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ABOUT THE POLISH MUSIC CENTER

Advisory Board Friends Benefactors Special Events History
Honorary Members Collection Manuscripts Library/Staff
Press Comments Publications Reference Services Wilk Prizes

The Polish Music Center (PMC) is a research and information center devoted to gathering and disseminating knowledge about all aspects of Polish music to researchers, students, and music lovers. In addition to the information available on our extensive website, the PMC publishes a monthly Newsletter, a semi-annual scholarly Polish Music Journal, as well as the Polish Music History Series, published since 1982. The PMC is associated with the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, Robert Cutietta, Dean, and together we organize many concerts and special events.

The PMC houses the largest collection of Polish music in the U.S. and is the only center at an American university devoted solely to Polish music. Selected items from our collection are available on loan for exhibitions (see Reference Services). Copies of PMC-owned materials may be obtained for a fee. Copyrighted materials still in print are subject to appropriate clearances from publishers. Copies of manuscripts and early prints may be provided for research purposes only. Users of PMC materials are required to acknowledge the Polish Music Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, as the owner and source of the materials.

The Center is located in Stonier Hall (STO) on the USC University Park Campus: 837 Downey Way, Los Angeles, Room 120 (1st floor, East hallway). Until September 2000, it was known as the "Polish Music Reference Center." For further information on all Polish Music Center's services, including applicable fees, please write, call or e-mail:

Polish Music Center
University of Southern California
Thornton School of Music
840 West 34th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851

Tel: 213-821-1356 or 213-740-9369
Fax: 213-740-3217
URL: www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music
E-mail: polmusic@usc.edu.


PMC HONORARY MEMBERS:

Joanna Bruzdowicz * Henryk Górecki * Jacek Kaspszyk
Zygmunt Krauze * Marta Ptaszyńska * Stanisław Skrowaczewski
Adrian Thomas * Teresa Zylis-Gara * Krystian Zimerman



PMC BENEFACTORS

Dr. Stefan Wilk and Mrs. Wanda Wilk
Wanda Bacewicz * Alina Baird-Sawicka * Witold Lutosławski
Dr. & Mrs. Zbigniew Petrovich * Dr. & Mrs. Clark Halstead * Helena Nowicka, M.D.
Dr. & Mrs. Kenneth Harris * Lottie Harasimowicz * Dr. & Mrs. Matthew S. Mickiewicz

(Benefactors are donors of $10,000 and more
who receive a name plate on the wall of the PMC library room).


PMC ADVISORY BOARD

  • Prof. Bruce Brown (USC School of Music, MUHL),
  • Dr. Teresa Chylińska (Kraków, Poland),
  • Prof. Donald Crockett (USC School of Music, Composition),
  • Prof. Karol Berger (Stanford University),
  • Prof. Adrian Thomas (Cardiff University, U.K.),
  • Dr. William Thomson (USC Professor Emeritus, Los Angeles),
  • Ms. Wanda Wilk (Founder and Honorary Director, Los Angeles),
  • Dr. Diane Wilk-Burch, Los Angeles.



POLISH MUSIC COLLECTION

From PMC Collection.
  • Books on Polish music subjects published since 1800 in many languages.

  • Music scores of works by Polish composers, with copies of unpublished manuscripts and early prints dating back to 1820s.

  • Polish music journals and periodicals since 1946: Ruch Muzyczny, Muzyka, Jazz Forum, Polish Music.

  • Walter Martin Collection of 3,000 art songs.

  • Michał Słominski Collection of sacred and secular, organ and choral music.

  • Composer files: articles, documents, photos, press clippings, concert programs, reviews.

  • Complete live recordings of the Warsaw Autumn Contemporary Music Festivals.

  • Audio and video recordings and CD-ROMs; rare Polish releases (Polskie Nagrania, Dux, Selene; 78s, LPs, CDs, and tapes).




MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION


Lutosławski's Manuscripts, photo by Maja Trochimczyk, 2000.

The Polish Manuscript Collection at the PMC was created in 1985 with a gift of five original manuscripts from Witold Lutosławski (with Mi-Parti, Paroles tissées, Prelues and Fugue, and Novelette). Works by Grażyna Bacewicz, Tadeusz Baird, Joanna Bruzdowicz, Marta Ptaszyńska and Stanisław Skrowaczewski created the core of the collection, enlarged in 2000-2002 by gifts from over 30 Polish composers (Rafał Augustyn, Zbigniew Bujarski, Krzysztof Knittel, Zygmunt Krauze, Hanna Kulenty, Szymon Laks, Roman Maciejewski, Krystyna Moszumanska-Nazar, Krzysztof Meyer, Krzysztof Penderecki, Elżbieta Sikora, Edward Sielicki, Aleksander Tansman, Romuald Twardowski, Tadeusz Wielecki, Lidia Zielińska, and many others).




PUBLICATIONS

Songs of Szymanowski
    Since 1982, the Polish Music Center published the Polish Music History Series. The series currently has eight volumes on the subjects of Karol Szymanowski (3), Grażyna Bacewicz (2), Polish Music Bibliography, Polish Music after Chopin, and Józef Koffler. Books on Maria Szymanowska, Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Meyer and other major figures in Polish music are being prepared for future publication.

    The Polish Music Journal contains scholarly articles, book reviews and source documents. Published online, semi-annually since 1998, it is edited by an international editorial board, composed of leading experts in Polish music.

  • The Polish Music Newsletter, a monthly online publication since 1994, contains current news, reviews, and notices on Polish music events around the globe.

  • PMC Web Site includes information about competitions, composers, Polish dance, festivals, music history, national anthems, publishers, recordings, repertoire, etc.




SPECIAL EVENTS

The Center has organized various festivals, conferences and special events dedicated to Polish music, including:

  • The Szymanowski Centennial organized by Wanda Wilk in 1982 at USC; this unique event, predating the formal creation of the Center, brought together Szymanowski experts from around the world for a week of lectures, scholarly sessions, and concerts.

    • Górecki Autumn - Festival and Symposium about the music of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki with the composer in residence (October 1997). The festival featured the composer as conductor in the international premiere of his Symphony No. 3 (The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs), led by its composer for the first time outside of Poland. For papers from the symposium, interviews with Górecki, detailed program, and other material, see Polish Music Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2003.

    • A Day with Women's Music including the residency of Hanna Kulenty (April 1998), a symposium about women in music, including papers about Wanda Landowska (by Wojciech Marchwica), and Grażyna Bacewicz (by Maja Trochimczyk), and a composers' panel. The world premiere of Kulenty's The Sixth Circle for trumpet and piano took place during this event.

    • Polish/Jewish/Music! International Conference with participants from five countries (November 1998), including Poland, Germany, Israel, Canada, and the U.S. Papers from the Conference are now published in the Polish Music Journal, vol. 6, no. 1 (2003).

    • The Heritage of Chopin series of lectures by Polish pianists at USC (February-March 1999).

  • Polish Manuscript Exhibition and Concert, 21 October 2000. The PMC presented its new additions to the Manuscript Collection (over 100 manuscripts by Polish composers, including manuscripts scores and sketches by Grażyna Bacewicz, Roman Maciejewski, Zygmunt Krauze, Zbigniew Bujarski, and many others. For more information visit the Manuscript Site.

      The open house and an exhibition were held on 21 October 2000 (during the celebrations of the Polish American Heritage Month). A report from this event appeared in the November 2000 issue of the Polish Music Newsletter. The Chamber Music Concert was recorded and a CD from this event is available ($15 plus $5 for shipping and handling). The CD includes chamber music by Kazimierz Serocki, Marta Ptaszyńska, Tadeusz Szeligowski, Tadeusz Baird, and others.

  • Polish Strings: 20th Century Orchestral Classics, 31 March 2001, Jan Jakub Bokun, conductor, and USC Strings. The program of this concert included Romuald Twardowski's Marian Triptych, Tadeusz Baird's Colas Breugnon Suite, Henryk Górecki's Three Pieces in the Old Style, and Wojciech Kilar's Orawa.

    • Opening of the Exhibition, Paderewski: Portrait of the Musician at the Alfred Newman Recital Hall Gallery, USC Campus, September 17, 2002. The exhibition, culled from the PMC collection and curated by Maja Trochimczyk and Ljiljana Grubisic, presents photos, manuscript letters, programs, recordings, books, scores and various other memorabilia associated with the Polish composers and statesman. On display until January 23, 2003. For more information about Paderewski, see two issues of the Polish Music Journal, vol. 4, no. 1 and 2, 2001.

    • Los Angeles County Arts Open House, 5 October 2002, with a visit to the Paderewski Exhibition and display of Polish folk dances by the Krakusy ensemble.

  • The Annual Paderewski Lectures commemorate Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), a pianist, composer, politician (the first prime minister of independent Poland after WWI), humanitarian, and orator, who was greatly acclaimed as a virtuoso musician and a statesman. The Lectures highlight his links to California and to USC, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1923. Simultaneously, the Lectures spotlight current achievements of Polish music by presenting composers and musicians of international stature to the American public. The first Paderewski Lecture was given in 2002 by composer-pianist Zygmunt Krauze who discussed and performed music by Chopin, Paderewski, Szymanowski, Serocki, Sikorski, and his own works.

      Joanna Bruzdowicz (b. 1943) gave the 2003 Paderewski Lecture, held at the Bing Theater, USC Campus (December 7, 2003; at 4 p.m.). The Lecture included live music performances (West Coast premieres of her String Quartet No. 2, Cantus "Aeternus" for reciting actor and string quartet and of "Song of Hope and Love" for cello and piano, dedicated to Holocaust victims). It was also illustrated with and excerpts from films by French avant-garde film director, Agnes Varda ("Vagabond" and "The Gleaners and I"), with Bruzdowicz's music. For more information visit the event's site:www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/bruzdowiczlecture.html

  • Special sessions on Polish music held at national meetings of scholarly societies since 1996, e.g. American Musicological Society (session on Lutosławski in 1997, with papers by Harley, Martina Homma, Adrian Thomas; study session on Polish identity in music in 1999, with presenters including Halina Goldberg, Bret Werb, Timothy J. Cooley, and others), Society for American Music (session on Polish immigrants to the U.S. in 1999, with presentations by Linda Schubert and M. Harley), American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (session on music theater in Slavic Europe in 1999; session on Catholicism and composers in 2000; session on the city of Kraków in 2001), the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (session on Chopin reception in 1999; session on Polish immigrants in 2000, session on national composers in 2003). The most recent addition to the PMC events is the annual Paderewski Lecture, first given by Zygmunt Krauze on May 3, 2002.




    STEFAN AND WANDA WILK PRIZES

    The creators and sponsors of the Wilk Prizes, Dr. Stefan Wilk and Mrs. Wanda Wilk, initiated the competition for best essays on Polish music written in English by a non-Polish author in 1982. The competition is intended to stimulate research on Polish music in academic circles outside of Poland. The winners include such experts in Polish music as Stephen Downes, Jeffrey Kallberg, Martina Homma, Anne McNamee, Barbara Milewski, James Parakilas, Sandra Rosenblum, John Rink, Adrian Thomas, and others. The prizes are awarded in two independent competitions, each held biennially (in different years):

    • Wilk Essay Prizes for Research in Polish Music (yearly till 1999, since then held in odd years) and
    • Wilk Book Prizes for Research in Polish Music (even years, starting in 2000).
    For more information about the Wilk Prizes, please visit our web site: Wilk Prizes.



    PMC REFERENCE SERVICES

    The Polish Music Center provides information about various aspects of Polish music to researchers, students, and music lovers. Copies of PMC-owned materials may be obtained for a fee (basic handling fee of $20 plus additional copying costs, in the case of large items). For copyrighted, in-print material the Center will refer you to the publishers. Copies of manuscripts and early prints will be provided for research purposes only. E-mail inquiries are answered without charge, unless large scans of pictures or text files are requested.

    Certain parts of our collection are available on loan for exhibitions about such composers as Karol Szymanowski, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, and others. Users are expected to pay a one-time loan fee of minimum $50, or more if numerous items are requested, and return all borrowed item after the completion of their exhibition.

    All users of our reference services are asked to acknowledge the Polish Music Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, as the owner of the material provided to them, when using it in their research and/or publications (the specific copyright formulae will be provided with copies of the items).



    A BRIEF HISTORY

    Wanda and Stefan Wilk

      The Polish Music Reference Center (since 2000, Polish Music Center) was established in 1985 by Stefan and Wanda Wilk. Their initial donation of $100,000 followed the agreement with the University and the School of Music to establish the Stefan and Wanda Wilk Endowment Fund, supporting the Center's activities in the field of Polish Music.

    Officially dedicated in January of 1985 in the presence of Witold Lutosławski and other distinguished guests, the endowment fund of the Polish Music Reference Center has grown over the years, enlarged by generous contributions and donations from the Wilk family, Witold Lutosławski, Dr. and Mrs. Zbigniew Petrovich, Dr. and Mrs. Clark Halstead, Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Harris, Dr. Helena Nowicka, and Lottie Harasimowicz. The Center's Manuscript Collection began with the donations of manuscripts by Stanisław Skrowaczewski and Witold Lutosławski in 1985. In subsequent years manuscripts by Grażyna Bacewicz (gift of Wanda Bacewicz), Tadeusz Bird (gift of Alina Baird-Sawicka), Szymon Laks (gift of Andre Laks), Krzysztof Meyer, and of works by Lutosławski and Penderecki (gift of Józef Patkowski), further enlarged the Collection.

    The first Director of the Center, Wanda Wilk, introduced many initiatives and programs, beginning in 1982 with a series of books on Polish music. She also established the Wilk Prizes for Research in Polish music, enlarged the Center's collection of books, scores, recordings, and manuscripts. During her eleven year tenure, she organized numerous concerts featuring music by Polish composers, answered all inquiries about Polish music, and served as an invaluable resource to scholars and others interested parties. Wanda Wilk continues to support activities of Polish Music Center as its Honorary Director, past Editor of Polish Music History book series, and the President of Friends of Polish Music.


    Henryk Górecki with Maja Trochimczyk;
    Katowice, April 1998. Photo by Mrs. Górecka

      Dr. Maria Anna Harley (now: Dr. Maja Trochimczyk) was appointed the director of the Center and assistant professor of music history and literature in the Thornton School of Music. She organized many lectures, conferences, special events and residences (including Henryk Górecki's visit in 1997). She also enlarged the manuscript collection by soliciting donations from a wide range of contemporary Polish composers, and created and served as Editor-in-Chief for the Polish Music Journal, an online publication. In 2002 Dr. Trochimczyk established the Annual Paderewski Lecture-Recital, designed to introduce the most prominent Polish composers musicians to audiences in Southern California. During her term, a significant expansion of the materials posted on the Polish Music Center's website (including the monthly PMC Newsletter) contributed to popularizing the cause of Polish music around the world.

    Marek Żebrowski, a pianist and composer with a distinguished worldwide concert and academic career became the new Director of Polish Music Center in September of 2004. The Center's new Manager and Librarian, Krysta Close, is a graduate of USC Vocal Arts Program and has performed throughout the United States. Using their backgrounds in performance, the Center's new leadership will continue to promote Polish music through book, journal and newsletter publications, and organizing concerts throughout Southern California.


    PMC LIBRARY

    The library contains manuscripts, scores, books, periodicals, and recordings of Polish music. At the moment about 600 items are in the USC Libraries online catalog system (HOMER). You might also visit the site about our Manuscripts. The library is open on weekdays: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Furnishings donated by Dr. Zbigniew Petrovich and Ms. Wanda Wilk.
    Tapestry (artist: Anna Rohozinska) donated by Dr. Clark Halstead.
    Hi-fi equipment donated by pianist Krystian Zimerman.
    Other equipment donated by Dr. Stefan & Mrs. Wanda Wilk.


    PMC STAFF
    • Ms. Wanda Wilk, Founder and Honorary Director
    • Marek Żebrowski, Program Director and Curator (2004-)
    • Krysta Close, Center Manager and Newsletter Editor (2003-)
    • Dr. Linda Schubert, Editor, PMJ and book series (1998-)

    We are thankful for the assistance and talents of our current and past collaborators: Dr. Barbara Zakrzewska-Nikiporczyk, Librarian (1998-2002); Magdalena Bedernik, Jan Jakub Bokun, Marcin Depinski, Anne Desler, Ewa Grzegrzulka, Brian Harlan, Joseph Herter, Michał Janowski, Prof. Kazimierz Kowalski, Adrianna Lis, Zak Ozmo, Maria Piłatowicz, Joanna Slusarz, Blanka Sobus, Dr. Małgorzata Szyszkowska, Marzena Wolna, Olga Zurawska, and many others.



    PRESS COMMENTS ABOUT PMC'S PROJECTS AND PUBLICATIONS

    In residence at USC through next Wednesday, Lutosławski is conducting and rehearsing his own music and is talking to students and faculty at the university. He will also attend the inauguration of the new Polish Music Reference Center at USC where he will donate five of his personal manuscripts - Novelette, Mi-Parti, Preludes and Fugue, Mini Overture, and Paroles tissées.

    [Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times, March 1985]

    Górecki took back his Symphony, making a highly unlikely appearance to conduct it with the USC Symphony Orchestra and soprano Elizabeth Hynes at USC's Bovard Auditorium as the high point of the School of Music's five-day Górecki Autumn festival. The performance was simply extraordinary, practically unfathomable under the circumstances. Górecki's personality is like a force of nature, and he achieved an intensity that I have never heard equaled in this music from far more accomplished professional orchestras. At the end of the performance Górecki, as irresistibly impetuous as ever, excitedly clawed the cellophane of a bouquet handed him so he could share the flowers with the orchestra. It was one more gesture of triumph, and triumph this concert was for USC and its Polish Music Reference Center, which lured the composer out in to public in a way no one else could have.

    [Mark Swed in Los Angeles Times, October 1997]

    Not until October 3, 1997 did anyone outside Poland hear Górecki conduct the symphony that made him world famous. Thanks to the efforts of Stefan and Wanda Wilk—two staunch local champions of Polish music—and the Polish Music Reference Center, USC not only lured Górecki onto Bovard Auditorium it built a five-day mini-festival called Górecki Autumn around his appearance, adding two chamber music concerts, a symposium and lecture.

    [Richard S. Ginell, American Record Guide, January/February 1998]

    In December 1996 I returned from a trip to Germany singing the praises of a young composer named Hanna Kulenty (b. 1961) . . . Kulenty was at USC last Saturday, participating in panels organized by the School's Polish Music Reference Center on what it means to be a Polish composer and what it means to be a woman composer. At night three chamber works by Kulenty were performed, one, A Sixth Circle, for trumpet and piano, had its world premiere. . . . I will continue to sing her praises. What I have heard of Kulenty tells me of a head-strong experimenter with some powerful ideas about pounding on and rewarding a hearer's senses. . . . Tell me about there not being any new composers.

    [Alan Rich, "A Little Night Music" in Los Angeles Weekly, April 1998]

    Last week the Polish Music Center at USC presented an engrossing two-day academic conference on Polish Jewish music, along with two concerts that paid particular attention to three all-but-forgotten composers who were victims, in one way or another, of the Holocaust. [...] The Holocaust did an effective job of terminating the category of Polish Jewish music. And we can again credit our search for its meaning for reminding us of the likes of Józef Koffler, Karol Rathaus and Alexandre Tansman, Polish Jewish composers who thrived before the war.

    [Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, November 1998]

    An ambitious music lover and web surfer will be delighted to find the English-language pages about Polish music on the server of the University of Southern California. The pages include a monthly newsletter about music in Poland, numerous important links, and a semi-annual academic Polish Music Journal with scholarly articles about Polish music. . . Everything that the Polish Music Center now offers about music remains a true gift of Providence. There is no time or room here to describe all the achievements of the Californian center—it should be a subject of a different article.

    [Grzegorz Zieziula, Rzeczpospolita, September 2000]

    This richly textured collection of essays, employing diverse historical and analytical methodologies, considers "the three Polish composers of the greatest international significance over two centuries"—Chopin, Szymanowski, and Lutosławski—and "topics of music and national identity." Trochimczyk's Introduction and her notes to the historical essays of Part I provide valuable orientation and background. The variety of significant subject matter and recurring themes—including issues of Polish national culture, the methodological richness, and the originality of thought make this volume an important source for anyone seriously interested in Polish music.

    [Review of Trochimczyk's After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music, Sandra P. Rosenblum, Notes, June 2002]

    Every so often, the Polish Music Center at USC reminds us—with festivals, conferences, and concerts—that Polish music did not begin and most certainly did not end with Chopin. This year, it has come up with a new way of bringing music-making Poles to the wider attention, by instigating an annual Paderewski Lecture. USC's connection with the legendary Polish pianist, composer and statesman is that the University gave an honorary degree to Ignacy Jan Paderewski in 1923, and the center holds some of his papers. The first "lecture" Friday night in Newman Hall featured the Polish composer and pianist Zygmunt Krauze.

    Though more concert than discourse, Krauze did touch on matters Polish, such as explaining the historical traditions of folk music and dance. He had the use of a local troupe, Polish folk Dance Ensemble Krakusy, which demonstrated the steps of the polonaise and mazurka. And Krauze connected his own modern style to Chopin by playing a mazurka and polonaise augmented with his improvisations. But interesting as this was, the real value of Krauze's appearance was simply to provide an arresting composer, a major figure in Europe though inexplicably little known in America, with a rare local forum.

    [Review of the First Annual Paderewski Lecture given by Zygmunt Krauze; by Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2002]



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    Page updated in November 2004.