|Polish Music Newsletter|
STOJOWSKI'S MUSIC RESONATES THROUGHOUT CALIFORNIA
The 2006 Paderewski Lecture-Recital on October 12 at USC commemorated Zygmunt Stojowski, one of the great early 20th century Polish pianists and composers. Stojowski arrived in America in 1905, when he was 35, and died in New York City on November 5, 1946. The Polish Music Center's concerts this fall were devoted to presenting the legacy of this remarkable Polish-American on the 60th anniversary of his death.
Last year, a number of manuscripts, letters, photographs, concert programs and other memorabilia—known as the Zygmunt and Luisa Stojowski Collection— was donated by two of Stojowski's surviving sons, Alfred and Henry. Shortly thereafter, Dean Cutietta and the Thornton School of Music invited the Stojowskis to come to USC and attend several concerts that featured Zygmunt Stojowski's music. Not only Henry and Alfred—both in their late 80s—came to Los Angeles in mid October, but they also brought several other members of their families, representing four generations of the Stojowski family living on both the East and West Coast.
Celebrations on Wednesday, October 11 were launched at high noon, with a performance of Stojowski's Concertstück for Cello and Orchestra at the United University Church on the USC campus. Doctoral student of cello, Lars Hoefs, and pianist Marek Zebrowski were heard in this rarely-programmed virtuoso composition.
After the concert, officials of the Thornton School of Music, including Deans Cutietta and Lopez, Director of Personnel, Dorothy Ditmer, Director of Marketing and Communications, Ljiljana Grubisic, as well as the Stojowski family and others moved to Stonier Hall for a gala opening of the new Stojowski Room at the Polish Music Center (pictured above). Among those present for the champagne toast were pianist Jonathan Plowright and author of a forthcoming book on Zygmunt Stojowski, Joseph Herter.
Dean Cutietta welcomed the Stojowski family and Henry and Alfred Stojowski spoke on their family's behalf, sharing wonderful details about his father. A luncheon banquet followed at the Faculty Club, and afterwards Mr. Plowright and Mr. Herter were invited to a live radio interview with Martin Perlich on KCSN-FM. That broadcast also featured one of Mr. Plowrights brilliant recordings of Stojowski's Piano Concertos.
Pianist Jonathan Plowright (right) discusses Stojowski's music with his sons,
Henry (center) and Alfred (left) Stojowski after the Paderewski Lecture-Recital.
The 2006 Paderewski Lecture-Recital took place on Thursday, October 12 at USC's Newman Hall. Joseph Herter delivered a fascinating lecture on Zygmunt Stojowski, his studies in France, his friendship with Paderewski, his life in America, and his links to California. Afterwards, Jonathan Plowright gave a brilliant hour-long recital of works by Stojowski and Paderewski for the assembled audience. Plowright's keen sense of style infused Stojowski's Chant d'amour and Romance Op. 41 with gentle and noble passion, whilst his bravura technique dazzled and sparkled in Caprice Orientale and Variations on the Cracovian Theme. It was however the concluding work on the program— Paderewski's massive Sonata Op. 21—that showed Plowright in absolute command of the instrument in this highly challenging and towering composition. A long and well-earned applause encouraged Jonathan Plowright to play an unusual encore—an arrangement of a Peruvian lullaby Stojowski made for his wife, Luisa Morales Macedo. Luisa, a distinguished pianist from Lima, married Stojowski in New York in 1918. The Lullaby was performed from a copy of the manuscript in the Stojowski Collection at USC.
Two days later, on Saturday October 14, Jonathan Plowright performed a program of works by Stojowski, Paderewski, and Szymanowski to a standing room only crowd at the Cass Winery in Paso Robles, California. This Central Coast town, famous for its great wineries, was a great resort town at the beginning of the 20th century and—from 1913 until the last years of his life—Paderewski was a frequent visitor in the area. Over a period of years, Paderewski bought thousands of acres of land in the Paso Robles area, planting grapes and cultivating fruit orchards. He considered himself to be a resident of California and maintained close links with the local community. Plowright's recital was enthusiastically received by the Paso Robles residents, who have for several years longed to re-establish the tradition of a music festival in Paderewski's honor in the town he had loved so dearly. With tremendous amount of good-will from the Cass Winery (who provided the venue, hosted the pianist, and coordinated all logistics), Cuesta College and Paso Robles School District (who consented to provide a Steinway concert grand for the occasion), and numerous individuals who volunteered with advice and assistance, this “Paderewski Reprise” was a resounding success. It is a great hope of the organizers that the tradition of featuring Polish music in California's fastest-growing wine region will prosper in the years to come, continuing to attract the public from all corners of the Golden State.
CELEBRATING THE POLISH-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Irena Głowacka-Lawyer and the Polish Club of Laguna Woods presented a special concert on October 29 in the Clubhouse 3 Auditorium of Laguna Woods Village. It featured works by Grażyna Bacewicz, Frederic Chopin, Mieczysław Karłowicz, and Tadeusz Szeligowski. The performers included soprano Krysta Close, the Midnight Quintet, and pianist Marek Żebrowski.
The afternoon concert began with a selection of charming songs for voice and piano by Karłowicz. This late-romantic and intimate music set to fin-de-siecle Polish poets was presented by Ms. Close and Mr. Żebrowski.
The Midnight Quintet—a group of Thornton School of Music graduates—is a young and already widely recognized ensemble. Heard in the Sedona Chamber Music Festival last May, the Midnight Quintet has since performed throughout Southern California and are scheduled to appear in concert on the East Coast and in Mexico. For this concert, the group gave a lively and musically engaging interpretation of wind quintets by Bacewicz and Szeligowski. Dating from the mid 1930s and the early 1950s respectively, these compositions represent the Polish neo-classical school with its mordant harmonies, sparse musical gestures, and witty woodwind writing. Requiring considerable virtuosity and great ensemble playing, these two quintets are rarely heard, even in Poland. The Midnight Quintet's excellent understanding of this music and their technical prowess came to the fore in both the Bacewicz and Szeligowski, giving the audience a chance to admire the virtuosity of Amy Tatum, flute, Kate Green, oboe, Andrew Leonard, clarinet, Kristina Orcutt, French horn, and Maciej Flis, bassoon.
The concert concluded with Marek Żebrowski's performance of Andante spianato et Grand Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22 by Frederic Chopin.
CENTENNIAL SALON OF ARTS AND IDEAS
The Consulate General of Poland in New York has launched a week-long celebration of Polish arts and culture during October 2006. The immediate reason for showcasing a diverse group of Polish artists was the Centenary Gala of the structure in which the Consulate has been headquartered since 1973. This historic building—once a residence of a wealthy 19 th century Dutch-American entrepreneur, Joseph Raphael De Lamar—is a Beaux-Arts style mansion, located in the most prestigious of Manhattan's neighborhoods, Murray Hill. Across the street from the Pierpoint Morgan Library, the De Lamar residence is one of the last free-standing buildings in Manhattan. The interiors, rich in frescoes, gilded ornaments, and huge panes of Tiffany glass, have been lovingly restored to its former glory by Polish specialists. Perhaps for the first time in the history of this remarkable house, its dazzling interior provided a setting for such a series of remarkable events.
Consul-General Krzysztof Kasprzyk and the entire staff of the Consulate have invited the most prominent and important creative minds in America to participate in a week-long festival. They succeeded in producing a series of events unparalleled in scope and quality, even by New York standards. The festivities began on Sunday, October 15, with an evening of “Polish Night Music,” featuring David Lynch, a renowned film director, and Marek Żebrowski, pianist and composer. With Lynch on keyboards and Żebrowski on a Steinway concert grand, the two gave an hour-long concert of musical improvisations, based on various vignettes from the city of Łódź. To read a review of this concert in New York's Downtown Express, see www.downtownexpress.com.
Photo by Jerzy Koss
Other musical highlights included a special concert with trumpet virtuoso, Tomasz Stańko, pianist Jerome Lowenthal, and cellist Jakub Omsky, as well as an evening with the Academy Award winning film composer, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, and experimental filmmaker and video artist, Zbigniew Rybczynski.
The visual side of the Polish creative spirit was represented by an evening devoted to the “Graphics of Solidarity.” Another evening event showcased over 30 contemporary artists from Poland whose works were displayed throughout the Consulate's magnificent interiors. Finally, for a grand finale, at dusk on October 22, the Polish Consulate was bathed in a specially-designed light projection. Dubbed “A Symphony of Light” the spectacle was designed by Bart Kresa, who creates large-scale light events all over the world.
In addition, the Consulate produced a beautiful commemorative book, detailing the history of the building, its architect, and its former owners. This considerable effort in scholarly research will reward all readers with a fascinating tale of a grand residence whose charm still continues to sparkle and charm the visitors.
For more information on the Consulate General of Poland in New York and its splendid headquarters, please visit: http://www.polishculture-nyc.org/LamarMansion.htm
ANDERSZEWSKI – GRAMOPHONE AWARD
According to James Jolly, Editor-in-Chief of Gramophone Magazine, the 2006 Classic FM Gramophone Award winners are a “vintage” collection of winners, chosen from a “staggering line-up of outstanding recordings.” (Awards 2006 edition) Poland's own Piotr Anderszewski's excellent recording of the rare piano works of his neglected countryman, Karol Szymanowski (1883-1937) made it into this group and was chosen as the Best Instrumental Disc of the Year in a neck-in-neck race.
This achievement is the culmination of a long relationship between Anderszewski and Szymanowski, which was first honored by a Szymanowski Prize for Anderszewski in 1999. Anderszewski has this to say about the great composer, in his interview about the Award:
“In Poland Szymanowski is very, very neglected and everything is about Chopin all the time… [But] when [ Szymanowski is] played really convincingly it is music that speaks to the public, it's not just purely elitist for a few chosen people; it's actually very communicative, and in my experience people who don't know much about music are very, very touched by Szymanowski.”
According to Awards 2006 issue of Gramophone Magazine, “[Anderszewski is] a dazzling pianist, and one whose love and commitment to this music shine through with every fabulously played phrase.” And those of us who have had the opportunity to hear this disc or to hear the artist in person can only agree, and clamor for the next recording.
WIŁKOMIRSKA HONORED IN ŁÓDŹ
World famous Polish violinist, Wanda Wiłkomirska, received a Honoris Causa Doctorate from the Music Academy in Łódź. Professor Wiłkomirska was born on January 11, 1929 in Warsaw. She graduated from the State Higher School of Music in Łódź (1947) and from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. She also studied with Henryk Szeryng in Paris and Tadeusz Wroński in Warsaw. She has won several prizes in international competitions: in Geneva (1946), Budapest (1949), at the JS Bach Competition in Leipzig (1950), and Henryk Wieniawski Competition in Poznań (1952).
Wanda Wiłkomirska has given concerts on all five continents, playing with the world's most renowned orchestras and with such giants of conducting as Leonard Bernstein, Otto Klemperer, Zubin Mehta, John Barbirolli, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Kurt Masur, Erich Leinsdorf and many others. As a young chamber musician she toured with her sister and brother as the Wiłkomirska Trio and later in life with such famous artists as Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer, Daniel Barenboim, Mischa Maisky, Krystian Zimerman, and Kim Kashkashian. She recorded for EMI, Deutsche Grammophone, Polskie Nagrania, Philips, Hungaroton and other companies.
This award is one of many medals, prizes and honorary awards for Prof. Wiłkomirska's artistic activity and promotion of the Polish culture. The most notable are Polish State Awards (1952, 1964), the Commander Cross of the Rebirth of Poland Order (1981), the Commander Cross with a Star (2001), and a medal for her work for the Polish community in Australia (2005). She particularly values the Award of the Karol Szymanowski Foundation, granted to her in 1997 for “a special emphasis on Karol Szymanowski's music; unique, ardent and expressive interpretation thereof; and propagation of his music worldwide.”
POLISH INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS
Two important anniversaries for all Polish-Americans are coming up this month. The first is the celebration of Poland's Independence Day, commemorating the reinstating of Poland in 1918 after over a century-long era of partitions. Close on the heels of Independence Day, another anniversary—a somber remembrance of a bitterly cold December 1981 day when Martial Law was imposed on all Poles by the Communist junta, led by General Jaruzelski —is also upon us.
The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, in collaboration with the Loyola Marymount University, will present a special evening commemorating both Polish Independence Day and the 25 th anniversary of the imposition of Martial Law in Poland. The event will take place on Friday, November 17, 2006 at 8 p.m. in Murphy Hall at Burns Fine Arts Center on the Loyola Marymount University Westchester campus. Her Excellency Krystyna Tokarska-Biernacik, Consul-General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, will present opening remarks. She will be followed by a brilliant Polish pianist and faculty member at Loyola, Wojciech Kocyan. Mr. Kocyan —First Prize winner of the Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz and the laureate of several international piano competitions—will perform a recital of works by Frederic Chopin.
Admission and parking for the event are free and wine and hors d'oeuvres reception will follow the concert. For more information please call: 310-442 8500 ext. 109.
NATIONAL POLISH CHOPIN COMPETITION
The National Polish Chopin Piano Competitions have been held at Ostrogski Castle in Warsaw ever since 1968, with the purpose of the promoting of young Polish pianists. This year's auditions will take place between November 27th and December1 st, with a Winners' Concert on December 3rd at 6:00 pm. The Chopin Institute is the organizing body of this event. Competition jury members include several of the most eminent pianists and pedagogues representing Poland's Academies of Music. For the program of the competition visit: www.infochopin.pl
KNAPIK AT CARNEGIE HALL
The celebrated Polish soprano Maria Knapik will be featured in a performance by the New York Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by its founder, Vincent La Selva. Other featured soloists are Edward Perretti – tenor, Frederick Redd – baritone, and Jeeminn Lee – mezzo-soprano, joined by “Les Chanteurs” from Freedom High School (Bethlehem, PA), and the Metropolitan Greek Chorale. The program, featuring Beethoven's 9 th Symphony, also includes the 2nd Movement from Symphony No.3 by Górecki and the U.S. premiere of Elegia for Soprano and String Orchestra, by Peter Paul Koprowski.
Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall
57 th St. & 7 th Ave., NYC
Tickets: (212) 247-7800 or www.carnegiehall.org.
CHOPIN & FRIENDS FESTIVAL
The International Chopin & Friends Festival in New York showcases innovative artists who emulate Chopin in uniting the traditional and the modern, the young and the mature, the national and the universal, and all the art forms. New York Dance & Arts Innovations, Inc. (NYDAI) is the founding sponsor of this popular fall celebration in New York City. All of the music-related events are listed below – click on the artists' names for more information.
The poster for the Festival was collaboratively designed by
Yoonjung Han, pianist
Leszek Wojtowicz, singer/guitarist
Marcin Masecki, pianist
Joanna Trzeciak, piano
Kerry Linder Trio
CHOPIN FOUNDATION SEASON
On Saturday, November 4th the Chopin Foundation of the United States will kick off its Chopin Season 2006 – 2007. The inaugural recital will be performed by laureate of the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition, Ben Kim. A young outstanding pianist Joshua Wright will be the star of two concerts which will follow in December, whereas in January the audience will meet with Atma Trio featuring pianist Sławomir Dobrzański, violinist Blanka Bednarz and cellist Cheung Chau. In February, Chopin's birthday will be celebrated with an appearance by Piotr Folkert, who is regarded “as one of the most gifted and sensitive pianists performing today”. In March, an-all Chopin program will be performed by young pianists, and in April the Chopin Season will close with a recital by the first prize winner of the 2006 National Chopin Piano Competition of Poland, whose name will be announced in December. For more information please visit: www.infochopin.pl.
KLOCEK IN ARIZONA
Adam Klocek, the Music Director of the Symphony Orchestra in Kalisz, Poland, has been appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Arizona Symphony Orchestra in the U.S. Klocek has been selected for the post by a panel of judges at a competition in London, defeating 30 other conductors from around the world. A prominent cellist, Adam Klocek began a conducting career only recently. His contract with the Arizona Symphony Orchestra is for six concerts in the season.
POLISH JAZZ ART IN NYC
Jazz posters from the world-famous Polish School of Posters will be on view at Jazz at Lincoln Center from October 30th–November 27th. It will be Jazz at Lincoln Center's first full-scale exhibit of original jazz posters from the golden age of Polish poster art (1950s-1980s; post-World War II to the fall of Communism). More than twenty jazz posters by renowned artists, including Rafał Olbiński, Jan Sawka & Waldemar Swierzy will be on view. All of the posters are available for sale through www.contemporaryposters.com.
The posters date primarily from the 1970s & 1980s, a period of relative artistic freedom in Poland during the Soviet era. Under the Communist regime, Polish architects, designers & painters were employed by the State to create posters on various subjects including jazz. Encouraged and supported by the State, these artists came to be recognized as the best of contemporary poster artists, possessing a genius comparable to France's la belle époque of the 1890s.Some posters, notably Olbinski's “Jazz Jamboree '80” and Sawka's “Jazz of the Odra '76” announce popular Polish jazz festivals, while others, principally Swierzy's ”Jazz Greats” series, celebrate American jazz musicians many of whom are inductees of the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame at Jazz at Lincoln Center - John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, et.
Jazz at Lincoln Center, the prestigious New York not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art of jazz, has an exciting schedule of events for audiences of all ages during its 2006-07 season. For more information and the current calendar, visit http://www.jalc.org.
The exhibit is in the Benjamin Menschel Arcade at Lincoln Center, 6th floor, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street. It will be open for viewing during all Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts as well as Tuesday through Sunday, from 10am to 4pm.
CHOPIN FESTIVAL - GENEVA
The Chopin Society in Geneva will hold its annual Chopin Festival from November 12th until November 18th. This year's edition will start on the 12th with a recital by Krzysztof Jabłoński. The festival will continue on Tuesday, November 14th with a performance by Magdalena Lisak. Thursday, November 16th, and Friday, November 17th will be devoted to young pianists: Chopin Society in Geneva prize-winner, Krzysztof Trzaskowski, will give a recital on Thursday, and Mateo Creux from Switzerland and Antonio Pastor Otero from Italy will perform during a traditional concert of "young talents” on Friday. Two renowned pianists - Dina Yoffe and Daniel Vaiman - will bring the festival to an end on Saturday, November 18th. The festival will be accompanied by master classes conducted by Krzysztof Jabłoński. For more information please visit: www.infochopin.pl
POLISH FILM FESTIVAL IN AMERICA
The 18th Polish Film Festival in America, one of Chicago's premier film events, will take place from November 4 to 19, 2006 in four Chicago cultural venues: Gateway Theatre (5216 West Lawrence Ave.), Portage Theatre (4050 Milwaukee Ave.), Gallery Theatre at the Society for Arts (1112 Milwaukee Ave.), and Beverly Arts Center (2407 West 111 Street.) Over sixty feature and documentary films made by Polish filmmakers will be presented, most of them with English subtitles.
The Festival's Opening Gala will be held in the Gateway Theatre on Saturday, November 4, 2006 at 7:30 pm. The program entails an introduction of the Festival's guests, a mini-concert, presentations of special awards, and a screening of Jasminum, a new film by Chicago favorite Jan Jakub Kolski.
Throughout the Festival, audience members will vote for the most interesting feature and documentary film. The winners will receive the "Golden Teeth" Award at the Closing Ceremony in Portage Theatre on Saturday, November 18, 2006 at 7:00 pm.
For more information please visit the official website of the festival .
WARSAW CHAMBER OPERA TOUR
Warsaw Chamber Opera will have almost 40 opera performances, both staged and concert, in Japan between November 17 and December 22. The tour will consist solely of the works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in celebration of composer's 250 th birthday. The company will perform six of Mozart's operas: Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, Marriage of Figaro, La clemenza di Tito, Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Cosi fan Tutte. They will also perform Requiem. The tour is a part of Japanese celebrations of the Mozart year. For information about Warsaw Chamber Opera please visit their official website.
POZNAŃ AIRPORT TERMINAL NAMED WIENIAWSKI
The naming ceremony took place as part of the 13th Wieniawski International Violin Competition in Poznań. The terminal was named after Henryk Wieniawski thanks in part to efforts of the Henryk Wieniawski Society in Poznań. Andrzej Wituski, president of the Wieniawski Society, and violinists Marina Yashvili, Ida Haendel and Wanda Wiłkomirska were present during the presentation of a symbolic plate inside the terminal.
DWORZYŃSKI WINS IN LONDON
On October 19 in London, young Polish conductor Michał Dworzyński won the fifth edition of the International Donatella Flick Conducting Competition. In addition to the cash prize, he has the opportunity to serve as an assistant conductor for the London Symphony Orchestra, under Sir Collin Davis until the end of 2006 and starting in January 2007, under Valery Gergiev.
This is the third international competition won by Michał Dworzyński. dThe first one was in 2003 in Zagreb, Croatia and the next in 2005 in Suwon, Korea. He also claimed 2 nd prize at the II International Conducting Competition Prix Credit Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland in 2002.
Michał Dworzyński is a graduate of the F. Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw, where he studied with Antoni Wit and went on to become an assistant conductor of National Polish Radio and TV Orchestra in Katowice. Currently Mr. Dworzyński is a post-graduate student at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik with Prof. Christian Ehwald.
On November 24 and 25 Michał Dworzyński will lead the National Philharmonic in Warsaw.
For more about the competition, read “Michal Dworzynski Wins Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London ” by Vivien Schweitzer in Playbill Arts.
ZIMERMAN'S BRAHMS IMPRESSES IN GERMANY
The recording of Brahms' Piano Concerto no.1 in D Minor performed by Krystian Zimerman with Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle (Deutsche Grammophon CD 477 541-3 ) has received the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik [German Music Critics Award]. The awards ceremony will take place in Berlin on November 18, 2006.
In September 2003, two musical legends—Zimerman and Rattle—joined forces for the Berliner Philharmoniker's season opening series in two unforgettable performances of Brahms's First Piano Concerto. The concerts both dazzled the audience and delighted critics: "Performing Brahms's First Piano Concerto together in complete accord and spiritually, in the truest sense of that word, they created the impression of Rattle being seated at some kind of orchestral piano to play four hands with Zimerman. The audience's acclaim was boundless." ( The Berliner Morgenpost ) Inspired by these sensational live performances, Zimerman and Rattle took their collaboration to the recording studio, where they recreated their concert chemistry for this masterful recording. This new version of Brahms 1 is the only Brahms recording currently available with Krystian Zimerman, whom his compatriot Artur Rubinstein has called a "natural Brahms player." According to Richard Osborne of Gramophone Magazine in his review from May 2006, "It is...as commanding a Brahms D minor as any we have had in recent times."
WIENIAWSKI COMPETITION RESULTS
On October 28, 2006 the Jury of the 13 th International Wieniawski Violin Competition announced the verdict. From among 39 young violinists seven received the regulatory prizes:
1st Prize – Agata Szymczewska (Poland)
2nd Prize – Airi Suzuki (Japan)
3rd Prize – Anna Maria Staśkiewicz (Poland)
4th Prize – Lev Solodovnikow (Russia)
5th Prize ex-aequo – Maria Machowska (Poland) and Jarosław Nadrzycki (Poland)
6th Prize – Wojciech Pławner (Poland)
Video recordings of the competition concerts and audition rounds are available online for viewing at itvp.pl/wieniawski/i.tvp/. For more information about the competition, awards and results, please visit the www.wieniawski.pl. Also, DUX Records has just announced a 10-CD chronicle of the competition which is available for purchase at www.dux.pl.
“YOUNG CONDUCTORS” RESULTS
On October 27, 2006 the results of the 4th Witold Lutosławski International Young Conductors Showcase in Białystok were announced.
1st Prize – Ayyub Guliyev (Azerbaijan, pictured left)
2nd Prize – Krzysztof Urbański (Poland)
3rd Prize – Dainius Povilionis (Lithuania)
Honorary mentions went to: Yury Galias (Belarus), Marzena Małgorzata Diakun (Poland) and Maja Matelska (Poland).
POLISH CHOIR AWARDED
“Bogorya” choir from Grodzisk won the gold diploma and first prize in the youth non-mixed choirs at the 5th Robert Schumann International Choral Competition in Zwickau, Germany. The competition was held in the “Neue Welt” concert hall in Zwickau. There were 32 choirs participating in the competition from 12 countries. You can find more information about the choir at www.grodzisk.pl .
FESTIVALS IN POLAND
2ND FESTIVAL OF POLISH MUSIC
According of Andrzej Kosowski, Editor-in-Chief of Polish Music Editions (PWM ), the organizational body of this celebration, the Festival of Polish Music was created to showcase the best that the rich musical history of Poland has to offer, including pearls of Polish Renaissance music, magnificent 19th-century symphonic repertoire, and outstanding contemporary works, as well as the young composers of today. The very first concert of the Festival is a microcosm of this goal, presenting the rare combination of Poland's first symphonic poem, by Noskowski; a violin concerto by Karol Szymanowski, the father of 20 th century Polish music; and the most recent symphony of one of Poland's most renowned living composers, Krzysztof Penderecki. Invitations to perform at the second edition of the Festival have been accepted by the best Polish chamber, choral and symphonic ensembles, magnificent soloists, as well as distinguished conductors, of which three (Agnieszka Duczmal, Jerzy Maksymiuk and Jan Krenz) will be celebrating birthday jubilees (60th, 70th and 80th respectively) during the event.
The eight days of events will run from November 5th to the 12th in Kraków. The concerts and other activities will take place in venues all around the city, including churches, museums and concert halls. The program of the festival consists of world premieres by Polish composers (Paweł Łukaszewski, Lidia Zielińska, Juliusz Zarębski, Paweł Mykietyn, Michał Talma-Sutt, Ryszard Osada) as well as established 20 th century Polish repertoire, among them: Panufnik's Arbor Cosmica, Bacewicz's Concerto for Orchestra, Lutosławski's Double concerto for oboe, harp and orchestra, Kilar's Sinfonia de Motu, or Symphony No. 8 “Lieder der Vergänglichkeit,” and St. Luke's Passion by Penderecki. The artists include the best names in Polish music as well as some established international artists like Heinz Holliger, Ursula Holliger and the Kronos Quartet. For more details, visit the Festival website, www.fmp.com.pl
XVI WARSAW EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Warsaw's Early Music Festival started on October 29 and will last until December 4. The festival's focus is on music composed between the middle ages and the romantic period. According to Jacek Urbaniak, artistic director of the festival, the goal is to present the audience with a repertoire by Polish and international composers, often not very well known and recognized, performed by young, up-and-coming artists from Poland and abroad. The concerts will take place in churches around Warsaw, the Royal Castle and the Mazovian Culture Centre. For a more specific program information please visit www.zamek-krolewski.com.pl .
The festival, dedicated to the work of Zygmunt Konieczny, started on October 22 and will end on December 2, 2006. It is organized by the IKO-ART Artistic Agency and Kraków Cinema Center ARS. The festival was created to celebrate the composer's 70th birthday. During the festival there will be performances of Konieczny's film and theatrical music, as well as screenings of movies with his music. There also will be an exposition of film posters, record covers, programs, and sheet music publications by Konieczny. In conjunction with the festival, a book entitled Conversations with Zygmunt Konieczny is scheduled for publication in 2007. More information about the composer and the festival is available on his official website, www.zygmuntkonieczny.art.pl .
4TH PIANO FESTIVAL
The 4th edition of the Piano Festival will take place between November 26 and 29 in Warsaw. It is a continuation of the “Masters of the Piano” Festival initiated by Elżbieta Penderecka in 2001 in Kraków. During the festival, piano repertoire will be presented from three different perspectives: young virtuosos, young competition winners and concerts of the masters. Artists include: 11 year old Julia Vaniuszyna, Alexei Volodin, Berenika Zakrzewski, Cyprien Katsaris, Garrick Ohlsson and Boris Berman. The concert will take place in the National Philharmonic concert hall and at the Warsaw Royal Castle.
POLISH 20TH CENT. MUSIC ON NAXOS
In October and November, Naxos is releasing three CDs dedicated to the music of contemporary Polish composers: Panufnik, Kilar and Penderecki.
Panufnik – Hommage to Polish Music
This disc contains all of Panufnik's post-war reconstructions of early Polish music originally written between the 14th and 18th centuries. Of these works the composer himself wrote: "My compulsion to restore some of the early Polish music was engendered as I witnessed the superb reconstruction of beautiful 16th and 17th century houses in the old part of Warsaw... My intention was to bring alive the spirit of Poland at that time, and to make use of these precious fragments which otherwise would have remained lifeless on the bookshelves of libraries... " The disc concludes with Hommage à Chopin , in which the composer draws on the folk music of Masovice, the region in central Poland where Chopin was born.” [Naxos]
Kilar: Bram Stoker's Dracula / Death and the Maiden / King of the Last Days
Except for the Dracula, these scores are mostly unknown to the general public. All the more reason to give this CD a spin! Kilar is one of a few composers who is well established in both the film scoring world and classical concert music.
Penderecki: Seven Gates of Jerusalem, 'Symphony No. 7'
"Jerusalem has special significance for Penderecki, who first visited it in 1974, following the 'Yom Kippur' war. He was commissioned then to write a work for the third millennium celebration of the city of David. He composed the oratorio Seven Gates of Jerusalem in 1996 – the Eighth Gate being reserved for the Messiah in the Jewish tradition. It was premièred there the following year, with Lorin Maazel conducting. Following the work's Polish première, the composer decided to call it his Seventh Symphony." [ Naxos ]
NOSPR ON NAXOS
The Polish National Radio Orchestra is featured on three new “The Very Best of …” compilations from Naxos Records. These releases are dedicated to music of Antonin Dvorak (NAXOS 8.552139-40 ), Edward Elgar (NAXOS 8.552133-34 ) and Franz Liszt (NAXOS 8.552131-32 ).
NOWAK RECORDS CZERNY
Carl Czerny: Symphonies No. 2 & 6
Polish conductor, Grzegorz Nowak is a strong advocate of serious works by Carl Czerny. He was the first conductor to perform the 2nd Symphony (with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) after it was missing from the world stages for 150 years. Now, long overdue, he created a recording of two (out of seven) of Czerny's symphonies. The recording of No.6 is the world premiere recording. In a review in Ruch Muzyczny (Year 50, No. 22) from October 29, Kacper Miklaszewski speaks very highly of the music as well as the performance by SWR Rundfunkorchester Kaiserlautern with Nowak at the podium.
“For generations, the mere mention of the name “Carl Czerny” evoked images of reams of piano exercises, etudes and vacuous piano scales. To say that Carl Czerny was a highly prolific composer does not begin to describe the staggering quantity and diversity of his compositional output. A list of Czerny's published works occupies 22 pages of small type, at the end of which his London publisher, Robert Cocks & Co., apologizes that "many other arrangements exist by the talented author of this work, of which even the titles have escaped his memory." It includes 861 published opus numbers (?!?) plus a great deal of unpublished material, including 4 Symphonies (in addition to two published Symphonies), 30 String Quartets and innumerable religious works for voices and orchestra.
NEW FROM DUX
Rafał Blechacz: The Winner of 15th Chopin Competition
This 3 CD compilation follows Blechacz's performances during the 15th International Chopin Piano Competition from the very first round to the laureate's concert. The music is all by Chopin except for Debussy's Clair de Lune .
XIII International Wieniawski Violin Competition
The latest release from DUX is a 10 CD chronicle of the 2006 edition of the Wieniawski competition. All recorded material is performed live by the participants of the XIII International Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań, 2006.
BACEWICZ ON HÄNSSLER CLASSIC
Grazyna Bacewicz: Sonatas for Violin & Piano
This World Premiere recording chronicles Complete Works for Violin and Piano by Grazyna Bacewicz, performed by two of Poland's greatest musicians.
STANIENDA AT USC
On Thursday, October 26, the USC Thornton Chamber Orchestra presented a concert of works by Haydn, Mozart, and Dvořak at Bovard Auditorium on the USC campus. Polish violin virtuoso and conductor, Jan Stanienda, led a truly spirited performance, eliciting from the orchestra an extraordinary display of joyous musicianship.
Stanienda —the 1976 winner of the Paganini Competition and concertmaster of many international ensembles—filled a double role of a conductor and soloist. The evening began with a brisk and exciting rendition of Haydn's Symphony No. 104. Leading the ensemble from the concertmaster's chair, Stanienda communicated with the entire group merely by gestures, only occasionally guiding wind and brass passages with the tip of his violin bow. The opening introduction—appropriately grand and rhythmically taut—gave way to a stylish Allegro proper. The Andante movement was just the right mixture of elegance and charm, happily ticking away in well-rounded phrases. The Menuet was given a military spin with a lively tempo, and the energetic Finale capped Stanienda's very successful reading of this magnificent symphony.
Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 was the next item on the program. Stanienda —this time on his feet—led the slightly smaller ensemble in the tutti sections, turning occasionally to various sections to draw out nuanced phrasing and dynamics. His solo passages were infused with great sense of style and vivacious virtuosity. This performance of Mozart sparkled and shone with warmth, good humor, and boundless brilliance. Stanienda's own cadenza in the first movement was quite extensive and—perhaps jokingly—included a few musical references to the violin concertos of Beethoven, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky.
The slow movement was warmly lyrical (here the cadenza was by Ysaye), and the concluding Rondo had just the right mixture of simplicity and charm.
After the intermission, the string section of the USC Chamber Orchestra gave a luminously romantic reading of Dvořak's Serenade Op. 22. Back in the concertmaster's chair, Stanienda was again in full control of a glowing palette of string colors, shaping the ebb and flow of Dvořak's heartfelt music with well-judged and deeply musical rubato .
The audience responded enthusiastically at the conclusion of each of the three pieces on the program. Likewise, the entire orchestra gave Maestro Stanienda a huge and well-deserved ovation. Invited by Thornton School of Music for a two-week residency that culminated with the October 26 concert, Stanienda had also conducted numerous string coaching sessions and conducting workshops on the USC campus. Given the enthusiastic reception all-around, we are already expecting a return engagement!
MARSALIS IN POLAND
The Branford Marsalis Quartet opened this year's JVC Jazz Festival, which continues the great tradition of the “Jazz Jamboree,” the jazz festival with the longest history in Europe. The concert took place at Torwar arena, with Agnieszka Skrzypek, perhaps one of the best jazz vocalists of the younger generation in Poland, opening the evening. The concert primarily consisted of music from Marsalis's newest album, Braggtown, an album which, according to the artist, is, “the result of his musical maturity.” (Warsaw Voice, Przemysław Molik, 18 October 2006. Marsalis's band included Joey Calderazzo, piano, Eric Revis, bass, and Jeff " Tain " Watts on drums. Their next stop is Ireland at the Guinness Jazz Festival in Cork.
PIANISTS – DEFINING CHOPIN IN FESTIVAL
The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival screened the film Pianists-Defining Chopin in the 2006 Festival on October 25th (the festival lasts until November 12). This film is a 90 minute documentary that follows the four winners of the 2005 U.S. National Chopin Piano Competition during 30 nerve-breaking days as they represent the U.S. at the 2005 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. Director of the film, Tomasz Magiersk, comments, “The audience makes the journey with them and experiences the individual highs and lows and the enormous psychological and physical toll they are required to endure. We learn what being a pianist really means.”
In addition to the screening, the evening featured a performance by Mei -Ting Sun, winner of the 2005 U.S. National Competition and one of the pianist featured in the documentary. A portion of the proceeds from the evening went to support the Chopin Foundation of the U.S., which organizes the U.S. National Chopin Competition.
BORN THIS MONTH:
Copyright 2006 by the Polish Music
Send your comments and inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editor: Krysta Close
Assistant Editor: Daniel Kamiński
Contributions from: Marek Żebrowski
Sources of information: Polish Cultural Institute, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Fanfare,
American Record Guide, PWM, Nowy Dziennik, Polish Music Information Centre,
Polish Jazz Net, Polish American Journal, PAP, ZKP, BBC Music Magazine,
infochopin.pl, Gramophone Magazine, Hänssler Classic.