Tuesday, October 9, 2018

100 Years of Poland in Music - With Katarzyna Sadej and Basia Bochenek, October 20, 2018

The next event of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club is a concert "100 Years of Poland 
in Music" by Katarzyna Sadej (mezzosoprano) and Basia Bochenek (piano) with special guest appearance by film composer & pianist Miro Kępiński. The event will be held at Beverly Hills, CA, on Saturday, October 20, 2018, 6 p.m. Attendance is limited to Club Members and VIP guests of the Polish Film Festival.


Zakazane piosenki – Inspiracje / Forbidden Songs – Inspirations Based on songs from the 1946 musical about occupied Poland, e.g. Zielone Jabłuszko, Hymn Szarych Szeregów, Kto handluje ten żyje.
Miro Kępiński, pianist and film composer

100 Years of Poland in Music Remarks by Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D. 
               President of Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club

⌘  ⌘  ⌘

Hej, Orle Biały / Hey White Eagle
(1917) text and music by Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941).
Written for the “Blue Army” of Gen. Haller formed in the U.S. and Canada to help liberate Poland during WWI

Dziś do Ciebie przyjść nie mogę / I Cannot Come to You Tonight
(1943) text and music by Stanisław Magierski, written for the Home Army in German-occupied Poland during WWII.

Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino / Red Poppies on Monte Cassino
(1944) by Feliks Konarski (text) and Alfred Schütz (music).Written for the Polish II Corps of Gen. W. Anders.

Five Songs by Derwid
Z lat dziecinnych / From Childhood Years
Zakochać się w wietrze/To Fall in Love with the Wind
Tylko to słowo / Only this Word
Filipince nudno / The Filipino Girl is Bored
Cyrk jedzie / The Circus is Coming
(1950s-1960s)  by Derwid (Witold Lutosławski, 1913-1994) Popular songs from PRL-period written to texts by Jerzy Miller, Tadeusz Urgacz, and others.

To ostatnia niedziela / That Last Sunday
(1935) by Zenon Friedwald (text) and Jerzy Petersburski (music). Petersburski (1895-1979) who fought with Polish II Corps, lived in Argentina, Venezuela and returned to Poland.

Katarzyna Sadej, mezzosoprano and Basia Bochenek, piano


Meet and Greet with VIP Guests of Polish Film Festival

Alicja Bachleda (actress –Pitbull, Tough Women)
Zbigniew Czapla (director – animation, Strange Case)
Stanisław Cywka (actor – Strawberry Days)
Aleksandra Cywka (actress – Strawberry Days)
Andrew Kawczynski (composer, juror – Blood Brothers)
Miro Kępiński (composer – In This Gray Place)
Tomasz Opałka (composer – Footsteps in the Snow)
Marta Prus (director – documentary Over the Limit)
Agnieszka & Bartosz Putkiewicz (Sound/Music Squadron 303
Danuta Rotschild (painter - artwork for the festival’s poster)
Jakub Radej (director –Sweet Home Czyżewo)
Bożena Stachura (actress –A Cat with a Dog)
Mietek Szczesniak (singer, songwriter)
Tomasz Ziętek (actor – Silent Night

About The Performers

Miro Kępiński is an award-winning film composer, producer and performer. His music mixes minimalism with a ‘rawness’ of the north and a Slavic melancholy blended with classic themes. Miro’s recent credits include: a multiple-award winning feature documentary, The Wounds We Cannot See; a dark-comedy, Suicide For Beginners (with Sig Haig and Corey Feldman); In This Gray Place, his feature debut (with Phil LaMarr) and Lord Finn.

Photo by Andre Surma

Katarzyna Sadej, a Polish-Canadian-American Mezzo-soprano was born in Wrocław, Poland, and is based in Los Angeles, California. Her international, eclectic career spans concert, opera, chamber music, oratorio, recital and voice-over performance. She has performed numerous world premieres and has had over a dozen new works composed especially for her. Recent opera performances: L.A. Opera debut as the Page of Herodias in Strauss’ Salome, SOPAC Ottawa debut as Le Prince Charmant in Massenet’s Cendrillon, and the title role of Bizet’s Carmen in the Palm Springs Opera Guild annual gala. Upcoming highlights include her debut with the Chicago Philharmonic as the alto soloist in Wojciech Kilar’s Missa Pro Pace, her Chinese debut at Opera Chengdu as Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore, and her debut with conductor Alexander Shelley as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at the NAC Ottawa. Her debut at Walt Disney Hall was with the Pacific American Chorale (alto solo in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony). Other notable debuts: Industry Opera, Carnegie Hall, Festival Mozaic, the National Theater in Taipei, the Nuits Blanches Festival of Toronto, San Diego Opera, the Ravinia Festival as a Steans Fellow, the 2012 London Olympics, the Ojai International Music Festival, the Montenegrin National Theater, the Lviv (Ukraine) and Banatul (Romania) Philharmonics, the Music Biennale Zagreb, the Bard Summerscape Music Festival, the Cartagena International Music Festival, Harvard University, and more notable venues. www.katarzynasadej.com

Bochenek and Sadej recording Lutoslawski (Derwid)

Basia  Bochenek, a Polish-American pianist, is an avid performer of classical music, whose passion and dedication for collaborative arts brought her to venues throughout the U.S. and Europe,working with world-renowned composers, incredible musicians and great conductors. Basia has made Los Angeles her home. Her performances include world premieres and new interpretations of art songs as well as chamber music. Basia has worked with Robert Jason Brown, Richard Faith, Anne LeBaron, Lori Laitman, Libby Larsen and Sofia Gubaidulina, among others. In the exploration of performing lesser known music by Polish composers as well as art songs, Basia works with Katarzyna Sadej. Their dedication to exploring new approach to art songs began at Songfest.  Basia has worked at the California Institute of the Arts, coaching young artists, accompanying opera productions, recitals, classical works and musical theatre. Other engagements include accompanying the studios of acclaimed artists, such as LA Philharmonic concertmaster Martin Chalifour, Vermeer Quartet violist Richard Young, baritones Rod Gilfry and Sherrill Milnes. Her collaborations include performances with mezzo-sopranos Suzanna Guzman, soprano Ashley Maria Bahri, violinists Roberto Cani, Mark Menzies, Lorenz Gamma and Cheryl Norman-Brick. www.basiabochenek.com

To sponsor the Sadej - Bochenek Songs of Derwid project, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/derwid

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Opening Gala of the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles - October 17, 2018 at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday, October 17, 2018 the gala opening at the Egyptian Theater (6712 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028) will feature award ceremonies, red carpet, reception, and the premiere of Polish film Squadron 303 about the heroism of Polish pilots fighting in the Battle of Britain in World War II.

To secure an invitation please make a tax-deductible contribution to Polish American Film Society (minimum donation per person $90.00 or minimum of $250.00 per person for VIP invitation). Please mail your check to 7726 Ethel Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91605 or donate through PayPal on the Festival’s web site www.polishfilmla.org. Please help us to promote the Festival and invite you friends. The Modjeska Club is among Festival Supporters with the annual donation of $500. In addition, all Board Members that wish to attend the Opening Gala make their own individual donation. Other Club members are encouraged to do so as well.

PARKING: On 6636 Selma Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028 for $10.00. If you are coming from Hollywood Blvd., turn on N. Las Palmas going south, than turn left on Selma (look for lighthouse), the parking is on the right side, after N. Cherokee Ave. This parking close on 11PM, but that night will close on midnight; after midnight the security will tow your car away.

PARKING: on 1721 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood, CA90028 for $15.00 (tell parking attendant that you are going to Polish Film Festival in Egyptian), turn on N. Las Palmas going north, the parking is on the left side. There is parking behind Egyptian, but the space is limited due to the construction (there in no parking on N. McCadden Pl.

PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR RECEPTION AND CONCERT IN BEVERLY HILLS ON OCTOBER 20, 2018 AT 6 PM. This VIP event is open only to Club Members and special guests. The invitations will be sent out this weekend.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Invitation to Paderewski Lecture-Recital at USC, October 14 at 7 pm

We are pleased to invite members of the Modjeska Club to attend an event partly sponsored by the Club: PADEREWSKI LECTURE-RECITAL: THE SOUNDS OF INDEPENDENCE, SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 7:00 PM NEWMAN RECITAL HALL. The event will be held on USC Campus; the Newman Recital Hall is located within Hancock Auditorium, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089. The program is free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-served, and RSVPs are not available.

Portrait of Paderewski by Sanford, Maja Trochimczyk Collection.

The USC Polish Music Center celebrates 100 years of Polish independence with a collaborative lecture performance of music composed between World War I and II, featuring the USC Thornton Chamber Singers, the Quadrophonic String Quartet, and guest lecturer, USC musicology professor Lisa Cooper Vest – who specializes in Polish music after 1945 and recently joined the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music. The colorful program will explore how Poland’s return to the map of Europe in 1918 opened the doors for a period of intense cultural flourishing.

More information about the program: https://polishmusic.usc.edu/events/2018-sounds-of-independence

PARKING: Enter USC at the McCarthy Way Gate from Figueroa south of Jefferson, park in Structure 2. Cost $12Walk straight into the campus on the road you drove into the parking to the main walkway, turn left, walk to the main square with the fountain. Newman Recital Hall is inside the Hancock Building to the left behind the fountain and the sculpture of Traveler – USC Mascot. The sculpture of Tommy Trojan is on the other corner of the square. 

The Modjeska Club is among faithful supporters of Paderewski Lecture-Recitals. We believe it is a duty of every Pole in California to support Polish Music Center at USC, as one of the few Polish institutions that are embedded within first-rate American universities. The PMC is a major archive, information and performance center and we have only one Polish institution like that on the West Coast. Here’s the link to donate: https://polishmusic.usc.edu/donate/

 See you soon!                                                                                

Maja Trochimczyk

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Meeting with Dr Jan Iwanczyk on September 22, 2018

We are pleased to invite members of the Modjeska Club to a reception honoring Jan S. Iwanczyk, Ph.D., an eminent physicist and the winner of a recent award “Outstanding Pole 2018.” The interview and dinner reception will take place at a private residence on Saturday, 22 September 2018 at 6 p.m. Please RSVP to the President, prezes@modjeska.org, by September 15, 2018.

A long-term member of the Club, Dr Iwanczyk is an outstanding scientist, a member of the intellectual elite in California. He has served as a President and CEO of DxRay, Inc. since 2005.  In July 2017 DxRay, Inc. has been sold to Rapican Systems one of the three largest companies in the world that provide equipment for security in the airports. Also, he is involved as a board of directors’ member in several research companies.  Dr. Iwanczyk previously was affiliated with several start-up private and publicly traded companies and centered on bringing novel scientific and medical technologies to the market.  He was a co-founder of Radiant Detectors, Inc. and served as President and CEO of the Company from 1999 to 2005. In 2005 the company was sold to Seiko and subsequently to Hitachi High Tech Science, USA.

Dr. Iwanczyk was co-founder of Gamma Medica-Ideas, Inc. and served as President of the company from its inception in 1999 to 2002. He has served as President & CEO of Photon Imaging, Inc. since 1997.  He previously was affiliated with Advanced Detectors, Inc. (a publicly traded company, formerly Xsirius, Inc.) where served as Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist from 1995 to 1996 and as Vice President of Research and Development from 1990 to 1995. He was Vice President of Advanced Photonix, Inc. (traded at AMEX) from its formation in 1988 until 1990.

During the period from 1979 to 1989, Dr. Iwanczyk was Professor at the University of Southern California, School of Medicine.  He holds Master degree in Electronics and Ph.D. degree in Physics. His multi-faceted experience combines operations, organizational development with strong scientific research and technical project management qualifications. Dr. Iwanczyk’s technical expertise is in the field of x-ray and gamma ray imaging detectors and systems. In recent years he has been developing photon-counting, energy dispersive x-ray imaging detectors based on various semiconductor materials (CdTe, CZT and Si) for medical and security applications.

He is the author of over 250 scientific papers, one book, several book chapters and 20 patents.  He also lectures at major symposia worldwide as an invited speaker and is involved in organization of international scientific conferences. He has received numerous honors and awards including 2002 Merit Award, IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society, the 2016 Scientist Award, IEEE – RTSD and the "Outstanding Pole 2018" Award. Over his whole stay in USA Dr. Iwanczyk has been maintaining collaborations with scientific centers in Poland such as IBJ (Institute of Nuclear Research) in Swierk and the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw.

Dr. Iwanczyk will be interviewed by Dr. Witold Sokolowski.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Hollywood Bowl on August 23 and Polish Theater on September 1, 2018

We are delighted to inform all members and guests of the Helena Modjeska Culture Club about the election of the new board (see the names of the new Board of Directors on the Board page - link above) and about our plans for the summer and autumn of 2018. The club will organize receptions with prominent guests, in the form of exclusive meetings held only for club members in private residences (at least four per year), and public events - concerts, film screenings or lectures, including Polish-themed performances or concerts of other organizations (up to eight times per year). For these concerts or performances, the Club will offer free or discounted tickets to its members.

We are starting our 2018-2019 season with two events shared with others - Chopin Piano Concerto at the Hollywood Bowl on August 23 and Polish Theater from Toronto on September 1. Deadlines for RSVP are coming up shortly.


The selection of Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 (with Sergio Tiempo, piano solo) and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 makes up a lovely summer program. The long intermission of over 30 minutes gives time to talk and party - bring your own picnic basket and wine! Low-price tickets are available to groups, so the Club may make a reservation for at least 20 people to sit together in one section of the enormous auditorium and enjoy music under the stars (with the addition of helicopters and coyote howling at times).

Club reservations will be taken to August 1, email Maja Trochimczyk,
Maja.Trochimczyk@gmail.com. The concert is free to members who will RSVP in time,
by August 1, 2018.  https://www.hollywoodbowl.com/events/performances/407/


"Tamara de Lempicka" based on a biography of a famous Polish painter. Modjeska Club members are encouraged to attend and meet-up at this event, sponsored by Club PAPA of Orange County.  Curtis Theater City of Brea,  1 Civic Center,  Brea, CA, tickets $35.   

Club members receive discount of $15 and pay $20 per ticket. RSVP to be on the discount list to Maja.Trochimczyk@gmail.com by August 15, 2018 AND make reservations for the actual tickets with Club PAPA at the same time - to Darek Swiatkowski at darek3@cox.net. We do not purchase tickets, only subsidize club members's tickets by making a one-time payment to Club PAPA for the pre-registered Modjeska Club members. 

Dormeuse by Tamara de Lempicka

Interview with Dr Jan Iwanczyk, physicist, winner of the 2018 Award "Eminent Pole/ Wybitny Polak" - in a private residence in Brentwood, for Club members only.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Modjeska Club's Patron - Helena Modrzejewska

Portrait of Helena Modrzejewska by Tadeusz Ajdukiewicz, 1880 (fragment).
Helena Modjeska (Modrzejewska) was a Shakespearean actress born in Krakow, Poland, on October 12, 1840 (as Jadwiga Benda); who emigrated to California in 1870s, settled on an estate in Orange County (that she called Arden) and died in Newport Beach, California, on April 8, 1909.  The following biographical entry is written by Krystyna Cap for The Polish American Encyclopedia, edited by James Pula and published by McFarland in 2011. Used by permission. For more information about the Encyclopedia visit McFarland Publishing website.

Helena Modjeska in her roles as  Barbara Radziwillowna (1867).
Vintage postcard published in Poland. Wikimedia Commons.

Although her paternity has been contested by claims that Modjeska was  illegitimately fathered by Prince Wladyslaw Sanguszko, Jadwiga Benda (later christened Helena Opid), was born into a family that traveled in artistic circles. Despite their relative poverty,  from a young age Modjeska was influenced by her adopted musician father, Michal, and his  literary and artistic friends. In 1861 Modjeska married Gustave Sinnmayer Modrzejewski, who  had supervised her early education and promoted her fledgling acting career. In the same year  she made her first onstage appearance in a one-act comedy named The White Camellia.

Modjeska as Juliet

 After her husband died in 1866, she continued her career in Poland, remarrying in 1868. Her second husband, Count Karol Bozenta Chlapowski, was a well-known Polish patriot and  journalist. Throughout the late 1860s and early 1870s, she continued to receive critical   acclaim for her various roles on the Warsaw stage. In the years prior to emigration, she and her husband briefly traveled to Krakow, where Chlapowski published a partisan journal and where Helena became active in Polish politics. Upon return to Warsaw, the radical nationalist position held by both Modrzejewska and Chlapowski resulted in increasing harassment by Russian authorities, and led the pair to leave Warsaw for America in 1876. Thus she migrated to California with her son from her first marriage, Ralph (later a well-respected civil engineer; Ralph Modjeski), her husband Count Chlapowski, and a handful of Polish friends and colleagues, including Julian Sypniewski and Henryk Sienkiewicz.

Modjeska's home "Arden" in Silverado Canyon, Orange County in 1910 (vintage postcard) 

Ewa Boryczko as Modjeska and Maja Trochimczyk in Arden (2011) The property is a Historic Home
owned by Orange County  and partly supported by the Helena Modjeska Foundation.

Modrzejewska and her husband purchased a twenty-acre farm near Anaheim, established a ranch there, and with their Polish friends, intended to found a utopian Polish farming colony. When plans  failed owing to a lack of agricultural knowledge (and lacking the funds to return home),  Modjeska traveled to San Francisco, where she began English language lessons with the intention   of returning to the stage. Not long after, with the assistance of several Poles resident in San Francisco, she approached Barton Hill and John McCullough of the California Theater for a role. It was McCullough who suggested that she shorten her name to Modjeska to make it easier for American audiences to pronounce. On August 20, 1877, Modjeska made her American debut in San Francisco in an Ernest Legouve and A. E. Scribe play, Adrienne Lecouvreur.  Achieving critical acclaim for her successive roles, including Ophelia and Juliet, she soon began touring American stages in a variety of roles, appearing in Boston, Buffalo, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York, and elsewhere.

 In 1878 Modjeska briefly toured theaters in Russian Poland and traveled to England in 1880. Upon her return to America in 1882, she produced and starred in a version of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. In America, Modjeska became famous chiefly for her portrayal of several Shakespearean roles, including Juliet, Desdemona, Rosalind, Queen Anne, and Ophelia. In May 1893, she was invited to speak at an international conference at the Chicago World's Fair, where she delivered a stirring speech on the status of Polish women, uttering several highly patriotic remarks regarding the injustice of  Poland's eighteenth-century partitions. In Russia her speech met with the ire of Tsarist authorities, who issued an ukase prohibiting her from ever returning to Russian Poland.

Modjeska as Marie Antoinette.

After spending over 20 years on her beloved estate, Arden, in Silverado Canyon, Orange County, California (see the photographs above), Modjeska died in 1909 at her home on Bay Island in Newport Beach, California; however,  Chlapowski buried her remains in Krakow, Poland. One year later, her memoirs were published in  America and thereafter translated into Polish. Throughout her career, Modjeska played  in over 225 towns and cities throughout the United States and Canada.

Modjeska as Ophelia

In popular culture, Modjeska inspired Susan Sontag's novel, In America (1999), which was awarded the National Book Award. Sontag's novel was based on Modjeska's life after emigration and came under public scrutiny for allegedly having plagiarized passages from Modjeska's  own memoir and other biographical sources. A small collection of primary and secondary materials on Modjeska's career in Poland and the United States is housed in the Special Collections and Archives of the University of California, Irvine. 

Map of Arden - Home of Modjeska in Modjeska Canyon, OC.


  • This entry by Krystyna Cap is reprinted from The Polish American Encyclopedia, edited by  James Pula, McFarland Publishing, 2011. Used by Permission.  More information about the Encyclopedia  is here.
  • Ellen K. Lee,  "The Catholic Modjeska," Polish American Studies, Vol. 31, no. 1 (1974), 20-27
  • "Helena Modjeska," in Charles H. Shattuck, ed.,  Shakespeare on the American Stage: From Booth and Barrett to Sothern and Marlowe  (London: Associated University Presses, 1987), Vol. 2, 125-36  
  • Arthur P. Coleman and Marion Moore Coleman, Wanderers Twain: Modjeska and      Sienkiewicz. A View of California (Cheshire: Cherry Hill Books, 1964) 
  • Marion Moore Coleman, Fair Rosalind: The American Career of Helena  Modjeska  (Sheshire: Cherry Hill Books, 1969) 
  • Antoni Gronowicz, Modjeska: Her Life and Loves (New York: Thomas Yoseloff,  1956)
  • Helena Modjeska, Memories and Impressions of Helena Modjeska: An   Autobiography (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1969) 
  • Beth Holmgren, "Virility and Gentility: How Sienkiewicz and Modjeska Redeemed   America," The Polish Review, Vol. 46, no. 3 (2001), 283-96
  • Beth Holmgren, Starring Madame Modjeska: On Tour in Poland and America (Indiana University Press, 2011)
  • Susan Sontag, In America (Faber and Faber, 2000)


  • Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles

  • Helena Modjeska Foundation (Orange County)

  • Helena Modjeska Society (Orange County)

  • Arden - Modjeska Historic House (Orange County)

  • Modjeska Playhouse Theater in Orange County

  • Modjeska Woman Triumphant - Documentary

  • Portrait of Modjeska by Ajdukiewicz, 1880, Sukiennice Gallery, Krakow, Poland.