Polish Music Newsletter

October 2011, Vol. 17, No. 10. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California

Anniversaries  |  Awards | Discography | Festivals | News 
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November 10-13, 2011

Paderewski Festival in Paso RoblesPaso Robles, CA – The 2011 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles celebrates the legacy of Ignacy Jan Paderewski with four days of concerts and special events featuring internationally renowned performers (including Leszek Możdżer, Eduard Kunz, and New West Guitar Group), young pianists from the Central Coast Region, master classes, wine tasting and a special lecture on Paderewski and California. The Festival will be held in several venues throughout Paso Robles, California, from November 10-13. 

In the mid-1930s, Paderewski expressed a wish to establish free music education for talented youth in Paso Robles, a community where he owned large ranches with vineyards and almond groves. This year’s Festival will again honor Paderewski’s initiative to bring music to fellow Californians by making all concerts during the 2011 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles free of charge.  However, as a nonprofit organization, the Paderewski Festival welcomes donations.

To accommodate the highest possible number of concertgoers, reservations are strongly suggested by going to the shop page of the Festival website, www.paderewskifest.com, e-mailing info@paderewskifest.com, or calling (805) 769-4622.  Otherwise, seating will be on a first-come basis. 



Festival Opening Concert of Polish Music

Performers:           Cuesta College North County Campus Choir
Venue:                  Vina Robles Winery, 3700 Mill Road, Paso Robles
Time:                    6 p.m. no-host wine reception with concert to follow at 7 p.m.
Admission:            Free
Donations:            Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles

The 2011 Paderewski Festival will open with an evening of choral music performed by Cuesta College North County Chorus led by Cassandra Tarantino.  Waclaw z Szamotul, the most important composer of the Polish Renaissance and court composer to King Sigismund Augustus II, will be represented by his evocative song Daylight Declines. Feliks Nowowiejski’s rousing setting of Hymn of 1910, and a celebrated patriotic poem by Maria Konopnicka will follow.  Other items on the program include music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Rene Clausen and USC Thornton School of Music professor Morten Lauridsen.


Master Class with Pianist Eduard Kunz
Venue:                   California Polytechnic Arts Center, Building 45, Room 218, San Luis Obispo
Time:                     2-4 p.m.
Admission:            Free

Polish Jazz Concert
Performer:            Leszek Możdżer
Venue:                 Cass Winery, 7350 Linne Road, Paso Robles
Time:                    6 p.m. no-host wine reception; 7 p.m.concert
Admission:            Free 
Donations:            Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles

Widely acclaimed as one of the most brilliant and original jazz pianists today, Leszek Możdżer (at right) will present a solo program largely based on his recently-released album of film music and jazz compositions by Krzysztof Komeda (1931-1969). Komeda wrote soundtracks to several of Roman Polanski's films, including Knife in the Water and Rosemary's Baby. Signature tunes from these celebrated silver screen classics will receive a sparkling treatment from Mozdzer, whose virtuoso interpretations of Komeda's music elicited high praise from music critics worldwide.


Lecture:"Paderewski, Modjeska, and the California Environment"
Lecturer:                Kenneth H. Marcus, Ph.D.
Venue:                   Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, 2010 Riverside Road, Paso Robles
Time:                     11 a.m.
Admission:             Free
Donations:             Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles

Dr. Kenneth H. Marcus, Associate Professor of History and Director of the International Studies Institute at the University of LaVerne, is author of Musical Metropolis: Los Angeles and the Creation of a Music Culture, 1880-1940, published in 2004.

The 2011 Youth Piano Competition Winners’ Concert
Performers:           Winners of the 2011 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition
Venue:                   Paso Robles Inn, Ballroom, 1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles
Time:                     4:00 p.m.
Admission:            Free
Donations:            Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles

The 2011 Paderewski Festival Gala Concert
Performer:            Eduard Kunz
Venue:                  Paso Robles Inn, Ballroom, 1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles
Time:                    8 p.m.
Admission:            Free
Donations:            Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles

Prizewinner of 13 major international piano competitions, including First Prize at the 2010 Paderewski International Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz, Poland, pianist Eduard Kunz (at left) was named among “Tomorrow’s Ten Great Pianists” by BBC Music Magazine.  Born in Siberia in 1980, Kunz studied piano at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England.  He will present a program of romantic virtuoso works opening with selections from Paderewski’s miniatures, including the celebrated Menuet, Op. 14, followed by a selection of Chopin’s Nocturnes and Waltzes, and Ballade No. 1, Op. 23. In honor of the bicentennial of another great piano virtuoso, Franz Liszt, the second half of Kunz’s recital will present Liszt’s transcription of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A minor, the complete set of his Six Consolations and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12.


Historic Paderewski Vineyard & Estate Tour, Jazz Concert & Lunch (Fundraiser)
Tour Venue:         Epoch Estate Wines, 5414 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles
Time:                   10 a.m.
Concert Venue:    Epoch Estate Wines Tasting Room, 7505 York Mountain Road, Templeton
Performers:          New West Guitar Group
Time:                   12 p.m. lunch with concert to follow at 1 p.m.
Admission:           Vineyard Tour, lunch with Epoch Estate Wines and concert: $125 per person
                            Lunch with Epoch Estate Wines and concert: $50 per person
                            Lunch only and concert: $35 per person
                            Concert only: Free

Featuring three young guitar virtuosos – Perry Smith, John Storie and Jeff Stein – the New West Guitar Group’s original music combines the foundation of jazz with elements of blues, rock and folk.  They will play pieces from their fourth and latest album Round Trip Ticket, released October 2011, which combines the different timbres of acoustic and electric guitar that is their signature sound.

A 2011 Friends of Paderewski VIP Pass, which includes the Sunday Epoch Estate Wines vineyard tour, lunch with wine and concert, plus preferred seating at the lecture and all performances, is available for $150 per person. Purchase at the Festival website shop page at www.paderewskifest.com, e-mailing info@paderewskifest.com or calling (805)769-4622.

* * * * *


In a short time we are going to my home in California.  When my tour is over, you (Polish composer, musicologist and close friend Henryk Opienski) and I will settle down to teach music to talented children.  In a few years, we should be able to start several good artists on careers that will be worthy of the names of Opienski and Paderewski. … Everything is to be free in our school (financed from Paderewski's tours). … Good people have helped me all my life; then why should I not help others?  Good people had confidence in me; when I was discouraged, they gave me faith in myself.  This is what I will do for young musicians, and they in turn will enrich the hearts and spirits of people all over the world.

Ignacy Jan Paderewski, late 1930s

He was a wild-haired rock star, a world-famous pianist and composer who sold out concerts from Paris to Los Angeles.  He appeared twice on the cover of TIME magazine. He served as independent Poland’s first prime minister, befriended every American president from William McKinley to Franklin D. Roosevelt and hobnobbed with the crowned heads of Europe.                    

Sarah Linn, The Tribune, San Luis Obispo, November 6, 2008

Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) was a virtuoso pianist, composer, statesman, humanitarian and orator. Although his bold political vision for a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural United States of Poland was never realized, his musical legacy continues to inspire generations of musicians all around the globe.

Paso Robles is proud of its most famous resident, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who visited this Central California city on many occasions for 25 years between 1914 and 1939.  He stayed in the El Paso Hotel (now the Paso Robles Inn) and took cures in Paso Robles’ hot springs. He eventually bought nearly 3,000 acres of farmland in Paso Robles, Rancho San Ignacio and Rancho Santa Helena, where he planted wine grapes, almonds and a variety of fruit trees. In addition to his musical and political accomplishments, he also is remembered as a pioneer of vine cultivation and credited with bringing Zinfandel wine grapes to California.

To commemorate Paderewski’s association with Paso Robles, the Paderewski Festival was launched in 1991.  The festival was suspended temporarily from 2001 to 2006, when it was re-launched under the leadership of the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and Paso Roblans led by Steve Cass of Cass Winery and Joel Peterson, grandson of the Paderewski Festival's founder Virginia Peterson.

A sister city agreement between Tarnów, Poland and Paso Robles, California, was signed in 2008 with the goal of establishing cultural, educational, personal and commercial exchanges between the two cities that share historical ties to Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The first such exchange program was held in June 2009, when three young pianists from California’s Central Coast—finalists from the 2007 and 2008 Paderewski Youth Piano Competitions in Paso Robles (pictured at left in Kraków)—participated in a series of piano workshops and master classes alongside three Polish students. The program was held at the manor house of Paderewski’s former estate, Kąśna Dolna, in the province of Tarnów. American and Polish students performed jointly in concerts in Kąśna Dolna and at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Wines from Paso Robles were featured in tastings during receptions following each of the youth concerts. In 2010, three Polish students came to Paso Robles for master classes, performances and U.S. cultural exchange, and in 2011 three students from California’s Central Coast returned to Poland, participating in a cultural exchange alongside piano students from the Tarnów region of Poland and the Zhytomyr region of the Ukraine, three areas that share historical ties to the personal life of Paderewski.   They were accompanied by an official delegation from Paso Robles who explored further cultural and economic ties with the region, and fundraising opportunities for the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and related projects.Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles

The Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles is a non-profit organization that sponsors an annual series of concerts featuring internationally acclaimed artists, the Paderewski Youth Piano Competition and Exchange Program, and other Paderewski-themed events throughout the year. Visit www.paderewskifest.com to learn more.

[Source: Press release, Photo (Możdżer): Nikodem Krajewski]




Stanisław Skrowaczewski

October 3, 2011, marks the eighty-eighth birthday of Stanisław Skrowaczewski, one of the world’s leading conductors whose career has spanned many decades and continents. Born in Lwów, Poland in 1923, he first studied piano and violin but settled on the conducting career after World War II, enjoying a succession of appointments as music director of Wrocław, Katowice, and Kraków Philharmonic Orchestras as well as the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw.

After studying composition in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and conducting with Paul Kletzki in the mid 1950s, Skrowaczewski won the Santa Cecilia Competition for Conductors in Rome in 1956 and was invited by Maestro George Szell to conduct the Cleveland Orchestra in 1958. Shortly thereafter, Skrowaczewski settled in the United States and his long association with the Minneapolis Symphony (later renamed the Minnesota Orchestra) began with his appointment as music director of this distinguished ensemble in 1960. After nearly two decades in Minneapolis, Skrowaczewski became conductor laureate of the orchestra and, throughout the 1980s and the 1990s was principal conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, England.

During his concert-rich six decades of conducting, Stanisław Skrowaczewski has led almost all of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Philadelphia, London, New York, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Saarbrücken, Concertgebouw, French National, Warsaw, Zuirich, and Nippon Symphony Orchestras, as well as Vienna State Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera orchestras, among others. Throughout his career, Skrowaczewski has recorded for Columbia Records, RCA, Chandos, Arte Nova, and Pickwick/Carlton labels. Particularly noted are his interpretations of the complete cycles of Bruckner and Beethoven Symphonies. During his tenure with the Minnesota Orchestra he recorded a complete cycle of Ravel’s symphonic music, and his Bruckner Ninth Symphony recording with that ensemble was nominated for the Grammy Award. 

In addition to his busy performing schedule, Stanisław Skrowaczewski is also a noted composer, who started writing music as a teenager. His compositions were recognized with the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award (1976) and garnered two Pulitzer Prize for Music nominations (1997 and 1999). Maestro Skrowaczewski’s catalogue of compositions includes such works as Four Symphonies (1936; 1945; 1947; and 1954), Overture (1947), Music at Night (1951), Concerto for English horn and Orchestra (1969), Ricercari Nocturni (1976), Clarinet Concerto (1981), Violin Concerto (1985), Fanfare (1987), Triple Concerto (1991), Concerto for Orchestra (1999), Symphony (2003), and Music for Winds (2009). In addition to these large-scale works, Maestro Skrowaczewski’s catalogue also extends to chamber music, including: four string quartets; a string trio; Trio for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano; six Piano Sonatas; and a cycle of three works entitled Fantasie for small ensembles of winds and strings.

SeekingTheInfinite.jpgThis full and deeply fascinating life has finally been immortalized in Maestro Skrowaczewski’s first full-length biography, Seeking the Infinite – The Musical Life of Stanisław Skrowaczewski by Frederick Edward Harris Jr. The book is the product of a decade-long research effort and is based on hundreds of interviews with the Maestro. The author draws a very sympathetic and captivating portrait of the conductor, composer, and mountain climber, and shares some of Skrowaczewski’s personal and professional triumphs and tragedies. The foreword to the book—supplied by another prominent American composer and conductor, Gunther Schuller—gives an excellent introduction to Skrowaczewski’s truly unique position in the music world today.

Maestro Skrowaczewski’s ties to the Polish Music Center date back to 1984 when, following Wanda Wilk’s suggestion, he donated the manuscripts of three of his works to the Center’s manuscript collection: Violin Concerto, Op. 18 (1940); Symfonia na smyczki [Symphony for Strings], Op. 25 (1949); and Uwertura [Overture] (1954). Witold Lutosławski was the other initial donor and the scores from these two prominent Polish musicians became the foundation for one of the world’s most important repositories of manuscripts by modern Polish composers. Today the PMC collection holds over 100 manuscripts by such acknowledged masters as Bacewicz, Baird, Laks, Meyer, Penderecki, Ptaszyńska, Schaeffer and Tansman, among many others. The most recent additions include the archives of Sigismond and Luisa Stojowski and the newly discovered manuscripts of symphonic music by Henry Vars [Henryk Wars].

Maestro Skrowaczewski spent two weeks in residence on the USC campus in September of 2004, appearing in the Polish Music Center’s annual Paderewski Lecture as well as conducting rehearsals, workshops, and concerts, and meeting with the local Polish cultural organizations such as the Helena Modjeska Club of Los Angeles. At that time, the Polish Music Center received another priceless donation from the Maestro—two of his manuscripts, including Prelude-Fugue-Postlude for Orchestra and Music at Night (1949).

Maestro Skrowaczewski’s latest composition, Music for Winds—co-commissioned by Thornton School of Music at USC—will receive its World Premiere on Sunday, October 30, 2011 by the USC Thornton Wind Ensemble, directed by H. Robert Reynolds. The concert begins at 4:00 p.m. at Bovard Auditorium and the admission is free. Please come and celebrate Maestro Skrowaczewski’s birthday and the premiere of his latest composition!

Sunday, October 30, 2011 | 4:00 p.m.
Music for Winds
– World Premiere
University of Southern California – Bovard Auditorium
Admission: FREE, Parking: $8
Info: web-app.usc.edu

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kilar_hevelius.jpgThe latest composition of Wojciech Kilar, entitled Lumen, will have its World Premiere on October 5 in the European Parliament in Brussels. The performance commemorates the 400th birthday of Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687), a prominent astronomer who was also a councilman and mayor of the City of Gdańsk. Written for a cappella choir, the work uses selections from the Polish translation of Psalm 136 as text. Lumen was commissioned by the Polish Chamber Choir from Gdańsk and will be performed by the ensemble, led by Jan Łukaszewski—current director and brother of the ensembles’ founder, Ireneusz Łukaszewski. An exhibit on the life of Hevelius will accompany the concert.

Monday, October 5, 2011 | 5:00 p.m.
World Premiere of Kilar’s Lumen & Celebration of Johannes Hevelius

European Parliament - Paul-Henri Spaak building, Yehudi Menuhin space
Rue Wiertz 60, Brussels, Belgium

NOSPR-logo-sm.jpgOn Friday, October 14, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (NOSPR) will inaugurate another artistic season with the World Premiere of Wojciech Kilar’s Piano Concerto No. 2, under the direction of Jacek Kasprzyk. The solo for the Concerto will be performed by Beata Bilińska, 1st prize winner at the Rina Sala Gallo Competition in Monza and finalist of the Feruccio Busoni Competition in Bolzano, Italy.

The Concerto is scored for piano, string orchestra, and percussion. Its four movements open with a meditative, slow introductory movement that imitates the tolling of funeral bells. The Concerto’s third movement is similarly somber in character. The second and fourth movements are very lively and dynamic, with highly effective use of Kilar’s favorite minimalist techniques—both in terms of repetitive melodic cells and rhythmic ostinato figures. The Concerto is about 22 minutes long and is published by PWM Editions.

Audiences in Katowice and listeners to Polish Radio Programme 2 will also have an opportunity to hear Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 4 “Tragic” and the symphonic poem Tod und Verklärung [Death and Transfiguration] by Richard Strauss on the same program.

Friday, October 14, 2011 | 7:30 p.m.
World Premiere of Kilar’s Piano Concerto No. 2 & NOSPR Season Inauguration
Grzegorz Fitelberg Concert Hall
Plac Sejmu Śląskiego 2, 40-032 Katowice, Poland

[Sources: pwm.com.pl, nospr.org.pl]

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Capella Cracoviensis, an ensemble devoted to performances of ancient music on historical instruments, has been gripped by a protest strike. The new artistic director, Jan Tomasz Adamus, requested personnel changes in the ensemble and demanded competitive auditions for those who wanted to remain in the group. Musicians who did not agree to audition were fired. Others picketed the Old Market Square and wore t-shirts to concerts with messages: Save Our Capella.

The musicians who were fired accused the new artistic director of insufficient professional qualifications. His reply to the press stressed that the new ensemble is not only better but more popular, with programs of masses by Bach, Mozart and Beethoven being well-received by the public.

[Source: rmfclassic.pl, muzyka.onet.pl]

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Aleksandra Kurzak and Ruxandra Donose in LA Opera’s production of Cosi fan tutte.
Photo: Robert Millard for LA Opera

Polish-born soprano Aleksandra Kurzak has made her debut at the Los Angeles Opera in the role of Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. She recently made her La Scala debut as Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto. Her appearances for the 2011/12 season include the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor in Warsaw, Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore at the Vienna Staatsoper, Gretel in Hansel und Gretel at the Metropolitan Opera, Susanna in L'Elisir d'Amore at Covent Garden, La Scala and Vienna Staatsoper, and Violetta in La Traviata in Warsaw and at the Berlin Staatsoper.

Running throughout the second half of September, Cosi fan tutte has the following production dates in October: Sunday, 10/2 at 2:00 p.m.; Wednesday, 10/5 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, 10/8 at 2:00 p.m. 

[Sources: Press release, laopera.com]

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On October 28 and 30, Opera Circle presents Król Roger [King Roger] by Karol Szymanowski in Cleveland. The cast is comprised of: Krzysztof Biernacki, baritone (Roger II, King of Sicily); Dorota Sobieska, soprano (Roksana, his wife); Andrzej Stec, tenor (Shepherd); David Sadlier, tenor (Edrisi, Wiseman of the Orient); Ray Liddle, bass (Archbishop); and Laura Avdey, mezzo-soprano (Deaconess). The Opera Circle Orchestra will be led by Maestro Domenico Boyagian.

Left: Andrzej Stec, tenor, and Dorota Sobieska, soprano

Dr. Peter Laki of Bard College presents the following Introduction to this ground-breaking opera by the ‘father of modern Polish music’:

"My God is beautiful, like me”—sings a mysterious, charismatic, and irresistibly erotic character in Polish composer Karol Szymanowski’s 1926 opera King Roger. Vital issues of religion, sexuality, and politics commingle in this still-underappreciated masterpiece, which boldly asks the question as to whether a head of state may allow himself to follow his own desires or must abide by the rigid rules on which his kingdom is founded. The dilemma is an ancient one: the libretto, originally written by the eminent Polish poet Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz but thoroughly reworked by the composer (they were cousins), was freely based on Euripides’ tragedy The Bacchae. Yet it hardly needs to be stressed that the dilemma is also a very modern one, perhaps even more timely today than it was in the 1920s.

Szymanowski (1882-1937) was a contemporary of Stravinsky and Schoenberg, but followed a personal path that couldn’t have been more different from theirs. He was most strongly marked by two composers who had died in the 1910’s: Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915). To the Frenchman’s impressionism and the Russian’s mysticism he added a great love for the Middle East and an intense poetic passion all his own. A master orchestrator, he conveys his message by means of a lush instrumental texture; in the opera, the role of the orchestra is perhaps even more important than that of the singers.

Roger, the title character, was Roger II (1095-1154), King of Sicily, who played an important role in establishing the Mediterranean island as one of the major political powers in medieval Europe. Yet we learn very little about his actual feats from the opera, which revolves almost entirely around Roger’s inner turmoil. There are two more important characters besides the King: his wife Roksana and the mysterious Shepherd who sings the above-quoted line about God. (Szymanowski originally planned to call the opera The Shepherd.) The Shepherd appears in the realm as a messenger from an unknown world, with hedonistic ideas that threaten to undermine the Christian kingdom. Roksana immediately falls for the Shepherd’s message, but Roger initially resists. What will he decide in the end?

The opera is in three acts that, in terms of their musical style and artistic inspiration, may be characterized as the Byzantine, the Oriental, and the Ancient Greek act, respectively. All three cultures were palpably present in Sicily, and when Szymanowski travelled there as a young man, he was able to see traces of all three in Roger’s magnificent palace in the city of Palermo. Opera Circle’s performance of King Roger, thus, will take us on a trip to the far away and long ago, but at the same time remind us of the timelessness of the issues addressed. Most importantly: the music is incredibly beautiful, unlike anything else you’ve heard before. King Roger is sure to prove an unforgettable theatrical experience.

October 28 & 30, 2011 | 7:30 p.m.
Opera Circle presents Król Roger
First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland
3630 Fairmount Blvd. Shaker Heights, OH 44118
Information: call Opera Circle at 216 441 2822 or email tickets@operacircle.org

[Source: operacircle.org]

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passenger-eno.jpgPasażerka [The Passenger]—the first opera by Polish composer Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996)—has had quite a successful rise since its World Premiere on July 21, 2010 during the Bregenzer Festpiele. The Festpiele was dedicated to the works of the composer and Pasażerka had an entire section of the journal Krytyka muzyczna (3/2010) dedicated to it in 2010 as well.

Currently in rotation at the prestigious English National Opera, Pasażerka will be performed on October 7, 13, 15, 22 and 25 at 7:30pm. The following description is provided by the ENO website:

An encounter between two women—one a former Auschwitz guard, the other a former prisoner—plunges them both back into the horrors of the Holocaust, pitting perpetrator against victim in a moral battle between guilt and denial, retribution and absolution.

Based upon a semi-autobiographical novel by Auschwitz survivor Zofia Posmysz, Polish composer Mieczysław Weinberg’s 1968 opera The Passenger was effectively banned in the USSR and only finally received its triumphant stage premiere at last year’s Bregenz Festival, 14 years after Weinberg’s death. Hailed as ‘a work that demands and deserves to be seen’ (Opera), this 20th century masterpiece, by a composer whose music has been characterised as ‘Shostakovich with a Jewish accent’, now comes to ENO in David Pountney’s shatteringly intense staging, conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong.

Read a review of the ENO production at www.classical-music.com.

[Source: eno.org, bregenzerfestspiele.com]

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The 12th Annual Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles will take place from October 11-21, 2011. The festival will open with Black Thursday by Antoni Krauze and a star-studded gala during which both Polish and American moviemakers will walk the red carpet at Hollywood's legendary Egyptian Theatre. The gala kicks off an extravagant, ten-day-long celebration of Polish Cinema Most films are screened at the Laemmle's Sunset 5, however events also take place at CSUN Cinematheque, the Amity Foundation and The Village at Sherman Oaks.

This year’s Festival features several special events with the musicians behind the films. First, on Friday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m., composer Paweł Mykietyn (pictured at left) will participate in a Q&A with Vincent Coppola and Patrick Nichelson following the screening of their film Essential Killing by Jerzy Skolimowski at the CSUN Cinematheque “Reel Dilemmas” Series in Northridge, CA. Then, on Tuesday October 18 at 9:00 p.m., Bartłomiej Gliniak will be present for the screening of Joanna by Feliks Falk, which he scored. And on Thursday October 20 at 9:00 p.m., composer and USC Thornton School of Music graduate Ludek Drizhal will participate in the screening of his most recent project (Entanglement) with his regular collaborator, director Jacek Bromski.

For details on all events, please visit www.polishfilmla.org.

[Sources: Festival brochure, polishfilmla.org]

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Battle of Warsaw, the latest epic film by director Jerzy Hoffmann, opened on  September 30, 2011 to record-setting box office receipts in over 140 cinemas throughout Poland. The film is first Polish 3D production and depicts the so-called “miracle on the Vistula,” when the Polish Army defeated Soviet Army’s attack on Poland’s capital in August of 1920.

The score was written by Krzesimir Dębski, who previously collaborated with Jerzy Hoffman on such well-known films as Stara baśń [An Old Tale] or Ogniem i mieczem [With Fire and Sword]. The composer also plays a small screen role in the film. Battle of Warsaw opens in the United Kingdom on October 7 and in the United States a week later.

[Source: filmneweurope.com]

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Andrzej PanufnikMarking the 20th anniversary of Andrzej Panufnik’s death, a concert in his name will take place in London’s Cadogan Hall on October 28, 2011. It will give audiences the opportunity to listen to the most accomplished works of Polish chamber music: Karol Szymanowski – Kurpian Songs (selections) and String Quartet No. 2, op. 56; Roxanna Panufnik – Second Home (version for string quartet, piano and voice); Juliusz Zarębski – Piano Quintet in G minor, op.34.

In addition to some of the greatest works of Polish chamber music, this concert brings together world-renown performers: Olga Pasiecznik – soprano, Kevin Kenner – piano, Szymanowski Quartet: Andrej Bielow and Grzegorz Kotów (Violin), Vladimir Mykytka (Viola), and Marcin Sieniawski (Cello).

The concert is organized by Pro Musica Mundi—a non-profit association that promotes music, artists, concerts and festivals—and is cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. Both artists and organizers have dedicated the concert in memory of composer Andrzej Panufnik, whose 20th death anniversary falls on October 27.

October 28, 2011 | 7:30 pm
Polish Chamber Music Gems In Memory of Andrzej Panufnik
Cadogan Hall - London
Tickets: £25, £20, £15

[Source: culture.pl]

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Czerneckabeata.jpgEdmonton, AB — The Polish Culture Society of Edmonton is pleased to welcome one of Poland's most exceptional singers and actresses, Ms. Beata Czernecka, who will perform for Edmonton audiences on 2 October 2011.  The evening, entitled "Songs of the Soul" and featuring a selection of traditional Polish and Jewish repertoire, sung in its respective languages, Polish and Yiddish, is part of the Festival of Polish Culture 2011, which runs in Edmonton until 6 November.

Ms. Beata Czernecka, very justly acclaimed as one of Poland's most unique stage voices active today, holds two Master degrees—one in Theatre Performance and the other in Philosophy.  This broad professional and intellectual background has brought about "interpretive originality" and "deepest, extramusical cultural awareness".  Her interest in and thorough research into the traditional repertoire of Central Europe, always presented in its original linguistic context, has resulted in Ms Beata Czernecka's being hailed by the critics and audiences alike as, simply, "breath-taking", "perfect", and "positively thought-provoking". Accompanied by two outstanding musicians, violinist Michał Półtorak and pianist Paweł Pierzchała, Ms. Czernecka will present a programme of old Polish and Jewish songs, for whose interpretations she is widely recognised and praised. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011 | 7:30 P.M.
Beata Czernecka
- "Songs of the Soul"
Yardbird Suite – Old Strathcona, 11 Tommy Banks Way
Tickets: $20 (adults) and $10 (seniors and students)
Further information: 780-732-3599 or polishculturesociety.com

[Source: polishculturesociety.com]

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WrykMarta.jpgMezzo-soprano Marta Wyrk and pianist Magdalena Baczewska— two Polish-born musicians now based in New York—will perform a recital at the Kosciuszko Foundation on October 14. Their program will feature the music of Grzegorz Fitelberg, Witold Lutosławski, Samuel Barber and Franz Schubert, with poetry by Goethe, Rilke, Tuwim, Miciński, Dehmel and Verlaine. Featured on this recital will be a rare performance of Fitelberg’s Dwie pieśni [Two songs]: “Tam nad jeziorem’ [Down by the lake] and “Jasna noc” [Clear night].

Polish mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk is a recitalist and opera singer performing throughout the United States and in Europe. She has been praised by Bruce-Michael Gelbert in Q on Stage for her “radiance [and her] clear sound and assured presence,” and by Roman Markowicz in the Polish Daily News for her “noble sound and natural stage presence.” While a student at the Manhattan School of Music, she performed the role of Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Mirtillo in Handel`s Il Pastor Fido and Third Lady in The Magic Flute. In summer of 2010, she covered Gondi in Maria di Rohan and Clotilde in Norma at the Bel Canto at the Caramoor Festival.  Recently, Ms. Wryk won first prize at the International Voice Competition in Gorizia, Italy.

baczewskamagdalena.jpgPraising her "world-class playing," The American Record Guide calls Polish-born pianist and harpsichordist Magdalena Baczewska "clearly a rising star." Combining profound musicianship, passion for educating and a gift of public speaking, Baczewska is increasingly known for her innovative recital programming ideas and making her audiences think. "Baczewska enlightens…" wrote Greg Stepanich in the Palm Beach Arts Paper after her 2009 Miami appearance. She was described as "imaginative and instructive, a player of taste, purity of tone, and clarity of line." The same author further noted her "admirable sensitivity, impressive technique and ability to muster plenty of interpretive fire…" Magdalena treats each performance not as a mere showcase of her talent but a gift of knowledge and perspective. Considering herself a musical sommelier, she finds inventive pairings of repertoire and sheds new light on her audiences' favorite music.

Friday, October 14, 2011 | 7:30 PM
Recital of songs with Polish mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk

The Kosciuszko Foundation
15 East 65th Street, New York City
Admission: $20/$15
Information: thekf.org

Magdalena Baczewska will also perform Lutosławski’s music on another recital in October, this time in two-piano fashion. Also on the program will be repertoire for two pianos by Brahms, Copland and Mozart.

Sunday, October 9th | 2:00 PM
Faculty two-piano recital with pianist Joanne Polk
Montclair State University – Jed Leshowitz Recital Hall
1 Normal Avenue, Montclair NJ
Free Admission
Information: montclair.edu

[Sources: Press release, magdalenabaczewska.com, martawryk.operabelcanto.net]

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Beata BilińskaPiotr Sułkowski, the artistic director of the Warmia-Mazury Philharmonic Orchestra in Olsztyn, decided to fill in the gap in the orchestral concert calendar with a series of piano recitals presented by several internationally recognized pianists. The cycle will begin with the recital of Beata Bilińska (shown at left), who will present a program of works by Chopin and Mussorgsky. Other pianists featured in the series include Kevin Kenner and Paweł Wakarecy.

Besides classically-oriented programming, the Philharmonic will also present lighter fare with appearances by Marek Tomaszewski (a former duet partner of the late Marek & Wacek ensemble) and Leszek Możdżer.

[Source: rmfclassic.pl]

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Kinga Augustyn“An adventurous performer valuable to New York’s scene” (NY Concert Review) and “a violinist for whom nothing seems too difficult," Polish violinist Kinga Augustyn made her New York debut in Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall, in 2008, and has also released a CD with Niccolo Paganini’s 24 Caprices for Violin Solo. Having distinguished herself as both a virtuoso and scholar of the instrument during the early part of her career, she earned her Bachelors and Mas-ters degrees at The Juilliard School, where she studied with Cho Liang Lin, Naoko Tanaka, and Dorothy DeLay. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the SUNY, Stony Brook, where her teachers have included Philippe Graffin, Philip Setzer, and Pamela Frank. Augustyn’s upcoming NY concerts are:

Chamber Music Concert: Cynthia Wong – Piano Quartet (2010)
Elebash Recital Hall, Graduate Center (CUNY) - 365 5th Ave., New York, NY 10016-4309
Performed with Karina Glasinovic (piano), Wendy Law (cello) and William Hakim (viola)

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2011 | 12:30 PM
Strad for Lunch Recital
WMP Recital Hall - 31 East 28th Street, New York, NY 10016
Kinga Augustyn (violin), Anna Shelest (piano)

[Sources: Press release, kingaaugustyn.com]

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ijp_coins.jpgOn August 29, the National Bank of Poland put three coins commemorating the eminent Polish pianist and statesman, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, into circulation. This year marks 70 years since Paderewski’s death.

The gold, 200 zloty coin (shown at right) features an image of the eagle and a ribbon in white and red, symbolic of the national colors of Poland. The reverse depicts the bust of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, seen in profile. 3000 copies of this coin, 27 mm in diameter, were minted. The silver, 10 zloty coin depicts the figure of the pianist at the piano. The reverse features a fragment of Paderewski’s bust en face and a silhouette of the eagle, which alludes to the coat of arms of the Republic of Poland from 1919. The National Bank of Poland minted 50,000 copies of the 10 zloty coin, 32 mm in diameter. A Nordic Gold, 2 zloty coin depicts a fragment of Paderewski’s bust with the outline of a piano in the background. Minted in 800,000 copies, it is 27 mm in diameter.

Images and statistics for all three coins can be found on the National Bank of Poland website.

[Source: beethoven.org.pl]



The Casimir the Great University in Bydgoszcz has been planning to award Henryk Mikołaj Górecki an honorary doctorate degree since 2009. Unfortunately, failing health prevented the composer from travelling to Bydgoszcz for the ceremony. Only a year later, in November 2010, Górecki died and the degree award ceremony was moved to the 49th Music Festival in Bydgoszcz (September 9 - October 7, 2011) .

The composer’s daughter, Anna, accept the award on behalf of her father during a concert on September 30. She also performed her father’s Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra, Op. 40. Zbigniew Rychert will lead the Pomeranian Symphony Orchestra in the program that will also include Capriccio by Górecki’s son, Mikołaj, and Wojciech Kilar’s Krzesany

Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra, Op. 40, is considered to be one of the most popular in Górecki’s catalogue. It was commissioned by the Polish Radio and premiered in 1980 by the strings of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, led by Stanisław Wisłocki. The soloist on that occasion was the harpsichord player Elżbieta Chojnacka, to whom the Concerto (in the version for harpsichord and strings) is dedicated.

[Source: rmfclassic.pl, Photo: Gerry Hurkens ]

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Having been announced in May, the winners of the prestigious Annual Polish Composers' Union Award [Nagroda ZKP] were presented with their awards on September 20, 2011 at a special ceremony held during the 54th Warsaw Autumn Festival. Recognizing outstanding creative accomplishments in composition, support, research and promotion of contemporary Polish music, the Annual ZKP Award has honored such luminaries as Penderecki, Stravinsky, and Messiaen in the past. The 2011 laureates are:


  • Marta Ptaszyńska (above left)—composer, percussionist and former Paderewski Lecturer (2005)—in recognition of her contribution to the dissemination of Polish musical culture in the world and for outstanding compositions
  • Andrzej Rakowski (above center)—accoustician—for his decades of dedication to raising the level of musical education in Poland and for integrating an inclusive attitude into Polish musical culture
  • Zbigniew Skowron (above right)—musicologist—for his work as editor and translator of his new book Myśl muzyczna Jeana-Jacquesa Rousseau [The musical ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau], which "fills an acute gap in Polish awareness of world culture"

At the same ceremony, ZKP also gave out its Honorary Awards to the following laureates:

Joel_Sachs.jpgJaroslaw Broda.jpgAndrzej Bauer.jpg

  • Joel Sachs (above left) — music historian and pianist—for the creation, organization and programming of the Focus! 2011 Festival: "Polish Modern: New Directions in Polish Music Since 1945" at the Juilliard School in New York
  • Jarosław Broda (above center) — director of the Cultural Department of the Municipal Office in Wrocław—for supporting composers and organizers of musical events in Wroclaw, including the Musica Polonica Nova and Musica Electronica Nova festivals, and for the development and implementation of a model of cooperation between local authorities (the City of Wrocław) and a non-governmental organization (the Polish Composers’ Union, ZKP)
  • Andrzej Bauer (above right) — cellist — for performing hundreds of concerts with works by Polish composers, for inspiring composers and commissioning works, and for an original contribution to the aesthetics of the field of contemporary Polish music

[Sources: Press release, polmic.pl]

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Ptaszynskapremiere_teatrwielkiLodz.jpgIn addition to the ZKP Annual Award described above, a Special Award for "invaluable achievements in Polish music and culture" was also bestowed on Marta Ptaszyńska by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski. Min. Zdrojewski also honored Ptaszyńska’s opera on Chopin, entitled The Lovers from the Cloister of Valldemosa, with the Award of the Minister for "outstanding realization and fascinating performance during the Chopin Year." 

The Lovers from the Cloister of Valldemosa was commissioned for the 2010 Chopin Bicentennial and premiered in December 2010 by the Grand Opera Theatre in Łódź, Poland. The premiere performance of the opera was screened twice last spring at the University of Chicago, where Marta Ptaszyńska serves as the Helen B. & Frank L. Sulzberger Professor of Music and the Humanities—see uchicago.edu for details about the opera.

[Source: Press release]

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Named after the Romantic-era Polish poet, the 2011Cyprian Kamil Norwid Prize is given in the categories of music, literature, theatre, and visual arts, for works or achievements in the Mazowsze Region during the year 2010. The nominees in the area of music included Alicja Knast (for her work in opening the Chopin Museum in Warsaw in 2010), Aleksander Kościów (for his composition Gorzkie żale for Female Choir and Eight Cellos), and Zygmunt Krauze (for the opera Polieukt premiered by the Warsaw Chamber Opera). The Norwid prizes range from 20-25 thousand PLN (ca. 7-9 thousand dollars) and were given at a gala ceremony at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on September 26. Alicja Knast

In the music section, the Norwid Prize was awarded to
Alicja Knast
(pictured at right), Curator of the Chopin Museum, who graduated with a music history degree from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Knast has worked at the National Museum in Poznań, taught at the London Metropolitan University and worked as a researcher at the Plymouth University in England. The award committee cited Ms. Knast’s “fundamental contribution and overseeing the opening of the Chopin Museum in Warsaw in 2010.”

[Source: polmic.pl, Photo: warszawa.gazeta.pl]

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October 1 is the International Music Day and it was celebrated in Warsaw with the announcement of the winners of the Koryfeusz Muzyki Polskiej Prize for the year 2011. The gala event was held at the Polish Radio Lutosławski Music Studio.

  • Łukasz Borowicz, conductor and artistic director of the Polish Radio Orchestra was the prize recipient in the category of Music Personality of the Year
  • The 16th International Chopin Piano Competition was proclaimed the Event of the Year
  • Jan Krenz, conductor and composer, received the honorary Lifetime Achievement Award

The gala included a concert of works by Stefan Kisielewski, Ludomir Różycki, and Witold Lutosławski, performed by the Polish Radio Orchestra led by Maestro Borowicz.

instytut muzyki i tańcaThis is the first time this particular award was given by the sponsor, the Polish Institute of Music and Dance [Instytut Muzyki i Tańca], which celebrated its first anniversary on October 1 as well.

[Source: polmic.pl ]



The 16th Festival of Polish Composers will be held in various venues around Bielsko- Biała from October 5-8, 2011. Formerly under the patronage of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (pictured at left), this year the Festival is held in memory of this great composer who died last November. The theme of the 2011 Festival is “Polish composers of film music.”


The inaugural concert on October 5 will feature Górecki’s Third Symphony “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs” and Penderecki’s Second Symphony, with Maestro Penderecki (above left) on the composer’s podium leading Sinfonia Varsovia and soprano soloist Iwona Hossa. On October 6, conductor Wojciech Rodek will lead Sinfonia Varsovia in a program of film music by composer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek (above center). The “Special Concert for Children” will be held on October 7, featuring film music by Waldemar Kazanecki, Zenon Kowalowski, and Tadeusz Kocyba.  Also on October 7 will be a concert dedicated to the film music of Wojciech Kilar (above right), performed by the Sląsk Philharmonic Orchestra from Katowice led by Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk. The final concert of the Festival, entitled “Story and Serials,” will feature the Bielska Festival Orchestra with conductor Janusz Powolny with soloists: Vadim Brodsky – saxophone and violin, Katarzyna Jamrós – vocals, and Tomasz Stockinger – vocals. The program is comprised of music from the film composers Waldemar Kazanecki, Krzysztof Komeda, Włodzimierz Korcz, Henryk Wars, Andrzej Kurylewicz, and Henryk Kuźniak.

[Sources: fkpbb.pl, sinfoniavarsovia.org]

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The International Festival of Films about Music KAMERaTON is one-of-a kind and an unprecedented event in Poland. This year, The Gorzów Philharmonic will proudly host its first edition (September 28 – October 2) in its new, magnificent building.

The program of KAMERaTON is versatile. It includes competition screenings, off-competition screenings and accompanying events. This year features concerts by Leszek Możdżer, Adam Bałdych with the Royal String Quartet and guest star Grażyna Auguścik; the Award Ceremony celebrating the film music of Krzesimir Dębski conducted by the composer himself; photo exhibitions; and film workshops for young people.

The co-organizer of the festival is the Miejski Ośrodek Sztuki (The City’s Art Centre), which will host off-competition screenings and a photo exhibition (‘jazz photos’ by Jan Bebel) and Jazz Club Pod Filarami, where young jazz musicians will perform Komeda’s compositions. The festival is co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Polish TV (TVP Kultura) and the Polish Radio (Channel 2) have assumed media patronage over the event.

The winners of the competition will receive the following awards: Grand Prix – a statue and a cash prize of 15.000 PLN; Awards for Best Works in the five competition categories (biography or portrait; concert or musical show; reportage film; music impression and music education) – statue and a cash prize of 5.000 PLN each. Best Polish Film about Music Award – statue. Audience Award, decided through audience poll – statue.

Although the call for entries was not announced until July 2011, with the submission deadline in the mid- August, the number of films submitted to the competition exceeded the wildest dreams of the organizers. Of the 120 films from over 12 countries, 46 made it to the competition.

The films will be evaluated by the international jury comprised of: Mr Bartosz Bryła, Mr Philip de la Croix (the director of Mezzo), Mr Ireneusz Engler, Mr Aleksander Maliszewski, MS Barbara Pietkiewicz, Mr Paweł Sztompke, Mr Petr Vlček (Polish film researcher and promoter) and Mr Robert Ćwikliński- the author of the project and the Director of the Festival.

[Source: kameraton.pl]

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For over seventy years Henryk Wieniawski has lent his name to international violin competitions. In 2011, the 14th edition of the competition in Poznań, Poland (held since 1952) will take place from October 8-23. Organizers at the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society are welcoming a new generation of young virtuosos, ones already brought up in the globalized world: oftentimes born in one country, educated in another, living in still another, and daily exposed to the influence of varied cultures. What unites them, however, is music, and, as always, the urge to challenge their peers’ talents, technical skills and artistic imagination. For the venue of this confrontation they chose Poznań – the town that can boast the oldest violin competition in the world.

wieniawski_soc.jpgThe schedule of the Festival features the Opening Concert (8 October 2011, 7:00 PM), with Agata Szymczewska – violin and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Pablo Gonzalez. Program: Claude Debussy: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Karol Szymanowski:  Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 61, Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor Op. 64.

This concert will be followed by nine days of competition. The third stage of the competition (7 – 18 October 2011) will be performed with the Amadeus Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal. The fourth and final stage of the competition (19 –21 October 2011) will be performed with the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marek Pijarowski. Prizes will be awarded during a final Award Ceremony and Gala Concert (22 October 2011). The final event of the Competition will be special concert entitled “And yet he will play!” ( 23 October 2011, 7:00 p.m.). This program will be performed by violinist and jury member Maxim Vengerov, with the Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Marek Pijarowski, and will inlcude music by Kurpiński, Liszt and Beethovan. All events take place at the A. Mickiewicz University Auditorium on H. Wieniawskiego Street.

[Source: wieniawski.com]



Polish Radio organized a series of events called The Pianist of Warsaw [Pianista Warszawy] in commemoration of the life and work of Władysław Szpilman—the Polish musician of Jewish origin whose war-time experience was made into the Oscar-winning film The Pianist by Roman Polanski. This cycle of events precedes the 100th anniversary of Szpilman’s birth on December 5, 2011.

The Pianist of Warsaw series was inaugurated on September 22 with a remembrance evening at the Agnieszka Osiecka Music Studio devoted to the composer’s connections with Polish Radio.  The rest of the series comprises such events as a lecture on Szpilman’s compositional achievements presented by Dr. Katarzyna Naliwajek-Mazurek of the Institute of Musicology of Warsaw University; reminiscences by Szpilman’s widow and Polish musicians associated with the composer; an exhibition on “Music in Nazi-occupied Poland”; screenings of The Pianist and of a documentary film about Szpilman;and concerts of the composer’s music.

On September 25, the Władysław Szpilman Concert Studio was opened at the Warsaw Polish Radio headquarters of on al. Niepodległości. This small studio, which remained abandoned for 25 years, has recently been completely refurbished. The program of the inaugural concert refers to Szpilman’s Warsaw Quintet repertoire, which will be performed by Solisti di Varsavia. The cycle ended on 26 September with a concert entitled “No One Can Return Those Songs” at the Och-Theatre. Hits such as “I Don’t Believe the Song”, “Rain”, “No One Can Return Those Years”, “The Time Will Come For That” , and “Three Friends From the Sports Fields” will be performed by students and graduates of the Theatre Academy, including Karolina Dąbrowska, Wiktoria Gorodeckaja, Natalia Sikora, Jacek Beler, and Marcin Januszkiewicz.

“Although he was not born in Warsaw, [Szpilman] was connected throughout his entire life with the capital city, through thick and thin,” said Paweł Sztompke from Polish Radio Channel One during a press conference. “Szpilman and Warsaw – it is for this city that he wrote his most beautiful songs during the rebuilding after the war, it is here that he organized the musical life not only for the city but also for the entire country by acting as music director of Polish Radio, by writing new repertoire for orchestras, by recording hundreds of works, by creating the music stage, and by finding new singing stars. When Szpilman formed one of the best known chamber ensembles, he deemed it appropriate to emphasize its links the capital of Poland, naming it the Warsaw Quintet,” recalled Sztompke.

[Sources: cogo-news.eu, beethoven.org.pl, muzeumliteratury.pl]



CD Review by Gary Fitelberg

fitelberg.gifGrzegorz Fitelberg Conducts Szymanowski
Rimsky-Kosakov: Tsar Sultan Suite, op.57; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.3 in D ‘Polish’, op.29; Szymanowski: Violin Concerto no.1 op.35
Eugenia Uminska (violin), Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Grzegorz Fitelberg (conductor)
Dutton Records CDBP 9808

"Mike Dutton is the supreme magician of CD re-mastering"
--Penguin Guide to Classical Music on CD 2002

Dutton has done it again. The English recording label has released another tribute to the famous Polish conductor Grzegorz Fitelberg, who once led the London Philharmonic Orchestra as a guest conductor after WWII. The latest CD features archival sound recordings of Fitelberg conducting the Russian composers Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Pyotr Tchaikovsky, as well as the Polish composer Karol Syzmanowski.

Rimsky Korsakov’s Tsar Sultan Suite, op. 57 is the first composition featured and all three movements are performed: I. The Tsar’s Departure and Farewell, II. The Tsarina and her son afloat in the cask, and III. The Three Wonders. Recorded at Wembley Hall in Middlesex on April 15,1946, this performance was previously re-released as part of another Dutton CD, Ansermet Conducts Rimsky-Kosakov .

The five movements of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.3, op.29—his ‘Polish’ symphony—are also featured on this recording: I. Moderato assai – Allegro brillante, II. Alla tedesca – Allegro moderato e semplice, III. Andante elegiac, IV. Scherzo: Allegro vivo. V. Allegro con fuoco (tempo di Polacca). This recording was made at Kingsway Hall on April 9-10, 1946.

The performance of Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No.1, op.35 features the famous Polish violinist Eugenia Uminska and the Philharmonia Orchestra. It was recorded in Abbey Road Studio No. 1 on September 22, 1948.

One can surely delight in the recent resurgence of interest in Grzegorz Fitelberg, whose work is re-emerging thanks to creative and innovative CD labels such as Dutton.  Polish classical music afficianados owe Dutton a debt of gratitude for contributing to the preservation of legacy of this prominent Polish composer and conductor.

* * *

Gary Fitelberg is a musicologist, music critic and historian specializing in Polish classical music.

 [Source: duttonvocalion.co.uk ]

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Homage to Paderewski
Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837–1912) Étude Op 44 No 22; 2 Ernest SCHELLING (1876–1939) Nocturne (Ragusa);; Benjamin BRITTEN (1913–1976) – Mazurka elegiaca for two pianos Op 23 No 2 with AARON SHORR; Aleksander ZARZYCKI (1834–1895) – Chant du printemps Op 34 No 1; Cécile CHAMINADE (1857–1944) – Étude symphonique Op 28; Felix BLUMENFELD (1863–1931) – Kujawiak – Obertas No 2 from Second Suite Polonaise Op 31; and from Homage to Paderewski (Boosey & Hawkes, New York, 1942): Béla BARTÓK (1881–1945) – Three Hungarian Folk-Tunes Sz66; Arthur BENJAMIN (1893–1960) – Elegiac Mazurka; Theodore CHANLER (1902–1961) – Aftermath; Felix RODERICK ŁABUŃSKI(1892–1979) – Threnody; Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895–1968) – Homage à Paderewski; Eugene GOOSENS (1893–1962) – Homage; Richard HAMMOND (1896–1980) – Dance; Darius MILHAUD (1892–1974) – Choral; Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890–1959) – Mazurka H284; Joaquín NIN-CULMELL (1908–2004) – In Memoriam Paderewski; Emerson WHITHORNE (1884–1958) – Homage Op 58 No 2; Vittorio RIETI (1898–1994) – Allegro danzante; Ernest SCHELLING – Con tenerezza; Karol RATHAUS (1895–1954) – Kujawiak; Sigismond STOJOWSKI (1870–1946) – Cradle Song; Jaromir WEINBERGER (1896–1967) – Etude in G major
Jonathan Plowright, piano
Hyperion CDA67903, Nov 2011

Internationally acclaimed British pianist Jonathan Plowright becomes the first artist to record an album of works written in homage to one of the early twentieth century’s most fascinating figures, Polish pianist, composer and politician Ignacy Jan Paderewski, 70 years after his death.  The legacy of Paderewski is celebrated through this virtuosic exploration of the compositions inspired by Plowright’s unparalleled musicianship, as well as informative liner notes from music historian, Joseph A. Herter.

Jonathan Plowright’s interest in Paderewski was ignited at a very early age by his grandfather, who walked fifteen miles from his Yorkshire mining village to see Paderewski perform in concert, such was the attraction at the time of this unique star performer. Plowright is a leading authority on Polish Romantic repertoire, and recording of a rare collection of pieces by Paderewski earned him an invitation by the Paderewski in Memoriam Foundation to give the closing recital of the Polish Parliament’s 2001 ‘Year of Paderewski’ celebrations in Warsaw.  He was instrumental in helping to revive the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, CA in 2006, and was invited back there in 2010 to perform a concert marking the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth. 

Homage to Paderewski will be Plowright’s ninth disc on Hyperion.  His last recording, Hommage à Chopin, was one of Hyperion’s top-ten sellers in 2010 and met widespread critical acclaim; "as beguiling in intimacy … as he is magisterial in virtuosity." (Gramophone), "Plowright's dazzling playing can't be faulted” (Sunday Times), “exquisitely played” (Fanfare).

Paderewski was one of the world’s most famous entertainers of the early twentieth century.  Virtuoso pianist, composer, politician (the first Prime Minister of independent Poland after World War I), humanitarian and orator, he was acclaimed as a "Modern Immortal" by Franklin D RooseveltHe attracted the largest ever recorded audience for a musical performance in New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1932, gave the first ever solo recital at Carnegie Hall and was the world’s highest-paid musician of his time.

Published in New York in 1942, the album of sixteen pieces on the disc are musical tributes to Paderewski by composers including Bartók, Martinů, Milhaud, Stojowski and Tedesco. A further six pieces written in dedication to Paderewski also feature, including a Mazurka for two pianos by Britten. As well as being a snapshot of the leading composers of the day, the album provides a fascinating insight into the effects on the War on European cultural life – many of these composers were exiled in the USA to escape Nazi oppression, paving the way for America to become an international leader in new trends in Western music following World War II.

[Source: Press release, hyperion-records.co.uk]

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m:\pmrcweb\news\events\discography\oct11\dux\744.jpgWorks for violin & piano
Composer: George Enescu, Guiseppe Tartini, Henryk Wieniawski, Sergiusz Prokofiew
Performer: Tadashi Imai, Jarosław Nadrzycki
DUX 0744


Michał Moc - Emotions
Composer: Michał Moc
Performer:  AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of Tychy -
cond. Marek Moś, Michał Moc
DUX 0756

m:\pmrcweb\news\events\discography\oct11\dux\795.jpgMazurki polskie

Composer: Alexander Tansman, Andrzej Dutkiewicz, Antoni Szałowski, Apolinary Szeluto, Artur Malawski, Eugeniusz Pankiewicz, Feliks Nowowiejski, Fryderyk Chopin, Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński, Ignacy Friedman, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Józef Lubowski, Karol Kurpiński, Karol Mikuli, Karol Szymanowski, Maria Szymanowska, Marian Borkowski, Marian Sawa, Michał K
Performer: Elżbieta Karaś-Krasztel
DUX 0795

Fryderyk Chopin Rondos & Phantasy

Composer: Fryderyk Chopin
Performer: Elżbieta Karaś-Krasztel
DUX 0796


English Clarinet Sonatas
Composer: Arnold Bax, Herbert Howells, John Ireland, Joseph Horovitz, Malcolm Arnold
Performer: Anna Czaicka, Dawid Jarzyński
DUX 0798


m:\pmrcweb\news\events\discography\oct11\dux\799.jpgClarinet Sonatas of the 20th Century
Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns, Edison Denisov, Leonard Bernstein, Mieczysław Weinberg, Othmar Schoeck
Performer: Tamara Chitadze, Dawid Jarzyński
DUX 0799


m:\pmrcweb\news\events\discography\oct11\dux\826.jpgUtwory fletowe kompozytorów wrocławskich XX wieku
Composer: Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil, Jacek Rogala, Jadwiga Szajna-Lewandowska, Joachim Georg Görlich, Leszek Wisłocki, Mirosław Gąsieniec
Performer: Mirosław Gąsieniec, Andrzej Jungiewicz, Grzegorz Olkiewicz, Maria Szwajger-Kułakowska, Teresa WorońkoWoronko
DUX 0826

[Source: Press release]

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chopin_profesjonalizm.jpgChopin Chopin Chopin
Compositions by Marcin Masecki: Długi, Drugi, Dęty, Abersold, Ballada, Krótki, Polonez
Profesjonalizm – jazz sextet
Lado ABC C/11, 2011

“Chopin Chopin Chopin” is the first album by Profesjonalizm, Marcin Masecki’s new jazz sextet. The line-up consists of Marcin Masecki – piano/composer, Kamil Szuszkiewicz – trumpet, Michał Górczyński – clarinet/saxophone, Tomasz Duda – saxophone, Piotr Domagalski – bass, and Jerzy Rogiewicz - percussion. The music was composed by the group’s leader in mid 2010, at the instigation of the Dom Kultury Śródmieście cultural centre in Warsaw. This is Masecki’s first original project, in which he presents himself as a mature composer.

Below is a review by Bartek Chaciński of Polityka:

Let us imagine a soloist with a split personality. Normally he performs swing and romantic jazz ballads on ships in a professional orchestra, sometimes weaving Latin American notes or some classical theme. In his idle moments he plays free jazz. And one day he starts to confuse one with another. He goes out on deck and jumps from one style to another, interrupts themes and suddenly takes on a completely new style depending on which way the waves tilt the ship. As befits professionals, the ensemble keeps up, anticipating his every movement. This is what happens on the album by the Polish sextet led by Marcin Masecki. He shines as a composer, but the great wind section Szuszkiewicz-Górczyński-Duda does not lag behind, adding surrealist tones to such pieces as “Ballada.”

[Sources: beethoven.org.pl, ladoabc.com, polish-jazz.blogspot.com]





Regina_Smendzianka.JPGRegina Smendzianka, one of the best-known Polish pianists and piano professors at the Chopin Music University in Warsaw (formerly known as the Warsaw Music Academy), died on September 15 in Warsaw at the age of 87. Born in Toruń in 1924, she studied piano in Warsaw and Kraków, placing in the finals of the 1949 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. She performed in concerts and as a soloist throughout the world, and served on the juries of numerous piano competitions, including the Chopin Competition in 1970, 1980, 1995, and 2000. Famous for her interpretations of Chopin, whose music she recorded almost in its entirety, Smendzianka also championed rarely performed piano works by Maria Szymanowska, Michał Ogiński, and Stanisław Moniuszko. Not limiting herself to the early Romantic repertoire, in her concerts she also featured works by such contemporary composers as Artur Malawski, Roman Palester, Grażyna Bacewicz, Tadeusz Baird, and Witold Lutosławski, among others.

During her decades-long tenure as a piano professor in Warsaw, which began in 1966, Regina Smendzianka guided the careers of many Polish and foreign pianists who came through her studio. In 1988 she launched the Regina Smendzianka Foundation that devoted its activities to helping young pianists. Having served as the President of the Warsaw Music Academy (1972-1973), she received an honorary doctorate from the Academy in 2002. She made numerous recordings and toured internationally with the National Philharmonic and the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Among the many accolades and distinctions she received throughout her life, Prof. Smendzianka was honored with six Ministry of Culture awards, the Gold Gloria Artis medal, and the Cavalier’s Cross of the Polonia Resituta. Her funeral will take place on Monday, October 10 at the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw and her remains will be interred at the Honor Row of the Powązki Military Cemetery.

[Sources: chopin.edu.pl, polskieradio.pl]


  • 3 October 1882 - Karol SZYMANOWSKI, composer, pianist, (d. 29 March 1937)
  • 3 October 1923 - Stanislaw SKROWACZEWSKI, composer and conductor
  • 4 October 1910 - Eugenia UMINSKA, violinist
  • 6 October 1885 - Karol STROMENGER, teacher, composer, publicist, music critic (d. 1975)
  • 9 October 1924 - Regina SMENDZIANKA, pianist
  • 10 October 1910 - Henryk SWOLKIEN, music critic, composer
  • 14 October 1910 - Lech MIKLASZEWSKI, children's song writer, author of popular radio music shows for children, music publicist (d. 1992)
  • 16 October 1867 - Ferdynand HOESICK, music critic, publisher (d. 13 April 1941)
  • 18 October 1879 - Grzegorz FITELBERG, conductor, violinist, composer (d. 10 June 1953)
  • 20 October 1819 - Karol MIKULI, pianist, composer, conductor, Chopin's student (d. 21 May 1897)
  • 20 October 1935 - Henryk SWOLKIEN, composer, publicist, music promoter (d. 1990)
  • 25 October 1868 - Michal SWIERZYNSKI, composer, conductor (d. 30 June 1957)
  • 30 October 1904 - Alfred GRADSTEIN, composer, activist (d. 29 September 1954)




  • 1 October 1990 - Andrzej KRZANOWSKI, composer, accordion player (b. 1951)
  • 1 October 1861 - Tekla Justyna KRZYZANOWSKA, pianist, Chopin's mother (b. September 1780)
  • 7 October 1854 - Adolf CICHOWSKI, Chopin's friend, officer and civil servant (b.1794)
  • 17 October 1849 - Fryderyk CHOPIN, composer and pianist (b. 1 March (also listed as February 22) 1810)
  • 17 October 1938 - Aleksander MICHALOWSKI, pianist, composer, Tausig's student (b. 5 May 1851)
  • 18 October 1962 - Maria SZCZEPANSKA, musicologist (b. 13 May 1902)
  • 21 October 1837 - Michal Józef GUZIKOW, folk musician (b. 1806)
  • 27 October 1991 - Andrzej PANUFNIK, composer and conductor (b. 24 September 1914)
  • 30 October 1912 - Jan Karol GALL, composer and conductor (b. 18 August 1856)
  • 31 October 1952 - Adolf CHYBINSKI, musicologist (b. 29 April 1880)



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Copyright 2011 by the Polish Music Center

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Contributions from:
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Paweł Łukaszewski, Jonathan Plowright,, Gary Fitelberg, Fred Harris

Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute (NY & UK), Adam Mickiewicz Institute, PWM,
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, Polish Music Information Centre - Warsaw, Polish American Journal,
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Formatting by Krysta Close, October 11, 2011.

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