|Polish Music Newsletter
September 2005, Vol. 11, No. 9. ISSN 1098-9188. Published monthly.
Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
Polish Cellist Reflects on Music Education in the US and Abroad
By Judy Hartwich, Senior Associate Director
Office of International Services
University of Southern California This article was first featured in the OIS Newsletter, International Connections.
Marek Szpakiewicz, a USC international student from Lublin, Poland, has been praised by Yo-Yo Ma as an artist whose "energy, motivation, earnestness and generosity of spirit are evident throughout his work." Marek has gained international acclaim as a soloist with orchestras in both Europe and the United States. He has contributed to film orchestration as a collaborator with Polish composer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek. Their most recent score, for the critically acclaimed Finding Neverland received the 77th Academy Award for Best Original Score in February, 2005.
Marek starting playing cello at age six upon his father's encouragement. "My older brother had musical talent so my parents wanted to assure I had a good musical education as well. Our family did not have enough money to be able to afford a piano, and my father felt that he would be too tired at the end of the day to be able to put up with the sound of violin practice, so the cello was chosen as my instrument. In Poland, there are many specialized schools at the elementary level where music is the focus. I attended one of these schools and practicing 10 hours per week as a young child was part of my regular curriculum. In Poland and in Eastern Europe generally, listening to live music is much more available to the general public - it is a normal part of life. Music is also much more valued in the educational system than what it seems to be in the US."
Marek first came to the US to attend the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He came to USC for Advanced Studies in cello at the Thornton School of Music and is now completing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree under the tutelage of Eleonore Schoenfeld. Both Polish and American radio stations have broadcast his live performances and KUSC- Los Angeles dedicated a one hour special solely to his music.
"At USC I can learn totally new things. Musical composition techniques are going through a revolution due to technology and I would like to be at the forefront of this change. When I first started at USC some of the courses I wanted to take got cancelled because of underenrollment. These were courses in electronics and computer technology for composition, scoring, and musical notation. Most students are so focused on their instrument, when the new technology came out, they were slow to recognize its importance. Those courses are no longer underenrolled. I feel so fortunate because learning these new methods make me more versatile as a musician, a composer and an educator."
"For me the knowledge I am able to gain through my studies is a privilege. There is something beyond the dollar. This seems to be the reverse for many American college students. They see the education they receive as a path to getting a good job to make money - and having money, not knowledge, seems to be what is valued. I think this again, goes back to the education system. It seems to encourage education as a means to an end - not as an end in itself. In the US, music is not as valued in either the elementary or high school levels as it is in other parts of the world. Most US schools have no music education whatsoever. If an American child is not exposed to music as he/she grows up - how can you expect him to be interested in going to hear a symphony orchestra as an adult? I think the US has the best system of higher education in the world, but it is confusing to me that this is so while the elementary and secondary levels seem to be inferior in many ways to those in other nations."
I asked Marek what he thought of the idea of a program at USC to bring students from the surrounding area schools to hear live concerts at USC. "I think it would be great!" A small step towards mitigating the problems of lack education in music and the arts in our public schools? Maybe.
_____________________________________________________________Marek's recommendations for...
Cello Recordings Bach - Suite for Cello Solo: Pablo Casals
Kodály - Sonata for Cello Solo: Janos Starker
Elgar - Cello Concerto: Jacqueline Du Pré
Dvorák - Cello Concerto: Yo-Yo Ma
Beethoven - Cello Sonata: Lynn Harrell
Rachmaninov - Cello Sonata: Mstislav Rostropovich
Chopin - Cello Sonata: Mischa Maisky Marek's recommendations for...
L.A. Concert Venues Bovard Auditorium and Newman Hall, USC
Zipper Hall, Colburn School of Music
Walt Disney Hall: Los Angeles Philharmonic
Hollywood Bowl (summer)
Norton Simon Museum: Southwest Chamber Orchestra
Huntington Library (summer)
Redlands Bowl: Redlands Symphony Summer Festival
Bing Theater, LA County Museum of Art (for Sunday Live concerts)
Early Polish Music concert
As a part of the USC Music at Noon concert Series, the Polish Music Center presents a talented array of Thornton School of Music students performing little-known music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
The Szymanowski Project: Songs of the Mad Muezzin
/ a theatrical multimedia fantasy /
The Polish Music Center is sponsoring a new project by USC Vocal Arts graduate student Timur Bekbosunov in which he explores the dangerous and esoteric world of mystical-erotic desire found in the songs and writings of Karol Szymanowski. See www.madmuezzinproject.org for more information on this interesting multimedia event.
September 2005 will see the launch of the series of publications entitled Works by Chopin. Facsimile Edition. This is an international academic publishing project realized over several years, the aim of which is to publish all the available manuscripts of works by Fryderyk Chopin in facsimile form, with commentaries by Chopin scholars. "Facsimile Edition of works by Chopin" is a project of The Fryderyk Chopin Institute and The Publishing House of the Pelplin Diocese "Bernardinum". The project is the first of its kind on such a grand scale anywhere in the world. Participating in the venture are representatives from six countries: Poland, France, the UK, Switzerland, Germany and the USA. The project's partners are libraries where Chopin manuscripts are held, universities, music publishers and Chopin societies.
This special edition is the first complete set of Chopin's music manuscripts and the most outstanding graphic reproduction of the original texts hitherto produced. The aims of this edition are to preserve and disseminate the Fryderyk Chopin legacy in Poland and across the world by reproducing and safeguarding the contents of his manuscripts, to make the original Chopin texts accessible for research purposes, to enable performance practice to approach as near as possible the composer's intentions, and to verify knowledge regarding sources and disseminate this knowledge via the source commentaries. It will be a six-language source of the most up-to-date knowledge relating to the manuscripts and their history, available in both an exclusive limited edition collectors series, bound in leather with gold fittings, and an economical academic series with a plain exterior.
The first three volumes in the series comprise the following works: Concerto in F minor, Op. 21, semi-autograph (172 pages), National Library, Warsaw; Sonata in B minor, Op. 58, Stichvorlage (29 pages), National Library, Warsaw; and Mazurka in A flat major, Op. 7 No. 4, autograph (1 page), Warsaw Music Society. The complete edition will provide unprecedented access to faithful copies of all the originals of Chopin's music manuscripts scattered around the world, furnished with an up-to-date scholarly commentary in six languages: Polish, English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese.
A concert celebrating the 38th Polish Physicist Convention as part of international year of physics will be held on September 12, 2005 at 7:00 pm at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. The program consists of two compositions by Wojciech Kilar: Piano Concerto and a premiere of Sinfonia de motu [Symphony of Movement] for soprano, baritone, choir and orchestra. The works will be performed by: Iwona Hossa - soprano, Jarosław Bręk - baritone, Waldemar Malicki - piano and the National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and Choir under the direction of Antoni Wit.
Wojciech Kilar wrote Sinfonia de motu as a commission from Polish physicists, to celebrate the International Year of Physics. In the letter to the organizers of the convention, Kilar wrote that he treats the symphony as a sort of a gift and homage to Polish physics and physicists as well as physics in general. The symphony took a little over a year to write. Its title is based on a physics term, but also a philosophical one: movement. Conversations with physicists were the inspiration to write the piece. They pointed out many similarities between terms in music and physics. For example C is the speed of light, G is a constant of the gravity. The lyrics are based on Dante's Inferno.
On September 10, the State Baltic Opera in Gdańsk will open the 2005/2006 artistic season with a ballet set to the music of Polish film composer Michał Lorenc entitled ...from heaven. The choreography is by Izadora Weiss and set design by Ewa Kochańska. It is a poetic story of love that has to face intolerance, stereotypes and social constraints. The two act ballet by the young choreographer shows how the experiences gathered during childhood mold our personality and how observation of things low and dirty does not sentence us to mud and misery. On the contrary it releases us from the need to reach the ideal and to elevate ourselves and reality. Utopia? Not necessarily. Simply an artistic reaction to evil, a juxtaposition with beauty of movement, sophisticated plastic images created by Ewa Kochańska. The ballet carries a lot of positive energy and at the same time opposes the mechanical choices, plain reality and evil. Lorenc's film credits include: Psy, Przedwiośnie, Bandyta, Glina and many others.
Since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, all around the world people commemorate the innocent victims of the event on September 11th. Last year the Baltic Philharmonic performed Zbigniew Preisner's score to the Dekalog [Ten Commandments] and this year they will perform music by one of the most popular Polish composers, Wojciech Kilar.
Kilar has been writing film and concert music for over 50 years now, with great national and international successes. He has written music for over 130 movies. Two years after 9/11, Kilar composed the four-movement September Symphony. In it you are able to hear quotes from "America the Beautiful" and gospel music. The idea of the work came to the composer during the performance of his Missa Pro Pace performed in the first anniversary of the attack by the National Philharmonic. In an interview, Kilar pointed out that this symphony is meant to honor the victims of the 9/11 and at the same time expressed a strong disapproval for the lack of the respect for human lives.
FESTIVALS OF FALL
9-18 September 2005
From the very beginning in 1966, the "Wratislavia Cantans" International Festival has been a festival without borders, presenting the cultures of many nations through the best artistic performances. This year will be no exception. During the 12 days of the festival, the organizers have over 50 concerts planned, taking place not only in Wrocław but also in other cities of lower Śląsk [Silesia]. Next to contemporary compositions one will hear early, baroque, classical and romantic works that will span from large vocal instrumental works to concertos, symphonies songs and dances. The broad repertoire formula of Wratislavia Cantans encompasses not only music but also art exhibitions of all epochs and cultures.
Since 1978, Wratislavia Cantans has the only Polish member of the prestigious European Festival Association (EFA) in Geneva and since 1997 Lidia Geringer d'Oedenberg, General Director of Wratislavia Cantans, has been the only Polish representative on the association board and an active member of EFA Marketing Commission. This honorable privilege opens new paths of progress for the festival, creating tremendous opportunities for co-operation with the greatest and most important festivals in Europe. In 1998 Wratislavia Cantans joined the International Society for Performing Arts Foundation in New York (ISPA), in 1999 it was one of co-founders of Reseau Europeen pour la Music Ancienne (REMA) in Paris. All these actions help to develop mutual co-operation and cultural exchange, which also became an excellent opportunity to promote Polish culture.
Every year, the festival invites over 2,000 performers and attracts about 25,000 listeners from Poland and abroad. The high point of this 40th edition of the festival will be the premiere of the new movement of the Polish Requiem by Krzysztof Penderecki, dedicated to Pope John Paul II. It will be performed on September 17, 2005 in St. Mary Magdalene cathedral in Wrocław.
For more information and a detailed program of the festival go to: www.wratislavia.art.pl.
16-24 September 2005
This year's 48th International Festival of the Contemporary Music "Warsaw Autumn" [Warszawska Jesień] wll consist of 20 concerts, accompanying events, meetings with composers and invited guests, workshops and masterclasses. In accordance to tradition, this year's edition will open with a concert of the National Philharmonic, who will play music by Toru Takemitsu and Quigang Chen. This concert will serve as a lead-in to this year's theme — presentation of the music of Asia, especially China, Japan and Korea. During the remaining concert events, pieces by Toshio Hosokawa, Unsuk Chin, Younghi Paan-Pagh, Isang Yun, Misato Mochizuka, Xiao Song, Xu Yi will be featured. Also there will be a concert of Mayumi Miyata performing on shô and gagaku ensemble Sojo no Choshi.
The guests of the festival will be Klaus Huber, Georg Friedrich Haas, John Tavener and Heiner Goebbels. The audience will have a chance to meet these artists during the sessions organized by the Austrian Culture Forum and Warsaw Music Conservatory. An important event during the festival will be a double performance of the opera Landschaft mit entfernten Verwandten by Goebbels. Taverner will perform the piece Fall und Resurection that, along with a harp concerto by Hosokawa, will be a part of the final concert. Music from Russia, Ukraine and Byelorussia will also be performed during the festival. The 80th birthday of Pierre Boulez will be celebrated with a special stage performance of Répons and orchestral interpretation of Notations. World premieres are a tradition at Warsaw Autumn and this year there will be twelve of them. Among them are works by Krzysztof Knittel, Jarosław Kapuścinski, Marcin Bortnowski and Dobromiła Jaskot.
For more information and a detailed program of the festival go to: www.warszawska-jesien.art.pl/05/index.html.
11 September - 1 October 2005
For over 40 years, the Pomeranian Philharmonic has been organizing music festivals. Thanks to these events, the citizens of Bydgoszcz have had the chance to experience many interesting artistic performances. The opening concert of his year's edition will showcase the soloists of the Marinski Theater from St. Petersburg, Pomeranian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and Opera Nova Choir, conducted by Tadeusz Wojciechowski. Program: Dvorak's Requiem.
Other festival events include a concert of the Rustavi Choir from Tbilisi, a concert commemorating the 220th birth anniversary of Karol Kurpiński and also a "Concert of the Masters" with the Pomeranian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Wojciech Michniewski cond., and soloists: Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, violin; Tomasz Strahl, cello and Krzysztof Jabłoński, piano. During the festival there will also be a concert of Handel's Messiah, performed by Capella Bydgostiensis (the chamber ensemble of the Pomeranian Philharmonic); PS Chamber Choir from Berlin, directed by Peter Schwartz; and a concert of "Pearls of the Baroque," consisting of works by Vivaldi, Bach and Handel performed by Capella Bydgostiensis under Paul Esswood. There will also be a concert for lovers of contemporary music, including pieces by contemporary Polish composers Aleksander Gabryś, Adam Kaczyński and Krzysztof Knittel. The final concert will be performed on October 1, an international day of music. During the concert, Krzysztof Penderecki will lead the Sinfonia Varsovia in Penderecki's Concerto grosso and Jean Sibelius' 2nd Symphony. The concerto soloists will be Andrzej Bauer, Rafał Kwiatkowski and Bartosz Koziak on cellos.
For the detailed program of the festival in Polish, go to: www. polmic.pl
9 - 25 September 2005
This festival of new music takes place in the Tyrol city of Schwaz in Austria. Concerning instrumentation, the Klangspuren will focus on guitar and voice this year. Country focus is set on the new EU countries of Poland and Latvia: here the Klangspuren investigates the uniqueness of Polish and Latvian New Music and the question of whether it still exists in our age of globalization.
Over many years the Warsaw-based festival "Warsaw Autumn" was the most important festival in the former Eastern block. There, one could hear what was elsewhere dismissed as bourgeois formalism. Polish composers such as Lutosławski, Penderecki, Serocki or Baird had managed to gain freedom that would never be granted in other Eastern countries. And so, the composer and director of the "Warsaw Autumn" Tadeusz Wielecki is guest at this year's Klangspuren, alongside a premiere by the Tiroler Symphonieorchester orchestra Innsbruck under Olari Elts and a talk with the Polish composer Joanna Woźny and the music journalist Reinhard Schulz. Other highlights include premieres of works by Joanna Woźny, Ewa Trębacz, Cezary Duchnowski and Michał Talma-Sutt, all composers of the younger Polish generation. In addition to very new works, the audience will also hear music of Witold Lutosławski's. Also, Andrzej Bauer, an important cellist and Andrzej Stasiuk, a sought-after writer, are guests of the festival.
More info and detailed program of the festival is available at: www.klangspuren.at.
19-25 September 2005
The third edition of this festival, organized by Kraków's Festival Bureau in cooperation with the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic, will take place in Kraków. The idea of the festival is to present, during monographic concerts, the creative output of the greatest composers performed by master artists. This year is dedicated to 20th century Russian music. The program consists of works by Stravinsky, Schnittke, Shostakovich and Prokofiev. Among the works that will be heard are the complete cello and cello/piano pieces of Schnittke, the complete piano trios and cello concertos by Shostakovich, as well as the "Romeo and Juliet project", based on the ballet music by Prokofiev.
Among the performers is Ilyi Gringolts, Deutsche Grammophon recording violinist, who will be performing Stravinsky's rarely heard Violin Concerto in D Major. For the first time in Poland, cellist Matthew Barley will be heard playing Schnittke's cello works with pianist Stephen de Pledge. Another artist who will be performing during the festival is Pieter Wispelwey, performing Shostakovich's two cello concertos with Sinfonietta Cracovia and Trio Wanderer. On the conductor's podium we will see great Polish conductors: Grzegorz Nowak, Jerzy Maksymiuk and Tadeusz Wojciechowski.
During the final concerts performed in one of the production halls of the Mittal Steel Poland the audience will experience a show prepared by Maciej Sobociński. The "Romeo and Juliet project" uses Prokofiev's three original ballet suites and musical spaces co-created by an extended percussion group (with DJ's) put together specially for this event by Jan Pilch. The project also involves the Szymanowski Philharmonic and a group of dancers. The "Romeo and Juliet project" juxtaposes sacrum and profanum in both the decoration and the actual story of the Romeo and Juliet.
For a detailed program of the festival go to: http://www.krakow-info.com/4sacrum.htm.
CHOPIN AND HIS EUROPE
"Chopin and His Europe" is the title of a new fall festival in Warsaw. The main thrust of the event is to present Chopin's compositions in the wider context of 19th century European music, and to reconstruct its historical sound as it was heard by music lovers in the 19th century. The creators are planning annual editions of the event, with performances of Chopin's music as well as works that were an inspiration for Chopin and works that were inspired by Chopin. With this format, the presentation of a broad spectrum of music, ranging from romantic to contemporary creations, will be possible. Eventually the festival will also include other art forms such as literature and theater and is intended to be a festival which highlights outstanding national and international artists.
This year, the Festival focuses on the works of Chopin and Beethoven. Concerts featuring the Orchestra of the 18th century, conducted by Frans Bruggen, will give music lovers an opportunity to hear all of Beethoven's symphonies and Chopin's works performed on authentic period instruments. The Festival features eminent pianists, including Nikolai Lugansky, Krzysztof Jabłoński, Nelson Goerner, Dang Thai Son, Fou Ts'ong and Janusz Olejniczak. All concerts take place at the hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic.
"Chopin and His Europe" is organized by the National Frederic Chopin Institute with help from the Warsaw National Philharmonic, Promotion Bureau of the City of Warsaw, Channel 2 of the Polish National Radio and Warsaw Destination Alliance organization. The festival is part of the government program "Frederic Chopin's Heritage 2010" and will be a continuing event in the calendar of international events organized in Poland's capital.
"CHOPIN IN THE COLORS OF AUTUMN"
15 - 18 September 2005
For the last 24 years, the Chopin Festivals in Antonin have been held annually in the third week of September. The Festival commemorates the two visits Chopin paid to the Antonin Palace in the years of 1827 and 1829. For this year's festival, there are six concerts planned. In addition to piano recitals, organizers invite audiences to attend chamber, vocal, orchestral concerts and also a special night concert.
CHOPINIANA FESTIVAL 2005
23 August - 27 September 2005
At the Teatro Coliseo in Buenos Aires, Argentinians are celebrating the legacy of Chopin. The Fundacion Chopiniana has invited an impressive list of performers for the festival. Events include: Leonid Kuźmin Recital, Beata Bilińska and Patrycja Piekutowska in Concert, Martha Noguera Recital, Ewa Pobłocka Recital, and Gergely Bogányi Recital.
For concert times and venues, visit: www.infochopin.pl.
1-4 September 2005
At this year's 4th International Days of Music and Folklore, folk and orchestral ensembles from around Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Hungary and Slovenia will be performing in the competition and festival. The ensembles will be performing in and around Leszno. On the last day there will be a parade ending at the Town Square of Leszno with a final concert and awards ceremony.More info is available in Polish at: www.pzchio.pl.
10 - 16 September 2005
During the opening concert of this festival in Słupsk, Marek Drewnowski with State Chamber Orchestra under Bohdan Jarmołowicz will perform Great E flat Major Polonaise by F. Chopin and Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto in C Minor. The remaining festival concerts will include violin pieces of Penderecki performed by Patrycja Piekutowska and Beata Bilińska, compositions of Tchaikovsky and the final concert of Górecki's Piano Concerto Op. 40 performed by Anna Górecka.
For the detailed program of the festival in Polish, go to: www. polmic.pl