5.12.2023 - 12.12.2023 Events, Music, Polish-Jewish Relations

Musical Worlds of Polish-Jewish composers

Tuesday, December 5 at 7:00pm
Consulate General of the Republic of Poland
233 Madison Avenue (Jan Karski Corner)
New York, NY 10016

Thursday, December 7 at 7:30pm
The Kosciuszko Foundation
15E 65th Street
New York, NY 10065

Monday, December 11 at 7:00pm
The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, D.C.
2640 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Tuesday, December 12 at 12:15pm
LeFrak Concert Hall, Music Building
Queens College
65-30 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY
The concert will be also broadcasted live on YouTube.

Polish Chamber Musicians’ Association will present concerts in New York and Washington, DC featuring works by Simon Laks, Mieczysław Weinberg, Ignaz Friedman, Roman Ryterband, Grzegorz Fitelberg and Ignaz Waghalter. Performed by Joanna Kreft (violin), Bartosz Koziak (cello), Magdalena Molendowska (soprano), Bartłomiej Wezner (piano) and Grzegorz Mania (piano).

This project is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland and co-financed by the Małopolska Region. Presented in partnership with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York, Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, D.C., Polish Cultural Institute New York, The Kosciuszko Foundation, Queens College, and USC Thornton Polish Music Center.

Joanna Kreft (violin) started playing the violin at the age of six with Barbara Zbrzyska, and then continued her education with Maria Langowska and Krystyna Jurecka. In 2013, she graduated the I. J. Padarewski Academy of Music in Poznan under supervision Marcin Baranowski. In 2019, she graduated the baroque violin under Aureliusz Goliński in The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. Joanna won the Grand Prix at the Music Festival and Masterclass in Piła (2012) and International Competition for Concert with Hamburger Camerata (2017). She received two special awards in the 14th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznań (2011). In 2015, as a member a Herbert Duo, she was laureate of The Violin and Piano Masterclasses in Lausanne leaded by Pierre Amoyale and Anne Queffelec. Moreover, she participated in master courses with the professors, as: Pamela Frank, Riccardo Minasi, Nabuko Imai, Sadao Harada, Xiaoming Wang, Nam Yun Kim and Viktor Pikajzen. In 2013 she has participated in The Seiji Ozawa Academy in Switzerland. Joanna performed as a soloist, among others, with the Münchener Kammerorchester, Arte dei Suonatori, Concerto Copenhagen conducted by Lars Urlik Mortensen, Hamburger Camerata, Chamber Orchestra for the Polish Radio Amadeus, Aukso conducted, Polish Philharmonic Orchestras and The State Youth Orchestra of Armenia. In 2013, she participated in Seiji Ozawa Academy in Switzerland. Joanna has recorded music for Mezzo, Radio Television Suisse – Espace 2, Second Channel of the Polish Radio and Danmarks Radio Program 2. She was a recipient of scholarships awarded to her by the Minister of Culture -the Young Poland Scholarship Programme and the Hans and Eugenia Jütting Foundation.

Bartłomiej Wezner (piano) is one of the most versatile pianists of his generation: a soloist, a chamber music instrumentalist, a teacher, and a promoter of culture. Mr. Wezner is the winner of a number of international chamber music competitions: St Martin’s Chamber Music Competition (2011, London – 1st prize), 16 Premio Trio di Trieste (2015, Triest – 3rd prize), Academie de Musique de Lausanne (2015, Lausanne – laureate), the 50th International Vocal Competition ‘s-Hertogenbosch (2014, Holland – laureate of the Lied Duo category) as well as the 17th International Kiejstut Bacewicz Chamber Music Competition in Łodz (2010 – 3rd prize). He won the best pianist awards at the vocal competitions in Warsaw (2007), Katowice (2008), Łodz (2009), Sopot (2010), and Częstochowa (2013). As a soloist, he won the Special Prize at 6th International I.J. Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz (2004) as well as an Honorary Mention at the 15th International L. Janáček Piano Competition in Brno (2008, Czech Republic). Born in Nysa in 1981, he graduated from the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz in the class of the piano taught by Professor Ewa Pobłocka (2006). In the years 2002-2004 he also studied under Professor Jerzy Sulikowski. At the same time he learned the harpsichord with Professor Urszula Bartkiewicz. In 2013 he completed his doctoral studies with the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, and, in 2019 habilitation. In 2014, started working at the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz as Assistant Professor as well as the dean of the Inter- Departmental Faculty of Piano Chamber Music. Additionally, Mr. Wezner works as the Chancellor of the Paderewski Piano Academy in Bydgoszcz as well as the artistic director of the Music at the Blumwe Villa festival. Bartłomiej Wezner’s performing aesthetics has been influenced by master classes taught by such world-renowned artists as Maestro Janoš Starker, Stephen Kovacevich, Raphaël Pidoux (Wanderer Trio), Ewa Podleś, Kevin Kenner, Maja Nosowska, and Marcin Sikorski. He has performed with outstanding musicians: Vadim Brodski, Maria Machowska, Joanna Kreft, Agata Schmidt, and Ingrida Gápova. He is the pianist and the founder of the following ensembles: BMF Piano Trio, Herbert Piano Trio, Surrealistic Five. Together with his father and his siblings they form a unique family quartet Wezner Ensemble. As a harpsichord player he has cooperated with the Capella Bydgostiensis chamber orchestra as well as early music ensemble Illo tempore. He has played in Poland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Sweden, Greece, Germany, Serbia, Montenegro, Switzerland, Great Britain, Italy and the United States. As a soloist he has performed with Capella Bydgostiensis, the Toruń Symphony Orchestra, the Opole Philharmonic, the Lviv National Chamber Orchestra Akademia and the Bydgoszcz Philharmonics, among others. In the past, he was the piano tutor at the Maestra Terasa Żylis-Gara Vocal Master Course in the Radziejowice Palace (2008), Young Singers of Małopolska workshops ran by Professors Helena Łazarska and Zofia Kilanowicz in Nowy Sącz (2012), Thomas Hampson’s Master Course at the Gorzów Philharmonic (2014) as well as the official pianist of the 14th, 15th and 16th XIV, XV i XVI International Ada Sari Vocal Art. Competition in Nowy Sącz (2011, 2013, 2015), the 9th International Stanisław Moniuszko Vocal Competition in Warsaw (2016), International Karol Szymanowski Competition in Katowice (2018) and 4th International Karol Lipiński Violin Competition in Toruń (2019). Mr Wezner has been the recipient of the following scholarships from the following institutions: the Piano Texas Festival and Academy in Fort Worth (2006, USA), the International Dartington Summer School (2012, Great Britain), the Beethoven Haus in Bonn (2015, Germany) as well as the Marshall of the Kuyavyan-Pomeranian region (2011, 2012, 2017) and the Minister of Culture’s Young Poland scholarship (2012). The pianist is equally adept at the classical repertoire as well as the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. He has performed at world premier performances and recordings of compositions by Hanna Kulenty, Zbigniew Bargielski, Roxanna Panufnik, Marcin Masecki, and Michał Dobrzyński, among others.

Bartosz Koziak (cello) is the winner of the 3rd Witold Lutoslawski International Cello Competition in 2001 in Warsaw, Poland, a winner of the 2nd prize at the International Cello Competition in Tongyeong (Korea) in 2006 (“Isang Yun in memoriam”), winner of the 2nd prize at the Mikola Lysenko Competition in Kiev in 2007 as well as winner of the International Contemporary Chamber Music Competition in Kraków, a laureate and a winner of a special prize at the Prague Spring Music Festival in 2006. Bartosz Koziak also received prizes at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2002 and the ARD competition in Münich in 2005. In 2003, he received a special prize of the Polish Cultural Foundation awarded by Ewa Podleś. Bartosz Koziak is a holder of a scholarship granted by the French government and a participant in the programme of the Polish Ministry of Culture “Młoda Polska”. He performed at Konzerthaus in Berlin, Rudolfinum in Prague, Teatro Politeama in Palermo, Studio of Witold Lutoslawski, Khachaturian Hall in Yerevan, the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. As a soloist, Bartosz Koziak collaborated with the Polish National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice, Sinfonia Varsovia, Sinfonietta Cracovia, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Concerto Budapest (under Andras Keller), Armenian State Orchestra (under Sergey Smbatayan), Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, radio orchestras in Warsaw and Budapest, as well as a majority of philharmonic halls in Poland conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki, Jan Krenz, Antoni Wit, Gabriel Chmura, Jacek Kaspszyk, Tan Dun and Massimiliano Caldi. Since 2007 he plays in piano trio with the violinist Kaja Danczowska and the pianist Justyna Danczowska. He is invited to renowned festivals, such as Warsaw Autumn, L. van Beethoven Easter Festival, Mecklemburg Vorpommen, Young Euro Classic in Berlin, Chopin and his Europe. Bartosz Koziak is for many years playing with the pianist Agnieszka Kozło as well as with the violonist Anna Maria Staśkiewicz. In the recent years Bartosz Koziak has been regularly invited for participation at concert projects of Krzysztof Penderecki. He participated in the first recording of “Concerto Grosso” conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki and made several recordings for Polish Radio. Bartosz Koziak graduated in the class of Prof. Kazimierz Michalik and Andrzej Bauer at the Fryderyk Chopin University in Warsaw, receiving a “Magna cum Laude” distinction and completed Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris in the class of Philippe Muller. Thanks to the kindness of Kaja Danczowska he plays on a 19th c. copy of J.B. Guadagnini’s instrument, previously used by the outstanding Polish cellist Dezyderiusz Danczowski during his concerts.

Grzegorz Mania (piano) graduated with distinction from the Music Academy in Krakow, where he studied piano under Professor Stefan Wojtas. He is also a graduate (distinction) of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was tutored by Martin Roscoe, Charles Owen and Caroline Palmer. Grzegorz is also a graduate of the Jagiellonian University, where he read law and recently obtained a PhD for a dissertation about music and copyright (awarded by the Polish Ministry of Science). He works as a soloist, with orchestra, as an accompanist and chamber musician, as well as regularly duetting with Alicja Smietana, Romana Szczepaniak, Maria Slawek, violinists and Piotr Rozanski, pianist. He is a member of the Extra Sounds Ensemble – the group has recently recorded a CD for Solo Musica, Munchen with pieces by Corelli, Vivaldi, Schnittke and Kreisler. Grzegorz played in many important halls and during many national and international festivals in Poland and abroad – UK, France, Austria, Italy, Norway, Iceland, Vietnam, Israel, USA. Performing at the International Chamber Music Workshops in Pulawy (Poland, 2003-2005), he has also been a finalist in a number of international solo and chamber competitions from 2002 to the present. He won numerous awards for an outstanding accompaniment during national and international instrumental competitions. He has played in master- classes by, among others, Jerome Rose, Victor Rosenbaum, Wolfgang Redik, Tadeusz Gadzina, Anthony Spiri, Peter S. Buck, Piotr Reichert; and has received coaching from Alexander Baillie, Ewa Bukojemska, Krzysztof Smietana, Wiesław Kwasny, Altenberg Trio, Alisdair Beatson, Carole Presland, Krzysztof Chorzelski and Jan Janski. Grzegorz is a co-founder and president of the Polish Chamber Musicians’ Association. He is an author of a book “Music and copyright law”, as well as a co-author of an innovative sight-reading handbook for pianists publishedby prestigious PWM Edition, famous from its edition.

Magdalena Molendowska (soprano) graduated with honors from S. Moniuszko Music Academy in Gdańsk and Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she has been awarded the prestigious Gold Medal in her final year. In 2008 she was a member of the Opera Studio Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where she worked with Renata Scotto. At the moment she is at a vocal guidance of Yvonne Kenny. While studying at the GSMD Opera Course she was working under the guidance of Rudolf Piernay. She had also a priviledge to attend masterclasses of such artists as Gerald Finley, Anita Garanca, Helena Łazarska or Claudio Desderi. Her wide repertoire includes songs, oratorios and cantatas. In London Barbican Hall she presented songs by K. Szymanowski and A. Dvořak. Invited by Malcolm Martineau she recorded Huit chansons polonaises by F. Poulenc on the Poulenc vol.4 album. She is salso interested in contemporary music, for example she made first performance of Rythmi Urbani cantata by K. Dębski. Together with pianist Julia Samojło, a unique recording of the song of the eminent Polish emigrant composer Zygmunt Stojowski.
Since 2011 she has been a soloist of the Polish National Opera in Warsaw, where she made her debut at in Jakob Lenz by Wolfgang Rihm. In the 2012/13 season she returned to the Polish National Opera to perform the title role in Halka by Stanisław Moniuszko. She currently cooperates with Wroclaw Opera House, Krakow Opera House, Opera i Filharmonia Podlaska, Glyndebourne Festival and Baden-Baden Festspiele. Her operatic repertoire consists of such roles by W.A. Mozart as: Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Contessa Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito and Arminda in La Finta Giardiniera. In her repertory list you will find also: Marguerite and Elena in Mefistofele A. Boito, Micaëla in Carmen G. Bizet, Mimi in La Boheme by G. Puccini, Tatiana in Eugene Onegin P. Tchaikovsky, Kurfürstin in Der Vogelhändler C. Zeller, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus J. Strauss and Mother in Hansel and Gretel by E. Humperdinck. In 2016 she appeared in the title role in Tosca by G. Puccini, in Wrocław Opera House production. In 2014 Magdalena Molendowska has debuted as A Milliner (Der Rosenkavalier) and Aninna (La Traviata) during Glyndebourne Festival with which in 2016 she has toured as Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni). The last season has brought her return as Halka to Polish National Opera and her appearance for the first time in Warsaw Chamber Opera as Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro. In 2019 she made her very well received debut as Katerina in The Greek Passion at Opera North, as well as in Silesia Philharmonic, where she sung the soprano part in Deutches Requiem by Brahms. Recently Naxos released a CD containing the recording of the opera Halka by S. Moniuszko under the baton of Gabriel Chmura and where miss Molendowska sung the title role. Among the upcoming events in 2021 it is worth to name the Magdalena Molendowska’s role and house debut as Leonore in Fidelio by Beethoven this Autumn and performing solo part in the XXI Symphony “Kaddish” by M. Wajnberg in Pomeranian Philharmonic Hall in Bydgoszcz. She is actively involved in the activities of the Association of Polish Chamber Musicians in cooperation with which she implements several important artistic projects. She is a PhD student at the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz.

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