Series / Portraits

Presents the achievements of individual Polish 20th- and 21st-century composers in the form of single-composer programmes
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Born 75 years ago, Wnuk-Nazarowa obtained her master’s degree from Krzysztof Penderecki’s class in 1974. Her professional life has been a long series of challenges and successes, and she is well-known for her achievements in the fields of education, management, and politics. She was, among others, the head of Cracow Philharmonic, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) in Katowice, and (in 1997–1999) – Minister of Culture.
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The eponymous piece, written for its current performer Jakob Kullberg, derives its title from the composer’s belief that creating a work of art calls for friction on both the conceptual and purely personal level. The other two concertos on VARIOUS FORMS OF FRICTION, released in PORTRAITS series, are Motions, Stases for piano and large ensemble (with Małgorzata Walentynowicz as soloist) and Open/Close for bass clarinet and large ensemble (soloist: Michele Marelli). The soloists perform here with Ensemble OMN under Szymon Bywalec.

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When asked to attempt a definition of her music, she called it lyrical expressionism. The choice of this term says much about the emotional intensity of Elżbieta Sikora’s music, which may reflect the experience of her two home countries, Poland and France, but is also a consequence of her artistic maturation in an age when two powerful trends – the avant-garde and neo-Classicism – were vying for the palm. Such a label may also result from the artist’s focus on the listener as her target, whom she invariably attempts to surprise, shock, or bewilder.
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The Stalowa Wola composers, also known as Generation ’51, hold a separate place in Polish contemporary music, one that justly deserves to be remembered. What Aleksander Lasoń, Andrzej Krzanowski, and Eugeniusz Knapik have in common is that they first came to public attention at the 1970s’ ‘Young Musicians for the Young City’ festival in Stalowa Wola, but also that they presented an ambivalent attitude to the avant-garde, drawing on its achievements but avoiding a rigid doctrinaire approach, and they let their music sound at least a note of romanticism.
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Marcin Stańczyk, pupil of, among others, Zygmunt Krauze and Ivan Fedele, is an artist who both seeks and finds solutions, asks questions and provides us with answers.
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"Singing and vocal music have accompanied me since my early childhood" – says Romuald Twardowski, born in 1930 in Vilnius. – "Popular tunes, songs hummed by my mother, the sounds of church choirs – all those things were invigorating my imagination."
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Born in 1907 in Podolia (now Ukraine), educated in Lviv and Warsaw, Roman Palester emigrated from Poland soon after WWII. He died in Paris in 1989. For many years he headed the cultural department of Radio Free Europe’s Polish section.
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Maciej Zieliński dedicates himself with equal enthusiasm to popular music (collaborations with Kayah and Ania Dąbrowska, among others), film soundtracks (such as Street Games and Humble Servants), and contemporary classical projects.
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