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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 

Wrocław | Multiverse


The NFM World Music Orchestra, whose artistic director is the composer, guitarist and teacher Jerzy Adam Nowak, will perform on 2 February 2020 at 5:00 p.m. at the National Forum of Music.

Jerzy Adam Nowak graduated in composition at the Academy of Music in Wroclaw in the class of prof. Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil. He was a scholarship holder of the Indian Government twice – he studied classical Indian music at Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra in New Delhi. As a guitarist, soloist of the classical Indian music group "Shanti Path", he performed in Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy. He is the author of music for over thirty theater performances presented in Poland and abroad, as well as for several documentary films. In his theoretical work, he explores the relationship between mind and sound, and looks for sources of music in both historical and psychological sense.

The programme of the upcoming concert will feature music by Jerzy Adam Nowak as improvised by the NFM World Music Orchestra artists: I. Mutiverse of Entangled Worlds, II. Multiverse of Imagined States, III. Multiverse of Singular States. As the author of the project points out: "There is a cosmological concept that our universe is not the only universe, that there are many universes known as the multiverse. Regardless of how true or false this concept is, we undoubtedly live in the psychological Multiverse of our own lives. Every existence is an incomprehensible and dynamic universe. Every existence collides with other lives, creating the reality of entities and phenomena. World music is a clash of many worlds: imaginary, tangled and singular".

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

Katowice | Atom String Quartet at the Silesian Philharmonic


Atom String Quartet will perform at the Silesian Philharmonic on 1 February 2020 at 5 p.m. together with the Silesian Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Robert Kabara.

Atom String Quartet is one of the most intriguing string quartets in the world, and also one of the best Polish jazz bands. The ensemble won the "Fryderyk" award in the "Album of the Year - Contemporary Music" category for the album SUPERNOVA recorded together with the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra.

The programme of the concert will include unusual compositions: Eugeniusz Knapik's Islands, the work awarded many times and constantly appreciated for extraordinary, poetic content, Leszek Możdżer's Prelude and Fugue for string orchestra, Witold Lutosławski's Two Etudes (arr. by Krzysztof Lenczowski), and Johann Sebastian Bach's The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 in a completely new arrangament.

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

More information at: https://filharmonia-slaska.eu/production/atom-string-quartet-slaska-orkiestra-kameralna/ 

Warsaw | Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra plays Rachmaninoff


During the concert on 31 January 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio in Warsaw, 25-year-old Tymoteusz Bies along with Sinfornia Iuventus will demonstrate his artistry, which is inspiring increasing delight among listeners and critics who see him as one of the most promising talents of the young generation. The programme will include Sergei Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 and Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27.

Symphony No. 2 (1908) was to some extent a development of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s symphonic ideas – neo-romantic, expressive, full of pathos and drama, with rich chromatic harmonics and colourful instrumentation; it is also very ‘Russian’ in spirit, although it does not contain many obvious excerpts of national music. Alongside Rachmaninoff's monumental piano concertos, it has become one of the artist’s most popular works, admired on concert stages around the globe for over a century.

Almost two decades later (1934), one of the composer’s last works and the last one for piano and orchestra was written: the daring Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The fascinating piece is a set of variations on the 24th Caprice written by the legendary Italian violinist – captivating for listeners of this hypnotic work, as well as for many composers. Rachmaninoff work represents one of the most monumental and difficult pieces for piano, a true test for only the most skilled virtuosos.

The concert will be led by outstanding conductor Paweł Przytocki, artistic director of the Arthur Rubenstein Łódź Philharmonic since the 2017/2018 season. Russian music is particularly close to his heart – his recording of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1 was honoured by American music magazine La Folia.

Piotr Maculewicz

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

More information at: https://sinfoniaiuventus.pl/