|Polish Music Newsletter|
PMC CELEBRATES 30!
Polish Music Center is thirty years old this year. In honor of this important milestone, we have launched a month-long crowdfunding campaign. We invite PMC enthusiasts around the world to participate in our “30 for 30” fund drive, in recognition of the work we have accomplished since 1985 and in support of the projects we have planned for the future. Such future projects include expanding and digitizing our library of over 8,000 scores, 3,500 books and 1,100 recordings, and continuing to facilitate high quality scholarship and performance of Polish music around the world. Your generous support, no matter the size, will have a tremendous impact on our ability to continue our mission.
NOTE: We are very grateful to donors who helped us reach our initial "30 for 30" goal of $3000 within the first week! But the campaign continues... We challenge at least 20 from among our audience to honor Paderewski in connection with our annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital on October 18. Meeting this goal would raise another $3000 for more exciting Polish Music Center concerts in 2016!
Our 2015 Paderewski Lecture-Recital is also dedicated to marking our 30th anniversary. Entitled “Musica Antiqua Polonica,” the program will feature several fascinating works from a variety of composers, and will be held on Sunday, October 18 at USC’s Alfred Newman Recital Hall. Lighter fare—instrumental dances and songs—will be interspersed with compositions to liturgical texts. Highlights will include one of the most beautiful motets in Polish literature, Już się zmierzcha [Daylight Declines] by Wacław z Szamotuł ((1520-1560), as well as vocal-instrumental works by Mikołaj Zieleński (1550-1615), Marcin Mielczewski (died 1651), and Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (1666-1734). Dances from the Tablature of Jan z Lublina (1530) as well as instrumental interludes by Jakub Polak (1545-1605), Wojciech Długoraj (1558-1619), and Diomedes Cato (1555-1628) complete the program.
Although the music of the Polish Renaissance and Baroque is less-well known today than the better-preserved music of Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands, it nonetheless exhibits similar influences and changes of style seen elsewhere in Europe. Music-making in Poland was concentrated at first in and around Kraków, at the Wawel Castle (the original royal seat), and in various monasteries throughout the southern and central part of the country. Tomasz from Sandomierz (d. 1259) is the first Polish organist known by name; Benedicamus Domino (by an anonymous composer) is the oldest piece of Polish polyphony, dated ca. 1300.
Adam Knight Gilbert and the USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia with a small choir and soloist will turn Newman Recital Hall into a chamber at the Royal Court at Wawel Castle in Kraków, where works by outstanding composers were once heard on a daily basis. All of our southern California friends are cordially invited to the concert. Those who cannot attend can listen to future KUSC-FM broadcasts at kusc.org or join us in celebrating PMC’s 30th anniversary on ignite.usc.edu/PMC.
PADEREWSKI FESTIVAL EXTRAVAGANZA
The 2015 Paderewski Festival once again promises to deliver a great variety of concerts with fascinating music, great ambiance provided by historic venues and charming wineries, and world-famous performers. This year’s concert calendar begins on Thursday, November 5 with a concert by the City of Angels Saxophone Quartet. Held in the barrel room of Cass Winery, the program will feature a pleasing mix of traditional and unusual repertoire. Sax classics will be represented by the works of Percy Grainger as well as composers who first wrote for the instrument—Lew Pollack, Richard Whiting and Rudy Wiedoeft, whose 1920 work Saxophobia promises to be great fun. The Polish segment of the program will include works by Tadeusz Kosciuszko (yes, the same American Revolution hero), Paderewski (no surprise here) and Dave Brubeck (his 1958 composition, Dziękuję). And, speaking of Brubeck and jazz, the rest of the program will feature works by Vernon Duke, Harold Arlen, Rodgers & Hart and Paul Simon.
The Friday November 6 night concert at the Park Ballroom in Paso Robles will feature Motion Trio—three Polish accordion virtuosos whose brilliant concerts have conquered audiences around the world. Adding Paso Robles to their U.S. tour, the Motion trio will present a program of their own arrangements of compositions by Chopin, Lutosławski, Górecki, Penderecki and Kilar. In addition, the group’s leader, Janusz Wojtarowicz will be represented by his piece Silence, and Russian composer Vyacheslav Semyonov’s highly effective Toccata Barbaro is also on the program.
Saturday morning, as is the Festival custom, will feature a free film screening. This year’s offering is a fascinating documentary exploring the music of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and the phenomenon of worldwide popularity of his Third Symphony. Later on Saturday afternoon, winners of the 2015 Youth Piano Competition will be featured in a free recital at the historic Ballroom of the Paso Robles Inn.
At the pinnacle of Festival events, Saturday evening will close with the Gala Concert, featuring pianist Thomas Pandolfi. The first half of Mr. Pandolfi’s program will be devoted exclusively to Chopin’s music and feature a blend of Etudes, Polonaises, and Nocturnes, with an Impromptu, Mazurkas, and Waltzes sprinkled in as well. The second half of the concert will pay homage to Paderewski with his only Nocturne and his celebrated Menuet, with the program closing on George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in a 1927 version for piano solo. Mr. Pandolfi will also give a free piano master class on Friday afternoon.
The Festival closes on Sunday, November 8, with a lecture on the history of the Paderewski Festival and piano performances by two young Central Coast talents, Daniel Ha and Kannan Freyaldenhoven. Both participated in the 2015 Cultural Exchange Program in Poland run jointly by the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and the Province of Tarnów in Poland. Daniel and Kannan had the amazing opportunity of living and performing in Paderewski’s former manor house in Kaśna Dolna as well as at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and at Chopin’s birthplace in Żelazowa Wola. They will present a short program of works they presented to various audiences in Poland last July.
In addition to concerts, a film screening and lecture, there will be numerous opportunities to taste excellent wines from Paso Robles. Starting with Cass Winery and its boutique blends of Rhone varietals to be sampled before and after the Thursday concert, Cass and Epoch wines will be featured on Friday and Saturday events. Epoch Winery are the current owners of portions of Paderewski’s former vineyards and they produce outstanding wines worthy of the great pianist’s legacy. Also, this year's Festival will feature a new taste for audiences to try: a Paderewski Pilsner beer, brewed especially for the Festival by the local Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
A detailed schedule for the Festival is available below and at www.paderewskifest.com. We look forward to seeing as many of our friends in Paso as possible!
Thursday, November 5
City of Angels Saxophone Quartet
Friday, November 6
Saturday, November 7
Sunday, November 8
Friends of Paderewski (FOP) passes as well as tickets to individual concerts are available at www.paderewskifest.com. Also, you can read what others are saying about the Festival in Zycie Kolorado (article by Małgorzata Cup, former Consul for Culture of the Polish Consulate General in Los Angeles) and the Paso Robles Daily News.
RECENT DONATIONS TO THE PMC LIBRARY
Manuscript Donation: Jan Jarczyk
It has been just over a year since the untimely death of great Polish jazz pianist and composer, Jan Jarczyk. His presence graced us at the Polish Music Center—Jan’s concert in March 2014 and his arrangements of tunes by Bronisław Kaper and Henryk Wars (Henry Vars) still resonate in the ears and hearts of our audiences.
Recently, we heard from Susan Mendez-Diez, Jan’s first wife, with whom he had lived in Boston when he first arrived in the U.S. Susan donated to the PMC a manuscript of Jan’s composition, The Bad Time—The Better Times, with the following information about its origins:
Roman Ryterband Collection
Roman Ryterband is one of the most outstanding Polish composers of the twentieth century. His work has been compared to the work of Debussy, Ravel and Britten and is highly appreciated in music circles around the world. The work of Roman Ryterband includes instrumental works, vocal-instrumental, chamber, choral and symphonic. Yet, so far, only one of his compositions, Sonata breve for violin and harp, was published by the Polish Music Publishers (PWM).
A number of his works and other items listed below have been recently donated to the by his wife, Clarissa Ryterband, and family. This is part of an ongoing collaboration between the PMC and members of the Ryterband family, who have been incrementally organizing and delivering items from all parts of Roman Ryterband's life—both professional and personal—to the PMC. This collection has been donated to the PMC in order to preserve and catalogue these precious musical and historical items, but also to popularize once again the music of this great but rarely heard composer.
Books, Published music, misc. publications:
Letters and Papers:
From Frank Harders-Wuthenow & EDA Records
Frank Harders-Wuthenow, Promotion Executive at the distinguished publishing houses Boosey & Hawkes | Bote & Bock, recently sent us a large package of CDs with fascinating and rare recordings of music by Polish composers published by EDA Records. Among the many highlights of this collection are such rarities as orchestral and chamber works by Joachim Mendelson (1982-1943), several orchestral works by Jerzy Fitelberg (1903-1951), chamber works by Konstanty Regamey (1907-1982), Józef Koffler (1896-1944), and Szymon Laks (1901-1983), as well as symphonic poems by Eugeniusz Morawski (1876-1948) and Alexandre Tansman (897-1986).
The complete list of CDs donated by Mr. Harders is as follows:
These recordings will be added to our CD library collection and made available to students and scholars using Polish Music Center. Thank you, Mr. Harders, thank you, EDA Records! Dziękujemy!
Other recent donations:
CDs from the Kwadrofonik ensemble:
From Paul Cadrin:
Thank you for expanding our collection!
PREVIOUS PADEREWSKI FESTIVAL GALA ARTIST PERFORMS
Russian pianist Nikita Mndoyants—who previously won the Paderewski Competition in Bydgoszcz and subsequently served as the Gala performer for the 2008 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles—will perform at the El Camino College Center for the Arts in Torrance, CA on October 30. His program will include: Haydn’s Sonata in E Major, Hob XVI No. 31; Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze; Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 “Appassionata” in f minor, Op. 57; and Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 7 in B flat Major. Op. 83.
[Sources: press release, elcamino.edu]
17TH INTERNATIONAL CHOPIN PIANO COMPETITION
Under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski, one of the world’s leading piano competitions will begin on October 1, 2015 with a special concert featuring Martha Argerich. Seventy-eight young pianist from twenty different countries will compete in the 17th Edition of the International Chopin Piano Competition. In its 88-year history, the Chopin competition includes concerts in some of the world’s best-known halls, contracts for recordings and a 30,000euro ($33,600) prize.
The four-round Competition will last until October 20 when the 17 member jury, comprised of past competition winners and laureates, will announce the winner. The program is as follows:
On Sunday, October 4, a new piece by Marcin Stańczyk entitled Blind Walk will be premiered at La Biennale di Venezia by Ensemble Musikfabrik, under the direction of Johannes Schöllhorn. During the performance of Blind Walk, audience members will be blindfolded—this is done in order to sharpen memory of sounds and “more precisely track and memorize musical events and connect with them one’s ideas.”
Marcin Stańczyk (1977) studied composition with Zygmunt Krauze at the Lodz Academy of Music. He participated in many workshops, including the Klangforum Wien and Trilok Gurtu at La Biennale di Venezia (2007, 2008) and Courses for New Music in Darmstadt (2010). In 2012, he undertook a year-long internship at the Institute for Research and Coordination Acoustic/Music (IRCAM) in Paris. He is the winner of the artistic residencies City of Paris and the French Institute. In the same year, Stanczyk presented his piece entitled Nibiru during the Les Espaces Sonores conference, devoted to the Sacrum Profanum Festival in Krakow. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Toru Takemitsu Composition Award.
PREMIERES AT HMG FESTIVAL
On October 24, the LutosAir Quintet (above) will perform the world premieres of two new pieces by young Polish composers Wojtek Blecharz - Hour/Plateau for wind quintet, space, light and video (2015) and Piotr Ślęczek - A Song of the New Order (2015). The concert will be held in the Manggha Muzeum in Warsaw during the 2nd day of the HMG Festival [Międzynarodowy Festiwal Muzyki Współczesnej im. Henryka Mikołaja Góreckiego].
The LutosAir Quintet is made up of Jan Krzeszowiec – flute, Wojciech Merena – oboe, Maciej Dobosz – clarinet, Alicja Kieruzalska – bassoon, and Mateusz Feliński – horn.
Also on the program will be the Polish premiere of Rafał Augustyn – Rondeau (2015) as well as a performance of Mikołaj Majkusiak – Concerto in Air (2014).
NEO ARTE FESTIVAL – PREMIERES & MONOGRAPH
Organized by the Tri-City ensemble NeoQuartet and the Neo Arte Association, the 4th edition of the Neo Arte – New Music Spectrum Festival will be held on October 8-11, 2015. The festival aims to present the most interesting trends in contemporary music around the world, connecting artists from different cultures and disciplines of art.
The program starts off with the premiere of compositions from Ye Xiaogang (China), Paweł Szymanski (Poland), and Gabriel Paiuk (Argentina) entitled ‘China-Poland-Argentina,’ performed by the NeoQuartet. A monographic concert by Paweł Mykietyn, patron of this year’s festival, will also take place on the third day of the festival, featuring piano laureate Radosław Kurek and clarinetist Krzysztof Zbijowski.
For program information, visit neoarte.pl
WITT ON CHOPIN
Piotr Witt is a noted writer and historian who, for many years, contributed commentaries and essays for international radio broadcasts of Radio Free Europe. Mr. Witt’s latest work is a fascinating book examining the origins of Chopin’s tremendous success in Paris. With an excellent title—Przedpiekle sławy[Fame: The Antechamber of Hell]—this work was originally published in 2010 by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Warsaw in connection with Chopin’s bicentennial. Now, this volume has gone to a second edition, published by Wydawnictwo DiG and enriched by an introduction from Rafał Blechacz, winner of all the top prizes at the 2005 Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
Mr. Witt’s work concentrates on Chopin’s first months in Paris in the early 1830s. It was a difficult period for Chopin and all Parisians—an epidemic of cholera claimed over twenty thousand victims and the city was almost empty. The author successfully argues—with plenty of fascinating evidence quoted—that the turning point for Chopin’s fortunes came with his December 30, 1832 performance at the Hotel de Monaco, the opulent palazzo occupied by Austrian Embassy in Paris. The Embassy’s New Year’s Eve concert series was an event firmly established on social calendar of Parisian elites. Several great artists, including Rossini and various Italian singers were present and Chopin’s unusual blend of virtuosity and tenderness held the Parisian belle monde spellbound. This performance established Chopin’s credentials as a pianist and composer and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. You can read more about this little-known episode in Mr. Witt’s excellent book.
2ND SZYMANOWSKI COMPOSERS COMPETITION
The Szymanowski Composers' Competition is organized by the Karol Szymanowski Music Society in collaboration with the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. The subject of the competition is a piece for great symphony orchestra including: 3 flauti (3. muta in fl picc.), 3 oboe (3. muta in cr.ing.), 3 clarinetti (3. muta in cl.b.), 3 fagotti (3. muta in cfg), 4 corni - 3 trombe, 3 tromboni, tuba batteria (4 esecutori), arpa, pianoforte (celesta), archi (16-14-12-10-8). Required duration of the composition 10 – 20 min. The competition is open to composers of all nations regardless of age. Each participant may submit more than one score—all submissions must be made anonymously. It is possible to submit works already performed, excluding compositions already published and awarded in other competitions.
The deadline for submitting scores is November 30, 2015 (based on postmark). Scores should be sent to the following address:
The members of jury are all members of the Karol Szymanowski Music Society: Eugeniusz Knapik – chairman, Krzysztof Meyer, Rafał Augustyn and Sławomir Czarnecki. The jury will announce the results of the competition on December 10, 2015.
[Sources: press release, szymanowski-competition.com]
GÓRECKI DAY AT LONDON’S BARBICAN
On October 3rd, the late Polish composer, Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, will be celebrated at London’s Barbican Centre shortly before the 5th anniversary of Gorecki’s death. Polish music expert, Professor Adrian Thomas, will preface the event with an introduction to the life of Henryk Gorecki. The programme includes a screening of a film entitled ‘Please Find’ by Violetta Rotter-Kozer about Gorecki’s career and several concerts. Antoni Wit will also be making his debut in the evening, conducting the special celebratory concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Silesia in the south of Poland in 1933, Górecki studied composition with Boleslaw Szabelski at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice. He has worked with great determination to develop his own compositional voice, through assimilating the techniques of his predecessors (Bartók, Szymanowski) and those active around him (Boulez, Xenakis, Nono). Górecki worked to achieve a direct link between the emotional and spiritual content of texts, both sacred and traditional, and his musical architecture- becoming a figurehead in Polish avant-garde music. Górecki held numerous honorary doctorates, including those from the Academy of Catholic Theology in Warsaw, Warsaw University, the Catholic University in Washington, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Victoria University in Victoria, Canada, and the University of British Columbia in Montreal.
NEW CONCERT HALL IN WROCLAW
Construction on the National Music Forum building is now finished and open to hosting concerts, conventions, symposiums, conferences and other exciting events with state-of-the-art equipment. The NFM building was designed by Kuryłowicz & Associates Architecture Studio, selected through an international architectural contest. The architect was inspired by a musical instrument – its shape and the façade covering imitating timber resemble the body of a string instrument. The foyer, covered with black and white Corian, brings to mind the piano keyboard.
With four concert halls, the venue boasts surface area of the building is 35,500 square meteres and includes 6 levels of construction above ground and 3 levels underground. Their newest concert hall is approxiamtely 50,000 square meters and seats an audience of 410 people. Apart from this, the building includes a recording studio, rehearsal rooms, conference and office spaces, an exhibition space, restaurants, and a music shop, as well as resident company spaces for groups.
HELENA PADEREWSKA'S MEMOIRS
In our June 2015 issue of this Newsletter, we reported on the publication in Polish translation of Madame Paderewska’s Memoirs, recently discovered and edited by Maciej Siekierski, Curator of European Collections at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives in Stanford, California.
Now, as promised, there is an English version, Helena Paderewska: Memoirs, 1910-1920, published by Hoover Institution Press. This handsome hardcover comes with an introduction by Maciej Siekierski, who extensively edited and annotated the volume, placing the events described in context of the world of politics and high-society personalities that formed the circle of Paderewski’s friends and admirers. It also features a rare photo of Paderewski and his wife from the Paderewski Collection held at the USC Polish Music Center.
Norman Davies provided an excellent introduction with a much-needed mise-en-scène of Polish history that will prove indispensable to English readers who are less fluent on European affairs during the last few centuries. The Paderewski’s timeline covering the decade of Helena’s Memoirs followed by a long list of mini-biographies—from Adamowski and Asquith to Venizelos and Zamoyski—complete this very successful presentation.
Paderewska’s Memoirs are a must for anyone interested in history of Poland and Paderewski’s great political achievements. With rare historical photos, reproductions of color pamphlets and other period memorabilia, historians and general public will be engrossed by this “behind-the-scenes” look at the momentous events that shaped modern Europe.
EARLY POLISH MUSIC IN OCTOBER
OCTAVA Ensemble in Chicago
OCTAVA ensemble, one of the most interesting vocal groups of the young generation in Poland, will present an exclusive a cappella program entitled “Polish Pure Sounds.” Performed for the first time in the US on October 9 in Chicago, “Polish Pure Sounds” presents the most valuable Polish vocal music and emphasizes the significant role of Polish music in shaping world culture. The program includes such important Polish composers as: Mikołaj z Krakowa, Grzegorz Gerwazy Górczycki, Mikołaj Górecki, Mikołaj Zieleński, Bartłomiej Pękiel, and more.
Directed by Zygmunt Magiera, OCTAVA ensemble has quickly established their leading position among other Polish chamber groups. They have been winners at various festivals and contests. Included in the many awards won by the group, there is the most prestigious award in Polish choral art: Grand Prix at the 39th edition of “Legnica Cantat”.
Thanks to the wide interests of OCTAVA ensemble, the group can perform every type of music, from Renaissance works to avant-garde coproductions with Krzysztof Penderecki, Aphex Twin (European Culture Congress, Wroclaw 2011), Portishead and Goldfrapp (an opening of new Trance scene on Misteria Paschalia Festival).
However, the specialization of OCTAVA ensemble is the XVI and XVII-century music. The group follows historical trends by recording albums of works from the turn of the Renaissance and the Baroque (Pekiel Missa Pulcherrima – FRYDERYK 2010 nomination, Hassler Missa Octava – reviewed very positively in British “Gramophone” magazine – the most esteemed classical music magazine in the world). Additionally, they have set up the extraordinary AD RADICES MUSICÆ project – for the first time in Poland, OCTAVA ensemble has brought back a regular interpretation of polyphonic compositions which are performed in their natural context, i.e. during a liturgy before council.
[Source: press release, facebook.com]
East Bay Recorder Society Workshop in Oakland:
The late 16th century was a time of political and cultural renewal inEastern Europe. In particular, the lands of Poland and Bohemia stood at the forefront of this artistic flowering. In this workshop, we explore two rarely-heard major works from the Eastern European Renaissance: the Lamentations of Jeremiah, as set by the Slovenian composer Jacobus Gallus; and the Missa Paschalis by the Polish composer Marcin Leopolita.
The workshop will be led by the director of music at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, Derek Tam. Tam is a freelancer conductor as well as a soloist, chamber musician andaccompanist of various historical keyboards in the Bay Area. He currently serves on the Youth Advisory Board of Early Music America.
'Musica Antiqua Polonica' Series in Los Angeles
Musical treasures of the late Renaissance and Baroque period in Poland will be showcased at this year’s Paderewski Lecture-Recital and Fall Baroque Sinfonia Concert. Presented by Adam Knight Gilbert and the USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia ensemble, these programs will feature rarely-heard vocal and instrumental masterpieces by Wojciech Długoraj (1550-1619), Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (1665-1734), Jakub Polak (1545-1605), and Mikołaj Zieleński (1550-1615), among others. The October 9 concert will also include early music repertoire from Germany and Italy.
Friday, October 9, 2015 | 8:00 p.m.
The 2nd edition of the “Quick course in contemporary music for everybody,” an open educational project, will be presented at the Centre for Contemporary Art at the Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw from October 8-10, 2015. The first course in the 2015 series presents a theme of “Old and Not Old Contemporary Music” (or “From Gregorian Chant to 21st Century”) and will feature workshops, rehearsals and concerts performed by lecturers and participants. Lecturers include: Maciej Kaziński, Tadeusz Wielecki and Jerzy Kornowicz.
LANG LANG PERFORMS CHOPIN IN O.C.
Under the direction of its new artistic director, John Magnum, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County has announced its concert programs for the 2015-16 season. Featured are performances by pianists Lang Lang and Yuja Wang – both known for virtuosity spiked with showmanship. Almost every year since 2008 either Lang or Wang has starred in performances at the Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. This year, Lang will open the season with a recital of Bach's Italian Concerto, Tchaikovsky's "The Seasons" and Chopin's scherzos (Oct. 17).
CELEBRATIONS OF POLISH HERITAGE MONTH
Dozynki Polish Harvest Event and Party – Celebrating 40 Years of Łowiczanie
Established in 1975, Łowiczanie Polish Folk Dance Ensemble, the Resident Dance Company of the Polish Club in San Francisco, is a group of skilled and dedicated dancers, singers and musicians who present traditional music, song and dance from Poland. The Ensemble performs throughout California and the western U.S. and presents vibrant programs for concerts, festivals and special events. The repertoire features authentic Polish material from both the nobility and the countryside, performed in exquisite museum-quality costumes.
ZIMERMAN RECEIVES HONORARY DOCTORATE FROM CHOPIN UNIV.
On Thursday, Oct. 8, renowned Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman received an honorary doctorate from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw. During the ceremony, which coincided with the opening of the 2015/26 academic year at the Music University, Zimerman was honored by the Dean of the Piano Department, Professor Anna Jastrzębska-Quinn, as well as Professor Piotr Paleczny, also himself a decorated pianist.
According to the external service of Polish Radio:
ANDERSZEWSKI WINS 2015 GRAMOPHONE AWARD
Bach – English Suites Nos 1, 3 & 5
The new recording byPolish-Hungarian pianist Piotr Anderszewski has been announced as the winner of Gramophone Magazine’s 2015 Classical Music Award in the Instrumental category. The following is an excerpt from Harriet Smith’s glowing Gramophone review from February:
[Sources: press release, gramophone.co.uk]
KORYFEUSZ AWARD NOMINATIONS
On September 14, the Program Committee for the Institute of Music and Dance chose the nominees for the 2015 Koryfeusz Polish Music Award in the categories: 'Personality of the Year', 'Event of the Year' and 'Honorary Award'. The award aims to honor individuals, groups of artists and institutions working in the field of broadly understood artistic genres and Polish music. Amongst 115 candidates, the five nominees this year are:
Winners will be announced on November 11th at 7:30pm during the gala awards ceremony that will take place at the Witold Lutoslwaski Polish Radio Concert Studio in Warsaw.
BANASZAK AT THE GRAMMYS
Banaszak’s recent recording of Alan Hovhaness’ Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Strings, Op. 344 (Naxos 8.559755) has been nominated for the 2015 Grammy Award in two categories: Best Orchestral Performance and Best Classical Instrumental Solo. Performed with Eastern Music Festival Orchestra and Gerard Schwarz, the CD had already garnered many positive comments and reviews.
Writing for Gramophone in June 2015, Laurence Vittes noted that, “Greg Banaszak milks the tone and timbre of his unaccountably neglected solo instrument in an irresistible series of romantic episodes, evocative at times of Tchaikovsky in his exotic Nutcracker mode.” American Record Guide in a July 2015 issue opined that, “It is hard to imagine any player anywhere with more beautiful a tone than Greg Banaszak, so you are unlikely ever to find a better recording!” Similarly, David Hurwitz, writing for ClassicsToday.com, waxed lyrical about the Hovhaness CD and the soloist: “The Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Strings also sounds vividly tuneful and unfailingly attractive. Greg Banaszak plays the solo part with the suave timbre that the work requires, especially in the Adagio espressivo at the start of the second movement, while Hovhaness specialist Gerard Schwarz does his usual fine job with all three works, galvanizing the players of the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra to a welcome degree of corporate integrity. Beautiful.”
Bravo, Greg! And good luck at the Grammys!
[Sources: press release, naxos.com]
REVIEW OF “CHOPIN, CHOPIN, CHOPIN” PROGRAM IN PASADENA
On August 30, 2015, 18 year-old American pianist Eric Lu held an all-Chopin concert at the South Pasadena Library. The concert was organized by the Southwest Council of the Chopin Foundation of the United States, established in 2014 by Chris Onzol, and dedicated to the support the young generation of American pianists pursuing their studies and careers in the realm of classical piano. Lu has won various prestigious prizes, including his most recent first prize and concerto prize at the 9th National Chopin Competition in Miami, among other international titles, and he will be competing in this year's prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
His remarkable expression and keyboard virtuosity enraptured the concert audience and Polish music scholar, Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, who writes the following:
Read more of the review at chopinwithcherries.blogspot.com.
GREG BANASZAK IN INDIA
Virtuoso saxophonist Greg Banaszak continues to concertize around the world and record exciting repertoire. After being the first saxophone concerto soloist to perform with orchestras in the Middle East and Korea, during the month of August Banaszak toured India, appearing with the Mumbai Symphony Orchestra. In addition to works for sax and orchestra by Ibert, Glazunov and Dubois, Banaszak also presented some of Charlie Parker’s music arranged for saxophone and string orchestra.
Banaszak’s first concert of this twelve-day tour of India was attended by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The Mumbai Symphony Orchestra was led by a fellow Pole, Piotr Borkowski, who was recently appointed conductor of the Mumbai orchestra. The reviewer for the Times of India noted that, “If the spirit of the concert was measured and graceful in the first half, with Glazunov’s Saxophone Concerto as its highlight, it was carefree and personal in the second, which featured Charlie Parker’s sax-and-string ensemble versions of jazz standards, like Just Friends, Laura, and East of Sun.”
[Source: press release]
NEW AUGUSTYN CD
The Romantic Violin Recital
Polish violinist Kinga Augustyn has a new CD, which was recorded live in her adopted home of New York City at the DeMenna Center for Classical Music with pianist Evan Solomon. It's called "The Romantic Violin Recital" and it indeed consists of beautiful, romantic and virtuosic pieces for violin and piano.
WARSAW PHILHARMONIC CD OF PENDERECKI
Powiało na mnie morze snów… (A sea of dreams did breathe on me…)
Composed for the final concert of the Chopin bicentenary celebrations in Warsaw in 2010, the progression of music found in this album transmits a range of emotions from nostalgia to loss. The tense and passionate sounds of both Romantic and contemporary Polish poetry are grouped into three movements and conducted by Antonio Wit, Polish conductor and the former managing and artistic director of the Warsaw Philharmonic.
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski
Layout Assistance: Thuy Le
Maria Witt, Nikita Mndoyants, Wojtek Blecharz
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute (NY & UK), Adam Mickiewicz Institute, PWM,
Nowy Dziennik, Polish Music Information Centre - Warsaw, Polish American Journal,
Poland.pl, PAP, ZKP, infochopin.pl, Ruch Muzyczny, Gazeta Wyborcza,
Formatting by Krysta Close, October 13, 2015.
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