Monday, November 21, 2022

Thanksgiving, November 24 and Christmas Caroling Party, December 17, 2022 in Beverly Hills

Alicja Bobrowska's rose relief, a wedding gift for Marcin and Agnieszka Depinski

The most favorite annual event of Helena Modjeska Art & Culture Club is our Christmas Caroling Party, held, according to the American custom, before Christmas. This year it will take place on Saturday, December 17, 2022 at 18.00 at the elegant and welcoming residence of Helena and Stanley Kolodziey in Beverly Hills.

We will listen to a mini-recital of Polish music performed by an excellent pianist and our member, Prof. Wojciech Kocyan, we will sing carols together led by Olivia Kierdal, who already has over 15 songs on Spotify, we will share the Christmas "oplatek" with wishes of health, happiness, and prosperity, and we will sample a rich array of Christmas delicacies prepared by our hosts. 

Admission is free for Club members (because there is no valet parking!) and the cost is $30 per person for guests. RSVP until December 9, 2022 at PayPal or checks to P.O.Box 4288, Sunland CA 91041-4288. Please sign up for the list as soon as possible, because the number of places is limited at the Kolodziey  residence and at these events we always have a surplus! Please also supply the buffet with your favorite drinks. We will send the address by e-mail.

"Mission" - Relief of Alicja Bobrowska, a longtime member of the Club, photo by Maja Trochimczyk from an exhibition at Hellada Gallery, Long Beach, 2015.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Modjeska Club Board, I wish you all the best wishes for a peaceful, healthy and happy Thanksgiving. For many years, these holidays were absent from the Polish calendar; similarly to American Valentine's Day or nightmarish Halloween; "you were the peacock of the nations and a parrot".... as Juliusz Słowacki wrote prophetically. Our Harvest Festival or the feast of Our Lady of Herbs (Matki Boskiej Zielnej, 15 sierpnia) are the closest to this idea – of gratitude for the gifts of the earth, thankfulness for food, flowers, herbs, trees, and all the beauty that is a daily gift to us.

In the hierarchy of positive emotions, gratitude is at the top, next to love, and shame and guilt are at the bottom, next to fear and anger. As wrote the great eco-philosopher Henryk Skolimowski (1930-2018), a longtime professor at the University of Michigan, author of over 30 books and friend of Leonidas Dudarew-Osetyński (1910-1989), our task on this planet is to live in harmony with the whole world, with a sense of responsibility for ourselves, others, and for all living beings. Our task on Earth is a life without mental toxins (negative thoughts and emotions) and physical toxins (chemicals poisoning our bodies and the entire environment, due to crazy experiments of so-called scientists).

In Dharma, Ecology and Wisdom in the Third Millennium, Skolimowski thanked Leonidas Dudarew-Ossetyński for the inspiration to supplement his eco-philosophy with an important aspect of physicality or of embodied knowledge, conveyed only in words. That is why the Greeks invented the Olympics, and Christ washed the feet of his disciples... The physicality of gestures, performing on stage "with the whole body" was an important aspect of Dudarew-Ossetynski's theory of acting. Our wonderful guests honored with the Modjeska Prizes in 2020 and 2021, Andrzej Seweryn and Jan Englert shared this focus on embodied emotions and embodied performance. We had the pleasure of hosting the Englert in California in September: in a series of events over 360 people had the opportunity to come into close contact with his personality and talent.​

In America, children used to put on plays with pilgrims and Indians, telling how they shared food and celebrated together. This is not true, because the first inhabitants of this land still remember the genocide, death and plunder brought to them as a gift by newcomers from Europe, Anglo-Saxons and Spaniards. More than 30 million died; almost everything was taken from them, leaving a semblance of sovereignty in the reservations. Their "revenge" took the form of casinos; they finally found a way to benefit from the greed of their conquerors! In this way, they can provide funds for the studies of their citizens and the rebuilding of the infrastructure on the reservations...

Because Poland was occupied by foreigners for many years (123!), we are very sensitive to the tragedies of the first inhabitants of America, but we celebrate Thanksgiving in the American way. Gratitude is a virtue in every religion; we are grateful for our roots in Poland, Polish culture, history and traditions brought from home. We are also grateful for our new country, freedom of choice, jobs, homes, gardens, careers, traditions, friendships and even the climate - we enjoy our new life that we have built in California.

In the 50-year-old Helena Modjeska Art & Culture Club, we are happy to remain in touch with old friends and make new friends in our extended Polish  immigrant family in California. We are grateful for the talents and achievements of our outstanding guests - lecturers, musicians, actors, artists. 

We would like to thank all club members and guests for their presence with us,  for their volunteer work, talents, achievements, assistance and cheerfully sharing good mood. Let this Thanksgiving and this Christmas really be holidays or "holy days" of Polish gratitude.

With warmest wishes, 

Maja Trochimczyk, President

Board of Directors: Katarzyna Smiechowicz, Vice President; Beata Czajkowska, Secretary; Anna Sadowska, Treasurer; Syl Ves, Director

Relief by Alicja Bobrowska

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Brasswood California/ Beats 4 Peace on Sunday Nov. 27, 2022 2:30 at Venice Beach Skate Park

The Modjeska Club is pleased to invite all members and friends for an outing to Venice Beach for an outdoor concert by the Rebel Babel Ensemble of Poland with an international array of musicians. The concert called The Brasswood California/Beats 4 Peace will be held in Venice, CA on Sunday, November 27th, 2022 at 2:30 to 3:30 at Venice Beach Skate Park, address: 1500 Ocean Front Walk, Los Angeles, CA 90291-3606. The outdoor concert will be followed by a move to High Rooftop Lounge in Hotel Erwin, 1697 Pacific Avenue, Venice, Los Angeles, CA 90291-3613, where the musicians will perform to 5:00pm. A great way to spend time outdoors on the beach, after all this overeating and holiday-ing. . . 

As the organizers write: "This incredible event aims to promote, expand and cultivate the cooperation of musicians from Poland, USA, Ukraine and other countries at the artistic and educational level. It will be a Californian mini-edition of the European Brasswood Fest, which is organized in the magical forests in Sopot by Rebel Babel Ensemble and its artistic director Łukasz L.U.C. Rostkowski - composer, rapper, music producer."

"Join us as artists from Poland, USA, Canada, Ukraine and other countries come together to play the most important peace songs and tributes in jazz-hip-hop arrangements. The day will feature interpretations of music compositions by John Coltrane and Bill Evans, Polish composers as Krzysztof Komeda, Łukasz Rostkowski and jazz versions of hip-hop pieces by Beyonce, The Black Eyed Peas and Queen Latifa - U.N.I.T.Y."

The event will take place in two different locations – beginning at the Venice Beach Skate Park in Venice, CA, the brass band will perform in the park around the Skate Against Hate initiative, which will include a special appearance from Californian skater Brandon DesJarlais and Skate against Hate initiative. The band will then march from the park to the beautiful and scenic rooftop of the Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach, CA to cap off the day with a more relaxed atmosphere that will feature a DJ set and additional special performances.

Brasswood California/Beats 4 Peace event is supported by: Ukrainian Culture Centre in LA, Polish Consulate in LA, Hip Hop Works Inc., Brandon DesJarlais (Beyond the Board), Matt Ring.


  • L.U.C.
  • Sunset Boulevard Brass Band
  • Vesta (Valeriya Simulik, finalist of Ukraine's Got Talent)
  • DJ Potira


2:30-3:30 pm - Venice Beach Skate Park, 1500 Ocean Front Walk, Los Angeles, CA 90291-3606

3:30-5:00 pm - High Rooftop Lounge Hotel Erwin, 1697 Pacific Avenue, Venice, Los Angeles, CA 90291-3613

Co-financed under the multi-annual NIEPODLEGŁA Programme for 2017-2022, as part of the program grant from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute "Cultural Bridges."

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Piotr Kajetan Matczuk in Concert of Film Songs, Saturday, October 5, 2022, 3 pm

Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club has the pleasure of inviting all Club members and guests to a special concert by the founder of the group Piramidy, singer, guitarist, composer, and song-writer Piotr Kajetan Matczuk of Warsaw, Poland. The concert, entitled The Most Beautiful Polish Film Songs will take place on Saturday, 5 November 2022 at 3 pm at the Parish Hall of the Our Lady of the Bright Mount and John Paul II Sanctuary in Los Angeles, 3424 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90018.

Free for students under 18 years old and for Club members. Others $25 per person. Checks to Helena Modjeska Art & Culture Club. PayPal to All revenue will be donated to the Polish Church and the Polish School, 50/50. RSVP to 


We invite you to a unique concert, which will consist of songs well known to fans of sung poetry and Polish movies. The program will also include original songs written by a musician appreciated in Poland, Piotr Kajetan Matczuk. There will be songs from Polish movies along with classics of Polish songs with poetic texts by the greatest poets. Optimistic and pleasant mood guaranteed. Certainly, this concert will appeal to everyone who appreciates good lyrics, accompanied by a guitar.

In this concert you will return to the most famous and popular ballads, melodies and film songs, such as: Prawo i pięść, Czarne chmury, Jan Serce, Noce i dnie (directed by Jerzy Antczak, honorary member of the Modjeska Club), Stawka większa niż życie, Kariera Nikodema Dyzmy, and songs from the Sienkiewicz trilogy, directed by Jerzy Hoffman. 

There will be happy songs that will be sung together with the audience. There will also be surprises and anecdotes that will take the listeners into the world of Polish film. All this will create a unique atmosphere of emotions and humor - it will be an afternoon full of emotions, good humor and good music, perfectly performed.


Pianist, guitarist, arranger, songwriter. Leader and founder of the PIRAMIDY band. Author of theater and film music. Artistic director of the International Song Festival Szlakiem Bardów. He has performed not only in Poland, but also in many countries, incl. in the USA, Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, in many prestigious concert halls around the world, such as the Columbiahalle in Berlin or the Pyotr Tchaikovsky at the Moscow Philharmonic. He has a dozen or so albums to his credit, recorded not only with the Piramidy ensemble, but also with Polish actors. He composed the album Dopokąd for Krzysztof Tyniec and was
the musical director of his ensemble at the Ateneum Theater in Warsaw. 

The album The Year of War with its original texts was premiered at the NATO Allied Joint Force Command military base in Brunssum for Polish soldiers commanding the mission in Afghanistan. He performed at the official celebration of the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the Berlin Wall in Fontanehaus in Berlin with his original song "Charlie Checkpoint" and at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations in Geneva. He has composed music for over a dozen documentaries and several theater performances. He is also a respected producer and producer of audiobooks.

Matczuk last appeared in a Modjeska Club's concert in 2019, with Tomasz Imieniowski, bass guitarist, when Piramidy presented a recital of songs based on poems by Adam Mickiewicz in Playa del Rey. Many of these humorous and sentimental songs were composed by Matczuk himself. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Hanna Kulenty in Los Angeles, October 8, 2022 Interview for Modjeska Club, October 9 Paderewski Lecture-Recital at USC

We have the distinct pleasure of inviting contemporary music lovers to an interview with Prof. dr Hanna Kulenty, a world-famous composer, who visited our club in 2017. Prof. Kulenty will deliver this year's Paderewski, combined with a concert of her music on Sunday, October 9 at 7 p.m. during an event organized by the Center of Polish Music of the University of Southern California. Location: Newman Recital Hall, USC Campus. Free entrance. $ 14 parking. from Figueroa St. We encourage all our members and friends to listen to this lecture and concert.

Meeting of Prof. Kulenty with members of our Club will take place on Saturday, October 8, 2022 at 7:30 pm at Róża Kostrzewska Yoder's music studio, Los Angeles, CA 90031. After the concert, a small snack - fruit and desserts. The seating is limited to 30.  RSVP  to Free admission for members, $30 per person for guests, via PayPal with the name of the person booking the ticket (we get payments from companies without names, it's very difficult puzzles!) PayPal address:

NOTE: there is a problem with parking, so we ask everyone to park down below, after exiting the freeway and before taking a sharp right turn and entering the winding and steep street Montecito Dr., We will take the listeners up  to the site in groups ...

Hanna Kulenty (born 1961) is a brilliant contemporary composer, dividing her time between her native Poland, the Netherlands and France. With pieces commissioned and performed by renowned ensembles and musicians all over Europe, the Kulenty catalog includes both intimate solo explorations of form and great sound triumphs - symphonies and operas. She is a professor at the University of Music in Bydgoszcz. She is also a film composer: in 2014 she wrote the soundtrack to the film "Hiszpanka." In 1980-86 she studied composition with Włodzimierz Kotoński at the Academy of Music in Warsaw, and then - in 1986-88 - composition with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague. For many years, since 1989, she worked as a freelance composer, completing commissions and taking advantage of creative scholarships. In the 2000s, she received her doctorate and is now a professor of composition at the Music University in Bydgoszcz. Her works are published by publishers: Donemus in Amsterdam and PWM in Kraków. Hanna Kulenty has been living in both Warsaw and Arnhem, the Netherlands since 1992.

Courses and lectures: She participated in the International Courses for Young Composers, organized by the Polish Society for Contemporary Music (Polish section ISCM / SIMC) and in the Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt. In 1990-91 she stayed in Berlin as a scholarship holder of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. She has lectured at composition courses, incl. in Apeldoorn (1995), Radziejowice and Munich (1996), Amsterdam (1997) and in California (1998), during the Other Minds 10 festival in San Francisco (2004), Soundstreams Canada (2005).

In 1999-2000 she was a composer-in-residence in the Netherlands. She lectured as a visiting professor at the Conservatory in Zwolle (2005) and at the Academy of Music in Barcelona (2007). Memberships of the jury include Münchener Biennale (1995), International Gaudeamus Music Week in Amsterdam (2002), International New Chamber Opera Competition "Orpheus-Luciano Berio" in Spoleto (2003-2004), Kazimierz Serocki in Warsaw (2004) and the International Competition of Contemporary Chamber Music in Krakow (2005 and 2007). She teaches composition in Bydgoszcz as Professor of the Music University. 

Awards, concerts and festivals: Kulenty has received many awards for her work as a composer, incl. in 1985 - 2nd prize at the European Competition for Young Composers in Amsterdam for the piece Ad unum for orchestra (1985), in 1987 - 2nd prize at the Young Composers Competition of the Polish Composers' Union for the piece Ride for 6 percussionists (1987) and - in the same year - Youth Art Award Stanisław Wyspiański. She is also a four-time winner of the Composers 'Competition of the Warsaw Branch of the Polish Composers' Union: in 1986 she won the 1st prize for Quinto for 2 pianos (1986), in 1987 - 1st prize for Breathe for string orchestra (1987), in 1988 - 3rd prize for Cannon for violin and piano (1988) and in 1989 - second prize for Aaa Tre for viola, cello and double bass (1988). In 1999, she was awarded the title of the Composer of the Year in Gelderland.

In November 2000, the radio station Deutschlandfunk in Cologne organized a monographic concert of the composer, which was registered on a CD. In 2003, during the International Rostrum of Composers, organized annually by the International Music Council at UNESCO, the highest score and the title of a "selected" work was received by her Concerto for trumpet and symphony orchestra (2002); the composition was presented in the recording of the premiere performed by the Dutch soloist Marco Blauuwa with the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Belgian conductor Ronald Zollman. In 2015, she received the annual award of the Polish Composers' Union "for outstanding compositional work, strong individual character, combination of musical energy with original formal solutions

Hanna Kulenty's compositions have been performed at festivals around the world, incl. the Huddersfield Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Münchener Biennale, Warsaw Autumn, "Musica Polonica Nova" Festival in Wrocław. They were performed by symphony orchestras in the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and Germany, led by conductors such as David Porcelijn, Antoni Wit, Peter Hirsch, Peter Eötvös, Ingo Metzmacher, Renato Rivolta and Ronald Zollman. The soloists of her works were: Isabelle van Keulen, Elżbieta Chojnacka, Krzysztof Bąkowski, Marco Blaauw and Frank Peters. They are also played by the Dutch band De ereprijs, commissioned by the composer to write many pieces.

Information about the Paderewski Lecture from the Polish Music Center at USC is below. Our club has been supporting the PMC and its Paderewski Lectures with small donations for many years. 

The 2022 Paderewski Lecture-Recital celebrates Hanna Kulenty (b. 1961), a brilliant contemporary composer who divides time between her native Poland, the Netherlands and France. With works commissioned and performed by renowned ensembles and musicians throughout Europe, Kulenty’s catalogue ranges from intimate solo explorations of form to large-scale triumphs of sound. Selected works will be performed at USC’s Newman Recital Hall on October 9 at 7 p.m. by the Thornton School of Music’s finest musicians, alongside a lecture by the composer about her oeuvre. Presented by the USC Polish Music Center, this event will offer a fascinating variety of works from across Kulenty’s compositional career, played by soloists and chamber ensembles. 

The 2022 Paderewski Lecture-Recital is generously supported by POLAM Credit Union, the Modjeska Art and Culture Club and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles. 

 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9 | 7:00 P.M.

2022 Paderewski Lecture-Recital with Hanna Kulenty

Newman Recital Hall at USC: 3616 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA (map)

FREE admission, no RSVP required. Reception to follow concert

For more details, visit: 

UCS CAMPUS mapCampus Parking: $14

Monday, August 29, 2022

Jan Englert and Beata Scibakowna in California, September 20 - 25, 2022



SEPTEMBER 20-25, 2022

 Between September 20 and 25, 2022, a famous Polish actor Jan Englert, the Director of the National Theater in Warsaw, Poland, will visit California with his wife, actress Beata Scibakówna. Mr. Englert has been invited by the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club to receive in person the Helena Modjeska Prize for the year 2021. The September 2022 visit is co-organized by three cultural clubs of Polonia in Southern California: the Modjeska Club, the Club PAPA of Orange County, and Amphitheater Jaskólka of San Diego, in collaboration with the Theater Department of the University of California, Los Angeles. 

 The program includes two public theatrical performances, in San Diego and Los Angeles, and two events by invitation only – a Seminar on Polish Theater for professors and doctoral students at UCLA, held in the afternoon of Thursday, September 22, 2022, and the Presentation of the Modjeska Prize and Reception by the Modjeska Club and PAPA Club on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 6 pm. 

This latter event will include an interview with distinguished guests conducted by Maja Trochimczyk, the presentation of the Modjeska Prize and certificates of appreciation from California lawmakers, and a catered dinner buffet by Teresa Turek. The event will be held at the welcoming home of Maria and Jerzy Menclewicz, for members of both Clubs. RSVP to Beata Czajkowska, Board Secretary at Limited seating, please reserve your place early.

On Sunday, September 25, 2022, at 3:00 pm, at the Auditorium of the Beverly Hills Public Library (444 North Rexford Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210),  Jan Englert and Beata Scibakówna will perform fragments from the epic poem Kwiaty Polskie (Polish Flowers) by Julian Tuwim (1894-1953). In this work, the Polish-Jewish poet reflects on the beauty, heroism, suffering, and resilience of the Polish nation, in the aftermath of tragedies of WWII. The performances will be in Polish, with English translation by Dr. Maja Trochimczyk in the program book. Interludes of Chopin music will be performed by eminent pianist Dr. Wojciech Kocyan, Professor of Loyola Marymount University. After the performance there will be a brief Q&A with the performers.  This event is free and open to the public. RSVP to Space limited to 100 guests. Prof. Kocyan will play on Blüthner piano provided by Kasimoff-Blüthner Piano Co. Los Angeles, CA.




Helena Modjeska Prize for the Most Eminent Polish Actor was created in 2010, to honor the Modjeska Club patron, Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska / Modjeska (1840-1909) who starred in theater in Poland, toured Europe and settled in California, while performing in over 4,500. The recipients of the Modjeska Prize include Jan Nowicki, Anna Dymna, Barbara Krafftówna, Jadwiga Barańska, and Andrzej Seweryn. The Modjeska Prize was awarded to Jan Englert in 2021 and presented virtually on the occasion of the Modjeska Club’s 50th anniversary in October 2021, while actress Beata Poźniak received her award in person.


Below you will find the biographical information about the performers and the poet. For more information, please visit the Modjeska Club website at in English or in Polish.  Email inquiries:, Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, President, Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club, tel. 818 384 8944.



 Jan Englert (born in 1943 in Warsaw) is a Polish theater and film actor, theater director, professor of theater arts, and since 2003 the artistic director of the National Theater in Warsaw. He made his debut on the big screen as Zefir in Andrzej Wajda's film Kanał about the Warsaw Uprising (1956). In 1964, Englert graduated from the Acting Department of the Aleksander Zelwerowicz State Higher School of Theater in Warsaw and started working for the following theaters: Polski (1964–1969, 1981–1994), Współczesny (1969–1981), and Narodowy (since 1997). He remained in the National Theater and has served as its artistic director for 18 years. Englert collaborated with the most outstanding theater directors, appearing in important roles in plays by Shakespeare, Mickiewicz, Wyspiański, Gombrowicz, Ionesco, and Mrożek. As a theater director he staged plays by Mickiewicz, Słowacki, Fredro, Chekhov, Turgenev and Witkacy.

 We could watch him on the screen in the films of Andrzej Wajda (Kanał, Katyń, Tatarak), Kazimierz Kutz (Salt of the Black Earth, Pearl in the Crown), Janusz Zaorski (Baryton), Filip Bajon (The Magnate), as well as in the TV series by Janusz Morgenstern (Kolumbowie, Polskie drogi), Jerzy Antczak (Nights and Days), and Ryszard Ber (The Doll). In total, he has appeared in over 100 films, and many television plays and TV series.  For 12 years he served as President of the Theater Academy in Warsaw.

Virtual Presentation of the Modjeska Prize, October 2021.

He received numerous honors and awards, including the Knight's Cross and the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1988, 2001), the Gold Cross of Merit (1997), the Gold Medal "Gloria Artis" (2005), and awards named after Aleksander Zelwerowicz (1993/1994), Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński (2008), and Cyprian Kamil Norwid (2012). He also received the Gustaw Award (2014), the Icon of Polish Cinema title (2018) and the Golden Hipolit Prize (2019). He received a Honorary Doctorate from the Film and Theater Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria. We are adding to this wonderful set by bestowing on Jan Englert the Modjeska Prize for 2021, as a lifetime achievement award for his work as an actor. 

Englert performed for the Club in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2009.  He shared with the Club's members and guests the wonders of Polish romantic poetry, Kwiaty Polskie by Julian Tuwim, Dziady (The Forefathers' Eve) by Adam Mickiewicz, a play about Saint Nicholas, and other theatrical performances.



Born in Zamosc, Ms. Scibakowna graduated from the State Higher School of Theater in Warsaw in 1992. Her stage debut took place in 1990, when she performed the role of Zosia in Adam Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz, directed by Jan Englert. In the years 1992-1997 she was an actress in the ensemble of the Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw and since 1997, she has worked as an actress for the National Theater (Teatr Narodowy). She also collaborated with such theaters as Komedia, Bajka, Polonia and  Syrena.  Her role of Klara in the play by Aleksander Fredro Śluby panieńskie directed by Andrzej Łapicki was honored at the Theater Festival in Opole (Opolskie Konfrontacje Teatralne „Klasyka Polska” in 1995.

In 1992, she debuted on  the big screen in Robert Gliński's psychological drama. She appeared in over 40 films and TV series.  Her most notable roles included  Jan Łomnicki’s Wielka wsypa (1992) and psychological drama by Krystyna Janda, Pestka (1995). She appeared in the role of a journalist in Jacek Bromski's comedy Children and Fish (1997), and in Jerzy Gruza's series Czterdziestolatek. 20 years later (1993) as a nurse. She played in the telenovela by Polsat, Samo Życie, the TVP2 series Na dobre i na zle, in the TVN series Media Diagnosis  and the Polsat TV series Skazane (2016).  Often, she also played negative characters, including the TVP2 Radio Romans series and the series Life Line. She starred in the sensational drama by Ryszard Bugajski, The Closed System (2013), opposite Janusz Gajos and Kazimierz Kaczor. She is also the producer of  theatrical performances; two of them, One in 2008 and Intryga in 2016 were presented in the U.S. and Canada. 

In 2005 she received Silver Cross of Merit for her achievements as an actress and in 2017 she was honored with the Gold Cross of Merit. In 2016 her role of Elwira in the play Mąż i żona was honored with the prize for the best female actress at the 16th Festival of Polish Radio Theater and TV Theater, “Two Theaters.”



Pianist Wojciech Kocyan was praised for his “highly distinctive performances (…) superb, intelligent artistry (…)” (.Classics and “incisive temperament, impeccable technique and sumptuous tone” (Le  Monde de la Musique.) He is a laureate of several international piano competitions, including F.Busoni and Viotti, as well as a special prizes winner of the XI International Chopin Competition and a First Prize winner of the Paderewski Piano Competition.  He performed in Europe, America, Mexico, Australia and Japan, participating in such music festivals as Musica Antiqua Europae Orientalis, Capri Festival, Bydgoszcz International Music Festival, H.M.Gorecki Festival, Beethovenfest, Paderewski Festival, Liszt Festival in Vienna, San Francisco Liszt Festival, Cervantino International Music Festival, Morelia International Music Festival and the Chopin Festival in Paris. 

He has recorded for television, radio and film and his performances were broadcast in Europe, United States and Australia.  His solo and chamber music recordings can also be found on DUX, Naxos and Spotify. His latest CD, of works of Robert Schumann, was released by DUX in 2012.  He is a professor of piano performance at Loyola Marymount University and artistic director of the Paderewski Society that organizes American Paderewski Competitions held in Los Angeles every two years. A member of the Modjeska Club since 2018, Prof. Kocyan gives concerts for the Club or host musical evenings at his home.



 Julian Tuwim (13 September 1894 – 27 December 1953), known also under the pseudonym "Oldlen" as a song writer, was a Polish poet, born in Łódź, then part of the Russian Partition. He was educated in Łódź and in Warsaw where he studied law and philosophy at Warsaw University. After Poland's regained independence in 1918, Tuwim co-founded the Skamander group of experimental poets with Antoni Słonimski and Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz. He was a major figure in Polish literature, admired also for his contribution to children's literature. He was a recipient of the prestigious Golden Laurel of the Polish Academy of Literature in 1935.

His collections Czyhanie na Boga ("In Lurking for God"; 1918), Sokrates tańczący ("Dancing Socrates"; 1920), Siódma jesień ("Seventh Autumn"; 1922), and Wierszy tom czwarty ("Poems, Volume Four"; 1923) are typical of his early work. In his later volumes of poetry – Słowa we krwi ("Words in the Blood"; 1926), Rzecz Czarnoleska ("The Czarnolas Matter"; 1929), Biblia cygańska ("The Gypsy Bible"; 1933) and Treść gorejąca ("A Burning Matter"; 1933) – Tuwim became restless and bitter; he wrote with  vehemence about the emptiness of urban existence. He also drew more heavily from the romantic and classicist traditions, while perfecting his form and style, and becoming a virtuoso wordsmith. To this day, he is regarded as one of the greatest masters of the Polish language.

From the very beginning and throughout his artistic career, Tuwim was satirically inclined. He supplied sketches and monologues to numerous cabarets. His burlesque Bal w Operze ("The Ball at the Opera"; 1936) is regarded as his best satirical poem. In 1918 Tuwim co-founded the cabaret Picador and worked as a writer or artistic director with many other cabarets, such as Czarny Kot /Black Cat (1917–1919), Quid pro Quo (1919–1932), and Cyrulik Warszawski / Warsaw Doctor (1935–1939).

In 1939, at the beginning of World War II and the German occupation of Poland, Tuwim emigrated through Romania first to France, and after France's capitulation, to Brazil, by way of Portugal, and finally to the US, where he settled in 1942 to 1946. In 1939–1941, he collaborated with the émigré weekly Wiadomości Polskie. In 1942–1946, he worked with the monthly Nowa Polska published in London, and with Polish-American newspapers. During this time he wrote Kwiaty Polskie (Polish Flowers), an epic poem in which he remembered with nostalgia his early childhood in Łódź, protested the poverty of its inhabitants, lamented the tragedies of the war, praised the resilience of the nation, and expressed hope for a better future. In April 1944, Tuwim published a manifesto, entitled My, Żydzi Polscy (We, Polish Jews).  returned to Poland after the war in 1946 but did not publish much in Stalinist Poland, except for reprints of his classic children’s verse, beloved until today, for example Lokomotywa (The Locomotive; 1938), translated into many languages. He also worked as a journalist and wrote well-regarded translations of Pushkin and other Russian poets. He died in 1953 at the age of 59 in Zakopane.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Farewell to Stefan Wenta, 1929-2022, Honorary Member of the Modjeska Club


Stefan Wenta at the Ford Theater with Modjeska Club, 2010

With sadness, we share information about a great loss of Polish culture and the local Polonia.  A noted choreographer, dancer and dance teacher Stefan Wenta died in August 2022.  The funeral mass will take place on Wednesday, 17 August 2022, at 11 am at the Our Lady of the Bright Mount Church - Sanctuary of John Paul II on 3424 Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018.  He was an active member of our club in its first decade, often hosted club events and became the Club's Honorary Member in 2012. 

Stefan Wenta at the Ford Theater with Modjeska Club, 2010

Biographical Notes from Modjeska Club 40th Anniversary Ball program, when Stefan Wenta received his Honorary Membership:


Born in 1929 in Gdansk, Poland, Stefan Wenta was a Polish-American dancer and choreographer with a distinguished career spanning two continents. He 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 Polański, Zbigniew Cybulski and Krzysztof Komeda, Stefan became a 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 (1976), In Like Flint (1967), Fantastic Voyage and Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981). As an actor, he appeared in One Last Dance (2003) in the role of Orest. He continued to create choreography for ballet ein Polnad, at the Teatr Syrena in Warsaw, or Music Theater in Gdynia. He later taught dance at the MiMoDa studio in Hollywood, while working on his novel which was expected to be published in 2012, but was never completed. 

Stefan Wenta at his 89th Birthday Party in his Dance Studio, 
photo by Ilona Maranska, his student for 10 years

Mr. Wenta was one of the founding members of the Modjeska Club and served on the Club’s Board in the 1970s. He hosted many club events in his dance studio and made several presentations about his projects for the Club. In August 2010, Mr. Wenta presented his ballet “Fantasy on Polish Airs” celebrating Chopin's 200th birthday and set to Chopin’s piece of the same title (Fantaisie brillante on Polish Airs in A major, Op. 13). The ballet was premiered by the Luminario Ballet of Los Angeles, as part of the “Taking Flight” program at the Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood.

Stefan Wenta on Polish TV
  •  Collection of photos from his dance career, by his students, 2022
  • Report from the Ballet "Fantasy on Polish Airs" to Chopin's music, 2010

  • Fantasy on Polish Airs ballet by Stefan Wenta to the music by F. Chopin (2010)

  • Interview with Edi Pyrek, 2011

  • Interview on "Collector Ballerina," 2016

  • Stefan Wenta, Ballet Master of Los Angeles, Fox 11 News, Charles Evans Jr., 2021
  • "Stefan Wenta, Icon of the L.A. Ballet Scene"

  • Les Petits Riens - Ballet by Stefan Wenta to the music by W.A. Mozart (1976)

  • Oldest Video of Wenta Teaching a Ballet Class, ca. 2000

  • Wenta's last choregraphy, Nocturne to Chopin's Nocturne Op. 15, No. 2 in F sharp major. Larghetto, for Caron Eule Dance company

Stefan Wenta plays chess with a student. Photo by Ilona Maranska

Stefan Wenta rests at his 89th Birthday Party at his Dance Studio.
Photo by Ilona Maranska, his dance student for 10 years.


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The President's Report from Four Years, 2018-2022 (General Meeting on June 25, 2022)


Dr Maja Trochimczyk

During an exceptionally long, four-year term from June 2018 to June 2022, Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles organized 46 cultural events - lectures, film screenings, concerts and balls. The Board headed by President Maja Trochimczyk was established at the General Meeting in June 2018; the term of office was to last until June 2020, but due to COVID-19 and the ban on face-to-face meetings, it was extended by the Elections Committee twice - until June 2021 and then until June 2022. In the report, I will cover the four-year program of events, club publications and activities, ending with thanking all the volunteers.

Club members at the Laguna Art Museum, at a lecture by Dr. Trochimczyk, March 2019.


23 August 2018 - Chopin's concert at the Hollywood Bowl; Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Sergio Tiempo, piano solo and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5.

September 1, 2018 - "Tamara de Lempicka", Polish Theater from Toronto sponsored together with the PAPA Club from Orange County, Curtis Theater, City of Brea.

September 22, 2018 - Dr. Jan Iwanczyk presents his scientific work, introduced by Dr. Witold Sokolowski, at the Iwanczyk's residence in Brentwood.

October 10, 2018 - "100 Years of Polish in Music", a concert by mezzosoprano Katarzyna Sądej with pianist Barbara Bochenek and pianist-composer Miro Kępiński, and a lecture by Maja Trochimczyk at the Kołodziey's residence, Beverly Hills.

November 5, 2018 - Independence Day Gala Concert with pianist Kate Liu, Senator Anna Maria Anders, Consul Jaroslaw Lasiński; this event was co-organized with the Consulate of the Republic of Poland and sponsored by a grant from the Polish National Foundation.

December 15, 2018 - Christmas Caroling with world-famous soprano Teresa Kubiak and equally famous pianist, Prof. Wojciech Kocyan. The Presentation of the Helena Modjeska Prize for 2018 to  Jadwiga Barańska, McGroarty Arts Center, Tujunga. With potluck dinner.

January 19, 2019 - Monica Chmielewska-Lehman's tapestries at the Hellada Gallery, Long Beach.

February 3, 2019 - Concert "Mickiewicz Today" by the group Piramidy - Piotr Kajetan Matczuk and Tomasz Imienowski from Poland, Club Centerpoint, Playa Vista.

February 17, 2019 - Writer Magdalena Grzebałkowska discusses the new biography of Krzysztof Komeda, at the Piłatowicz residence, West Hills.

March 14, 2019 - presentation of diplomas for  Eagle Scout Tomasz Nelson for the restoration of a Polish war plane (a fighter jet) at the aviation museum in Riverside.

March 16, 2019 - Concert by pop-singer Wiktoria Tracz and an interview with Krzysztof Dzikowski, a "songwriter" of popular music, hosted by Ewa Barsam, Library of Southern Pasadena, AV sound - volunteer Elzbieta Czajkowska.

March 29, 2019 - Maja Trochimczyk's lecture at the Laguna Art Museum "Who was Helena Modjeska?" accompanying an exhibition of a bilingual fairy tale written and illustrated by the actress for her grandson, and recently donated to the UC Irvine Special Collections.

May 19, 2019 - World premiere of the play "Helena" by Polish actress Marta Ojrzyńska performed by the author with light design by Bartosz Nalazek, Magicopolis, Santa Monica.

June 8, 2019 - Cabaret "Sami Swoi" from Las Vegas in the Qui Pro Quo Program of Polish cabaret songs, and an exhibition of Katarzyna Kociomyk's paintings, Library of Southern Pasadena.

June 15, 2019 - Fantazja Theater from Sydney Australia, "The Trial of Dali" - a play by Andrzej Kołodziej at the Hollywood Fringe Festival plus a joint trip to the Hellada Gallery in Long Beach for the Polish Day.

June 28, 2019 - The play "The Seven Year Itch" with actress Monika Ekiert, Hollywood Fringe Festival.

September 21, 2019 - Lecture by prof. Andrzej Targowski "Granice Cywilizacji" at the residence of the Iwanczyk in Brentwood.

September 28, 2019 - Konrad Wilk presents "80/75 - Warsaw at War" in Santa Monica (event supported by the Club).

September 29, 2019 - Piano recital by brothers Łukasz, Dominik and Kasper Yoder at the residence of Prof. Wojciech Kocyan, Ladera Hills.

October 2019 - two events sponsored by club grants: October 12 - Paderewski Lecture-Recital, Polish Music Center, USC, musical "3 Paderewskis" and on October 18 Polish Film Festival, Beverly Hills.

November 9, 2019 - Shandy & Eva (Żmijewska) concert in Kulak's Woodshed, North Hollywood.

December 7, 2019 - Marcin Harasimowicz talks to Marcin Gortat and the evening of Christmas carols presented by Karolina Naziemiec with Olivia Kierdal, P. Kolodziey's residence in Beverly Hills.

December 31, 2019 - New Year's Eve Ball at the Imperial Ballroom, The Olympic Collection, with Zbigniew Gałązka, the leader.

January 31, 2020 - "Good Evening, Monsieur Chopin" performed by Agata Pilitowska and Maria Nowotarska from the Polish Theater in Toronto. Presentation of the Modjeska Prize for 2019 for both actresses. Magicopolis, Santa Monica.

February 29, 2020 - Recital of Dominika Świątek with pianist Andrzej Perkman "Sweet peas and roses" at the MLK Auditorium of the Santa Monica Library, with sound design by Andrzej Warzocha.

The board and the Yoder brothers with their parents after the concert in September 2019.

Since the beginning of our term in June 2018, there have been many events, concerts, theatrical performances and parties. In the 2018-19 season, we have prepared as many as 16 events, and in the 2019-20 season, eight events. Later, our plans were changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. From a lecture by an outstanding scientist, a long-time member of the Club, Dr. Jan Iwanczyk on September 22, 2018 to Dominika Świątek's concert at the Santa Monica library on February 29, 2020, we enjoyed our  monthly meetings with diverse and engaging programs. These included events just for us (Christmas Caroling with Karolina Naziemiec and Marcin Gortat in 2019) and those co-organized with others, e.g. the PAPA Club in Orange County (Polish Theater from Toronto in September 2019). We also met at events partly sponsored by the Club - including the gala opening of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles, the Gala Concert of the Consulate of the Republic of Poland celebrating Independence Day, or the Paderewski Lecture Recital at the USC Polish Music Center.

In 2018, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence by organizing a concert of patriotic songs performed by astounding mezzosoprano Katarzyna Sądej and  pianist Barbara Bochenek.  Pianist-composer Miro Kepinski also presented a premiere of his new work.  

We helped the Consulate to organize the Independence Gala Concert on November 5, 2018 at the Colburn School of Music, where Senator Anna Maria Anders was the guest of honor, and the young pianist Kate Liu, one of the prize winners of the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, played Paderewski, Chopin, and Beethoven. The pianist was selected and introduced by the director of the Center of Polish Music at USC, Marek Żebrowski. For this purpose, the Club applied for a grant of $ over 8,000 to the Polish National Foundation and managed all payments.

During our Christmas Caroling on December 15, 2018 at the McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga, the Helena Modjeska Prize for 2018 was presented to the "Mistress of the Polish Speech," distinguished and beautiful Jadwiga Barańska. A mini-recital of Christmas carols was performed by the legendary soprano Teresa Kubiak and eminent pianist, prof. Wojciech Kocyan, with the participation of children from the Polish School.  The Modjeska Prizes, established in 2010, are lifetime achievement awards in the field of acting. Until now, the laureates included Jan Nowicki (2010), Anna Dymna (2011) and Barbara Krafftówna (2012) among others. At the Christmas Caroling Party new Club members  received special commemorative certificates designed and prepared by Chris Justin.

In January 2019, the Hellada Gallery in Long Beach hosted a presentation of Monika Chmielewska Lehman's tapestry art, including a new design and an experimental dress shown by Agnes Kaźmierczak. The Gallery's owner Marek Dzida gave a short lecture on art appreciation and Ms. Lehman discussed her approach to tapestry making while showing over 70 slides of tapestries that she created for such diverse institutions as Pasadena City College, NASA, La Jolla Jewish Temple, and Catholic churches. 

In February  2019, the duo Piramidy from Poland visited us with a concert of songs to poems by Adam Mickiewicz. Piotr Kajetan Matczuk (voice, piano, guitar) and Tomasz Imienowski (bass guitar) played for us in the elegant Centerpointe Club in Playa Vista, enriching the concert with a witty narrative. 

In the same month, Magdalena Grzebałkowska, a biographer of Krzysztof Komeda, discussed her new book about an outstanding, tragically deceased pianist, jazzman and composer who lived in Los Angeles and composed, among others music for Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby." The interview was conducted by Andrzej Maleski.

In March 2019, I had the great pleasure of presenting diplomas with congratulations from our Club and the Polish American Congress to an Eagle Scout of Polish origin, Thomas Nelson for the restoration, cleaning and repainting of a Polish military plane in the collections of the March Air Force Base Aviation Museum in Riverside (March 14, 2019).

Concert by Wiktoria Tracz, sound design by Elzbieta Czajkowska, South Pasadena Library, March 2019.

Three days later, a young star of popular music, Wiktoria Tracz, appeared in a song program with texts by Krzysztof Dzikowski, the famous librettist or "songwriter" of Polish musicians, such as the groups Czerwono-Czarni, Niebiesko-Czarni, Czerwone Gitary and Alibabki. The meeting took place in the Community Hall of the Southern Pasadena Library and the interview with the distinguished guest was conducted by Ewa Barsam.

On March 29, 2019, I invited the Club to my own lecture "Who was Helena Modjeska?"  that accompanied the exhibition of Helena Modjeska's fairy-tale book at the Laguna Art Museum. Our patron turned out to be a talented writer with a surreal imagination and artistic talent: she illustrated a bilingual morality fairy tale for her grandson Feliks with her own watercolors. The unique book is now in the Special collection of the library of the University of California, Irvine.

In May 2019, Magicopolis hosted the world premiere of an experimental play "Helena" about Helena Modjeska, written and performed by the actress of the Stary Theater in Krakow, Marta Ojrzyńska. 

In June, we invited Club members to cabaret: Qui Pro Quo - Polish Cabaret was a program of well-known and beloved songs from such cabarets as Piwnica pod Baranami, Qui Pro Quo and Kabaret pod Egidą. This engaging concert was performed by the Polish Club from Las Vegas. In the hall of the Southern Pasadena Library, we also showed 10 surreal paintings by Katarzyna Kociomyk, a painter from Las Vegas. 

Ten days later, in June, we had an opportunity to attend a performance by the Fantazja Theater from Sydney, Australia, that brought to the Hollywood Fringe Festival a play by Californian painter Andrzej Kołodziej (Andrew Kolo) about Salvador Dali, called "The Trial of Dali." At the same festival, we also had the opportunity to admire Monika Ekiert's talent in  the play "The Seven Year Itch." Ekiert appeared in the famous role immortalized by Marylin Monroe.

Scene from the play "Helena" by Marta Ojrzynska in Magicopolis, May 2019.

We started the 2019-20 season in September 2019 with a lecture by prof. Andrzej Targowski at the residence of the Iwanczyk family in Brentwood. Prof. Targowski presented his latest book "Granice Cywilizacji" (Borders of Civilizations), which inspired intense discussions among the audience. 

On September 29, 2019, at the residence of prof. Wojciech Kocyan we held a wonderful piano recital by the Yoder brothers. Łukasz, Dominik and Kasper Yoder are children of pianists Róża Kostrzewska-Yoder (known as an outstanding piano teacher, for decades promoting Polish music) and piano professor Douglas Yoder. These outstanding young pianists (12 to 19 years old) take part in numerous international competitions and win many prizes. It was really worth presenting their talents.

In October 2019, the club was one of the sponsors of the Polish Film Festival and the Lecture of Paderewski held in an unusual format, i.e. the presentation of a new musical about the Three Paderewskis. 

In November 2019, we invited our members to a Shandy & Eva concert at Kulak's Woodshed Studios in North Hollywood, promoting their new CD, Try It. Shandy (Shandrelica Casper) is a drummer from Curacao in the Caribbean, Eva (Żmijewska) is a guitarist from Warsaw, MA in composition from CalArts. An unforgettable concert in a tiny room for 30 people, where over 60 of us fit like sardines in a can! This event had a unique atmosphere and intensity of energy of music recorded and transmitted live by six cameras and a dozen microphones.

In December 2019, the Club was welcomed by Helena and Stanley Kołodziey in their elegant villa in Beverly Hills for an interview with the basketball player and philanthropist Marcin Gortat. Marcin Harasimowicz, an actor and sports journalist, spoke with the hero of the evening. Of course, we also sang Christmas carols, beautifully led by Karolina Naziemiec. A video from the meeting was recorded by a Polish TV crew. 

The club welcomed the New Year 2020 on December 31, 2019 with an elegant New Year's Eve Ball at the Imperial Ballroom, The Olympic Collection, Los Angeles, with Zbigniew Gałązka as the leader.

The Helena Modjeska Prize for 2019, was awarded to two emigrant actresses Maria Nowotarska and Agata Pilitowska from Polish Theater in Toronto. The winners performed in their own play, "Good Evening, Monsieur Chopin," based on Chopin's letters. The performance took place on January 31, 20\20 in Magicopolis, Santa Monica. 

In February 2020, Dominika Świątek with the accompaniment of pianist Andrzej Perkman beautifully interpreted the favorite songs of Ewa Demarczyk, Jacek Kaczmarski and others in the recital entitled "Sweet Peas and Roses" (Groszka i Róże) in the concert hall of the Santa Monica Library. It was a huge success, with over 120 people in attendance. This tribute to great Polish poetry was a presentation of the original tradition of Polish poetic song. Świątek, associated with the Hybrydy Theater of the University of Warsaw, poignantly performed well-known songs and deeply moved the audience. The masterly sound design by Andrzej Warzocha definitely helped set the mood. 

After the concert on February 29, 2020, the Modjeska Club canceled all scheduled performances due to the ban on face-to-face meetings in large groups in California during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Świątek and Perkman recital turned out to be a farewell to events held live, in person. 

Krystyna and Katarzyna Sadej - Zoom with the Club, March 2021


The Modjeska Club's ten meetings in the 2020-21 season were held in a Zoom format. We sent links by mail in invitations and we published information about the events on our blogs in Polish and English (KlubModrzejewskiej and ModjeskaClub), both on We posted this information on two pages of our organization on Facebook.

September 12, 2020 - Poetry of Anna Maria Mickiewicz from London, in Polish and English.

October 10, 2020 - Polish Hollywood, Elżbieta Kańska interviews actors Aleksandra Kaniak, Marcin Harasimowicz and Monika Ekiert, Los Angeles.

October 24, 2020 - Club outdoor trip to the beach, to Venice Beach.

November 14, 2020 - Poland and Hollywood, Elżbieta Kańska interviews actress Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, actor-director Marek Probosz and director Matt Szymanowski.

20 December 2020 - Christmas Carols and Poems are presented by prof. Stanisław Górka from Poland.

January 2, 2021 - Modjeska Prize 2020 for Andrzej Seweryn, interview with Katarzyna Śmiechowicz and presentation of the Club award via Zoom.

January 31, 2021 - The Józef Piłsudski Institute in New York, Dr. Iwona Korga, President of the Institute, talks about its collections and projects.

February 27, 2021 - Elżbieta Kański conducts a meeting with the famous actress, Beata Poźniak, in Los Angeles.

March 27, 2021 - Women's Day: Krystyna and Katarzyna Sądej, a conversation with outstanding artists, mother and daughter on the occasion of Women's Month, Ottawa, Canada.

May 8, 2021 - Lecture by prof. John Radzilowski from the University of Southern Alaska, on "Law vs. Justice? Claims to Plundered Art and Cultural Treasures from Poland, East-central Europe, and Beyond "in English.

May 22, 2021 - Musicians of Success, composer Mikołaj Stroiński and conductor Tomasz Golka, interview conducted by Maja Trochimczyk

Conductor Tomasz Golka, Riverside Philharmonic, May 2021.

Due to the continually extended ban on meetings with larger groups issued by the governor of California and the mayor of Los Angeles, the club moved its fall meetings to the Zoom platform. Meetings in Zoom can be easily recorded and presented on YouTube, they are available on the “Modjeska Club Playlist” channel of Moonrise Press and on the new website There were 10 online Zoom events and only one  in person - only 12 people went on a trip to Venice Beach.

In September 2020, we introduced an eminent émigré poet from London, Anna Maria Mickiewicz. For years he has lived and worked outside Poland: initially in California, now in England.  A member of the Association of Polish Writers Abroad, she publishes in Polish and English. The delicate poetic miniatures of Mickiewicz moved the listeners.

On Saturday, October 10, 2020, our Club had the pleasure to present "Polish Hollywood" with Aleksandra Kaniak, Marcin Harasimowicz and Monika Ekiert. The meeting was hosted by Elżbieta Kański, former President of the Polish-American Film Society and an active member of "Polish Hollywood." All three actors were born in Poland and chose California as their career destination. The actors talked about the difficulties of "setting up" in a new environment, the help of agents, and luck or hard work, which enabled them to build a career in a new language and a different culture.

The subject of "Poles in Hollywood" turned out to be so interesting that we continued the format in the  meeting on November 14, 2020. The interview entitled "Poland and Hollywood: Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, Marek Probosz, Matt Szymanowski" was again conducted by Elżbieta Kański. It was worth listening to the fascinating stories of outstanding actors, known in Poland and around the world, about the beginnings of their careers, their workshop, successes in Hollywood, and more.

Although you can record and easily publish conversations in the Zoom format, and you can invite guests from far away, a huge loss is the lack of personal contact, this specific atmosphere, even mystical energy, when a group of people in one room experiences common emotions, joy, or nostalgia. Prof. Stanisław Górka perfectly knows how to create such a beautiful Christmas atmosphere  in person, as he demonstrated to all of us in 2017. Therefore, we decided to ask him to present some Christmas Carols via Zoom. On Saturday, December 20, 2020, a Christmas Caroling  event with prof. Stanisław Górka took place. He sang Christmas carols and read Christmas poems, though, alas, there was no singing along... 

Of course, there was no New Year's Eve party, because it couldn't have happened in California. It would have been different, for example, in Sweden, where everything was allowed without lockdowns, social distancing, or masking, and there was no end of the world.

Andrzej Seweryn interviewed by Kasia Smiechowicz, Modjeska Prize Presentation January 2021

We started the year 2021 with a great celebration: virtual presentation of the Helena Modjeska Prize for the year 2020 to the outstanding Polish actor Andrzej Seweryn. The ceremony took place on Saturday, January 2, 2021 in the Zoom format. Actress Katarzyna Śmiechowicz conducted an interview with our distinguished guest. The award ceremony was held with the participation of Anna Sadowska and Syl Vès, representing the Board of the Club, and Elżbieta Kańska, representing the film world. 

To familiarize our members and guests with important Polish diaspora organizations, on Sunday, January 31, 2021, a lecture on the Institute of Józef Piłsudski in New York was delivered by its President, Dr. Iwona D. Korga. The program, entitled "The Piłsudski Institute in America: history, people and activity" was richly illustrated with short films and slides.

Anna Sadowska and Maja Trochimczyk with the Award for Andrzej Seweryn, January 2021

On February 27, 2021, the Club enjoyed a virtual visit from the famous actress, artist and activist, a Renaissance woman, Beata Poźniak. In the program - video fragments and a live performance plus a conversation led by Maja Trochimczyk and Elżbieta Kański. 

"March Celebration of Artistic Women - Mother and Daughter, Krystyna and Katarzyna Sądej" - this interesting meeting at Zoom brought to us Canadian guests on Saturday, March 27, 2021. Krystyna Sądej is a tapestry artist creating "fiber art" from recycled materials, while her daughter Katarzyna Sądej is a famous mezzo-soprano, opera star, whom we had the pleasure to host at the Club in 2018 in a recital of Polish songs.

To celebrate the Constitution Day on May 3 and Polish cultural heritage, the Modjeska Club had the pleasure to present a lecture in the Zoom format, entitled "Law vs. Justice? Claims to Plundered Art & Cultural Treasures from Poland, East-central Europe, and Beyond." A lecture illustrated with slides was given by prof. John Radzilowski from the University of South East Alaska. The lecture in English took place on May 8, 2021. 

On May 22, 2021, the Modjeska Club had the pleasure of presenting two outstanding Polish musicians whose career in California had developed wonderfully. Tomasz Golka, an outstanding Polish violinist, composer and conductor, is the music director of the Riverside Philharmonic. Mikołaj Stroiński is a famous Polish composer of film music and music for computer games, winner of many awards. The musicians talked about their musical passions, career, successes and plans for the future.

Artur Gotz peforms in Playa Vista, June 2022


October 10, 2021 - The Club's 50th Anniversary Ball at the University Club of Pasadena, Marek Probosz - Master of Ceremonies; Wojciech Kocyan - pianist; presentation of Modjeska Prizes to Jan Englert (video) and Beata Poźniak (in person).

November 6, 2021 - "The Tradition of the Polish Insurgent" - two points of view. Lectures by Konrad Wilk and Prof Andrzej Targowski in Huntington Beach.

December 12, 2021 - Christmas Caroling at the residence of P. Jolanta and Alex Wilk in Anaheim Hills, Olivia Kierdal and Henryk Chrostek led singing from the club's songbooks.

December 18, 2021 - "Christmas with Helena Modjeska" lecture via Zoom by Joanna Sokołowska-Gwizdek from Austin, Texas.

January 15, 2022 - Janusz Bieszk from Szczecin talks about the former kingdoms of Lehia and the Weneds and the forgotten kings Poland ruling way before "Piast" 

February 27, 2022 - "Papcio Chmiel" Documentary about Henryk Chmielewski, film screening at Mr. and Mrs. Lehman's residence in Pasadena (in person event).

Katarzyna Smiechowicz on Zoom

March 19, 2022 - March Women's Day Interview with Katarzyna Śmiechowicz via Zoom.

April 23, 2022 - Dr. Izabella Żuralski-Yeager talks about Polish art at the Getty Research Institute and Museum, and Adam Lubas presents his military collections in Brentwood (in person event).

May 21, 2022 - The History of Mazurek Dabrowski, Poland's National Anthem - a lecture by Prof. Tadeusz Trzaskalik from Katowice, Poland, via Zoom.

June 12, 2022 - Polish pop singer, Artur Gotz, sings Hits of Old Men (Przeboje Starszych Panow), from his new CD in Playa Vista (in person event, Gotz's performances were organized jointly with Polish Salon in San Diego and Las Vegas Polish Club).

We held 12 meetings in the 2021-22 season: 6 were in-person events and 6 were lectures or interviews in Zoom format. We returned to face-to-face meetings, but continued the online modality, mainly for financial reasons, but also to show guests from Poland or distant states. 

For the years 2020, 2021 and 2022, we reduced the membership dues by 50% and many members decided to stop paying dues, because they were not interested in Zoom lectures. These had few attendees, ranging from 8 to 22 listeners. Thus, we do not have the financial resources to organize more frequent meetings. It was also difficult to persuade artists from Poland to visit California, due to a variety of travel restrictions. In addition, rental of performance spaces became very expensive (eg  the rental for one of our favorite locations in Pasadena went up from $300 to $750 per evening). Surprisingly, chair rentals skyrocketed! We were asked to pay $ 500 to $ 1000 for about 60 chairs for a Christmas party, so we gave up and asked our dedicated members...


The biggest project of the 2021-22 season was the Club's 50th Anniversary Ball at the University Club of Pasadena in October, attended by 97 guests, delighted to finally meet in person in beautiful rooms decorated with orchids and photos from the Club's history. A mini-exhibition in the foyer also showed historical documents, posters, and Club Meeting Books. Polish Consul Paweł Lickiewicz presented the first prize for the club from Consul General Jaroslaw Lasinski. We also received honorary certificates or resolutions from the City of Los Angeles (Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez), Los Angeles County (Supervisor Kathryn Barger), Orange County (Supervisor Donald P. Wagner), and the California Senate (Senator Antony Portantino).

After a Chopin's waltz, masterfully played by prof. Wojciech Kocyan, or Master of Ceremonies, the distinguished actor Marek Probosz, made the presentation of the Modjeska Prizes to Jan Englert (video) and Beata Poźniak (in person). After dinner, the Ball commenced with a ceremonial polonaise led by Marek and Malgorzata Probosz. The dance music featuring old Polish hits was chosen by Andrzej Warzocha, our AV designer for the evening, the winner of two Emmy Awards. The graphic design was provided by volunteer Elżbieta Czajkowska and financial support was offered by POLAM FCU, a group of former Presidents & activists of the Club and Moonrise Press. Reports of Dr. Elżbieta Trybus and Maja Trochimczyk appeared in many Polish newspapers and periodicals - Zgoda, Gwiazda Polarna, Culture Avenue, Polish American Journal, The Post Eagle, and in Poland - in the journal "Polonia Inter Gentes" of the Institute of W. Anders at the Catholic University of Lublin.


In November 2021, we celebrated the November Polish Independence Day with two lectures by Konrad Wilk and Prof Andrzej Targowski on "The Tradition of the Polish Insurgent." This event took place in Huntington Beach. The speakers provoked the audience to a lively discussion about the strategic goal of the uprisings and their consequences in the history of the country.

Christmas Caroling at the Wilk Residence, Anaheim Hills

In December 2021 we held a favorite club tradition: Christmas Caroling at the residence of Jolanta and Alex Wilk in Anaheim Hills, where Olivia Kierdal and Henryk Chrostek led the sing-along, and we were honored by the presence of over 70 people, including a special guest, Stan Borys and his wife. 

A week later in December, we returned to Zoom format, presenting "Christmas at Helena Modjeska", a lecture by Joanna Sokołowska-Gwizdek from Austin, Texas. New faces appeared among the audience, including Agata Pilitowska from the Polish Theater in Toronto, winner of the Helena Modjeska Prize for 2019. 

An original Zoom lecture in January 2022 was given to a large audience. A popular writer Janusz Bieszk from Szczecin talked about the former kingdoms of Lechia (Lehia) and the Weneds, richly illustrating the lecture with maps and photos of the known monuments. To this day, it is the club's most popular YouTube video with over 2,600 visitors.

The season continued with a mix of Zoom events and personal meetings, including the February screening of the documentary "Papcio Chmiel" about Henryk Chmielewski, the author of popular Polish comics. The film was shown at the house of the artist's daughter, the great artist Monika Chmielewski Lehman and her husband, retired NASA / JPL manager, David Lehman in Pasadena. In March, we celebrated the March Women's Day via Zoom with a Morning Conversation with Katarzyna Śmiechowicz.

The Board with Adam Lubas, his daughter and one of his 17th Century "Pas Slucki" 

After Easter 2022, we returned to the hospitable residence of the Iwanczyk family in Brentwood, where in April Dr. Izabella Żuralski-Yeager talked about Polish art at the Getty Research Institute, while Adam Lubas presented treasures from his amazing collection of militaria, weapons, uniforms and other Polish memorabilia. Over 60 guests enjoyed a wonderful dinner with stuffed cabbage by caterer Beata Globisz and other delicacies. 

The May 2022 Zoom lecture celebrated the Constitution Day: the history of Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, Polish national anthem was recounted by Prof. Tadeusz Trzaskalik from Katowice. 

At the end of the season in June 2022, 45 people participated in the concert of singer Artur Gotz, who sang Hits of Old Men ("Przeboje Starszych Panow) from his latest album, at the Playa Vista Centerpoint Club. This event was arranged thanks to the kindness of Dr. Irmina Targowski and Prof. Andrzej Targowski, residents of the Playa Vista community. The AV design by Andrzej Warzocha resulted in a lovely experience. 

Modjeska Club Board with Beata Pozniak, Marek Probosz, Consul Pawel Lickiewicz, Oct. 2021

Preparing so many meetings and events would not be possible without the help of the entire Board. We started work in the following group: me as the President; dr Witold Sokołowski - Vice President (until his death in November 2019); dr Elżbieta Trybuś - Secretary; Elżbieta Przybyła - Treasurer; Chris Justin - Technical Director; Ewa Barsam - Social Relations Director; Krystyna Okuniewska - Artistic Director (to 2020). From June 2019, new members of the Board were Beata Czajkowska, Anna Sadowska, and Syl (Sylvia) Vès. On 25 April 2020, new appointments were made to the positions of Secretary (Barbara Nowicka) and Treasurer (Maria Kubal). Dr Elżbieta Trybuna, former Secretary, and Elżbieta Przybyła, former Treasurer, remained on the board. Not all changes in the Board were happy: on November 21, 2019, Dr. Witold Sokołowski, Vice President of the Club, died tragically in a car accident. This is an irreparable loss for all of us. Until the end of 2020, we honored the memory of Witek by leaving the vacancy in the position of the Vice-President. Later, this function was taken over by Dr. Elżbieta Trybuś. Chris Justin resigned from the Board in December 2021.


We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Club by publishing the 380-page "Album of the 50th Anniversary of the Club" ("Album 50-lecia Klubu Kultury im. Heleny Modrzejewskiej"), edited by me, Elżbieta Kańska and Elżbieta Trybus, starting in February 2021. Syl Ves, Beata Czajkowska, Elżbieta Czajkowska, Ewa Barsam and Jolanta Zych also participated in the editorial work. Krystyna Kuszta and dr Izabella Żuralski-Yeager took care of the proofreading. Texts of many authors and hundreds of photos beautifully illustrate the rich history of our Club. This project was supported by a grant from the Polish Consulate in Los Angeles, thanks to which the Album is available on the Internet for free in PDF format. Hardcover copies were sent to many libraries (National Library in Warsaw, California State Library, US Library of Congress) and Polish organizations (PIASA, PAHA, Piast Institute, USC Polish Music Center, Polish Museum of America) and others. The English version will be much shorter, in the "trade" format, 6 by 9 inches. It is currently under preparation.

Maria & Edward Pilatowicz, Maja Trochimczyk and Jolanta Zych at the General Meeting 
of Modjeska Club,  June 25, 2022, Bolton Hall Museum, Tujunga


So far 112,366 readers have found us on club blogs (until June 14, 2022). The blog, founded in 2011, has so far 94,344 visitors. It contains 100 news about club events and reports "after" - it also contains pages about the management, history of the club, and Modrzejewska. In the last year, the texts had an average of 60 to 140 readers, mainly from the USA (5,318), Russia (832), Japan (551), France (534), Poland (244) and Germany (204). The geography has been a little different over the years, as readers visited the blog from the USA (41,600), Russia (11,500), Poland (5,000), Germany (4,890) and from France, Ukraine, Japan, Canada, etc. The most popular news at the moment are Artur Gotz and Stefan Wenta; and since 2010, most people have read about the 40th anniversary of the club and Polish engineers at NASA / JPL.

The blog founded in 2018 has so far 18,022 readers. There are news about events and photos, it also contains pages about the management, history of the club and about Modjeska herself. Last year, news had an average of 30 to 100 readers, mainly from the USA (2,180), Poland (637) and France (257). Since the blog was founded, guests have been from the USA, Poland, Ukraine, Russia and France. The most popular news is a book about the history of the club, and the next about Krzysztof Dzikowski and Marta Ojrzyńska.


The new version of the website is ready in English ( and Polish ( In spring 2019, GoDaddy decided to change the so-called software. "Templates" notifying us of the change with the risk of losing all material. We made copies of the old pages; Elżbieta Czajkowska worked on it as a volunteer, and we were looking for a possibility to recreate the pages in the new GoDaddy program. Until June 2022, only basic news was published in the new system, including information about the ball or summaries of events with several photos. I did it myself, but it took too much time to continue.

In October 2021, I applied to the State of California for a Covid-19 Relief for Small Cultural Organizations grant and we received $ 5,000 to recreate past sites and add information from the last four years, and to promote the club. The work of Elżbieta Czajkowska resulted in a new page with information and archives in Polish (, and information on the website in English, this page is undergoing updating. We decided to divide the pages into separate Polish-English-language parts. Most of the information on the “” website was in Polish, so we first recreated the pages in Polish - but on the website.


The club has a "page" and a "group" on the Facebook platform. The "Page" of a charity organization has 576 people and the "group" has 229 members. The initiator was Lucyna Przasnyski, for some time Chris Justin was the main author of photo albums also published by Maria Kubal and Syl Vès. Currently, the President is responsible for posting messages, and Syl Vès and Anna Sadowska for copying them to other websites.

The Board at the 100 Lat Polski w Muzyce Concert, Beverly Hills, Oct. 2018.


I would like to thank everyone who supported the club financially, including the Polish National Foundation, the Consulate of the Republic of Poland, the State of California, POLAM FCU, and individual donors, club members such as Elżbieta Trybus, Jolanta Zych, Krystyna and Bohdan Kuszta, Edward and Maria Piłatowicz, Helena and Stanley Kołodziey, Katarzyna Śmiechowicz, Dr. Irmina Targowska, and the entire Board of Directors (min. $ 100 gift per person).

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all hosts of our meetings, who welcomed the Club in their own homes. They are: Helena and Stanley Kołodziey, Monika and David Lehman, Elżbieta and Jan Iwanczyk, and Jolanta and Alex Wilk. "Thank you" is also due for help in finding performance spaces - Dr. and Prof. Irmina and Andrzej Targowski, Chris Justin, Barbara Nowicka, Maria Kubal and others.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Club's  Board for their dedicated work, a huge gift of time and money. Many people made purchases for the club from their own resources; the Board members hosted Board meetings in their own homes. They looked after guests and lecturers (I had guests in my home twice). 

Other organizations reimburse mileage and cost of gas to their staff and Board. However, we do not, except for longer trips with special guests. The following persons worked for the Club without remuneration: Dr. Witold Sokołowski - Vice President (until his death on November 21, 2019); dr Elżbieta Trybś - Secretary and Vice President from 2021; Elżbieta Przybyła - Treasurer; Barbara Nowicka - Secretary; Maria Kubal - Treasurer; Chris Justin - Technical Director; Ewa Barsam - Social Relations Director; Krystyna Okuniewska - Artistic Director; as well as Directors Beata Czajkowska, Anna Sadowska, and Syl (Sylvia) Vès.

Finally, I would like to thank the members of the Club who generously gave lectures for free - Konrad Wilk, Dr. Jan Iwanczyk, Prof. Andrzej Targowski, Monika Chmielewski Lehman, and Dr. Izabella Żuralski-Yeager.

* * * * * * * * * * 

The previous four years were very difficult for the Club; a period of rapid development with an increasing number of new members was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Few people were interested in ongoing activities online in Zoom format. Even though the membership dues were cut to half, the number of active members of the Club has decreased significantly. Therefore, I would like to thank all those who persisted and wish us many years of fruitful work in promoting Polish culture in California. May we do well and work well!

Dr Maja Trochimczyk, President

Los Angeles, June 14, 2022


"The Post Eagle" - "Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club Hosts Two Musical Concerts Celebrating 100th-Anniversary of Poland's Independence" (Maja Trochimczyk), December 2018. In English.

"Culture Avenue" - "Helena - the premiere of Marta Ojrzyńska's play about Helena Modrzejewska, in California" May 13, 2019.

"Culture Avenue" - "Helena" by Marta Ojrzyńska in Santa Monica "on June 6, 2019.

"Gazeta" - "Lifetime achievement award for an actress for M. Nowotarska and A. Pilitowska!" (Toronto, Canada), June 17, 2020, Malgorzata P. Bonikowska.  In Polish.

“Helena Modjeska Prize Presented!" - report on the website of the Polski Theater in Toronto (in Polish), February 2020;

"Culture Avenue" - "Andrzej Seweryn is the laureate of the Helena Modrzejewska in Los Angeles, ”May 5, 2021; in Polish.

“The Post Eagle” - “Eminent Polish actor receives the 2020 Modjeska Prize” (Maja Trochimczyk about Andrzej Seweryna), May 9, 2021. In English. https: // -prize /

 "Zgoda" Union Journal - "Helena Modrzejewska Awards for 2021" (Elżbieta Trybus), October 7, 2021. In Polish.

"Gwiazda Polarna" - "Helena Modrzejewska Awards for 2021" (Elżbieta Trybus), 22/23 Oct / Nov 2021. In Polish.

"Zgoda" Union Journal - "50th anniversary of the Helena Modrzejewska Cultural Club in Los Angeles." (Elżbieta Trybuna), 27 October 2021. In Polish.

"The Post Eagle" - "Modjeska Club Celebrates 50th Anniversary, Presents Modjeska Prizes to Polish Actors, Jan Englert and Beata Poźniak" (Maja Trochimczyk), November 3, 2021. In English. -50th-anniversary-presents-modjeska-prizes-to-polish-actors-jan-englert-and-beata-pozniak /

"Culture Avenue" - "Celebration of the 50th anniversary of Klub Kultury im. Helena Modrzejewska from Los Angeles ”November 16, 2022. In Polish.

"Polonia Inter Gentes" (scientific journal), No. 2, 2022 - "Polish Culture in Los Angeles: History of Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club", Elżbieta Trybuna, Catholic University of Lublin, pp. 113-120. In English.


2018 – Jadwiga Barańska (McGroary Arts Center in Tujunga), 

2019 – Agata Pilitowska i Maria Nowotarska (Magicopolis, Santa Monica),

2020 – Andrzej Seweryn (Zoom and Sunland garden), 

2021 – Beata Poźniak i Jan Englert (University Club of Pasadena + video)