Pianist Wojciech Kocyan was praised for his “highly distinctive performances (…) superb, intelligent artistry (…)” (.Classics Today.com) 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.
HONORARY MEMBERS OF MODJESKA CLUB
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,
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 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.