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Warsaw | Sinfonia Varsovia & guests: Azrieli Music Prizes


Works by the 2018 Azrieli Music Prize-Winners – Avner Dorman and Kelly-Marie Murphy – will be given their European premiere by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra at POLIN Museum on 15 September 2019 at 7 p.m.

Established in 2014 by the Azrieli Foundation, the biennial Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) offer opportunities for the discovery, creation, performance and celebration of excellence in music composition. The Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music is awarded to a composer who has written the best new major work of Jewish music in the past ten years. In 2018, this Prize was awarded to Israeli-American composer Avner Dorman for his composition Nigunim for violin and orchestra. 

The Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music is awarded to encourage composers to engage with the question “What is Jewish music?” This prize is given to the composer who proposes a response to this question in the shape of a musical work that displays the utmost creativity, artistry and musical excellence. In 2018, The Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music was awarded to Canadian composer Kelly-Marie Murphy to create the work En el escuro es todo uno (In the Darkness All is One) – a double concerto for cello, harp and orchestra.

On 15 September, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra will perform the European premiere of the 2018 Prize-winning works on the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews stage. Maestro Yoav Talmi will conduct the concert which will also feature outstanding Canadian soloists: COULOIR (cellist Ariel Barnes and harpist Heidi Krutzen), violinist Lara St. John and soprano Sharon Azrieli. The program of the concert will also include compositions by Yoav Talmi, Srul Irving Glick and Mieczysław Weinberg.

More information athttps://www.polin.pl/azrieli-music-prizes 

Warsaw | Inauguration of the 2019/2020 artistic season of the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra


Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra will inaugurate the 2019/2020 artistic season with a concert on 14 September 2019 at 7 p.m. at the Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio. The honorary patronage over the event was taken by the Embassy of Switzerland and the Polish UNESCO Committee.

Inauguration of the new season will begin with lively, dazzling and insterstingly instrumentated Overture by Antoni Szałowski – one of the Polish students of Nadia Boulanger, who used to appreciate neoclassic style present as well in this piece.

The Leningrad audience rewarded the premiere of Symphony No. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich, directed by Mrawiński in 1937, with 30 minutes of applause. Despite accusations of a certain eclecticism, the scale of Shostakovich’s talent determined the lasting success of this symphony, and its neo-Mahlerian power and expression still moves listeners today.

One generation after Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke also struggled against the many obstacles faced by an ambitious artist in the USSR. Today, he is acknowledged as an important precursor and representative of post-modernism in music and his Concerto Grosso No. 1 of 1977 was one of the flagship pieces in this trend, representing a humorous (but not mocking) combination of neo- and post-Baroque, and modern elements.

The inauguration of the new season of the Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra will feature this piece, played by solo performers Marcin Markowicz and Jakub Jakowicz and conducted by Nicolae Moldoveanu, a valuable Romanian conductor who is active as opera and philharmonic performer around the world.

Piotr Maculewicz

More information athttps://sinfoniaiuventus.pl/ 

Szczecin | II MUSIC.DESIGN.FORM Festival 2019


'Audioluminescence' became the slogan of the second edition of the MUSIC.DESIGN.FORM Festival which retuns to the Szczecin Philharmonic on 13-15 September 2019.

Sound and light will be treated literally as an artistic material, and metaphorically as a direction of the festival activities. To address this topic, the organisers invited artists, activists and animators to use music, image and architecture in a non-standard way. Once again, the MDF Festival will create a unique opportunity to experience art with different senses. Being led by sound and light, the participants will get to to unexpected corners of the building and will be surprised by the unusual visualizations in the white Lobby. The facade of the Philharmonic will also shine again.

We can expect concerts by Polish and foreign stars, premiere performances prepared for the festival, as well as exhibitions, workshops and educational meetings. The first day of the Festival will feature a presentation of several projects of the group of Polish composers and performers 'panGenerator', which combines bits and photons in the context of new media art. On 14 September, composer and conductor Michał Janocha will present his multimedia spectacle I hear you are watching. The performance is an artistic and scientific expedition, thanks to which the youngest listeners will discover that modern technologies can  "change" the sound of instruments into light. Later that day at the Philharmonic white hall, there will be a Szczecin premiere of the full performance of the latest project of the Kwadrofonik ensemble Urlicht – variations based on the chorale and its counterpoint, which resound separately or enter into a dialogue with each other.

Full programme available at: https://mdf.filharmonia.szczecin.pl 

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.