Monday, December 5, 2022

Christmas Caroling with Wojciech Kocyan, Olivia Kierdal. Honoring Alicja Bobrowska, December 17, 2022


The Helena Modjeska Art & Culture Club and friends will meet on Saturday, December 17, 2022 to celebrate holidays, break the Christmas wafer "oplatek" with best wishes for the next year, listen to Chopin played by Prof. Wojciech Kocyan, sing Christmas Carols with Olivia Kierdal, and enjoy a wonderful traditional Polish Christmas dinner prepared by the hosts, Helena and Stanley Kolodziey of Beverly Hills and the Modjeska Club Board of Directors. 

The traditional wishes are "glory to God in the highest and peace to the people on Earth"... This year, let's share the wishes of shared responsibility, respect, and care for our entire Polish American community and renewed dedication to the promotion of Polish culture in California. 

Video of Christmas Caroling 1: Fragment of "Mizerna, cicha..."
Video of Christmas Caroling 2: Fragment of "Wsrod Nocnej Ciszy"
Video of Christmas Caroling 3: "Przybiezeli do Betlejem"


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

He has recorded for television, radio and film and his performances were broadcast in Europe, United States and Australia.  His solo and chamber music recordings can also be found on DUX, Naxos and Spotify. His latest CD, of works of Robert Schumann, was released by DUX in 2012.  In 2007 the Gramophone magazine, published in London and considered the world’s most prestigious classical music journal, called him “a genius…  stands ground alongside Pollini, Ashkenazy and Richter" and chose Mr. Kocyan’s recording of Prokofiev, Scriabin and Rachmaninoff as one of 50 best classical recordings ever made, alongside recordings of such luminaries as Leonard Bernstein, Dietrich Fisher-Dieskau, Nicolaus Harnoncourt and Arthur Rubinstein.

Dr. Kocyan is a Full Clinical Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence at Loyola-Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is also active as an adjudicator, lecturer, scholar and arts administrator. He is regularly invited to judge music competitions at the local, state-wide and international levels. He has given masterclasses and lectures in France, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Japan, Mexico and United States. He serves as the Artistic Director and President of the Paderewski Music Society in Los Angeles and the Director of the American International Paderewski Piano Competition in Los Angeles. He is also the President of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers, Santa Monica/South Bay Chapter and serves on boards of several artistic organizations."


Olivia Kierdal was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, and moved to Los Angeles in 2019. She completed a BA in Contemporary Music. She is a classically trained pianist, a vocalist and songwriter with over 2,000,000 listeners on Spotify, where she posted 15 songs.


Konsul wraz z przedstawicielami Zarzadow 2018-2024: Anna Sadowska, Maja Trochimczyk, Beata Czajkowska, Elzbieta Trybus. Chris Justin photo. August 8, 2022, The Penthouse, Santa Monica, CA.


The Board of Directors of the Helena Modjeska Art & Culture Club voted to present Honorary Membership to Consul General JAROSŁAW ŁASIŃSKI in 2021. The presentation of the diploma and luncheon took place in August 2022 in Santa Monica, with Maja Trochimczyk, Anna Sadowska, Elzbieta Trybus, and Chris Justin in attendance. 

Consul Lasinski supported the activities of our Club most notably with a joint project of Independence Day Concert in November 2022. The Board assisted the Consulate with obtaining funding for the event, a concert by Kate Liu with Senator Anna Maria Anders in attendance at the Colburn School of Music from the Polish National Fundation. During the 2018-2022 term, Consul Lasinski approved three grants for the Modjeska Club - for the concerts by Piramidy group, Wiktoria Tracz with Krzysztof Dzikowski in 2019, and for the publication of the Album of 50-Years of the Club History in 2021.  The Consul also honored our Club with a special plaque on the occasion of our 50th anniversary in October 2021. Consul General Lasinski joins a group of distinguished Consuls honored with this distinction in the past: Roman Czarny, Maciej Krych, 

Alicja Bobrowska in 2014.


In November 2022, the Board of Directors of the Helena Modjeska Art & Culture Club voted to present Honorary Membership to long-term Club member, ALICJA BOBROWSKA, the first post-war Miss Polonia (1957), actress and artist noted for her large-scale 3-D relief works.

Alicja Bobrowska was born in 1936 in Włodzimierz Wołyński, then in Poland, now in present-day Ukraine. After the war, her family settled in Gdańsk. In 1956, she went to study in Krakow, where during the Juwenalia of Krakow students she won the title of the Nicest Student.  In Gdansk, she was the 1st Runner-up of Miss Wybrzeza beauty pageant, and then in 1957 she was selected Miss Polonia at an event held in the Gdańsk Shipyard. The prize - apart from money - was a cruise on the "Batory" ship to Copenhagen. In 1958,  Bobrowska traveled to the Miss Universe '58 pageant in California. She entered the final round and became the 4th Runner-Up. She also won the first prize for the best speech about her native country. After the competition, she was offered work as an actress and a model in the USA, but she returned to Poland to marry eminent actor Stanislaw Zaczyk (1923-1985). (They had one son, Maciej, who until today takes care of his Mom in California.)

 Instead of continuing her studies, she passed a special exam as an actress in Warsaw; this allowed her to perform on the stage. In 1959, she graduated from the Puppetry Department at the State Higher School of Theater. As an actress, she appeared in such films as Marriage of Convenience, The Visit and four films made in East Germany, including The Most Beautiful where she played the title role.  For Polish TV, she appeared in His Two Wives and TV Theater plays directed by Zygmunt Huebner and Jerzy Antczak. She also performed in National and Polish Theaters, with the most notable roles in Matwa by Witkacy, Ciezkie Czasy (Hard Times) by Michal Balucki and Dziady (Forefithers' Eve) by Adam Mickiewicz. That famous spectacle directed by Kazimierz Dejmek marked the beginning of student protests known as the March 1968 events.  Due to repressions afterwards, Bobrowska decided not to perform on the stage. Meanwhile, for six months worked as an announcer for Polish TV.  

In 1981 she traveled to California for a visit, but decided to stay after the Martial Law was declared in Poland and a return became impossible. She worked for 17 years as a nurse, taking care of dialysis patients during home visit. She also became an artist and created a series of original three-dimensional artworks, large-scale reliefs using fabric, ceramics, and other materials to create portraits and landscapes. In retirement, she is amused by the company of birds, her lovely and entertaining  parrots, cockatiels. 

Alicja Bobrowska  in Cracow folk costume at Miss Universe 1958.

Alicja Bobrowska joins a group of eminent creators of Polish culture who joined the Club and for many years participated in its activities, including but not limited to director Jerzy Antczak, actress Jadwiga Baranska (also the winner of the 2018 Modjeska Prize), actress Stephanie Powers and dancer-choreographer Stefan Wenta.

El Pueblo by Alicja Bobrowska

Florian Gate by Alicja Bobrowska

Power Plant - Abstract - by Alicja Bobrowska


We were very happy that despite the flu season so many of the initial 125 guests that sent in the RVSP could attend - we counted between 96 and 108 guests in attendance. Everyone who came wanted to enjoy the Christmas mood and sing Polish Christmas Carols. We listened to Wojciech Kocyan's holiday concert - a piece by Schumann, December by Tchaikovsky, two Mazurkas and two Waltzes by Chopin, and a  Bach Chorale arranged by Busoni to remind all what Christmas is all about. Then Olivia Kierdal led the caroling from the piano, 52 songbooks disappeared after the performance, so we have to reprint them for next year. The guests sang 12 carols and enjoyed the reception, one of the members stated that it was the most enjoyable event she attended in the Polish community in 30 years!

Here are some comments we received already, more to come, for sure: 

Jadwiga Inglis: "On December 17, 2022, at the residence of Helena and Stanley Kołodziey in Beverly Hills, a wonderful Christmas meeting of our Culture Club took place. The program included sharing the  Christmas wafer "oplatek" and making wishes, a delicious dinner, a beautiful concert of the pianist, Professor Wojciech Kocyan. Oliwia Kierdal led the carol singing from the piano and we sang beautifully. At the end there were desserts, nice conversations and joint photos. I would like to thank Helenka, Stanley, the president of the club Maja Trochimczyk and the Club Board for a fantastic evening. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays."

David Lehman: "Maja, Monique and I think you are such a fantastic person. Great Mother, Grandmother, artist, business person and so much more. Last night's event in Beverly Hills was fantastic. It was so well done. The food and entertainment were over the top. than you for remembering me in your introduction. the Modjeska Club is so fantastic because of the work you do." 

Ewa Malachowska: "Many thanks for your leading of the Modjeska Club and organizing such beautiful events!" 

Jennifer Audette to Helena Kolodziey: "Thank you so much for opening your home up for such a memorable and enjoyable event! We had such a wonderful time. Merry Christmas and man blessings in the New Year!" And to Maja Trochimczyk: "I had a FANTASTIC time!!!! Beautiful caroling!!!"

Dr. Jerzy George Kossek: "Helena Modejska’s Wafer-Oplatek night was a top-notch event last night. Here singing beautiful Polish Christmas Carols - Koledy with talented Olivia Kierdal. Everybody did great and had lots of fun doing it."

Monday, November 21, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ladies and Gentlemen,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With warmest wishes, 

Maja Trochimczyk, President

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

Relief by Alicja Bobrowska

Saturday, November 19, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Saturday, October 15, 2022

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Thursday, September 15, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9 | 7:00 P.M.

2022 Paderewski Lecture-Recital with Hanna Kulenty

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

FREE admission, no RSVP required. Reception to follow concert

For more details, visit: 

UCS CAMPUS mapCampus Parking: $14

Monday, August 29, 2022

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



SEPTEMBER 20-25, 2022

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

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

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

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




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


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



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

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

Virtual Presentation of the Modjeska Prize, October 2021.

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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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