|Polish Music Newsletter
June 2006, Vol. 12, No. 6. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
Maciej was born and raised in Łódź. His musical education began with the studies of piano at the age of seven, changing to the bassoon at the age of fourteen. After his primary and secondary education, Maciej studied with a noted bassoon virtuoso and conductor, Professor Krzysztof Kamiński at the Bacewicz Academy of Music in his native Łódź, and graduated in 2003 with a Master of Arts in Bassoon Performance.
Already during his studies Maciej performed with the Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra in Łódź and participated in numerous festivals in Poland and abroad. After one such performance at the Bayreuth Festival in 2001, Maciej was invited by then USC Dean of Music Larry Livingston to participate in the 2001 Idyllwild Summer Festival. This led to Maciej's audition and his winning of the Flossie Meline Oliver Pieper Music Scholarship at the University of Southern California. At first Maciej worked with a bassoon legend, Steven Maxym; later with the highly esteemed Professor Judith Farmer. Completing his American education studies with a perfect academic record, Maciej was awarded a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Studies in 2005 and had since then been an active performer and teacher in the Los Angeles area.
Shortly after arriving in California in 2002, Maciej was offered the position of co-principal with the American Youth Symphony, and has performed with this orchestra ever since. In addition to his orchestral playing, Maciej has made numerous solo tours of Germany, United States, and Poland. The long roster of symphony orchestras and conductors Maciej has worked with in the past few years includes the Pasadena Symphony, Brentwood Symphony, Downey Symphony, Saddleback College Orchestra, Culver City Chamber Orchestra (including Sony Pictures Entertainment for the 2003-2004 Children's Concert Series) and such towering musical personalities as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sergiu Comissiona, Larry Livingston, John Williams, and Carl St. Clair.
Maciej Flis also had the privilege of performing with world-famous soloists and ensembles, including Yo-Yo Ma, Norman Krieger, Yefim Bronfman, and The Wayne Shorter Quartet, among others, and appeared on stage at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Royce Hall, and Colburn School of Performing Arts. Maciej is often invited to participate in recording sessions for all major film studios, including 20th Century Fox Studios, Paramount Pictures Studios, and Warner Bros. In addition to numerous public radio broadcasts, Maciej's recorded performances include the In Session CD of the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra (made at the 20th Century Fox Newman Scoring Stage in 2004), and a program of works by Mozart with the Lvov Chamber Orchestra, dating from 2001. Most recently, Maciej participated in the 75th Anniversary Gala Celebration of the USC School of Cinema and Television, hosted by Steven Spielberg and attended by such celebrities as George Lucas, Frank Pierson, Clint Eastwood and Ron Howard in 2005.
Currently Maciej Flis performs with the Midnight Quintet, a wind ensemble group founded in 2003. Recently the Quintet won the 2006 USC Educational Outreach Fellowship Award and gave several concerts at the Chamber Music Sedona Festival in May of this year. The Midnight Quintet's week-long residency in Arizona included performances at local schools and benefit concerts. This summer, the Quintet will appear in the Arcosanti Chamber Music Series and participate in the two-week Idyllwild Chamber Music Festival in California. In the coming months, the Quintet is also making plans for a CD of music by American and Polish composers.
Maciej with Yo Yo Ma, after a USC concert conducted by Sergiu Comissiona
Maciej Flis has recently been awarded a scholarship from the California Institute of the Arts that will enable him to continue studying music in the United States. Maciej's future goals include winning a seat in one of the major American symphony orchestras and continuing to play on recording sessions for various film studios. Maciej's hobbies include travel, photography, and aviation—he is currently training to receive his private pilot license.
Perhaps the best summary of Maciej's musical accomplishments comes from some of the professional musicians who worked with him in the past few years. According to Prof. Livingston at USC: "In every way, Maciej is a superb young artist. He has a lovely tone quality, fine technique, and an unusually keen mind. In my career spanning more than forty years in the profession, I have had the opportunity to work with literally hundreds of talented young musicians. I would rate Maciej in the top 5 percent of that group." The composer and conductor Patrick Williams summed-up Maciej's talent as follows: "I wish to state for the record that Mr. Flis is clearly and unambiguously one of the finest and most extraordinary of emerging professional musicians in the music industry. [...] I can state, without hesitation, that he is the great asset to the industry."
The Polish Music Center is very pleased to have Maciej perform on several occasions in concerts that we've organized at USC and in the greater Los Angeles area. Without a doubt, he represents the very best in musical talent that the Polish culture can truly be proud of. Should you like more information on Maciej's life and accomplishments, please visit his website at: www.flismac.com, as well as that of the Midnight Quintet: www.midnightquintet.com
Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the great composer, pianist, statesman and philanthropist, died in New York City on June 29, 1941. A number of events are being planned in the United States and Poland to commemorate this anniversary. The Polish Government is coordinating a number of concerts, seminars, and lectures throughout Poland. In the United States, two main events will mark the anniversary. The first will be a concert and auction of portraits of Paderewski at the Polish American Museum in Chicago at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 18, 2006. This event is being organized by Anya Dudzik and Bogdan Lodyga. A concert of the works of Paderewski and Chopin will be performed by the brilliant pianist, Sasha Zintchenko. Following the concert there will be an auction of several portraits of Paderewski by prominent Polish-American artists. The Polish translation of "It Takes One to Tango" by Ambassador Edward L. Rowny will be sold. The proceeds from the auction and book sales will go to the Paderewski Scholarship Fund. The second event will be a piano concert at the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C. at 7 p.m., Friday, June 23. The works performed will be by Paderewski and other contemporary artists by the internationally renowned pianist, John Robilette. The White House is preparing a Presidential Proclamation marking the Anniversary. Senate and House Resolutions are being prepared by Senator Chuck Hagel and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. A parallel Presidential Proclamation is being prepared by the President of Poland as well as a Resolution by the Polish Sejm.
Among the composers writing for the project are, among others: Bogusław Schaeffer, Zbigniew Bargielski, Paweł Szymański, Roman Berger, Aleksander Lasoń, Szabolcs Esztenyi, Paweł Mykietyn, Mikołaj Górecki, Jan Wincenty Hawel, Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil, Piotr Moss, Hanna Kulenty, Stanisław Kupowicz, Maciej Małecki, Lidia Zielińska, Michał Talma-Sutt, Anna Zawadzka-Gołosz, Dobromiła Jaskot and Wojciech Ziemowit Zych. Among the ensembles involved in the project are: Sinfonia Varosovia, the National Philharmonic and the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra. Until now, most of the commissions offered to Polish composers came from international rather than Polish national sources; it is hoped that the "60 for 60" program will help to change that trend.
On June 28, 1956 Poznań factory workers from the Stalin Factory started a general strike, demonstrating in the streets with slogans of freedom and democracy. The confrontation with police and soldiers resulted in the deaths of 70 people and a few hundred injuries. The youngest victim of the fighting was a 13 year old boy.
WOJTECH MROŻEKPolish composer and clarinetist Wojtech Mrożek has just finished writing his new mass entitled Missa Solemnis Sandomieriensis "Beati Mundo Corde" - Prayer with John Paul II, dedicated to the Polish Pope. The composition was commisioned by the Mayor of Sandomierz and received official honorary patronage from the bishop of Sandomierz, Andrzej Dzięga, and the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage.
The work consists of 24 movements enclosed in the traditional 5 part mass structure. Integrated into the mass are sections that require historic audio and/or video reproductions of the Pope's homilies. The work is quite monumental, requiring a full symphony orchestra, choir and 5 soloists. It will be premiered in Sandomierz on June 11 by the Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and Choir, Iwona Hossa - soprano, Mieczysław Bąk - boy soprano, Agata Sava - mezzo soprano, Vasyl Ponajda - tenor, Józef Frakstein - bass. The concert will be conducted by the composer.
For further information on the full program or advance registration, please visit the Polish Institute's website at www.piasa.org. Regarding availability, or for any other inquiries, please contact Dr. Gromada, Executive Director, the Polish Institute, 208 East 30th St., New York, NY 10016, call (212) 686-4164, fax (212) 545-1130, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences of America is a national academic organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge in general and to the advancement of knowledge about Poland's intellectual and cultural heritage. The Institute's Library and Archives serve as a research center for the study of Poland and East Central Europe. Since 1956 the Polish Institute has published a scholarly journal, The Polish Review.
The opening night of the festival will feature a Piano Recital played by Stanislaw Drzewiecki at Jersey Opera House, featuring a program of all Polish composers, including the young Drzewiecki himself. The final day of the festival brings Myslovitz, the most popular contemporary recording artists in Poland, to the stage. See the entire program of events at: www.polishsummerfestival.co.uk.
Photo courtesy of www.slupca.com.pl.
The manuscripts of his works in this exposition were partly donated and partly sold to the National Library in Warsaw. Among them there are 50 operas, 28 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, cello and violin concertos, symphonic poems, orchestral suites, chamber and sacred music, songs and piano literature. Very few of Szeluto's works were ever published. This exhibition will be open until October.
On the 1st of May, conductor Piotr Sułkowski was appointed as the new artistic director of the Kraków Opera. He is replacing Ryszard Karczykowski who resigned from the position at the end of April. Prior to his new position, Piotr Sułkowski was the conductor of the "Impresario's Stage" at the Kraków Opera. He is also the musical director and conductor of the Opera Wildwood Festival in Little Rock (USA).
Piotr Sułkowski graduated with honors from the Music Conservatory in Kraków with a degree in Music Education (1993) and Conducting (1996). He has been awarded stipends by the Internationale Bachakademie and the Oregon Bach Festival.
Wieniawski's music is relatively well known to music lovers, but little researched by musicologists. There are still gaps and obscurities in his biography. The fate of many manuscripts is unknown, and several youthful compositions are known only by their titles. There is no lack, however, of popular and "belles-lettristic" literature. He is surrounded by many myths and legends which overshadow his artistic achievement to a considerable degree. It is easier to find in Polish literature a facetious anecdote about his life than a penetrating commentary on his work.
This state of affairs requires urgent remedial action. Wieniawski occupies too important a place in Polish musical culture to remain merely a hero of fiction. His musical output in every respect deserves reliable musicological study. The first steps have already been taken. At the initiative of the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society in Poznań the publication of his Complete Works began in 1996. This will enable many uncertainties to be clarified concerning the origins and publications of his works, and also documentation on his life and works to be compiled.
The analysis of his musical output is also in need of attention, given its potential importance. This is one of the aims of this book, which comprises detailed study of his works in the context of the creative achievements of other eminent 19th-century virtuosi. For comparison, compositions are chosen which are similar in genre and in stylistic relationship. These are the works of such virtuosi as: Delphin Alard, Pierre Baillot, Charles de Beriot, Charles Dancia, Heinrich Wil-helm Ernst, Francois Habeneck, Rodolphe Kreutzer, Hubert Leonard, Niccolo Paganini, Pierre Rode, Pablo de Sarasate and Henri Vieuxtemps. Among them are found many "classics" of violin music, as well as virtuosi contemporary with Wieniawski. The pieces chosen for comparison create their own tertium comparationis for his compositions. They allow an overview of his work from a wide perspective, considering not only the question of composition technique, but also the aspect of the function of violin music at that time.
Wieniawski himself was convinced that the artist did not live in a vacuum and compose just for himself. He reacted to the needs of the public and sought inspiration from his surroundings. His work cannot be examined in isolation from the environment in which he grew up. A description, therefore, of the general panorama of the epoch is essential, indicating the phenomena which are especially important from the point of view of the present study.
This article was excerpted from the Abstract of the new book Henryk Wieniawski: kopozytor na tle wirtuozowskiej tradycji skrzypcowej XIX wieku. By Renata Suchowiejko (in Polish). Published by Towarzystwo Muzyczne im. Henryka Wieniawskiego, Poznań 2005. www.wieniawski.pl.
Łabuński in 1963, unknown photographer
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Wiktor Łabuński (1895-1974) with the announcement of the establishment of a scholarship in his name as part of the Conservatory's centennial scholarship fund.
W. Łabuński joined the school's piano faculty in 1937 and then became the conservatory's director in 1941, a position that he held until 1958. Łabuński came from a musical family. His older brother Feliks (1892-1979) became a well-known composer who, following in the footsteps of his younger brother, also immigrated to the United States, settling in Cincinnati. His father-in-law was the famous conductor Emil Młynarski, the first conductor of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra (1901) and later a faculty member of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (1929-31). His wife Wanda was also a pianist, and his sister-in-law Aniela was the wife of still another musical giant—pianist Artur Rubinstein.
Łabuński helped educate and train hundreds of pianists and composers, many who became well-known performers and composers or respected piano teachers themselves. One his former students, Colombian pianist Blanka Uribe, Professor Emeritus at Vassar College, won an honorable mention at the 1965 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw.
To establish a permanently endowed scholarship in Łabuński's name it is necessary to raise $10,000. So far, $1,000 has been collected. Contributions to the Wiktor Łabuński scholarship fund may be made by credit card (MasterCard, Visa and Discover), or by check payable to "UMKC Conservatory of Music" with "Wiktor Labunski Scholarship" written on the memo line of the check or noted in an accompanying letter and sent to: Linda Robbins, Director of Conservatory Development, 4949 Cherry Street, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.
For more information, contact: email@example.com
Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competition 2006: (bottom row) Hanna Sun, Shared Third Prize; Natalia Kazaryan, Second Prize; Claire Huangci, First Prize; Ela Ingarden, KF Acting Director of Cultural Affairs. (second row) Anna Utecht, KF Staff; Miki Fujihara, Shared Third Prize; Helen Mary Tyszka, KF Trustee, who announced the results; Mirian Conti, Juror; (top row) Konrad Binienda, Honorary Mention.
Second Prize went to 18 year-old Natalia Kazaryan, a native of Tbilisi, Georgia, currently studying at The Juilliard School with Jerome Lowenthal. Third Prize was divided between Miki Fujihara, a senior at Hunter College and student of Miyoko Lotto, and Hanna Sun, a student at LaGuardia High School who is also working with Ms. Lotto. A special Honorable Mention was awarded to Konrad Binienda, a high school junior from Akron, Ohio, who won the Jan Gorbaty Prize for the best performance of the music of Chopin. The jury consisted of Jed Distler, of Sarah Lawrence College; concert pianist Mirian Conti; and Frank Levy, of The Juilliard School. The 57th Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition took place Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, 2006 at the Foundation House. Some twenty performers from across the U.S. competed.
The Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition was established in 1949, on the 100th anniversary of the death of Fryderyk Chopin. Held annually since then, the competition is proud to recognize many outstanding pianists among its winners, including Van Cliburn, Murray Perahia, and Ian Hobson. The objective of the Chopin Piano Competition is to encourage highly talented young musicians of all ethnic backgrounds, and to promote study and performance of the works of Chopin, Szymanowski, and other Polish composers. The competition is open to citizens or permanent residents of the United States, and international full time students, between the ages of 16 and 22. Contestants prepare a program of approximately 70 minutes. The required repertoire includes works of Chopin and Szymanowski; Bach; a Classic sonata; a major 19th century work; and a work by an American, Polish-American, or Polish composer written within the last 50 years.
Copyright 2006 by the Polish Music