Polish Music
Reference Center
September 2000, Vol. 6, no. 9
ISSN 1098-9188

Awards * Anniversaries * Books * Calendar of Events
Discography * Internet News * News * PIASA Meeting
PMRC Manuscripts * Recent Performances * Warsaw Autumn



The program of the Warsaw Autumn Festival contains numerous international "attractions" guaranteed to bring audiences for the innovative programming, which includes performances of Stockhausen's Gruppen (as well as spatial pieces by Alvin Lucier and Martin Smolka) at the Sports Hall of CWKS Legia, Bemowo, and Alexander Syrabin's extravagant Promethee with light displays (as well as Andriessen's De Materie - Part IV and Grisey's Tempus ex machina) at the courtyard of the Royal Castle. Other concert venues include the Concert Studios of the Polish Radio, the halls in the National Library, Centre for Contemporary Art - Ujazdowski Theatre, Zachęta Gallery, Academy of Drama, and Grand Theatre - National Opera. The concert hall of the National Philharmonics in Warsaw, where the Warsaw Autumn began and where it was a fixture for many years is notably missing from this list.

There will be eight world premieres at the Festival, mostly by Polish composers: Aleksander Lasoń (16 September), Krzysztof Knittel (17 September), Paweł Mykietyn, Jakub Sarwas, and Włodzimierz Kotoński (20 September), Edward Sielicki, Jerzy Kornowicz, and Władysław Słowiński (21 September).

Warsaw Autumn'00
    Among numerous first performances in Poland (the majority of pieces on the program) Polish works are represented by Enchaine by Roman Haubenstock-Ramati (16 September), Harmonium by Hanna Kulenty. However, there is more Polish music, especially by Andrzej Krzanowski (a monographic concert by Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej conducted by Aleksander Lasoń on 19 September), and Włodzimerz Kotoński (a monographic concert organized by PWM publishers).

    We should add that the opening concert, given at the National Theatre - National Opera, by the National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio conducted by Arturo Tamayo, will feature the music of Zygmunt Krauze (Piece for Orchestra No. 1) and Kazimierz Serocki (Forte e Piano) among such daring classics of contemporary music as Par Lindgren, Pascal Dusapin, and Iannis Xenakis.

There will be a number of media arts, performances, and audiovisual installations, including a project by Jarosłsaw Kapuściński and Nick Haffner (Your's), and musical performances in the art gallery Zachęta.

Tickets could be ordered from the Festival Office at e-mail: festival@warsaw-autumn.art.pl The festival has a web page at: http://www.warsaw-autumn.art.pl. You may reach the office by calling 48-22--831-0607.



by Maria Anna Harley

If you are in Warsaw on September 23 and have time from 3 to 4:30 p.m., come to the Polish Composers' Union in the Old Town Square to meet Polish composers and see their manuscripts being donated to the PMRC Manuscript Collection. If you are in Los Angeles on October 21 and have time from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., come to the Polish Music Reference Center in the United University Church building on USC campus and see the manuscripts that made it across the ocean. The Manuscript Exhibit will present the new donations and the music already in the PMRC Collection, including the five original manuscripts of Witold Lutoslawski donated in 1985. The L.A. event will include a concert of chamber music by composers featured in the exhibition; visitors will be able to listen to recordings of the music by these composers on small listening station. All adventurous music lovers are welcome.

I have already written about this project in the July issue of the Newsletter. Here is the account once again - to make sure that our readers mark their calendars and visit us on either continent. During my travel to Europe in June 2000 (for the 58th Annual Meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America at Jagiellonian University), I had a series of conversations with Polish composers and members of their families. These conversations all had one topic in common: I was trying to persuade them to donate their manuscripts, sketches and scores of selected compositions to the PMRC Manuscript Collection. Most of the composers liked the idea of sending their music across the ocean, they only had a problem with the timing - it was very hard to do it right away, to part with these documents of their musical labor without preparation. They also wanted to retain copies for their archives, or to make the best possible selection.

Zygmunt Krauze
Zygmunt Krauze
    As Zygmunt Krauze teasingly said while showing me his drawers of manuscripts: "What did you think? That you would just show up and take all this music away from me and be gone in a snap?" So I had to come back. Meanwhile, the number of positive responses grew in such a fashion that an idea of creating a "fringe event" in the program of the International Festival of Contemporary Music, Warsaw Autumn, came about. Krzysztof Meyer had the time to look through his archives and donated the manuscript of Cyberiada - his futuristic opera based on the stories by Poland's leading science-fiction writer, Stanislaw Lem. I picked up these three heavy volumes (along with the sketches for Meyer's String Quartet no. 10 and one manuscript by Szymon Laks) in the Polish residence of the composer, in Poznan. We had met two weeks earlier in Cologne so Meyer (who is a professor of composition at the Cologne University) already had the time to think about his choices and "mourn the loss" of his musical creations.

During the September 23 ceremony, held at the Polish Composers' Union in Warsaw the gifts of their music will make in person: Krzysztof Baculewski, Krzysztof Knittel, Hanna Kulenty, Wlodzimierz Kotonski, Zygmunt Krauze, Edward Sielicki, Elzbieta Sikora, Tadeusz Wielecki, Anna Zawadzka, and others. Before the presentation of the gifts I will receive the materials from composers based in Krakow (Marek Stachowski, Zbigniew Bujarski, Krystyna Moszumanska-Nazar), Wroclaw (Grazyna Pstrokonska-Nawratil) and Poznan (Lidia Zielinska, Andrzej Koszewski). All these scores will also be available for viewing in Warsaw. A couple of donors will send their gifts by mail directly to the PMRC (here the courier service, with tracking numbers, seems the most secure way of transporting these unique materials).

The list of composers whose works will enrich our Manuscript Collection includes also those who are no longer with us, starting with Roman Maciejewski whose brother Wojciech confirmed his intention of donating a set of English Carols to the PMRC. This gift reminds me to ask our Californian readers for donations. If you have any memorabilia, photos, letters, from the Californian period of Maciejewski's life, the PMRC will be grateful to receive these documents as well. I encourage you to look through some old boxes... The donations from family members will also include Szymon Laks whose son, Andre, a college professor in France (Laks remained in Paris after World War II and his son is a French citizen), has decided to enrich our Collection with no less than eleven original scores in his father's hand. Wanda Bacewicz, the tireless, energetic and admirable sister of the composer Grażyna, will expand her gift of sketches. Finally, musicologist and eminent music critic Andrzej Chłopecki promised a score by Andrzej Krzanowski.

Wlodzimierz Kotonski
Włodzimierz Kotoński

    This is what the composers and donors are doing for us. What could we do for them? Few composers whose works are now to enrich our Manuscript Collection had had web pages; the first benefit will be their new presence on the Internet. Two Polish students of economics (with good English and computer skills) spent their summer vacation by typing in biographies and lists of works of Polish composers, scanning their photographs (as well as working on sites about festivals, competitions, anthems and dances). Thanks to the work of Blazej Wajszczuk and Ewa Grzegrzulka the PMRC is now able to unveil new additions to its list of composers, now expanded from 12 to over 40 names. We will continue this work through the year, hoping to have 100 composers listed by next summer. Our web site also grew by the creation of pages dedicated to "Polish Dance in Southern California" (but this is a subject for another report). In the future, the composers' pages will contain essays about their music and samples of the music itself. At present, though, we have just began this exciting and necessary project.

The promotion of contemporary Polish composers in the U.S. should ideally take the form of concerts and festivals. Music needs to be heard not seen. Therefore, a small sample of pieces from our "new donation" list will be heard during a chamber music concert accompanying the "Exhibition of Manuscripts" on 21 October 2000, starting at 3 p.m. Nonetheless, the emphasis that day will rest on what could be "seen" - as we will present a largest selection of 20th-century Polish music manuscripts ever displayed in the U.S. The collection will have a Californian component that should, for now, remain a secret. In order to better inform our viewers about the music itself, several CD players with headphones will be made available and the visitors will be able to browse through scores and recordings of the composers. I hope that my Californian readers would be able to visit us, even if they don't read music. This event celebrates a milestone in the development of the PMRC Collection, and the Center's efforts to promote Polish music in the U.S.


The European Choir of Medical Students will perform Henryk Górecki's Totus Tuus under the direction of Jose Maria Florencio Junior, on Sunday, September 3, at 5:30 p.m. at the Music Theater ROMA in Warsaw. The choir will be rehearsed by Beata Herman, the conductor of the Warsaw Medical Academy Choir. The other highlights of the program will be Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and the last movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. In both pieces the choir will be joined by the Warsaw Polish Radio Symphonic Orchestra.[JH]


Jolanta Wróżyna (soprano) presented her vocal talent in a recital which took place in July 2000 in Katowice (in the Silesian Library). The artist does not perform in Poland very often; her fascinating voice was last heard in November 1999 in Verdi's Requiem at the National Opera in Warsaw. Wrozyn is a recipient of the first prize and the special prize for Verdi's arias in the Belvedere competition in Viena. During her Katowice recital, she presented the full range of her vocal capabilities, in arias by Donizetti, Verdi, and Rossini, Mozart, as well as the last four songs of Richard Strauss. Leo Schlesinger accompanied on the piano. [MS]


Between 27 May and 18 June 2000 the Tenth Mikołów Days of Music were held in this small Silesian town. Four churches, the Town Center of Culture and outdoor locations were transformed into music stages. The programm of festival juxtaposed Polish and international music and peformers, classic, romantic and contemporary composers. 20th-century Polish comoposers on the program included Andrzej Krzanowski, Aleksander Lason, Eugeniusz Knapik, and Jan Gawlas. The "classic" portion of the program reatures such perennial favourites as the Symphony no. 9 by Antonin Dvorak, a symphony by Mozart, and string quartets by Ludvig van Beethoven, Shostakovich, Mozart and Grieg. Performers included the Wilanow Quartet, the Silesian Quartet, the Mikolow Chamber Orchestra under Slawomir Chrzanowski and Miroslaw J. Blaszczyk, the Orchestra of New Music under Aleksander Lason, The Chamber Orchestra „Lwow virtuoso" under Sergij Burko, The Silesian Chamber Orchestra under Jan Wincenty Hawel, and, in the final concert, Sinfonia Varsovia under Brazilian conductor Jose Maria Florencio with Polish solists - father and son - Jerzy and Adam Klocek - who played Vivaldi's concerto in G-minor for two cellos. The organizers cooperate with the neighbors from Czech Republic, so this year's festival opened with a presentation of Filharmonic Orchestra from Brno under Tomas Koutnikwchich open this year's festival. [MS]


The Polish music world noticed with sorrow the unexpected death of Polish-Jewish composer and pianist Władysław Szpilman in June 2000. Szpilman, born on 5 December 1911 in Sosnowiec, studied music in Warsaw (with Smidowicz) and Vienna (with Kreutzer, Schnabel and Schreker). In 1935-1963 (with a break for the war) he worked for the Polish Radio in Warsaw. In 1962 he cofounded the WArsaw Quintet with which he performed for many years. As a composer he focused on popular music: he penned over 400 songs, including some of the greatest hits of the post-World-War-II Poland, he also wrote film music for feature films and musical comedies. His output also includes classical works, little known in his home country.

Maureen Green, the manager of the Jewish Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles, was affected by the loss in an immediate fashion. She hoped to be able to bring the composer to L.A. for her premiere of his Concertino for piano and orchestra in April 2001. Now the guest of honor will be replaced by his son who lives in Germany and the concert will become a post-humous tribute to Szpilman.

Vladek Juszkiewicz, Los Angeles based music and film manager (as well as a singer), recalled his last visit to the pianist's home, when he tried to persuade him to come to L.A. in 1998. The pianist, already too frail physically for such a long and stressfuly voyage, was very lively and friendly in conversation. His presence with us will be missed.

Conductor Joseph Herter was very impressed by reading Szpilman's war-time memoirs, The Pianist. Herter described it as "a difficult book to get through. He writes so vividly about the gruesome events that took place in the Warsaw Ghetto that I could only take small bits at a time." In his book Szpilman credits the composer Piotr Perkowski for helping him hide from the Germans at the outset of his escape from the Ghetto. Let us not forget that Perkowski's birth centennial will be celebrated next year.


  • Winner of the Marcella Kochańska Sembrich vocal award sponsored by the American Council of Polish Clubs was baritone Joshua Sekovski, a student at Duke University.

  • Winner of the Chicago Chopin Competition last year was Adam Chlastawa, student of Professor Paweł Chęciński.

  • Michael Namirovsky won the 50th Chopin Piano Competition sponsored by the Kosciuszko Foundation of New York in June 2000. His recent performance of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra conducted by Steven Lipsitt received a spectacular review in the press.


    Concours de Piano Milosz Magin (9th edition) will be held in Paris from the 15th to 20th of March 2001; at the C.E.A.A. - Pianos Yamaha, 17 rue Dumont d'Urville, at the Polish Institute, 31 rue Jean Goujon, and at the Maison de l'Unesco, 7 Place de Fontenoy. The competition has three levels: Elementary, Advanced and Concert Artists. The choice of repertoire includes Polish composers (F.Chopin, I.Paderewski, J.Zarembski, K.Szymanowski, M.Magin) and also French composers ( C.Debussy, F.Poulenc, G.Chabrier, G.Fauré, M.Ravel).

    The mailing address for the competition has changed :

    Concours de Piano - Milosz Magin
    31, rue David - d'Angers
    75019 Paris; France
    Tel/Fax: 33 (0)1 42 08 40 61
    E-mail: margomagin@aol.com

    There are two web sites about this competition :



    At the beginning of July The Cantores Minores Boys Choir of the Warsaw St. John the Baptist Cathedral, led by Joseph Herter gave four concerts in the Mazurian Lake District, including one as part of a festival in Pasym. They also hosted a fabulous children's choir from Kyoto and gave a joint concert with them at the Chopin Academy. In the summer the young musicians participated in a five-day choir camp in Dobrowo, about 10 miles from Bialogard, in Pomerania and hosted a Russian choir. The fall schedule is full of new events while the choristers enjoy their musical engagements.



    The online store POLART - POLAND by MAIL - http://www.polart.com - made available a video of the State Folk Song and Dance Ensemble Mazowsze on the website of "mailordercentral.com." The video contains 85 minute-spectacle with some of Mazowsze favourite dance suites. You will find this video at: http://www.mailordercentral.com/polart/prodinfo.asp?number=V532&variation=&aitem=8&mitem=10 or by following this


    Hanna Lachert, Polish-American violinist based in New York, has alerted us to a manifesto sponsored by UNESCO and promoting a culture of non-violence and peace. Over 100 million people signed it already and the numbers are growing daily. You might wish to join the crowd (the size of over two Polands or one-third of the U.S.) and sign at: MANIFESTO 2000 (www.unesco.org/manifesto2000).


    You may visit the Global Music Network at GMN.com to hear and read about Lutoslawski and his Funeral Music, which had been recorded last year at the Royal Festival Hall in London's South Bank Center with Christoph von Dohnanyi conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in a live performance. On the web site you can also read and hear Chopin's
  • Variations for piano, Op. 2 and Introduction and Polonaise performed by Jon Kimura Parker and Desmond Hobig. You can even join the site's discussion forums on classical music. [WW]


    Przemek Znaniecki from Poznan informs us about his success in digitizing contemporary Polish music. He created MIDI files for a sonata by Grazyna Bacewicz, noticing in the process how important it is to recreate all the information from paper notation, all the articulation signs, dynamics, tempi. At present he is working on Witold Lutoslawski's Paganini Variations. For more information please contact the author, at his email address.


    The October issue of the Gramophone reports that "if you are interested in Poland's classical music scene and speak the language, wwww.meloman.pl is an informative and visually attractive port of call." Tomasz Trzebiatowski, the editor, claims it "is the country's most comprehensive online classical music centre - features daily classical music news, CD reviews, repertoire lists, and radio and TV listings." [WW]



    A newly published book on Polish American Folklore by Deborah Anders Silverman provides information on "rituals of courtship, marriage, coming of age, funereal and rediscovered customs." The book was issued by the University of Illinois Press, 264 pages, $29.95. For more information see

    As a companion, you can get a set of 12 tapes of Polish Folk Music by the Mazowsze, Slask and other folk song and dance ensembles from E.A. Trading of Santa Barbara. The tapes are available at www.heartofpoland.com. [WW]


    The memoirs of Władysław Szpilman (1911-2000), a Polish pianist and composer published first by Victor Gollancz in London, have been reprinted in 2000 by Chivers Press (Bath, England) and Thorndike Press (U.S.), in collaboration with McArthur and Company (Toronto Canada). The book is entitled, The pianist: The Extraordinary Story of one Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-45. A German translation appeared in 1998. Both editions are revised versions of Szpilman's memoirs that were originally published in 1946, by Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza in Warsaw, with a different title, Śmierć miasta: Pamiętniki Władysława Szpilmana (1939-1945) [The Death of the City: Memoirs of W.S.]. The only other book-size publication by Szpilman that my Internet search discovered is his 1974 collection of 30 songs for voice and piano, W Domu Ojczystym [In the Fatherland Home], issued by Agencja Autorska in Warsaw.


    • 10 SEP: Valerian Ruminski, bass. Music by Handel, Moniuszko, Schubert, Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin and premiere of six songs to poems of Charles Bukowski by composer Persis Ann Vehar, who will be present. Zipper Hall, Colburn School of Performing Arts. 200 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Call Ticketmaster: 213-480-3232; 714-740-2000. $17.50. 4:00 p.m.

    • 14 SEP: Lutosławski "Concerto for Orchestra." Auckland Philharmonia, New Zealand. Daniel Hege, cond. Town Hall. 64-91-379-2020.

    • 15-23 SEP: International Festival of Contemporary Music, Warsaw Autumn. For details about the program see "Flash News" above.

    • 21,22,23 Sep: Lutosławski "Concerto for Orchestra." Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Robert Spano, cond. Symphony Hall. 404- 733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org.

    Polish Artists Performing in the Fall
    • Piotr Anderszewski, pianist, with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Grzegorz Nowak, conducting. 21 Sep.

    • Penderecki String Quartet at Kitchener, Canada. 16 Sep.

    • Ewa Podleś, alto, in Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi conducting. 21, 22, 23 Sep.

    • Leila Josefowicz, violin, in Indianapolis, Thomas Dausgaard, cond. 28,29,30 Sep.



    In August, at the nine-day 55th Chopin Festival in Duszniki- Zdrój, twenty-three concerts and recitals were performed by seventeen pianists comprised of former laureates and jury members of the Chopin International Piano Competition. This year they were: Arnaldo Cohen, Hiriko Nakamura, Piotr Machnia, Joanna Marcinkowska, Malgorzata Sajna, Radoslaw Sobczak, Daniel Wnukowski, Philippe Guisiano, Andrej Gavrilov, Denis Matsujew, Louis Lortie, Cederic Tiberghien, Per Tengstrand, Gwyneth Chen and Jon Nakamatsu.


    Composer Maciej Zielinski wrote Lutosławski in memoriam for oboe and piano. It was performed for the first time during a joint artists and musicians forum called "Supermarket Sztuki" [Supermarket of Art] held in Warsaw in July.


    by Wanda Wilk


    The second round of nominations for the annual Gramophone Award included three discs of Polish music:
    1. Szymanowski's opera King Roger conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

    2. Krystian Zimerman's interpretation of the Chopin Piano Concertos as a soloist and conductor, with the Polish Festival Orchestra.

    3. Chopin/Godowsky Piano Works performed by Canadian pianist Marc- Andre Hamelin.


    Bel Canto Society is having a special sale on their videos. Among them Video #534 of Jan Kiepura and Marta Eggerth in "The Charm of La Boheme." English and German subtitles. Special price: $20. 1-800-347-5056 or visit www.belcantosociety.org.


    Video VA1 69227. Arthur Rubinstein: A Tribute to Chopin.

    John Beversluis reviews this "part 3 of the 88 minute black- and-white Kultur video is an all-Chopin recital: a prelude, a mazurka, a nocturne, Scherzo in C# minor and the A-flat Polonaise" in the last issue of American Record Guide. The video was filmed in 1950, during Rubinstein's "middle period" and, according to the reviewer, shows the pianist "in the presence of his wife and small group of adoring friends."


    Born this month:

    • 19 September 1938 - Zygmunt KRAUZE, composer
    • 5 September 1924 - Krystyna MOSZUMANSKA-NAZAR, composer
    • 7 September 1943 - Elbieta STEFAŃSKA, harpsichordist
    • 24 September 1914 - Andrzej PANUFNIK (died 27 October 1991), composer
    • 18 September 1883 - Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (died 1 January 1953), composer
    • 13 September 1896 - Tadeusz SZELIGOWSKI (died 10 January 1963), composer

      Died this month:

    • 13 September 1977 - Leopold STOKOWSKI (born 18 April 1882), American conductor and composer of Polish descent
    • 29 September 1954 - Alfred GRADSTEIN (born 30 October 1904), composer, and social activist
    • 27 September 1943 - Wacław GIEBUROWSKI (born 6 February 1878), priest, choral conductor and musicologist
    • 28 September 1939 - Halina SZMOLC-FITELBERG (born 25 December 1892), dancer (Diaghilev ensemble, Grand Theatre)

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    Copyright 2000 by the Polish Music Reference Center
    Send your comments and inquiries to: polmusic@usc.edu

    Newsletter Editors: Wanda Wilk and Maria Anna Harley
    Assistance: Joseph Herter, Małgorzata Sznicer, Hanna Lachert.
    Other sources of information: American Record Guide, Chamber Music,
    Fanfare, Gramophone, Ruch Muzyczny, and Schwann.
    Formatting by M. A. Harley, 1 September 2000