Sszymanowski Quartet: (from left) Vladimir Mykytka, Grzegorz Kotów, Marcin Sieniawski and Andrej Bielow. Photo by Marco Borggreve

Marking the 20th anniversary of Andrzej Panufnik's death, a concert in his name features globally-recognised performers and gives audiences the opportunity to listen to the most accomplished works of Polish chamber music by outstanding Polish composers Szymanowski, Panufnik and Zarębski at Cadogan Hall in London.

The programme has been specially compiled as a means of introducing audiences to the most significant works in Polish music history. Featuring Poland's most outstanding musicians, including internationally acclaimed Ukrainian-born soprano soloist Olga Pasichnyk, American pianist Kevin Kenner and the Polish-Ukrainian Szymanowski Quartet. The ensemble performs the works of Polish chamber music by two of the greatest 20th-century composers Karol Szymanowski and Juliusz Zarębski. An extraordinary moment of the concert comes with the specially arranged transcript of work by Roxanna Panufnik, played as a tribute to her father.

Panufnik's Second Home, in a new version for piano quintet and voice, recalls her Polish roots in its cunning variations on a rural tune. Szymanowski's Kurpian Songs reflect his fascination for his country's folk tradition and his Second String Quartet the tang and rhtymic impetus of the local music of the Tatra mountains. The Piano Quintet by Juliusz Zarębski, dedicated to Liszt, opens up vistas of Polish Romanticism.

The concert takes place the day after the twenty year anniversary of Andrzej Panufnik's death (which falls on the 27th of October). Both artists and organisers have dedicated the concert in memory of Andrzej Panufnik.

Olga Pasiecznik a rising soprano of the Warsaw Chamber Opera, Pasiecznik also performs the works of contemporary composers. She studied at the Kiev Conservatory and the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music. She has since performed in European concert halls, such as Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Salle Pleyel, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Berlin, Bozar Brussels, De Doelen Rotterdam as well as Japan, the USA and Australia. Her previous Szymanowski recordings have won the artist the coveted 'Fryderyk' award in Polish music. She has recorded 45 CDs to date.

Kevin Kenner, a pianist, is a previous recipient of the top prize at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw (together with the Peoples' Prize and prize for the best Polonaise), the recipient of the International Terrence Judd Award in London, and the bronze medal at the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow (together with the prize for best performance of a Russian work).It was the first time an American pianist managed to win prizes in both the Chopin and Tchaikovsky Competitions. He also won prizes at the Van Cliburn International Competition (Fort Worth, 1989) and the Gina Bachauer International Competition (Salt Lake City, 1988). Kenner's achievements have won him critical acclaim throughout the world. He has been praised as "one of the finest American pianists to come along in years" (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune). His recordings are distributed internationally and include many discs of Chopin works as well as recordings of Ravel, Schumann, Beethoven and Piazzolla. He now resides in Krakow and London, where he teaches at the Royal College of Music.

The Szymanowski Quartet, founded in Warsaw in 1995, has developed into one of the most exceptional international string quartets of its generation. The ensemble studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hanover under Hatto Beyerle. They have performed at festivals and concert halls in Europe, the United States, Asia, Australia and South America. The Quartet's extraordinarily high standard has been confirmed by numerous awards and distinctions. They received first prizes at the "Premio Vittorio Gui" Competition in Florence and the "In Memoriam Dimitri Schostakowitsch" in Hanover, winners at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. In 2005 they were honored with the "Szymanowski Award" of the Karol Szymanowski Foundation in Warsaw, the only time ever given to a string quartet. In 2007 they were awarded the Medal of Honor by the Polish government for their service to Polish culture. The Szymanowski Quartet includes Andrej Bielow, violin, Grzegorz Kotów, violin, Vladimir Mykytka, viola, Marcin Sieniawski, violoncello.

Polish Chamber Music Gems programme:

Karol Szymanowski, Kurpian Songs op. 58, selections (1930-1932)
Lecioły zórazie
U jeziorecka

Ściani dumbek

Wysła burzycka
Leć głosie po rosie
Bzicem kunia
(encore: Zarzyjże kuniu)

Karol Szymanowski, String Quartet No. 2, Op. 56 (1927)
Moderato, dolce e tranquillo
Vivace, scherzando
Lento

Roxanna Panufnik, Second Home, arranged for piano, string quartet and voice (2011)

Juliusz Zarębski, Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 34 (1885)
Allegro
Adagio
Scherzo
Finale

The Polish Chamber Music Gems concert takes place on the 28th of October, 2011 at 19:30 at the Cadogan Hall in London.

Cadogan Hall
5 Sloane Terrace
London, SW1X  9DQ

Box office: 020 7730 4500

www.cadoganhall.com

Project cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute

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