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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/ 

Olsztyn | Stage for Polish Music – ProMODERN Sextet


A concert of the proMODERN vocal sextet at the Warmian-Masurian Philharmonic on 6 February 2020 at 7:00 p.m. will be a unique opportunity to listen to rarely performed compositions by Polish artists. The next edition of the "Stage for Polish Music" project, implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance, will feature vocal works by 20th-century composers.

Three sonnets by Stanisław Moryto, dedicated to the composer's wife and created shortly before his death in 2018, were written especially for the proMODERN ensemble. Stanisław Moryto's teacher was Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, whose cantata Orpheus in the woods, based on the poem by Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński, will be also performed by the sextet during the upcoming concert. Moreover, the programme will include two motets by Paciorkiewicz's contemporary, Roman Padlewski, Lord Tennyson Song  and 10 Polish Folk Songs on Soldier Themes by Witold Lutosławski, Song to the Virgin Mary by Andrzej Panufnik, and Three Songs by Tadeusz Baird.

More information at: https://filharmonia.olsztyn.pl/koncert/scena-dla-muzyki-polskiej-promodern/ 

Sanok | 15th International Piano Forum "Bieszczady without Borders"


The 15th anniversary edition of the International Piano Forum "Bieszczady without Borders" will run from 2 to 8 February 2020. In the first week of February Sanok will become the winter capital of pianists, with over 500 participants from all corners of Europe and beyond. 

The International Piano Forum "Bieszczady without Borders" is one of the largest community-driven academic projects of the Carpathian Region. The Forum is an educational opportunity worthy of the attention of young pianists, for it is a place of the exchange of ideas and experiences between students. Here, common interests and passions lead the way for cooperation amongst unfamiliar faces. You will find that the whole spectrum of knowledge, both theoretical and practical, is addressed. From methods of practicing, courses on self-care and rehabilitation, to training in the business side of culture and self-promotion, this Forum leaves few, if any, questions of young pianists unaddressed. Ultimately, it is here that prestigious Masters and Pedagogues of the Art of Piano meet with talented and promising young pianists. Qualified active participants will take part in individual and open lessons with the Masters; thematic courses; concert practices – a series of recital and symphonic evenings; lectures and seminars; competition for prestigious awards and distinctions of the 15th edition.

The organizers have also prepared a musical feast for the audience – 6 unique concerts at the Sanok Community Center, presenting masterpieces of Polish and world piano literature. This year's soloists will be: Pavel Dombrovsky – winner of the 1st prize at the Stanisław Moniuszko International Polish Music Competition in Rzeszów, and professors Lidia Grychtołówna, Mihaił Woskriesienski and Igor Olovnikov. In addition, the concerts will feature Adam Bałdych Quartet, "Śląsk" Song and Dance Ensemble and the "Academy" Lviv Chamber Orchestra conducted by Igor Pylatyuk, who, together with outstanding soloists, will present piano concerts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Fryderyk Chopin during the Final Gala.

More information at: www.forum.interpiano.pl 

Warsaw | Inauguration of a new concert series in the Royal Castle


The new concert series "Not only classically" will be inaugurated with a concert of Polish music on 2 February 2020 in the Grand Hall of the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

Witold Lutosławski Chamber Philharmonic in Łomża, cellist Tomasz Strahl and violinist Jakub Jakowicz will perform under the direction of Jan Miłosz Zarzycki. The artists will present works by Romuald Twardowski, Mikołaj Górecki and Sławomir Czarnecki.

Lituania (2011) by Romuald Twardowski was written on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Czesław Miłosz. The composer, an expert in Lithuanian music, refers to the traditional form of "sutkine" (with fast melodic motifs) and phrases of "rauda" (of an elegiac character). In the Kurpie Melodies (2016), the composer refers to Kurpie folk music, emphasizing its original beauty and charm; the work was commissioned by the performers of the concert – the Łomża Philharmonic.

Mikołaj Górecki's Elegy (2014) for cello and string orchestra was dedicated to Tomasz Strahl, as well as Sławomir Czarnecki's Concerto Lendinum (2005) for violin, cello and orchestra. The works are the result of searching for one's own style, one's understanding of sound beauty and harmonic order by combining traditional elements (baroque concerto form, folk melodies of the Lublin region) with modern techniques (structuralism, spectralism, repetitiveness, elements of sonorism and minimalism). We will also listen to the Narew Concerto (2019) by Sławomir Czarnecki, which was dedicated to maestro Jan Miłosz Zarzycki and was commissioned by the Łomża Philharmonic.

More information at: https://www.zamek-krolewski.pl/koncerty/repertuar/cykl-muzyczny-2020