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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 

Lusławice | Concert on the First Anniversary of Krzysztof Penderecki's Death

PendereckiA concert to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Prof. Krzysztof Penderecki will take place under the honorary patronage of Prof. Piotr Gliński – Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport on 29 March 2021 at 7:00 p.m. at the European Centre for Music in Lusławice.

29 March 2021 marks the first anniversary of the death of Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the most outstanding Polish composers who was associated with the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Kraków. He was the artistic director of this institution in the years 1988-1990 and many of his works received their Polish and international premieres by the ensembles of the Kraków Philharmonic. To commemorate the composer on that day, the Kraków Philharmonic Choir conducted by Maciej Tworek will perform at the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music in Lusławice. The programme will include Stabat Mater from St Luke Passion, O gloriosa Virginum, Missa brevis, Agnus Dei from Polish Requiem and Song of Cherubim.

The concert will take place as part of the "Musical Bridges" project that assumes a long-term partnership of the Kraków Philharmonic and musical institutions with a different range of influence – from the city, through the region, country, to the international scale.

Information about tickets: https://penderecki-center.pl/aktualnosci#33869 

"The Seducer. A thing about Karol Szymanowski ”: premiere of a biography by Danuta Gwizdalanka

PWMThe latest book by PWM Edition – Danuta Gwizdalanka's Uwodziciel [The Seducer] will appear in bookstores on 29 March 2021. This new biography of Karol Szymanowski will make you blush.

The author decided to present Szymanowski's story, deviating from the classic biography which chronologically describes the protagonist's life. The opening chapters concern Szymanowski's relationship – with family, friends and acquaintances from all over the world. The artist's work is the main theme of the following chapters. We get to know him as a composer and pianist, as well as a poet and writer. Danuta Gwizdalanka somehow deals with all the myths about Karol Szymanowski.

As she writes in the preface: "I decided [...] to look at the author of Harnasie, assuming that in the 21st century we have no reason to fall into any complexes or to asses uncreatically the creators of national culture." Danuta Gwizdalanka observes Szymanowski with a detective flair. She reaches for a rich correspondence, numerous memories, and documents from the period. The book shows an image of a man aware of his genius, overwhelmed by the fact that he is ahead of his time, internally torn both by his homosexuality and his life on the verge in bohemian miasmata, capricious and irresistible at the same time.

The book is crowned with a gallery of the artist's portraits created by his literary friends.

More information: https://pwm.com.pl/ 

Easter Chamber Festival "in spite of the pandemic"

eThe Easter Chamber Music Festival is a new initiative which will be included in the artistic calendar of Zielona Góra. Since the festival was cancelled in 2020, this year it will take place "in spite of the pandemic" on 27-30 March 2021.

The link between the first and subsequent editions are people from Zielona Góra, musicians from the city, often graduates of the Mieczysław Karłowicz State Primary and Secondary Music School, successfully operating in Poland and abroad, playing with outstanding instrumentalists in various chamber formations. Hence, it is a festival of musical returns and musical friendships. The first edition will feature pianists from Zielona Góra: Katarzyna Wasiak, Grzegorz Mania and Anna Sierżan, who will perform together with acclaimed instrumentalists: Katarzyna Budnik (violin), Bartosz Koziak (cello) and Krzysztof Książek (piano).

The programme includes chamber music from various eras and styles, including works by Wojciech Gawroński, Karol Szymanowski, Szymon Laks, Mieczysław Weinberg, Marta Mołodyńska-Wheeler, Juliusz Karcz, and the premiere of the latest composition by Jarosław Płonka!

All concerts from the Palace in Stary Kisielin will be broadcast online on the YouTube channel of the organiser: the Polish Chamber Musicians' Association.

Full programme is available at: http://spmk.com.pl 

Accordion Colours of Spring

EOKThe Elbląg Chamber Orchestra together with Klaudiusz Baran and Sabrina Stachel will welcome spring on 28 March 2021 at 6.00 p.m. with a concert broadcast on the EOK Facebook profile.

Praised as a versatile artist of extraordinary musical sensitivity, through his artistic achievements, Klaudiusz Baran changed the perception of the accordion in Poland, elevating its position to a fully-fledged instrument shaping the real world of music. Comfortable in repertoires of various music periods, he has been highly acclaimed for his interpretations of contemporary music, including 50 premieres of various solo, chamber and orchestral pieces, most of which were dedicated to or inspired by him.

During the upcoming concert, Klaudiusz Baran will perform Mikołaj Majkusiak's Chamber Concerto for accordion and string orchestra, which had its premiere in February 2020. The programme will also include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik and Edvard Elgar's Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47 for string quartet and string orchestra.

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

More information at: https://eok.elblag.eu/ 

Tauron Eko Koncert online

TauronTauron Eko Koncert will be held online on 26 March 2021 at 7.00 p.m. on the Silesian Philharmonic YouTube channel. We will be able to listen to Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt suites and celebrate Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki on the eve of his first death anniversary. The programme will include his Three Pieces in Old Style and Mikołaj Piotr Górecki's Prelude dedicated to the memory of the composer.

A live broadcast with the participation of the Silesian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Yaroslav Shemet will begin with Mikołaj Piotr Górecki's Prelude – the first part of the Suite created together with internet users during the first lockdown, dedicated to Krzysztof Penderecki, who died on 29 March 2020. In tribute to the composer, we will also hear his Three Pieces in Old Style, originally composed as film music. The cycle begins with the beautiful lyrical Aria, imitating the baroque style. It replaced the verbal commentary in the documentary Passacaglia to the Sigismund Chapel (1966), and its vocal arrangement can be heard in Je t'aime, je t'aime by Alain Resnais (1968). Two Minuets (parts II and III) were written two years earlier for Wojciech Jerzy Has' The Manuscript Found in Saragossa (1964).

The concert finale will feature two suites by Edvard Grieg (Op. 46 and 55) from the music to Henrik Ibsen's drama Peer Gynt, which tells the story of the selfish Peer Gynt underestimating Solveig, who is sincerely in love with him.

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

More information at: https://filharmonia-slaska.eu/