takes place November 13–16, 2008, and includes concerts, exhibits, film screening, international agreement signing ceremony between the representatives of the city of Tarnów, Poland and the City of Paso Robles, Steinway piano demonstration recitals, and several other accompanying events.
The featured performer for the 2008 Paderewski Festival Gala Concert is Nikita Mndoyants, the 19-year old winner of the First Prize at the 2007 Paderewski International Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz, Poland (pictured at right). Mr. Mndoyants has already performed throughout Europe and in New York City. He will make his West Coast debut on Saturday, November 15 at 8 p.m. at the Ballroom of the Paso Robles Inn. Mr. Mndoyants’ program includes works by Paderewski, Chopin, Beethoven and Liszt, as well as his own composition.
The Paderewski Festival begins with a concert of works by Paderewski, Chopin, Bacewicz, Kilar, and Barber presented by the Los Angeles based woodwind quintet, Midnight Winds, at the North County Christian Church on Thursday, November 13, at 7 p.m.
Pianist Rudolfas Budginas, born in Lithuania and currently residing in Central Coast, will appear in “An Evening with Paderewski,” a presentation of music and history of Paso Robles’ most famous resident. The concert takes place at Cass Winery on Friday, November 14, at 7 p.m.
Winners of the 2008 Paderewski Youth Competition will present a recital at 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 15, in the Ballroom of the Paso Robles Inn. The Competition, organized and held at Cuesta College, North Campus, selects the best young pianists, aged 10-18 from throughout the San Luis Obispo County, and presents them in a recital that is free and open to the public. (See below for more about the winners)
Other important events during this year’s Paderewski Festival include the signing ceremony of a cultural exchange agreement between the District of Tarnów, Poland, and Paso Robles, California on Friday, November 14, at 4 p.m. Paso Robles’ Mayor Frank Mecham and Province of Tarnow Supervisor, Mieczyslaw Kras together with the members of his official delegation from Poland will be present. Paso Robles and the District of Tarnow share the legacy of Paderewski, who owned an estate near Tarnow from 1897-1903. Paderewski was the owner of large ranches in Paso Robles area from 1914-1941
The Paderewski Memorabilia Exhibit will be on display in the Paso Robles City Hall on Saturday, November 15. Presentation includes items from the Pioneer Museum, Paso Robles Historical Society, and private collections. Exhibit curator and Paderewski expert, Christine Smith from Asheville, North Carolina, will provide docent tours. Ms. Smith will also present a lecture: Paderewski’s Association with Paso Robles on Sunday, November 16 at 11 a.m. at the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Paso Robles
AFilm Screening of the 1937 classic, Moonlight Sonata on November 15 at 11 a.m. at the Park Cinema in Downtown Paso Robles. The film features Paderewski performing works by Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and his own celebrated Menuet, and presents the great pianist in a major supporting speaking role.
Another great tradition, the Elegant Evening in Downtown Paso Robles, is a Victorian-themed event celebrating Paso’s history, which takes place Saturday, November 15, 5—8 p.m. Free piano performances by past winners of the 2007 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition and other special presentations featuring Polish themes will be featured by local merchants and restaurants in honor of this year’s festival.
The 2008 Paderewski Festival is sponsored by a great variety of local city and civic organizations, wineries, and other private supporters. All Festival pianos will be provided courtesy of Sherman Clay Company in Santa Clara. Several brand new Steinways, including a Concert Grand Steinway D that will be used for the Gala Concert, will be brought to Paso Robles and featured in live demonstrations throughout the downtown area. The interested public may also purchase Steinway pianos at a special discount during the Festival.
MNDOYANTS IN L.A.
Pianist Nikita Mndoyants - the First Prize winner at the prestigious 2007 Paderewski International Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz, Poland – will also give concerts in Los Angeles, with a program including works by Paderewski, Chopin, Beethoven and Liszt, as well as his own composition.
PADEREWSKI CELEBRATION IN CHICAGO
On Sunday, November 16, the Paderewski Association of Chicago is celebrating the 148th Anniversary of the Birth of Ignacy Jan Paderewski. This event will include a lecture on Paderewski by Richard Kujawa of the Polish Museum of America (PMA), a progress report on the PMA Paderewski Room renovation, Paderewski Association members and friends open conversation, the 2009 Spring Art Auction preview, the Paderewski Association Membership Drive and a fundraising effort for The Paderewski Room exhibit at the PMA.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
PENDERECKI JUBILEE YEAR
The Krzysztof Penderecki Jubilee Year will come to a climax in November when the Ludwig van Beethoven Association presents the Krzysztof Penderecki Festival. November marks the 75th birthday of Penderecki, one of today’s most well known Polish composers. The Festival will run from November 20-23, with several concerts on each day in Warsaw, Poland, as well as one accompanying event in Berlin.
Born in Debica (130 km east of Krakow) on 23 November 1933, Krzysztof Penderecki was introduced to music at a very early age by his family. In 1959 Penderecki's three works Strophes, Emanations and Psalms of David won first prizes in the 2nd Warsaw Competition of Young Polish Composers of the Composers' Union. Only one year later, in 1960, his piece Anaklasis for 42 string instruments, premiered by the Südwestfunk Orchestra under the direction of Hans Rosbaud at the Donaueschingen Festival, was celebrated by the press. With these works and other works following in rapid succession, such as Dimensions of Time and Silence, Threnody for the victims of the Hiroshima bombing (UNESCO Award in 1961), Polymorphia and Fluorescences, the String Quartet No. 1, Dies Irae in memory of the victims of Auschwitz (Prix Italia 1968) and Stabat Mater for three mixed choruses a cappella, Penderecki laid the foundations for his international reputation as a composer. Among many other awards, in 1967 he won the Sibelius Gold Medal. In 1993 the Institute for Advanced Study at the Indiana University Bloomington conferred upon him the Distinguished Citizen Fellowship and he was awarded the Prize of the International Music Council UNESCO for Music. In January 2000 he received the Cannes Classical Award as "Living Composer of the Year.”
For a full listing of Maestro Penderecki’s compositions and achievements, please continue reading at www.penderecki.de.
PREMIERES AT POLISH MUSIC FESTIVAL
The 4th edition of the Polish Music Festival will take place in Kraków between November 9 and 16, 2008. This year the program includes several world premiere performances by acclaimed Polish composers:
Also, Paweł Mykietyn’s Pasja [Passion] for soprano, narrator, natural voice, choir and chamber orchestra will have its Kraków premiere on November 16.
The artists include members of Wrocław Opera, Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, Ars Antiqua Ensemble (Austria), Elena Xanthoudakis – soprano (Grand Prix winner of the 2nd Didur Vocal Competition), and Eugene Tzigane – conductor (Winner of the 2007 Fitelberg Conducting Competition).
PREMIERE OF JAGODZIŃSKI ORATORIO
One of the most prominent Polish jazz pianists, Andrzej Jagodziński (pictured at left), has composed an oratorio celebrating Zbigniew Herbert. The oratorio Herbert – internal voices was inspired by poems of and is and dedicated to this important Polish poet. The World Premiere took place on what would have been the 84th birthday of Herbert—October 29—at the Warsaw Philharmonic.
The work was performed by the Andrzej Jagodziński Trio with the Warsaw National Phiharmonic Chamber Orchestra. The poetry of Herbert was spoken by actors Izabela Gwizdak and Marcin Przybylski, in a performance that was stage directed by Miron Zajfert.
Zbigniew Herbert was born in Lwów in 1924. He is one of the most celebrated Polish writers and is very often translated to foreign languages. He is the author of numerous books and poetry collections. Herbert passed away on July 28, 1998.
Polish composer Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewcz was commissioned by the Poznań Philharmonic to write a composition in celebration of the 30th anniversary of pontification of John Paul II. The concerto written for the occasion, entitled Radość Miłosierdzia [Joy of Mercy], was premiered on October 16 in Poznań Fara Church. The work was performed by the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra, Academic Choir of Mickiewicz University, Chamber Choir of Mickiewicz University, Poznań Chamber Choir and “Skowronki” girls choir, conducted by Rafał Jacek Delekta. The soloists included sopranos Elżbieta Towarnicka and Marzena Michałowska; baritone Andrzej Biegun and singer Sebastian Kapiel Bułecka.
KNITTEL U.S. PREMIERE
On Friday, November 14 at 7:30 pm, the Polish Cultural Institute in New York and the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra present the U.S. Premiere of Polish composer Krzysztof Knittel’s Lipps for jazz trio and orchestra. Mr. Knittel, pictured at left, will be present for the performance. The evening’s program will also include Jim McNeely’s Extra Credit, Heart Shadow, 23/67, and Firestorm. Soloists for this program are George Garzone, saxophone, Scott Wendholt, trumpet, Ted Rosenthal, piano, Jacek Kochan, drums, and Justin DiCioccio, conductor. To purchase tickets, call 917.493.4428 or visit www.msmnyc.edu.
Lipps, for jazz trio and orchestra, was composed in 1974-78, and was given its first performance in 1980 in Katowice, Poland, by the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra led by Jacek Kaspszyk. At its first performance the jazz trio included Tomasz Szukalski, tenor saxophone; Wojciech Czajkowski, double bass; and Janusz Stefański, drums.
The Manhattan School of Music Jazz Philharmonic was created in 2001 by Justin DiCioccio and offers MSM musicians from both the jazz arts program and classical division a unique educational experience that bridges the gap among classical, jazz, popular, show and media music.
NEW CHYLIŃSKA SZYMANOWSKI BOOK
Karol Szymanowski i jego epoka [Karol Szymanowski and His Time] is the latest book written by Szymanowski specialist, Dr. Teresa Chylińska. It is divided into 3 volumes and was published by Musica Iagellonica in Kraków. This publication was sponsored by the Polish Book Institute, Polish Ministry of Culture, Polish Ministry of Education and Kościuszko Foundation in New York. The book will be released on November 4 during a special concert featuring singer Anna Pehlken and pianist Wojciech Kogut, performing songs and arias by Szymanowski. Dr. Chylińska will be present and Adam Walaciński will moderate a discussion about the books.
Karol Szymanowski i jego epoka is available directly from Musica Iagellonica and, until the end of November, it is available in special pricing of 60 pln ($22). Regular price after the introductory period will be 85 pln ($30). For more information or to place an order, email Musica Iagellonica at email@example.com or visit www.mi.pl. For information on Dr. Chylińska's books published in English, please visit: www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/pmhsbooks/historyser.html.
CHOPIN COMPLETE WORKS
According to Bogdan Zdrojewski, the Polish Minister of Culture and Heritage, the Complete Edition of F. Chopin Works will be completed in 2010, in celebration of the Chopin Year and 200th birthday of the composer. Currently, 26 of 37 volumes are published and available. This National Edition of Chopin’s output is the most thorough and complete research-based attempt to publish the historically correct versions of Chopin’s compositions. The Complete Edition is edited by Jan Ekier and Paweł Kamiński. Jan Ekier has served as the chief editor for this project since 1959.
The series is available for use at the Polish Music Center.
CHANGES AT NOSPR
For the first time in its history, the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra will have an appointed musical director. The orchestra worked without an artistic director for the entire past artistic season, after Gabriel Chmura’s contract expired and was not renewed. The management of the orchestra, in consultation with Jacek Kaspszyk, has since come to the conclusion that creating the position of musical director would be beneficial for the ensemble and in accordance with international trends. Starting January 1, 2009, Maestro Jacek Kaspszyk will become the first ever Musical Director of NOSPR with a contract for three years. Also, the orchestra will have a second permanent conductor, Michał Klauza, who will work with the orchestra on a daily basis. Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa remains the general director of NOSPR.
NATIONAL PHIL ON TOUR IN US
After the success of the 2004 US tour of the Polish National Symphony Orchestra, the ensemble returns to the New World for a 17 concert tour of the East Coast, led by conductor and Artistic Director, Antoni Wit. Beginning on November 1 in Florida the tour will end on November 21 in Maryland. The orchestra will visit New York for a single concert on November 17 at 8 pm at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. The program will include: Serenade op. 2 by Mieczysław Karłowicz, Piano Concerto in E flat Major by Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms’ II Symphony in D Major op. 73. The soloist for the evening will be Valentina Lisitsa, a talented young Ukrainian pianist.
Other concert of the Warsaw Philharmonic will take place in: Jacksonville, FL; Charleston, SC; Antlanta, GA; Newport News, VA; Wilmington, NC; Winston-Salem, NC; Penn State University; New Brunswick, NY; and Annapolis, MD. The repertoire for the tour includes works by Wojciech Kilar, Peter Tchaikovsky, Mieczysław Karłowicz, Franz Lisz and Johannes Brahms.
SINFONIA IUVENTUS IS A HIT
After the October 2006 concert during which the students and graduates of the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw delivered a truly professional performance of the Symphony No. VII by Anton Bruckner, Maestro Jerzy Semkow asked the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage to extend its patronage to these most talented musicians. Thus, an institution that would allow young Polish musicians to develop and make a professional debut was born: Sinfonia Iuventus. The inaugural year of this first-ever Polish youth orchestra has been a very successful one so far. The concerts have been well received and the young ensemble is attracting some high profile artists to collaborate with, including conductors Kaizmierz Kord and Antoni Wit, violinist Agata Szymczewska, and singers Bożena Harasimowicz and Adam Zdunikowski. There are three concerts remaining in this year concert calendar:
FONTANA RECITAL BY RUTKOWSKI
The Chopin Foundation of the U.S. and Yamaha Artist Services, Inc. present Julian Fontana, in the Shadow of Chopin, a recital by Hubert Rutkowski, piano (at right) with narrator Magdalena Baczewska in New York City. This recital will be given on November 14, at 7 pm at the Yamaha Artist Services Salon. The program includes music by Chopin, Fontana, Saumell, and Gottschalk.
Known mostly as a devoted friend of Chopin, a copyist and editor of his works, Julian Fontana has so far remained in the shadow of his master’s genius. Fontana was, however, a true Renaissance man who realized his talents as a lawyer, composer, pianist-virtuoso, music editor, journalist, translator, soldier, and traveler. Pianist Hubert Rutkowski, with a great help from Magdalena Baczewska, DMA, will introduce Julian Fontana and bring his forgotten music to life.
TRZASKA IN THE US
Polish composer, saxophone and bass clarinet player, Mikołaj Trzaska, is performing with musicians from New York and Chicago jazz scenes right now, on a US concert tour organized by the Polish Culture Institute in New York. Having performed in New York and Conneticut at the end of October, Trzaska continues his tour with the performances listed below:
November 2 - Quartet MAGIC: Mikołaj Trzaska, Joe McPhee, Jay Rosen, Dominic Duval. Ars Nova Workshop Series. International House Philadelphia, PA
November 5 - Mikołaj Trzaska Trio: Kent Kessler, Michael Zerang. Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL.
November 8 - Mikołaj Trzaska Quartet: Evan O’Reilly, Christian Weber and Tomas Fujiwara.The Hideout, Chicago, IL.
MARCELLA SEMBRICH CELEBRATION
In cooperation with the Marcella Sembrich Museum in Bolton Landing, NY, the Glen Falls Symphony will present a Marcella Sembirch Celebration on November 16 at 4:00pm at the Glen Falls High School. The program will be comprised of the composers who were a vital part of this great Polish diva’s repertoire and life: Gounod, Mahler, Moniuszko, Rachmaninoff, Strauss & Verdi. The concert will feature mezzo-soprano Justyna DiBaggio, and is a continuation of 150th Sembrich Anniversary celebrations. For more information, and to purchase tickets, please visit www.gfso.org.
WASILEWSKI TRIO IN SF
In a concert billed as the "Art of the Trio," on November 2nd in the Florence Gould Theatre the Marcin Wasilewski Trio will start off the November segment of the San Francisco Jazz Festival. This "ensemble with an utterly symbiotic creative flow" (Los Angeles Times) will continue the world music theme of this year's Festival by bringing Polish jazz flavor to San Francisco.
PLOWRIGHT IN POLAND
Since the release of his brilliant recordings of music by Henryk Melcer, Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Zygmunt Stojowski for Hyperion Records in England, British pianist Jonathan Plowright has become a more frequent and welcome guest artist to the Polish concert stage.
Most recently on October 5, Mr. Plowright performed Stojowski’s Second Piano Concerto in A-flat Major, Op. 32 with the National Symphonic Orchestra of Polish Radio and Television in Katowice. The concert took place in Warsaw’s Lutosławski Studio Concert Hall, Michał Dworzyński conducting. Seldom performed, Stojowski’s Second Piano Concerto shared the program with Henryk Wars’ Symphony and Kurt Weill’s Four Walt Whitman Songs. Stojowski’s masterpiece, with its fantasia form of three movements played without pause and ending in a pianissimo, is undoubtedly the most original Polish piano concert written between Frederic Chopin and Karol Szymanowski.
One month later, Plowright returns to Poland, playing this time in Cracow at the Academy of Music’s Aula Florianska on November 13 at 5:00 p.m. He is featured with the Szymanowski Quartet, performing the Piano Quintet of Juliusz Zarębski and the First Piano Quintet of Grażyna Bacewicz.
In June 2009, Plowright is the featured soloist with the Łódź Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in Hadyn’s Piano Concerto in D and in an obscure concerto by the Czech composer Jirovic.
In February 2010, Plowright performs two concertos with the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra on February 5 and 6: Piano Concerto No. 1 by Henryk Melcer and Polish Fantasy by Ignacy J. Paderewski. The concerto by Paderewski helps to mark the sesquicentennial of Paderewski’s birth. There are also negotiations taking place between the artist and the Białystok Philharmonic for performances that same month. The repertoire, however, has not yet been chosen.
*Note: Mr. Joseph Herter, the author of this article, also donated a program and recording from the October 5th performance in Katowice to the Polish Music Center archives.
Almost 3 years exactly after Rafał Blechacz took the Chopin Competition in Warsaw by storm, the Polish pianist continues to build an extremely successful international career. To hear more about what the pianist and the critics who follow him have to say about his progress so far and what the future holds, listen to an English broadcast by Michał Kubicki on Polish Radio here: www.polskieradio.pl.
BALTIC OPERA & MEZZO TV
Opera Bałtycka [Baltic Opera] of Gdańsk, Poland has signed a deal with the largest European broadcast station, Mezzo TV. Spots promoting the Polish opera company are already airing, a documentary has also been presented and the first full opera staging will air on November 15. It will be Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, with more performances to follow. Fragments of Opera Bałtycka’s performances are also broadcast by Polish TV Kultura.
NEW MANAGEMENT AT NIFC
The National Frederic Chopin Institute in Warsaw has a new director. Andrzej Sułek, who previously served as director of Łódź, has taken the post on November 1. Sułek replaces Grzegorz Michalski as the director of this prestigious cultural institution. One of the most important tasks ahead of the new director is organization of the 200th birthday celebration and Chopin Year celebration in Poland in 2010.
The National F. Chopin Institute was established in 2001 to research, propagate and promote the music of one of Poland’s most recognized composers. They publish research papers, books, recordings and sheet music collections, organize concerts and conferences as well as acquire and maintain a collection of Chopin memorabilia.
Andrzej Sułek was born in 1966 and is a graduate of F. Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw. He worked for Polish Radio Channel 2, the Łódź Philharmonic, and since 2005 is a member of the European Broadcasting Union.
A. NOWAK SIGNS WITH PWM
Young Polish composer Aleksander Nowak has signed a new publishing contract with Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne (PWM), Poland’s largest music publisher. His first work to be published is June-December, a sonata for violin and piano. Also, the sheet music for his newly premiered work Quantemporette will be available soon for purchase and download from the PWM website, www.pwm.com.pl.
Aleksander Nowak is a graduate of the Szymanowski Music Academy in Katowice, where he studied with Aleksander Lasoń, and the University of Louisville, where he studied with Steve Rouse. His compositions have been performed in Europe and USA and recently he was nominated for the OPUS public media award for his composition Last Days of Wanda B. To find out more about the composer please visit his official website at www.aleknowak.com.
NEW DIRECTOR OF CAPELLA CRACOVIENSIS
Starting November 1, Jan Tomasz Adamus will serve as the director of Capella Cracoviensis, a vocal-instrumental oratorio ensemble that embraces musical repertoire from the mediaeval to the contemporary. Adamus is replacing the previous director and creator of the ensemble, Stanisław Gałoński.
Adamus is an organist and conductor. A graduate of the Kraków Music Academy, he also studied at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. He is the creator of the Harmonologia and Capella Claromontana ensembles and the director of the International Bach Festival in Świdnica. He also serves as faculty at the Wrocław Music Academy.
During the press conference, Adamus indicated that he will renew and refresh the image of the orchestra and broaden the repertoire. The orchestra will perform at least twice a month in Kraków and give repeat performances all around the region. So far it is not clear what the budget for 2009 season will be.
MORDECHAI GEBIRTIG SONGBOOK
The Mordechai Gebirtig Songbook
A collection of almost sixty songs in Yiddish and English transliteration, this songbook is dedicated to the blessed memory of Mordechai Gebirtig – Poet of Polish and world-wide Jewry.
According to Tara Publications, “Amongst the musical treasures of every nation there can be found melodies which, during the lifetime of their composer, were considered to be folk songs. While exemplifying the soul of the composer, they may also mirror the feelings and travails of an entire people.” Such were the unforgettable songs of Mordechai Gebirtig (Mordekhai Bertig), who was born in the city of Kraków, Poland in 1877. Due to an impoverished home, he was forced to leave school at a young age and apprentice with a carpenter in order to learn a trade. He had, however, an inborn interest in music and theatre and played a number of character roles in Jewish dramatic productions.
In 1906, after playing the lead role in Ghetto, he caught the eye of Abraham Reisen, the writer who had formed a literary group in Krakow. Under Reisen’s influence, Gebirtig became a drama critic and, shortly thereafter, a songwriter. During World War I, he served for five years in the Austrian army. In his free moments he wrote songs many of which spread quickly throughout Poland. In addition, songs such as Kleyner Yosem and A Malakh Vent crossed over seas and were sung in Jewish communities worldwide.
Gebirtig’s first book of poetry, Folkstimlekh [In a Folk Mode], was published in Kraków in 1920. Songs such as Hulyet, Hulyet Kinderlach and Kinder Yorn became Jewish “hit” tunes. The famous actress Molly Picon, among others, helped spread these songs and the name Mordechai Gebertig was to be seen in most Jewish newspapers. Yiddish theatres included his Avreiml Der Marvikher, Motele, Moyshele and Dos Alte Por Folk in their productions. Special “Gebirtig Evenings,” dedicated to the performance of his songs, were established in Poland. In 1936 his second book, Mayne Lider [My Songs], containing more than fifty songs, was published in Vilna. The introduction was written by the well-known Menachem Kipnis.
During 1938, with the onslaught of World War II imminent, Gebirtig’s agonizing scream “Es Brent” [It is burning], advising “Do not stand by brothers with folded arms watching our town burn” was composed. It was written in 1938 in response to the 1936 pogrom of Jews in the shtetl [small town] of Przytyk. The song foretold the forthcoming catastrophe and destruction of the Shoah. Gebirtig intuitively sensed the end of the shtetl era and of Jewish life in Poland, which had existed for thousands of years. This song was later adopted by the Jewish youth of Kraków and others as a battle song in their resistance against the Nazis.
On June 4, 1942, on “Bloody Thursday,” Gebirtig’s voice was abruptly silenced forever when he was shot by Nazis as they were evacuating the Krakow Ghetto in order to send its members to the gas chambers.
CHOPIN STATUE IN SINGAPORE
A sculpture of F. Chopin was unveiled on October 5th in the Botanical Gardens in Singapore. The sculpture is funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and private donors Halina and Mirosław Pieńkowscy. The ceremony was attended by the Director of the Ministry of Culture, Piotr Dmochowski-Lipski, and the Polish ambassador in Singapore, Bogusław Marcin Majewski. The unveiling was accompanied by a concert performed by the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. The F. Chopin Society of Singapore was also established during the event.
YOUNG WINNERS IN PASO
The 2008 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition was held on Saturday, October 25, at the North Campus of Cuesta College in Paso Robles. This Competition has been held annually since 2007 and is open to piano students residing in San Luis Obispo County, aged 10-18. The winners have received medals and cash prizes totaling $500, and will perform at the Youth Competition Winners Recital on Saturday, November 15 at 4 p.m., at the Ballroom of the Paso Robles Inn. The concert is free and open to the public.
The First Place Winner is 12-year old Rory McClish from Morro Bay, who will perform works by Bach and Beethoven. Rory, a seventh grader, has been playing piano for five years and is currently studying with Botso Korisheli. He also plays the violin and is a member of the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony.
11-year old Evan Lin from San Luis Obispo is the Second Prize Winner. Lindsay Reed, a 14-year old resident of Paso Robles is the Third Prize Winner. In addition, the Jury decided to recognize the youngest contestant, 10-year old Andrew Toh with an Honorable Mention and invited him to perform in the November 15th recital as well.
The competition judges included Marek Zebrowski, Program Director of the Polish Music Center at the USC Thornton School of Music; Susan Davies, Lecturer and Staff Accompanist of the Cal Poly Music Department, and India d’Avignon, Assistant Professor of the Cal Poly Music Department. Rachel Hamilton of Cuesta College served as the coordinator of this, and last, year’s competition.
The 2008 Youth Competition is an important part of the 2008 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. Concerts, memorabilia exhibits, film screening, Polish Mass and breakfast, as well as lecture on Paderewski, among other attractions, are scheduled in various venues around Paso Robles from 13-16 November 2008. Dignitaries from the Tarnów district in Poland, where Paderewski once owned an estate, will be on hand to sign a sister-city agreement with officials from the City of Paso Robles.
For complete information on the Festival, including dates, times, and tickets, please visit
POLISH RADIO’S GOLD MICROPHONES
The Gold Microphone award was established in 1969 by Polish Radio and is awarded to those who help maintain, propagate and develop the high standard of public radio. The candidates are chosen from several areas: theater, music, literature, documentary, politics, sound engineering and foreign correspondence.
The award ceremony took place during a special 40th anniversary concert played by the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra and conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal, who was also the recipient of special honorary Gold Microphone. Other recipients this year include: actor, Piotr Adamczyk; musicologist and music critic, Andrzej Chłopecki; reporter, Alicja Grembowicz; reporter Jakub Strzyczkowski; and reporter Paweł Sztompke.
The award committee consisted of last year’s winners: Lech Dudzik, Krystyna Kępska- Michalska, Marek Mądrzejewski, Piotr Metz, Piotr Orawski, Anna Sekudewicz and Andrzej Matul, chairman.
GLORIA ARTIS MEDALS
The Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage has awarded Silver Gloria Artists Medals to people with special contributions to promoting and preserving Polish culture. The Gold medals were given to: film director, Zofia Ołdak; singer, Krystyna Prońko; musicologist, Janusz Ekier; and writer and publicist, Jerzy Timoszowicz. The Silver medals were awarded to three Polish Cartoon artists: Piotr Kamler, Kazimierz Urbański and Stefan Szwakopf.
RATTLE HONORED BY POLAND
English conductor Sir Simon Rattle is among the recipients of this year’s awards given by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage for the promotion of Polish culture abroad. Over the past 15 years, Rattle has performed and recorded many of Karol Szymanowski’s works, including Stabat Mater, Symphony No.3 ‘Song of the Night’, King Roger, Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 and Litany to the Virgin Mary.
POLISH DOCUMENTARY HONORED
Maciej Pisarek’s Solo, a documentary film about Polish composer Bogusław Schaeffer was awarded the Grand Prix of the International Festival “Music on Film, Film on Music” in Prague.
The award in Prague is a second international acclaim for this production. The film was already awarded the “Tercer Ojo” Award for the best experimental film at the DocuPolis 2008 Documentary Film Festival in Barcelona, Spain.
SZYMANOWSKI RECORDING HONORED
A CD with recordings of Karol Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater, Veni Creator, Litania do Maryi Panny [Litany to Virgin Mary], Demeter, and Penthesila was chosen as the Editor's Choice of the British BBC Music Magazine in the “Choral Music” category (October 2008).
It is the third CD in the cycle of complete recordings of Szymanowski’s symphonic and vocal-symphonic works, a project taken up by conductor Antoni Wit and the Polish National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir for NAXOS Records. The project is supported by the Polish Ministry of Culture. The soloists on the honored CD include: Iwona Hossa (soprano), Ewa Marciniec (mezzo-soprano) and Jarosław Bręk (baritone). The choir master is Henryk Wojnarowski.
This is not the first accolade for this cycle by Wit and National Philharmonic. Two of the other recordings were honored by another British magazine, Gramophone, in July 2007 and May 2008.
POLISH MUSIC FESTIVAL
The 4th edition of the Polish Music Festival will take place in Kraków between November 9 and 16, 2008. Organized by the Association of Polish Music and Polish Radio, the concerts in this Festival present some of the newest works of Polish classical music, including many World Premiere performances (see above). To learn more about the Festival, visit the official website: www.fmp.org.pl.
50TH JAZZ JAMBOREE FESTIVAL
For more information about the program and artists please visit the official website at www.jazz-jamboree.pl.
CHOPIN & FRIENDS
The Consulate General of Poland in New York and New York Arts & Dance Innovations, Inc. present the annual International Chopin & Friends Festival, from November 6-16. The International Chopin & Friends Festival in New York showcases innovative artists who emulate Chopin in uniting the traditional and the modern, the young and the mature, the national and the universal, and all the art forms. Below are the music highlights of this year’s Festival:
This “Essence of the Quartet” Festival will take place between November 5 and 9 in Warsaw. The host and organizer of the festival, the Royal String Quartet, will perform a wide variety of music for small chamber settings. The quartet will be joined by Polish pop singer Kayah to perform 12 songs from her repertoire, arranged for string quartet by Krzysztof Pszona, Krzysztof Herdzin, Wojciech Blecharz and Maciej Zieliński, four of Poland’s best known arrangers. During another concert, the Quartet will perform the Brahms’ Piano Quintet with Stephen Kovacevich and Schubert’s String Quintet with cellist Andrzej Bauer. Kwadrofonik ensemble will perform Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Royal String Quartet will perform Górecki’s 3rd String Quartet.
For more information about the festival and complete program please visit the ensemble’s official website.
PIANIST FESTIVAL IN WARSAW
The 6th Pianist Festival will be held in Warsaw on November 18-20. The goal of this Festival is to promote young pianists and highlight performances by the winners of top competitions. Among the performers will be Barry Douglas, Yung Woo Yoo and Marian Sobula. The organizer of the event is the Ludwig van Beethoven Association.
For more information about the festival and complete program please visit www.beethoven.org.pl
NEW FROM DUX
Mieczysław Karłowicz „Rebirth” Symphony
Serocki, Baird, Krenz piano concertos
Anton Bruckner Symphony no. 7
Gustav Mahler Symphony no. 3
GÓRECKI STRING QUARTETS
H.M. Górecki String Quartets
BLECHACZ SECOND CD
Rafał Blechacz: Sonatas
SZYMANOWSKI ON NAXOS
Szymanowski: Stabat Mater, Veni Creator…
Karol Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater, set to a Polish translation of the medieval poem, makes extensive use of traditional Polish musical ideas. His setting of the Veni Creator was composed for the opening of the Warsaw Academy of Music, of which he was the first rector. The Litany for the Virgin Mary is a more meditative work, yet rises at times to a level of rhapsodic intensity. All the choral works on this recording are as firmly embedded in Christian musical tradition as they are recognisably of their period.
LESCHETIZKY LEGACY REMEMBERED
“Theodor Leschetizky—great teacher, pianist and composer" – the first such exhibit in Poland commemorating this outstanding Polish pianist, composer and pedagogue was opened during the First Artur Rubinstein International Piano Festival in Łódź, Poland. This Festival was held from 10-18 October 2008 in Poland’s second largest city and the birthplace of Artur Rubinstein.
The Leschetizky exhibit, housed in the Main Lobby of the Łódź Philharmonic, was officially opened on October 11 with a lecture-recital by pianist Herbert Rutkowski, who also serves as the President of the Leschetizky Society in Warsaw. Rutkowski performed some of Leschetizky’s compositions and talked about his importance as a pedagogue. During the event, Rutkowski also introduced his new CD of Leschetizky’s works on Acte Préalable. Mrs. Margret Tautschnig-Leschetizky—great-grandchild of Theodor Leschetizky and president of Leschetizkyverein in Bad Ischl (Austria)—was present for the opening.
Teodor Leschetizky was born in 1830 at the castle of Łańcut, where his father was a musician. Recognized as child prodigy, he was sent to study in Vienna with Carl Czerny, a close friend of Beethoven. Acclaimed on concert stages throughout Europe, Leschetizky co-founded the St. Petersburg Conservatory with the Russian virtuoso, Anton Rubinstein, and later was the founder of the Vienna Conservatory. Several generations of outstanding romantic-era century pianists came from his studio, including Fanny Bloomfield-Zeisler, Ignacy Friedman, Benno Moiseiwitsch, Arthur Schnabel, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, and Mieczysław Horszowski, among many others. It was, however, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Leschetizky’s most famous pupil, who brought the well-deserved accolades to his teacher in Vienna, after studying with him in the mid-1880s. Leschetizky remained active throughout his life, recording a dozen piano rolls for Welte-Mignon in 1906—the very year that Paderewski made his first recordings, also for the same company. Leschetizky died in Dresden in 1915.
THE EVER-POWERFUL PODLEŚ
Polish contralto Ewa Podleś gave a recital on Tuesday, October 28 for the New York Society for Ethical Culture, as a part of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center series. Podleś was the soloist in two works on the program which were connected by the theme of women left behind by the men they love: Haydn's cantata Arianna a Naxos, based on the ancient Greek myth in which Arianna's beloved leaves her marooned on an Aegean island, and Respighi's Il tramonto ("The Sunset"), a magical setting for voice and string quartet of a poem by Shelley in which the sudden death of a lover leaves a woman to mourn in loneliness.
As New York Times reviewer Vivien Schweitzer put it, “If Ariadne, abandoned on Naxos, had lamented Theseus with anything like the power of Ewa Podles, the gods would have surely cowered and sent him scurrying back to her… With eyes blazing and head thrown back, she stormed through Ariadne’s lament with plaintive misery and crazed anger. Her voice, with its unusual timbre, easily cascaded up and down her three-octave range, from dusky, startling lows to powerful top notes. She had superb accompaniment from the society’s musicians in Peter Jaffe’s fine arrangement of the cantata for string quintet and harpsichord, which faithfully adheres to Haydn’s original version for voice and keyboard.” To read the entire review from October 29, visit please www.nytimes.com.
LANG LANG IN SEATTLE
Chinese pianist Lang Lang, a former First Prize winner of the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, played an all-Polish program with the Seattle Symphony on October 14 in Benaroya Hall. The program included Panufnik: Hommage a Chopin, Bacewicz: Concerto for String Orchestra, Chopin: Andante spianato et Grande polonaise brillante, and Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21.
On Sunday, 19 October at 8:00 p.m. in Convocation Hall of the University of Alberta, Edmonton Composers' Concert Society presented the first concert in the New Music Alberta 2008-2009 season. The concert was entitled “...of loves and deaths...” and included Polish-Canadian composer Piotr Grella-Mozejko’s composition o'dY (1984). Other pieces on the program were Michael Oesterle: Secular Rotations (2007), excerpts from Ian Crutchley: The Death and Lives of Pinocchio (2008), Moiya Callahan: to any one (2007), Gerald Barry: The Pond (2002), and W. L. Altman: I Love (2006). The concert was performed by Motion Ensemble: Helen Pridmore, soprano; Karin Aurell, flute; Nadia Francavilla, violin; Richard Hornsby, clarinet; D'Arcy Philip Gray, percussion/electronics; and Andrew R. Miller, contrabass.
CHOPIN RECITALS IN KRAKÓW
Recitals featuring the music of Frederic Chopin are a cyclic event throughout the year in the Polonia House in Kraków. The artists who take part in the series include some well established names in addition to up-and-coming young musicians. Some of the names include: Anna Boczar, Teresa Janina Czekaj, Adam Dobrowolski, Krystyna Man Li Szczepańska and Paweł Kubica. The recitals in November will take place on 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, and 30. For more information about the Chopin Recitals visit House of Polonia website.
BORN THIS MONTH:
Copyright 2008 by the Polish Music Center
Send your comments and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Assistant Editor: Daniel Kamiński
Contributions from: Marek Żebrowski,
Joseph A. Herter, Gary Fitelberg,
Piotr Grella-Mozejko and Daniel J. Kij
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute (NY & UK), Adam Mickiewicz Institute, American Record Guide,
PWM, Nowy Dziennik, Polish Music Information Centre, Polish American Journal, Poland.pl,
PAP, ZKP, infochopin.pl, Ruch Muzyczny, Gazeta Wyborcza,
Formatting by Krysta Close, November 6, 2008.
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