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Marta Ptaszyńska received the American Council for Polish Culture Award


Marta Ptaszyńska was honored with the American Council for Polish Culture Award during the 71st Annual Conference of the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC), held on 6-8 September 2019 at the Bristol Hotel in Warsaw.

The conference was opened by the ACPC President Thomas Payne. It featured business sessions, lectures and a concert of Wojciech Bafeltowski and Mateusz Błaszczak cello duo. CEOs and delegates from many organizations promoting Polish culture in the United States have reported on their activities. During the festive banquet on 7 September, composer Marta Ptaszyńska received the ACPC Award for Achievements in the Field of Culture. The laudation was given by Dr Jarosław Gołembiowski

Marta Ptaszyńska graduated in composition at the Music Academies in Warsaw and Poznań. For many years, Witold Lutosławski ws her mentor. In 1969-70, she continued her compositional studies with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen in Paris. Since 1972, she lives in the United States. In 1974, she received the Artist Diploma in Composition and Percussion at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has taught composition at many American universities and music schools, including Bennington College in Vermont, University of California in Berkeley and in Santa Barbara, Indiana University in Bloomington, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Northwestern University in Evanson. In 1998, she became a professor of composition at the University of Chicago. As a lecturer, she requires high-quality work, clear writing and individual character. Her music is published by PWM Edition in Poland and Theodore Presser in the United States. Her works are recorded by CD Accord-Universal, Muza Polish Records, Olympia, Chandos, Dux, ProViva and Bayers Records. For many years, the University of Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players (Contempo) under the guidance of Professor Ptaszyńska presented contemporary compositions during seasonal concerts at the Logan Center at the University of Chicago. During these concerts, many Polish composers performed for the first time in the United States.

Toruń | Inauguration of the 41st season of the Toruń Symphony Orchestra


The inauguration concert of the 41st season of the Toruń Symphony Orchestra, which will take place on 13 September 2019 at 7 p.m. at the CKK Jordanki Concert Hall, will be focused on extremely talented artists of the young generation.

The concert will premiere Hommage à Lipiński written by Maciej Bałenkowski on the commission of the Toruń Symphony Orchestra specially for the inauguration of the 2019/2020 season. By opening the concert with this work, the orchestra will pay a symbolic tribute to the outstanding Polish violinist and composer Karol Lipiński and make an introduction to the upcoming 5th Karol Lipiński International Violin Competition, due to begin on 1 October 2019. Therefore, it is the violin section that will play the dominant role in this work. The composer's aim is to achieve a blend of the traditional and the modern with a touch of his own style (including innovative syncopation, dynamics, energy and lack of routine). The educational element of the project will also be invaluable: nurturing the memory of this great violinist and composer by creating a new work for symphonic orchestra which is dedicated to his memory and bears references to his work; preserving him and the role he played in Polish music; promoting his music and imprinting it into the consciousness of the listeners.

The programme will also include virtuoso Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, featuring Spanish pianist Leo de María as a soloist. The concert will culminate in Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms. The Toruń Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by maestro Dainius Pavilionis (Lithuania).

More information at: www.tos.art.pl 

Olsztyn | Inauguration of the 74th season at the Warmian-Masurian Philharmonic


The inauguration concert  of the 2019/2020 season at the Warmian-Masurian Philharmonic in Olsztyn will take place on 13 September 2019 at 7 p.m., featuring works by Stanisław Moniuszko, Feliks Nowowiejski and Józef Michał Poniatowski.

The Symphony Orchestra of the Warmian-Masurian Philharmonic conducted by Piotr Sułkowski will present selected works of "the father of Polish national opera", as well as fragments of other operatic works by European composers contemporary to Moniuszko, including his predecessors and successors. We will listen to the fiery Mazur from the Haunted Manor and Hanna's aria from the same opera in the interpretation of the soprano Joanna Woś. Józef Michał Poniatowski, Prince of Monterotondo, only three years older than Moniuszko, was a music lover, singer, and author of several operas in the Rossini style, with librettos in Italian and French. The programme will feature Laura's aria from the French opera Pierre de Medicis from 1860, which had its Polish premiere only eight years ago.

Another Polish and Warmian accent of the concert will be the Praetorians' March from the oratorio Quo Vadis by Feliks Nowowiejski. One of the most popular works of the composer from Barczew had over two hundred foreign performances during the artist's lifetime and was one of the most frequently performed oratorio works in the interwar period. The diverse operatic programme will be complemented by the Pictures at an exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky in the orchestration by Maurice Ravel.

More information at: https://filharmonia.olsztyn.pl/ 

Lublin | Inauguration of the 2019/2020 season at the Lublin Philharmonic


The Lublin Philharmonic will begin the 2019/2020 season on 13 September 2019 at 7 p.m.  with a concert celebrating music of Polish composers: Henryk Wieniawski, Karol Szymanowski, Wojciech Kilar and Mikołaj Hertel, whose Mazurka – shades orchestral suite will be premiered this evening.

The mature work of Henryk Wieniawski is represented, among others, by his Second Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 22. The use of a number of original color, articulation and harmonic solutions distinguishes the work from other violin concertos. The three-part scheme with bridges brings the work closer to a homogeneous and monothematic form. Wieniawski dedicated his concerto to a "beloved friend" – Pablo Sarasate, violinist and composer.

The next two compositions refer to the rich culture of Podhale highlanders, combining folk music inspirations with the expression flowing from their own compositional style. Music from the ballet Harnasie by Karol Szymanowski contains almost all the typical features of the music of this region: the characteristic roughness of the sound based on various scales of folk provenance and a specific rhythmic temperament. Wojciech Kilar's Krzesany is a peculiar symphonic poem referring in particular to the title dance – masculine, rough, clear, very fast, and even "mantric". The works will be presented by the Lublin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wojciech Rodek together with Agata Szymczewska as a soloist.

More information at: http://filharmonialubelska.pl/ 

Jelenia Góra | Inauguration of the 56th season at the Lower Silesia Philharmonic


The inauguration of the 56th season 2019/2020 of the Lower Silesian Philharmonicwill take place on 13 September 2019 at 7p.m.

2019 marks the 110th anniversary of Grażyna Bacewicz's birth and the 50th anniversary of her death. Bacewicz's Overture for symphony orchestra will begin the inauguration concert at the Lower Silesian Philharmonic. The programme will also include Symphonie Fantastique – the most popular of all works by Hector Berlioz, which will be performed by the Lower Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paweł Kotla.

In 2020, the entire music world will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. His Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, certainly one of the most frequently performed works of this genre, will be also included in the programme of the September concert. Janusz Wawrowski will perform as a soloist on the Antonio Stradivari violin from 1685. This precious instrument is currently one of the best-preserved Stradivarius in the world.

More information athttp://filharmonia.jgora.pl/ 

Zdzisław Szostak has passed away...

Zdzisław Szostak

Zdzisław Szostak – composer, conductor and lecturer at the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź, a member of Polish Composers' Union, a man of great heart and talent has died on 7 September 2019 at the age of 89.

Zdzisław Szostak was a graduate of the State College of Music in Katowice. He worked as a conductor at the Silesian Philharmonic and Poznań Philharmonic. In 1967 he became the artistic director of the latter. He performed at the Poznań Concerts, the "Poznań Music Spring" Festival and the Henryk Wieniawski International Violin Competition. He founded the Cantata and Oratorio Choir of the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society in Poznań. He was also one of the founders of the Academic Choir of Adam Mickiewicz University. In the 1971/1972 season, at the invitation of Henryk Czyż, he moved to Łódź, taking the position of the deputy artistic director and conductor of the State Philharmonic in Łódź, which he held for sixteen years, until 1987. In 1972 he started working at the State College of Music in Łódź, where he lectured until 2000. In the years 1972–95 he led the student symphony orchestra, with which he performed, among others, in Germany and Italy.

Since 1957, Szostak systematically cooperated with the Documentary Film Studio in Warsaw and the Educational Film Studio in Łódź. He wrote music for about 20 feature films as well as a dozen or so documentaries and educational films, including two historical series: Queen Bona by Janusz Majewski and Chancellor by Ryszard Ber. The artist has recorded music for about 200 Polish and foreign films, mainly with the Łódź Philharmonic and WOSPR. Zdzisław Szostak conducted almost all symphony orchestras in the country. He accompanied accomplished world-famous soloists. He has received many state awards, including the Golden Cross of Merit, the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis.

Zakopane | 11th “Music on the Heights” International Festival

Muzyka na szczytach

The 11th edition of the “Music on the Heights” International Chamber Music Festival, organised by the Mieczysław Karłowicz Association in Zakopane, will be held on 7-14 September 2019.

The festival will be inaugurated by Apollon Musagète Quartett. One of the most dynamic, charismatic and creative ensembles of the international music scene will perform string quartets by Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert, as well as In te Domine speravi by Wacław of Szamotuły. On 8th September, the Tri-City group Les Femmes will present their own spectacle entitled Polish Landscape, featuring songs by Chopin, Nowowiejski, Szymanowski and Karłowicz. The programme of the "Moniuszko & Cornelius" project, composed of a selection of songs and piano works by Stanisław Moniuszk, as well as new piano and vocal works by Thomas Cornelius, will be presented the next day. The final concert on 14th September will include Concerto No. 2 for cello and symphony orchestra by Paweł Mykietyn in the interpretation of cellist Marcin Zdunik and the Beethoven Academy Orchestra under the diection of Jean-Luc Tingaud.

Full programme availabe at: www.muzykanaszczytach.com 

Słupsk | 53rd Polish Piano Festival in Słupsk


53rd Polish Piano Festival in Słupsk will take place on 7-13 September 2019.

The festival has been organized since 1967 under the honorary patronage of the Minister of Culture. The originator and the first artistic director of the event was prof. Andrzej Cwojdziński, succeeded in 2000 by Jan Popis. Since 1974, the mainstream programme has been accompanied by the "Youth Stage" Competition, featuring talented young pianists. Since 1975, the festival hosts Polish participants of the Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw. Polish music plays an important role in the event's repertoire.

This year we will listen to works by Fryderyk Chopin, Stanisław Moniuszko, Raoul Koczalski, Karol Szymanowski, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Witold Lutosławski, Grażyna Bacewicz and Paweł Mykietyn. Five concerts will be devoted entirely to Polish music: 'Youth Stage' , '20th Century Polish Music' (10 September), 'Polish Piano Sonatas' (11 September),' Witkacy – Pictures in Sound '(12 September),' All Piano Concertos by Raoul Koczalski "(13 September). In addition, there will be a world premiere of the Self-portrait for soprano, alto and piano quintet by Mikołaj Hertel Witkacy commissioned by the Polish Piano Festival.

Full programme available at: http://www.stsk.eslupsk.pl/ 

Zakopane | Premiere of the album "Polish Landscape"

Pejzaż polski

Premiere of the new album Polish Landscape by Les Femmes ensemble will take place on 8 September 2019 at 7 p.m. at the St. I. Witkiewicz Theatre in Zakopane as part of the 'Music on the Heights' Festival.

The album is an anthology of Polish vocal lyrics of the last 150 years. The rich selection of songs by Polish composers from the Romantic era to the present day is the basis of the ensemble's original performance, staged under the title Polish Landscape. Individual songs create a script of an artistic spectacle about the experiences and emotions that have accompanied women over the last two centuries. Part of the selected repertoire was recorded for the first time (Stanisław Niewiadomski's Cupid and Heart, Bohdan Riemer's Sunset, Stefan Kisielewski's Request for happy islands, Romuald Twardowski's Vocalization).

Coming from the Tri-City, Les Femmes is known for their innovative approach to classical music. By realizing their own artistic needs, the artists created a new stage form – opera collage. As a chamber ensemble, they successfully recreate ambitious repertoire, enhancing the musical effect with acting, set design and beautiful costumes. Works connected by a coherent plot are shown in a new context and create a captivating musical collage with a consistent stage action. In addition, the ensemble uses the latest technical improvements: visual and sound effects as well as multimedia graphics.

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

More information at: http://www.muzykanaszczytach.com/pl/