|Polish Music Newsletter|
2013 PADEREWSKI LECTURE-RECITAL PREVIEW
I have worked in nearly all the fields of the music world. Rock men greet me as a rock musician, jazzmen—as a jazzman, still others—as a film composer. But I am personally convinced that classical music is my proper domain. I dedicate about 80 per cent of my time, or more in some periods, to the composition of contemporary classical music. Unfortunately, the world of contemporary music is so small that at times I cannot help having the impression that I could easily suffocate in it. And, for that matter, I do not seem to be fully accepted in that world. [...]The Warsaw Autumn has never presented my works, but I hope to be found worthy of this honor when I celebrate my 80th birthday... [...]. My pieces are performed every month, also frequently abroad. I feel happy that my works are played at usual philharmonic concerts, not only at festivals.
Studio Magazine 1999 no. 5
The PMC’s 2013 Paderewski Lecturer is Krzesimir Dębski, a favorite of audiences throughout Los Angeles and the world. Celebrating his 60th birthday this year, Dębski is a prominent Polish composer who is also a virtuoso violinist and pianist, and a celebrated orchestral conductor. Equally at home in the world of jazz and classical music, Dębski is chiefly known in Poland for his numerous and highly popular film scores. In addition, he is also famous as a songwriter and arranger, and a composer of music for theatre.
However, Dębski’s Paderewski Lecture and the recital of his music—which will be held on October 20 at 7:00 pm on the USC campus—will focus on his lesser-known but extensive output of compositions for the classical concert stage. The program will include the World Premiere of his Violin Sonata (2013) as well as a selection of his works for wind ensemble and voice. Performers will include the Panic Duo (Pasha Tseitlin – violin and Nic Gerpe – piano), the Midnight Winds (Amy Tatum – flute, Jennifer Johnson – oboe, Andrew Leonard – clarinet, Maciej Flis – bassoon, and Allen Fogle – horn), Dębski’s wife, vocalist Anna Jurksztowicz, and the composer himself.
Born in Wałbrzych on October 26, 1953 into a musical family, Krzesimir Dębski studied music from an early age. Already during middle school Dębski played in various musical ensembles, including The Hazards and Maszyna Rytmu [The Rhythm Machine], and made his debut in 1973 at the Rack Avant-Garde Festival in Kalisz. He later joined the group Warsztat [The Workshop] as a jazz violinist, performing at the Jazz on the Odra River Festival in Wrocław in 1975. Later Dębski worked with the Tey Cabaret in Poznań, Jonkisz Jazz Orchestra, Górny Orchestra, and Orchestra of the Eighth Day.
Starting in 1973 Dębski studied composition with Andrzej Koszewski and conducting with Witold Krzemieński at the Poznań Academy of Music. In 1980 he began touring all of Europe and North America as violinist with the celebrated String Connection ensemble. Winner of the First Prize in the International Jazz Competition in Belgium, Dębski was also honored by Jazz Forum Magazine with its Best Violinist and Best Arranger Prizes. Listed in 1985 as one of the ten best jazz violinists by Down Beat Magazine, Dębski had since then scored over seventy feature films, and numerous TV series. Among his best-known feature film credits are Ogniem i mieczem [With Fire and Sword], W pustyni i w puszczy [In Desert and Wilderness], and Stara baśń [An Old Tale]. Dębski’s soundtrack for Ogniem i mieczem went platinum in Poland, selling over two hundred thousand copies, and earned him the 2000 International Film Academy’s Philip Award. He was also the recipient of the Fryderyk Composer of the Year Award in 2000. His most recent film scores include a soundtrack for the first Polish 3D film, Battle of Warsaw 1920, Sztos 2 [Polish Roulette], and Siberian Exile. Dębski’s film scoring projects in the United States have included writing new soundtracks for the early short and medium length films of Charlie Chaplin.
As a song writer, Krzesimir Dębski has over one hundred pop songs to his credit. Many of them are written to texts by Jacek Cygan and feature prominently in the repertoire of many well-known artists, including Edyta Górniak, Anna Jurksztowicz, Grażyna Łobaszewska, Ryszard Rynkowski, Zdzisława Sośnicka, Mieczysław Szcześniak, Natasza Urbańska and Borys Szyc. Dębski has also scored hundreds of episodes of popular Polish TV series, including Klan [The Clan], Złotopolscy [The Zlotopolski Family], Ranczo [The Rancho], and Na dobre i na złe [For Good and Ill].
Throughout the last decade, Krzesimir Dębski has received a number of commissions for large-scale orchestral works from outstanding soloists and major symphony orchestras in Poland and abroad. He has shared the stage with such internationally acclaimed artists as John Blake, Jose Carreras, The Canadian Brass, Jose Cura, Nigel Kennedy, Adam Makowicz, Ewa Malas-Godlewska, Mark O’Connor, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Vadim Repin. Krzesimir Dębski’s ever-growing catalogue of orchestral compositions currently includes two symphonies, an opera, ballet music, and eleven concertos for various solo instruments and orchestra. In great demand as conductor and performer, his recent foreign tours included performances in Mexico, India, Brazil, and the United States. Dębski’s music has been recorded on MAG Music, Pool Music, Pomarton, EMI Classics, Polstar, Warner Music Poland, Polskie Nagrania, Proton, Koch, BMG Poland, Si Music, Universal Music Polska, and Pol Music labels.
Krzesimir Dębski has served as Deputy Chair of the Polish Contemporary Music Society and has given summer course guest lectures in Ankara, Darmstadt, San Diego, and Los Angeles. In 2010 Krzesimir Dębski received the Ecce Homo Order, a Polish Catholic Church award for “Depicting life with music and a musical imprint on the picture of Poland and the world, as well as for beautiful transformation of everyday reality through good works, orderliness and harmony.”
PMC’S SUPER VOLUNTEERS
The Polish Music Center was the very grateful recipient of the generosity of two talented young volunteers during the first half of this year. Musicologist Maria Peryt shared her time with us from January through March, and cellist Barbara Misiewicz was with us during July. Both women have extensive educations in all aspects of music, which, combined with their linguistic skills in Polish and English, made them extremely valuable additions to the PMC staff.
Currently the head of the classical music department of the Polish division of the Warner Music group (formerly EMI Classics), Maria Peryt began her University music career at the Music Academy in Łódź as a piano student. She subsequently graduated in 2011 from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw with dual graduate degrees in Musicology and Public Relations. This education plus a voracious appetite for moving Poland’s classical music scene forward has led her to a successful career not only in the classical recording business, but also as a freelance journalist and founder of the ForMusic Foundation, which supports performances of ground-breaking compositions by excellent performers in Poland.
Polish cellist Barbara Misiewicz (pictured at right with PMC Asst. Dir. Krysta Close) teaches cello in Lugano, Switzerland while pursuing an intensive international performing career as a soloist and member of the Trio Ambassador and as a performer and recording artist for films. She began her music studies in her home town of Elbląg, Poland, and has since studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, achieving Bachelor and Postgraduate diplomas in cello performance, and at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, where she received her Master degree in Music Performance. She is currently pursuing her Master degree in Pedagogy at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana as she continues to develop her passion for teaching with her young students and also supporting the Marta Argerich Project in Lugano.
Thank you to Marysia and Basia for your invaluable work and tireless support given to the Polish Music Center this year!
RECENT DONATIONS TO THE PMC
The PMC just received a gift of the recent recording of Maciej Małecki’s works for string quartet: The Dream of Frédéric and String Quartets nos. 1-3 (Acte Préalable 0268). This World Premiere recording was made by the Opium String Quartet (OSQ), which consists of Agnieszka Marucha – 1st violin (since 2011), Anna Szalińska – 2nd violin, Magdalena Małecka – viola, Olga Łosakiewicz-Marcyniak – cello. Learn more about the recording in the January 2013 Newsletter. This gift was hand delivered to the PMC by composer Veronika Krausas. Veronika recently performed with Opium at the XIII Festival International de Musique en Catalogne, which was organized by Polish composer Joanna Bruzdowicz in Céret, France and was dedicated to female composers and performers.
Also arriving in August was the complete edition of the recordings made during the 2012 Warszawska Jesień Contemporary Music Festival. This 8-CD set, along with its accompanying 400+ page English-language program, is an absolute treasure trove of information about the music being created today by composers in Poland and abroad. These collections are produced annually and generously donated by the Polish Music Information Centre (POLMIC) in Warsaw to libraries around the world. This 2012 edition will join many previous years’ donations as an invaluable part of the PMC library collection, and will serve as an important resource to researchers around the world.
Thank you to Dir. Mieczysław Kominek and Vice-Dir. Izabela Zymer of POLMIC, and to the members of the OSQ!
LUTOSLAWSKI YEAR 2013
STAŃCZYK – LUTOSŁAWSKI STIPEND WINNER
Based on the decision of the Board of the Witold Lutosławski Society, Gabriela and Marcin Bogusławski have awarded the 2013 Witold Lutosławski stipend to composer Marcin Stańczyk.
Born in Łęczyca, Poland in 1977, Marcin Stańczyk graduated from the Academy of Music in Łódź, where he studied composition under Zygmunt Krauze, and from the Faculty of Law at the University of Łódź. He also completed postgraduate studies at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome under Ivan Fedele, and recently won the prestigious Toru Takemitsu Award. During the academic year 2011/2012, with the support of that year’s Lutosławski stipend, Stańczyk attended a course in music technology and acoustics at the IRCAM research center in Paris; this latest stipend will help support his further study at IRCAM.
‘The Lutosławski Collective’ is a project transforming some of the composer’s ideas into themes for improvisation. The project explores the relationship between the two creative compositional processes of improvisation and aleatoric techniques, and through this exploration provides a reinterpretation of Lutosławski’s oeuvre. Maciej Garbowski, the initiator of the project, invited the following musicians to take a new look at Lutosławski’s chamber music, with all parts treated as equals: Maciej Garbowski and Anders Jormin – double bass, Lena Willemark – violin & vocals, Andrzej Bauer – cello, Dominik Wania – piano, Sambor Dudziński – vocals, various percussion instruments, and Cezary Duchnowski - computer.
In conjunction with the Lutosławski Collective project, cellist Andrzej Bauer is curating a series of musical events and in the newly re-opened Władysław Szpilman Studio of the Polish Radio in Warsaw. According to Bauer, these “Trans-Fuzja” concerts will enliven the old studio with new sounds. The artists invited to participate in the project will perform in a number of chamber music sessions that will attempt to create new and interesting soundscapes. All performers are passionate about searching for new expressions and new sounds through unconventional uses of digital technology in conjunction with the traditional instruments.
Watch a video of the June 18 concert in the Szpilman Studio at www.polskieradio.pl.
LUTOSŁAWSKI – SYMPHONIES ON THE AIR
On August 22, Polish-Canadian composer Piotr Grella-Możejko dedicated his “Avant-garde & Beyond” radio program #112 to one of the greatest composers in the history of music, Witold Lutosławski, who created a body of work seldom equaled in the last century. A superb orchestral composer, his legacy includes four symphonies, without a doubt one the most original and powerful symphony cycles alongside those of Hartmann, Penderecki, and Shostakovich.
Avant-garde & Beyond airs on CJSR Radio (88.5 FM) in Edmonton, AB, Canada on Thursday: 9:06 - 11:00 A.M. MST (8:06-10:00 A.M. Vancouver; 11:06 A.M.-1:00 P.M. Montréal, Toronto, New York; 11:36 P.M.-1:30 P.M. St. John's; 4:06-6:00 P.M. London, UK; 5:06-7:00 P.M. Central Europe; 6:06-8:00 P.M. Athens, Greece; 7:06-9:00 P.M. Moscow, Russia; and Friday: 3:06-5:00 A.M. Canberra; 5:06-7:00 A.M. Wellington)
This month’s broadcast program:
[Source: press release]
LUTOSŁAWSKI 2013 - PROMESA
Below is a selection of the upcoming concerts in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage's “Lutoslawski 2013 – Promesa” program, as carried out by The Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT).
For a full listing of all of the concerts and events taking place in September, please visit imit.org.pl/en/events/department-of-music.html.
NEW LUTOSŁAWSKI ON DUX
The two following recordings will premiere on DUX Records on September 19, 2013 under the auspices of the "Lutosławski 2013 – Promesa [Promise]" project of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage:
Lutosławski: Works for Voice and Piano
Lutosławski: Complete Works for Solo Piano
WORLD PREMIERES @ WARSAW AUTUMN 2013
The Warsaw Autumn [Warszawska Jesień] International Festival of Contemporary Music has a long history, carries an enormous tradition, and can be called a witness to history. It is the only festival in Poland on an international scale and with an international status, dedicated to contemporary music. For many years, it was the only event of this kind in Central and Eastern Europe. It is still, however, a living organism: it develops and thrives to the extent that the Polish cultural budget and the general state of music allow it to. The Festival is organized by the Polish Composers' Union (ZKP). The Repertoire Committee, which is in turn appointed by the Board of the Union, determines the program of each particular festival.
The Festival was created in 1956, during the thaw that followed years of Stalinist dictatorship. Even though the government quickly left the democratization course, the Festival continued without interruption (with two exceptions) during the entire communist era - its finances were secured by the state (up to this day, its main source of funding comes from public funds). Only recently has the new economic and social situation of a country working its way to prosperity threatened the financial stability of the 'Warsaw Autumn'. Nevertheless, the Festival still plays an essential role in shaping contemporary culture in Poland.
Paradoxically, the communist era was a period in which the 'Warsaw Autumn' thrived. It constituted an evident crack in the Iron Curtain, it was an island of creative freedom. Socialist Realism was not obligatory here: the most varied forms of artistic invention were possible. These created a sense of freedom of expression in general, and were viewed as a form of political protest. The government tolerated this situation, wanting to present itself as a liberal patron of the arts.
Today, one of the organizers' main goals - to familiarize the Polish listener with the classic works of the 20th century (i.e. with works that were seen as such already at the beginning of the festival) – has been fulfilled, of course. At the same time, new gaping holes in terms of the classic works from the second half of the XX century have appeared. For example, Stockhausen's Gruppen was performed for the first time in Poland only at 'Warsaw Autumn' 2000. The two other goals, however, remain timeless: to present new music from Poland and abroad.
Thus, as always, the program of this year’s 56th edition is full of World Premieres of works by Polish composers:
September 19, 7:00 pm: Opening of the multimedia installation by Adam Dudek & Aleksander Nowak's Spoon River Anthology. Ingrida Gápová – soprano, Tomasz Konieczny - bass-baritone, Joanna Popowicz - sound recording direction, Konrad Spyra -camera, Platige Image post-production and MOOV multimedia programming
September 22, 4:00 pm: Grzegorz Pieniek’s Days to come, days gone by (WA commission) and Jacek Grudzień / Izabela Chlewińska’s Preparation for Change (ZKP Commission) — Sylvia Nopper - mezzo-soprano, Uroš Rojko - clarinet, Klara Tomljanovič - guitar, Luka Juhart - accordion, Włodzimierz Pawlik - piano, Izabela Chlewińska - dance/choreography, and Tomasz Bergmann - video projections
September 23, 7:30 pm (Andrzej Chłopecki in memoriam): Paweł Szymański's Epilogue and Paweł Mykietyn's Wax Music (Polish premiere). AUKSO – Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy, Piotr Nowak – trumpet, Aleksandra Rupocińska – harpsichord, Barbara Drążkowska - piano (co-author of Wax Music project), Tobias Weber –phonographs, Adelajda Merchán-Drążkowska - curator of Wax Music project, Marek Moś - conductor
September 25, 7:30 pm: Rafał Augustyn's Tam. Music for Violin, Voices and Instruments, Zbigniew Bargielski's Concerto for Piano, Percussion and Symphony Orchestra (WA commission), and Stanisław Krupowicz's Machinae coelestes (WA and Space Research Centre PAS commission). Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, The Katowice City Singers’ Ensemble “Camerata Silesia,” TWOgether Duo: Magdalena Bojanowicz - cello, Maciej Frąckiewicz - accordion, Magdalena Szostak-Krupowicz – soprano, Christine Pryn – violin, Małgorzata Walentynowicz – piano, Jan Pilch – percussion, Stanisław Krupowicz and Marcin Rupociński – computer, and Renato Rivolta – conductor
September 27, 4:00 pm (“A Study of Lights”): Tomasz Opałka's HemiSphere and Jan Oleszkowicz's Monologues. Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Barbara Zakrzewska – voice, and Stanisław Winiarczyk - conductor
In addition to the incredible list of premieres, there are other special features of the 2013 Warsaw Autumn Festival:
POLES PREMIERED AT GAUDEAMUS MUZIEKWEEK
The prestigious Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2013 Festival will take place from Sunday, September 1 through Sunday, September 8. This year’s edition will feature compositions by young Polish composers Mikołaj Laskowski and Dariusz Przybylski (World Premieres) and Kasia Głowicka.
On September 3 in the Zijdebalen Theater the latest work by Mikołaj Laskowski, entitled Na (2013), will be premiered by its commissioning ensemble, Orkest de Ereprijs. This composition was developed at the Orkest de Ereprijs’ annual Young Composers' Meeting held in Apeldoorn, where budding composers are given the chance to work alongside the ensemble for a week. During the same September 3rd concert, the famous Orchestra of the 21st Century will perform Music in 3 parts by Kasia Głowicka.
A few days later, on September 6 in the RASA Center, the premiere of Chamber Concerto (2013) by Dariusz Przybylski will be performed by its commissioning ensemble, the Internationale Ensemble Modern Akademie. This 10-minute composition is written for 15 virtuoso instrumentalists, each of which is treated as a soloist. The form of the work has been subordinated to the presentation of the individual artists or groups of instruments, and consists of contrasting sections, with musical material derived from the construction of an interval. On the same day as the concert, there will be a discussion with the composers who are presented on the concert with Przybylski,
The Gaudeamus Muziekweek is an internationally renowned festival for young composers and new music. The festival has existed for over 60 years, but in 2011 the first edition in Utrecht took place.
ZUBEL PREMIERE IN GERMANY
On September 22 in the Hannover Staatsoper, the new work for large orchestra by Agata Zubel, entitled IN, will receive its World Premiere. The work will be performed by the Lower Saxony State Orchestra Hannover, conducted by Karen Kamensek.
IN for large orchestra was written in 2013 with a commission from Hannoverschen Gesellschaft für Neue Musik, in connection with the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Witold Lutosławski's birth. In addition to Agata Zubel's work, the concert program will also include Karol Szymanowski's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, op. 35 and Piotr Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in B minor "Pathetique", op.74.
JAN EKIER CELEBRATES 100 YEARS!
Jan Ekier’s significant role as a pianist, editor and pedagogue has made him the master of several generations of Poland’s musicians and musicologists. In recognition of his importance, he received Poland’s highest honor—the Order of the White Eagle—in 2010, and on August 29, 2013 this giant of the musical world celebrated his centenary.
Born on the eve of World War I, Ekier placed 8th during the III Chopin International Competition in Warsaw held in 1937, and subsequently sat on the jury of that prestigious event nine times, between 1949 and 1995. He developed a laudable career as a pianist, performing across Europe, in Japan and throughout South America. But it was as editor-in-chief of the Chopin Institute’s National Edition of Chopin’s Works, which followed Paderewski’s long-standing Complete Edition as the leading publication of complete works, that Jan Ekier became an international musicological authority.
On August 29, Ekier’s 100th birthday was celebrated at an event hosted by the National Chopin Institute (NIFC) as part of the ‘Chopin and His Europe’Festival in Warsaw. The event started at noon with many laudatory remarks and awards bestowed upon the honoree by leaders of some of the Poland’s greatest cultural institutions, including: Dr. Zenon Butkiewicz, Director of the Dept. of National Cultural Institutions of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage; Ryszard Zimak, rector of the Fryderyk Chopin Music University; Grzegorz Michalski, President of the Witold Lutosławski Society; Andrzej Kosowski, Director of the Institute of Music and Dance; and Jerzy Kornowicz, President of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP). Also the celebratory book Jan Ekier – artysta stulecia [Jan Ekier – Artist of the Century] was presented by author Prof. Irena Poniatowska, as well as a biography and editions of works presented by PWM Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Daniel Cichy.
The ceremony was followed by a short recital of compositions by prof. Ekier, starting with his best-known work, Kolorowe melodie (1948), performed by Agnieszka Przemyk – piano. Also on the program were his set of songs, or “Pieśni,” which were performed by Adam Kruszewski – baritone and Ella Susmanek – piano.
The culmination of the celebrations was ten-hour marathon of Chopin works, played by up-and-coming young pianists and singers. For a full listing of the program and performers, see en.chopin.nifc.pl/festival/edition2013/concerts/day/15.
NEW ARTISTIC DIR. FOR WARSAW PHIL
The Warsaw National Philharmonic has announced that, as of September 1, 2013, Maestro Jacek Kasprzyk has assumed the role of Artistic Director of Warsaw Philharmonic. Kasprzyk takes over the position from Maestro Antoni Wit who, over the course of his twelve-year tenure, brought much prestige to the Orchestra, including a Grammy Award for their June 2012 recording of Penderecki for Naxos (CD 8.572482).
From a National Phil press release:
I,CULTURE ORCHESTRA—2013 EDITION
On August 26 in Gdańsk, 99 young musicians from Poland and countries of the Eastern Partnership began this year’s tour as the I, Culture Orchestra. The I, Culture Orchestra (ICO) was initiated in 2011 by the Adam Mickieiwcz Institute in Warsaw as part of the cultural program of Poland's EU Council Presidency, which employed art and cultural activities in deepening relations between European Union citizens and those of Eastern Partnership countries. Since that initial installment of the ICO project, a new group of young instrumentalists and their conductor are selected each year in auditions open to musicians from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia, Poland and Ukraine—the nations of the Eastern Partnership.
The orchestra will be on tour from August 26 to September 6, 2013. They will play concerts in Gdańsk (26 August), Rejkajavik (29 August), Gothenburg (31 August), Copenhagen (2 September), Tallinn (3 September), and Kiev (4 September). The tour program includes the symphonic ballade Grażyna by Ukrainian composer Boris Lyatoshynsky (his op. 58, from 1955), Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1, op. 10, Lutosławski's Cello Concerto and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra.
The I, Culture Orchestra played under the baton of Sir Neville Marriner in 2011 for their inaugural season, and under Maestro Paweł Kotla. The ensemble of young musicians in 2012 was conducted by Ilyich Rivas. ICO's 2013 formation performs with Kirill Karabits, chief conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony for the past four seasons and recipient of the 2013 RPS Conductor of the Year Award. Maestro Karabits has collaborated with the Royal Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, in spite of his young age, and has performed at festivals including the BBC Proms, the Wagner Festival in Geneva and the Ludwig van Bethoveen Easter Festival 2013 in Warsaw.
Soloists with the ICO for the 2013 season are cellist Truls Mørk and pianist Khatia Buniatishvili. Mørk is known for his instrumental skills and for his wide array of interests in interpreting contemporary and classical cello compositions. He presented the world premiere of Pavel Haas' Cello Concerto, has performed the Concerto Grosso of Krzysztof Penderecki and may be best known for interpreting Brahms' Double Concerto for Violin and Cello and Rachmaninoff's Cello Sonatas. During the Lutosławski Year 2013, he has toured internationally as soloist in the composer's renowned Cello Concert with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Symphonia Orchestra, including concerts in London at Royal Albert Hall and in Warsaw at the National Philharmonic. His interpretation was quoted as "a powerful, defiant opera without word" in Andrew Clark's review for the Financial Times.
Khatia Buniatishvili received enthusiastic receptions for solo recitals and chamber concerts at London's Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Viennese Musikverein. She debuted in the U.S. in 2008 with a performance of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 at Carnegie Hall. Buniatishvili was presented with the BBC Three Programme's Artists of the New Generation title, and was honored with the Rising Star award of the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna in the 2011-12 season. The pianist evokes the legendary names of Argerich, Gulda, Richter and Rachmaninoff as her masters. Her playing has a distinct warm and at times sombre style, which reflects the young instrumentalist's fascination with folk music in her native Georgia.
The instrumental tutors for the ICO in 2013 are Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay (I violin), Clare Thompson (II violin), Yuko Inoue (viola), Paul Cortese (viola), David Watkin (cello), John Heley (cello), Leon Bosch (base), Samuel Coles (flute), Philip Nodel (oboe), Robin O'Neill (bassoon), Jeff Bryant (horn), Alistair Mackie (trumpet), Dan Jenkins (trombone), Marie-Pierre Chavaroche (harp), Damien Bassman (percussion) and Andrew Cresci (tuba).
A complete list of the members of the I, Culture Orchestra 2013 is available on their website, www.orchestra.iam.pl.
NEW INTERPRETATIONS, 4th EDITION
The 4th edition of New Interpretations, a program of the Institute of Music and Dance (IMiT), has been launched. The composers highlighted in this 4th edition are Marcin Mielczewski, Juliusz Zarębski and Sir Andrzej Panufnik, whose centenary will be celebrated in 2014. The 4th edition covers concerts taking place from 1 January to 31 December 2014.
New Interpretations is dedicated to Polish musicians pursing an individual artistic career or working as part of non-institutionalized ensembles, and aims to promote performances of Polish music, especially works which are less frequently present in Polish concert repertoires. As part of the programme, the Institute of Music and Dance provides partial funding towards the remuneration of artists who include for the first time in their repertoire pieces by the chosen composers and perform them publically. The program is dedicated to the music community in Poland.
BLECHARZ IN CHINA
From September 8-15, young Polish composer Wojciech Blecharz will be bringing his skills to workshops for composers at the Chinese Conservatory of Music. Blecharz will also cooperate with the Conservatory’s chamber orchestra, the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra (FCCO). Through these workshops, Blecharz will learn about traditional Chinese instruments and how to use them in his own work. Then he will collaborate with the FCCO musicians to make a new composition scheduled to be premiered by the orchestra at the Warsaw Autumn Festival in 2014. The project was set in motion two years ago, and has consisted of three week-long visits by composers to China.
The Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra was founded by 11 musicians in Beijing, each specialized in ancient Chinese instruments. The work of the orchestra has spanned traditional music with a classic esthetic and innovative and individualized new music. In 2011, the orchestra toured Warsaw and Krakow during Chinese Culture Days, which like this current collaboration with Blecharz, was organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
Four Polish composers were present during previous workshops in May: Tadeusz Wielecki, Jarosław Siwiński, Paweł Hendrich and Piotr Roemer. Lidia Zielińska had joined the group by the end of the collaboration with FCCO. Their visits were also organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
MARCIN DYLLA’S STELLAR RISE
A few months ago, Polish guitarist Marcin Dylla held concerts in the United States and in Mexico City. Now he will perform and lead workshops at the International Guitar Festival in Brno, Czech Republic.
Born in Chorzów, Marcin Dylla began playing the guitar at eight years old. Today he experiences unprecedented success. Many of his recitals have been issued for release on DVD and CD platforms (see Naxos CD 8.572060), and these have been well received. A few months ago the Washington Post hailed him as “one of the most talented guitarists in the world.” Richard Storm from the Herald Tribune even wrote “Amazing is a word that is abused by this day and age, but the Polish guitarist restored its meaning during his absolutely stunning performance.”
On September 16, Dylla will perform at the International Guitar Festival in Brno. His concert will be the final performance scheduled for the Czech festival. This series of concerts began in 1992 with an intimate meeting between a group of three soloists and 30 participants. The festival in the contemporary world has been widely recognized and invites more than 150 guitarists from around the world to perform and participate in workshops every year.
The most recent season has brought Marcin Dylla much success. His North American debut was held at New York’s Carnegie Hall and was followed by a tour on both the East and West coasts of the United States. On his European tour he made stops at prestigious venues such as the Vienna Schubertsaal and also participated in Germany’s Koblenz Guitar Festival.
HONORING MADELEINE FORTE'S 75TH BIRTHDAY
On September 15, pianists from Hungary, Poland, and the U.S. will gather at Yale University’s Sudler Hall to celebrate the 75th birthday of Professor Emerita Madeline Forte. Madeleine Forte is a Graduate of the Frederic Chopin Academy in Warsaw, class of Prof. Zbigniew Drzewiecki (1965). During her career, Forte performed as a pianist on five continents in collaboration with her husband, Yale Battell Professor of Music Theory Emeritus Allen Forte.
Original compositions by János Kéry from Hungary, and Krystian Kielb, Rector of the Wrocław Karol Lipiński Academy in Warsaw, have been written for the occasion. Works by Szymanowski, Bacewicz, Rachmaninov, Liszt, and Chopin will also be on the program. The concert will be performed by Forte’s former students Anna Rutkowska-Schock, Anna Kijanowska and Robyn Riggers (who also performed the ‘Mad About Madeline’ program at Boise State University in 2011), as well as Forte herself.
[Source: press release]
JANUSZ PRUSINOWSKI TRIO US TOUR 2013
The Janusz Prusinowski Trio is a group of musicians who follow in the traditions of the village masters they have personally learned from, but they are also an avant-garde band with their own characteristic sound and language of improvisation. They combine music with dance, and the archaic with the modern. The Trio's unique style is distilled from their informed reinterpretations of central Poland's village music. They bring the mazurka—sung, played, danced, and improvised—to a new, youthful audience. Listening to the Trio you can hear how the traditional music of Polish villages echoes or is echoed by a variety of genres: the music of Chopin in its melodic pattern and the use of rubato, a shared love of improvisation with blues and jazz, a tonal sophistication reminiscent of twentieth-century classical and free improvisation, and the energy and propulsion of rock music.
The band has performed in most European countries, Asia, Canada, and the USA (including Carnegie Hall and the Chicago Symphony Center). The Trio has shared the stage with such renowned artists as Janusz Olejniczak, Tomasz Stańko, and Alim Qasimov. They have released two critically-acclaimed albums: Mazurkas (2008) and Heart (2010). In October of 2012, the Prusinowski Trio was officially selected to perform as part of main showcase of the prestigious world music fair WOMEX 2012 (World Music Expo) in Thessaloniki.
The Prusinowski Trio will perform in the following lineup: Janusz Prusinowski – fiddle, voice, dulcimer, Polish accordion; Piotr Piszczatowski – baraban drum, frame drum; Michał Żak – wooden flutes, shawm, clarinet; Piotr Zgorzelski – folk bass, dancing; Szczepan Pospieszalski – trumpet.
US Tour 2013 & new album promo for 'Knee-deep in Heaven':
This tour is presented by local venues and festivals, in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute New York.
POLISH JAZZ ABROAD
Marcin Masecki (pictured at left), Maciej Obara, Piotr Damasiewicz and Gerard Lebik will perform in Tokyo’s Cotton Club during the Tokyo Jazz Festival, one of the most important such festivals in Asia. The visit of these Polish musicians is co-organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw and the Jazzopad Festival in Wrocław. Their Tokyo appearances are scheduled for September 6-8. Japanese jazz ensembles will in turn visit Wrocław in November to participate in the Jazzopad concerts there.
Earlier in August, Polish musicians of the Motion Trio performed at the Red Sea Jazz Festival, alongside Branford Marsalis, Ester Rada, Nicholas Payton and the Avishai Cohen trio. The Red Sea Jazz Festival dates back to 1987 and has taken the role of presenting the legends of jazz as well as upcoming musicians and artists that offer innovative and rejuvenating insights into this genre of music. One of the main initiators of Motion Trio’s visit was the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv.
The Red Sea Jazz Festival occurs twice a year, in winter and summer, and this is Motion Trio’s second time performing at the Festival. Their concerts were held in the port city of Eilat on the Red Sea on August 18 and 19, 2013, with sets include their original compositions. In 2007 they performed on the most famous beach in the world, the Copacabana, with the Municipal Theatre Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro under the guidance of Krzesimir Dębski.
KOSCIUSZKO FDN CHOPIN PIANO COMPETITION
The Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition was established in 1949, in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Frederic Chopin. The inauguration took place at the Kosciuszko Foundation House in New York City, with Witold Malcuzynski as guest artist, and Abram Chasins, composer and music director of the New York Times Radio Stations, presiding. Over the years, many outstanding musicians have been associated with the competition including Van Cliburn, Ian Hobson, and Murray Perahia. Today the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition continues to encourage gifted young pianists to further their studies, and to perform the works of Polish composers, with prizes ranging from $1,500 - $5,000.
All applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 26 as of October, 2013. Deadline for submission to the 2013 Competition: September 20, 2013. The Competition will be held on October 11-12, 2013 at the Kosciuszko Foundation House in New York City. This year’s Jury is comprised of: Chairman of the Jury - Prof. Roy Eaton (Manhattan School of Music), Prof. Anna Kijanowska (The College of William and Mary in Virginia), and Prof. Jerome Rose (Mannes College The New School for Music).
For more information and the complete set of rules and repertoire requirements, visit www.thekf.org/programs/competitions/chopin/.
ROMA INT’L PIANO COMPETITION
The Associazione "Fryderyk Chopin" in cooperation with the Cuomo Foundation is organizing the XXIII Roma International Piano Competition 2013, to be held from November 1-11, 2013. Deadline for applications: October 14, 2013.
The competition is held in three different sections: Soloists, Duos, and “Chopin Prize” competitors. Soloist sections (1 round): "A" competitors must be born in or since 1994, and "B" competitors must be born in or since 1988. Duo Sections (1 round): “Four Hands” and “Two Pianos” competitors must be born in or since 1979. “Chopin Prize” competitors must be born in or since 1979 (3 rounds – last with orchestra).
Information on repertoire, prizes and applications is available on: www.chopinroma.it. Also see: www.facebook.com/chopinroma (news, pictures, videos, links) and www.youtube.com/user/RomaPianoCompetition
[Source: press release]
AMERYKA: A WORK OF THEATER, MUSIC & MOVEMENT
On the evening of Saturday, September 7 in Riverside, Nancy Keystone will talk about the play Ameryka that she wrote and directed. During the same evening, an ensemble of professional American actors from the Critical Mass Performance Group will perform the play. Klub PIE (Poles in the Inland Empire) will host the event and provide historical and cultural context. The program will be presented in English.
Poland's epic struggle for independence culminated in 1989 when Lech Walesa became the first popularly elected president of Poland. The idea for Ameryka was sparked two decades later, during Keystone's first visit to Poland in 2009. There she came across a 1989 "Solidarity" election poster featuring a black-and-white photograph of Gary Cooper as Sheriff Will Kane from the 1957 film High Noon. Striding against a stark white background beneath a large red "Solidarity" logo, Kane also wears the logo above his sheriff's star and holds in his hand, instead of a gun, an election ballot. The bottom of the poster reads, in Polish: "At high noon, June 4, 1989."
"When I saw this poster, I was struck by the question of how this supremely iconic American image could hold such power for the people of Poland, how it helped rally citizens to the voting booth," Keystone recalled. "What did this say about the relationship between Poland and the U.S.?"
Keystone has since made four more trips to Poland, and began working on Ameryka with Critical Mass Performance Group in June 2010. The work combines Keystone's own ongoing examination of democracy and the American experience with her discovery of a vast universe of associations between the United States and Poland.
Performed by a cast of nine playing multiple roles, the multi-layered narrative focuses on three eras: the late eighteenth century, the 1950s–1960s, and the 1980s. It explores the transmission of ideas through time and space and, as Keystone puts it, "individual acts that shift the avalanche of history."
Ameryka detonates the remarkable connections between the U.S. and Poland in an original, ensemble-created theatre work. It focuses on four eras: late 18th c., 1950s-60s, the 1980s, and the post-9/11 period. It upends mythic figures and ideas (Thomas Jefferson & Tadeusz Kościuszko, the American West, “liberty and justice for all”), examines America's legacy of slavery, and illuminates previously untold stories (black jazz musicians on State Department tour to Poland, female leaders of Polish Solidarity, post-9/11 CIA black-ops site in Poland). Through provocative juxtapositions and bold theatrical forms, Ameryka investigates the transmission of radical ideas of freedom and democracy across time and space—from the United States' founding documents, to Poland, and back again—and the courageous people who act on those ideas, against opposing forces, to shift the avalanche of history.
The piece is a kaleidoscopic composition of text, music, movement and image, created by Nancy Keystone and Critical Mass Performance Group in Los Angeles. The Klub PIE presentation will outline the characters, events and themes of Ameryka, and describe the unique development process, which is bringing it to life.
[Sources: press release, broadwayworld.com]
POLISH VIOLIN MUSIC MAKING THE ROUNDS
Kinga Augustyn, violin and Matthieu Cognet, piano will perform the first Arnold Schwartz Memorial concert of the season at the Little Church in New York City on Wednesday, September 11. Entitled “Remembering,” the program includes by J.S. Bach, Drożdżewski, Paderewski, Noskowski, and Prokofiev. This concert will mark the New York premiere of Two Caprices (1990) by Piotr Drożdżewski.
The Les Claires Duo—Kinga Augustyn, violin and Alexandra Snyder Dunbar, harpsichord—also performed the Tennessee premiere of the Two Caprices (1990) by Drożdżewski during their “Mostly Baroque” program on Friday, August 30, 2013 at the St. John Catholic Church in Memphis. The recital program also included works by J.S. Bach, H. D’Anglebert, G.F. Handel, and A. Corelli.
Two Caprices (1990) by Drożdżewski was recorded for the first time on Augustyn’s recent release, “Polish Violin Music” (Naxos 9.70192).
[Source: press release]
DANCING CHOPIN WITH IGOR LIPINSKI
On Sunday, September 29, the Paderewski Symphony Orchestra present their program Dancing Chopin. The concert will include most beautiful pieces of Chopin’s music interpreted by extraordinary pianist Igor Lipiński (who performed at the 2012 Paderewski Festival), in collaboration with the electrifying members of the AL Dancers and choreographer Agnieszka Laska.
LEGION OF HONOR FOR KILAR
The President of France, François Hollande, recognized Polish composer Wojciech Kilar with the Knight of the Legion of Honor Order Award in June 2013, citing the composer’s “unprecedented contribution to world culture and his efforts in building a cultural relationship between Poland and France.” Established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, this distinction has been given to some of the most prominent Polish nationals, including Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Karol Szymanowski, Cyprian Godebski, Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, Witold Doroszewski, Władysław Anders, and Olga Boznańska, among others.
SIKORA RECEIVES THE NEPTUN AWARD
In an August 23 ceremony, composer Elżbieta Sikora was honored with the Neptun Award given by the President of the City of Gdańsk during the Solidary of Arts Festival. Sikora’s music was praised for her ability to hear “…emotions and moods of the soul” as well as for transporting these phenomena to the world of musical sound. Janusz Głowacki and Andrzej Dudziński were the two other recipients of this award.
Since 2006 the Neptun Award is given to Polish and foreign artists who contribute in meaningful and lasting ways to the history of Gdańsk. More information at: www.gdansk.pl
WINNERS AT TRANSATLANTYK
The 2013 Transatlantyk International Film and Music Festival was held in Poznań from August 2-9, and included two intensive competitions for young composers of film music. Participants in this year’s Young Composer Film Competition were tasked with composing music for two short films: The Third Miracle (4 min.), directed by Agnieszka Holland, and Pigeon Impossible (6 min., animation), directed by Lucas Martell. Announced on July 19, the 12 finalists in this Competition were:
Włodzimierz Antoniv (Poland), Ophir Baron (Israel), Lennert Busch (Holland, Great Britain), Paweł Górniak (Poland), Cristian Mihail Lepadatu (Romania), Tomasz Opałka (Poland), Łukasz Pieprzyk (Poland), Jeffrey van Rossum (Holland), Moritz Schmittat (Germany), Xiaotian Shi (China, Great Britain), Mikołaj Stroiński (Poland /USA), and Vig Zartman (Armenia/Austria).
From among these 12 final competitors, the jury—comprised of composer Marco Beltrami, writer/director Petr Zelenka, composer/Festival founder Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, publisher Anna Laskowska of Sony/ATV, and soundtrack producer Robert Townson of Varèse Sarabande—announced the final winners on August 8:
The other composition competition that takes place during Transatlantyk is the Instant Composition Contest, during which participants must compose a live solo piano piece to pair with a short film immediately after having watched it. The jury—including Leszek Możdżer, chairman and internationally renowned pianist and arranger; Peter Golub, composer and Director of the Sundance Film Music Program; and Dave Porter, composer of the music for the television series Breaking Bad—determined the following winners in the Instant Composition Contest:
One of the most important European events in the field of classical music, this year’s 48th Wratislavia Cantans International Festival of Oratorio and Cantata will be held from September 6-15 in the beautiful historical interiors of Wrocław and Lower Silesia. This year’s theme of “Viaggio in Italia” [Journey to Italy] reflects Italy’s historical importance as the cradle of music and art when, centuries ago, visiting it was considered to be a duty of all artists and intellectuals. Italy is also as the birthplace of the Festival’s new Artistic Director, Giovanni Antonini—flutist and conductor, founder and artistic director of Il Giardino Armonico, one of the most famous baroque ensembles in the world.
The Wratislavia Cantans Festival focues on the human voice in different forms and genres, and in various performance makeups—including vocal recitals, consort performances, presentations of choral and oratorio music involving dozens of singers, workshops and masterclasses. The festival is intended to present works in all musical styles, created in various music centers in all epochs of history.
A highlight of the 2013 Festival will be the World Premiere of a work comissioned by the Festival by a young Polish composer, Wojciech Ziemowit Zych. To be premiered on September 8 in the Wrocław Philharmonic Concert Hall, Zych’s Symphony No. 3 features a spatial factor reminiscent of the a cori spezzati music composed by Gabrieli and others for St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Also on the concert will be Witold Lutosławski’s Jeux vénitiens for chamber orchestra. The program will be performed by Anna Ciuła-Pehlken – soprano, Maciej Straburzyński– bass-baritone, the Lutosławski Piano Duo and the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra with Szymon Bywalec– conductor.
Other internationally renowned musicians who will perform at the Festival include Roberta Invernizzi– soprano, Sonia Prina– contralto, Krystian Adam– tenor, Christopher Purves– bass, Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, Il Giardino Armonico with Giovanni Antonini– conductor, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares with Dora Hristova– conductor, Margret Köll– arpa doppia, Kölner Kammerchor and Collegium Cartusianum with Peter Neumann– conductor, Giovanni Sollima– cello, the Festival Cello Ensemble, Corrado Rovaris – conductor, Silvia Frigato– soprano, Loriana Castellano– mezzo-soprano, Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani– tenor, Gianluca Buratto– bass, Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, Julia Lezhneva– soprano, Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, B'Rock (Belgian Baroque Orchestra Ghent), Quartetto di Cremona, Spira Mirabilis, Vox Luminis with Lionel Meunier– artistic director, Gemma Bertagnolli– soprano, Furio Zanasi– baritone, Giovanni Bietti– piano & narrator, The Swingle Singers and the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra with Ed Spanjaard– conductor, and Andrzej Kosendiak – conductor (and Festival General Director).
MUZYKA NA SZCZYTACH 2013
Held annually since 2009, the 2013 “Muzyka na Szczytach” [Music on the Heights] International Chamber Music Festival will take place in Zakopane from September 14-21. The “heights” included in the event’s name symbolize both the location of the Festival, as well as its superb artistic level. The organizers’ greatest concern is to popularize Polish music throughout the world, by including it in the repertoires of world-famous performers and thus influencing the European integration in culture, music and art.
The founders of the Festival’s organizers, the Mieczysław Karłowicz Association in Zakopane, strive to restore Zakopane to its former glory by inviting eminent musicians and artists to perform there, amongst the Tatran scenery. The choice of event locations and surroundings this beautiful region additionally boosts the Festival’s appeal to a wide circle of audiences.
The festival formula is based on holding a range of concerts, recitals, exhibitions and film screenings with live music. Highlights of this year’s Festival:
For a full program and more information, please visit muzykanaszczytach.com.
‘SPACES OF MUSIC’ CHAMBER FESTIVAL
Held every September for the last the years, the Spaces of Music [Muzyczne przestrzenie] Chamber Music Festival is a novelty on the musical map of Poland. Organized by the newly formed Zygmunt Noskowski Foundation and led by the Festival’s originator and artistic director, Janusz Wawrowski, ‘Spaces of Music’ offers enthusiasts of chamber music a unique opportunity to enjoy exquisite artistic performances organized in the churches, palaces and castles of the Wielkopolska region.
This year's festival will be attended by more than 30-artists from five countries, including Argentinian pianist José Gallardo, Israeli violin virtuoso Yair Kless and prominent Polish singer Joanna Kozłowska. Thanks to this year’s motto, "From Mozart to Lutoslawski,” artists will have the opportunity to perform works from several different periods of music, from classical to contemporary.
In addition to concerts for all ages as well as those specifically for children, this year’s Festival will host international master classes, held in Gniezno from September 8-14. These master classes will feature vocalists Joanna Kozłowska and Jagna Sokorska-Kwika, and violinist Yair Kless.
For a full listing of concerts, visit muzyczneprzestrzenie.pl. Admission to all Festival events is free.
SACRUM PROFANUM FESTIVAL
The Sacrum Profanum Festival is an international project that has earned the status of one of the most interesting European music events. The festival presents the newest music and is aimed at blurring the line between contemporary music, often treated as difficult and incomprehensible, and the developments of ambitious entertainment and the experimental scene. Its importance is created, on one hand, by the participation of the best ensembles playing contemporary music, e.g. Ensemble Modern, Alarm Will Sound, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Kronos Quartet, and, on the other hand, by the presence of stars of the world alternative scene, including Aphex Twin, Jónsi, Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead), Adrian Utley (Portishead), Kraftwerk and Sigur Rós.
This year's Festival, to be held from September 15-22 in Kraków, will feature works by Witold Lutosławski, Steven Reich and Marcin Stańczyk juxtaposed with performances by Frank Zappa, Portishead and Aphex Twin.
For a full schedule of concerts and events, visit www.sacrumprofanum.com
PER MUSICAM AD ASTRA – FESTIVAL & COMPETITION
The ancient city of Toruń will host several hundred singers from all over the world during the first ‘Per Musicam ad Astra’ International Choir Competition and Festival, held on September 11-15, 2013. A collaboration between the local Astrolabium Choral Music Society and the Interkultur Foundation in Germany, participants in the Competition and Festival include choirs from Mexico, South Korea, Denmark, Russia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland. The international jury, including Jan Łukaszewski (Poland), Kim Mann (USA), Battista Pradal (Italy), Robert Sund (Sweden) and Krzysztof Szydzisz (Poland), will judge the choral Competition. During the Festival, all ensembles will perform in Toruń and the surrounding area, including the towns of Lubicz, Chełmża, and Chełmno. Vocal music will resonate in a variety of venues, including concert halls, churches and open air settings.
Special concerts featuring music by Polish composers will add to the Festival. The concert version of Szymanowski’s ballet Harnasie will be heard at the Holy Ghost Church in Toruń on September 11 and the Scola Cantorum Gedaniensis ensemble will perform a day later at the University Chapel. The Festival will also include master classes in vocal technique and vocal ensemble workshops. Admission to all events is free and more information can be found at: www.pmaa.pl
SOLIDARITY OF ARTS
The fifth annual Solidarity of Arts festival opened August 17, 2013 in Gdańsk, and looks no less packed with extraordinary art events than in previous years. The cultural institutions of the Pomorskie province, together with the City of Gdańsk, the Polish Film Institute, the European Solidarity Centre, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage are making sure that Gdańsk continues to be an exciting place to visit for arts enthusiasts from all over the world. For a quick look at highlights of the last 5 years of the Festival, view the 30 Photo Moments gallery.
Highlights of this year’s Festival are: a noteworthy concert at the Polish Baltic Philharmonic by conductor Maxim Vengerov and the excitingly young yet already brilliant Menuhin Orchestra (September 8); a remarkable premiere of Maria, an 1903 opera by Roman Statkowski, led by conductor Łukasz Borowicz (August 27-29) at the Baltic Opera; and Poland's biggest open-air jazz show of the season—the “+” series—this year featuring the amazing Bobby McFerrin in “McFerrin+” (August 17).
WARSAW NAT’L PHIL IMPRESSES AT BBC PROMS
On August 23, Maestro Antoni Wit and the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra made their debut at the BBC Proms Festival, during a Festival edition that was focused on Polish music during Lutosławski’s centenary year. The program included Lutosławski’s virtuosic folk-inflected Concerto for Orchestra, which was written for the Warsaw Philharmonic in 1954. Also on the program were Shostakovich’s buoyant Piano Concerto No. 2, as well as Andrzej Panufnik’s Tragic Overture and Lullaby and Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony, painting a vivid picture of two nations in parallel periods of anxiety. Pianist Alexander Melnikov shared the stage with the Warsaw Phil as soloist.
This debut showing of the Phil was met with enthusiastic praise from all corners of the London press. Below is an excerpt from Hilary Finch of The Times of London (reprinted on the Philharmonic’s website):
From John Allison of The Telegraph:
From Tim Ashley of The Guardian:
MUZYKA21 RECORD OF THE MONTH
Liliana Górska: Baird - Krauze - Bruzdowicz - Łuciuk
Mezzo-soprano Liliana Górska received high praise for her CD of song cycles by four contemporary Polish composers: Tadeusz Baird, Zygmunt Krauze, Joanna Bruzdowicz and Juliusz Łuciuk. Described as “a superb interpreter of this repertoire” and an artist with a “noteworthy, creamy-soft mezzo” by reviewer Damian Sowa of Muzyka 21 magazine (September 2013), Górska’s recording was given Muzyka 21’s “Record of the Month” distinction.
[Source: Muzyka 21 pre-release]
PANUFNIK SERIES CONTINUED
Andrzej Panufnik - Symphonic Works Vol.6
The composition of a ninth symphony has represented a symbolic challenge within the tradition for almost every composer after Beethoven. Andrzej Panufnik met this challenge with his most ambitious and large-scale work. It was supposed to be a choral symphony, but Panufnik decided against this: “The Sinfonia della Speranza reflects my musical interpretation of the ideal of hope: within its notes I have tried to incorporate a spiritual message, an expression of my faith in mankind as well as my longing for racial and religious tolerance among all people.” This CD also includes an exciting new recording of Panufnik's percussive Concertino. Listen to a sample of the recording at www.boosey.com.
[Source: Boosey & Hawkes press release]
NEW ON CD ACCORD
Krzysztof Wołek – Elements
Krzysztof Wołek (born in 1976 in Bytom, Poland) is a composer, electronic music performer, concert organizer and educator. He is a passionate advocate of contemporary acoustic and electronic music and multimedia compositions. His interdisciplinary interests resulted in annual concerts organized under his supervision and in collaborative works with dancers and visual artists. Even the short description above is informative as concerns the position of the artist in the environment of new music, where a composer not only writes his works on manuscript paper, but also takes on an active role during performances as an improviser or performer of the live electronics portion of the work. In recent decades contemporary music has embraced a variety of multimedia arts, requiring the mastery of new technology (not only using but also developing software that serves the score as well its amalgamated sound in real time) and remaining in symbiotic coexistence with other art forms, expanding a purely acoustic layer with visual layers, either with theatrical and paratheatrical or cinematic and paracinematic elements contained often within a video component. It is within these creative currents that Krzysztof Wołek finds a myriad of possibilities for his artistic expression.
Krzysztof Wołek’s body of work covers a wide spectrum, ranging from purely acoustic and electroacoustic music through improvisations to diverse forms of installations and works verging on multimedia art. In his compositions he creates, as he himself states, “idiosyncratic relationships between various elements.”
Bacewicz, Zarębski and Lasoń Quintets
The piano quintets composed by Zarębski and Bacewicz are a milestone of Polish chamber music literature. Another recording of these two works, augmented by an interesting smaller work for the ensemble by Lasoń, is certainly warranted. The review by Piotr Wolanin for Muzyka 21 (September 2013) finds the performances rather bland however, stating that: “Zarębski’s Quintet especially shows the musicians’ lack of understanding the piece and that’s why the recording by the Lasoń Ensemble does not measure up to the very successful recordings of Zarębski made by the Royal String Quartet [BeArTon CDB036] or the Szymanowski Quartet [Hyperion CDA67905].” Concluding, Mr. Wolanin observes that only Lasoń’s composition can be seen as an item of interest on this CD and wonders “whether this is enough to listen to the recording again.”
Lutosławski Quartet - Bridge
The Lutosławski Quartet performs contemporary music as well as recently commissioned pieces, and focuses on popularizing Polish music, including works by Lutosławski, Bacewicz, Szymanowski, and also compositions by one of the group members – Marcin Markowicz. An ensemble made up of versatile and open-minded artists, they blend the contemporary repertoire with classical, Romantic and jazz music. Their future plans include further recording projects that promote Polish music. The quartet works as one of the resident ensembles at the National Forum of Music.
The ensemble was founded in 2007. It has appeared at many festivals, including: Wratislavia Cantans, Ensemble, Musica Polonica Nova, Jazztopad, Chain, the Lutosławski Forum at the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Klara Festival in Brussels, and the Ankara Music Festival in Turkey. The quartet has given concerts with Bruno Canino, Paul Gulda, the Silesian Quartet, the Royal String Quartet, Tomasz Strahl, Ryszard Groblewski, an English oboist Nicholas Daniel, the world-renowned pianist and Chopin Competition prize-winner – Eugen Indijc, an extraordinary clarinetist Michel Lethiec, as well as outstanding jazz players such as Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor and Uri Caine.
Rafał Augustyn: Do ut des—Music for and with quartet
In their latest recording on the Accord label, the Silesian String Quartet presents a large portion of Rafał Augustyn’s chamber music. The CD contains Augustyn’s First and Second string quartets (the Second adds the flute to the group), as well Dedykacje for soprano and string quartet and Grand jeté for quartet and electronics. The reviewer, Piotr Wolanin (Muzyka 21, September 2013), notes the opening miniature, Do ut des, as “the most representative of works in terms of Augustyn’s musical language.” Contributions by flutist Jan Krzeszowiec were praised for their “ideal unification of the flute sound with the sound of the strings” but Agata Zubel’s soprano part in Dedykacje elicited some reservations about Ms. Zubel’s vocal range and diction.
[Sources: Muzyka 21 pre-release, cdaccord.com.pl]
NEW BECZAŁA ON DG
Piotr Beczala - Heart's Delight: The Songs of Richard Tauber
May 2013 marked the international release of Piotr Beczała’s latest recording with the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon record label. According to the label’s website:
‘REAL CHOPIN’ CONTINUES ON NIFC’S LABEL
Chopin. Etiudy op. 10, 2 Polonezy
Magdalena Lisak, a young pianist and student of Andrzej Jasiński, Homero Francesch and Krystian Zimerman, is described as “a mature artist [who] seeks to uncover the most appropriate form in every composition.” Part of the ‘Real Chopin’ series—the world’s first phonographic collection of the complete works of Fryderyk Chopin on period instruments—this recording was made on a historical 1849 Erard piano, clearly bringing the listener closer to the piano sound with which Chopin was familiar during his lifetime. The series is published by the National Fryderyk Chopin Institute (NIFC) in Warsaw.
Selected interpretations of the Op. 10 Etudes and Mazurkas, Op. 56 on this recording were praised by Łukasz Kaczmarek (Muzyka 21, September 2013) for the pianist’s “beautiful and also varied articulation and dynamics [that] successfully draw in the listener’s attention and awaken his fascination with the music.” Lisak’s ability to elicit beautiful sounds from the Erard piano charmed the reviewer, who highly recommends this recording to the public.
Other recent additions to the ‘Real Chopin’ series:
[Sources: Muzyka 21 pre-release, chopin.nifc.pl]
CDS & PERFORMER PROFILES
What do Emily White and Carol Rosenberger share besides their deep love and respect for the piano works of Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937)? They both have Polish grandparents, joining the over nine million Americans who can prove Polish origins.
Pianist Emily White is an excellent exponent and proponent of Polish composers Chopin and Szymanowski - playing each both masterfully and skillfully in concert performances internationally.
According to Arabesque Records:
White has received rave reviews in the media and press regarding her Syzmanowski concert performances especially for the composition Masques:
A standing-room-only, all-Chopin début at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall moved The New York Times reviewer Allan Kozinn to comment that Emily White had “captured the almost improvisational quality that is the mark of great Chopin playing.” Ms. White’s international career has taken her to London’s Wigmore Hall and South Bank Centre, the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh, Saint David’s Hall in Cardiff, the Palais de l’Athénée in Geneva, and to Belgium, Italy, and Eastern Europe, as well as throughout the United States and Canada. This past October, she performed Szymanowski’s Don Juan’s Serenade in a Polish music gala honoring presenter Jan Sporek at Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall. Ms. White’s new CD release of Piano Works by Szymanowski on Arabesque Recordings has been aired on Strasbourg radio’s ACCENT 4 to a listening audience of nearly 100,000. Ms. White’s recent lecture recitals on Szymanowski have been well received at several universities including the University of Washington and University of Oregon.
Born in Rye, New York, Emily White spent her student years in Miami, Florida. As a youngster, she performed three times as concerto soloist at Interlochen and was honored with the Miami Herald’s Silver Knight Award for Music. Ms. White has won top prizes at the International Young Concert Artists Competition of Royal Tunbridge Wells, England, the International Mozart Competition in Austria, the Chopin Competition hosted by the New York chapter of the Chopin Foundation of the United States, and the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Auditions. She has taken part in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and in the Paloma O’Shea International Piano Competition in Santander, Spain, where she was selected as the only American among twelve semifinalists. As collaborative artist, Ms. White has performed with the Emperor String Quartet in London and the Klangfarben Ensemble in New York, as official pianist for strings at the Gubbio Festival in Italy and for oboists at the Music Mountain Festival in Connecticut, and with singers at the Juilliard Opera Center and Tanglewood’s Berkshire Music Festival. Emily White is a Steinway Artist.
When asked how she became interested in Polish music, particularly Szymanowski, White responded:
Emily White's sensitive portrayal of Szymanowski piano works stimulates the soul.
SZYMANOWSKI: Masques – Etudes – Mazurkas
“Ravishing, elegant pianism” wrote The New York Times of American pianist Carol Rosenberger, who continues to attract an international audience as she brings her special blend of refined virtuosity and poetically compelling interpretations to both traditional and contemporary repertoire. “Eloquent and sensitive playing” wrote The Times of London, while that city’s Daily Telegraph commented: “Her playing was alive to every fleeting sense impression, yet intellectually commanding. These were ideal performances.”
When asked how she became interested in Polish music, especially Szymanowski, Rosenberger responded kindly and positively:
From Carol Rosenberger’s biography at delosmusic.com:
Gary Fitelberg is a musicologist, music critic and music historian specializing in Polish music and musicians.
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Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski
Layout Assistance: Charles Bragg
Marek Żebrowski, Kinga Augustyn, Gary Fitelberg,
Madeline Forte, Daniel Kaminski, Jan Jarnicki
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, Kosciuszko Fdn., Ruch Muzyczny, Gazeta Wyborcza
Formatting by Krysta Close, September 9, 2013.
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