Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This Sunday! Anna Seniuk at Magicopolis at 5:30 p.m.

On December 2, at 5:30 p.m., at Magicopolis Theater (1418 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401), the Modjeska Club will present Anna Seniuk in a play by Stanislaw Balinski, "Wieczor w Teatrze Wielkim," with live music by Magdalena Malecka. Reception to follow by Moonrise Press and Friends. 

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF THE HOUR! We will have access to the theater only at 4:30 p.m. and have to set up the stage and reception areas.


Anna Seniuk (born November 17, 1942 in Stanislaviv) is a Polish TV and theatre actress. After World War II, together with other Poles from Stanisławów, she was forced by the Soviet government to leave her hometown, settling in the town of Zator, near Oświęcim. In 1964 Seniuk graduated from Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Teatralna (Academy for the Dramatic Arts) in Kraków and debuted in the renowned Helena Modrzejewska Theater (Old Theatre). In the early 1970s, she moved to Warsaw, where played in several theatres.

Since 2003, she has been working in Warsaw at the National Theatre. Seniuk is known to Polish viewers mainly for her role of Magda Karwowska in the immensely popular 1970s Polish TV series Czterdziestolatek (The Forty-Year-Old). She has cooperated with Polish Radio and has been featured in more than 40 radio shows. Among her most famous film roles, there are appearances in such productions as Europa Europa, Potop and The Maids of Wilko.

Stanislaw Balinski was a poet, essayist and diplomat, born on August 2, 1898 in Warsaw. He also studied Law and Musical Theory and Composition at the University of Warsaw. He was a member of the famed and notorious poetic society, "Skamander" that remained active during the Second World War in spite of the dangers under Nazi occupation. After the war, Balinski chose to make London his home; he died there on November 12, 1984.

Stanislaw Balinski's 'Evening at the Grand Theatre' is a comic and sentimental homage to the artist's and musician's of his time - that of prewar Warsaw. The Romantic Poet tells of a time when Theatre was likened to Religion and the tremendous importance and reverence the Theatre had in society. Anna Seniuk masterfully engages her audience in this comic and endearing spectacle that illuminates a remarkable epoch in Polish Theatre. Polish community will undoubtedly recognize this performance as the season's finest; it is highly entertaining and touches on very relevant themes about art and society in Poland. This is a subject of great interest to the Polish community, on that will no doubt be very much appreciated.


Program Notes by Ars Longa Foundation of Vancouver, Canada, the organizer of Seniuk's tour.



Cześć!  My name is Valerie Spencer, and I’m a member of Critical Mass Performance Group.  I’m reaching out to members of the Southern California Polish community to spread the word about our latest theatre piece, AMERYKA

 It’s a kaleidoscopic look at the centuries-long relationship between the United States and Poland with an emphasis on the Revolutionary War period, the Cold War period, the 1980s/Solidarnosc era, and post 9/11.  The piece has been in development since 2010, and we’re about ¾ of the way there.  Occasionally we invite members of the public to take a peek at the work while it’s still under construction, and I’d like to let you know about some upcoming showings:

December 6-9
South Coast Rep
Studio SCR series

Thursday, November 15, 2012


On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Modjeska Club I’m pleased to invite you to join us for a trip to Modjeska Historic Site – the home of Helena Modjeska that she called “Arden” – located in Santiago Canyon, Orange County. This site is a National Historic Landmark. During the guided tour of the museum we will see precious documents, portraits, and furniture owned by Modjeska and her husband, Count Chłapowski. The gardens were designed by the famous California gardener, Theodore Payne.

We made this reservation (limited to 40) in July, selecting the first available date. We will meet at 10 am on Saturday 24 November 2012. Parking is limited to 20 cars, so carpooling is highly recommended. RSVP: Danuta Żuchowski (626 577 1258); for carpooling call Elżbieta Kańska (323 462 6428). After the tour of Arden we hope to meet everyone at a picnic in the Modjeska Park across the street. The admission is free (paid by the club) but please bring your own picnic baskets!


On December 2, at 5 p.m., at Magicopolis Theater (1418 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401), the Modjeska Club will present Anna Seniuk in a play by Stanislaw Balinski, "Wieczor w Teatrze Wielkim," with live music by Magdalena Malecka.


Anna Seniuk (born November 17, 1942 in Stanislaviv) is a Polish TV and theatre actress. After World War II, together with other Poles from Stanisławów, she was forced by the Soviet government to leave her hometown, settling in the town of Zator, near Oświęcim. In 1964 Seniuk graduated from Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Teatralna (Academy for the Dramatic Arts) in Kraków and debuted in the renowned Helena Modrzejewska Theater (Old Theatre). In the early 1970s, she moved to Warsaw, where played in several theatres.

Since 2003, she has been working in Warsaw at the National Theatre. Seniuk is known to Polish viewers mainly for her role of Magda Karwowska in the immensely popular 1970s Polish TV series Czterdziestolatek (The Forty-Year-Old). She has cooperated with Polish Radio and has been featured in more than 40 radio shows. Among her most famous film roles, there are appearances in such productions as Europa Europa, Potop and The Maids of Wilko.

Stanislaw Balinski was a poet, essayist and diplomat, born on August 2, 1898 in Warsaw. He also studied Law and Musical Theory and Composition at the University of Warsaw. He was a member of the famed and notorious poetic society, "Skamander" that remained active during the Second World War in spite of the dangers under Nazi occupation. After the war, Balinski chose to make London his home; he died there on November 12, 1984.

Stanislaw Balinski's 'Evening at the Grand Theatre' is a comic and sentimental homage to the artist's and musician's of his time - that of prewar Warsaw. The Romantic Poet tells of a time when Theatre was likened to Religion and the tremendous importance and reverence the Theatre had in society. Anna Seniuk masterfully engages her audience in this comic and endearing spectacle that illuminates a remarkable epoch in Polish Theatre. Polish community will undoubtedly recognize this performance as the season's finest; it is highly entertaining and touches on very relevant themes about art and society in Poland. This is a subject of great interest to the Polish community, on that will no doubt be very much appreciated.


Program Notes by Ars Longa Foundation of Vancouver, Canada, the organizer of Seniuk's tour.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Leszek Jażdżewski, a noted Polish journalist and editor in chief of Liberté!, will visit the Modjeska Club to discuss – in English – about “The Change of Generations in Poland – Challenges and Opportunities.”  The event will be directed at our young-at-heart membership with political interests, especially those who will bring English-speaking guests.  Our meeting will take place in the afternoon of Saturday, October  27, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. at Hellada Gallery (117 Linden Avenue  Long Beach, CA 90802, tel. 562. 435. 5232).  We will start early, to leave time for Halloween parties in the evening, including one at Hellada.  The interview with our distinguished guest will be conducted by Marcin Frybes, a distinguished historian and journalist. 

Leszek Jażdżewski is the founder and editor-in-chief of LIBERTÉ!, Polish liberal journal (English version of LIBERTÉ! portal is at He is a publicist, NGO activist (Non-Governmental Organizations), and coauthor of books Liberal reflections on life chances and social mobility in Europe, and  Democracy in Europe Of the People, by the People, for the People? He is also the coauthor of Central European Dictionary of Political Concepts
Jażdżewski publishes in various Polish newspapers and journals (Wprost, Newsweek, and Gazeta Wyborcza among others). He is also a frequent commentator on TV and radio. Leszek is an active member of the NGO community. He is a member of LYMEC – uniting young European liberals and the secretary of Transport Integration Society supporting modernization of Polish transport. He is also a member of European Convention on Liberal Democracy (ECLD).  The seating is limited to 50 guests.  The event is free, open to guests, and in English.  

Barbara Krafftowna receives 2012 Modjeska Prize from Maja Trochimczyk

Krafftowna's Visit and Modjeska Prize - Aftermath

The visit of Barbara Krafftowna - Polish Film Festival and 2012 Modjeska Prize was very successful and enjoyable for everyone involved.  Many photos were taken and an album is in preparation.  

The delightfully witty and charming actress "stole the show" at the Opening Gala of the Polish Film Festival  on October 9, 2012 and at the Modjeska Club Party on October 13, 2012.  

TV Polonia broadcast a report by Matylda Liro about the festival including a segment about the award:
Barbara Krafftowna received her 2012 Modjeska Prize at the Opening of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles, at the Egyptian Theater, on October 9, 2012. Our award was the first to be given, just before the opening speeches and award ceremonies of the Festival itself. The actress, in black evening dress, complete with twenties-style jet-hat, feather boa, and fishnet stockings read a short thank you note in Polish, translated by the Emcee of the evening, Mr. Banas. It was quite a moment for us all!

On Saturday, October 13, 2012, we met again, at the hospitable home of Elzbieta and Jan Iwanczyk, in Brentwood Hills near the Getty. Our reception and interview with the 84-year old legendary actress was attended by over 100 club members and festival guests. Ms. Krafftowna showed off her prize, talked about her career, in an interview prepared with Andrzej Maleski, a long-time friend. She prepared three short "surprises" - two comic sketches first published in 1895, and a one-minute reflection on the word "Jeszcze" (still) by Professor Jan Bralczyk, also a former guest of the club.

Pictures from Barbara Krafftowna's visit to California are in our Picasa Web Album: 

The Club’s events for the fall of 2012

⦾November 24 – visit to Arden

⦾December 2 – Anna Seniuk at Magicopolis  

⦾December 15 – Christmas party 

Please note that there will be no New Year’s Eve Party, since half of the Board will not be here, and there are no volunteers to organize it. For those interested, the Polish Scouts will have their “Sylwester” at the Polish Parish on Adams.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Barbara Krafftowna Receives the 2012 Modjeska Prize

The renowned Polish actress Barbara Krafftówna is the recipient of our 2012 Modjeska Prize. The eminent actress who started her career in 1946 is celebrated for hundreds of theater, film and TV theater roles in Poland and California. She is recognized as a specialist in the theater of the absurd (Witkacy, Gombrowicz) and is beloved for her performances in cabaret, including the legendary Kabaret Starszych Panow.

The presentation of the Prize will take place at the Opening Gala of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles on October 9, 2012. The Modjeska Club members will then attend a special reception and an interview with the star scheduled for October 13, 2012 at a private residence in Los Angeles.

Krafftówna started her acting career in 1946, performing on the stage, on TV, in films and cabarets. Her oeuvre includes: 62 outstanding theatrical roles (in theaters in Gdynia, Łódź, Wrocław, Warszawa, and Los Angeles), 33 roles in TV theater and over 43 film roles (in such films as Wojciech Has’s – Jak być kochaną, 1962; Andrzej Wajda’s – Popiół i diament, 1958; as well as films by Jan Nowicki, Kazimierz Kutz, and others). She has specialized in the theater of grotesque and the absurd (Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Witold Gombrowicz, Eugene Ionesco, etc.). She also performed numerous cabaret and comic roles. Her contributions to Polish culture, to the history of theater in Los Angeles and to the history of Polish émigrés in California are invaluable. Barbara Krafftówna received over 20 awards and medals from the Government of Poland, such as the Commodore Cross of Polonia Restituta, Medal Gloria Artis, and more.

In 1983, in Los Angeles for the title role in Mother (Matka) by Witkacy, directed by the founder of the Modjeska Club, acting coach, director, and author Leonidas Dudarew Ossetyński, Krafftówna received 11 awards from a number of critics. She has performed in three productions for UCLA Laboratory of Theater Research (Seneca's Hippolytus in 1989; A Feast at Countess Kotlubaj's in 1997 and A Meditation on Virginity in 2004--both based on Gombrowicz short stories).

Created in 2010, the “Modjeska Prizes” were previously awarded by the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club to Polish actors Jan Nowicki, Anna Dymna and Marian Dziędziel. Ms. Krafftówna will be the guest of the Modjeska Club and simultaneously of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles where her films will be screened. The Modjeska Prize is named after Polish actress who settled in California, Helena Modrzejewska (1840-1909).

Krafftowna at the Modjeska Club in 2003, L to R:
Krystyna Kuszta, Barbara Krafftowna, Jolanta Zych, and Tadeusz Podkanski.
The event took place at the residence of Joanna and Andrzej Maleski.

To see pictures from Krafftowna's visit to California in October 2012 visit our Picasa Web Album:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Who Was Pola Negri? A Play by Kazimierz Braun

On Sunday, September 30, 2012, at 5:00 p.m. the Modjeska Club presents a play written and directed by eminent Polish playwright and scholar, Prof. Kazimierz Braun: Stories of Pola Negri.  The one-evening performance will take place at Magicopolis, 1418 4th Street, Santa Monica, CA. Starring AGATA PILITOWSKA with MARIA NOWOTARSKA, the play (performed in Polish with English subtitles) traces the history of Polish star of silent film, Pola Negri.

POLA NEGRI was the greatest Polish star in the history of cinema. She was born as Apolonia Chałupiec, in the small town of Lipno, near Toruń in 1897. From 1923 to 1934, she performed in twenty four Hollywood films, including The Spanish Dancer, Forbidden Paradise, A Woman of the World, Hotel Imperial, Loves of an Actress, and A Woman Commands. Each of them received enthusiastic reviews. At the same time, Negri also gained notoriety as the heroine of a scandalous romance with Charlie Chaplin, followed by an engagement to Rudolf Valentino. Just before their wedding, Valentino died in unexplained circumstances. Shortly afterwards, Negri married a Georgian prince, Sergey Mdivani. This was her second marriage. To make matters worse, public opinion judged Negri's marriage to Mdivani as a betrayal of Valentino, whom she had mourned publicly and for whom she had arranged a spectacular funeral. Attendance at her films fell, which translated into a withdrawal of contracts from film studios. Negri returned to Europe to work in Germany. As the Nazis tightened control over the film industry, screenplays in which she wanted to perform were censored. Asked to appear in an overtly anti-Polish film, she fled Germany. Negri lived for a while on the French Riviera, until the Second World War caught up with her. In 1940, she left once more for America. Apart from three insignificant roles, however, no film offers awaited her in Hollywood. She spent her last years in San Antonio, Texas, where she died in 1987.

Kazimierz BRAUN

Prof. Braun is a director, writer and a scholar. He studied Polish language and literature at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, where he obtained his doctorate, and later obtained his postdoctoral “habilitation” degree at the University of Wrocław in Poland. He studied theatre direction at the University Theatre School in Warsaw, Poland. He holds the title of professor in Poland as well in the United States where he presently teaches at the New York State University in Buffalo. Professor Braun was a director of the J. Osterwa Thetre in Lublin and the Contemporary Theatre in Wrocław, Poland. There, he directed a sensational production of The Plague based on the novel by A. Camus, in which he alluded to martial law imposed on Poland at that time. For this, he lost his job and was forced to emigrate. Presently he directs plays and lectures in the Unites States and other countries, including Poland. He is the author of over thirty books, papers, as well as novels which were published in Polish, English and Czech languages. He also wrote several plays, staged in Poland, The United States, Canada, Ireland, and Russia. For Maria Nowotarska and Agata Pilitowska he has written a series of plays, featuring great women who emigrated from Poland: Helena - Play About Helena Modjeska, American Dreams, Tamara L., Radiation, Tales of Pola Negri, and Ordonka’ Secrets. These plays were performed in many countries - in Polish, with simultaneously projected translations in other languages. Professor Braun received many prestigious artistic and literary prizes and awards: Guggenheim, Fulbright, Turzański Foundation, and from a Foundation in Japan. He also received the Polish Cross of Merit and the Polish “Gloria Artis” medal.


Established in 1990 by Maria Nowotarska, the Polish Theater presents plays and poetry readings on a range of Polish topics to audiences around the world. The most important part of the theater's repertoire are plays written by Kazimierz Braun for Maria Nowotarska and Agata Pilitowska and directed by the author: American Dreams, Tamara L., Promieniowanie (Radiation), Opowieści Poli Negri (Tales of Pola Negri), Tajemnice Ordonki (Ordonka’s Secrets). These plays were performed in Toronto and other Canadian and American cities: Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Sarasota, Phoenix, San Francisco as well as in Europe: Warsaw, Cracow, Zurich, Paris, Stockholm, Malmo, Utrecht, Duesseldorf, Vilnius, Lyon, Toulouse, Athens, Braga, Palma de Mallorca, London, Vienna and in Brazil's Sao Paulo.


Maria Nowotarska graduated from the Cracow University Theatre School and for thirty three years was a staff actress at the J. Słowacki Theatre in Cracow, Poland. During her career there, she played many significant roles under the direction of several outstanding directors, both in comedy and drama. She played in a number of Polish films: Nad Niemnem (On the River Niemen), Między Ustami a Brzegiem Pucharu (Between lips and the rim of the cup), Kolory Kochania (Colours of love) and in many TV productions. She came to Canada in 1990 and singlehandedly created Polish theatrical life in Toronto. She is the artistic director, stage director, as well as actress of the “Salon of Poetry, Music and Theatre” Polish Theatre. The Salon's productions included an array of the best Polish poets, from Kochanowski to Szymborska and Twardowski. Ms. Nowotarska created the Actors' Studio which is associated with the Salon and which introduces young people of Polish origin to work on stage. Ms. Nowotarska’s Salon was honoured with the Medal of Polish Senate, and the “Cracow 2000” medal . She herself was awarded the Prize of The Adam Mickiewicz Foundation in Canada, and from the Turzański Foundation. She was also accorded the title “Woman of the Year” (1995) and received the Golden Medal of the Canadian Polish Congress. She was awarded the “Cross of Merit” by the President of the Polish Republic, the title “Distinguished Advocate of Polish Culture”, and the “Gloria Artis” medal by the Polish Minister of Culture. She was awarded a Gold Medal by the American Polish Institute in Miami, Florida and the “Golden Owls” statuette in Vienna, Austria.


Agata Pilitowska graduated from the Cracow University Theatre School in Cracow, Poland and came to Canada in 1986. Agata Pilitowska lives in Toronto. She played many English speaking roles in local theatres. From 1992 she is associated with the Salon of Poetry, Music, and Theatre where she played in more than 100 productions, most notably in the series of dramas, written and directed especially for her and for Maria Nowotarska by Kazimierz Braun. These plays were performed not only in Toronto, but also in many cities throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, as well as in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her evening of poetry, Szymborska Nobel 96, was performed in Polish and English, among other places at the Concordia University in Montreal, Washington University in Washington D.C., and as part of the International Writers’ Festival in Ottawa. Since 1999 she has been a presenter and journalist for OMNI TV, where she hosts a weekly programme Z Ukosa (Sideglance). For OMNI TV she dubbed thirty three hours of TV programme “Canada, the Peoples' History” and twenty programmes Ecce Homo. She was also narrator and host of Polish language version of the series Science Show. Agata Pilitowska was awarded the title “Distinguished Advocate of Polish Culture” (2004), the medal “Gloria Artis” (2006), and the “Golden Owls” statuette (2011) for her achievements in acting and theatre in Vienna, Austria.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Carmageddon? No! "Pola Negri" - Polish Theatre from Toronto at Magicopolis, 9/30/12

                              POLA NEGRI STORIES - MAGICOPOLIS, 9/30/2012

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles, I'm delighted to invite Club Members and Guests to a fascinating spectacle about a silent film star, Pola Negri.  The play, written by the eminent playwright and director, Kazimierz Braun, follows Pola Negri's career and presents its highlights, with film excerpts.  This rare treat will be in Polish; with Agata Pilitowska as Pola Negri and Maria Nowotarska.  The silent-film era costumes will delight the audience, as will the sultry and passionate portrayal of the famous actress.

This spectacle is a touring production by Teatr Polski w Toronto (Polish Theater of Toronto) and willl be presented in Polish on Sunday, Septe3mber 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm (the second day of the Carmaggedon, i.e., the closure of the 405 freeway). MAGICOPOLIS, 1418 4th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401. We hope you will be able to arrive on time; the door will open at 4:30 p.m.  RVSP to September 15, 2012 to Elzbieta Kanski; after that tickets will be available to the general public ($35 guests, $20 club members).



In the fall 2012 season the following events are planned:

  • 30 September - Teatr Polski from Toronto "Pola Negri" - Magicopolis, Santa Monica (the same day as the closure of the 405 freeway)
  • 13 October - Barbara Krafftowna receives the Modjeska Prize, she confirmed her attendance, the event is for club members only and VIP guests  
  • 14 October - Paderewski Lecture, Polish Music Center (our Club donates annually $500), free
  • 24 November - tour of the Modjeska House and Estate, Arden, OC and a picnic in the park; the tour at 10 am  (first group of 45), and at 1 pm. (second group if neded)
  • 2 December - Teatr Polski from Poland, Anna Seniuk with P. Malecka (viola) "Wieczor w Teatrze Wielkim"- $20 members, $35 guests
  • 15 December - Holiday Party and Caroling in the home of Mrs. and Mr Chmielewski in Pasadena, free to members only
  • 31 December - New Year's Eve Party, Long Beach Petroleum Club, DJ - Richard (as during our last New Year's Eve and the Anniversary Ball), $120 per person
Hope to see you all during our enjoyable new season!

Newly Elected Board of Directors of the Modjeska Club for 2012-2014

Maja Trochimczyk, President
Elzbieta Kanski, Vice President
Danuta Zuchowski, Treasurer
Leela Chmielewski, Secretary
Krystyna Bartkowski
Andrew Dowen
Krystyna Okuniewski
Wanda Presburger
Bogdan Plewnia
Jolanta Wilk

During the meeting new bylaws were approved and Barbara Krafftowna was voted as the next recipient of the Modjeska Prize.

Pictures from the General Electoral Meeting are at: Modjeska Club Elections 2012 Picasa Web Album. Links to other albums are on the right margin.

Friday, June 22, 2012

General Meeting of Modjeska Club - June 23 at 5 p.m., Pasadena

A quick reminder that the general meeting of the Modjeska Club and the elections of the new President and Board are scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 5 p.m. at the hospitable home of Danuta and Wieslaw Zuchowski in Pasadena. The address and other details have been provided in an email and letters to all Club members who have paid the dues. Whoever did not pay the dues yet and is not eligible to vote, may come to the meeting, pay the oustanding yearly dues, and pick up the ballot to exercise their right to vote.

Over the course of the last two years, the Bylaws of the Modjeska Club have been revised by a committee lead by Andrew Z. Dowen and the resulting text has been sent to all members in good standing with a ballot for approval. The English version is the legal document, and a Polish translation has been posted on the website:

Prof. Norman Davies (center) surrounded by the Modjeska Club members. L to R: Andy Dowen, Jola Zych, Krystyna Bartkowska, Bozena Szeremeta, Dorota Olszewska, Elzbieta Kanska, Krystyna Okuniewska, Maja Trochimczyk, Helena Kolodziey, Krystyna Kuszta and Bogdan Plewnia, May 19, 2012, Beverly Hills. Poster by Lech Majewski, commissioned by Consul General Joanna Kozinska-Frybes jako dar dla Klubu.

The Club has hosted 15 events in the 39th season (2010-2011) and 13 events in the 40th anniversary season (2011-1012), including presentations by artists, writers, actors, musicians, and politicians from Poland, Polish-American poets, musicians, and scholars specializing in Polish culture.  Additionally two events focused on presentations of the Modjeska Prizes to Marian Dziedziel and Anna Dymna. Several events were organized in collaboration with Polish and American partners, to mention only: the Bowers Museum, Jacaranda Music Group, the UCLA Hammer Museum, Instytut Adama Mickiewicza, USC Polish Music Center, Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles, and, our greatest supporter, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland.

Our events were mostly open to the public and about 50% used English as the main language. The "members-only" events included meetings with Prof. Jerzy Balcerowicz, former Chairman of Poland's National Bank in 2010, and with Prof. Norman Davies, a British expert on European history in 2012 

We received honors and recognitions from the City and County of Los Angeles. We have instituted a new award, called the "Modjeska Prize" and given in recognition of outstanding achievements by actors in Poland. Jan Nowicki, Marian Dziedziel and Anna Dymna have received the Modjeska Prizes so far.

Much progress was made in documenting the Club's history as new sources came to life from the collections of the Polish Museum of America in Chicago thanks to the President's reasearch.  In addition, founding members, active in the club's first decade (Wanda Baran, Jerzy Zagner) have also contributed important sources and information.  Research continues. The results will be published in the book "A Grand,  Historical Album" ("Album Wielce Historyczny") that is currently being edited. The publication of the Polish version will be scheduled for the fall 2012. The book will include biographical notes about important artists, writers, scholars and scientists who have belonged to the Club over the 40 years of its history.

It has been a pleasure to serve as the Club's President for the past two years and I'm proud of our collective accomplishments.  I've been assisted by an amazing, dedicated, hard-working, and cohesive Board of Directors: Krystyna Kuszta, Vice-President; Danuta Zuchowski, Treasurer; Krystyna Bartkowski, Secretary; Andy Dowen, Krystyna Okuniewska, Wanda Presburger, Bogdan Plewnia, and Bozena Szeremeta.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Anna Dymna Receives the 2011 Modjeska Prize in Poland

 On May 29, 2012 in Kraków, the eminent Polish actress, Anna Dymna accepted the Modjeska Prize 2011 awarded to her by the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles in October 2011 for her extraordinary contributions to Polish culture.

The low-key, warm and friendly ceremony took place at a luncheon sponsored by the US General Consulate in Krakow and held at a gourmet Avanti restaurant, featuring Italian cuisine. The attendees included the Public Affairs Officer in the US General Consulate in Krakow Benjamin Ousley Naseman, and Mrs. Maria Brzostek the Educational Adviser in the Consulate, the President of the Board of Directors of the Polish American Historical Association, Prof. Neal Pease, the President of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, Prof. Mieczysław B.B. Biskupski, Prof. Dorota Praszałowicz of the Jagiellonian University, and many other scholars from several countries who participated in the Fifth Workshop on “American Ethnicity: Rethinking Old Issues, Asking New Questions” organized by Prof. Praszałowicz and her team.

The award was presented by an émigré music historian and poet, Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, the President of the Modjeska Club and a Board member of the Polish American Historical Association. In addition to the 2011 Modjeska Prize, Ms. Dymna also received a certificate of congratulations from the City Council of Los Angeles.

Anna Dymna studied acting at the celebrated Theater School of Kraków and started her illustrious career while still a student, performing for the Julius Słowacki Theater in 1969. She joined the National Helena Modrzejewska Old Theatre in Kraków immediately after her graduation in 1973 and has performed on its stage since then. Like Modrzejewska, recognized for her talent and beauty, Dymna starred in major plays from the classical repertoire and in numerous films and television series, appearing in over 250 roles to a great critical acclaim. In 2002, she established a Poetry Salon presenting readings by the most celebrated poets and actors and recognized as one of the most interesting cultural activities in the region.

Dedicated to her charity work, in 2003 Dymna established her charity foundation Mimo Wszystko (“Against the Odds”) to provide services to the disabled. She is a recipient of numerous awards for her artistic achievements including the Golden Mask (1996, 1999, 2000), the Golden Screen (1984), and the Golden Lions (1994). In 2004, she received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and The Order of the Smile from disabled children.

Ms. Dymna, accompanied by the Director of her charitable foundation Mimo Wszystko that provides assistance to disabled children, Mr. Marek Kowalski, was gracious and personable in her acceptance speech. She talked about her appreciation of this distinction and her pride of having been honored by an émigré organization maintaining its strong ties with Poland and named after her famous predecessor, actress Helena Modrzejewska. Another poignant link was provided by the fact that for over 40 years, Ms. Dymna has been performing at Kraków’s distinguished cultural institution, the Old Theater (Teatr Stary), named after Helena Modrzejewska.

She also explained the multitude of charitable and artistic duties that she has been engaged in that had prevented her from traveling to Los Angeles to accept the award in person in California. The current projects include a premiere of a new theater show Chłopcy [Boys) by Stanisław Grochowiak, ongoing series of widely popular Poetry Salons in Kraków, and several large-scale charitable events, including Zwyciężać Mimo Wszystko [To Win Against All Odds].

The international group of scholars gave the beautiful actress a standing ovation, in appreciation of her decades of astounding artistic contributions and over ten years of generous charitable activities, helping many children and individuals in Poland. With her talent and heart, Ms. Dymna knows how to make the world a better place.

The Modjeska Club created its Annual Modjeska Prize In 2010, in order to commemorate its patron, the famous Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska (known in America as Modjeska). The Modjeska Prize is awarded to recognize the achievements and contributions of actors to Polish culture. Other past recipients of Modjeska Prizes include actors Jan Nowicki and Marian Dziędziel.

For those who did not make it to Krakow, here are the links to a Photo Album from the Award Ceremony and, as a special treat, to the Krakow's signature melody - Hejnal Mariacki:



1. General Election Meeting of the Modjeska Club will be held on June 23, 2012 at 5 p.m. at the residence of Danuta and Wieslaw Zuchowski in Pasadena. Only members in good standing can vote.

2. The Revised Bylaws will be sent for approval to all Club members in good standing next week.  The vote will be either by mail to Chair of the Bylaws Committee, Andrew Z. Dowen, or in person at the General Election Meeting. We have updated the official English version of the Bylaws and will post the Polish translation on our website.

3. During the General Meeting a preview copy of the Modjeska Club History book will be available for review - Polish version only. If any Club members have pictures or memorabilia, especially from the early period, we are looking forward to receiving photographs for inclusion in the book.

3. We would like to organize a summer trip to Modjeska's House, Arden, in Orange County. The house is open for tours only twice a month and advance reservations are required. Further details will be posted after the elections.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Historian Norman Davies Visits the Modjeska Club!

The Board of Directors of the Modjeska Club is honored to inform you about a lecture by the eminent British historian, Prof. Norman Davies, “European History: Aspects Non-Europeans Don’t Always Know” (in English, with discussion in Polish). This extraordinary event will take place on Saturday, May 19th, 2012, 4:00 p.m., at the elegant residence of Helena and Stanley Kolodziey in Beverly Hills, CA.

Prof. Norman Davies (b. 1939) of Welsh descent, was educated at Bolton School, Magdalen College, Oxford, the University of Sussex and at several universities including Grenoble, Perugia and Kraków. His academic career centered on the School of Slavonic Studies, University of London, where he was successively Lecturer, Reader and Professor. Throughout his career, Davies has lectured in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Poland, and the rest of Europe.

Davies holds honorary doctorates from Jagiellonian University (since 2003), Lublin, Gdańsk and Warsaw (since 2007), and his alma mater, University of Sussex. He is a member of the Polish Academy of Learning (PAU) and the Academia Scientiarum et Artium Europaea, and fellowships of the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society. Davies is also an honorary citizen of Warsaw, Wrocław, Lublin and Kraków.

Davies' first book, White Eagle, Red Star: The Polish-Soviet War, 1919-20 (1972) was followed by God's Playground (1981), a comprehensive overview of Polish history, and Heart of Europe (1984) a briefer history of Poland. Europe: A History (1996) and The Isles: A History (1999), about Europe and the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, respectively.

Davies' book Rising '44. The Battle for Warsaw and Europe at War 1939–1945: No Simple Victory (2006) focused on World War II. In 2002, he co-authored a history of Wrocław / Breslau. President of Poland in exile, Edward Raczyński decorated Davies with the Order of Polonia Restituta. On 22 December 1998 he received the Grand Cross (1st class) of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.

This event is open only to Club members in good standing and VIP guests of the Polish Consulate. For more information email Maja Trochimczyk, President at:



June 23, 2012 - General Election Meeting, Pasadena, CA. For club members in good standing.

September 30, 2012 - "Pola Negri" - Polish Theater at Magicopolis.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Piano Keys & Clouds with Maciej Grzybowski, May 11, 2012, in Santa Monica

Keys and Clouds – A Piano Recital by Maciej Grzybowski

Friday, 11 May 2012, 7:30 p.m.

The First Presbyterian Church (1220 2nd St., Santa Monica, CA 90401)

The Board of Directors of the Modjeska Club, in association with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute of Poland, and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles has the pleasure to invite you to a piano recital by one of most eminent Polish pianists, Maciej Grzybowski.

The Keys & Clouds Recital will take place on Friday, May 11th, 2012, 7:00 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church (1220 2nd St., Santa Monica, CA 90401).

The program will include music by Polish composers (Paweł Mykietyn, Witold Lutosławski, Paweł Szymański, Fryderyk Chopin), and Western classics – Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, and Maurice Ravel.

Born and educated in Warsaw, Maciej Grzybowski is the winner of the First Prize and the Special Prize at the 20th Century Music Competition for Young Performers in Warsaw (1992). He made numerous phonographic, radio and television recordings as a soloist and chamber musician and collaborated with Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by such maestros as Jan Krenz, Witold Lutosławski and Krzysztof Penderecki. From 1996 to 2000 Grzybowski was a co-director of the "NONSTROM presents" concert cycle in Warsaw. He took part in numerous music festivals in Poland, e.g., the Warsaw Autumn, Musica Polonica Nova, Witold Lutoslawski Forum, Warsaw Musical Encounters, and Polish Radio Music Festival. He also performed at the Biennial of Contemporary Music in Zagreb, Hofkonzerte im Podewil, Berlin and festivals in Lvov, Kiev, and Odessa (Ukraine).

In March 2005 Grzybowski’s recital at the Mozart Hall in Bologna was recognized as the greatest event of the decade. After Grzybowski’s U.S. debut in New York, in August 2006 EMI Classics released his second solo CD with works by Paweł Szymański. He also appeared in three concerts at the critically acclaimed Festival of Paweł Szymański's Music in Warsaw. In February 2008, he premiered a Piano Concerto by an unjustly forgotten composer, Andrzej Czajkowski. Bohdan Pociej, one of the most famous Polish music critics said: “How refreshing and exciting it is to be in the presence of such great art of interpretation akin to a genius!”

The event is free to Club members and a $15 donation will be collected from guests. Reception to follow. Please do not forget to stock our buffet with beverages and desserts. Affordable public parking is across the street.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beth Holmgren's Modjeska at the Bowers Museum, April 22, 2012 at 1:30 p.m.

The Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club is proud to co-sponsor a lecture by Prof. Beth Holmgren (Duke University), “On Tour with Madame Modjeska.” The lecture will take place on Sunday, Apr 22 1:30 pm to 2:30pm, followed by a reception at Bowers Museum (2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706, tel. 714.567.3600). Free with museum admission tickets ($8.00).

Beth Holmgren, Ph.D. Professor of Slavic Cultures and Theater Studies, and chair of the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, Duke University, will read from her recently published biography of the great Polish-American actress Helena Modjeska (1840-1909). This lecture will feature numerous photographs from the Bowers Museum collection. The book signing will follow.

Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America (Indiana University Press, 2011) traces the meteoric rise to international fame of Poland’s leading actress, Helena Modrzejewska (1840-1909), who emigrated to the U.S. in 1876. After the failure of her plans to establish a utopian community on an estate in Orange County, CA, she changed her name to Modjeska and quickly became a leading star on the American stage, where she reigned for the next 30 years. During this time, she established herself as America's most esteemed Shakespearean actress, playing opposite such celebrated actors as Edwin Booth and Maurice Barrymore. Prof. Beth Holmgren is author of, among other books, Women's Works in Stalin's Time, editor (with Helena Gościło) of Poles Apart: Women in Modern Polish Culture, and translator and editor (with Helena Gościło) of The Keys to Happiness by Anastasya Verbitskaya.

The event is presented in association with the Helena Modjeska Foundation that sponsors their own event on Saturday, April 21, 2012. See the attached flyer. For more information, please e-mail or call 714.567.3677.


Modjeska Luncheon and Book Signing

for the Helena Modjeska Foundation of Orange County

will take place on Saturday, April 21, at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

at the Irvine Ranch Historic Park:

13109 Old Myford Road

Irvine, CA 92602

Tickets are $30 for lunch. Advanced reservations are required.
Call (949) 923-2230 with questions.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Modjeska Club Wishes and Plans for April and May

Best wishes of wonderful holidays of Easter and Passover to all our members and friends!

Wszystkiego Najlepszego!!!

from the President and the Board of Directors

Next event: Beth Holmgren's Book Reading from Starring Madame Modjeska, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, April 22, 2012 (Sunday), at 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. $8 Museum admission.

Beth Holmgren, Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies and Theater Studies at Duke University, has recently published Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America (Indiana University Press, 2011). The biography traces the meteoric rise to international fame of Poland’s leading actress, Helena Modrzejewska (1840-1909), who emigrated to the U.S. in 1876. After the failure of her plans to establish a utopian community on an estate in Orange County, CA, she changed her name to Modjeska and quickly became a leading star on the American stage, where she reigned for the next 30 years. During this time, she established herself as America's most esteemed Shakespearean actress, playing opposite such celebrated actors as Edwin Booth and Maurice Barrymore.

Starring Madame Modjeska traces the actress's extraordinary life and career from her birth in poverty in Kraków, to her successive reinventions of herself as a star in both Poland and America. Prof. Beth Holmgren is author of, among other books, Women's Works in Stalin's Time, editor (with Helena Goscilo) of Poles Apart: Women in Modern Polish Culture, and translator and editor (with Helena Gościło) of The Keys to Happiness by Anastasya Verbitskaya.


Friday, May 11, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church, Santa Monica, CA

A special treat for Mother's Day - a virtuoso from Poland will present Polish music for Modjeska Club members (free) - and our friends and guests - 15 dollars donation per person. Public parking at nearby lots. Dessert reception to follow.


1. Polish-Lithuanian Connection, Piano Recital by Aron Kallay at USC Newman Recital Hall, March 23, 2012 and Guided Tour of Alina Szapocznikow Exhibition at the UCLA Hammer Museum on March 23 - Picasa Web Album for USC and the Hammer Museum

2. 40th Anniversary Ball, 4 February 2012 at the Mountaingate Country Club, Brentwood, CA: Web Album by Grazyna Gasiorowska

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Guided Tour of the Szapocznikow Exhibition, Hammer Museum, 3/23/2012

The Board of Directors of the Modjeska Club is pleased to invite you to join us at a special guided tour of the exhibition

Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955-1972

at 2:00pm on Saturday, March 24, 2012.

Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (310.443.7000)

About the exhibition

Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955-1972
February 5 – April 29, 2012

Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972 is the first museum survey in the United States devoted to this Polish artist. The exhibition brings to light the extraordinary oeuvre of Alina Szapocznikow, one of the most significant yet lesser known sculptors of the 20th century. At the core of Szapocznikow’s art is the ephemeral condition of life and the human body. Her work oscillates between permanence and impermanence, from carvings in Carrara marble to the precarious assemblages of lips and breasts cast in polyester resin. The exhibition includes approximately 60 sculptures and 50 works on paper, as well as a poignant group of photographic works, demonstrating the tremendous range and scope of Alina Szapocznikow’s art.

Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955-1972 is organized by WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, and the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, in collaboration with the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition is curated by Elena Filipovic and Joanna Mytkowska.

This exhibition and the accompanying catalogue are generously supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The Hammer Museum’s presentation is made possible through major gifts from Erika Glazer and Alice and Nahum Lainer. Generous support is also provided by Herta and Paul Amir. The exhibition is made possible by additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rosette V. Delug, Alisa and Kevin Ratner, The Audrey & Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation, and the Consulate General of Poland, Los Angeles.

About the Event

A special tour of the exhibition will be led by Allegra Pesenti, the coordinating curator of Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955–1972. Pesenti joined the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts at the Hammer Museum in 2007, where she recently curated Rachel Whiteread Drawings (2010).

She earned her PhD in 2006 from The Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and has been involved in the organization of exhibitions of old master drawings at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and at the Louvre in Paris. She formerly served as Assistant Curator of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

This Modjeska Club event is organized by Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow Joanna Szupinska.



Petit Dessert I (Small Dessert I), 1970-71. Colored polyester resin and glass. 3 3/16 x 4 5/16 x 5 1/8 in. (8 x 11 x 13 cm). Kravis Collection. © The Estate of Alina Szapocznikow/Piotr Stanislawski/ADAGP, Paris. Photo by Thomas Mueller, courtesy BROADWAY 1602, New York, and Galerie Gisela Capitain GmbH, Cologne. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Allegra Pesenti. Photo by Margo Graxeda.

Friday, March 9, 2012

USC Polish-Lithuanian Concert - Bruzdowicz, Krausas & Zebrowski, 3/23/2012

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Modjeska Club, it is a pleasure to invite you to a concert celebrating Polish and Lithuanian composers and organized by USC’s Polish Music Center on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the Alfred Newman Recital Hall on the USC campus (3616 Trousdale Parkway, L.A., CA 90089).

The concert, a part of PMC’s Festival of Premieres, will present world premieres of UN-intermezzi (2012) for piano by Veronika Krausas and Five Piano Preludes (2000) by Marek Żebrowski as well as California premiere of Pasaka by Vykintas Baltakas. Joanna Bruzdowicz’s Erotiques pour piano (1966) will not be a premiere, but will be graced by the presence of the composer. Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Piano Sonata (composed in 1956, revised in 1990), and Five Character Pieces by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis will round off the evening.

This concert is a USC Thornton Faculty Recital by pianist Aron Kallay, a pianist and composer who champions contemporary and microtonal music, and music that combines electronics with acoustic instruments. He is a member of the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music and Chapman University.

Joanna Bruzdowicz studied in Poland and France (with Nadia Boulanger, Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Schaeffer). She wrote her doctoral thesis "Mathematics and Logic in Contemporary Music" at the Sorbonne. As a composer she devotes her attention to opera, symphonic and chamber music, works for children, and music for film and television. She wrote four concerti, six stage works, and numerous chamber pieces, as well as over 25 hours of film music. Her works have been issued on 12 CDs and over 20 LPs; she has been featured in TV programs produced in Belgium, France, Germany and Poland.

Composer Veronika Krausas has had her works performed internationally. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) writes that "her works, whose organic, lyrical sense of storytelling are supported by a rigid formal elegance, give her audiences a sense that nature's frozen objects are springing to life." Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times said of her chamber opera "Something novel this way comes."

Krausas has received commissions from the Penderecki String Quartet, San Francisco Choral Artists and the Alexander String Quartet, ERGO Projects, Continuum Music, Toca Loca, and Motion Music. She holds music composition degrees from the University of Toronto, McGill University in Montreal, and a doctorate from USC’s Thornton School of Music.

In 2009, the Penderecki String Quartet gave the US Premiere of her work midaregami at REDCAT. Her chamber opera The Mortal Thoughts of Lady Macbeth was premiered with the New York City Opera in 2008 and a full production was mounted in Los Angeles in 2010. Language of the Birds, a commission for the 25th Anniversary of the San Francisco Choral Artists and the Alexander String Quartet, using text by the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was premiered in 2011 in San Francisco and released on CD with Foghorn Classics.

Krausas has directed, composed for, and produced multi-media events in Los Angeles that incorporate her works with dance, acrobatics and video. She is an Assistant Professor in the Composition Department and the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Theory at the Thornton School of Music, on the advisory board of Jacaranda Music, an associate artist with The Industry and Catalysis Projects. She is of Lithuanian descent and her parents live in Canada.

Marek Żebrowski (on the right with David Lynch) studied in Poland, France (with Robert Casadesus and Nadia Boulanger), and the U.S. As a pianist-composer he has recorded for Apollo Records, Titanic and Harmonia Mundi labels and frequently appears in recitals and as a soloist with orchestras worldwide. The catalogue of his compositions includes orchestral and chamber works, numerous piano compositions and transcriptions, as well as film and stage scores. He has received commissions from Meet The Composer, The New England String Quartet, and Premiere Productions and Central Europe Trust in the United Kingdom, among others. Since 2004, he has served as the Director of USC Polish Music Center; he also is the author of two books on Paderewski and Chopin, and frequently lectures on music.

Admission is free and open to the public. Reception of Polish desserts to follow. Information: Parking: $8, Parking Structure X at USC Gate 3 [McCarthy Way and Figueroa St.]


NOTE: Reconstructed coat of arms of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth by Avalokiteshvara on the website of Wikimedia Commons:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Maria Pilatowicz at the Ruskin, with Zhou and Katisse, 3/11/2012

You are cordially invited to a celebration of the literary talents of our own Maria Pilatowicz. She will read fragments from her novel, Walking on Ice (Tate Publishing, 2012) and will be interviewed by Andrzej Maleski. The star of our evening will also sign her books that will be available for purchase.

The program will start from a mini-concert by Sue Zhou and Katisse, presenting Bach Piazzola, and Szymanowska. The event will take place at the historical Ruskin Art Club, a 120-year old cultural landmark of Los Angeles (800 South Plymouth Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90005) on Sunday, March 11, 2011 at 7 p.m. Free for members, $10 donation from guests.

Maria J. Pilatowicz was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland. She earned her BA in English at California State University, Northridge, and her MA at the Professional Writing Program of the University of Southern California. Her essays appeared in New Horizon International Review and Northridge Review. Her fiction was published in the Southern California Anthology, in The Southern Anthology and in What(!) Magazine. It also appeared locally in various small presses. She is a finalist of Southern Prize Competition, recipient of the honorable mention in ED Moses Writing Competition, and in the category of Literary Short Story in Writer Digest Magazine Writing Competition.

From the publisher's website: "In Walking on Ice, Maria Pilatowicz paints a poignant picture of a girl breaking into adolescence while trying to balance on the system's slippery surface. Agnes, a young girl in Poland, shares her life with us as she tries to find her place in her family and her country. But the more she learns, the more out of place she becomes. When Comrade Stalin dies, Agnes's father pushes the limits and is sent to prison for crimes against them. So now Agnes and her mother are alone in the icy waters of an oppressive system run by an unpredictable government. Agnes starts to learn the difference between truth and lies, but she knows she can never escape as long as they are in charge."



1. J.S. Bach - Flute Sonata No.1 in b minor BWV 1030, - 1st movement, Andante
Sue Zhou - piano, Katisse - Flute

2. Astor Piazzolla - Tango No.2, Andante rubato, melancolico
Sue Zhou - piano

3. Maria Agata Szymanowska - Menuetto and Trio, No.1 and 2
Sue Zhou - piano
Katisse - tenor saxophone

Hailing from Shanghai, China, Sue Zhou started her formal piano training at the age of 15. She continued her education by graduating from the Los Angeles High School for the Arts, specializing in Classical Piano under the tutelage of Roza Yoder. She received her Bachelors in Classical Performance from UC Irvine under the instruction of Dr. Lorna Griffitt. In the past years, she has taken part and performed in festivals all over the world, including Los Angeles, France, Italy and China. Ms. Zhou recently completed her Masters in Classical Piano Performance at Azusa Pacific University, guided by Professor Yoder. Recent wins include the CAPMT Sonata Adult Division I competition. Sue is blessed to have a burgeoning studio in the West Los Angeles area, and is an active member of the MTAC.

graduated from the L.A. County High School for the Arts and then from the Grove School of Music where he studied with multi-Grammy winning jazz legend, Rob McConnell. He received an NEA Jazz Fellowship Grant to study with woodwind master, Bill Green, attended the National Music Camp at Interlochen Michigan, and won the L.A. Jazz Society's New Talent Award. Upon hearing Katisse as a guest soloist with the LA Guitar Quartet Allan Kozinn of The New York Times described him as , "...a flutist whose ornate improvisations transformed this vocal score into a virtuosic instrumental work". Tom Meek wrote this for the LA Weekly pick of the week- "Katisse Buckingham leads a double musical life, most often as one of the area's most sought-after woodwind players. But on the last Thursday of every month, he leads his own band in a unique mix of jazz, soul, hip-hop & rap, beatboxing his way through flutes and leaving even seasoned studio veterans often in astonishment."

Katisse plays Tenor, Alto & Soprano Saxophones, Flute, Alto Flute & Ethnic Flutes as well as spoken word. He has performed and/or recorded with Yellowjackets, Prince, Dr. Dre, Airto & Flora Purim, Billy Childs, Vanessa Paradis, Herbie Hancock, Poncho Sanchez, Dave Douglas, Andy Summers, Pete Yorn, Colin Hay, Brian Auger, John Patitucci, Ricky Lawson, Terri Lyne Carrington, Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Strunz and Farah, Bill Summers, Jimmy Haslip, Russ Ferrente, Bob Hurst, Tom Brechtline, Munyungo Jackson, Gary Novak, Gary Thomas, Alphonso Johnson, B-Sharp Jazz Quartet, Don Grusin, Dean Parks, Greg Phillinganes, Harvey Mason, Abe Laboriel (Sr. and Jr.), Sandro Albert, Otmaro Ruiz, Wah, Amma, Gerry Gibbs, Monday Michiru, Jaz Klash, Raya Yarbrough, Down to the Bone, Sara Gazarek, Jimmy Johnson, Will Kennedy, Russ Kunkel, Robben Ford, Mike Elizando, Deepsky, The Angel, Patrice Rushen, DJ Quik, Non Amiss, Xzibit and Kurupt. He has played on numerous films (including the "jazz flute" scene in the Will Ferrell film, Anchorman).


  • March 4, 7 p.m.: "Monsieur Chopin" with Hershey Felder at the Pasadena Playhouse

  • March 16, 8 p.m.: Concert of Joanna Bruzdowicz at CSUN School of Music

  • March 23, 8 p.m.: Concert of Polish-Lithuanian Music at USC (Newman Recital Hall at USC)

  • March 24, 2 p.m.: Guided Tour of the Alina Szapocznikow Exhibition, Hammer Museum at UCLA, with Joanna Szupińska and Allegra Pesenti

  • April 22, 2 p.m.: Book Reading and Signing of a new Modjeska biography by Prof. Beth Holmgren, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana.

    In addition, there will be a concert of Czerwone Gitary on March 3, a retrospective of films by Andrzej Zulawski with the director in attendance at the opening gala at the end of the month, and another concert at USC, on March 24 at 4 p.m. with a program including Wieniawski and Meyer.
  • Monday, February 13, 2012

    February 14, 2012 - Difficult Questions on Polish-Jewish Relations





    Konstanty Gebert is an international reporter and columnist at “Gazeta Wyborcza”, Poland’s biggest daily. He was a democratic opposition activist in the Seventies, when he was also an organizer of the Jewish Flying University, and an underground journalist in the Eighties under martial law.

    He is the founder of the Polish Jewish intellectual monthly Midrasz, and a board member of the Taube Centre for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland and of Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany. He has taught in Poland, Israel and the US. He wrote ten books, e.g. on the Polish democratic transformation and on French policy toward Poland, the Yugoslav wars and the wars of Israel, Torah commentary and post-war Polish Jewry. His essays have appeared in two dozen collective works in Poland and abroad, and his articles in newspapers around the world.

    Joanna Podolska is a journalist and broadcaster, a graduate and a professor of the University of Łódź, and the current director of the Marek Edelman Center for Dialogue (Centrum Dialogu im. Marka Edelmana). She initiated the "Colorful Tolerance" project in 2000 and also serves as President of the Institute of Tolerance (since 2003). She is widely published and authored eight books on the history of Jewish community in Poland, especially in Łódź. For her work promoting tolerance, Ms. Podolska received numerous awards.



    March 4, 2012 at 7 p.m. - Monsieur Chopin at the Pasadena Playhouse (30% discount on tickets for Modjeska Club members)

    March 11, 2012 at 7 p.m. - Maria Pilatowicz's New Novel, with Sue Zhou, pianist, Ruskin Art Club, Los Angeles

    March 23, TBA - Alina Szapocznikow Exhibition at the Hammer Museum

    April 22, TBA - Beth Holmgren's biography of Modjeska (Indiana University Press), reading and book signing at the Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, cosponsored with Helena Modjeska Foundation of Orange County

    May 13, 2012, TBA - Maciej Grzybowski, piano - An Adventurous Recital

    June 23, TBA - Annual General Meeting of the Modjeska Club

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    February 14, 2012 - An Evening with Konstanty Gebert

    Helena Modjeska Club has the pleasure to invite you to a limited-seating event in an exclusive gated community in Beverly Hills featuring Konstanty Gebert, a Polish journalist, historian, and author, who specializes in Polish-Jewish relations and the history of Jews in Poland. The Valentine's Day Evening will be held in English only. RSVP required.

    KONSTANTY GEBERT was born 1953 in Warsaw and is scholar in residence at the Taube Centre for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland, a private US foundation in Warsaw. He is also the Head of the Warsaw office of the European Council for Foreign Relations, a think-tank. Simultaneously he works as a columnist at Gazeta Wyborcza, the leading Polish daily. Fluent in English and French, he also speaks Italian and Russian and has a working knowledge of BCS. A graduate of Warsaw University's Psychology Department (1976) he worked in a community psychology program in Warsaw (1975-1979), and then taught psychology at the Medical Academy, Warsaw, 1979 - 1983.

    During the Solidarity era he was a co-founder of the (unofficial) Jewish Flying University, 1979 and, in September 1980 in Warsaw, of an independent white-collar trade union that soon merged with the free trade union Solidarność. After avoiding interment in the 1981 coup, Gebert became, under the pen name of Dawid Warszawski he still uses, well known as editor and columnist of KOS fortnightly and of other underground publications.

    In 1989 he covered the round table Solidarność-government talks on transition to democracy, and joined the new independent daily Gazeta Wyborcza, where he is columnist and international reporter, writing about the Middle East, the Balkans, human rights and international humanitarian law, and Jewish issues. In 1992-95 he covered the Bosnian war for Gazeta. He is a frequent contributor to other Polish and international media, including the BBC.

    In 1989, he became a co-founder of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews. In 1997 he founded the Jewish intellectual monthly Midrasz, of which he was the first editor. From 1995 till 2000 he was vice-chair, and since 2000 media consultant, of MDLF, an international credit fund for independent media he was co-founder of. Since 2005, he is on the Advisory Board of the Einstein Forum, Potsdam. Since 2006 he is on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Humanitarian Fund, Amsterdam. In 2005-2007, he represented Jews on the Polish Council of Government and National Minorities.

    Mr. Gebert has worked with independent media in Russia, Ukraine, the Balkans, Africa and Latin America. He has done advocacy work in Poland for i.a. Burmese exiles, Russian independent journalists, and Rwandan academics. He has taught courses on the wars of the Yugoslav succession, contemporary Poland, media and ethnic conflict, and Polish-Jewish relations i.a. at UC Berkeley and Santa Cruz, Grinnell College, Hebrew University, and the Centre for Social Studies in Warsaw.

    Konstanty Gebert is the author of ten books in Polish and English i.a. on the Polish round table negotiations, the European 20th century, post-war Polish Jewry and the wars of Israel. Most recently he co-authored with Helena Datner “Jewish Life in Poland: Achievements, challenges and priorities since the fall of communism” JPR Institute, London 2011.

    His essays have also appeared in two dozen collective works in Poland, Japan, US, UK, Italy, France and Belgium, most recently in Sabrina Ramet (Ed.), Central and Southeastern European Politics, Sabrina Ramet (Ed.), Cambridge University Press, 2010. He has published almost two thousand articles in the Polish press, and his work has been widely reprinted abroad, i.a. in The Guardian (London), Le Monde Diplomatique (Paris), MicroMega (Rome), Respekt (Prague), Magyar Naranc (Budapest), Svijet (Sarajevo), Maariv (Tel Aviv), New Republic (New York), The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles), The Walrus (Toronto), Die Welt (Berlin), and The Moscow Times (Moscow).

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Consul Joanna Kozinska-Frybes and Helena Modjeska at the 40th AnniversaryBall

    The Honorable Joanna Kozińska-Frybes, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles is the Guest of Honor at the 40th Anniversary Ball of the Modjeska Club. The Ball will be held on the 4th of February 2012 at 7:00 p.m.(Mountaingate Country Club 12445 Mountaingate Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049, Evening Attire/Black Tie). Although we have exceeded the originally planned number of guests, a very limited number of tickets is still available. At our elegant ball, we will also have the pleasure of the company of Ms. Helena Modjeska herself, as performed by the talented and inspired actress Eva Boryczko. The rich history of the Club will be honored by yet another round of awards and recognition for our past presidents and board members, including one of the club's original members from its first reiteration in the 1970s, a choreographer and dancer, Mr. Stefan Wenta. Past Presidents of the Modjeska Club, Mr. Andrzej Maleski and Edward Pilatowicz, will take the guests on a guided and entertaining tour through the Club's history, illustrated with humorous and wistful songs, photos and amusing archival film clips. For the rest of the evening, the dancing will feature an international mix of hits, so there will be something to delight for everyone. As a special treat, the ladies will receive special gift bags generously donated by Ms. Aida Thibiant, from Thibiant International, thanks to the efforts of our enterprising Board Member, Ms. Wanda Presburger.  
    Helena Krol, Hon. Consul Gen. Joanna Kozinska-Frybes, Bozena Onzol (Paderewski Society), and Maja Trochimczyk (Modjeska Club), December 2010.

    THE HONORABLE JOANNA KOZINSKA-FRYBES Ms. Joanna Kozińska-Frybes has been appointed Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, effective September 30, 2009. She is a member of the Polish Civil Service and the Polish Foreign Service, holding the rank of Ambassador since 2008. Ms. Joanna Kozińska-Frybes graduated in 1985 from the Institute of Ibero-American Studies at Warsaw University, and in 1991 obtained her post-graduate diploma from the Institute of Hispanic Studies at Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle. In the 1980s, Ms. Kozińska-Frybes was an active member of the student anti-communist movement in Poland. In 1985, due to political pressures on her husband Marcin Frybes, they left Poland together for Paris, where Kozińska-Frybes undertook postgraduate studies in sixteenth-century Latin American history at Sorbonne Nouvelle University. While in Paris, she and Frybes co-founded the Central and Eastern European Commission, an organization within the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS - Pax Romana) whose purpose it was to enable international contacts for Polish students at a time when the Polish government prohibited all non-communist organizations. During and following her studies, Kozińska-Frybes pursued research opportunities in the archives of France and Spain, as well as in archives and indigenous communities in Mexico, Guatemala and Peru. Her writing has been published in international Hispanic history journals, and she has delivered lectures at universities and seminars throughout Europe and Latin America. After the political changes of 1989, Kozińska-Frybes returned to her homeland to offer her international experience toward the rebuilding of a new, independent and democratic Poland. Her contribution to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began with her position as a co-founding member of the Polish National Committee of the 500th Anniversary of the Encounter of Two Worlds. In 1992, Kozińska-Frybes was appointed Secretary General of the Polish National Commission for UNESCO, which she directed for two years. In 1993, she was appointed to the post of Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Mexico. Following her return to Warsaw, she directed the Cultural and Scientific Cooperation Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2002. From 2001 to 2006, she served as Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Barcelona. Following her time in Spain, and until her latest nomination to Los Angeles, she served as the Deputy Director of the Consular and Polish Communities Abroad Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw. Ms. Joanna Kozińska-Frybes is fluent in Polish, Spanish, French and English. She is married and has one child. (Biography courtesy of the Polish Consulate)


     EVA BORYCZKO is a Polish actress and writer, who created a solo play about Modjeska's life and career and performed it in a series of venues throughout California. Entitled "Modjeska! An Artist's Dream" the play is based on Modjeska's diaries and letters. Ewa Boryczko interprets the extraordinary journey of famous Polish actress Helena Modjeska, who comes to America in 1876 with the dream of performing on the American stage. The costume, on loan from Helena Modjeska Society of Orange County (thanks to Kris Cieply), is a faithful reproduction of one of Modjeska's own stage costumes.