|Polish Music Newsletter|
Polish pianist, composer and pedagogue Jan Ekier passed away on August 15, 2014. Below is more information from the external news service of Polish Radio:
From the On Polish Music blog by Adrian Thomas:
KOLBERG & PANUFNIK YEARS
‘ANDRZEJ PANUFNIK AND HIS VISION OF MUSIC’:
On the occasion of the jubilee of Andrzej Panufnik’s 100th birthday anniversary, the Fryderyk Chopin Music University’s Chair of Music Theory is organizing the International Conference in Art and Science entitled ‘Andrzej Panufnik and his vision of music’ on September 24–26, 2014, in conjunction with the Institute of Musicology at Warsaw University and the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP). The program of the jubilee will also include concerts of Andrzej Panufnik’s music, discussion panels with outstanding representatives of arts and science, as well as a multi-media exhibition.
The program of the conference features an impressive list of eminent Polish music scholars from Poland and abroad, as well as representatives of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) and members of the Panufnik family. Over the course of 4 days, the conference sessions will be interspersed with the following concerts:
Wednesday, September 24 | 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 25 | 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 26 | 5:00 p.m. | Kościół św. Krzyża, ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 3
Saturday, September 27 | 4:00 p.m.
‘WHO WAS PANUFNIK?’
Writing for Culture.pl, the website of Poland’s Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Filip Lech begins his recent article entitled “(A)symmetries of the 20th Century. Who Was Panufnik?” thus:
What follows is an extensive biography of Andrzej Panufnik that delves into many corners of Panufnik’s personal and creative history. To read the entire article, visit culture.pl
CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS CONTINUE
Last year, the entire world celebrated Witold Lutosławski’s centenary. As soon as the calendar had turned to 2014, the centennial celebrations shifted to another major figure in Polish music. While Lutosławski and his music have always been known far and wide, Andrzej Panufnik has remained on the peripheries of Polish musical life for many decades. It was a curious and fascinating twist of fate, because Panufnik was Lutosławski’s close friend and chamber music partner in Warsaw during the dark years of World War II and, in the early years of the Polish People’s Republic, Panufnik was its rising star, both as a composer and conductor.
Born in Warsaw on September 24, 1914, Panufnik studied music at the Warsaw Conservatory, majoring in theory and composition. During the years 1937-1939 he studied conducting in Vienna with Felix Weingartner, one of the most respected maestros of the era. Thus, from the beginning of his musical career, Panufnik was recognized as much for compositions as he was for his guest conducting appearances with the most prestigious European orchestras.
Returning to Poland on the eve of World War II, Panufnik spent the years of German occupation in Warsaw. He composed and performed in many concerts—some official, some underground—and, in order to earn a living, teamed up with Witold Lutosławski for piano duet appearances in various Warsaw cafes. In fact, during the years 1940-1944, the Lutosławski-Panufnik duo presented a repertoire of about 200 works—mostly arrangements of well-known classical music from Bach to Tchaikovsky. Lutosławski’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini for Two Pianos (1941) were one of the original works premiered by the duet at the Aria Café in occupied Warsaw.
Most of Panufnik’s compositions were lost after the brutal suppression of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. His early post-war musical activities in Poland centered on rebuilding the orchestras in Kraków and Warsaw, leading various orchestras across Europe as a guest conductor, and trying to reconstruct from memory several of his compositions that were destroyed during the war.
After winning several competitions for composers and receiving a Banner of Labor Medal, First Class, from Poland’s president, Bolesław Bierut in 1949, Panufnik was recognized as a leading composer of the day. He also became a deputy director of the newly-created Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP) and travelled with official delegations to Moscow and Beijing. But, as Panufnik tried to remain politically neutral, the authorities gradually began to criticize his music for its purported “formalist tendencies” and it was withdrawn from concert performances. During a 1954 conducting engagement in Switzerland, Panufnik managed to evade his ever-present Polish secret service agents and reach the Zurich airport without being tailed. There, here boarded a flight to London and instantly applied for political asylum in Britain. Coming at the height of the Cold War, Panufnik’s escape created an international crisis. Polish communist authorities were furious, declared him a traitor, and sought to extradite Panufnik to Poland. Although they did not succeed in bringing him to trial in Poland, Panufnik’s music was banned in Poland and all of his published compositions were withdrawn from circulation. In spite of his high international standing as a composer and conductor, Panufnik ceased to exist as far as Polish government was concerned and the ban on his music was lifted only in 1977.
Panufnik settled in England, married his second wife, Camilla, started a family and gradually rebuilt his career as a composer and conductor. Many distinguished musicians, including Witold Małcużyński, Leopold Stokowski, Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Georg Solti, and Mstislav Rostropovich continued to champion Panufnik by commissioning and performing his music. He was also recognized with prizes for composition by Prince Pierre of Monaco, he received the Sibelius Centenary Medal, and he continued to guest conduct many of the world’s leading orchestras. After a democratic government was installed in Poland, Panufnik was finally able to return to Poland in 1990. For his lifetime achievement in music, he was knighted by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in January 1991. He died of cancer in London on 27 October 1991.
Lady Camilla Panufnik in front of a portrait of her late husband
Throughout this year, Panufnik’s music once again resonates in concert halls across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. Much of the energy behind this revival is thanks to Lady Camilla Panufnik, whose tireless advocacy of her late husband’s music brought about a number of concerts that certainly add up to an erstwhile Panufnik resurgence.
During this centenary year celebration, the Polish Music Center is organizing two concerts honoring Panufnik at USC. The first is the annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital on Sunday, October 5, highlighting Panufnik’s chamber music. Our featured guest, Lady Camilla Panufnik, will deliver the annual Paderewski Lecture, entitled “Andrzej Panufnik—the Man behind the Music.” Her personal reminiscences will be interspersed with little-known photographs of her husband, his family and friends. A concert of Panufnik’s more intimate works will follow with performers including mezzo-soprano Juliana Gondek and the Eclipse String Quartet, as well as other guest artists.
The second USC concert, on October 9, will feature two of Panufnik’s orchestral works: his Tragic Overture (a wartime composition) and Harmony (a work composed for his 25th wedding anniversary). This program will be presented by maestro Carl St. Clair and the Thornton Symphony Orchestra at Bovard Auditorium. Admission to both events is free and we hope a large segment of Polish community in Southern California will be able to attend both of these exciting events.
PREMIERES AT WARSAW AUTUMN
The 56th International ‘Warsaw Autumn’ Festival of Contemporary Music [Warszawska Jesień] will be held in various venues throughout Warsaw from September 19-27, 2014. Created in 1956 and running annually with only two exceptions since its beginning, Warsaw Autumn is a festival with a long tradition and is a true witness to music history. It is the only contemporary music festival in Poland on an international scale and with an international status. For many years, it was the only event of this kind in Central and Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, it remains a living organism: it thrives as much as Polish cultural funding and the general condition of music allow.
The Festival is organized by the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP). The Repertoire Committee, an independent body appointed by the Union’s Board, determines the program of each edition of the festival. Warsaw Autumn is, therefore, an international and nonprofit festival of a nongovernmental association.
Today, Warsaw Autumn has fulfilled its original goal to familiarize Polish audiences with the classic works of the early twentieth century. Yet there remain gaps regarding the classics of the second half of the twentieth century. Filling in these gaps goes hand-in-hand with the Festival’s other primary (and timeless) objective: to present new music from Poland and abroad. Organizers strive to present this music in a way that is both of the highest artistic quality and accessible to a wide and varied audience, highlighting that which is new and different and exotic but also enriches the listener.
Regarding organizers’ dedication to the newest music of Polish composers, the following are thecomposers and pieces that will be given their World Premiere at this year’s Festival:
ZIMERMAN PREMIERES KNAPIK WORK AT OPENING OF NOSPR HALL
Concerto of Song Offerings for piano solo, choir and orchestra is the title of Eugeniusz Knapik's new work, which the composer is preparing for the grand opening of the new home of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) in Katowice. The premiere of this piece was recently announced for the October 1st opening gala, and will be performed by world renowned Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman.
The work uses two verses by Rabindranath Tagore in the English original from the book of poems called Song Offerings.
Other works that are known to be on the program are a celebration of the new and the old, including: Witold Lutosławski – Tryptyk śląski, Krzysztof Penderecki – Przebudzenie Jakuba, Wojciech Kilar – Siwa mgła, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki –Trzy tańce, Johannes Brahms – Piano Concerto No. 1, and Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 9. Zimerman will be joined on stage by NOSPR as well as the Chór Radia Bawarskiego, Ewa Tracz – soprano, Wiesław Ochman – tenor, Luba Orgonášová – soprano, Anna Lubańska – mezzosoprano, Christian Elsner – tenor, and Dimitry Ivashchenko – bass, led by maestro Alexander Liebreich.
RUCIŃSKI REPLACES DOMINGO AT SALZBURG FESTIVAL
Vienna’s Salzburg Festival—one of the world’s most prestigious festivals dedicated to classical vocal music—experienced quite a shock when, due to an acute infection of the bladder and respiratory tract and a very high fever, world renown Spanish singer Plácido Domingo was forced to withdraw from the performances of Il trovatore on August 18, 21 and 24, 2014. Best known for his work as a member of the famous “Three Tenors” with Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras, Domingo had previously sung in performances of this beloved Verdi opera at the Festival for three years.
However, Festival audiences warmly welcomed his replacement, Polish baritone Artur Ruciński, who performed the role of Conte di Luna alongside Russian soprano Anna Netrebko in the role of Leonora.
According to the external news service of Polish Radio:
Artur Ruciński studied vocal performance at the Warsaw Music Academy. Since his 2002 debut at the National Theatre in Warsaw he has made regular guest appearances in Berlin, Vienna, Bregenz, Cracow and Tokyo. His repertoire includes the roles of Ford (Falstaff), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Lescaut (Manon Lescaut), Silvio (I Pagliacci), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) and Graf Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro). At the Berlin State Opera he sang the title role in Eugene Onegin under Daniel Barenboim, opposite Rolando Villazón. In Harry Kupfer’s production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the National Theatre in Warsaw, Artur Ruciński took on a baritone version of the role of Niklausse/La Muse, as well as Valentin in Robert Wilson’s new production of Faust. He performed on Polish radio and TV in the world premiere of Balakauskas’ opera La Lointaine, part of the Warsaw Autumn Festival. The baritone is also sought after as a concert performer; thus he has performed solo parts in Handel’s Messiah as well as in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Paris, and has been heard on Bulgarian TV in Fauré’sRequiem. In April 2010, the baritone performed Carmina Burana at Vienna’s Musikverein, followed by the opening gala of the Wiener Festwochen in May, broadcast live in more than 25 countries. Furthermore, the singer has participated in numerous recordings, for example as Ford in Falstaff, and has released the solo album Songs and Arias. Artur Ruciński has won several awards for his artistic achievements. [Bio courtesy of the Salzburg Festival blog]
MUSIC IN WARTIME WARSAW
Comprised of three concerts organized by the Witold Lutosławski Society and the Warsaw National Philharmonic, the Music in Wartime Warsaw [Muzyka w okupowanej Warszawie] series will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II and the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. Held on September 12-14, these concerts are devoted to showcasing music written during the German occupation of Warsaw from 1939-1945. All concerts will be held in the Concert Hall and Chamber Hall of the Warsaw Phil, and performers include the Phil, as well as the Silesian Quartet, Lutosławski Piano Duo, and Kwadrofonik.
The second concert will spotlight string quartets composed and performed in occupied Warsaw, including those by Karol Szymanowski, Roman Padlewski, and Grażyna Bacewicz. Chamber music was performed most often, since it could be presented in cafes or in private gatherings at various apartments and residences all across the city. This concert will be preceded by screening of a documentary film about Roman Padlewski, a violinist who was killed in the Warsaw Uprising.
The third concert features music performed by the most famous piano duo in occupied Warsaw—the Lutosławski-Panufnik Duet. Original works as well as arrangements of music by other composers that this duo presented in Warsaw during the war will be on the first half of the program. The Kwadrofonik Ensemble will fill the second half of the concert with their own arrangements of works by Ravel, Szymanowski and Lutosławski.
POLISH MUSIC IN FLORIDA: 2014-2015
Miami-based Chopin Foundation of the U.S. announces the Ninth National Chopin Piano Competition and the 2014-15 Concert Season Schedule. Held in Miami every five years, the Competition attracts the best American pianists (ages 17 – 30) to compete for $160,000 in cash prizes during a week-long Chopin extravaganza. The Chopin for All Free Concert Series spanning two counties, plus an Intimate Chopin Salon Series on Miami Beach will present South Florida debuts by today’s rising piano stars
The National Chopin Piano Competition returns to the Miami-Dade County Auditorium next February for the first time since 2010. Held every five years since 1975, the Competition has become the “brass ring” for American pianists, especially those wishing to go on to compete at the International Chopin Piano Competition held later the same year in Warsaw, Poland. Also, the $75,000 first prize cash award this year is the highest of any piano competition in the U.S.
The Chopin Foundation is also pleased to announce the 2015 jury of nine internationally accomplished concert pianists. All nine jurors will be featured at the Competition’s Gala Opening Concert on February 20, 2015, also held at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium: Augustin Anievas (Jury Chair), Sergei Babayan, Ian Hobson, Krzysztof Jablonski, Kevin Kenner, Dean Kramer, Jon Nakamatsu, Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron, and Margarita Shevchenko.
The “Chopin For All” free concert series has been offered to South Florida audiences since 1996. Five up-and-coming young pianists will make their South Florida debuts at the Main Library in Broward and at the Granada Presbyterian Church in Coral Gables. The final three programs in April, May and June will feature performances by the newly crowned National Chopin Competition laureates that will be announced at the March 1 Award Ceremony.
The Salon Series consists of two intimate concerts, each followed by a wine reception and a sumptuous dinner, held at La Gorce Country Club, 5685 Alton Road, Miami Beach. These fundraising events are open to the public and provide an excellent opportunity to meet the artists and socialize with other classical music enthusiasts in an absolutely fabulous setting. Due to the increasing popularity of the Salon concerts, advance reservations are required for these events which are truly a feast for all of the senses.
2014-15 Calendar Listings & Concert Information:
[Source: press release]
PADEREWSKI: MAN OF ACTION… AT MIAMI DOC FILM FESTIVAL
Most recently seen in California at the 2013 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, Wiesław Dabrowski’s film Paderewski: The Man of Action, Success and Fame has been nominated for the Main Competition at the 2014 Documentary Film Festival in Miami. The film will be screened during the Festival on September 12 at the Willow Theatre in Boca Raton’s Sugar Sand Park.
Paderewski: The Man of Action, Success and Fame presents the history of great patriot, world-famous pianist and composer, statesman, diplomat, politician and philanthropist. Thanks to Paderewski Poland regained independence after World War I.Paderewski's great and memorable deeds are discussed by several historical witnesses including U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, George bush Senior and Poland's president Lech Walesa. The film features Paderewski's own piano performances and includes footage of his last journey from Arlington National Cemetery in Washington to the crypt at the Basilica of St. John in Warsaw's Old Town. The 96-year old General Edward Rowny (U.S. Army, Ret.), negotiator and co-creator of European nuclear disarmament treaties, quotes the opening line of Poland's national anthem, “Poland is not yet lost, as long as we live,” which serves as the film's motto.
NEW ISSUE OF QUARTA
The third 2014 issue of Quarta, PWM’s bi-lingual quarterly music magazine has been published at issuu.com. The entire edition is dedicated to a remembrance of pianist and pedagogue Jan Ekier, who passed away on August 15 (see his Obituary above).
[Sources: press release, issuu.com]
FIRST CHOPIN GARDEN CONCERT IN CHICAGO
The Chicago Chopin Foundation and Grant Park Conservancy invite you to Chicago’s Grant Park on Saturday, September 13 at 11:30am, to become familiar with the future Chopin Garden,to help it blossom, and to hear the first live concert to held there. This unique event will take place at 11th Street and Michigan Avenue, a prestigious location for a project that needs your support to be realized.
From 11:30am - 2:30pm, participants will carry out light cleaning, gardening, and beautifying of the future Chopin Garden by planting wonderful flowers. Basic gardening tools will be provided by the Chicago Park District. To support our enthusiasm, our sponsor restaurant, Sava's Old Warsaw, will serve appetizing snacks, slices of juicy melon and water.
From 2:30pm – 3:30pm, the artistic component of the day will be performed by organist Slawek Maciejczyk. This concert is a moment for picnic and relaxation. It will be an opportunity to make friends with people who believe that the quality of our lives is determined not only by the material but also by art, culture, and the immortal music of Chopin. Participants and concert goers are encouraged to explore Grant Park, especially the adjacent sculpture installation, "Agora" by Magdalena Abakanowicz.
The Chopin Garden is a cultural project led by the non-profit Chicago Chopin Foundation in concert with the Grant Park Conservancy. The Chopin Garden will consist of a statute of Chopin—a 5/8 scale bronze replica of a 1907 statue designed by Waclaw Szymanowski’s, which stands in Warsaw’s Łazieńki Królewskie Park—and a small stage area with audience seating, set within a serene garden landscape that will be activated by live music concerts. The Chopin Garden will be a unique element of Grant Park providing an intimate setting to experience classical music. To learn more about the project please visit www.ChopinMonumentinChicago.com. The Chicago Chopin Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit and is operated by volunteers.
MozART GROUP & KROSNY COME TO CHICAGO
Up-To-Sound presents a spectacular musical comedy show combining the talents of the MozART Group string quartet and actor and mime Ireneusz Krosny on Saturday, September 20 at the Copernicus Center in Chicago. The unique, “ingenious fountain of craziness” that is the MozART group has been happening since 1995, when four well-educated instrumentalists who graduated from prestigious Academies of Music in Warsaw and Łódz decided to play classical music in a humorous way.
The MozART Group has created a worldwide unique musical cabaret, where music not words, are the source of joy and laughter. See several YouTube videos of their performances at youtube.com/watch?v=AeD9-RckA24, youtube.com/watch?v=ZJgRtOQw2ac, and youtube.com/watch?v=Rn2lCmNqOXU , as well as performances with Krosny at youtube.com/watch?v=jfV4GXUNkB4 .
[Sources: press release, uptosound.com]
CHOPIN PRELUDES AT SUNDAYS LIVE!
Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 6:00pm, the Sundays Live! series at LACMA will present Korean pianist Inyoung Huh. Her program will consist of Bach’s Toccata in C Minor BWV 911 and Chopin’s 24 Preludes, Op.28. Begun in 1948, SUNDAYS LIVE! is the longest-running music broadcast in Los Angeles. It presents weekly classical chamber music concerts and recitals by premier professional artists from Southern California and around the world. These one-hour concerts are presented free to the public at 6:00PM on Sundays.
Inyoung Huh made her debut as a soloist at age sixteen with the Korean Youth Symphony Orchestra. As one of the youngest pianists to win the first prize at the Joong Ang Daily Music Competition, the most prestigious competition in Korea, she received immediate recognition as a promising young artist. She continued to receive many prizes and awards, including the first prize at the Corpus Christi Young Artists International Competition and first place at the USC Concerto Competition. Ms. Huh has appeared as a soloist with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and with the USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Huh received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Seoul National University, and she earned her Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory. In May 2005, she received a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from USC. Inyoung Huh recently joined the Colburn School Conservatory of Music as a staff pianist.
Sundays Live! concerts are streamed live over the internet. Listen by clicking at concert time: http://more.lacma.org:8088/SundaysLive
[Source: press release]
TRANSATLANTYK COMPETITION WINNERS
During the final concert of the Transatlantyk Festival in Poznań on August 14, 2014, once again the prestigious prizes in the Instant Composition Contest and Film Music Competition were awarded. The juries have awarded the following prizes:
All of the finalists in the Instant Composer Competition are listed here.
All of the finalists in the Film Music Competition are listed here.
NESKE WINS COMPOSITION WITH BIAŁOSZEWSKI POETRY
Mironczarnia, Jakub Neske’s choral composition based on Miron Białoszewski’s poem, ranked 3rd in the 1st International Competition of Choral Composition juried by legendary film music composer Ennio Morricone.
Jakub Neske composed Mironczarnia (English pronunciation: Meeroncharnya) for the 60th anniversary of Białoszewski’s debut in Życie Literackie, a Polish literary magazine. The poet had published his work before but it wasn’t until Życie Literackie that he took his serious first steps into the world of poetry. Białoszewski’s poems were introduced with a foreword by Artur Sandauer. To see a performance of Mironczarnia, see www.youtube.com.
The gala was held in Basilice di Santa Croce in Florence on July 25. The 1st prize award went to Vergine o Natura Sacra composed by Gaetano Leonardi. Canadian composer Rita Ueda received the 2nd prize award for Ame Potsu.
Inspired by Eric Whitacre’s concept of “Virtual Choir,” Jakub Neske is planning to set up a virtual choir in Poland. Internet users send in their audio and video recordings on which they perform a particular piece. Then, the separate recordings are mixed together into a full-fledged choir. Whitacre’s Virtual Choir gathered 185 performers. Will the Polish version make it to beat this result? The project kicks off on August 18 – and from then on the score, the materials and the instructions will be available online.
Jakub Neske studies Artistic Education at the Academy of Music in Łódź. He also collaborates with the Łódź Philharmonic as a baritone performer. Also, his composition One Step was included in the playlist for Piotr Kaczkowski’s Minimax Show and was released on Minimax.pl 5 in 2009.
From September 5-14, 2014, the 49th International Festival Wratislavia Cantans will draw the attention of the musical world, inviting to Wrocław and Lower Silesia artists of the highest order. For the second time the concept of the festival is authored by Giovanni Antonini, who this year guides audiences “From Darkness to Light.”
The splendor of compositional excellence shines in Handel’s Concerto grosso in G major, the piece opening this year’s festival, performed by Il Giardino Armonico led by Meastro Antonini. At the inaugural concert the Italian group teams up with the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks in a performance of Bach’s and Vivaldi’s settings of Magnificat, full of divine majesty.
Some 20th-century composers believed that the night’s darkness, sometimes lit up by the stars, favored metaphysical considerations. “Lux Aeterna” (Sept. 6) is the concert programmed around this idea, featuring Karol Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 3 ‘Song of the Night’ and Igor Stravinsky’s Zvezdolikyi. The latter title, borrowed from a work by György Ligeti, reflects many artists’ belief in eternal light defeating the darkness of death. Images of twilight or darkness symbolizing the end of life can be seen in several settings of Requiem and other works of funeral music written by Jan Dismas Zelenka, Henry Purcell, Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki and Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven treated the subject of demise in a very pragmatic way, composing, soon after his Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, a new cantata for the celebrations of enthroning the successor of Joseph II. Both works will be performed by the participants of the Oratorio and Cantata Music Interpretation Couse, an inextricable part of the festival for decades now.
An interesting strand of this year’s Wratislavia Cantans is sacred music devoted to the Virgin Mary. The festival will open with two settings of Magnificat (Sept. 5) and in the following days Karol Szymanowski’s deeply moving Stabat Mater (Sept. 6) and the medieval Messe de Nostre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut (Sept. 10).
Wratislavia Cantans is a festival focusing on the phenomenal possibilities of human voice, however there will be some instrumental jewels too, performer by violinist Liana Mosca with pianist Pierre Goy (Sept. 8), pianist Kiristian Bezuindenhout (Sept. 12), and the glorious Sol Gabetta (Sept. 10), who years ago appeared at Wratislavia Cantans, already a very promising cellist at that time. Maestro Antonini is open to musical quests and explorations. Therefore he has tasked the Belgian Graindelavoix, evoking extreme emotions in musical circles, with performing the medieval Messe de Nostre Dame. Nobody can predict what will happen during the concert featuring cellist Giovanni Sollima (Sept. 8), who won audiences’ hearts last year. An unusual event will be the concert featuring children only (Sept. 13), when the Wrocław children’s choirs will join forces with Orchestra Suzuki di Torino, the youngest chamber orchestra in the world, whose members’ training is based on the famous and controversial Suzuki method. A special event will be the concert of Sławomir Zubrzycki playing the viola organista designed by Leonardo da Vinci (Sept. 14). This musical invention fell in oblivion and did not see the light of day until Zubrzycki built the instrument following the sketches left by the Renaissance genius.
The festival will close with a work ideally suited to the spirit of Wratislavia Cantans – the monumental Creation by Joseph Haydn, featuring the Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, Gabrieli Players and Paul McCreesh, the best conductor we can dream of to meet the challenge of this famous oratorio (Sept. 14). The first act of creation was the making of light, and if you believe Maestro Antonini, music is the light that brightens up our lives. Wrocław and Lower Silesia will shine with the light of the most beautiful music for the 10 days of the 49th International Festival Wratislavia Cantans.
The 12th edition of the Sacrum Profanum Festival will run from September 14-20, 2014 in Kraków. The father of American minimalism – Philip Glass, avant-garde artist – Laurie Anderson, Sonic Youth guitarist – Lee Ranaldo, and Squarepusher will all perform on this year’s program. Also on the program is the Residency, consisting of three concerts by the famous Kronos Quartet. Kraków will also host the best performers of contemporary music, including London Sinfonietta and the nearly regular guests of the Festival: Alarm Will Sound and Bang on a Can All-Stars. The exclusive, one-off event will mark the Festival finale –a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Warp label, together with Autechre, Battles, Hudson Mohawke and LFO.
The exchange of intergenerational experiences in the synergy of composing order, the unbridled avant-garde, and the alternative electronic sound are all key to the new quality of Sacrum Profanum. Forcing opposites to collide and the extremes to enter a dialogue has been inscribed into the Festival from its earliest days, and consequently this year we will witness the combinations of such encounters in three unique concert series: Kronos Quartet Residency, Classic!Now, and Modern!Now.
For a full program of events and artist information, visit sacrumprofanum.com
MUZYKA NA SZCZYTACH
The International Chamber Music Festival “Music on the Heights” [Muzyka Na Szczytach] is a cyclical yearly event held in Zakopane since 2009. 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 repertoire of world-famous performers and thus influencing the European integration of culture, music and art.
The festival formula is based on holding a range of concerts, recitals, exhibitions and film screenings with live music. The choice of event locations and surroundings additionally boosts its appeal to a wide circle of audience members and its international character enhances its renown and prestige. Festival organizers at the Mieczysław Karłowicz Association in Zakopane have decided to restore Zakopane to its former glory, by inviting eminent musicians and artists to perform amongst the Tatran scenery.
The Festival’s program is based on an innovative manner of fusing classical music with other fields of art—such as photography, film or fashion show—and its presentation by artists employing various forms and techniques of art. The diverse artistic means are adjusted to the needs of a very wide target audience – a combination of various age groups, both locals and guests, music lovers and casual tourists enjoying the local natural scenery, all welcome to enjoy the Festival’s artistic offering.
PER MUSICAM AD ASTRA
The second annual International Copernicus Choral Festival “Per Musicam Ad Astra” will be held September 10-14 in Toruń, Bydgoszcz, Inowrocław and Lubicz. Choral ensembles from Holland, Poland, Slovenia, Sri Lanka and Hungary will be heard in a total of eleven concerts. The Toruń Symphony Orchestra and Astrolabium Choir will open the Festival on September 10 with the 1999 Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins, originally composed to commemorate the victims of the war in Kosovo. Camerata Silesia will present a program of contemporary vocal works at the Holy Ghost Cathedral in Toruń on September 11.
The Academic Choir of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań will present Gloria Patri, a cycle of 24 hymns inspired by astronomy and composed by Estonian-born Urmas Sisask, on September 13. Master classes and choral workshops with Dr. Kirby Shaw and Professor Krzysztof Szydzisz will accompany the Festival. All concerts are free and open to the public. More information at: www.pmaa.pl
CHAMBER AND ORGAN MUSIC IN SILESIA
Beginning on August 17, six consecutive Sundays will be devoted to chamber and organ music presented in the historical skansen of manor houses and churches around the Wygiełzowo-Lipowiec Natural Park. Artists from Poland, Belarus, Germany and Italy are featured in a number of performances, including a concert version of excerpts from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, vocal music from Eastern Europe, Kazakhstan, and the Middle East presented by the Male Vocal Ensemble Kairos, a recital by the Polish Cello Quartet, and appearances by the Ensemble Musaicum, the Kraków Reed Trio, and others. The Festival’s closing concert, “Angels and Demons” on September 21, will present music by Rossini, Verdi, Puccini, Rachmaninov, Gounod, and Bellini, among others.
See the full program at www.mnpe.pl.
ALBIŃSKI SPOTLIGHTS UNKNOWN COMPOSERS
Paweł Albiński, a young Kraków-based pianist, devotes his annual recital programs to music by unknown or little-known composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Researching in various libraries in Poland and Ukraine, Albiński has discovered about 30 works by 16 European composers and presented them for audiences in recitals in Kraków and Lviv during the last 3 years. According to Albiński, “many compositions remain unknown not because they do not merit attention, but because they are often difficult to perform and present to the public.”
The pianist’s latest program included works by Latvian Lucia Garuta (1902-1977), Belgian Guillaume Lekeu (1870-1894), Portuguese Jose Vian da Motta (1868-1948), and Ukrainian Sergiusz Bortkiewicz (1877-1952). The concert was held August 20 at the Białoprądnicki Manor House in Kraków.
GROSVENOR ‘DANCES’ WITH CHOPIN
Benjamin Grosvenor – DANCES
“Dances” is a dazzling display of solo works for piano from Bach to Boogie Woogie; via Chopin, Granados, Albeniz, Scriabin and the Blue Danube. For his second solo album on Decca, Benjamin Grosvenor has assembled a typically imaginative and appealing programme of piano music inspired by the dance form.
Shining the spotlight on the music of movement, this album was inspired by a letter from the great pianist-composer Ferruccio Busoni to his pupil Egon Petri proposing a “dance programme” as a theme for Petri’s recitals, a concept Grosvenor expanded on for his Queen Elizabeth Hall debut recital in 2012.
A former Gramophone Young Artist of the Year, Grosvenor will appearing at two BBC Proms in 2014 with a performance of Chopin’s First Piano Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (8th August), followed by a solo recital at Cadogan Hall (1st Sep). In 2011, he was awarded the honour of opening the BBC Proms Concerts season and the youngest-ever soloist to perform on the ‘First Night’.—from www.amazon.co.uk
In his review for Gramophone, Bryce Morrison writes “This is a disc to prompt wonder and delight in equal measure,” and goes to tie each one of the dances performed by Grosvenor back to Chopin, despite their disparate composers and eras. For more reviews and information, visit www.deccaclassics.com.
NEW ON DUX
Fryderyk Chopin – Pauline Viardot amitié amoureuse
Andrzej Siewiński Opera Omnia
BORN THIS MONTH:
Send your comments and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Translation Assistance: Marek Żebrowski
Layout Assistance: Thuy Le
Wiesław Dabrowski, Terry Tegnazian, Adrian Thomas
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, September 12, 2014.
The Polish Music Center includes all content on a space available basis. We reserve the right to refuse any content submitted.