|Polish Music Newsletter
April 2005, Vol. 11, No. 4. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
Marta Ptaszyńska, an accomplished percussionist and currently a professor of composition at the University of Chicago, is one of the most prominent Polish composers in the world. Her extensive catalogue of compositions includes numerous orchestral works, chamber pieces, compositions for choral and orchestral ensembles, and solo works, prominently featuring percussion instruments.
Ptaszyńska will be joined at her USC appearance by Amy Dissanayake, a young San Diego pianist, who specializes in performances of modern music. Ms. Dissanayake gave the February 2005 world premiere of Ptaszyńska's latest work, Pianophonia, in Chicago, where it was called "an instant classic" by the Chicago Times reviewer John von Rhein and enthusiastically received by the public. Pianophonia was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's program "MusicNOW," and will be featured at the 2005 Paderewski Lecture-Recital.
This fascinating three-movement work was inspired by paintings of Wassily Kandinsky, Yves Tanguy, and Paul Klee. Ptaszyńska says that "While looking at a painting of Kandinsky, Tanguy, or Klee, I am able to hear the music which for me exists on canvas in its frozen state. . . I am able to associate the given painting with the specific arrangements of sound structures, which can be transformed into a musical idea. Obviously, my compositions are not literary descriptions of paintings, they are only musical visions derived from viewing these paintings."
Pianophonia's first movement, Improvisation with Blue, was inspired by Kandinsky's canvass and his theories of color, where the blue symbolizes spiritual harmony. Ptaszyńska interprets Kandinsky's visual statement as "music of celestial harmonies achieved mainly by specific chord structures, chord progressions, and their harmonic mutations."
Yves Tanguy's surrealist painting, Steps of Silence, serves as the second movement, and Ptaszyńska's musical illustration of the imaginary landscape is achieved "through the harmonic construction with continuous reiterations of seconds, tritones, and sevenths in a very steady and slow motion."
The luminous and pointillistic painting Ad Parnassum by Paul Klee is the concluding movement of Pianophonia. Ptaszyńska's vivid musical imagination renders the painting's delicate texture of tiny dots, the luminous orange circle, and the elegantly spare contour lines as "a continuous sustained repetitions from the high register to the lowest and back, in accordance with the straight linear gesture of the painting."
In addition to featuring Pianophonia at the Paderewski Lecture-Recital, the Polish Music Center is planning performances of selected chamber works from Ptaszyńska's opus, presented by USC students and other music students in Southern California. Ptaszyńska will also conduct master classes in composition and percussion, and assist in student rehearsals of her works. In addition, the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club of Los Angeles will host a meeting-discussion with Marta Ptaszyńska during her visit in the area. Please mark your calendars for Friday, October 14th 2005, 8PM, at Newman Recital Hall on the USC campus for Marta Ptaszyńska's featured guest appearance. In the coming months we will keep our readers informed on preparations for this very important cultural event.
22 April 2005, Yale University
Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the best known and most prolific composers of our time, will conduct the combined Yale forces of the Camerata, directed by Marguerite Brooks; the Glee Club, directed by Jeffrey Douma; and the Philharmonia, directed by Shinik Hahm; with the Elm City Girls Choir, directed by Rebecca Rosenbaum, in a performance of his monumental Credo. The culmination of the conductor's week- long residency at Yale.
The Credo is a massive sacred work for chorus and orchestra. Characteristic of the later choral works of Penderecki, it shows an increasingly softer, 19th-century harmonic bias, incorporates Polish hymns (in the "Crucifixus"), and the influence of Bach is very much in evidence. This is the first performance of the work in the northeast United States.
Born in Poland in 1933, Penderecki has written nearly forty orchestral works including five symphonies, various small-scale orchestral compositions, and several solo concertos, as well as chamber music, numerous vocal works, five operas, and a film score. Penderecki enjoys an international reputation as a composer and as a conductor, both of his own works and those of other composers. Penderecki has also received honorary doctorates and professorships from universities all over the world, including Yale University, where he was Visiting Professor of Composition from 1973 to 1978.
The First Performances Festival—a festival of the latest, newest music—will take place on April 8-10, 2005. Organized by the National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice, the idea is the brainchild of Joanna Wnuk-Nazar, the Program Director and General Director of the orchestra. This three day event of seven concerts (including two chamber performances,) will make Katowice not only the capital city of the province of Silesia but the musical center of Poland.
The Festival will introduce the audiences to three generations of Polish composers. 30 composers will present their works, scored for traditional ensembles as well as electronic media. A significant representation of works by Silesian composers will be featured. Every composition played will be having its Polish premiere, and in some cases also a world premiere. Besides the National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the festival stage will be shared by Tychy Chamber Orchestra, the Katowice vocal ensemble Camerata Silesia, The Silesian String Quartet, the Krakow Radio Choir, and several distinguished soloists. Professors and alumni of Katowice Music Academy will also perform. Thanks to the participation of the Polish Radio, the festival concerts will be broadcast to the countries of the European Radio Union, thus gaining an international audience as well.For a full listing of the performances included in this Festival visit www.nospr.org.
Nordstrom Recital Hall, Seattle WA
The Northwest Council of the Chopin Foundation and the esteemed Northwest Chamber Orchestra are teaming up to stage not one, but both of Chopin's concertos. And to top it off they have selected not just any pianist, but the outstanding Northwest pianist, Craig Sheppard! Mr. Sheppard is well-known to Seattle audiences for his brilliant performances and marvelous interpretive style.Visit www.chopinnw.org for more information.
For a list of tour dates and locations as well as extensive biographies for the orchestra, conductor and soloists, visit www.infochopin.pl.
GLENN GOULD STUDIO
250 Front Street West, Toronto
Phone (416) 205-5555
21-28 APRIL 2005
The Polish Film Festival Los Angeles is an annual event that gives Hollywood the unique opportunity to celebrate the achievements of talented Polish film makers and actors. This year, the 6th annual Festival will open on the 21st of April at the Directors Guild in America with the World Premiere of Angel in Love [Zakochany Aniol] by Artur Wiecek (Angel in Cracow) with Krzysztof Globisz and Anna Radwan in main roles. Also presented that evening will be a new film by Tomek Baginski: The Art of Falling [Sztuka spadania].
The following seven days of this "holiday of Polish cinema" will take place at the Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theatre in West Hollywood. This will be a chance to see the most recent achievements of Polish cinema: Ubu The King [Ubu król] by Piotr Szulkin, Warszawa by Dariusz Gajewski, The Welts [Pregi] by Magdalena Piekorz, Torn [Zerwany] by Jacek Filipiak, Zurek by Ryszard Brylski, Long Weekend [Długi weekend] by Robert Gliński (Hi, Tereska), Never Again [Nigdy w zyciu] by Ryszard Zatorski, Children of Lenningradsky by Hanna Polak & Andrzej Celinski (2005 Oscar nominee in Documentary Short Subject Category), and many others.
Five films by Janusz Zaorski will also be screened: Tree Doctor [Lekarz drzew]—World Premier, Saved by a Miracle [Cudownie ocalony], The Bodensee [Jezioro Bodenskie], The Baritone [Baryton], A Room with a View on the Sea [Pokoj z widokiem na morze].
Many major figures in Polish filmmaking will be present for the festival, including Katarzyna Figura, Krzysztof Globisz, Jerzy Antczak, Jan Nowicki, Małgorzata Potocka, Jan Frycz, Janusz Zaorski, Krzysztof Kolberger, Magdalena Piekorz and more.
For a complete listing of events, please visit www.polishfilmla.org/program2005.html.
RELATED EVENTSPOLISH FILM FESTIVAL in SAN DIEGO: Screenings and Gala
Saturday, April 23, 2005, starts at 12:00 pm
San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park
3rd POLISH FILM FESTIVAL (UK)
31 March - 28 April 2005
Riverside Studios: Crisp Rd | Hamersmith | London W6 | tel 020 8237 1111
For the third time the Polish Cultural Institute UK gives you the opportunity to discover the latest, fresh and original creations of Polish cinematography in an all-embracing programme of the newest feature, short, fiction, animation and documentary films. The Polish Film Festival in London offers many exciting attractions: 23 UK film premiers, master classes and screen talks involving remarkable Polish film makers, a book launch and special screenings of classic films. The highpoint of the festival is a retrospective of Lech Majewski's films presented fully for the first time in the UK! Majewski is truly a Renaissance man&MDASH;poet, writer, painter, set and costume designer and moreover, an unconventional, experimental film, opera and theatre director. He creates an ingenious, imaginative world of aesthetically striking images, which fascinate and captivate with their uniqueness. This individuality is also evident in the work of numerous emerging young filmmakers who express straightforwardly their disillusionment with the new reality of the post-communist transition phase in Poland. This new generation of Polish cinema is completely free from the obsessions of tradition and history, distant from their eminent predecessors and indifferent to their mission. They speak for themselves with honesty and sincerity and, with their uncompromising attitude, are like the film makers of cinema of moral anxiety's movement in the 70's. Many of them began their career making documentary films during the last decade when there was growing interest and a rebirth of this genre in Poland and abroad. The development of animated films is also a strong and vivid phenomenon in Polish cinema. A number of very talented young artists explore new methods and technology, still being inspired by the fascinating work of old masters. The compelling programme of documentaries as well as animations by different generations of film makers is therefore a core part of the festival. The 3rd Polish Film Festival is a chance to explore the variety and richness of new Polish cinema, its connection with tradition and its interaction with global trends. Check out the extensive list of films to be screened and their descriptions at http://www.polishculture.org.uk/EVENTS_2005/3rd_film_festival.html.
34th ANNUAL NEW DIRECTORS/NEW FILMS FESTIVAL: Screening of The Welts [Pregi] by Magdalena Piekorz
The International Festival of Sacral Music, organized by the Musica Sacra association in Warsaw, has begun. The festival was inaugurated on March 20 at the Warsaw-Praga Cathedral with a Lenten concert, featuring the music project Stabat Mater Mystery Play by jazz composer Włodzimierz Pawlik. The play, well-known from other sacral music festivals, is built around Gregorian chants and music impressionism.
Concerts of the 2005 festival:
Information for this article was taken from the Warsaw Voice at http://www.warsawvoice.pl/view/7984.
In addition to the prize of 2,000 Euros, Ryan has been offered a recording with Les Amis de la Musique Polonaise, recitals in Chopin's birth home at Zelazowa Wola and at the International de Piano Festival "Floralies musicales - Musique en fleurs" in Powsin, and an invitation to the masterclasses associated with "Rencontres Internationales Frédéric Chopin" in Nohant (July 23-30, 2005).
For prizes in the student categories of the competition, visit www.concours-magin.com/palmares2005.htm.
This is a fun Los Angeles Times article about the eccentricities, botanical and otherwise, of Polish-born opera singer Ganna Walska (1887-1984), who retired from the stage and from marriage to an estate in Montecito, where she created drama with plants instead. Walska, who "painted with plants," had no intention of going unnoticed in retirement, though, and lucky for us, her breathtaking creations are maintained and on display by appointment still today.Visit the Lotusland website for more information: www.lotusland.org