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Łódź | Valentine's Day Concert "Chemistry of Love" at EC1


The next concert of the "Music Sphere" series – Chemistry of Love – will take place on Valentine's Day, 14 February 2020 at the Planeratrium EC1 in Łódź. Marzena Majcher (electronic instruments) and Małgorzata Kubala (soprano) will perform in front of the EC1 audience.

The pieces composed by Marzena Majcher, juxtaposed with the texts by Aneta Badziąg and Ewelina Lasota, look for an analogy between music and chemistry: the music is inspired by the patterns of chemical substances responsible for the state of falling in love, colloquially called "the chemistry of love". The works were released on the album "Chemistry of Love" by Requiem Records - Opus Series in March 2019.

The concert will also present compositions of the "Radiation" series, which are inspired by science – cosmology and physics. The composer will use an interactive device called Exformer, which was created especially for her by Michał Silski. By using Exformer, the artist can shape sound with hand movements, thus enriching the music she plays with additional dimensions. The concert will be accompanied by amazing visualisation on the dome of the planetarium!

Age restriction 14+. Tickets are available at the EC1 Łódź ticket office and online at: https://bilety.ec1lodz.pl/

Media patronage over the "Chemistry of Love" album has been taken by the Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

More information about the project at: http://marzenamajcher.manifo.com/ 


Wrocław | The Secret Signs


Contemporary music hides countless secrets. It intrigues with a multitude of experiments and crossing borders. Instead of being afraid of the unknown, it is worth taking a close look at the secret musical signs and following them. The ideal opportunity to do so will be a concert on 13 February 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at the National Forum of Music with well-known artists from the Polish electroacoustic scene.

Contemporary music in our country is doing really well. This is evidenced by the successes of such artists as Łuc and Duchnowski, who are actually very capable both in Poland and abroad. Cezary Duchnowski is a great composer, pianist, performer and co-founder of the Studio of Computer Composition at the Academy of Music in Wrocław. For several years he has been focusing on creating electroacoustic music in a special way. Rafał Łuc, in turn, is one of the most outstanding Polish accordionists. He cooperates with the best musicians on a daily basis and is ideally suited for live concerts. If we add to this duo Joanna Freszel, an award-winning soprano and winner of Polityka's Passport, we will get an unrivalled trio that will draw us into the new and unobvious musical world, which is sometimes difficult to define.

The artists will present Polish premieres of compositions by the best contemporary European artists working in the field of electronic and experimental music. Among them will be Milica Djordjević, a Serbian artist, author of an intriguing story about longing - I ti hoćeš da se volimo. The programme will also include the Hemliga tecken (Secret Signs) of the Norwegian singer and composer Mai Ratkje and Chistopher Trapani's Longue durée. We will also hear compositions by Polish musicians, for instance, Cezary Duchnowski and Agata Zubel. We cannot pass by these experimental pieces indifferently. The way the artists combine instruments, vocals and electronics certainly deserves attention and recognition.

Information on tickets at: https://www.nfm.wroclaw.pl/en/ 

Russian composer Sergei Slonimsky has died at 87


Sergei Słonimsky, one of the greatest contemporary Russian composers, pianist, music theorist, professor at the Saint Petersburg conservatory, died on 9 February 2020 in Saint Petersburg. Funeral ceremonies will take place on 13 February 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at the Komarovsky Cemetery.

Sergei Slonimsky was born in 1932 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). He was the son of the Soviet writer Mikhail Słonimsky and a distant relative of the Polish poet Antoni Slonimsky. He graduated from piano and composition studies at the Leningrad Conservatory (now St. Petersburg Conservatory). In his work he combined many styles of contemporary music, used modern composing techniques and also referred to folk music, which he was researching. His oeuvre includes 34 symphonies, 8 operas (including Master and Margarita criticized by the socialist realist authorities), 3 ballets, chamber and vocal-instrumental works. He was also the author of music for theater plays and films.

Słonimski's compositions were performed at the "Warsaw Autumn" International Festival of Contemporary Music. The composer was a guest of the festival in 1969 when his Concerto Buffo was performed under the direction of Jan Krenz. Three years earlier, Antoni Słonimski sat among the audience, witnessing the first Polish performance of Four Polish Strophes to his own words. The festival also featured Uparty wiatr (1975), Antiphons (1977) and The Novogrod Dance (1980).

In 2003, the composer was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for popularizing Polish music, while in 2011 he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture Gloria Artis. From 2001, he was the honorary chairman of the Frederic Chopin Saint Petersburg Music and Educational Society. In 2018, the artist received the Man of Dialogue medal awarded on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Polish Institute in Moscow. One of his last compositions was a symphonic poem dedicated to the century of independence of the Republic of Poland Rebirth and triumph.

Laureates of the 16th International "Musica Sacra Nova" Composers Competition 2020

SacraA meeting of the Jury of the 16th International "Musica Sacra Nova" Composers Competition 2020 took place in Rome on 8 February 2020. 78 compositions from 16 countries, including Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Canada, Austria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, USA, were sent to the competition.

The Jury composed of: Paweł Łukaszewski (Poland) – chairman, Vaclovas Augustinas (Lithuania), Eriks Esenvalds (Latvia), Vincenzo de Gregorio (Vatican City), Andrea Angelini (Italy), Stephen Layton (Great Britain) oraz Enjott Schneider (Germany) decided to award the following prizes:

Category A - mixed choir a cappella
I prize: Aleksander Jan Szopa (Poland) for Ubi caritas, 2500 €.
II prize: Paolo Orlandi (Italy) for Ave Regina caelorum, 2000 €.
III prize: Steven Heelein (Germany) for Lux et origo, 1500 €.
The premieres and recordings of the works awarded in this category will take place at the "Musica Sacra Nova" International Festival of Sacred Music in Brauweiler. The composition of the winner of the first prize will be also performed in Cambridge, Vilnius and Gdańsk.

Category B - liturgical composition for mixed choir and organ
I prize: Fe Yuen (Hong Kong) for Ave maris Stella, 2000 €.
II prize: Joanna Widera (Poland) for Agnus Dei, 1500 €,.
III prize: Johannes X. Schachtner (Germany) for Missa brevissima, 1000 €.
The compositions awarded in this category will be premiered at the International Festival "Laboratory of Contemporary Music" in Gdańsk.

Special Prize of The Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Cologne for the best Polish composer in the amount of 1.000 € went to Aleksander Jan Szopa.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Gdańsk | 100th anniverary of the return of Pomerania to Poland


A symphony concert on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of Pomerania into Poland and the symbolical marriage of Poland with the Baltic Sea will be held on 9 February 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Fryderyk Chopin Polish Baltic Philharmonic in Gdańsk.

The solemn act of marriage between Poland, reborn after years of partitions, and the Baltic Sea took place on 10 February 1920 on the waters of the Bay of Puck. General Józef Haller, by offering the ring funded by the Polish community in Gdańsk to the sea, confirmed the inseparability of Poland and the Baltic Sea.

In remembrance of this unique and landmark event in our history, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic will hold a concert which will premiere Balticett  – the work written by Leszek Możdżer especially for this occasion, featuring the composer as soloist. In addition, the PBP Symphony Orchestra, the University of Gdańsk Academic Choir and the Medical University of Gdańsk Choir conducted by Agnieszka Duczmal will perform works by Feliks Nowowiejski.

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

Gdansk | VI Gdansk Ball. Carnival kaleidoscope with Marcin Wyrostek

PFBOn 8 February 2020 at 7:00 p. m. the Polish Baltic Frédéric Chopin Philharmonic invites you to the VI Gdansk Ball with Marcin Wyrostek.

Marcin Wyrostek is an accordionist, composer, lecturer at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice and a member of the American Association of Accordionists. He is the winner of over 30 accordion competitions. The key element of his musical identity is improvisation. He recorded four original albums, for which he received, among others, triple platinum and the nomination for the "Fryderyk" 2010 Award for the album Magia del Tango, platinum for the album For Alice and double platinum for the album Coloriage. His latest album Polacc includes Wyrostek's works inspired by Polish music and compositions by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Witold Lutosławski and Karol Szymanowski.

Marcin Wyrostek and his band Corazon will perform these compositions during the upcoming concert. After the concert, a ball will be held in the upper foyer of the Philharmonic, featuring the Standard Acoustic band.

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

Kraków | Bridges instead of walls – Opera Rara 2020

Opera rara

The 12th edition of the Opera Rara Festival will run from 23 January and 14 February 2020 in Kraków. We will once again hear works from outside the repertoire, played very rarely. We have a number of very different performances ahead of us, including the Baroque Il ballo delle Ingrate by Claudio Monteverdi complemented by new compositions by Teoniki Rożynek, and Unknown, I Live With You, a joint work of playwright Krystian Lada and composer Katarzyna Głowicka.

These works come from different epochs and represent different styles, but are connected by a common thought. They make us wonder why we are so eager to build walls around us, what are the consequences of this, and what to do to build bridges instead of them. What does the opera have to do with it? It has always been able to react quickly and sharply – listen to social moods, comment on reality, insult kings, inspire revolts, lead to fury or tame dictators. There is no reason why it shouldn’t tell us about the world here and now. It can do this in two ways – by referring directly to current events or by reflecting them in the mirror of the past.

Unknown, I Live with You is a direct commentary on our present. The opera-installation was inspired by the poems of Afghan women poets – their personal statements, undistorted by their husbands, fathers, brothers and biased media. The authors took part in a project designed to encourage women to express themselves through words and tell their own stories. Most of them took part in the project in secret. There are other divisions that the Il ballo delle Ingrate (Ballet of the Ungrateful Women) tells us about. This perverse courtly morality play by Monteverdi considers the border between life and death, between people and gods, as well as between men and women. From today’s perspective, it makes us think about whether we, living in the modern times, are not disturbed by the visions of the gender relations presented in the work. The performance at the Opera Rara Festival will break another wall: the one that divides the worlds of contemporary and early music. The bridge between 17th-century Italy and Poland in the 21st century will be built by the composer of the young generation, Teoniki Rożynek.

Full programme of the Festival: http://operarara.pl/eng/

Warsaw | "Chain XVII" – Witold Lutosławski's Festival


The Festival "Chain XVII" will run from 25 January to 8 February 2020 at the Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio in Warsaw. The Festival's programme revolves around the work of Lutosławski and the circle of artists associated with the composer.

The plan of the "Chain XVII" is not quite accidental: it proposes a specific network of connections. The thought of color and harmony as interconnected and interpenetrating elements, so important for Lutosławski, recalls here the close Chopin-Debussy constellation, but also Messiaen's rainbow harmony and the colouristic structuralism of Webern's works. Chain II and Double Concerto expose the equal connection between cantilena and ornament; a connection leading across the ages back to romanticism (Chopin), classicism (Mozart) and to Scarlatti's keyboard sonatas. The peculiar, lyrical-grotesque tone of the Concerto and Chain connects both compositions with Prokofiew (Op. 19). The idea of ​​a purely instrumental drama and great form associates Lutosławski's Quartet and Symphony with the Great Fugue and Sonata op. 109 by Beethoven. Krzysztof Penderecki's Symphony No.1 also belongs to this domain.

The above mentioned works will be presented during symphonic concerts performed by NOSPR, Sinfonia Varsovia, Polish Radio Orchestra in Warsaw, and chamber concerts by Chain Ensemble, Royal String Quartet and Jan Krzysztof Broja.

The festival is co-organized by the Programme 2 of Polish Radio and co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Culture Promotion Fund under the "Music" programme implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance.

Full programme available at: www.lutoslawski.org.pl 

Opole | Time Machine


The next symphony concert in the "Zone of Stars" series will be held on 7 February 2020 at 7 p.m. at the Józef Elsner Opole Philharmonic. The concert entitled "A Time Machine" will feature violinist Aleksey Semenenko – scholarship holder of Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben.

The repertoire has been arranged in reverse chronological order: Lutosławski – Brahms – Beethoven. The evening will begin with Witold Lutosławski's Little Suite for chamber orchestra – a four-part piece based on folk rhythms and melodies of Podkarpacie region. Then we will listen to Johaness Brahms' Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 performed by the Ukrainian violin virtuoso Aleksey Semenenko  a member of the prestigious BBC New Generation Artists programme, who made his debut in New York in the Young Concert Artists series in 2012. The concert will be closed with Symphony No. 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven, whose 250th birth annivrsary falls this year. The Opole Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra will perform under the baton of Przemysław Neumann.

The concert is held as part of the "filharmonia / ostrożnie, wciąga!!!" programme co-organized by the Institute of Music and Dance.

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

Information on tickets at: https://filharmonia.opole.pl/wydarzenia/68-sezon-artystyczny-aleksey-semenenko/