Dedicated to news and information about the activities of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles. Since 1971, we have been promoting Polish art and culture in California through events, lectures, exhibitions, film screenings, concerts, book readings, and more...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas and New Year's Wishes

After a cheerful and lovely Christmas Party (December 11, 2010) at an elegant and beautifully decorated home of Jola and Alex Wilk in Anaheim Hills, Club members and friends will gather at another celebration: New Year's Eve Party at the Long Beach Petroleum Club. Our theme is nostalgic and typically Polish - "In a Winter Wonderland..." There will be magic in the air, as we will welcome the New Year together...

After that, we will enjoy a trip to Tibet with Edward and Maria Pilatowicz, at the hospitable home of Monique and David Lehman (January 22), study Mickiewicz with Prof. Leonard Kress and Roman Koropeckyj (February 19, Ruskin Art Club), take a trip into space with NASA engineers (March 26, JPL), share a delight in the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz (April 16), and relish many other inspirations with Polish music and culture. Current information is now posted on a new server, at modjeskaclub.org; while the general information and Club history is available at modjeska.org.



I would like to end the year on a more personal note and share my wishes including two poems on the theme of Christmas. For the holiday season, I was asked to write something "Christmasy" for the party of Little Landers Historical Society at Bolton Hall in Tujunga. I thought that a recent poem for a married couple celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary would fit it quite well, if there was a carol in the text. I chose to quote a carol that remains one of the most beloved Polish carols, cited by Fryderyk Chopin in his Scherzo in B-minor, op. 20.


Married Christmas

May your path be smooth, and your sunlight mellow
~ an old blessing

He said - “You are the apple of my eye”
She said - “Let us have tea for two”

Steam rises from bronze liquid
freshly-baked szarlotka waits its turn
scent of cinnamon sweetens the air
the music box plays an ancient carol

Lulajże, Jezuniu, moja perełko,
Lulaj ulubione me pieścidełko


She does not have to finish –
one glance and he knows
after thirty-five years together
faithful like cranes on a Chinese etching

Their looking glass is hidden away
in a box of treasures they don’t need
to find blessings
among daily crumbs of affection

* * * * * * * *

The carol's text incipit means: “Hush, hush, Baby Jesus, my little pearl, my lovely little darling…” – This ancient Polish carol is a simple lullaby, filled with tender love for the infant, held in the arms of his gentle mother. There are many lullabies among Polish carols; the focus of Polish Christmas is on the baby and his mother, on the familial love that binds them. The Lulajże Jezuniu carol is sung throughout the Christmas holiday season, from Christmas Eve to February 2nd, the Candlemas.



Last year, I was traveling close to Christmas, and the empty airports were full of fake cheer, recorded Christmas carols blaring from the loudspeakers and tinsel with childish decorations everywhere.

The poem I wrote about that is similar in tone to the "Married Christmas" - extolling the virtue of the subtle affection, gentle understanding of a shared life, the true family virtue...




Rules for Happy Holy Days


Don’t play Christmas carols
at the airport. Amidst the roar
of jet engines, they will spread
a blanket of loneliness
over the weary, huddled masses,
trying not to cry out for home.

Don’t put Christmas light on a poplar.
With branches swathed in white
galaxies, under yellow leaves, the tree
will become foreign, like the skeleton
of an electric fish, deep in the ocean.

Clean the windows from the ashes
of last year’s fires. Glue the wings
of a torn paper angel. Brighten
your home with the fresh scent
of pine needles and rosemary.

Take a break from chopping almonds
to brush the cheek of your beloved
with the back of your hand,
just once, gently. Smile and say:
“You look so nice, dear,
you look so nice.”

* * * * * * * *

This is the poetry of a moment in the kitchen, home cooking meals of the season and sharing a togetherness and affection that is quite beyond words, yet forms the very fabric of life. I hope all of Modjeska Club members will enjoy many such tender moments of love that fills each moment with meaning!

Best wishes to all!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Concert and "Sylwester"

On Saturday, December 11, 2010, at 6:00 p.m. members and guests of the Modjeska Club will celebrate the holiday season with a Christmas Concert at a private mansion in Anaheim, CA.

The event will feature Polish musicians, guitarist Arek Niezgoda, violist and jazz singer Karolina Naziemiec, and Bulgarian cellist Irina Chirkova. Their short Classical Music Program will be followed by Polish Christmas Carols Sing-Along, led by Karolina, with the support lent by Arek and Irina.

The musicians will have their CDs available for purchase and their performances will be filmed for Polish TV. Our festivities will feature a buffet dinner catered by Teresa Turek, elegant Polish desserts and holiday music.

PROGRAM:

  • 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – Welcome
  • 6:30 p.m. – Sharing of the Oplatek
  • 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – Polish Dinner Buffet, catered by Teresa Turek
  • 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Festive Music for Guitar and Strings
  • Ludwig van Beethoven -Duet ' with two eyeglasses obligato' /10 min./, Karolina Naziemiec- viola and Irina Chirkova -cello
  • Arkadiusz Niezgoda – Adelita Variations on a Theme by Francisco Tarrega (2010) /20 min./

  • 8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. - Polish Christmas Carols Sing-Along led by Karolina Naziemiec and accompanied by Arek Niezgoda and Irina Chirkova.
  • 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. – Desserts

    Texts for the following carols will be distributed for the audience: Wśród nocnej ciszy, Anioł pasterzom mówił, Pójdźmy wszyscy do stajenki, Przybieżeli do Betlejem, Dzisiaj w Betlejem, Triumfy Króla Niebieskiego, Gdy się Chrystus rodzi, Jezus malusieńki, Lulajże Jezuniu, Gdy śliczna panna, Oj maluśki, maluśki, W żłobie leży, Mizerna cicha, stajenka licha, Ach ubogi żłobie, Mędrcy świata, Bóg się rodzi, O come, all ye faithful, The first noel, Away in a manger, and Cicha noc.

    If you bring your favorite dance music, we will be able to listen to it and pick the “greatest hits” for our New Year’s Eve Party.

    PERFORMERS:

    KAROLINA NAZIEMIEC is a Polish violist and vocalist who has been training, teaching and performing in the United States since 2000. Ms. Naziemiec appeared with many orchestras in Poland, Germany, France, Belgium, Japan , and USA and participated in numerous music festivals throughout the world. In the U.S., she has performed with The Los Angeles Opera, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, The American Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall in New York City and in Los Angeles, The Aspen Music Festival Orchestra in Aspen, and The Jewish Symphony Orchestra in Los Angeles, among others. She holds a M.A. degree in viola from the famous Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. In 2008-09 she was teaching at the Idyllwild Summer Festival as viola coach. She's also performed as a vocalist in Los Angeles, and has recorded in scoring sessions at studios such as Warner Brothers, Fox, Sony and Paramount. To learn more about Ms. Naziemiec go to her website, www.karolinanaziemiec.com

    ARKADIUSZ (AREK) NIEZGODA: In 1978, while his mother was pregnant with him, Arek first time heard his father practicing guitar pieces by Bach, Tarrega and other composers. When he was six years old, Niezgoda began playing piano and guitar. Arek graduated from Warsaw University’s Department of Musicology. He came to California two years ago considering Los Angeles a place where music has all the needed "liberty, sun and a great market too." As a self-taught composer and classic guitar player, Niezgoda was always worked to avoid overly academic influences. He wants to keep his compositions somewhere in-between universities and musical wilderness. This is his one of a kind musical path – that he believes leads to the undiscovered – Promised Land.

    ADELITA VARIATIONS - is a set of Classic Guitar Pieces composed in 2010. The main theme is taken from Adelita - Mazurka - composed by Francisco Tarrega (21 November 1852 – 15 December 1909), an influential Spanish composer and guitarist of the Romantic period: www.tarrega-niezgoda.com

    IRINA CHIRKOVA: Originally from Bulgaria, Irina came overseas in 1997 when she attended The Boston Conservatory and graduated with a BM and MM. As a performer, she won multiple competitions such an American String Teachers' Association Competition, II Prize in MA; performed multiple times as a soloist with an orchestra, one of which was her own arrangement of Dvorak's Cello Concerto adopted for two violins, a cello, two DJs and an orchestra (performed with Orchestra X, Houston, TX). Irina is an electric cellist as well. As a teacher, she was a founder of the First Cello Competition at Brookline Music School, MA, where she was a String Department Coordinator and a member of the Cello Faculty for seven years. From 2001 until 2005, she was a Teaching Assistant at Wellesley College, MA. Irina has performed multiple times as a soloist for Bill Clinton and the former Governor of MA, Mitt Romney. Some of her recent performances include performing with Kanye West and Elan Artists. She has performed for Yo-Yo Ma, Bernard Greenhouse, Aldo Parisot, Timothy Eddy, Tokyo String Quartet, Norman Fischer and Andor Toth. Currently, she is a band/group member of Novel3 Trio, Rouge ensemble, CCBONNES and the Chamber Pop. Irina is a faculty member at Santa Monica Music Center, Cornerstone Music Conservatory and Neighborhood Music School, CA.

    CHAMBER POP ENSEMBLE: Arek, Karolina and Irina are members of Chamber Pop Ensemble which performs pop songs arranged for Classic Guitar/Piano and String Quartet. This crossover group involves musicians from Pop/Rock and Classic Music World. www.chamberpop.com and www.myspace.com/chamberpopensemble

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    SYLWESTER - POLISH NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY


    Our New Year's Eve Party will be held at the elegant Long Beach Petroleum Club (Terrace Room). There are only 12 seats left and we will open the reservations to guests on November 30. The $80 per person ticket includes: dinner with a choice of entree, two drink tickets, glass of champagne at midnight, chocolate cake for dessert, and appetizers served at night. Dinner served at 8 p.m., dancing until 1 p.m., cash bar available on site. Music will be provided by DJ Richar Mojica, who will play an assortment of favorite dance music, from ballroom, through rock, golden oldies, to salsa, including Polish dance music, and a Polonaise at midnight!

    _________________________________________

    EVENTS IN THE SPRING OF 2011


  • January 22, 2011, 6:30 p.m. (Saturday) - Travel to Tibet with Edward and Maria Pilatowicz, screening of film and conversations with long-time club members and past-presidents. Home of Monique and David Lehman, Pasadena.

  • February 19, 2011, 6:30 p.m. (Saturday) - Mickiewicz Today, conversation with Prof. Roman Koropeckyj, UCLA, Mickiewicz Scholar and Prof. Leonard Kress, Owens College, poet and translator of Pan Tadeusz into English. Illustrated with fragments of Andrzej Wajda's "Pan Tadeusz" in Polish. Conversation in English. The Ruskin Art Club, Los Angeles.

  • March 19, 2011, 6:30 p.m. (Saturday) - What's New in Space? Andrew Z. Dowen presents updates from NASA. Joint meeting with Polacy in Inland Empire Club. South Pasadena Public Library Historic Lecture Room, with documentary film screening.

  • April 16, 2011, 6:30 p.m. - Milosz in My Life, conversation with poets John Guzlowski and Cecilia Woloch, about Czeslaw Milosz, Nobel-Prize winning poet, whose year is celebrated in 2011. The Ruskin Art Club, Los Angeles.
  • Friday, November 19, 2010

    Cabaret of Clubs, November 21

    The Modjeska Club presents a Cabaret Show, “To Save from Oblivion: The Cabaret of Jeremi Przybora and Jerzy Wasowski” illustrated with songs from the Old Gents’ Cabaret (Kabaret Starszych Panów). The program, directed by Jolanta Siemieniewska will be performed by members of Club PIE, Poles in Inland Empire. The event will take place at the elegant private club, Long Beach Petroleum Club (3636 Linden Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90807-4068, tel. 562-427-7966) at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, 21 November 2010.

    The program is based on ”Leksykon-Ostatni Naiwni Kabaretu Starszych Panów” (Roman Dziewoński, Monika i Grzegorz Wasowscy) and on internet sources. Playbook and Direction: Jolanta Siemieniewska; Consultation, Sound and Lighting: Gwido Zlatkes; Management: Witold Frączek; MCs: Zofia Czechowicz and Witold Frączek: Performers: members of Club PIE. This is our friendly partner club in Riverside presenting many cultural and scientific meetings and events for local Polonia. Details: www.klubpie.com.

    This event is free for Modjeska Club members and the package includes a light supper with hors-d’oeuvres and beverages such as tea and coffee (for those interested, a full-service cash bar will be available throughout the evening). We will be collecting a fee of $20 per person from our guests. The parking is free.

    The following songs by Przybora and Wasowski will be presented:

  • Kuplety Starszych Panów - Wojtek Gawecki & Teodor Przymusiński
  • Wezwanie - Wojtek Gawecki
  • Przeklnę Cię - Jolanta Siemieniewska & Teodor Przymusiński
  • W czasie deszczu dzieci się nudzą - Katarzyna Gawecka
  • Zosia i ułani - Jolanta Siemieniewska & Bartek Pankowski
  • Zobowiązanie - Wojtek Gawecki & Teodor Przymusiński & Agnieszka Cooper
  • Jak pan się trzyma - Jolanta Siemieniewska & Teodor Przymusiński
  • O koniu (skecz) - Basia Gałaj & Bartek Pankowski
  • Rodzina - Katarzyna & Wojtek Gawecki
  • Kaziu, zakochaj się - Irena Tomaszewska & Teodor Przymusiński
  • Odrobina mężczyzny na co dzień - Katarzyna Gawecka & Irena Tomaszewska
  • Na całej połaci śnieg - Basia Gałaj
  • Addio, pomidory (nagranie)
  • Dziecię tkaczy - Bartek Pankowski
  • Pejzaż bez ciebie (nagranie)
  • Piosenka jest dobra na wszystko - zespól

    The spectacle is a labor of love by the following team of dedicated artists:
    Jolanta Siemieniewska (playbook & direction), Gwido Zlatkes (consultation, lighting, sound), Ann Frenkel (piano and vocals), Dasia Bytnerowicz, Anna Gawecka, Jola Siemieniewska (graphic design and stage decor), Wojtek Gawecki (multimedia), and Witold Frączek (management).

    ____________________________________________________

    MODJESKA CLUB PLANS FOR THE 2010-2011 HOLIDAY SEASON


    A reminder that during the holiday season our plans include the following events:

  • 11 December – Arek Niezgoda and Karolina Naziemiec present music for guitar and viola, followed by a Holiday Party with Polish carols sing-along; private residence in Orange County

  • 31 December – New Year’s Eve Party (please RSVP and send your checks by 30 November, there are only 18 seats left!);

  • 22 January – In Tibet with Marysia and Edward Piłatowicz.

  • Other events in 2011 are planned for: 19 February, 19 March, 16 April, 21 May, and 25 June. We will try to keep these dates, while filling in the program details.

  • Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Chopin Songs by Wryk and Kosmieja

    The month of October was filled with a whirlwind of activities of the Modjeska Club. We are still very, very busy in planning the next three events - for November 21, December 11, and December 31. In six months, Modjeska Club will have presented nine programs, ranging from film screenings and ballet spectacles, to concerts, interviews, and award ceremonies. We are also thinking about the whole 2011 season!

    Nonetheless, the month of October in the Chopin Year "belongs" to Chopin. His death anniversary is on October 17. On October 10, 2010, we hosted two wonderful young musicians from New York, students from the Manhattan School of Music, already engaged in a variety of professional activities. Mezzosoprano Marta Wryk and pianist Adam Kosmieja gave a free Concert of Romantic Music celebrating the 200th birth anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin at the South Pasadena Library Community Room. The engaging and well-presented program included songs and piano works by Chopin and songs by Antonin Dvorak.

    Adam Kosmieja set the tone for the evening with a dramatic interpretation of Chopin's Etude in C Minor, Op. 10, No. 12, "Revolutionary." The fluid waves of arpeggios and anguished drama of internal voices evoked the feelings of turmoil and helplessness recorded in Chopin's famous Stuttgart Diary. The emotional intensity of the music came to life under the pianist's fingers with youthful zeal and freshness.

    Ms. Wryk divided the songs by Chopin into two sets, framing those of Dvorak and interspersed with Chopin's piano pieces. Chopin composed songs all his life; he wrote for his friends, family, and for salon entertainment. He gave them as special, personal gifts and souvenirs written into albums of his admirers, friends, and family members. He did not think these songs were good enough to be published and left instructions to destroy them along with all unpublished works after he died. Had these wishes been followed, the world would have suffered a tremendous loss. Despite Chopin's insistence, these musical gems were gathered and published after his death by his friend and confidante, Julian Fontana, who found and annotated 17 songs from Opus 74 (two more songs were added later).

    The first song on the program, Zyczenie (A Wish, or A Maiden's Wish), remains the best known and the most beloved among Chopin's songs, reaching the level of popularity that would have transformed it into a folk song, had it been easier to sing.

    Its delightful interpretation by Ms. Wryk was enhanced with her lovely gestures, as if catching the sunlight, spreading arms widely in exuberance, turning around... She was, in turn, coy, bashful, and joyous - and a joy to behold. A classic, Slavic beauty, in an elegant, purple, satin evening gown, she transported us to a romantic salon of Chopin's time. The engaging presentation of the music served to amplify the main asset of Ms. Wryk as a singer: her fantastic voice. Rich and flexible, her "instrument" easily filled the large hall, reaching out to each individual listener. Her intonation and phrasing were impeccable.

    Her emotional range was further revealed in the poignant interpretation of Smutna Rzeka (Sorrowful River), Where he likes / Gdzie lubi (Where he likes), Śliczny chłopiec (A Beautiful Lad), Hulanka (A Wild Party), and Wojak (A Soldier). Ms. Wryk also gave a beguiling interpretation of a set of energetic, amusing, and melancholy Gypsy Songs by Antonin Dvorak. She sang the Czech songs quite differently than the pieces by Chopin, revealing a flexibility of a true artist. The fluid melodies and seductive rhythms of Gypsy music were amplified by Adam Kosmieja's lively accompaniment, sparkling with wit and expression.

    Mr. Kosmieja's interpretative talents were apparent in two sets of Chopin's piano pieces: three Mazurkas from Op. 56 (written in 1843 and published in 1844) and the Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 53. More sophisticated and complex musically than Chopin's early works of this type, the Mazurkas Op. 56 showcased the pianist's virtuosity and expressive scope. Kosmieja skillfully highlighted the strong echoes of folklore in the second piece from the set, Mazurka in C Major. The melancholy final piece called for an ability to structure a larger form which was also apparent in the noble, "Heroic" Polonaise, truly inspired and inspirational. The Polonaise provided a rousing finale to the recital, and was followed by another rendition of Zyczenie as an encore welcomed by a standing ovation. The full program of the concert is listed below.

    On Monday, October 11, 2010, Ms. Wryk and Mr. Kosmieja attended a meeting of the American Jewish Committee, held in the elegant residence of Helena and Stanley Kolodziey in Beverly Hills and hosted by Helena and Wanda Presburger. The keynote speaker Ruth Gruber and the guests were treated to a special mini-recital, consisting of just three pieces: two Chopin songs, Zyczenie (A Wish) and Melodia (A Melody), and the Revolutionary Etude.

    Having heard the first song, a setting of a love poem by Stefan Witwicki, many times, I was again delighted by its youthful sweetness. The mature, haunting rendition of Melodia impressed the listeners with its profundity of emotion. Zygmunt Krasinski's poem was amplified in Chopin's setting by an emphasis on the desolate loneliness of the "forgotten" heroes, whose struggles were in vain. This interpretation of Melodia proved beyond any doubt that Ms. Wryk is a great artist, destined for international success.



    PROGRAM


    Fryderyk Chopin - Etude in C Minor, Op. 10, No. 12, "Revolutionary"
    Adam Kośmieja - Piano

    Fryderyk Chopin - Selected Songs, Op. 74

    Marta Wryk – Mezzosoprano
    Adam Kośmieja – Piano

    o A Wish / Życzenie
    o Lithuanian Song / Piosnka litewska
    o Sorrowful River / Smutna rzeka

    Antonin Dvorak - Gypsy Songs, Op. 55
    Marta Wryk – Mezzosoprano, Adam Kośmieja – Piano

    o My Song of Love Rings Through the Dusk /
    Má píseň zas mi láskou zní

    o Hey, Ring Out, My Triangle /
    Aj! Kterak trojhranec můj přerozkošně zvoní

    o All Round About the Woods are Still /
    A les je tichý kolem kol

    o Songs My Mother Taught Me /
    Když mne stará matka zpívat, zpívat učívala

    o Come and Join the Danci /
    Struna naladěna, hochu, toč se v kole

    o The Gypsy Songman /
    Široké rukávy a široké gatě

    o Give a Hawk a Fine Cage /
    Dejte klec jestřábu ze zlata ryzého


    Fryderyk Chopin - Three Mazurkas, Op. 56
    Adam Kośmieja – Piano

    o Mazurka in B Major, Op. 56 No. 1
    o Mazurka in C Major, Op. 56 No. 2
    o Mazurka in C minor Op. 56 No. 3

    Fryderyk Chopin - Selected Songs, Op. 74

    Marta Wryk – Mezzosoprano
    Adam Kośmieja – Piano

    o Where he likes / Gdzie lubi
    o A Lovely Boy / Śliczny chłopiec
    o A Wild Party / Hulanka
    o A Soldier / Wojak

    Fryderyk Chopin - Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 53 ("Heroic")

    Adam Kośmieja – Piano

    PERFORMERS

    Born in Poznań, Polish mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk has been active as a recitalist and opera singer performing in Europe and the United States since 2004. Recently Ms Wryk won the first prize in the 15th International Voice Competition in Gorizia, Italy, where she was the youngest participant. Last year the young artist had her debut at the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater where she performed Prince Orlowsky in Die Fledermaus. This year she appeared as Mirtillo in Handel`s Il Pastor Fido, also at the Manhattan School of Music, and she was praised for her clear sound and assured presence. This summer Ms. Wryk was covering Gondi in Maria di Rohan in prestigious Bel Canto at Caramoor Festival.

    While attending voice classes at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music In Warsaw, Ms Wryk appeared in many operas and operatic ensembles, in roles including Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, 3rd Lady in Der Zauberflöte, Idamante in Idomeneo Re Di Creta, and Ms. Quickly in Falstaff.

    Ms Wryk performed at the Caramoor Music Festival in New York, International Festival Art-Connection in Rotterdam, First International Baroque Festival in Warsaw and IVth Forum of Baroque Music in Warsaw. She also sung for Henryk Wieniawski Music Society in Poznan, Kammeropere Schloss Rheinsberg in Germany, Kosciuszko Foundation and De Lamar Mansion in New York. This spring brought Ms. Wryk to Albuquerque where she performed a recital with great American instrumentalists Kevin Kenner and William De Rosa and to Toronto where she performed arias from Carmen with Toronto Sinfonietta. Her future concert engagements include recitals in Symphony Space in New York,Chopin Foundation in Miami and in Teatro Comunale in Ferrara, Italy. In her still young career, she has been selected for master classes by such artists as: Franc Corsaro, Ileana Cotrubas, Tom Krause, Helena Łazarska, Alison Pearce, Simon Standage, Wiesław Ochmann and Jerzy Marchwiński.

    Ms. Wryk graduated with distinction from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music In Warsaw. In 2004-2007 she was studying in the College of The Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in the Humanities at Warsaw University. She majored in musicology and was under the tutorial of legendary Polish musicologist Michał Bristiger. Currently she is studying Voice at the Manhattan School of Music under Maitland Peters.

    In addition to her musical performances, Ms. Wryk is also active as a musicologist, poet and writer. She has won numerous competitions for young poets and writers. Her poems and essays were printed in important Polish literature journals and magazines such as Zeszyty Literackie, Gazeta Wyborcza and Arkusz. Currently she is publishing her music reviews and articles in Przegląd Polski of Nowy Dziennik.

    During summers she also serves as a tutor for Polish Children’s Fund, teaching class about opera. In appreciation of her numerous achievements in both music and humanities, Ms. Wryk has been awarded scholarships from Polish Children’s Fund, the Ministry of Education, the Prime Minister of Poland, Business and Professional Women`s Club, Leszek Czarnecki Foundation and Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union. Ms. Wryk is a also a recipient of the Manhattan School of Music Scholarship.


    Adam Kośmieja was born in Bydgoszcz, Poland, started playing piano at the age of six, and first performed with orchestra at the age of eleven. For 13 years, he studied with Dr.Ludmiła Kasyanenko, at The Arthur Rubinstein High School of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He currently studies with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music, New York. At the same time he is a student at the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland in Jerzy Sulikowski's class. A first-prize winner at the Chopin Piano Competition at Columbia University, New York (2010) he also received First Prize at Mieczysław Munz Piano Competition, New York (2009). He performed in the U.S., Poland, France, & Sweden.

    _____________________________

    PHOTO CREDITS:

    Vintage Chopin Postcard from Maja Trochimczyk Collection. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.

    Photographs by Anna Harley-Trochimczyk and Wieslaw Zuchowski. A complete album is found on Picasa Web Albums: http://picasaweb.google.com/Maja.Trochimczyk/ChopinSongsByWrykAndKosmieja#

    Photo 3: Musicians with the members of the Board of Directors of the Modjeska Club: Krystyna Bartkowski, Wanda Presburger, Adam Kosmieja, Marta Wryk, Krystyna Okuniewska, Danuta Zuchowska, Krystyna Kuszta, Maja Trochimczyk.

    Photo 4: Maja Trochimczyk, Marta Wryk, Wanda Presburger, Adam Kosmieja.

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Jan Nowicki receives the Modjeska Prize


    On Sunday, October 17, 2010, at a reception at Beverly Hills, CA, the most eminent Polish actor, Jan Nowicki will receive the first annual Modjeska Prize, given by the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles to a Polish actor or actress for their outstanding achievements in practicing their craft on stage and film. The award serves to commemorate Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska (1840-1909) who emigrated to California after establishing herself as the foremost theater actress of her times. Nodrzejewska, known in the U.S. as Modjeska lived in Orange County since 1873 to her death in 1909. Her memoirs recently inspired a novel by Susan Sontag, In America(2000). She is the beloved patron of our Club.

    Jan Nowicki belongs among the most talented and accomplished Polish actors of all time. In 1964, he completed his studies at the State Higher School of Theater in Kraków (where he teaches) and debuted at the Old Theater (Teatr Stary) where he has worked until today, appearing in dramas by Wyspianski, Dostojewski and others. Since 1963, he played main roles in dozens of films by the most eminent directors: Filip Bajon, Jerzy Wojciech Has, Jerzy Hoffman, Andrzej Kondratiuk, Wojciech Marczewski, Marta Meszaros, Barbara Sass, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Żuławski. He published a book of essays Between Heaven and Earth and is a recipient of the most important state awards, including the Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta.

    As a guest of the Polish Film Festival 11 1/2, Mr. Nowicki can be seen in two films, both screened on Saturday, October 16, 2010:
  • Sanatorium pod klepsydra (The Hour-glass Sanatorium) directed by Wojciech Has and
  • Jeszcze nie wieczor (Before Twilight) directed by Jacek Blawut.

    During his travel to California, Mr. Nowicki is accompanied by his wife, Małgorzata Potocka, a famous dancer and choreographer, a graduate of the Warsaw Ballet School. She debuted in 1972 at the Grand Theater in Warsaw. During the 1970s she went on to organize a dance ensemble, Naya-Naya, later known as Sabat, that toured the world. She created many ballet spectacles for the stage & TV. See the Teatr Sabat website (www.teatr-sabat.pl).

    ________________________________

    After the three closely set events in October, a concert by Marta Wryk and Adam Kosmieja, as well as a meeting with Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz and Jan Nowicki's award ceremony, the Modjeska Club members will have a chance to rest for a short while.

    We will hold our next meeting on November 21, 2010, with the program of songs and skits from Kabaret Starszych Panow. The cabaret will be performed by the sister club, PIE, Polacy w Inland Empire, from Riverside. This event will be open to the general public and will take place at the Petroleum Club of Long Beach.

    In the meantime, we will update the website with reports from past events and work on plans for an equally exciting spring 2011 season.
  • Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Prof. Balcerowicz in Southern California


    Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz, former Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland and President of the National Bank of Poland, the architect of Poland’s post-Communist economic reforms will appear at two universities and a private event of the Modjeska Club during his weekend in Southern California.

    LIST OF EVENTS

  • October 14th, 2010 – lectures co- organized with the European Union Center at Scripps College and Gould Center of Claremont McKenna College

    Ø 11.45 am - 12.45 pm – “The Eurozone: problems and solutions” – Albrecht Auditorium, Stauffer Hall, Claremont Graduate University campus, 160 East Tenth Str., Claremont, CA 91711

    Abstract: The euro area as often said to be an experiment because of being the monetary union without a political union. However, the meaning of ‘political union’ is often vague. It is unrealistic (and unnecessary) to expect that the eurozone would become a single state. Instead, one should look to monetary unions which existed without the common political authorities. Against this background it becomes clear that eurozone needs reforms: 1. which would reduce the scope for procyclical policies, and 2. which would strengthen the flexibility and growth of the economies of the member states.

    Ø 6.45 pm - 7.45 pm – “How to Avoid Another Financial Crisis” – the Athenaeum, Claremont McKenna College

    Abstract: A deeper, comparative analysis of financial crises suggests that there are not pure market failures but are largely caused by various combinations of public policies which encourage excessive risk-taking by private agents. This appears to be true with respect to the recent global financial crisis, too. The proposed or already introduced official measures which aim at preventing another serious financial crisis, do not consider this role of public policies to a sufficient extent.

  • October 15th, 2010 – lecture coorganized with Center for International Business Education & Research and Center for European and Eurasian Studies of UCLA


    Ø 3.00 pm – 4.30 pm – “Institutions, shocks and economic growth” – UCLA, 3250 School of Public Affairs Building, Room 2355, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656, Parking at the structure nr 3, please, enter the campus through the Hilgard gate entrance. Detailed directions at www.publicaffairs.ucla.edu/content/visit-us.

    Abstract: The country’s long-run economic growth depends on: 1. the frequency and depth of shocks it suffers; 2. strengths of systematic forces. The negative contribution of shocks to the economic growth has been rather neglected in the economic literature and the presentation aims to readdress this imbalance, as well as to discuss the institutional determinants of the systematic forces of growth.


  • October 16, 2010, 6 p.m. - Meeting with Modjeska Club, interview and documentary film screening, facilitated by Consul General of the Republic of Poland, The Right Honorable Joanna Kozinska-Frybes. By invitation only for club members.

    Professor Leszek Balcerowicz is a Chair of International Comparison Studies at the Warsaw School of Economics, doctor honoris causa of the Poznan University of Economics, former Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance of the Republic of Poland, former Governor of the National Bank of Poland, author of economic reforms that successfully converted the central managed economy of the communistic state towards a free market economy, often named “the father of transformation of the Polish economy.”

    ______________________________________

    CLUB EVENTS:

    October 17, 2010 - Meeting with Jan Nowicki and Malgorzata Potocka

    November 21, 2010 - Kabaret Starszych Panow, Petroleum Club of Long Beach

    December 11, 2010 - Christmas party, Orange County

    December 31, 2010 - New Years' Eve Party, Petroleum Club of Long Beach

    January 22, 2010 - Travels in Tibet, by Edward and Maria Pilatowicz


    FRIENDS EVENTS:

    October 14-21, 2010 - Polish Film Festival, Los Angeles
  • Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Chopin Songs in South Pasadena, 10/10/10 at 6 p.m.

    Modjeska Club's activities include those addressed at the general public and serving to promote Polish culture in Los Angeles, and those addressed to the club members and allowing them to have exclusive access to eminent Poles visiting Southern California. In October, we will have both types of events. The first is a free Concert of Romantic Music by Polish musicians based in New York, mezzosoprano Marta Wryk and pianist Adam Kośmieja. They will perform a recital of romantic songs, celebrating the 200th birth anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin, including songs and piano works by Chopin and songs by Antonin Dvorak. The concert will take place at the elegant South Pasadena Library Community Room (1115 El Centro St. South Pasadena, CA 91030) at 6:00 p.m., on Sunday, October 10, 2010.

    PROGRAM

  • Antonin Dvorak - Gypsy Songs, Op.55
  • My Song of Love Rings Through the Dusk / Má píseň zas mi láskou zní
  • Hey, Ring Out, My Triangle / Aj! Kterak trojhranec můj přerozkošně zvoní
  • All Round About the Woods are Still / A les je tichý kolem kol
  • Songs My Mother Taught Me / Když mne stará matka zpívat, zpívat učívala
  • Come and Join the Danci / Struna naladěna, hochu, toč se v kole
  • The Gypsy Songman / Široké rukávy a široké gatě
  • Give a Hawk a Fine Cage / Dejte klec jestřábu ze zlata ryzého

  • Fryderyk Chopin - Music for Piano
  • Mazurka in B Major, Op. 56 No. 1
  • Mazurka in C Major, Op. 56 no. 2
  • Etude in C Minor, Op. 10, No. 12, "Revolutionary"

  • Fryderyk Chopin - Selected Songs, Op. 74
  • A Wish / Życzenie
  • Where he likes / Gdzie lubi
  • A Lithuanian Song / Piosnka litewska
  • A Lovely Boy / Śliczny chłopiec
  • A Sorrowful River / Smutna rzeka
  • A Soldier / Wojak
  • A Wild Party / Hulanka
  • My Darling / Moja Pieszczotka
  • Melody / Melodia

    PERFORMERS

    Born in Poznań, Polish mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk has been active as a recitalist and opera singer performing in Europe and the United States since 2004. Recently Ms Wryk won the first prize in the 15th International Voice Competition in Gorizia, Italy, where she was the youngest participant. Last year the young artist had her debut at the Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater where she performed Prince Orlowsky in Die Fledermaus. This year she appeared as Mirtillo in Handel`s Il Pastor Fido, also at the Manhattan School of Music, and she was praised for her clear sound and assured presence. This summer Ms. Wryk was covering Gondi in Maria di Rohan in prestigious Bel Canto at Caramoor Festival.

    While attending voice classes at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music In Warsaw, Ms Wryk appeared in many operas and operatic ensembles, in roles including Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, 3rd Lady in Der Zauberflöte, Idamante in Idomeneo Re Di Creta, and Ms. Quickly in Falstaff.

    Ms Wryk performed at the Caramoor Music Festival in New York, International Festival Art-Connection in Rotterdam, First International Baroque Festival in Warsaw and IVth Forum of Baroque Music in Warsaw. She also sung for Henryk Wieniawski Music Society in Poznan, Kammeropere Schloss Rheinsberg in Germany, Kosciuszko Foundation and De Lamar Mansion in New York. This spring brought Ms. Wryk to Albuquerque where she performed a recital with great American instrumentalists Kevin Kenner and William De Rosa and to Toronto where she performed arias from Carmen with Toronto Sinfonietta. Her future concert engagements include recitals in Symphony Space in New York,Chopin Foundation in Miami and in Teatro Comunale in Ferrara, Italy. In her still young career, she has been selected for master classes by such artists as: Franc Corsaro, Ileana Cotrubas, Tom Krause, Helena Łazarska, Alison Pearce, Simon Standage, Wiesław Ochmann and Jerzy Marchwiński.


    Ms. Wryk graduated with distinction from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music In Warsaw. In 2004-2007 she was studying in the College of The Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in the Humanities at Warsaw University. She majored in musicology and was under the tutorial of legendary Polish musicologist Michał Bristiger. Currently she is studying Voice at the Manhattan School of Music under Maitland Peters.

    In addition to her musical performances, Ms. Wryk is also active as a musicologist, poet and writer. She has won numerous competitions for young poets and writers. Her poems and essays were printed in important Polish literature journals and magazines such as Zeszyty Literackie, Gazeta Wyborcza and Arkusz. Currently she is publishing her music reviews and articles in Przegląd Polski of Nowy Dziennik.

    During summers she also serves as a tutor for Polish Children’s Fund, teaching class about opera. In appreciation of her numerous achievements in both music and humanities, Ms. Wryk has been awarded scholarships from Polish Children’s Fund, the Ministry of Education, the Prime Minister of Poland, Business and Professional Women`s Club, Leszek Czarnecki Foundation and Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union. Ms. Wryk is a also a recipient of the Manhattan School of Music Scholarship.

    Adam Kośmieja was born in Bydgoszcz, Poland, started playing piano at the age of six, and first performed with orchestra at the age of eleven. For 13 years, he studied with Dr.Ludmiła Kasyanenko, at The Arthur Rubinstein High School of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He currently studies with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music, New York. At the same time he is a student at the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, Poland in Jerzy Sulikowski's class. A first-prize winner at the Chopin Piano Competition at Columbia University, New York (2010) he also received First Prize at Mieczysław Munz Piano Competition, New York (2009). He performed in the U.S., Poland, France, & Sweden.


    OTHER EVENTS

    Modjeska Club will hold two private events in October, with Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz, on October 16, and with eminent actor Jan Nowicki, on October 17. Both events are held in a private mansion in Beverly Hills and only Club members who paid their dues will be able to attend. The hosts and partners (Polish Consulate and Polish Film Festival) will also invite their VIP guests.

    October 14-21, 2010: The 11&1/2 Polish Film Festival Los Angeles is around the corner, and the festival organizers look forward to celebrating with you the achievements of Polish filmmakers from October 14 to 21, 2010. The exact program will be posted on the Festival's website, Polish Film Festival 11 1/2.
  • Saturday, September 25, 2010

    On Film: The Labirynth, Captain Pilecki, Festival...

    On Friday, August 13, 2010, Modjeska Club members had a rare treat of witnessing a premiere of a brand new documentary, The Labyrinth, dedicated to a monumental artwork by a Polish artist. The premiere was a part of the International Documentary Association’s DocuWeeks 2010 Theatrical Showcase, which is an Oscar qualifying event. The well-attended screening at the Arc-Light Cinemas Hollywood was followed by a VIP Reception co-hosted by our Club, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles and ARRI Camera Inc.

    The Labyrinth is an immersion into the artwork and testimony of Auschwitz survivor, Marian Kołodziej, a Polish-Catholic, who was sent to the camp on the first day it opened. After his liberation, Mr. Kołodziej went on to become a noted set and costume designer in theater and film. He did not speak about the war-time horrors until fifty years later. In the final decades of his life, Mr. Kołodziej decided to document his memories and experiences in a unique artwork – an extensive collection of large graphic pen and ink drawings, containing scenes of death and suffering, prisoner portraits, visions, dreams and nightmares.

    The collection was gathered in a dedicated gallery, housed at the St. Maximilian Kolbe Franciscan Center, near Auschwitz, Poland. Mr. Kołodziej’s testimony about his experiences in the death camp attracted the attention of American film-makers who produced a moving and touching film about resilience and hope in the midst of unbelievable suffering.

    Filmed on location in Poland, the film features our friend, former Polish consul, Roman Czarny, as the voice of Marian Kołodziej. The original music score was composed by Marek Żebrowski, director of Polish Music Center at USC. From a lone voice of the cello, to flowing textures and dramatic piano chords, the music is a restrained, profound, and sophisticated interpretation of the haunting art. The director/producer, Jason A. Schmidt, and producer, Ron Schmidt, S.J., are planning an expanded version of this well-received film and are grateful for support from the Polish American community. Donations may be made out to Hope Media Productions and sent to: Ron Schmidt, S.J., Hope Media Productions, 6656 Sunset Blvd. , Hollywood, CA 90028. For more information see: www.thelabyrinthdocumentary.com.

    Marek Probosz as Captain Pilecki



    The tragedy of Auschwitz and the suffering of Poles associated with the camp was a subject of another recent film, Death of Captain Pilecki, starring Marek Probosz and directed by Ryszard Bugajski. This astounding true story of a WWII hero, a captain in Polish underground Home Army, who decided to get arrested and shipped off to Auschwitz so he could report about the camp to the Allies and create a resistance network within. Arrested in 1940, Pilecki escaped in 1943 and the intelligence he gathered was sent off to England, only to be disregarded as exaggerated. He fought in the Warsaw Uprising and richly deserved the highest state medals awarded to him posthumously in 1995 by the government of democratic Poland. He died in 1948, after being arrested for gathering information about another atrocity, the Soviet gulags.

    Probosz’s interpretation was praised by critics as being “intensely compelling” (“Death of Captain Pilecki” review of 2006). On Saturday, September 21, 2010 the National Public Radio broadcast an interview about the film with Marek Probosz as part of its most popular programs, “All Things Considered.” For those who missed it, the program is available online at the NPR Website.

    The heroism and suffering of Poles during WWII were not well known outside the country's borders. It is high time for stories like that of Marian Kolodziej or Captain Witold Pilecki to be told and heard.

    * * *

    CALENDAR OF EVENTS - FALL 2010

    We are pleased to announce that the Modjeska Club will host a meeting with Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz, a noted economist and politician, who led the transformation of Poland's economy into a modern, free-market system in the 1990s. Prof. Balcerowicz's earlier visit, planned for April 2010, was canceled due to the national mourning period after the crash of the Presidential plane near Smolensk, Russia.

    Our next event is a free concert celebrating Chopin's 200th birth anniversary, with two wonderful young musicians from New York, Marta Wryk, soprano and Adam Kosmieja, piano.

  • October 10, 6:00 p.m.: An Evening of Song - with Marta Wryk, Soprano, and Adam Kosmieja, Piano (both from New York), at the South Pasadena Library Community Room, South Pasadena. Program includes songs and piano music by Antonin Dvorak and Fryderyk Chopin.

  • October 16, 2010, 6:00 p.m.: Meeting with Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz, economist and politician who reformed Polish economy in the 1990s, hosted by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland

  • October 17, 2010 6:00 p.m.: Modjeska Club Honors Jan Nowicki, award ceremony and reception, event associated with the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles

  • November 21, 2010, 6:00 p.m. Kabaret Starszych Panow performed by our friends, Polish Club from Riverside, at the Petroleum Club of Long Beach. Event open to our guests and friends.

  • December 11, 6:00 p.m.: Christmas Party (Modjeska Club Members Exclusive), private residence.

  • December 31, 2010, 8:00 p.m.: Sylwester - New Year's Eve Party (Modjeska Club Members Exclusive)

  • January 22, 2011, 6:00 p.m.: Travel to Tibet by Maria and Edward Pilatowicz, screening of film and discussion at South Pasadena Public Library Community Auditorium.


    * * *

    EVENTS OF OUR FRIENDS - FALL 2010

  • September 24-28, 2010: 100 Voices: A Journey Home, full-length documentary screening at the AMC Century 15, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067. Tickets to screenings:
    Saturday, September 25, 2010, Noon, 2:50 PM
    Sunday, September 26, 2010, Noon, 9:30 PM
    Monday, September 27, 2010, Noon, 7:00 PM
    Tuesday, September 28, 2010, Noon, 7:00 PM

    "100 Voices: A Journey Home” is a compelling and moving musical documentary that uniquely tells the history of Jewish culture in Poland. It highlights the current resurgence of Jewish culture through the personal reflections and musical selections of a group of cantors and acclaimed composer Charles Fox (“Killing Me Softly”, “I Got A Name” and many more) who made an important historical mission to the birthplace of Cantorial music. The documentary will give generations the opportunity to learn about and re-embrace the Jewish culture that produced one of the most artistic and educated societies that once flourished in Europe. Above all, the Program will celebrate the resilience and the power of Jewish life, while telling the story of two peoples who shared intertwined cultures.

  • October 14-21, 2010: The 11&1/2 Polish Film Festival Los Angeles is around the corner, and the festival organizers look forward to celebrating with you the achievements of Polish filmmakers from October 14 to 21, 2010. The exact program will be posted on the Festival's website, Festival 11 1/2.

    At the Gala Opening at the Laemmle's Sunset 5 on October 14th the Festival will present LITTLE ROSE (Rozyczka) by Jan Kidawa-Blonski. The Gala Opening is by invitation only to supporters of the Festival [becoming a supporter is easy with a minimum donation of $30.00 before October 1, 2010 ($15.00 without reception)]. VIP seats are available for a minimum donation of $60.00. Make your tax-deductible financial contributions to: Polish American Film Society and mail your checks to 7726 Ethel Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91605, or go on line to http://www.polishfilmla.org and make a donation through PayPal.

    For the eleventh and half time anniversary the Festival will present the most recent achievements of Polish cinema, among others: ANOTHER MAN (Nie ten czlowiek) by Pawel Wendorff, BABY PROJECT (Projekt dziecko) by Adam Dobrzycki, THE CHRISTENING (Chrzest) by Marcin Wrona, DECALOGUE 89+ (Dekalog 89+) vol. 1 & 2, CASE UNKNOWN (Enen) by Feliks Falk, JANOSIK. THE TRUE STORY (Janosik. Prawdziwa historia) by Kasia Adamik & Agnieszka Holland, MALL GIRLS (Galerianki) by Katarzyna Roslaniec, MOTHER TERESA OF CATS (Matka Teresa od kotow) by Pawel Sala, PIGGIES (Swinki) by Robert Glinski.

    In the segment of movies made by Polish filmmakers abroad the Festival will present PLAYER by Alina Szpak. To celebrate the 600-year anniversary of Grunwald Battle there will be a screening of THE TEUTONIC KNIGHTS (Krzyzacy) by Aleksander Ford. The documentaries will include THE LABYRINTH (Labirynt) by Jason A. Schmidt, IRENA SENDLER-IN THE NAME OF THEIR MOTHERS by Mary Skinner, TOURNEE by Andrzej Mankowski, BEATS OF FREEDOM by Wojciech Slota & Leszek Gnoinski. In the animation category the program will feature a set of films prepared by Balbina Bruszewska produced by Se-Ma-For Production Company.
  • Sunday, August 29, 2010

    Domoslawski & Kapuscinski at the Ruskin


    After starting the 2010-2011 season with Stefan Wenta's ballet for the Luminario Ballet of Los Angeles (August 6) and a documentary about Marian Kolodziej at the ArcLight Cinemas-Hollywood (August 13, a report will follow), the Modjeska Club presents a literary event. Our guest from Poland will be a well-known Polish writer and journalist, Artur Domosławski, who will discuss the life and oeuvre of Ryszard Kapuściński (1932-2007) after the premiere of a documentary, Poet on the Frontline: The Reportage of Ryszard Kapuściński, by Gabrielle Pfeiffer.

    The event will take place at the historical Ruskin Art Club (800 South Plymouth Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90005) at 6:30 p.m., on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.

    Ryszard Kapuściński
    (1932-2007) was a famous Polish journalist, writer, poet and photographer, internationally recognized for his groundbreaking literary style and reports from around the world. He published 16 books during his lifetime, as well as six volumes of memoirs, two poetry collections. Two books appeared after his death and many volumes were translated. A 16-volume edition of his collected works was issued in 2008. Kapuściński received over 50 prizes and awards, including six honorary doctorates from universities in Gdańsk, Wrocław, Sofia, and Barcelona, as well as Silesian and Jagiellonian Universities.

    Our guest, Artur Domosławski, is a distinguished Polish writer and journalist at “Gazeta Wyborcza” and Kapuściński’s biographer. A graduate of the State Higher School of Theater in Warsaw, he mostly writes about Latin America, anti-globalization movement, social conflicts, and religious issues. He published five books and hundreds of essays. His book, Latin-American Fever (Gorączka latynoamerykańska) is a report from travels throughout Central and South America. For the book America in Mutiny (Ameryka zbuntowana), he received the Beata Pawlak Prize. Published in 2010, Kapuściński non-fiction, has been engendered an intense debate in Polish and foreign media.

      * * *

      CALENDAR OF EVENTS - FALL 2010

      Our Calendar has been updated recently. We are pleased to announce that the Modjeska Club will host a meeting with Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz, a noted economist and politician, who led the transformation of Poland's economy into a modern, free-market system in the 1990s. Prof. Balcerowicz's earlier visit, planned for April 2010, was canceled due to the national mourning period after the crash of the Presidential plane near Smolensk, Russia.

    • October 10, 6:00 p.m.: An Evening of Song - with Marta Wryk, Soprano, and Adam Kosmieja, Piano (both from New York), at the South Pasadena Library Community Room, South Pasadena. Program includes songs and piano music by Dvorak and Chopin.

    • October 16, 2010, 6:00 p.m.: Meeting with Prof. Leszek Balcerowicz, economist and politician who reformed Polish economy in the 1990s, hosted by the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland

    • October 17, 2010 5:00 p.m.: Modjeska Club Honors Jan Nowicki, award ceremony and reception, event associated with the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles.

    • October 26, TBA: Polish Jazz at the Jazz Bakery with Jan Jarczyk from Montreal, Darek Oleszkiewicz, and other musicians (co-sponsored by Modjeska Club).

    • November 21, 2010, 6 p.m. Kabaret Starszych Panow performed by our friends, Polish Club from Riverside.

    • December 11, 6:00 p.m.: Christmas Party (Modjeska Club Members Exclusive), private residence.

    • December 31, 2010, 8:00 p.m.: Sylwester - New Year's Eve Party (Modjeska Club Members Exclusive)

    • January 22, 2011, 6:00 p.m.: Travel to Tibet by Maria and Edward Pilatowicz, screening of film and discussion at South Pasadena Public Library Community Auditorium.


      * * *

      EVENTS OF OUR FRIENDS - FALL 2010


    • September 12, 3:00 p.m.: Chopin with Cherries - Poetry Reading from an anthology edited by Maja Trochimczyk, with 14 American poets and Prof. Rick Wilson playing Chopin on the flute, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Venice, CA.

    • September 23-26, 2010, 8:30 p.m.: "In the Solitude of Cotton Fields" by Radoslaw Rychcik/Stefan Zeromski Theater, REDCAT at Disney Hall, Los Angeles. Experimental art-rock show dubbed as "a combination of a concert, disco, poetic slam, and club event" by Gazeta Wyborcza.

    • September 25-26, all day: Polish Festival of Los Angeles at the Our Lady of the Bright Mount Church, Adams St., Los Angeles

    • October 15-21, TBA: Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles - exact program will be posted on the Festival's website.

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Stefan Wenta, Ballet, and Chopin

    On August 6, 2010, over 50 Modjeska Club members gathered at the Ford Amphitheater to honor Stefan Wenta, an eminent choreographer, whose work, "Fantasy on Polish Airs" to Chopin's music was premiered that evening by the Luminario Ballet of Los Angeles. The ballet was one in a sequence of six works by different choreographers, set to a full range of music, including American jazz and rock (with inspirations from Broadway and the Cirque de Soleil), premiered by the two-year old troupe on a balmy Friday evening. For more information about this program, called "Taking Flight" and other projects of the troupe, see the Luminario Ballet website.

    Stefan Wenta was a principal dancer and choreographer of the Warsaw Opera Ballet where he performed in such ballets as Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and Coppelia. After receiving a scholarship to study in Paris, along with other Polish notables such as Roman Polanski, Zbigniew Cybulski and Andrzej Komeda, Stefan became the partner of the Paris Opera’s prima-ballerinas Yvette Chauvire and Lycette Darsonval. As the premier dancer of the Theatre d’Art du Ballet he performed in India, Indonesia, China, Africa and all over Europe.

    In 1960 he came to America where he became the Artistic Director of the Western Ballet of Los Angeles and later the Wenta Ballet of Los Angeles. He choreographed numerous ballets and a number of films such as Logan’s Run, Our Man Flint, Fantastic Voyage and Warren Beatty’s Reds. Currently he is teaching at the MIMODA studio in Hollywood while finishing his novel, to be published in late spring of 2011.

    Prior to the performance, the Modjeska Club members gathered for a potluck picnic-reception in the Amphitheater's plaza and witnessed a brief but poignant ceremony, when Mr. Wenta received a Certificate of Appreciation recognizing his achievements as a choreographer and honoring his contributions to Polish culture. Mr. Wenta spoke about his ideas of celebrating Chopin's 200th birth anniversary with a ballet set to one of the composer's rarely heard works, variously known as Fantasy on Polish Airs, Fantasia on Polish Airs, and Fantaisie brillante on Polish Airs in A major, Op. 13.

    Composed in 1828, it is the second-ever piece by Chopin for piano and orchestra, written after the lovely Variations "La ci darem la mano" based on Mozart's aria. Some well-known Polish tunes make their appearance in the melodious score by a student composer, just 18 years old at the time, including an old, popular romance about Laura and Filon, "Juz miesiac zaszedl..." (Already the moon has set...) and a theme from Karol Kurpinski's Elegy on the Death of Thaddeus Kosciuszko. The piece ends with a vivacious Kujawiak, set in a faster tempo than typical for this usually melancholy folk dance, followed by an extensive coda, brilliantly choreographed by Mr. Wenta.

    The difficulty of providing new choreography to old music based on "danceable" tunes set to traditional folk rhythms is considerable: the dancers could have been easily just dancing the mazurka or the kujawiak on the stage. Instead, Mr. Wenta chose to creatively use his corps de ballet and soloists, narrating a Polish story of suffering and triumph, with allusions to national dances and events from Chopin's life.

    During the reception, he explained his understanding of the national character in dance music on the example of the mazurka and the polonaise choreographed by Russians and Poles. We will find out more about his conception of the piece and his creative ideas from the interview, soon to be published on my blog, Chopin with Cherries.

    The photos from the "Ballet at the Ford Theater" may be seen at Picasa web albums. The full report in Polish will be posted on the Modjeska Club website. We will write about our August 13 event in the next post.

    In the meantime, a reminder that the Modjeska Club Calendar of Events is filling up quickly - both by our own events and with those organized by others, as noted below.

      * * *

      CALENDAR OF EVENTS - FALL 2010

    • September 11, 6:30 p.m.: The Controversial Ryszard Kapuscinski, screening of a documentary on Polish journalist and writer, with his biographer's comments. Ruskin Art Club, Los Angeles.

    • October 10, 6:00 p.m.: An Evening of Song - with Marta Wryk, Soprano, and Adam Kosmieja, Piano (both from New York), at the South Pasadena Library Community Room, South Pasadena. Program includes songs and piano music by Dvorak and Chopin.

    • October 16, 2010, 6:00 p.m.: Modjeska Club Honors Jan Nowicki, award ceremony and reception, event associated with the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles.

    • November 20, Kabaret Starszych Panow performed by our friends, Polish Club from Riverside, private residence.

    • December 11, 6:00 p.m.: Christmas Party (Modjeska Club Members Exclusive), private residence.

    • December 31, 2010, 8:00 p.m.: Sylwester - New Year's Eve Party (Modjeska Club Members Exclusive)

    • January 22, 2011, 6:00 p.m.: Travel to Tibet by Maria and Edward Pilatowicz, screening of film and discussion at South Pasadena Public Library Community Auditorium.


      * * *

      EVENTS OF OUR FRIENDS - FALL 2010


    • September 12, 3:00 p.m.: Chopin with Cherries - Poetry Reading from an anthology edited by Maja Trochimczyk, with 14 American poets and Prof. Rick Wilson playing Chopin on the flute, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Venice, CA.

    • September 23-26, 2010, 8:30 p.m.: "In the Solitude of Cotton Fields" by Radoslaw Rychcik/Stefan Zeromski Theater, REDCAT at Disney Hall, Los Angeles. Experimental art-rock show dubbed as "a combination of a concert, disco, poetic slam, and club event" by Gazeta Wyborcza.

    • October 15-21, TBA: Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles - exact program will be posted on the Festival's website.


    _______________________

    Note: Photos of Stefan Wenta, Krystyna Kuszta (Vice President of Modjeska Club) and the Consul for Cultural Affairs of the Republic of Poland, Malgorzata Cup (by Maja Trochimczyk); and group photos from the informal event, with Stefan Wenta's impromptu lecture, conversations with club members, etc.

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    Ballet, Film and Theater in August

    The Modjeska Club will gather for two events this month: on August 6 for the premiere of Stefan Wenta's ballet based on Chopin's music and on August 13 for the premiere of a documentary about Marian Kolodziej, an Auschwitz survivor, "The Labyrinth."

    On Friday, August 6, 2010, at 8:30 p.m., at the Ford Amphitheater, Hollywood (the private event starts at 7:00 p.m.), in honor of Chopin's 200th birthday celebration, the LUMINARIO BALLET OF LOS ANGELES presents the premiere of a ballet by STEFAN WENTA

    FANTASY ON POLISH AIRS, as part of its spectacle TAKING FLIGHT

    The performance takes place
    at the FORD AMPHITHEATER
    on 2580 Cahuenga Bld. East
    Hollywood 90068

    Artistic director Judith Flex Helle explains that the ballet features a number of choreographers, “from Broadway to So You Think You Can Dance to Cirque du Soleil.” Mr. Wenta’s ballet celebrating Chopin’s anniversary is included among this rich variety of dance forms. For tickets and more information visit the www.luminarioballet.org


    Stefan Wenta was a principal dancer and choreographer of the Warsaw Opera Ballet where he performed in such ballets as Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and Coppelia. After receiving a scholarship to study in Paris, along with other Polish notables such as Roman Polanski, Zbigniew Cybulski and Andrzej Komeda, Stefan became the partner of the Paris Opera’s prima-ballerinas Yvette Chauvire and Lycette Darsonval. As the premier dancer of the Theatre d’Art du Ballet he performed in India, Indonesia, China, Africa and all over Europe.

    In 1960 he came to America where he became the Artistic Director of the Western Ballet of Los Angeles and later the Wenta Ballet of Los Angeles. He choreographed numerous ballets and a number of films such as Logan’s Run, Our Man Flint, Fantastic Voyage and Warren Beatty’s Reds. Currently he is teaching at the MIMODA studio in Hollywood while finishing his novel, to be published in late spring of 2011.

    * * *

    A week later, on Friday, August 13, 2010, at 7:55 p.m. a short documentary, THE LABYRINTH, will have its premiere at the Arclight Cinema-Hollywood (6360 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028-7323, 323-464-4226), followed by a VIP Reception co-hosted by our Club, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles and ARRI Camera Inc. Please do not be late; there is no late seating!

    The film is a part of the International Documentary Association’s DocuWeeks 2010 Theatrical Showcase, which is an Oscar qualifying event. Additional screenings of The Labyrinth will take place during the week of August 13-19, in a set of three documentaries, including also Mozambique and Keep Dancing. Tickets for the premiere may be purchased at: www.newamericanvision.com/docuweeks/shorts.html.

    The Labyrinth is an immersion into the artwork and testimony of Auschwitz survivor, Marian Kołodziej, a Polish-Catholic, who was sent to the camp on the first day it opened. This is a moving and touching film about resilience and hope in the midst of unbelievable suffering. This unique film focuses on Mr. Kołodziej’s extensive graphic pen and ink drawings and his testimony about his experiences in the death camp. After his liberation, Mr. Kołodziej went on to become a noted set and costume designer in theater and film.

    Filmed on location at the St. Maximilian Kolbe Franciscan Center, near Auschwitz, Poland, the film features Roman Czarny as the voice of Marian Kołodziej. The original score was composed by Marek Żebrowski. The director/producer is Jason A. Schmidt, and producer, Ron Schmidt, S.J. The filmmakers will be on hand after the screening for questions and answers. For more information see: www.thelabyrinthdocumentary.com

    * * *
    In addition, we will have an opportunity of attending
    a solo theater performance by Ewa Boryczko, "Modjeska: The Artist's Dream!" at the Camino Real Playhouse in San Juan Capistrano (31776 El Camino Real). The world premiere is scheduled on August 13-14 at 8 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets visit the project's website. www.helenamodjeska.com/index.html

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Club Events in August - Ballet and Film


    It is such a hot and busy summer! The Modjeska Club will gather for two events this month:
    • on August 6 for the premiere of Stefan Wenta's ballet based on Chopin's music and

    • on August 13 for the premiere of a documentary about Marian Kolodziej, an Auschwitz survivor, "Labyrinth" by Father Ron Schmidt, SJ.




    * * *

    On Friday, August 6, 2010, at 8:30 p.m., at Ford Amphitheater, Hollywood (the private event starts at 7:00 p.m.), in honor of Chopin's 200th birthday celebration, the LUMINARIO BALLET OF LOS ANGELES presents the premiere of a ballet by STEFAN WENTA

    FANTASY ON POLISH AIRS

    The performance takes place
    at the FORD AMPHITHEATER
    on 2580 Cahuenga Bld. East
    Hollywood 90068

    There will by a specially reduced price for members of the Modjeska Art and Culture Club. The code for obtaining the 20$ ticket (instead of $30) will be available to our members and friends in our official email/mail invitation. Ford Amphitheater Box Office phone number is: 323-GO-1-FORD (323-461-3673).

    STEFAN WENTA was a principal dancer and choreographer of the Warsaw Opera Ballet where he danced roles in Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Coppelia, etc. After receiving a scholarship (together with Roman Polanski, Zbigniniew Cybulski, and Andrzej Komeda) to study in Paris, he became the partner of the Paris Opera's prima-ballerinas Yvette Chauvire and Lycette Darsonval. He also was the premier dancer of the Theatre d'Art du Ballet, with which he gave guest performances in India, Indonesia, China, Africa and all over Europe.

    In 1960 he came to America where he became the Artistic Director of the Western Ballet of Los Angeles, and, later on, the Wenta Ballet of Los Angeles. He choreographed many ballets, and also did the choreography for numerous films like Logan's Run, Our Man Flint, Fantastic Voyage and Warren Beatty's Reds. He presently teaches classes at the MIMODA studio in Hollywood while finishing his novel to be published in late spring of 2011.

    Look for posters of Modjeska for the event's location!

    * * *

    On Friday, August 13th, 2010, at 7:30 p.m., Modjeska Club members and friends will be able to attend the premiere of

    THE LABYRINTH

    This short documentary, 37 minutes in length, has been selected for the International Documentary Association's 14th Annual DocuWeeks 2010 Theatrical Showcase. Modjeska Club members and guests are invited to attend the official premiere on Friday, August 13, at 7:30 p.m.,followed by a QA with the filmmakers and by a reception at 10:00 p.m.

    THE LABYRINTH
    Arclight-Hollywood Cinema
    6360 West Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, CA 90028-7323
    (323) 464-4226

    Tickets can be purchased online and more information is on the ArcLight website. Other screenings will be at the Arclight-Hollywood from Aug. 13-19.

    According to the film director, Jesuit priest, Father Ron Schmidt, The Labyrinth is the chronicle of one Polish artist's journey from repentance to resurrection. He wrote: "Art and hell collide as Auschwitz survivor Marian Kolodziej finally confronts the horrors of his past after 50 years of silence. Kolodziej was on one of the first transports to enter Auschwitz. He survived five years imprisonment and never spoke of his experience until after a serious stroke in 1993. He began rehabilitation by doing pen and ink drawings depicting his horrific experience."

    "Marian’s drawings and art installations, which he called The Labyrinth, fill the large basement of a church near Auschwitz. Through the blending of his testimony and graphic drawings, we explore the memories and nightmares that were buried for years. Why would a confrontation with death trigger the need to record his long-suppressed memories? And why in this graphic, metaphorical way? Marian was in the same roll call group with St. Maximilian Kolbe and Marian made many drawings of Fr. Kolbe."

    "After the war, Mr. Kolodziej became a noted set and costume designer for the theater and film, in his native Poland. When Pope John Paul II returned to Poland, Mr. Kolodziej designed the outdoor altars for the Pope's Masses."

    * * *

    Modjeska Club Calendar of Events for Fall 2010

  • September 11, 6:30 p.m.: The Controversial Ryszard Kapuscinski, screening of a documentary on Polish journalist and writer, with his biographer's comments. Ruskin Art Club, Los Angeles.

  • October 10, 6:00 p.m.: An Evening of Song - with Marta Wryk, Soprano, and Adam Kosmieja, Piano (both from New York), at the South Pasadena Library Community Room, South Pasadena. Program includes songs and piano music by Dvorak and Chopin.

  • October 26, TBA: Polish Jazz at the Jazz Bakery with Jan Jarczyk from Montreal, Darek Oleszkiewicz, and other musicians (co-sponsored by Modjeska Club).

  • November 20, TBA: Kabaret Starszych Panow performed by our friends, Polish Club from Riverside.

  • December 11, 6:00 p.m.: Christmas Party (Modjeska Club Members Only Event).

  • January 22, 2011, 6:00 p.m.: Travel to Tibet by Maria and Edward Pilatowicz, screening of film and discussion at South Pasadena Public Library Community Auditorium.

  • February 2011, TBA: War Memoirs with writers John Z. Guzlowski and Frank Zajaczkowski, and Terry Tegnazian, publisher of Aquila Polonica.

  • March 2011, TBA: Mickiewicz in Translation with Prof. Roman Koropeckyj, UCLA, Mickiewicz scholar, and Prof. Leonard Kress, Owens College, Mickiewicz's translator; including film fragments.

    * * *

    Events of Our Friends

  • August 9, 5:30 p.m.: Japan: Land of Geishas, Rising Sun, and Sumo Wrestlers at Cedars Sinai Alumni Association, Program by Wanda Presburger, $15, Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Henry Morse Auditorium, Plaza Level, Los Angeles.

  • August 13-14: Modjeska! The Artists Dream - Play about Helena Modjeska, performed by Ewa Boryczko, Camino Real Playhouse, San Juan Capistrano, CA www.helenamodjeska.com.

  • September 12, 3:00 p.m.: Chopin with Cherries - Poetry Reading from an anthology edited by Maja Trochimczyk, with 14 American poets and Prof. Rick Wilson playing Chopin on the flute, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Venice, CA.

  • October 15-21, TBA: Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles - exact program will be posted on the Festival's website.
  • Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    What's new in the 2010-2011 season?

    On June 26, 2010, members of Helena Modjeska Polish Arts and Culture Club in Los Angeles gathered to elect the new President and Board of Directors for the 2010-2012 term. I am delighted to say that I was unanimously awarded the honor of leading the Club for the next two years.

    The 2010-2012 Board of Directors of the Modjeska Club includes:
      Officers:
    • Maja Trochimczyk, President
    • Krystyna Kuszta, Vice President
    • Danuta Zuchowska, Treasurer
    • Krystyna Bartkowska, Secretary

      Members:
    • Andrew Z. Dowen
    • Krystyna Okuniewski
    • Boguslaw Plewnia
    • Wanda Presburger

    What are our plans? We have been talking about possible programs, with an abundance of opportunities and options. We encourage all Modjeska Club members and friends to post comments, send suggestions, and in other ways interact with the new Board of Directors, to ensure that the coming years are filled with interesting, uplifting, inspiring, educational, and entertaining programs and events.

    Our first event is coming up soon: Mark your calendars for Friday, August 6, 2010, 8:30 p.m., Ford Theater, Hollywood (the private event starts at 7:00 p.m.):

    In honor of Chopin's 200th birthday celebration

    LUMINARIO BALLET OF LOS ANGELES

    presents

    the premiere of a ballet by STEFAN WENTA

    FANTASY ON POLISH AIRS


    The performance takes place
    on August 6th, 2010 at 8:30PM
    at the FORD AMPHITHEATER
    on 2580 Cahuenga Bld. East
    Hollywood 90068

    There will by a specially reduced price for members of the Modjeska Art and Culture Club. The code for obtaining the 20$ ticket (instead of $30) will be available to our members and friends in our official email/mail invitation. Ford Amphitheater Box Office phone number is: 323-GO-1-FORD (323-461-3673).

    STEFAN WENTA was a principal dancer and choreographer of the Warsaw Opera Ballet where he danced roles in Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Coppelia, etc. After receiving a scholarship (together with Roman Polanski, Zbigniniew Cybulski, and Andrzej Komeda) to study in Paris, he became the partner of the Paris Opera's prima-ballerinas Yvette Chauvire and Lycette Darsonval. He also was the premier dancer of the Theatre d'Art du Ballet, with which he gave guest performances in India, Indonesia, China, Africa and all over Europe.

    In 1960 he came to America where he became the Artistic Director of the Western Ballet of Los Angeles, and, later on, the Wenta Ballet of Los Angeles. He choreographed many ballets, and also did the choreography for numerous films like Logan's Run, Our Man Flint, Fantastic Voyage and Warren Beatty's Reds. He presently teaches classes at the MIMODA studio in Hollywood while finishing his novel to be published in late spring of 2011.


    * * *

    What other events are in the works?

    Fall 2010 Calendar of Modjeska Club Events in Los Angeles


  • August 16-19: "Labyrinth" documentary about an Auschwitz prisoner and artist, Mr. Kolodziej, by Father Ron Schmidt, SJ, at ArcLight Theaters in Hollywood, exact times TBA (co-sponsored by Modjeska Club)

  • September 11, 6:30 p.m.: "Mickiewicz in Translation" with Prof. Roman Koropeckyj, UCLA, Mickiewicz scholar, and Prof. Leonard Kress, Owens College, Mickiewicz's translator; including film fragments. Ruskin Art Club, Los Angeles

  • October 10, 6:00 p.m.: "An Evening of Polish Song" - with Marta Wryk, Soprano, at the South Pasadena Library Community Room, South Pasadena

  • October 26, TBA: "Polish Jazz at the Jazz Bakery" with Jan Jarczyk from Montreal, Darek Oleszkiewicz, and other musicians (co-sponsored by Modjeska Club)

  • November 20, TBA: "Kabaret Starszych Panow" performed by our friends, Polish Club from Riverside

  • December 11, 6:00 p.m.: "Christmas Party" (Modjeska Club Members Only Event)

  • January 22, 2011, 6:00 p.m.: "Travel to Tibet" by Maria and Edward Pilatowicz, screening of film and discussion at South Pasadena Public Library Community Auditorium

  • February 2011, TBA: "War Memoirs" with writers John Z. Guzlowski and Frank Zajaczkowski, and Terry Tegnazian, publisher of Aquila Polonica, South Pasadena Public Library Community Room

    * * *

    We also note the efforts of our friends, promoting Polish culture in California:

  • August 9, 5:30 p.m.: "Japan: Land of Geishas, Rising Sun, and Sumo Wrestlers" at Cedars Sinai Alumni Association, Program by Wanda Presburger, $15, Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Henry Morse Auditorium, Plaza Level, Los Angeles.

    August 13-14: "Modjeska! The Artists Dream" - Play about Helena Modjeska, performed by Ewa Boryczko, Camino Real Playhouse, San Juan Capistrano, CA www.helenamodjeska.com

  • September 12, 3:00 p.m.: "Chopin with Cherries" - Poetry Reading from an anthology edited by Maja Trochimczyk, with 14 American poets and Prof. Rick Wilson playing Chopin on the flute, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Venice, CA

  • October 15-21, TBA: "Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles" - exact program on the Festival's website.

    * * *

    There are other projects and ideas that we are discussing, hearing about and sharing. We want to visit Modjeska's Arden in Orange County, her home in Laguna Niguel, and Ganna Walska's Lotusland. We want to go hiking and see historic homes in Los Angeles area and Southern California.

    We want to meet at public spaces and private mansions, but most of all, we want to share our love of Polish art and culture!

    Do you like our plans? Do you have something else in mind? For all suggestions please contact me at prezes@modjeska.org.

    Maja Trochimczyk