|Polish Music Newsletter
December 2001, Vol. 7, no. 12. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
The Fifth International Paderewski Piano Competition took place between 6 and 17 November 2001 at the Pomeranian Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz. The winners of the competition are:
The jury did not award the fifth prize. Slawomir Wilk also received a $2,000 prize for the best performance of Paderewski work in the second stage or finale of the competition (for Sonata in E-flat minor op. 21). An award for the best performance of the concerto with orchestra went to Štepan Kos ($2,000). In addition the jury awarded three honorary mentions, $1,000 each, to Polish participants: Natalia Sawoscianik, Marek Kamola and Maciej Ganski. In addition, the special awards included a digital piano Yamaha for Slawomir Wilk, the best Polish participant (from the Regina Smendzianka Foundation). Wilk's special awards included also a broadcast of his recital by Radio Gdansk, and a recital offer from the Paderewski Society in Warsaw. Štepán Kos was invited to perform with the Pomeranian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra on 19 April 2002 (for the City Celebration) and a prize from the Polish Radio Pik - a recording'of his recital. The Bydgoszcz Chapter of the Rotary Club funded two recitals in Germany for Natalia Sawoscianik (the best participant from Bydgoszcz). Ms. Zofia Pietrzak funded an award of $1,000 Polish zloty for the best participant from the region Pomerania-Kuiavia (also received by Natalia Sawoscianik).
The first competition took place in 1961; Henryk Sztompka, one of Paderewski's students, was the president of the jury and Jerzy Maksymiuk received the first prize. The second competition was held in 1986, and Jerzy Sulikowski was the president of the jury. Wojciech Kocyan was the winner of the first prize. In 1994, during the third competition, there was no first prize awarded. The fourth competition in 1998 ended with the first prize being awarded to Tomomi Okumura from Japan.
For more information about the competition, its program and winners contact the Competition Office:
A premiere of Richard Wagner's opera Tannhauser directed by Laco Adamik will be the highlight of this year's celebrations of the
centennial of the Silesian Opera (on 1 December 2001). The oldest music theater in Upper Silesia was created in 1901
thanks to the initiative of a bank director and music lover - Franz Landsberger. Until 1944 the Opera was German, afterwards - Polish.
The director of the Silesian Opera Tomasz Serafin stated that the choice of Wagner and the decision to stage his work in Polish served
to highlight close links between Poland and Germany in this territory. Since 1979 the Silesian Opera organizes the Adam Didur
National Competition of Opera, initiated by the eminent Polish bass, Adam Didur.
Other events of the centennial celebration include an exhibit in the Upper Silesia Museum in Bytom, a scholarly symposium dedicated to the German-Polish music culture in Silesia, an open house at the Opera and a concert of Polish music performed by the Youth Symphony Orchestra from the Music High School in Bytom.
The Festival of New Music held in November 2001 in Bytom, presented a variety of compositions by contemporary Polish composers. The first concert, by the String Quartet "Akademos" took place in the Upper Silesia Museum and presented quartets by Aleksander Lasoń, Eugeniusz Knapik, Stefan Kisielewski, and Krzysztof Penderecki. The final event of the festival took place on 10 November 2001, celebrating the 50th birthday of Aleksander Lasoń. His anniversary was the main reason for the festival. Other composers featured on the program included: Szabelski, Cage, Schostakovich, Schnittke, the composers of the Stalowa Wola Generation (Knapik, Lasoń, Krzanowski), and premieres of works by youngest composers: Ejsmont, Boniek and St. Lasoń.
Teresa Żylis-Gara will give two concerts in Łódz, Poland in December 2001. The concerts are organized as a benefit for one of the oldest historical monuments in the city - the Jesuit Church (formerly Lutheran Church) which needs to be renovated. The world-famous soprano will donate her honorarium and the whole income from the concert to the cause of the Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (built in 1880-1884 as the Lutheran Church, taken over by the Jesuits after WWII), that so far received a new roof and one tower. Ms. Zylis-Gara's involvement in this project results from letters with requests for support sent to all prominent citizens of Lodz who have emigrated and now live outside of Poland. During the first concert, on 8 December, Ms. Zylis-Gara will perform solo, on 18 December she will be joined by Wiesław Ochman.
In November 2001, Lublin became the world capital of modern dance: during the Fifth International Encounters of Dance Theaters held there the audiences could attend performances of groups from Canada, the U.S., Russia, Byelarus, Austria, the Netherlands, Israel, and Poland. The organizers invited ensembles presenting different styles and dance techniques. In addition to public performances the event includes National Modern Dance Workshop, with classes in modern dance techniques and choreography offered by the distinguished guests. Finally, an international scholarly symposium on "Modern Dance" was dedicated to the reception of a variety of dance styles in Poland and abroad. The Dance Encounters took place between 15 and 18 November.
The District Court in Cracow ordered the music publisher, PWM to withdraw from the market a book by Simone Giron, "Tajemnica testamentu Paderewskiego" published in Polish recently (Swiss original appeared in 1948). The court decided that the book offended the memory of Paderewski's personal secretary, Sylwin Strakacz, and his daughter Ms. Anna Strakacz-Appleton, and that the Strakacz family is owed both an apology and monetary damages. Jerzy Jasienski who wrote a preface to the Polish edition and PWM were ordered to publish the apology in the following newspapers in Poland: "Gazeta Wyborcza", "Rzeczpospolita", "Ruch Muzyczny" and "Przekroj. Anna Strakacz-Appleton claimed that Simone Giron de Pourtales falsely accused her father of crimes and illegal actions towards Mr. Paderewski, by isolating the aging composer and making it impossible for him to maintaint contact with the outside world. Ms. Strakacz was also falsely accused of conspiring to poison Paderewski and to take over his inheritance. The District Court decided that PWM and Jerzy Jasienski should prove that these accusations were true before they are allowed to distribute a book with such statements.
In November 2001 the National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio in Katowice performed three concerts in Belgium (Antwerp, Brussels) during the festival Europalia 2001. The programs included numerous Polish compositions by Stanisław Moniuszko, Fryderyk Chopin, Władysław Żeleński, Zygmunt Noskowski, Karol Szymanowski and Henryk Mikolaj Górecki. The soloists included: pianist Andrzej Ratusinski, soprano - Elzbieta Szmytka (sopran), alto - Ewa Marciniec, and baritone - Wojciech Drabowicz. All the concerts were be directed by Antoni Wit and the orchestra performed with the Choir of the Polish Radio in Kraków.
The Orchestra has travelled over 130 times on such tours; it also recorded over 140 CDs and 50 LPs. 40 World premieres and numerous invitations to international festivals attest to the quality of this orchestra that has collaborated with some of the most famous musicians of the world, including: Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Mstislav Rostropovich, Placido Domingo, and Martha Argerich.
The concerts of the 12th International Festival of Organ Music in Kielce, Poland took place in November 2001. The first concert, performed by Schola Gregoriana, conducted by Zbigniew Rogala, presented Western plainchant. Piotr Grajter gave a recital of chant-based organ music from France and Belgium. The final concert presented contemporary music, including works by Olivier Messiaen, performed by Swedish organist, Erik Bostrom.
A special concert, entitled "Memory and Hope" celebrated the victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attack. The most distinguished Polish actors and popular singers took place in this event, with Gustaw Holoubek, Andrzej Seweryn, Krzysztof Kolberger, and Czeslaw Niemen. The program included fragments of Dies irae, Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem, as well as Bruckner's Ave Maria, two parts of Brahms's Ein Deutsches REquiem, and Libera me from a Requiem by Faure. The event closed with De Profundis from the Seven Gates of Jerusalem by Krzysztof Penderecki. The event included also performances of rock music: an occasional song by rock group Varius Manx, solists of the National Opera and the Orchestra of the Polish Radio of ŁódĽ, and Bema Pamięci Rapsod Żałobny by Czesław Niemen. Other performers of the outdoor event included Tomasz Stanko and the orchestra "Ansamble Kolokola Rossiji" from Russia.
The Eastern Orthodox Church pressed for changes in the program of the International Festival of Orthodox Music in Hajnówka, Poland. The Festival, recently celebrating its 20th anniversary, and registered as an event of the top rank internationally (the "Zero group") by the UNESCO, was previously directed by Mikołaj Buszko, whose actions were not approved by the Church's hierarchy. The Festival's funding came from local resources, now re-directed towards the new event - which is going to maintain a stronger distinction between liturgical and non-liturgical music and a greater faithfulness to the Orthodox tradition.
The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies held its annual meeting in Arlington, Virginia on November 15-18, 2001. The meeting included special sessions on the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America, led by Prof. Piotr Wandycz, President of the Institute and Dr. Thaddeus Gromada, its executive director. The Institute, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, is the most respected Polonian organization in the U.S. Dedicated to research, and to bringing together scholars of Polish descent, the Institute publishes a quarterly academic journal The Polish Review, presents conferences and special events, and hosts a site dedicated to archival research centers (including PIASA's own), focused on Polish culture.
The meeting of the Polish Studies Association also took place during the conference, but due to recent terrorist attacks was not well attended. A number of sessions was cancelled, including an interdisciplinary panel on history and musicology, organized by Prof. Philip Ther of Germany, and including Maja Trochimczyk and Halina Goldberg as the music-representatives, as well as a number of historians. This panel was rescheduled for next year. Another session dedicated to Polish culture took place and was very well attended (considering its early-morning timing): "Socialist or Magic Realism? Artist and State in Post-War Kraków." The session, chaired by Prof. Patrice M. Dabrowski of Harvard University, included two papers by Laurie S. Koloski, College of William and Mary who spoke about agendas for art and society in the first decade after WWII, and Maja Trochimczyk who discussed the cultural role of the cabaret Piwnica pod Baranami, especially its music, exemplified by the "sung poetry" (poezja ¶piewana) by Ewa Demarczyk. Prof. Halina Stephan, University of Florida, was the respondent; she gathered important threads from the discussion about the unique characteristics of Krakow and the city's special role in post-WWII Poland. Prof. Katarzyna Zechentner, who designed and organized this session was not able to attend. The papers from this session will appear in a special edition of a scholarly journal.
Simultaneously with the culture of Kraków, the attendees of the conference could learn about Polish literature's links to other arts, during a session presenting two papers on poetry, music and image. Megan L. Dixon of Principia College spoke about Mickiewicz's poetry in Szymanowska's salon and Michael D. Johnson spoke about Stanislaw Przybyszewski's "musical poetry." It is a pity - and a frequent occurrence at AAASS, that the panels on topics that would be of interest to all the Polish studies scholars, were organized at the same time. There were few Polish-themed panels on the AAASS program (as usual dominated by the Russian and Soviet studies). Other Polish sessions included a panel on Polish-Jewish relations in the light of Jan T. Gross's Neighbors, and a panel on marketing Polish culture in the U.S., (especially translations and literature that seems to suffer a similar neglect as music).
An international conference, Chopin - Towards a Search for a Common Language was organized in early December 2001 by the National F. Chopin Institute in Warsaw, Poland. The goal of the conference, according to the president of the program committee, Prof. Irena Poniatowska, is to examine the significance of Chopin in contemporary culture and the strength of his reception in Poland, both threatened by the pressures of mass culture and international cultural industry. The conference will examine the topics of "nationality and universalism," his reception, source editions, and applications in pedagogy and general music education.
On 10-12 December, the Institute of the Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, will become the site of a special conference dedicated to Professor Michał Bristiger and devoted to the topic of interactions of musicology and history. The conference papers will appear in a Festschrift; the participants include Prof. Bristiger's former students and colleagues, as well as two guests from the U.S., Prof. Karol Berger (Stanford University) and Maja Trochimczyk (USC). The program includes sessions dedicated to various historical periods and methodologies, with a particular focus on Polish music; the participants include: Zofia Fabiańska (Jagiellonian University), Barbara Przybyszewska-Jarmińska, Paweł Gancarczyk, Elżbieta Witkowska-Zaremba (IS PAN), Maciej Goł±b, Alina Ćórawska-Witkowska, Zofia Helman and Zbigniew Skowron (University of Warsaw).
Cezary Skubiszewski received the second successive award from the Australian Film Institute for the soundtrack
to La Spagnola directed by Steven Jacobs. He won the same award in 2000 for Bootmen
directed by Dein Perry.
Described as one of Australia's premier composers for both film and advertising, Skubiszewski was born in Warsaw, Poland, where he received his early music training. He toured Europe with the father of English blues, Alexi Korner, before migrating to Australia in 1974 where he studied Veterinary Science at Melbourne University. Skubiszewski has written for television, film and commercials for the local as well as the European and American markets. He most recently wrote the title music for Artists Services' AFI Award winning TV series, Eugenia Sandler and the music for four episodes directed by Anna Kokinos.
Other feature film credits include the soundtrack for The Sound of One Hand Clapping (APRA Award for Best Album for 1998), Lilian's Story starring Ruth Cracknell and Nick Giannapoulous' Wogboy. For more information visit the Australian Film Institute web site at: www.afi.org.au AFI.
Natalia Czekala of Poznań and Łukasz Wilga of Bytom shared the first prize in the 3rd National Piano Competition named after composer Tadeusz Szeligowski and held in November in Poznań. The competition is directed towards high school students of music and over 30 young people participated in it this year. Two ex aequo Third Prizes were awarded to Rafał Kobyliński of Wałbrzych and Mateusz Wizjan of Szczecin. The repertoire focused on contemporary music, including at least one work by Tadeusz Szeligowski.
Jakub Sarwas won the First Prize at the 9th International Composition Competition in Hamburg. The competition, named after Johannes Brahms, is organized by the Hamburg Society of Johannes Brahms. The prize-winning orchestral work, ecru will be premiered by the Hamburg Philharmonic and directed by Ingo Metzmacher. The competition included 15 composers (younger than 30) of 12 countries from Europe, North and South America. The jury included: Ingo Metzmacher, Heinz Josef Herbort, Diether de la Motte, Helmut Oehring, and Peter Ruzicka. Jakub Sarwas is a graduate of the Academy of Music in Katowice; in 1999 he received the First Prize at the Panufnik Competition in Kraków.
In recognition of Poland's national celebration on 11 November, Andrzej Celinski - Poland's minister of culture, awarded the crosses of merit to eight employees of the National Philharmonic. The highest awards went to Alicja Kinle-Nowicka, Tadeusz Boniecki, and Wieslaw Wilhelm (Gold Crosses). The President of Poland awarded the Commandore Cross of the Polonia Restituta Medal to Kazimierz Kord, the artistic director of the Philharmonics, and Konstanty Kulka, violin, Piotr Paleczny, piano. The recognition of the musicians' contribution to Polish culture resulted, in part, from celebrations of the centennial of the National Philharmonic (2001).
Jakub Omsky, a Polish-born cellist who currently pursues his studies for the Masters degree of Musical Arts at the Thornton School of Music, USC, received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for outstanding service to the community. Omsky was nominated for the award by a local newspaper in Santa Barbara, where he has been active as a musician and organizer of concerts and charity events. He has served as the "McDonald Ambassador for Musical Arts" and performing in solo recitals and with local orchestras. The Polish Music Center presented Omsky in a program of cello music and Polish poetry, with Omar Sangare, in October 2001.
The 2001 volume of the online musicology journal,
Polish Music Journal is dedicated to Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The first issue is already available at the PMC site and includes articles about Paderewski
and Polish émigré composers written by Maja Trochimczyk, Linda Schubert, James Wierzbicki, and Anna Granat-Janki, as well as texts by-and-about Paderewski
and Stojowski, a pianist and his student. The second issue of the PMJ, now in production, will focus solely on Paderewski and will present
articles by Polish experts: Małgorzata Perkowska, Andrzej Piber, Małgorzata WoĽna Stankiewicz, and others. In addition numerous documents and speeches by
Paderewski and about him will be translated and reprinted.|
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Copyright 2001 by the Polish Music
Sources of information: American Record Guide, Chamber Music, Fanfare, Gramophone, Ruch Muzyczny,
Nowy Dziennik, www.meloman.com, PAP, Los Angeles Times, and Schwann.
Formatting by Maja Trochimczyk, 3 December 2001.