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Łódź | Premiere of Ignacy Zalewski's "Double Concerto"

FLViolinist Maciej Łabecki and double bass player Sebastian Wypych will premiere Ignacy Zalewski's Double Concerto on 6 March 2021 at 7.00 p.m. at the Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic in Łódź.

The piece was commissioned by the Łódź Philharmonic and dedicated to both soloists. Its premiere was scheduled last year, but it had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Concerto in the form of a dance", as the composer himself describes his work, consists of four movements: tango, waltz, czardas and the finale in the form of a polonaise-fantasia.

Ignacy Zalewski (b. 1990) is a composer, conductor, teacher and promoter of classical music. He has won over 20 awards at composition competitions in the field of classical and incidental music. His works have been performed in the most important Polish concert halls, in most European countries, in the United States, China, Singapore and Vietnam. Zalewski is the author of music for several dozen theatre, television and radio plays. In March 2019, his Symphony. In memory of Dominik Połoński was premiered at the Łódź Philharmonic.

The concert programme will also include the Overture to the opera The Barber of Seville by G. Rossini and Gran duo concertante for violin and double bass by G. Bottesini. The Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra will perform under the baton of Grzegorz Wierus. The concert will be hosted by Piotr Matwiejczuk ("Ruch Muzyczny").

Information about tickets: https://filharmonia.lodz.pl/pl/wydarzenia/koncert-symfoniczny-183 

Wrocław | Weinberg at the National Forum of Music

NFMA Romantic concert by one of the greatest melodists in the history of music and a symphony by a composer who has only now taken his rightful place in the panorama of 20th century composers – we will hear these works on 5 March 2021 at 7.00 p.m. performed by the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic. The evening will be graced by the outstanding violinist Veriko Tchumburidze – winner of the 15th International H. Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań.

Antonín Dvořák’s Violin Concerto in A minor is one of the most popular pieces composed in the Romantic era and intended for this instrument. The work was inspired by a meeting with the famous violinist Joseph Joachim, to whom the Czech composer wanted to dedicate it and entrust its premiere. However, the conservative virtuoso was dissatisfied with Dvořák’s non-standard ideas, so he deceived the composer by arguing that he took a long time to learn the solo part in this piece. An impatient Dvořák finally entrusted the world premiere to his countryman František Ondříček, and Joachim never was to play the concerto. The piece is surprisingly light and melodic. The listener is seduced by the charm of singing melodies and the extraordinary creativity of the Czech genius.

Born in Warsaw in 1919, Mieczysław Weinberg left us a very rich and varied output, including over one hundred and fifty compositions. The four-movement Chamber Symphony No. 1, intended for strings, is a late work, written in 1987. It is a Neo-classicist piece that testifies to the great melodic inventiveness of Wajnberg. The mood of this composition is cheerful, almost funny, only in the slow second movement there are more painful and disturbing accents.

Information about tickets: https://www.nfm.wroclaw.pl/component/nfmcalendar/event/8243 

Szczecin | Karłowicz, Shostakovich and Schubert

FSzOn 5 March 2021 the Szczecin Philharmonic will host for the first time Anastasia Kobekina, a Russian cellist hailed by the European press as the audience's favourite.

She studied in Moscow, Kronberg, Berlin, Paris and Frankfurt, exploring solo, chamber and early music repertoire. In 2015, she won the International TONALi Competition in Hamburg. Since then, she has recorded three albums, featuring among others works by Mieczysław Weinberg and Dmitri Shostakovich. During the last artistic season, she made her debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and went on a concert tour with the orchestra of the Berlin Konzerthaus.

During the upcoming concert, we will hear two pieces performed by Anastasi Kobekina and the Szczecin Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Rune Bergmann, both written by composers for their friends. Mieczysław Karłowicz's Serenade in G major  (1897) was dedicated to Zygmunt Butkiewicz, whom the composer met during his three-year stay in Heidelberg (Butkiewicz later became the juror of the first edition of the Chopin Competition and the director of the Music Conservatory in Poznań). Dmitri Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major (1959), was composed for Mstislav Rostropovich, who premiered the work with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Yevgeny Mravinsky. The programme will be complemented by Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 5, composed at the age of 19.

Information about tickets at: https://filharmonia.szczecin.pl/pl 

Kraków | 2nd Szymanowski / Poland / World Festival: Prologue

FKA concert on 5 March 2021 at 7.30 p.m. at the Krakow Philharmonic will be a prologue to the 2nd Szymanowski / Poland / World Festival.

We will hear Wolfganag Amadeus Mozart's Symphony in G minor KV 550 and Karol Szymanowski's Stabat Mater, Op. 53. These works will be presented by the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir under the baton of Antoni Wit, together with the soloists: Iwona Hossa (soprano), Ewa Marciniec (alto) and Jarosław Bręk (baritone).

According to Małgorzata Janicka-Słysz, the author of Karol Szymanowski's monograph [Poetyka muzyczna Karola Szymanowskiego. Studia i interpretacja], Stabat Mater, Op. 53 for soprano, alto, baritone, mixed choir and orchestra (completed in March 1926) occupies a special place in the composer's oeuvre. Szymanowski, a composer with a "Dionysian" vision of the world, composed a masterpiece of religious music. Assuming that the Latin language had lost its emotional qualities, he used the Polish translation of the medieval sequence by Józef Jankowski. He combined universal values ​​with national values, fusing phrases of Gregorian chant with quotations of Polish religious songs (Gorzkie żale, Stała Matka boleściwa). Stabat Mater was considered to be the fruit of the noblest inspiration, a work endearing with restraint and balance of words and sounds. The work was interpreted in terms of the ideal of national music, and at the same time it was considered a manifesto of the composer's personal religious feelings.

Concert under the honorary patronage of the Hungarian Ambassador in Warsaw, Orsolya Zsuzsanna Kovács; the Marshal of the Małopolska Region, Witold Kozłowski; the Director of the Polish Institute in Prague, Maciej Ruczaj; and the Director of the Polish Institute in Bratislava, Jacek Gajewski.

More information: https://www.filharmonia.krakow.pl/ 

Wrocław | Bach and Contrasts

ZagajewskiThe Polish Cello Quartet has completed many intriguing artistic projects. The next one will be a meeting with the work of the Leipzig Cantor, juxtaposed with works by contemporary composers. The concert will take place on 4 March 2021 at 7.00 p.m. at the National Forum of Music in Wrocław.

Die Kunst der Fuge, or The Art of Fugue, is the last composition by Johann Sebastian Bach. He did not have time to finish it. It consists of fourteen fugues (known as Contrapunctus) and four canons of increasing complexity. The composer did not specify the lineup for which this work was intended, therefore some researchers assumed that it was a purely theoretical, abstract and speculative work, a kind of treatise showing the possibilities of the art of polyphony. For this reason, Die Kunst der Fuge fell into oblivion for years. Even Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel found it a good substitute for the expensive counterpoint lessons. However, later performers appreciated this composition. It was performed by various line-ups: it was played on the harpsichord, organ, piano; several arrangements for orchestra have also been written.

During the concert, we will hear Contrapunctus I, III, V and X. These fugues have been juxtaposed with the works of three contemporary artists. Thierry Escaich is a French organist and composer, known to music lovers visiting the National Forum of Music for his improvised accompaniment to the silent film The Phantom of the Opera. Ground III is his piece from 2008, one of the six to bear this title. The work Flüsterfuge und Zirkelkanon, intended for four cellos or four bassoons, was written by the Swiss composer Heinz Holliger in 2000. The Cello Quartet, on the other hand, is the work of Artur Zagajewski, born in 1978, a music theorist and composer.

Information about tickets: https://www.nfm.wroclaw.pl/component/nfmcalendar/event/8183 

Jelenia Góra | "Stage for Polish Music": Książek Piano Duo

KsiazekOn 4 March 2021 at 7.00 p.m. the Lower Silesian Philharmonic in Jelenia Góra will become the stage for Polish music: Książek Piano Duo will present works by Józef Elsner, Fryderyk Chopin, Aleksander Tansman, Witold Lutosławski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, and Władysława Markiewiczówna.

The "Stage for Polish Music" is a project of the Institute of Music and Dance aimed at Polish music performers and organised in collaboration with the Warsaw Philharmonic and arts institutions in Poland. Programmes featuring Polish music, selected on the basis of a competition, will be presented at the Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Hall and then repeated in other cities in Poland. The goal of the project is to inspire musicians to prepare concert programmes featuring Polish music, promote the performance of Polish musical works as well as draw listeners’ attention to Polish music, especially lesser known pieces. The project is expected to showcase and popularise Polish works of music, especially those that are less commonly found in concert programmes, organise more performances of these works as well as promote Polish music performers.

The next concert as part of the project will feature Książek Piano Duo, founded in 2012 by Agnieszka Zahaczewska-Książek and Krzysztof Książek. The duo represented by the Ludwig van Beethoven Association has performed many concerts in Poland and abroad, incl. in Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Thailand and South Africa. In 2019, the musicians won 2nd prize and a special prize at the 21st International Franz Schubert Piano Duo Competition in Jesenik and the title of finalist and a special prize at the 3rd International Suzana Szӧrenyi Competition of Piano Duets in Bucharest. The following year, they received the "Young Poland" scholarship. Their talents and artistic achievements have brought them recognition of the audience and international music critics.

Full programme is available at: https://filharmonia.jgora.pl/ 

Results of the first stage of the 62nd Tadeusz Baird Young Composers Competition

BairdThe results of the first stage of the 62nd Tadeusz Baird Young Composers Competition were announced on 27 February 2021.

The Jury composed of: Olga Hans (chairwoman), Aldona Nawrocka (secretary), Marcin Bortnowski, Justyna Kowalska-Lasoń, and Artur Kroschel, selected the following works for the second stage of the Competition:

Isomorphic Reflection – emblem Coal2

…Breathe – emblem D.502

Grand Père – emblem Lavage de cerveaux

Kanczendzonga – emblem Perseus

Secco – emblem TotoXro

Co w lesie piszczy – emblem XXX12321

The works qualified for the second stage will be performed during a concert followed by the announcement of the results and the awards ceremony, which will be held in June 2021.

The concert date and the list of performers will be announced in a separate release.

Music is a woman! Opera Concert – online

POSIA concert on 5 March 2021 at 8.00 p.m. by three outstanding, young yet impressively merited soloists – Iwona Socha (soprano), Łukasz Gaj (tenor), and Adam Szerszeń (baritone) – accompanied by Jerzy Semkow’s Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, will recall the most beautiful pieces of Italian opera from the Romantic and Neo-Romantic eras. The event is dedicated to all ladies on the eve of their beautiful holiday.

Opera was born under the skies of Italy, and although in the Baroque era it became popular in many countries in its local varieties, for a long time Italy remained the operatic centre, a point of reference and a model for new fashions and trends. Even though not all the composers of works presented this evening were Italian, each in some way referred to what came from Italy – Mozart wrote his most famous operas to Italian lyrics by the excellent librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. We will hear well-known and much-loved examples of this inspired collaboration. The new, Romantic trends in Italian opera manifested themselves in a style whose name says it all: belcanto, which particularly emphasises the beauty, expression and virtuosity of the voice. Gaetano Donizetti was among its masters, and his arias will also be performed. Giuseppe Verdi, whose 120th death anniversary was celebrated this year, also imbued his brilliant works with this spirit. The outstanding artists will present a representative selection of the finest compositions by this great Italian musician.

Verdi’s successors both benefited from his achievements and polemicised with them. They created new trends, including verismo parallel to literary naturalism, which revolves around simple, often sad stories of ordinary people instead of focusing on stilted and pompous figures from distant history or mythology – here Pietro Mascagni, Ruggero Leoncavallo and the great Giacomo Puccini acquired great merits. Even the digressions – pieces composed by the Seine by Gounod and Massenet included in the programme – have an Italian context: both musicians were winners of the so-called Rome Prize, founded for the laureates of a prestigious competition in Paris to enable art students to study in Italy.

Piotr Maculewicz

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

Broadcast on YouTube channel and www.sinfoniaiuventus.pl 

The New Epiphanies Festival 2021

JPII"Who is able to stand?" is the slogan of the 12th edition of the New Epiphanies International Festival organised by the Centre for the Thought of John Paul II, a cultural institution of the Capital City of Warsaw. This year's edition will be held online between 17 February and 28 March 2021. The programme features nine theatre premieres, a series of early music concerts, workshops and a culinary event.

Last year's edition was interrupted by the pandemic. The organisers are curious how the artists will interpret the theme of the Festival this year. Behind the festival events stand new and exciting artistic discoveries as well as insights and ideas that allow one to move on, even from the most difficult position. The main theme of the 12th edition is the apocalypse understood both in the literal sense as a revelation, and in the sense given to it by tradition – as a catastrophe. Michał Senk, director of the Centre for the Thought of John Paul II, points out: "The leitmotif of this year's Festival – the apocalyptic 'Who is able to stand?' – is an opportunity to face the subject of the End Times in conditions in which we see that the biblical vision is penetrating directly into our reality”.

This year's theatrical programme consists of nine premieres, including Cassandra (21 February) directed by Zofia Gustowska with music by the guitarist and composer Michał Lazar. "In this year's early music programme, we look at different ends of the world: the extinction of genres, instruments and styles," emphasize Sonia Wronkowska and Łukasz Kozak, curators of the music programme. The futuristic approach, i.e. the biblical apocalypse, is just one of the possible interpretations of the theme of the Festival. The humanistic approach, in turn, draws attention to the fate of individual people, for example, great musicians falling victim to an epidemic. In history, we have experienced the great extinction of the clavichord or viola da gamba, Polish traditional music or the Earth's ecosystems. Stylistic breakthroughs brought an end to some music genres, and allowed others to develop”.

All Festival events – including the free ones – are ticketed.

Full programme is available at: www.noweepifanie.pl