|Polish Music Newsletter|
October 2010, Vol. 16, No. 10. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
PADEREWSKI CELEBRATIONS IN CA
The 35th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in October 2009 accepted a resolution to include Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s name on the list of persons with outstanding achievements in fostering international cultural dialogue. In 2010, the 150th anniversary of his birth, Paderewski’s historical contributions will be officially recognized worldwide. California, one of Paderewski’s many homes away from his homeland, is no exception to the festivities.
Special concerts, lectures, exhibitions and panel discussions will take place in Los Angeles and Paso Robles during the "Paderewski at 150" celebrations in November. These events will commemorate not only Paderewski’s close ties to California but also his universal legacy as a great musician, statesman, patriot and humanitarian.
THURSDAY, November 4, 2010
FRIDAY, November 5, 2010
See details for all Los Angeles Events here
* * *
WEDNESDAY, November 10, 2010
THURSDAY, November 11, 2010
FRIDAY, November 12, 2010
SATURDAY, November 13, 2010
SUNDAY, November 14, 2010
Thursday through Sunday
See details for all Paso Robles Events here
MUSIC ON PASO’S WESTSIDE
On September 26, the stunning hilltop residence of Ken and Marilyn Riding once again served as a perfect setting for the annual spring fundraiser for the 2010 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. Splendid views from the house and terrace onto lands once owned by Paderewski provided the afternoon’s select audience with an imposing backdrop to an inspiring music offering.
Mezzo-soprano Sara Staples and pianist Aurelien Eulert presented a program that paid homage to two important Polish composers, Chopin and Paderewski, whose birth anniversaries—bicentennial and sesquicentennial, respectively—are celebrated this year. Ms. Staples hails from Alberta, Canada, and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree at the USC Thornton School of Music, where she studies with Cynthia Munzer. The Alsatian-born Mr. Eulert is a doctoral student in the Keyboard Collaborative Arts program at USC’s Thornton School of Music, in the studio of Kevin Fitz-Gerald. Both young artists have already acquired considerable performing experience in concerts throughout North America and Europe.
For some reason, Chopin’s and Paderewski’s songs are rarely performed and recorded. Thus, a repertoire sampled from Chopin’s Op. 74 and Paderewski’s Op. 22 was a rare treat on that Sunday afternoon, in a setting that was splendid and intimate in equal measure. Although Chopin wrote songs for voice and piano throughout his life, all 17 of them were published only posthumously in 1857. Paderewski’s Op. 22 songs date from 1903 and come from the end of his career as a composer (he continued to perform for almost four decades afterwards).
Ms. Staples brought vivacity, charm and consummate acting skills to the Chopin set. Her delivery of the famous Maiden’s Wish (also a favorite of Liszt, who transcribed it for piano solo) possessed a pleasing mixture of coquettishness and naiveté. The more serious messages of Melody and The Ring were given with ample poise and solid musicianship.
Both artists plunged head on into L'Ennemi, which opened thePaderewski section. The differing moods of Lune froide and Naguère received a sensitive and probing reading from the two young musicians. The final Querelleuse was conveyed with mordant wit and panache, appropriately so.
Throughout the performance Mr. Eulert proved to be a tactful and gentlemanly partner, evoking just the right colors and nuances from the Steinway grand, keeping the pace flowing and Ms. Staples’ voice firmly supported. The warm reception from the assembled audience elicited an encore of the famed Habanera from the opera Carmen, which once again demonstrated Ms. Staples’ excellent vocal and acting skills.
After the concert, a painting of Paderewski’s vineyards commissioned by the Festival from Ann Laddon, a local artist and Festival supporter was auctioned. The artist generously donated her share of the proceeds to the Festival. [Artwork pictured in photo above, on the chair]
Sherman Clay Pianos representative Dave Dumont, a faithful annual sponsor of the Festival, announced that a special sale of Steinway and Boston pianos will be held in Paso Robles during the Festival in November. All interested parties should contact Dave to schedule an appointment and personally inspect over two dozen top-rate instruments Sherman Clay will bring to the Festival. Brian Alexander was on hand to ensure that the Riding’s beautiful Steinway was in prime condition for the concert on a very hot early Fall afternoon.
[Photo credits: Charles Bragg (top), Steve Cass (bottom)]
In August, the Polish Music Center received visits from two Polish composers now living in the U.S. First, on August 10, Wiesław V. Rentowski came to see us on the USC campus. Mr. Rentowski is the President of the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Composers USA (NACUSA), one of the oldest organizations devoted to the promotion and performance of American concert hall music. With this position, he combines his love for the promotion and performance of classical music—whether of Polish, American or any other national origin—with his career as a composer and organist.
Next, we received a visit from Mikołaj Górecki, who is also living and composing in Texas. At the PMC headquarters, he happily viewed posters and programs from several concerts at USC in 1997 and 2009 that have honored his father, composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, and discussed his father and his compositions with Thornton School of Music Director of Marketing, Michael Dowlan. While on campus, Mr. Górecki also visited our Paderewski statue and viewed items such as the manuscript of Lutosławski's Paroles Tisées in the PMC Manuscript Collection housed in the Special Collections Department in Doheny Library.
Above: Mikołaj Górecki in Special Collections with University Archivist/Manuscript Librarian,
We hope that these and other such visits withPolish and Polish-American composers help connect composers to each other, to their audiences, and to their place in the long legacy of Polish musicians.
[Photo: Krysta Close, PMC Collection]
RECENT DONATIONS TO THE PMC
From composer Mikołaj Górecki:
From USC Prof. of History, Paul Knoll:
From Betty Harford-Naszody, a friend of the Polish Music Center:
CHOPIN & PADEREWSKI YEAR
CHOPIN COMPETITION BEGINS – FOLLOW DAILY ONLINE
The final stage of the highlight of the 2010 Chopin Anniversary year—the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition—has just begun in Warsaw. Since the Competition was initiated in 1927, every five years hundreds of young pianists converge on Warsaw to demonstrate their ability in interpreting Chopin's music. This competition—the oldest and most prestigious piano competition in the world—has an incredible roster of laureates that includes some of the greatest pianists of our time: Garrick Ohlsson Witold Małcużyński, Halina Czerny-Stefańska, Barbara Hesse-Bukowska, Maurizio Pollini, Martha Argerich, Rafał Blechacz, and Krystian Zimerman, among others.
Inaugural concerts for this year’s highly anticipated Competition were given by pianist Mitsuko Uchida, the second prize winner at the 8th Chopin Competition in 1970, on October 1 and a piano duo concert by Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire, two of the greatest living interpreters of Chopin repertoire, on October 2.
As a result of elimination rounds that have been conducted throughout the year, 81 pianists were chosen for this final stage of the Competition from among the original 335 applicants. The country with the largest representation amongst the finalists is Japan, with 17 young artists, as well as Russia with12 musicians. Poland will be represented by 7 pianists: Fares Marek Basmadji, Marek Bracha, Jacek Kortus, Martin Koziak, Joanna Różewska, Gracjan Szymczak and Paweł Wakarecy.
Competitors see the final draw for the first time
Schedule of the Competition:
For daily updates on the Competition, see the Chopin Express—the official, bilingual newspaper of the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition. It is published by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute with the cooperation of Gramophone magazine. This newspaper will be distributed for free during the whole Competition in the streets of Warsaw and in the Warsaw Philharmonic. After the beginning of the Competition, a CD recording of selected interesting performances from each day of the auditions will be added to every issue of the paper.
CHOPIN AND HIS EUROPE FOLLOW-UP
In a broadcast and interview entitled “Chopin my love,” Polish Radio culture reporter Michał Kubicki discusses the recent Chopin and His Europe Festival and Chopin’s connections with Yamaha with Stan Zieliński—senior manager of Yamaha's Concert, Artist and Academic Relations. Yamaha has been an active supporter of the Festival for 3 years, providing pianos for performance and practice, as well as contact with both young and well established performers associated with Yamaha.
According to Zieliński, “Chopin is probably the most important composer of music for Japanese people.” In Hamamatsu, the city where Yamahas are made, there is an exact copy of the Chopin statue from Łazienki Park in Warsaw. Japan is also the nationality of largest number of competitors from one country who have made it to the final round of the 2010 Chopin Competition. However, despite the Japanese connection, the Chopin Competition (see previous article) is performed entirely on Steinway Pianos.
Listen to the entire interview with Zieliński here: www.thenews.pl/radio/focus/artykul138501.html
NEW YORK CHOPIN PIANO COMPETITION
In celebration of the Chopin Bicentennial, this competition presents today's most promising young pianists, selected from the finest conservatories and music schools, in performances of Chopin's best-known études, ballades, mazurkas, polonaises, préludes and waltzes. Join the panel of distinguished international judges, including Ewa Kupiec, Benjamin Hochman, Philip Kennicott, and Daniel Epstein, and be part of the decision-making process for the Grand prize - a 2011 recital at Symphony Space in New York and a weeklong trip to Poland for an international debut recital in Warsaw.
Following the competition please join us at 8:00 pm for A Singular Chopin Recital. Anne-Marie McDermott offers her only New York solo performance of select Chopin piano music, and is also joined by the compelling young mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk and renowned international cellist Rafal Jezierski for a lyrical and passionate set of cello-piano works and rarely performed songs.
The New York Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition and A Singular Chopin Recital are presented by Symphony Space and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York.
PADEREWSKI CELEBRATION IN NY
On October 17, audiences in Rochester, NY will be given a chance to experience the music that Paderewski created and to hear more stories about the celebrated musician's life. In honor of the 150th anniversary of Paderewski's birth, Eastman School of Music master's student Igor Lipinski (BM '09, pictured above) will perform Paderewski's compositions. Accompanying the music, Matthew Ames, assistant professor of theater arts at Nazareth College, will read excerpts from the pianist's memoirs, letters, and press reviews and fragments of film will be screened. See details of the program at rochester.edu.
This event is co-sponsored by the University of Rochester's Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies and the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester,
CHOPIN & JAZZ IN L.A.
The Chopin & Jazz project originated from a commission that pianist Jan Jarczyk received for the Chopin Anniversary Concert in Warsaw. The music developed as a part of the project was then incorporated into the repertoire of the International Polish Jazz Group (IPJG), which was created in 2009. On the 20 October, IPJG will take this music on tour in Canada, the U.S. and France.
The International Polish Jazz Group (IPJG) is a includes four prominent Polish musicians who live in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Spain: Andrzej Olejniczak – clarinet/saxophone, Janusz Stefański – percussion, Darek “Oles” Oleszkiewicz – bass, and Jan Jarczyk – piano. The Chopin & Jazz program consists of selections from Chopin’s Preludes, Nocturnes, and Mazurkas. To read more about the performers and program, see here.
Although the musicians of IPJG generally perform abroad, their links to Poland, and to Chopin’s music in particular, are cherished and shared with audiences worldwide. Over the summer, they performed at the renowned Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica pod Baranami in Kraków. Other cities included in the tour are Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver, Seattle, and Lille, France.
CHOPIN IN PASADENA
On October 10, the South Pasadena Library will host a celebration of the 200th birth anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin, including songs and piano works by Chopin and songs by Antonin Dvorak. The evening’s performers are mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk and pianist Adam Kośmieja.
Born in Poznań, Polish mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk is a first-prize winner of the 15th International Solo Music Competition in Gorizia, Italy and first-prize winner of a nation-wide voice competition Young Talents in Poland. She took part in many concerts, performing different kinds of vocal music from Bach Cantatas, to Lieder, and to contemporary music. Last year, the young artist had her debut at the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater where she performed in Die Fledermaus and in Handel’s Il Pastor Fido. Praised for the clarity of her sound and assured presence, Ms. Wryk also appeared at the Caramoor Music Festival in New York, Art Connection Festival in Rotterdam, and the 1st International Baroque Festival in Warsaw. Have concert tours have taken her to Canada, Germany, Poland, & Italy. Ms.Wryk graduated with distinction from F. Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and is currently a vocal arts student of Maitland Peters at the Manhattan School of Music.
Adam Kośmieja was born in Bydgoszcz, Poland, started playing piano at the age of six, and first performed with orchestra at the age of eleven. For 13 years, he studied with Dr.Ludmiła Kasyanenko, at The Arthur Rubinstein High School of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He currently studies with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music, New York. At the same time he is a student at the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland in Jerzy Sulikowski's class. A first-prize winner at the Chopin Piano Competition at Columbia University, New York (2010) he also received First Prize at Mieczysław Munz Piano Competition, New York (2009). He performed in the U.S., Poland, France, & Sweden.
CHOPIN IN SACRAMENTO
On October 16, the Polish American Club of Greater Sacramento will present a Chopin Concert by soprano Anna Helwing and pianist Elektra Schmidt. This piano-vocal duo will present an exciting and diverse program of Chopin music to celebrate Chopin Year and October as Polish-American Heritage Month.
PADEREWSKI & CHOPIN IN BYDGOSZCZ
The theme of this year’s 48th Music Festival in Bydgoszcz (Sept. 10 – Oct. 3) was “Chopin – Paderewski: World Artists” in celebration of the 200 anniversary of Chopin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of Paderewski’s birth. The main focus of this year’s Festival was on the work of those two unique artists, and their music was performed by the Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra and talented guest artists.
The festival presented performances from the accordion trio Motion Trio on September 13, during the “Chopin Alternative” concert. There were also Klezmer music concerts (September 16, 18) and a promotional event (September 15) for the CD “Siła Emocji” by violinist Patrycja Piekutowski and pianist Mariusz Rutkowski.
On September 17, Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki took the conductor’s podium, conducting three of his own compositions: the Fourth Symphony, Przebudzenie Jakuba and Kadysz. They were performed by the Polish Orchestra Iuventus, the Polish Chamber Choir, Olga Pasiecznik (soprano), Baruha Finkelstein (principal cantor from synagogues in Moscow and St. Petersburg) and Krzysztof Gosztyła (recitation).
On September 24, audiences heard Paderewski’s Symfonia Polonia conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk. September 28 brought the “Chopin – Inspiration” concert, featuring violinist Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, cellistTomasz Strahl, and pianist Krzysztof Jabłoński, performing works by Chopin, Rachmaninov, and Mendelssohn. During the Final Concert of the Festival on October 3, audiences heard Paderewski’s Polish Fantasy, as well as works by Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, conducted by Tadeusz Wojciechowski.
Although not a part of the Festival, the Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra will also host American virtuoso of the keyboard, Neal Larrabee, on October 17 for an All-Chopin Recital celebrating the 2010 Chopin Year. Among other accolades, Larrabee won the V International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and the IX International Chopin Competition in Warsaw (1975). He since became a real favorite of music lovers in Poland. Highly regarded for his charisma and interpretations of Chopin repertoire, he is featured in broadcasts on national radio and television stations as well as performances in virtually every Polish concert hall.
PADEREWSKI IN CHICAGO
The Polish Museum of America and the Lira Ensemble will host a benefit celebrating Ignacy Jan Paderewski—one of the most fascinating Poles of the 20th century—with an opportunity to hear his beautiful music and view the Museum’s recently renovated Paderewski Room. Performers for the evening include soloists of the Lira Ensemble: Katarzyna Dorula – soprano, Ewa Kowcz-Fair – soprano, and and Philip Seward – piano.
[Source: Press release]
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Paderewski - Piano works
CHOPIN Piano Concerto No 2, Variations on Là ci darem, Andante spianato and Grande polonaise brillante (Digital Album)
Using the new Polish National Chopin Edition, acclaimed pianist Eldar Nebolsin and Poland’s National Orchestra conducted by the renowned Polish conductor Antoni Wit, here present fresh interpretations of Chopin’s great works for piano and orchestra. The Second Piano Concerto was written before the first and completed in 1830, the year in which the composer set out for Vienna and then Paris. Chopin’s Variations on Là ci darem la mano, bear witness to his admiration for Mozart, instilled by his earliest teacher, the Bohemian Wojciech Żywny. The Grande Polonaise brillante in E flat, Op. 22, was written in Vienna, and later augmented with the introductory Andante spianato. [From the Naxos website]
Frédéric Chopin’s Last Words
To mark the Chopin anniversary year, young pianist Elina Gotsouliak is releasing a disc of late works by the short-statured giant, the gentle virtuoso. Her debut CD on Genuin turns apparently familiar works into such a unique experience and creates so much atmospheric density it nearly stops your breath. The distance which lies between the brilliant showpieces of his youth and those of his final years, how much all the works on the disc open the door to his soul, whether in his last sonata, the Barcarolle or the Berceuse, becomes all too clear with each passing second. An outstanding CD. [from the Genuin Records website]
Best From Poland: Chopin
Fryderyk Chopin - Dzieła wszystkie: Walce
CHOPIN, F.: Piano Concerto No. 2 / Ballades
Masters of Chopin
A 4-CD collection of master interpreters of the piano medium in previously un-issued or unknown recordings.
KULENTY WORLD PREMIERE
On October 3, GG Concerto for harpsichord and string orchestra by Polish composer Hanna Kulenty had its World Premiere at the Wrocław Philharmonic Concert Hall in Wrocław, Poland. It was performed by harpsichordist Goska Isphording (pictured at left) and the Wrocław Chamber Orchestra “Leopoldinum”, conducted by Ernst Kovacic. Also on the program for the evening: Beethoven’s Kreutzer Violin Sonata, Janáček’s String Quartet No. 1, Pergolesi’s Concertino in G, and Schreker’s Intermezzo and Scherzo.
The Wrocław Chamber Orchestra previously premiered another work by Kulenty, Breathe, at the Musica Polonica Nova Festival in 2008.
Michał Kubicki of the Polish Radio external service wrote the following on September 9, 2010:
AGATA ZUBEL IN RESIDENCE
The Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra has invited composer and vocalist Agata Zubel to be their guest composer for the 2010/2011 season. This project was initiated by Polish Music Publishers [PWM].
The following quote from U. Mieszkieło starts off in the cover story of the most recent edition of PWM’s Quarta magazine:
Read the entire interview between journalist Ewa Szczecińska and Agata Zubel in the July 2010 Quarta here: www.pwm.com.pl/zdjecia/0/2/1/1620_Quarta3_web.pdf
[Source: pwm.com.pl; Transl: PDC]
OPERA NARODOWA-TEATR WIELKI SEASON
Warsaw’s National Opera - Teatr Wielki will open its 2010-2011 season with a rare masterpiece of the 20th century—Pasażerka [The Passenger (female)], an opera composed by Mieczysław Weinberg—on October 8, 2010. This production of Weinberg’s Pasażerka was premiered at the Bregenzer Festspiele on July 21, 2010.
The National Opera’s season will close with Król Roger, an opera written by the father of Polish modern music, Karol Szymanowski. This work will also be featured at the inauguration of the Polish presidency of the European Union later this year.
“In both operas we can find the tragic European history of the 20th century. From its decay and the result in World Wars to the drama of the holocaust,” elaborates Waldemar Dąbrowski, director of the National Opera (pictured at right). Szymanowski’s ambition was to recover the mythical dimension through the medium of opera, while Weinberg tries to protect human freedom and dignity in the face of the “black wall” of Auschwitz. Both works illustrate the destructive processes of history, and the power of art to counteract that destruction.
In addition to the productions mentioned above, the 2010-2011 season will also feature: Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot as realized by Mariusz Treliński (pictured at left) and Boris Kudlička; Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, directed by Keith Warner; Toshio Hosokawa’s Matsukaze, directed and choreographed by Sasha Waltz; the premiere of Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz, directed by Carlus Padrissy and under the musical supervision of Valery Gergiev; and a tribute to Sergei Diaghilev will be celebrated through three different interpretations of The Rite of Spring, choreographed by Vatslav Nijinsky, Emanuel Gat, and Maurice Béjart.
LASZCZKOWSKI IN THE UK
The BBC Newshour radio program recently ran a feature report on the Polish male soprano, Jacek Laszczkowski, who was interviewed by the BBC's Claire Bolderson. Male countertenors are a fairly common voice type, and performances of baroque operas using alto-range singers have experienced a resurgence in popularity in the last decade. However, countertenors with the same range as a female soprano—also known as male sopranos—are much more rare.
Mr. Laszczkowski is currently in London to give his company debut and role debut in the Royal Opera’s production of Niobe, Regina di Tebe (pictured above), a rare opera by the forgotten Italian composer Agostino Steffani. According to the Royal Opera website:
Jacek Laszczkowski was born on March 28, 1966 in Szczuczyn, Poland. He began his musical education in music school of Bialystok playing clarinet. Later he studied singing as a tenor at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. As a student he was twice granted with a scholarship by the Polish Ministry of Arts and Culture. He debuted as a tenor with the Warsaw Chamber Opera in 1989, but made his debut as a male soprano in 1997. Since that time, he has had a successful career throughout Euope, singing both the Baroque opera roles that were originally sung by male castrati as well as new works by contemporary composers. He has also performed the lead role in The Soul Sings [Dusza Spiewa], a film by Krzysztof Zanussi, as well as other films by Zanussi and Małgorzata Szumowska.
For more information on Mr. Laszczkowski, read his full biography at www.countertenors.ru/laszczkowski.
POLISH HERITAGE MONTH MADE OFFICIAL
Polish Heritage Month is being celebrated throughout the U.S. in October. Please visit individual websites for information about celebrations in San Diego, CA (Oct. 8-10), Chicago, IL (all month), New York, NY (Oct. 1), Fort Wayne, IN (Oct. 3), Sacramento, CA (Oct. 16), Hadley, MA (Oct. 27), and Washington, DC (Oct. 23).
[Source: press release]
US NATIONAL PHIL FEATURES POLES
On Saturday, October 9, the National Philharmonic in North Bethesda, MD will begin its 2010-2011 season with a concert featuring both Polish composers and Polish musicians. On the program is M. Karłowicz’s symphonic poem A Sorrowful Tale, as well as Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection" and A. Markis’s Aegean Festival Overture. Joining the National Philharmonic will be Iwona Sobotka – soprano (pictured at left), Magdalena Wór – mezzo-soprano, and Piotr Gajewski – conductor.
The National Philharmonic website describes the program thus:
Saturday, October 9, 2010, 8 P.M.
SZYMANOWSKI & CHOPIN IN NY
Pianist Emily White will give a piano recital featuring Szymanowski's Masques on Saturday, October 9 at St. Luke in the Fields Church in New York City at 7:30 pm. She will also perform works by Beethoven, Wyner, Chávez, and Chopin.
Proceeds from this concert will benefit Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, which produces Braille music scores and provides instruments to developing countries, among other projects. Tickets are $25 general admission and $15 for students with ID, with other options are available for priority seating that include a signed headshot of Dr. White and copy of her limited edition CD—“Szymanowski Piano Works” (Arabesque Recordings Z6807). See www.brownpapertickets.com for concert details and to purchase tickets.
POLISH COURT MUSIC PERFORMANCE IN MI
On Sunday, October 10, the early music consort “Greensleaves” will perform music from the Polish courts was drawn from the little-known “Polocki” manuscript, found inside a missal dated 1680. Included are traditional period pieces such as pavanes, galliards, and canzonas, as well as dances and songs with a clearly Polish flavor, at times elegant and touching, and at times rustic, boisterous, and humorous. The Greensleaves consort is joined by members of the Tactus Vocal Ensemble.
This same music has also been recorded by Greensleaves, available for purchase on www.cdbaby.com. There is also an article written about the reconstruction process the group went through to bring this music back to life – read it here: www.greensleaves.com/green.pdf.
Formed by three Kitchener-Waterloo area musicians in 1996, Greensleaves is dedicated to the performance of Renaissance and early Baroque music. The group consists of Marilyn Fung (viola da gamba), Shannon Purves-Smith (recorders and viols), and Magdalena Tomsinska (lute and guitar).
TRZASKA/SWELL DUO TOUR
From Monday, October 11 - Wednesday, October 20, 2010, the Mikolaj Trzaska / Steve Swell Duo will complete a tour of the Eastern US, including New York, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, North Rochester, and Wilkes-Barre. For a complete list of tour dates and venues, visit www.polishculture-nyc.org.
Mikolaj Trzaska, reedman/composer, and Steve Swell, trombonist, are like-minded sound travelers who first crossed paths in Kraków, Poland in 2007 in Ken Vandermark's international Resonance Ensemble project. The two artists have been trading ideas and performing together in the duo format ever since. Passion and intelligence are what gives these two world class improvisers a platform for their magical musical visions. For the New York concerts Mikolaj Trzaska and Steve Swell will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee and drummer Jay Rosen.
[Source: polishculture-nyc.org; Photo credit: Karol Frontschek]
TONUS VIVUS 25th ANNIVERSARY
TONUS VIVUS – Society for New Music (formerly known as the Edmonton Composers’ Concert Society), is celebrating its Twenty-fifth Anniversary on October 23. Tonus Vivus has more than fifty members across Canada and abroad whose music has been performed on all inhabited continents of the globe. In addition to music by the founding members and other composers, works by Polish composers Jacek Sobieraj—Saw for Electronic Sounds (2009) and Piotr Grella-Mozejko—Silver Wound (2009 - pictured at left) will be featured on the program.
A truly Canadian, multiethnic entity, the Society has always been committed to supporting emerging artists and is proud of its record of launching careers of a considerable number of composers and performers who have already made an indelible mark on Edmonton, Alberta and Canada’s respective cultural maps.
Over the years of its activity, Tonus Vivus has programmed more than a thousand pieces of modern classical music. The Society has collaborated with some of Canada’s and the world’s most eminent soloists and ensembles, such as the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, the Penderecki String Quartet, the Vienna Saxophone Quartet, violist Rivka Golani, pianists Eve Egoyan and Stéphane Lemelin, and many others. Many of these performances have been broadcast nationally and internationally on the CBC and foreign radio stations.
[Source: press release]
OCHLEWSKI COMPETITION RESULTS
The winners of the 8th Tadeusz Ochlewski Composition Competition, which is organized by Polish Music Publishers [PWM], were announced on September 1. This year’s Competition was dedicated to Andrzej Krzanowski, a distinguished composer and accordion virtuoso on the twentieth anniversary of his death, and called for compositions featuring accordion solo or accordion and tape. The Competition Jury—Grażyna Krzanowska, Janusz Pater, and Marek Andrysek—examined the 13 compositions submitted and awarded the following prizes.
The Main Prize was given to Magnetismo by Kamil Krzysztof Kosecki (b. 1984). The Honorable Mention Award was given to Trzy impresje [Three Impressions] by Igor Jankowski (b. 1983). The two compositions will be published by PWM and the composers also received cash prizes. Both works were premiered during the Alkagran Festival in Częstochowa-Dziedzice on September 30.
STAŃCZYK’S SUCCESS IN S.F.
The composition Three Afterimages for Double bass (2008) by Polish composer Marcin Stańczyk was given an honorable mention during the 2010 ISB/David Walter Composition Competition in San Francisco. The competition, which is presented by the International Society of Bassists, attracted 52 participants from 18 countries. The compositions were evaluated by a jury including bassists Robert Black, Gottfried Engels and Garth Stevenson.
SPISAK COMPETITION WINNERS
The final round of the Michał Spisak Competition in Dąbrowa Górnicza was held on September 13. Finalists in three instrumental categories—violin, viola, and cello—were accompanied by the Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Sławomir Chrzanowski. The international Jury, led by Prof. Paweł Głombik from the Szymanowski Music Academy in Katowice, designated the following award-winners.
In the category of Violin Performance:
In the Viola Performance category, the winners included:
The Cello Performance division had the following winners:
TOMASZEWSKI/CHOPIN WIN ZŁOTA RÓŻA
The “Złota Róża” [Golden Rose] Award has been presented to Prof. Mieczysław Tomaszewski for his album Chopin. The award was granted for the fourth time on the initiative of Warsaw’s Science Festival [Festiwal Nauki] and the monthly magazine New Books, with funding from the Science Festival and Poland’s Book Institute [Instytut Książki]. The award was presented on Saturday, September 18 as a part of the Science Festival (Sept. 18-26).
Tomaszewski’s illustrated album introduces the reader to the secrets of the life and works of the greatest Polish composer. The text is complemented by rich illustrations, both archival reproductions and photos, as well as contemporary photographs of places associated with the life of Chopin. The graphic design was prepared by prof. Władysław Pluta. Archival materials were provided by the National Museums in Warsaw, Kraków, and Poznań; the Czartoryski Museum in Kraków; the National Library in Warsaw; the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków; and the Bridgeman Art Library and Tate Gallery in London, among others.
RICHTER’S SZYMANOWSKI - GRAMAPHONE FINALIST
BBC Legends: Richter
This disc was a finalist in the Historic Archive category of 2010 Gramophone Awards granted by Gramophone Magazine. To see a list of the final awards, announced on October 1, visit www.gramophone.co.uk.
This year’s International Festival and Competition of Musical Individuality - TANSMAN 2010 [Festiwal i Konkurs Indywidualności Muzycznych] in Łódż, Poland will be held in two sections: October 1-3 and November 14-20.
The formula of the festival originates in the neoclassical heritage introduced by Alexander Tansman, one of the greatest Polish composers of the twentieth century. In his work, Tansman combined the universal values of humanism with the traditions of many centuries of European music. He found a unique way of expressing those aspects in the modern forms and musical language of the twentieth century. Therefore, the Festival and its competition is a reflection of the dialogue between past and present, as well as a meeting point for different cultures and their aesthetics.
The artistic variety in Tansman's music exhibits a remarkable journey to the world’s sources of culture and identity. In his music he refers to Greek traditions and to Judeo-Christian roots, in which he recognized his own European heritage, while being open to and influenced by Non-European cultures.
The heart of the Festival is the composer’s competition, and its unique nature has earned the contest worldwide recognition. The primary thrust is the recognition of artistic individuality, regardless of specialty. This allows listeners not only to appreciate the perfection of craftsmanship, but also, and perhaps above all, the composer’s personality and unique voice.
Finalists thus far in the 2010 Competition are: Stórr by Irene Buckley (Ireland), Un Rêve Long Et Joyeux by Carlo Alessandro Landini (Italy), cvetić, kućica.../la lugubre gondola by Marko Nikodijević (Serbia/Germany), Concerto per mandolino e orchestra by Federico Gardella (Italy), Dusty Rusty Hush by Ondřej Adámek (Czech Rep.)
The Festival will begin again in November with the unique project "Jerusalem," where musicians from around the world will meet and make music together. EU Ambassadors for Intercultural Dialogue, UNESCO Artists for Peace, and many musicians will come together and call upon the ancient traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The goal is to develop a cross-cultural landscape similar to that of the city of Jerusalem, reflecting the fact that this city is both the site of many holy places as well as the perennial struggle of humanity.
Tansman 2010 – Calendar of Events:
Details are available on the Festival website, www.tansman.lodz.pl/festival.php.
[Sources: muzyka.onet.pl; Transl: PDC]
MUSIC AT L.A.’s POLISH FILM FEST
The 11th ½ Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles will take place from October 14-21 in West Hollywood at the Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theatre. Below are some of the musical highlights of this year’s second half of the Festival.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
For a full schedule and to purchase tickets for screenings taking place every day of the week, please visit: www.polishfilmla.org .
WARSZAWSKA JESIEŃ FINALE
This article is based on two review articles written in Polish by Marek Dolewka
A great deal of artistry was present during the final concert of the 2010 Warsaw Autumn Festival, held at the Chopin Music University on September 19. This observation was applicable already after listening to Klave by Paweł Mykietyn. The bitter sounds of the harpsichord (played by Elżbieta Chojnacka) joining the sour sounds of the AUKSO Orchestra (directed by Marek Moś) combined to create a flavor that was most enjoyable to a true connoisseur. Such discriminating members of the audience may have also enjoyed Si près, si loin (d’une fantaisie) by Bruno Mantovani, a composition that deserves a “High Voltage” label since the music seemed to be discharging and surging in turns.
Emotional moments were aplenty during two world premieres that touched on matters metaphysical. I nocy już nie będzie [There Will Be No Night] is a place where the essence of music was discovered by Marcin Bortnowski in Prawda [Truth]. In L’ange avec une seule aile—Flute Concerto No. 5 by Ms. Doina Rotaru, the listeners journeyed from darkness to light. The audience’s traversing of the abyss of sound was shepherded by flutist Mario Carolli and gave the listeners at least one wing. Thus, the event could pass without the need for any stimulants.
The 2010 Warsaw Autumn Festival came to a close with two drastically different works, Le Livre de la vie, a magnum opus of the mystical Russian composer, Nicolai Obukhov, and Karkas, by the Dutch composer Cornelis de Bondt. Obukhov wrote his mammoth composition (estimated duration between 12 and 24 hours) for performances during the Easter Vigil and the process of composing it took about a decade, beginning in 1918. The Warsaw Autumn Festival audience however had a chance to hear only about sixty minutes of work’s opening movement, Préface. Its highly chromatic harmonies were carefully interpreted by Sinfonia Varsovia led by Etienne Siebens. Vocal solos by soprano Agata Zubel, Andrew Watts (tenor-countertenor) and Bartosz Urbanowicz were particularly noticeable. As it is, the entire work still awaits its complete performance.
Mr. de Bondt’s Karkas, scored for sextuple winds, two Hammond organs and eight electric guitars was written to embody motion and indeed, each sound of the piece was like a movement of gears that were impossible to stop. The visual backdrop to the piece was provided by a slow-motion film of an exploding piano that was shown in reverse. From the smoke and tiny fragments, the audience gradually saw the old instrument assembled into its original state before the explosion. A palpable sound of relief was heard before the applause broke out—it sounded like the letter “F” for Finale, or the end of the Festival, finally.
KURKOWICZ AT OGRODY MUZYCZNE
On July 1, Polish violinist Joanna Kurkowicz was a soloist in the Inaugural Concert of the Festival “Ogrody Muzyczne” [Musical Gardens] in Warsaw, Poland in the courtyard of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Entitled “In Homage to Queen Elisabeth of Belgium...,” this concert exhibited one of the Festival’s themes this year: Belgian culture. The other theme was Chopin’s 200th Birthday. Ms. Kurkowicz performed the Violin Concerto No.7 for violin and orchestra by Grażyna Bacewicz with the Juventus Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Belgian conductor Robert Groslot.
ZUBEL ON CD ACCORD
Poems - Copland, Skriabin, Berg, Szymański
From the CD Accord website:
From a “Recording of the Month” review by William Hedley on musicweb-international.com:
OPiUM RECORDING PREMIERE
Back to Melody – Kilar, Małecki, Czarnecki
This CD is the debut recording of the OPiUM String Quartet and features world premiere recordings of works by Maciej Małecki and Sławomir Czarnecki as well as new string arrangement of an old favorite by Wojciech Kilar, Orawa. This recording was made with the support of Polskie Radio II.
According to the OPiUM Quartet’s website:
KARŁOWICZ & KILAR ON POLSKIE NAGRANIA
This disc was nominated for a 2010 Fryderyk Award in the “Concert and Symphonic Music” category.
GREILSAMMER PLAYS TANSMAN
TANSMAN – BOULANGER - GERSHWIN
From UK distributors Presto Classical:
[Other sources: classicsonline.com]
PENDERECKI ON NAXOS
From the Naxos website:
AUGUSTYN PLAYS PREMIERE RECORDING
Michael White: Solo Piano Music
Although most of the recordings on this CD are of music for solo piano, the final piece is for piano quintet and features up-and-coming Polish violinist Kinga Augustyn (pictured at right). Augustyn and White are both at the Juilliard School of Music
Michael White was born in Chicago and received his musical education at The Juilliard School, where he studied with Peter Mennin and Vincent Persichetti. He has composed music in virtually every medium, with an emphasis on vocal works. One of his operas, Diary of a Madwoman, was commissioned and premiered in Riga, Latvia, and another, The Dybbuk, had its premiere at the World's Fair in Seattle, Washington. A third opera, The Metamorphosis, had its first performance at the Theater of Living Arts in Philadelphia. Mr. White has also written a children's opera based on the stories of Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass. His other compositions include a large number of chamber works, song cycles, and the recent Concerto for Viola. He has received multiple awards and grants for his compositions, including three Ford Foundation Fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship; grants have come from the Soros Foundation, the Fels Foundation, the Arts Councils of New York and Pennsylvania, ASCAP, the Oberlin Conservatory, and UNESCO. [Biography excerpted from www.wintergreenperformingarts.org]
HERDZIN CONTEMPORARY MUSIC RECORDING
With this new album Krzysztof Herdzin, a well-known pianist and jazz composer who celebrates his 40th birthday this year, provides his audience with a new face as a composer of contemporary music. One can also easily identify echoes of Russian symphonic tradition, kinship with Mieczysław Karłowicz or Karol Szymanowski, similarities to film music, or delicately jazzy feelings in certain shadings of harmonies and rhythmic features. Yet, according to Maciej Karłowski who provided liner notes for the recording, Herdzin infuses his personal expression with both the musical tradition and his own musical experience, and this is the most important trait of this disc… regardless of performer, Herdzin’s music speaks with his own unique voice.
[Source: polmic.pl; Transl: MZ]
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Copyright 2010 by the Polish Music Center
Send your comments and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski & Patryk Dawid Chlastawa
Layout Assistance: Charles Bragg
Marek Żebrowski, Joanna Kurkowicz, Kinga Augustyn,
Vladek Juszkiewicz & Daniel J. Kij
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute (NY & UK), Adam Mickiewicz Institute,
Nowy Dziennik, Polish Music Information Centre - Warsaw, Polish American Journal,
Poland.pl, PAP, ZKP, infochopin.pl, Ruch Muzyczny, Gazeta Wyborcza
Formatting by Krysta Close, October 8, 2010.
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