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Warsaw | Oratorio Concert: Beethoven 2020 / Górecki 2020


This year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, as well as the 10th anniversary of the death of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki. On this occasion, on 28 February 2020 at 7:30 p.m. the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir conducted by Bartosz Michałowski will present Miserere and Ad Matrem by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and the only oratorio in Ludwig van Beethoven's oeuvre – Christ on the Mount of Olives.

Ad Matrem for solo soprano, choir and orchestra from 1972 marks a noticeable turning point in the work of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, who died ten years ago. A great deal of his music written in the years that followed is – to a greater or lesser extent – religious in tone. Another distinct feature of his post-1972 oeuvre is the use of the human voice, which was absent from his previous pieces. Penned in the memory of his late mother, the evocative Ad Matrem marked the beginnings of a more contemplative-repetitive style, which Górecki went on to fully develop in his famous Symphony No. 3 four years later.

In terms of expression, the monumental Miserere for mixed a capella choir stands even closer to the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. This piece, which is over thirty minutes long and maintained in a lento tempo, can be defined as “mystical minimalism”.

Ludwig van Beethoven’s only oratorio – Christ on the Mount of Olives – has never been one of the core works in the concert repertoire, but the 250th anniversary of his birth is an ideal occasion to remind audiences of its existence. There are those who claim, perhaps with some justice, that it is not the most outstanding achievement of the composer of the Emperor Concerto; nevertheless it contains several fragments that instantly testify to his genius. Beethoven himself confessed that he composed the oratorio in great haste, and therefore was unable to come up with anything innovative and instead turned to familiar forms from Händel’s and Haydn’s oratorios that he admired. On hearing the piece for the first time, the listener would not be mistaken in thinking that he is dealing with some kind of early-Romantic German opera or even a singspiel by Mozart! After all, it features the rhythm of marching soldiers, St Peter’s interventions in the form of a rage aria, and many phrases that sound as if they were taken directly from Fidelio.

Press Materials of the Warsaw Philharmonic

More information at: http://www.filharmonia.pl/ 

Zielona Góra | Music Days on the Oder 2020


Between 28 February and 5 April 2020 the Tadeusz Baird Philharmonic in Zielona Góra will host the International 'Days of Music on the Oder River' Festival. This special event is an outcome of the good neighborly relations between Lubusz Voivodeship and Brandenburg State.

The festival is organized by the Zielona Góra Philharmonic in cooperation with Messe und Veranstaltungs GmbH Frankfurt (Oder) and Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt. The artistic director of the Festival is Prof. PhD Habil. Czesław Grabowski.

This year's festival will feature excellent artists from all over Europe, the winners of international competitions, among others pianist Szymon Nehring, soloists of the Lviv Opera, Ukrainian saxophonist Andriy Ukrainets and German oboist Mathilde Major, Wind Quintet of the University of Music, Theater and Media from Hannover, Latvian pianist Paulius Andersson, Armonia Quartett ensemble of the Musical Theater in Cottbus. The Symphony Orchestra of the Zielona Góra Philharmonic and the Singakademie Choir from Frankfurt (Oder) will perform under the baton of Polish conductors Czesław Grabowski and Piotr Wacławik, as well as Constantin Adrian Grigory from Romania and maestro Rudolf Tiersch from Germany.

The Festival will also include a concert of the Leoš Janáček Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Josef Javora. During this special event, the orchestra will perform Janáček's pieces as welll as the most famous work written for string orchestra by Wojciech Kilar – Orawa – and his less often performed Choralvorspiel für Kammerorchester.

In addition, the 7th International Forum of Young Conductors will be held as part of the Festival.

Full programme available at: http://filharmoniazg.pl/dni-muzyki-nad-odra-2020/ 

Olsztyn | With French Mastery


Two outstanding French soloists – clarinetist Michel Lethiec and flutist Patrick Gallois –  will perform on 28 February 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at the Warmian-Masurian Philharmonic, showoing how the wind instruments have been used in the last two centuries and how extremely different emotions they can convey.

Saverio Mercadante wrote all his flute concerts before he was twenty-two. The classical three-movement Concerto in E minor, Op. 57 requires virtuoso skills from the soloist. The flute part includes beautiful melodies as well as many ornaments, fast chromatic runs, octave jumps and arpeggios. The work is full of classic elegance and grace as well as the pastoral charm that is attributed to the sound of the flute.

One of the iconic works of the 20th century is George Gershwin's opera Porgy & Bess. The clarinet, with its sobbing, full of complaints and also witty tone, became one of the instruments characteristic of the era of traditional jazz, next to the saxophone and trumpet. It is the solo instrument in the opera suite arranged by the French composer Franck Villard.

Double Concerto for clarinet, flute and orchestra by Krzysztof Penderecki is the original arrangement of the Double Concerto for viola, violin and orchestra of 2012. The whole work is based on contrasting lyrical elements (which can be attributed to the flute) and ludic or even demonic elements (which bring connotations with the clarinet tone). The climax of the composition is the solemn Passacaglia.

More information at: https://filharmonia.olsztyn.pl/koncert/z-francuska-maestria/ 

Bydgoszcz | An Evening with Johannes Brahms and Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa


On 28 February 2020 at 7:00 p.m. The Pomeranian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kai Bumann will perform works by Johannes Brahms and Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa. The soloists will be Ewa Marciniec (alt), Krzysztof Polonek (violin, new concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic) and Katarzyna Polonek (cello).

The evening will begin with Joanna Wnuk Nazarowa's song Słuchaj, Neronie! for alto and grand orchestra. The solo part will be perform by Ewa Marciniec, a graduate of two faculties of the Music Academy in Gdańsk: Composition and Theory of Music and Vocal and Acting in the class of Zofia Janukowicz-Pobłocka. Thanks to the DAAD scholarship, she continued her post-graduate studies at the Musikhochschule in Stuttgart in the class of Luisa Bosabalian.

The duo of virtuosos recognized in Europe – violinist Krzysztof Polonek, the current concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and cellist Katarzyna Polonek – will perform the elaborate Double concerto, Op. 102, the last symphonic work by Johannes Brahms. Krzysztof Polonek has been a member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra since 2009. He studied under Tomasz Tomaszewski at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Thomas Brandis at the University of Music in Lübeck and Markus Becker at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien in Hanover. He received a PhD in musical arts under the direction of Jarosław Pietrzak at the Academy of Music in Wrocław. Katarzyna Polonek studied cello at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna in the class of Angelika May and Wolfgang Aichinger. She teaches cello at the Academy of Music in Poznań.

Finally, the Pomeranian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra will perform Brahms' Symphony No. 3, Op. 90, which is symbolically referred to as "Brahms' Eroics".

More information at: http://www.filharmonia.bydgoszcz.pl/ 

Gdańsk | Premiere of the new work by Piotr Moss


The world premiere of According to Memling – a concert for flute, organ and orchestra by Piotr Moss will take place on 28 February 2020 at the Polish Baltic Frédéric Chopin Philharmonic during the concert entitled "Programme and Absolute Music".

The inspiration for the composition was the Last Judgment triptych created by the Dutch painter Hans Memling. The work was commissioned by the Polish Baltic Frédéric Chopin Philharmonic and was written for Łukasz Długosz and Roman Perucki, who will premiere it with the PBP Symphony Orchestra conducted by George Tchitchinadze.

The programme will also include Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Symphony in D Major, which opens the cycle of four symphonies for strings and wind instruments written in Hamburg. Symphony No. 2 in D major by Joseph Haydn is relatively less known, but full of surprising moments. The slow movement in D minor is a display of the composer's counterpoint skills, and the whole work ends with an impressive finale. The audionce will also listen to the Romeo and Juliet ouverture-fantasia by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, based on the literary programme.

The concert was included in the „filharmonia / ostrożnie, wciąga!!!” programme, co-organised by the Institute of Music and Dance.

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

Katowice | "Iskierka" symphonically


The Children's Oncology Orchestra – the only such orchestra in the world – is back in a new setting and place. On 27 February 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall, listeners will enjoy a large dose of fairytale and film music in an absolutely new performance under the direction of Krzesimir Dębski.

Operating since 2006, the Iskierka Foundation has proven that during the oncological treatment children can do incredible and completely crazy things. The organisation founded the Children's Oncology Orchestra, headed by Piotr Sutt. Small patients of hospital wards and their carers received a chance to become artists for one day.

This time the Children's Oncology Orchestra will perform with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Krzesimir Dębski. We will listen to the music of this amazing artist from the movies Gwiezdny Pirat and W pustyni i w puszczy as well as composition from the film Akademia Pana Kleksa written by Andrzej Waldemar Korzyński and Krzysztof Bohdan Grabowski. The instrumentalists will be accompanied by the Choir of Space Creators (Anbud and friends), i.e. the donors of the foundation in a completely unusual role. The most famous songs from animated movies will be performed by Studio Accantus, Anna Jurksztowicz, Czesław Mozil, Paulina Przybysz, Daria Zawiałow and Ania Brachaczek.

The concert, which shows that you can create a musical event with high artistic value and with incredibly positive energy with oncologically ill children, will be hosted by Mirosław Neinert, Szymon Majewski and Jarosław Boberek. The total income from the event will be allocated to support the activities of the Iskierka Foundation.

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

Full programme available at: https://nospr.org.pl/pl/kalendarz/iskierka-symfonicznie 

Wrocław | Stage premiere of Rafał Augustyn's „Descensus Christi ad inferos"


The stage version of the Descensus Christi ad inferos oratorium by Rafał Augustyn will be premiered on 26 and 28 February 2020 at the Bakery Centre for Performing Arts of the Jerzy Grotowski Institute in Wrocław.

What was Jesus doing on Easter Saturday? The canonical gospels are silent about this episode, so we need to consult apocryphal records, such as the beautiful Latin text translated from ancient Greek which is included in the Gospel of Nicodemus. The fast-paced and eventful story starts among Jerusalem Jews who are looking for witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection, and then moves to the abyss that the Greeks called Tartar where the holy fathers and the first mother, Eve, held captive by Satan, await their liberation.

Inspired by the eminent philologist Professor Jerzy Woronczak, Rafał Augustyn started working on Descensus Christi ad inferos in the 1990s. Completed in 2016, the oratorio was first performed at the 14th Song of Our Roots Festival of Early Music in Jarosław. Incorporating a range of stylistic idioms, from chant to medieval motet technique to contemporary elements, the piece forms a cohesive, tightly-knit whole.

The piece will be sung by three choirs. The chant schola will narrate the story and the National Forum of Music Choir will complete the ‘cantus firmus’, with the solo parts sung by a group of solo singers. Despite its psychological interest and delving into serious theological matters, the libretto (as well as music) contains a good dose of humour.

Koncert zrealizowano w koprodukcji Instytutu Grotowskiego i Narodowego Forum Muzyki. Partnerem wydarzenia jest Stowarzyszenie Schola Gregoriana Silesiensis.

Tickets are available at: www.bilety.grotowski-institute.art.pl/ 

More information at: http://grotowski-institute.art.pl/wydarzenia/descensus-christi-ad-inferos/

Warsaw | 11th "The New Epiphanies" Interdisciplinary Festival


Tickets for the events of the eleventh edition of "The New Epiphanies" Interdisciplinary Festival, organized by the Centre for the Thought of John Paul II, are now available for sale. The festival will start in Warsaw on 26 February and will last for forty days, until 5 April 2020. The programme will include works by Szymon Godziemba-Trytek and Paweł Łukaszewski.

The main goal of "The New Epiphanies" Festival is to search for new, contemporary epiphanies of beauty and to initiate creative dialogue between artists and traditional religious art in the spirit of the "Letter to Artists" by John Paul II. The programme of the 11th edition of the Festival focuses on Maria Magdalena. We don't learn much about her from canonical gospels. They leave room for speculation, but also space for artistic images. This year's music programme of the Festival will be an opportunity to experience religious delight. The concerts of Graindelavoix, Adam Strug, Polish Monody, Qvint Essençia, Carine Tinney, Lucas Henning, Dziczka and Catalina Vicens, choirs of the Centre for the Thought of John Paul II and VRC – will lift even the most resistant listeners.

The "Lontano" concert on 28 March will premiere the work written especially for the festival by Szymon Godziemba-Trytek – Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita for white voice, mixed choir, chamber ensemble and dancer, inspired by the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The concert will take place in an unusual arrangement of the hall – the audience will be placed on the platforms on both sides of the stage and the fragments of the composition will be sung by two chamber choirs from behind the audience, which voices will be heard lontano, i.e. from afar.

On 31 March we will listen to the Paweł Łukaszewski's mass in tribute to John Paul II on his 15th death anniversary – Missa de Maria a Magdala for soprano, baritone, mixed choir, organ and orchestra. The composition's text is a compilation of liturgical texts (Vespers of Mary Magdalene, Easter sequence) and fragments of the New and Old Testaments – both the Apocalypse and Gospel, as well as the Song of Songs. Łukaszewski's monumental work, based on the form of the mass cycle, introduces the listeners into the composer's characteristic musical sacrum space, stretched between Middle Eastern motifs and contemporary harmony and expression.

Detailed festival programme and information on tickets: https://noweepifanie.pl/

Częstochowa | 2nd Wanda Wiłkomirska Violin Competition of Polish Music

Konkurs Wiłkomirskiej

The Marcin Józef Żebrowski Music School Complex in Częstochowa invites you to the 2nd Wanda Wiłkomirska Violin Competition of Polish Music, which will take place in Częstochowa between 22 February and 1 March 2020.

The main goal of the Competition is to popularise Polish violin literature and to promote young performers. This idea is guided by the figure of prof. Wanda Wiłkomirska – an outstanding Polish violinist, propagator of Polish music, an amazing artistic and pedagogical personality. The participants in the three age groups will compete for financial prizes as well as scientific and artistic support in the form of numerous accessories necessary in the work of a young violinist, and above all invitations to perform concerts in many renowned cultural institutions. The Competition will be attended by violinists born in 2000-2009, pupils of music schools and students from Poland and abroad. The participants will perform chosen works by Polish composers – one-part or cyclical, for solo violin or for violin and piano.

The inaugural concert will take place on 22 February 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Regional Culture Centre in Częstochowa. It will feature the members of the jury of the competition: Eliseu Silva, Aleksandra Szwejkowska-Belica, Maria Magdalena Kaczor, as well as the violinist Maria Belica, who will perform, among others, works by Ryszard Borowski, Grażyna Bacewicz and Romuald Twardowski. Prizes and honorable mentions will be awarded during the Winners' Concert – the ceremonial closing of the competition on 1 March 2020 at the Częstochowa Town Hall. All concerts and auditions will be open to the public.

In addition, as part of the Competition, there will be workshops, an exhibition of violin and sting instruments made by Marcin Mazur, lectures and discussion panels, as well as a musical and book fair of the PWM Edition.

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.