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Marcin Błażewicz has passed away...

BłażewiczProfessor Marcin Błażewicz, composer, lecturer at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, member of the Polish Composers' Union died on 5 April 2021 in Podkowa Leśna at the age of 68.

He studied philosophy at the Academy of Catholic Theology in Warsaw (now the Cardinal Wyszyński University), and later composition with Marian Borkowski at the Academy of Music in Warsaw (now Fryderyk Chopin University of Music), from which he graduated with honours. In 1999-2002 and 2005-2008, he was vice-dean of the FCUM Department of Composition, Conducting and Theory of Music, and in 2008-2012 dean of this department. In 2012-2016, he was head of the Department of Composition. He supervised doctoral dissertations of Dariusz Przybylski, Eunho Chang, Krzesimir Dębski and Ignacy Zalewski.

For many years he was engaged in the promotion of musical culture. In 1983-87 he was organiser and artistic director of the International New Music Forum in Warsaw. In 1990-92 he was president of the Jeunesses Musicales de Pologne, and in 1990-94 – vice-president of Percussive Arts Society Poland. Simultaneously, in 1986-98 he was music director of the Polish Radio Theatre and an editor in the Polish Radio "BIS" Programme. In 2000 he founded a periodical about music and related arts – "Muzyka21" – of which he was editor-in-chief until 2001. He was also chairman of the classical music section of ZAiKS Association of Authors (2006-2013) and its treasurer (since 2006).

Marcin Błażewicz received the Stanisław Wyspiański Award for lifetime achievement as a composer (1988) and – twice – the Prix Italia (1989, 1990). In 2018, he received the 100th Anniversary Award of the ZAiKS Association of Authors.

Marcin Błażewicz's works are performed in many countries around the world: from China through Europe to the United States – his music will stay with us forever.

6th Krzysztof Penderecki Composition Competition

Konkurs PendereckiegoThe Artistic Director of the Sopot Classic International Music Festival Wojciech Rajski and the Polish Chamber Philharmonic in Sopot invite young composers to take part in the 6th Krzysztof Penderecki Composition Competition. The deadline for submissions is 14 May 2021.

The competition is held every two years and the idea of ​​devoting it to young composers was supported by Professor Krzysztof Penderecki. This event, which causes great interest and a stir in the composers' community, is the result of an initiative by the management of the Polish Chamber Philharmonic in Sopot and enables the performance of winning works by debuting composers at the Sopot Classic Festival. There are 3 prizes in the Competition in the amount of PLN 10,000, 7,500 and 5,000.

The competition is open to young composers with Polish citizenship born no earlier than 6 May 1986, residing throughout the world, as well as young composers of other nationalities registered in the territory of the Republic of Poland.

The subject of the Competition is a piece for string orchestra with a maximum line-up of 6-5-4-3-1. It is possible to use one solo instrument. However, the use of tape or live electronic is not allowed. The duration of the piece should be between 10 and 15 minutes.

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

Rules and regulations are available at: http://sopotclassic.pl/konkurs-kompozytorski/ 

4th National Competition of Sacred Music "Hope in the Choir"

NadziejaThe fourth edition of the Sacred Music Competition "Nadzieja w chórze" ["Hope in the Choir"] will be held on 8 May 2021 in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Tykocin, popularly known as "the pearl in the Crown of Podlasie". The deadline for submitting applications has been extended to 15 April 2021.

The competition will be divided into 7 categories, including male, female, mixed and parish choirs. The jury composed of experienced choirmasters will evaluate the quality of sound, interpretation, selection of the repertoire, agogic, diction and general artistic expression. A number of prizes have been prepared for the best performers. It is enough to mention that the winner will receive the Grand Prix and a cash prize of 5,000 PLN. There is also a special award of the Mayor of the City of Tykocin for the best performance of a work by Polish composer. The director of Radio Nadzieja will also give an honourable mention to the best conductor.

The 4th National Competition of Sacred Music is a great offer not only for lovers of sacred music. The event will be a great opportunity to visit Tykocin with friends and family, listening to the world's finest choral compositions. Free admission!

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

Rules and regulations are available at: http://konkurschoralny.radionadzieja.pl/ 

Jury of the 2nd Stanisław Moniuszko International Competition of Polish Music

imitThe second edition of the Stanisław Moniuszko International Competition of Polish Music will be held between 11 and 18 September 2021. The juries will be headed by Jarosław Drzewiecki and Andrzej Tatarski. The musicians can submit their applications for the competition until 14 May 2021 on the dedicated website polishmusiccompetition.pl. The event is organised by the Institute of Music and Dance in collaboration with the Artur Malawski Podkarpacka Philharmonic in Rzeszów and funded by the Polish Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport.

The competition is exceptional in that it allows the participants to prepare their own individual programmes. Compiling them for performance during the auditions of the competition, they can choose from amongst a pool of works written by 56 Polish composers, who were mostly active in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Alongside the likes of Chopin and Penderecki, there are some less familiar names representing a variety of styles and musical epochs, e.g. Antoni Kątski and Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz as well as outstanding Polish women composers: Maria Szymanowska and Grażyna Bacewicz.

The jury in both categories consists of distinguished Polish and foreign musicians and musical personalities. In the category addressed to pianists, the jury will consist of: Andrzej Jasiński (Poland), a pianist and one of the most distinguished teachers of piano around the world; Koji Shimoda (Japan), a music critic, pianist and teacher; Pavel Dombrovsky (Russia), a pianist and teacher, winner of the 1st Stanisław Moniuszko International Competition of Polish Music; Lidia Grychtołówna (Poland), a doyenne of Polish piano music and a teacher; Aleksandros Jusakos (Greece/Chile), a pianist; Sergey Osokins (Latvia), a pianist and one of the most distinguished teachers of piano in Latvia; and, acting as secretary, Witold Kawalec (Poland), a pianist and teacher.

In the category of chamber ensembles, the participants will be judged by: Gary Guthman (USA/Poland), a trumpeter, composer, arranger, conductor and music producer; Krzysztof Meyer (Poland), a composer, pianist and teacher; Pedro Pablo Cámara (Spain), a saxophone soloist and recitalist, a teacher and an author of publications dedicated to music; Igor Pylatyuk (Ukraine), a violinist, conductor, teacher and musicologist; Zdzisław Supierz (Poland/Netherlands), a music impresario and opera producer; Tadeusz Wojciechowski (Poland), a cello recitalist and conductor; and, acting as secretary, Janusz Ostrowski (Poland), a cultural activist, educator and pianist.

The rulebook, framework schedule of the competition, application forms, information on the repertoire, composers and sheet music, as well as all the updates, can be found on the dedicated website: www.polishmusiccompetition.pl.

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

3rd Young Pedagogues Piano Forum

Pianistyczne ForumThe Piano Department of the Academy of Music in Łódź invites you on 30-31 March 2021 to the 3rd Young Pedagogues Piano Forum. The event consists of lecture sessions, open lessons and concerts. Piano teachers, pupils and students can participate free of charge in all online activities on the YouTube channel of the Academy of Music in Łódź.

Pianists from Łódź, Poznań, Warsaw, Bydgoszcz, Kraków, Wrocław, Gdańsk, and Katowice prepared a series of lectures on piano performance practice. The 3rd Forum will also include online master classes and two concerts.

The lecture sessions will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10.00 a.m. The list of speakers will include: Michał Mossakowski, Jaime Peñate Conde, Szczepan Kończal, Julia Kociuban-Maximov, Adam Goździewski, Michał Michalski, Paweł Wakarecy, and Mateusz Kurcab. Among the discussed topics will be piano works by Grażyna Bacewicz, Isaac Albeniz, and Gabriel Fauré, music performance issues or the theory of affects in practice. The pedagogues will also conduct online master classes on both days, and then perform during the afternoon concerts. The repertoire will correspond with the topics of the morning lectures.

A detailed schedule of online lectures and master classes as well as two concert programmes can be found at: http://www.amuz.lodz.pl/ 

25th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival

The 25th edition of the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival will take place Festiwal Beethovenowskifrom 20 March to 2 April 2021. The concerts will be live streamed online to the public. The festival events will be broadcast by Polish Radio 2.

The festival’s theme – "Beethoven and Penderecki. The Sphere of Sacrum" – defines the programme of the concerts, which will feature both religious works and those that reflect the human spiritual dimension in its broadest sense. The festival will highlight foremost Polish symphonic and choral ensembles as well as an array of renowned vocalists, including Natalia Rubiś, Iwona Hossa, Karolina Sikora, Anna Lubańska, Aleksandra Kubas-Kruk, Krystian Krzeszowiak, Mariusz Godlewski, Łukasz Konieczny, Tomasz Konieczny.

In the inaugural concert, Maestro Andrzej Boreyko and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Mass in C major and two works by Krzysztof Penderecki: Adagietto from Paradise Lost and Agnus Dei from Polish Requiem; in the closing concert, he will conduct works by Penderecki, Pärt, Ravel and Kanczeli (European premiere of Libera me).

Maestro Jerzy Maksymiuk and Sinfonia Varsovia will present an all-Beethoven repertoire. Symphony concerts will be performed by Polish ensembles such as the Polish Radio Orchestra in Warsaw conducted by Michał Klauza (works by Penderecki and Olivier Messiaen), Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra under Dawid Runtz (works by Beethoven and Sibelius, Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat major with cadenzas by K. Penderecki performed by Gábor Boldoczki), as well as Sinfonietta Cracovia led by Jurek Dybał (works by Penderecki, Takemitsu and Barber). The Silesian String Quartet’s chamber concert featuring the complete string quartets by Krzysztof Penderecki promises to be intriguing.

The programme of the event: http://beethoven.org.pl/ 

Ryszard Zimak has passed away...

ZimakProfessor Ryszard Zimak, conductor and teacher, rector of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in 1999-2005 and 2012-2016, long-time conductor of the National Philharmonic Choir, then conductor and director of the Warsaw Chamber Opera Choir, died on 28 March 2021 at the age of 74.

In 1971, he graduated with honours from the Department of Music Education at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and started working at his alma mater. He was vice-dean and dean of the Faculty of Music Education, vice-rector for science and didactics, rector of the Fryderyk Choppin Academy of Music. He participated in the works of the European Conferences of Rectors of the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC) and the Association of Baltic Academies of Music (ABAM). In the years 2002-2005 he was the chairman of the Conference of Rectors of Art Academies (KRUA) and a member of the Presidium of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (KRASP).

He was an assistant conductor (1973-1974) and then a conductor (1977-1983) of the National Philharmonic Choir. From 1983 to 2005, he was the conductor of the Warsaw Chamber Opera and the director of the Chamber Choir. He has performed in many European countries, as well as in South Korea, Taiwan and the USA. From July 2005 to January 2007 he was the Director of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.

He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Order of Merit for Polish Culture, an individual award of the Minister of Culture and Art and the Silver Medal for Merit to Culture "Gloria Artis".

Michał Balas has received the title of "Cello Individuality 2021"

Am ŁódźMichał Balas, a student of the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź, is the winner of the 1st Polish National Dominik Połoński Cello Competition, which ended on 28 March 2021. The young cellist delighted the jurors with his sincerity, great virtuosity and playing finesse.

Michał Balas received the title of "Cello Individuality 2021", a statuette funded by the Połoński Family and designed by Jadwiga Gajda-Lusina, and a number of awards, mainly invitations to concerts and recitals. As the winner, Michał Balas will be promoted by TVP Kultura and Polish Radio Channel 2. In addition, he received the Marcin Mazur Violin Making Studio award for the best student of the Academy of Music in Łódź and – like other outstanding participants – sheet music editions of the latest cello compositions by contemporary Polish composers from Merakel Music and Printing Publishing House in Łódź.

The jury also selected five other participants who were awarded diplomas for outstanding cellists and extra-statutory prizes: Mateusz Błaszczak (FCUM Warsaw), Dominik Drewniak (AM Poznań), Jakub Lemański (AM Łódź), Maria Leszczyńska (UMFC Warsaw) and Agata Nowak (AM Bydgoszcz). The distinguished participants received numerous non-statutory prizes. Dominik Drewniak received an invitation from the Academy of Music in Krakow to a recital as part of the Krakow Cello Spring 2022 and two private awards: one founded by Professor Stanisław Firlej for the performance of Franz Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata (1000 PLN) and one awarded by the honorary chairman of the jury Izabela Połońska (rental of Dominik Połoński's cello for three years). Agata Nowak received two invitations to concerts with chamber orchestras, which she received from the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra of the City of Tychy and the Radom Chamber Orchestra, both in cooperation with Połońska Art Agency. The Pro Cello Foundation from Poznań invited Jakub Lemański to a concert as part of the 1st Summer Music Course in Szamotuły, Połońska Art Agency funded three more awards – chamber concerts for Dominik Drewniak, Urszula Markowska and Agata Nowak, who also received a special award from TVP Kultura.

36 students of Polish music academies entered the competition by submitting their recordings. The jury was composed of: prof. dr hab. Stanisław Firlej (chairman), prof. dr hab. Zdzisław Łapiński, dr hab. Tomasz Lisiecki, dr hab. Marcin Zdunik and dr hab. Jacek Rogala. The honorary chairman was dr Izabela Połońska – the wife of the patron of the competition, who died less than three years ago. After listening to all the recitals, the members of the jury unanimously emphasized the unexpectedly high quality of the recordings and their special atmosphere.

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

More information: http://www.amuz.lodz.pl/pl/wydarzenia/konkurs-wiolonczelowy-im-dominika-polonskiego 

Penderecki's Garden

IAMOn the first anniversary of the death of Krzysztof Penderecki, the most outstanding Polish contemporary composer, a world authority in the field of classical music, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute invites you to  "Penderecki's Garden" – a virtual space filled with music, films and texts devoted to the maestro. From 8.00 p.m. on 29 March 2021, you will be able to watch a unique concert in the virtual amphitheater of "Penderecki's Garden".

Krzysztof Penderecki's great non-musical work – the Garden in Lusławice – inspired the creation of a special digital platform dedicated to the composer. PendereckisGarden.pl, just like a real garden, will flourish and will be enriched with new content and functionalities over time.

"Penderecki's Garden" provides a comprehensive overview of the composer's legacy, presenting the scale and significance of the cultural phenomenon of Penderecki's music, which intersects with many genres, including film music, rock, jazz, classical and electronic music. The artists themselves testify to the phenomenon of Penderecki's music: Hania Rani, Max Richter, Robert Piotrowicz, Skalpel, Paweł Romańczuk, Jeajoon Ryu and Piotr Orzechowski were commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute to create works dedicated to the composer. New, short pieces – audio, visual and audiovisual – make up the landscape of the digital garden, in which Penderecki is recalled by, among others: Anne-Sophie Mutter, Arto Noras, Jeajoon Ryu, Katarzyna Budnik-Gałązka, Szymon Nehring, Janusz Wawrowski and Marcin Zdunik.

The project, also available in English, is aimed at people from all over the world. From music lovers, through those who know Krzysztof Penderecki's music only from films by David Lynch or Stanley Kubrick, to those who do not know it at all. The concert on 29 March will feature the premiere of new composition commissions from the Institute: Prelude a la Cadenza by Hania Rani and Testament by Max Richter. In addition, Atom String Quartet will improvise on selected works by Krzysztof Penderecki.

The concert will be available athttps://pendereckisgarden.pl/en/the-amphitheatre