|Polish Music Newsletter|
2017 PADEREWSKI FESTIVAL RECAP
For well over a decade now, the first week of November in Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast has been dedicated to the annual Paderewski Festival. Held November 2-5 this year, this year’s program featured an attractive mix of favorite local and youth performers next to world-renowned jazz and classical performers, youth concerts, a Saturday Gala recital, as well as a “Festival Fringe” orchestral concert.
Traditionally held at the picturesque Cass Winery on Paso’s eastside, the opening Thursday night concert brought together local fans of the Café Musique ensemble, who returned to the Festival with their traditional program of Gypsy, tango, swing and folk tunes. The violinist and group’s leader, Brynn Albanese—who also serves as concertmaster for the San Luis Obispo Symphony—together with Duane Inglish (accordion), Fred Murray (bass and vocals), and Eric Willimas (guitar, ukulele, bouzouki and vocals) kept the capacity crowd happily entertained for well over an hour.
The Friday night concert at Park Ballroom in downtown Paso featured a stellar cast of performers in a program called “American Jazz Standards by Polish Composers.” And indeed, such well-known tunes as Love Letters, Stella by Starlight, Invitation, Green Dolphin Street, and Flipper were written by Victor Young, Bronisław Kaper and Henry Vars, respectively. Grammy Award winner pianist, Bill Cunliffe, was joined by Grammy nominated artists Darek Oleszkiewicz (bass) and Tina Raymond (percussion) in a program that thrilled the audience with virtuosic and insightful interpretations of these jazz classics. At the mid-point of the evening, as a special surprise, Bill Cunliffe inserted a solo segment after asking the audience for their favorite composers and tunes. He then proceeded to improvise live, mixing Chopin’s Polonaises with the biggest hits of The Doors! It brought the house down and standing ovation from the audience elicited an encore performance of Henry Vars’s sensuous Love Forgives All [Miłość Ci wszystko wybaczy], with impressive solos from bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz and tactful, supremely elegant percussion support from Tina Raymond.
On Saturday afternoon, the Festival moved to the Paso Robles Inn, whose historic Ballroom was once an elegant dining room where Paderewski took all his meals during his stays in town. At 4 p.m. the six finalists of the Youth Piano Competition—Max Afifi, Holly Hadsall, Noelle Hadsall, Vincent Lertchareonyong, Xinyun Liu, and Andy Shen—presented a recital of music ranging from Bach and Mozart to Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and Paderewski. At the end of their concert, these winners received certificates, cash prizes, medals and gifts of books about Poland and Paderewski, presented by the Paderewski Festival Board members and Ignacy Żarski, Poland’s Consul for Culture and Public Affairs, who travelled to the event from Los Angeles.
On Saturday night the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom was filled to capacity for a piano recital by Magdalena Baczewska. Her carefully chosen program of music by Chopin, Szymanowski, Paderewski and Debussy was interspersed with brief and illustrative commentary about the music. Ms. Baczewska’s poetic and delicate touch gave real meaning to the well-worn term ‘recital’ since—on this occasion—the music actually did speak to the audience. A standing ovation led to an encore of Paderewski’s Nocturne, played with uncommon sensitivity and lyricism. The evening began with introductions by the Honorable Mariusz Brymora, Consul General of the Republic of Poland and by Dr. Krzysztof Olendzki, director of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute (IAM) who introduced the audience the “Paderewski Cycle”—a project of turning the life story of this great pianist, composer, politician and humanitarian into a musical.
The last day of the Festival, Sunday November 5, began at Epoch Vineyards occupying a picturesque spot about ten miles west of Paso. Once the site of York Mountain Winery where Paderewski’s wines were processed, Epoch treasures their connection to Paderewski by cultivating a portion of the vineyard he once owned and continuing to produce excellent wines. The select audience of Festival Patrons and Friends of Paderewski was treated to a Polish-themed brunch with Epoch wines as well as to the presentation of one of the treatments of the “Paderewski Cycle” musical theater project. The librettist, composer and pianist—Oliver Mayer, Jenni Brandon and Stephanie Hutchinson—for one of the Paderewski Cycle finalist projects were joined by theater critic Jim O’Quinn and IAM’s Director Olendzki and head of theater projects, Joanna Klass. After watching a video featuring excerpts of nine of the musical finalists, the audience had a chance to hear live 3 songs from the Three Paderewskis entry created by Oliver Mayer and Jenni Brandon.
Sunday afternoon closed with a “Festival Fringe” event—a concert by the local, Symphony of the Vines chamber orchestra, led by Maestro Greg Magie. The soloists for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto were Poland’s Cracow Duo (cellist Jan Kalinowski and pianist Marek Szlezer), who were joined by local violinist Maurice Sklar. Park Ballroom in downtown Paso was filled to the brim with the audience who heartily applauded the soloists already after the Concerto’s first movement. A standing ovation at the Concerto’s conclusion led to an encore of Chopin from the Cracow Duo.
In addition to all these concerts, Ms. Baczewska gave a piano master class on Friday afternoon and, as is the Festival tradition, all concerts were accompanied by wine tasting with sponsoring wineries. Thus, Thursday night the audience had a chance to sample various wines from Cass Vineyards, the Friday jazz concert was introduced by excellent selections from Derby Wine Estates and for Saturday Gala and Sunday brunch Epoch Estate Wines provided their very best varietals and blends. The Festival is truly fortunate to have a wide range of supporters and sponsors, including—besides those wine producers already mentioned—Tablas Creek, Halter Ranch, Pear Valley and Firestone Walker Brewing Company, as well as media outlets (The Tribune and the Paso Robles Press), and such organizations as Paso Robles Rotary Club, Paso Robles Inn, Wspólnota Polska Society, the Polish-Ukrainian Paderewski Foundation, Province of Tarnów, Tarnów Regional Museum and others. Plans for 2018—the year when Poland celebrates the centenary of its regained independence—are already being drawn. And since Paderewski’s role in this historical event was seminal and crucial to its success, next year’s Paderewski Festival in Paso will certainly be a special and memorable event.
[Photos by Charles Bragg & Krysta Close]
GIFTS TO PMC
Sławomir Dobrzański, piano professor at Kansas State University and author of Polish Music History Series vol. 9—recently sent us the CD Antoni Stolpe – Piano Works (AP0203), performed by Polish pianist Stefan Łabanowski. This world premiere recording on the Acte Préalable label contains Stolpe’s Sonata in D minor, Variations in D minor, Allegro appassionato in C minor, and other shorter piano compositions. This recording sheds light on a little known Polish composer and brilliant pianist, who died in 1872 at the age of 21.
Marta Ptaszyńska— composer, percussionist, and pedagogue—used the occasion of Cracow Duo’s October 2017 performances in Chicago to pass along two gifts to PMC: a bilingual (Polish & English) Catalogue of Selected Works published by PWM in Warsaw, and a score of her Moon Flowers for Cello and Piano, published by Fallen Leaf Press in Berkeley. The score came with an inscription and the composer’s autograph as well!
Małgorzata Kot, the Managing Director of the Polish Museum of America in Chicago, also used the Cracow Duo as messengers of gifts to the Polish Music Center. We received a very interesting and especially useful for us publication, Katalog starodruków [The Catalogue of Vintage Prints] owned by the Polish Museum of America. Edited by Fryderyk Rosen and preceded with a bilingual introduction, the Catalogue contains capsule descriptions of many fascinating documents, including old maps, 18th century edition of volumes on Polish history by the legendary Jan Długosz, as well as collections of speeches from Poland’s Parliament and original printings of various bills and decrees from 17th and 18th century. This Catalogue can be read in PDF format at ksiegarnia.bn.org.pl.
Diana Eisele, daughter of Polish composer Roman Ryterband, visited the PMC to deliver a copy of the newest publication of Ryterband’s music. It is a reprint of the beloved Trois Ballades Hébraïques, in the composer’s version for violin and harp. This new edition features corrections to both the score and cover spellings that were present in the original, published also under the auspices of Lyra Music Co. (now owned by Vanderbilt Music Co.) in 1980.
On November 8, 2017, the Baltic Opera in Gdańsk presents the premiere of a new opera entitled Sad Ostateczny [The Last Judgement] by composer Krzysztof Knittel with a libretto by Mirosław Bujko. The main roles are as follows: Memling (baritone) – Robert Gierlach; Arago (bass) – Piotr Lempa; Portinari (counter-tenor) – Jan Jakub Monowid; Katarzyna Tanagli (soprano) – Anna Mikolajczyk. This production was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage under the "Composing Commissions" program, implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance.
The harsh fate of one of the paintings by eminent European artist Hans Memling was the inspiration for the authors of this new opera. The production explores the mysticism surrounding the origins and significance of the triptych, the struggles of its creator and its audience, who could admire it in different circumstances, historical realities and European cities. The wandering of the painting began with the loot that brought it to Gdańsk and is now a permanent exhibit. The Baltic Opera production suggests a new context for this history and seeks to re-examine the fundamental theme of human life in the context of good and evil.
PORĘBSKI PREMIERE AT CONRAD FESTIVAL
The “Obrazy z Conrada” [Images from Conrad] Festival celebrates the anniversary year of the great Polish author Józef Konrad Korzeniowski (1857-1924), known as Joseph Conrad and celebrated as one of the greatest writers in the English Language. On November 9 the Polish Society for Contemporary Music presented world premiere of Adam Porębski’s composition, Pierwsze dowództwo[The First Command], which was performed alongside selected readings featuring passages from Conrad’s 1916 short novel, The Shadow Line.
The performers included actor Grzegorz Ociepka and a chamber ensemble composed of Karina Maria Kamizela (flute), Leszek Pietroń (clarinet), Paula Lis-Sołoducha (French horn), Iwo Jedynecki (accordion), Magda Miłaszewska-Delimat (harp), Katarzyna Duda (violin), Michał Styczyński (viola) and Małgorzata Kołcz (double bass).
PREMIERES AT YOUNG COMPOSERS’ CONCERT
The Chopin Music University in Warsaw featured several world premieres during a November 5 concert of works by students and recent graduates of the composition department. The program featured Paweł Lasota’s work კვარტეტი for clarinet, violin, viola and cello that was inspired by Georgian culture, Robert Prokopowicz’s Wariacje na temat następstwa siedmiu dźwięków [Variations on a succession of seven tones] for piano, and Notturnofor harp and percussion by Michał Malec. Also on the program were such works as through for violin, bass clarinet, percussion and piano by Andrzej Karałow, A Complaint for soprano, clarinet, French horn, percussion and piano by Żaneta Rydzewska, and Mazurkas No. 1 and 2 for piano by Ignacy Zalewski.
AUKSO FOSTERS YOUNG TALENTS
The fifth annual series of master classes “Young AUKSO Philharmonic” will take place December 10-15, 2017 under the auspices of the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of the Town of Tychy, the Gorczycki.pl Society and the Institute of Music and Dance. String players aged 16-30 are invited to submit their applications and selected participants will receive a scholarship covering full room and board as well as reimbursement to workshops and master classes in orchestral performance led by Marek Moś and solo tutoring with violinist Jakub Jakowicz. The repertoire includes Paderewski’s Suite in G major for String Orchestra, Concerto for Violin and Strings Orchestra by Andrzej Panufnik, and Antonin Dvořak’s Serenade for String Orchestra.
Application deadline: November 24, 2017
Further information can be found at gorczycki.pl/mfa All applicants must submit a 2-4 minute non-professional audio recording of a work from the Baroque or Classical era to the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Final selection of candidates will be announced on Nov. 26.
KF PIANO COMPETITION RETURNS
After a few years’ hiatus, the Kosciuszko Foundation has announced the 2018 Chopin Competition for Young Pianists. The age categories for young pianists include: Under 12, 13-15 and 16-18, with the categories determined by the age of the contestant as of March 3, 2018. The winners will receive cash prizes as well as opportunities to perform at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, DC, the Kosciuszko Foundation’s headquarters in New York City, and at several other venues across the United States and abroad.
Deadline for applications is December 20, 2017 and the auditions will be held March 3-4, 2018 in Washington, DC.
The initial round of auditions is by video and selected finalists will be heard live on March 3-4, 2018. For more information about entry, application form and details of repertoire please visit: www.chopincompetitiondc.org
PENDERECKI YOUNG COMPOSERS’ COMPETITION
The Krakow Branch of the Polish Composers’ Union [ZKP] has announced the 1st Krzysztof Penderecki International Competition for Young Composers. Composers from any country who will not be over the age of 35 at the moment of the Competitions closing are invited to take part. The subject o is a composition for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, and cello, with a duration from 9-14 minutes. Flute and clarinet cannot be modified.
Application due date: JANUARY 31, 2018
All applications must include 3 copies of a score together with parts for performance as well as score in pdf format on a compact disc, marked with an emblem and a title, with duration written, and a sealed envelope marked with the same emblem, containing an application form, a short bio note, a note about the piece and a photo (in jpg format). Application packets noted as “1st Krzysztof Penderecki International Competition for Young Composers” should be sent to the address:
The Jury of the Competition—Marcel Chyrzyński (chairman), Zbigniew Bargielski, Ivan Buffa (Slovakia) and Wojciech Widłak—will grant one Main Prize of 1000 USD, and the awarded composition will be performed in April 2018 on the concert during the 30th International Festival of Krakow Composers.
Further details are available at festiwal.zkp.krakow.pl/en/konkurs.
COMPOSERS’ FORUM IN POZNAŃ
The 11th International Composers’ Forum takes place at the Poznań Music Academy from November 8-9, 2017, and this year is focused on the voice in contemporary music. For the past ten years this gathering has provided an opportunity for connecting experienced composers and performers with younger generation of musicians.
Besides a variety of lectures and panel discussions on such topics as “My Approach Singing Contemporary Music and how to treat a Singer,” “Vocalizing with Gehalt-Aesthetic” and “Is the Voice an Instrument?,”the audience was also treated to a November 8 concert entitled “Sotto voce,” featuring music by Florian Dąbrowski, James Weeks, Luciano Berio, Georges Aperghis, and Leah Muir.
POLONIA: FROM CHOPIN TO PADEREWSKI
November 11, 2017 marks 99 years since Poland regained its independence after 123 years of foreign domination. At the Teatr Wielki–Polish National Opera, which had been a bastion of Polish culture when the nation lost its statehood, this poignant anniversary will be celebrated with music: Fryderyk Chopin’s and Karol Szymanowski’s early pieces resounding with youthful enthusiasm, Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s patriotic fantasia, and Sir Edward William Elgar’s symphonic prelude based on Polish themes. Entitled “Polonia: From Chopin To Paderewski,” this musical feast will be served by world-famous pianists Plamena Mangova and Janusz Olejniczak, and the Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki–Polish National Opera under José Maria Florêncio.
For more details and tickets, visit: teatrwielki.pl/en/repertoire/calendar/2017-2018/polonia-from-chopin-to-paderewski
KOSCIUSZKO FDN CONCERTS IN NOVEMBER
Great virtuoso of the piano
The golden age of pianism comes to mind when I hear Konrad Skolarski play
Celebrated for his lyrical-dramatic interpretations, unique, personal style and consummate artistry, Polish pianist and pedagogue Konrad Skolarski presents a recital to celebrate Poland's Independence Day. The program will feature works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt. The concert is presented in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York.
The Kosciuszko Foundation presents a Kosciuszko Gala Concert on Sunday, November 19 at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. The Concert is sponsored by the Kosciuszko Foundation and is part of the events celebrating the bicentennial of the passing of Gen. Tadeusz Kosciuszko. The concert will feature works by most prominent Polish composers including the New York premiere of Polonaise Metamorphoses on the theme by Tadeusz Kosciuszko for violin, viola and string orchestra by R. Twardowski and the world premiere of Kosciuszko Polonaise by John Sarkissian. Performers include Edyta Kulczak – mezzo-soprano, Marian Sobula – piano, Mariusz Monczak – violin, and the Kościuszko Festival Orchestra with Bartosz Żurakowski, conductor.
The event is organized by Ars Activa Foundation and is held under the honorary patronage of Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński.
Join us for a special romantic evening of arias and songs performed by extraordinary artists Monika Krajewska, mezzo-soprano, praised for her "rich and strong tone that expresses not only beauty, but a luminous sense of peace and comfort, " and Yelena Kurdina, piano, known for her collaboration with the most distinguished artists, and described as "rich and haunting collaborations, beautifully judged and impeccably ardent," "….almost savage grace at the keyboard…". They will present a program of music by Bellini, Donizetti, Cilea, Saint-Saens, Obradors, Granados, Karlowicz, Moniuszko, and Rachmaninoff.
CHOPIN IN FLORIDA
Elzbieta Bilicka, prize winner, 2016 International Paderewski Competition, will perform in the “Chopin For All” series organized by the Chopin Foundation of the US in Florida. Her program will include I. J. Paderewski: Legende in A-flate Major, Op. 16, No. 1; F. Schubert: Drei Klavierstücke, D. 946, Nos. 1, 2, 3; K. Szymanowski: Mazurkas, Op. 50, Nos. 1, 2; F. Chopin: Scherzo in E Major, Op. 54, No. 4, Scherzo in B minor, Op. 20, No. 1, Ballade in F minor, Op. 52, No. 4 and Fantaisie Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. 66
Internationally acclaimed French pianist Yves Henry will perform in the Chopin Salon Series in Miami on November 19, 2017 The series presents Chopin performed by some of today’s finest artists in a lovely Country Club ballroom for an intimate gathering of other classical music enthusiasts with a wine reception. His program will include A. Borodine: Polovtsian Dances (transcr. Yves Henry); M. Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunte; P. Dukas: L’apprenti sorcier (transcr. Yves Henry); and F. Chopin: Scherzo in C-sharp minor, Op. 39, Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 45, Ballade in F minor, Op. 52, Berceuse in D-flat Major, Op. 57 and Barcarolle in F-sharp Major, Op. 60.
PADEREWSKI MONUMENT IN CIĘŻKOWICE
Patrons and concertgoers who attend the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles may know of Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s former estate in Kąśna Dolna, which he owned between 1897 and 1903. Lovingly preserved, today this manor house and grounds are the only residence of this great pianist, politician and humanitarian that is still left standing.
Paderewski left a generous legacy in the area of Poland where his property was located, endowing a number of civic institutions in the county seat of Ciężkowice, a charming hilltop town a few miles from his estate. Thanks to Paderewski, Ciężkowice finally established its Volunteer Fire Brigade and a statue to its patron, Saint Florian was erected with Paderewski’s largesse on the main market square. Paderewski’s good deeds continued with organizing the Agricultural Club and the Social Club, the latter located in a townhouse that Paderewski purchased and equipped with a piano, billiard table, and a library of over two thousand volumes. Paderewski’s financial support also extended to building schools in Kąśna and Ciężkowice, contributing to an imposing Gothic-revival style church in town, and endowing a kindergarten in the settlement adjacent to his estate grounds. His last visit to the area in 1910 coincided with the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald/Tannenberg and with Paderewski funding a commemorative plaque in the nearby nature reserve. Today the town of Ciężkowice remembers its former patron with a street as well as a High School and Technical School named after him.
Recently, the residents of Ciężkowice decided to erect a monument to Paderewski in form of a bench with a life-sized cast of a master seated next to a piano. Thanks to a special built-in device, the piano will play Paderewski’s most famous composition, his Menuet Op. 14 no. 1. Positioned at the heart of the historical town square, the monument authored by Ewa Fleszar, alumna of the Fine Arts Academy in Poznań, will underscore Paderewski’s connections to Ciężkowice. The total cost of this project is $50,000. The town’s Mayor, Zbigniew Jurkiewicz, and Head of the City Council, Zdzisław Szczerba, are coordinating this effort. The funds for the monument will come from the county and from private donations. All donors will receive a certificate of honorary sponsorship and their names will be entered into the Founders’ Register. Donors will also be invited to the 3 May 2018 unveiling at the market square in Ciężkowice.
Foreign-based donors can send funds via bank transfer to:
More information and further details of this project can be obtained by contacting the County Secretary, Beata Weron-Białas at email@example.com or calling +48 14 628 5826 or +48 784 074 080.
[Source: press release]
PADEREWSKI FESTIVAL IN WARSAW
The Fourth International Paderewski Festival will take place from November 4-11 in several venues across Warsaw, including the Royal Castle, Philharmonic Hall, Lutosławski Radio Studio, and in the Łazienki Palace. A variety of orchestral, chamber, and jazz concert are augmented by panel discussions, Paderewski-themed exhibits, and film screenings.
At the first of the two concerts, Paderewski’s Polish Fantasy for piano and orchestraas well as the Polonia Overtures by Richard Wagner and Edward Elgar were performed by the Polish Radio Orchestra led by Michał Klauza. Their second concert on Nov. 11 celebrates Poland’s Independence Day with a performance of Paderewski’s massive Polonia Symphony.
ANOTHER GREAT REVIEW FOR MESSAGES QTET’S LAKS ALBUM
Szymon Laks: String Quartets
In her October 13 review for Le Monde, Marie-Aude Roux praised the Messages String Quartet for the “precise and refined quality of their playing that was also lively and passionate, which gave the inspired scores of [Szymon Laks’s string quartets] their full splendor.” Adding that this music is in “very good hands” of the quartet’s four young women—violinists Małgorzata Wasiucionek and Oriana Masternak, violist Maria Dutka and cellist Beata Urbanek-Kalinowska—the reviewer also provided her readers with a short history of the composer’s life that included settling in Paris in 1925 as well as being an inmate of Auschwitz and a Holocaust survivor. Noting that Laks stopped composing after 1972 and became a writer (fluent in Polish, Russian, French, German and English), Ms. Roux observed that his literary works (like Mélodies d’Auschwitz for example) analyze the role of music played in the times of extermination.
POLISH MUSIC FOR 2 PIANOS/4 HANDS
A Polish Kaleidoscope 2: Polish Music for Two Pianos
Forgotten Polish Piano Music For Four Hands
Paweł Pudło is the composer, creative director and art director of the WAR HORNS project. The world premiere of the piece took place at the Solidarity of Arts Festival in Gdańsk, Poland—a symbolic city where 76 years ago World War II started—on August 23, 2015 at the Polish Baltic Philharmonic. Gdańsk is also the city where the "Solidarity" movement was born, symbolizing the ideas of freedom and peace, today manifested by artists from various countries of the world. The premiere was held during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. In addition to the music, a sculpture installation made by an artist Pawel Stepien (pictured at right) was exhibited in the foyer of the Philharmonic at the world premiere of the piece. The installation is an integral part of the piece War Horns and it has been developed according to Paweł Pudło’s concept.
War Horns was again performed at a free concert on October 11, 2017 in Warsaw, as part of the project “Miasta Feniksy: Muzyka i historia” [Phoenix City: Music and History] at the Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego [Museum of the Warsaw Uprising]. The concert was accompanied by a lecture on the history of Warsaw, which was led by Varsovian Jerzy s. Majewski.
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Send your comments and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski
Layout Assistance: Charles Bragg
Zbigniew Jurkiewicz, Marek Skulimowski, 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, 9 November 2017.
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