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Jan Ekier's Jubilee
2013-08-29Today prof. Jan Ekier, pianist, composer, editor of National Edition of Works of Fryderyk Chopin, celebrates his 100. birthday.
Jan Ekier - pianist, composer, editor of musical works and teacher, was born in Krakow on August 29th, 1913. He studied piano and composition with O. Stolfowa and B. Rizzi. In the years 1932-1934 he studied musicology at the Jagiellonian University under prof. Z. Jachimecki. His piano studies in the years 1934-1937 (Prof. Zb. Drzewiecki) and composition in the years 1934-1939 (Prof. K. Sikorski) took place at the National Conservatory of Music in Warsaw. In 1936 he was awarded third prize in the Polish Music Publishing Society Composition Competition for Highland Suite for orchestra. At the III Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1937, he received 8th place. During the occupation Ekier learned to play the organ with B. Rutkowski at the Staatliche Musikschule in Warschau, realising the pre-war conservatory program. He was one of the most active musicians of the militant underground. After the war he continued his concert career. He ceased composing in 1956, his last piece being the soundtrack to the animated film Dwie Dorotki.
Jan Ekier undertook pedagogical activities when he was still in Krakow. In the year 1932/33 he taught solfege at the Wł. Żeleński School of Music, then thirteen years later (1946-1947) he led the piano class at the PSSM in Lublin. In the year 1947/48 he served as rector of the Academy of Music in Sopot. In the years 1953-2000 he taught piano at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw (later AM, now UMFC); he was the head of the Piano Department in the years 1964-1972 and 1974-2000. His many students include P. Paleczny, B. Kawalla, A. Paleta-Bugaj, A. Jastrzębska-Quinn, T. Takahashi, I. Wyrzykowska-Mondelska, M. Szmyd-Dormus, A. Bereżyński. After 1960, Jan Ekier led numerous master classes, including in Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Brazil, Japan and China.
He began his editorial activities shortly after the war. Under the auspices of PWM’s Pedagogiczna Biblioteka Fortepianowa series of scores, in collaboration with Zb. Drzewiecki, J. Hoffman and A. Rieger he prepared books of scales and arpeggios and works by J.S. Bach for children and young people, then he independently arranged, amongst other pieces, the Inventions, Italian Concerto, Chromatic Fantasy And Fugue, and the French Suites. In 1959 he became editor-in-chief of the National Edition of the Works of Fryderyk Chopin. The first volume - Ballads appeared in 1967, and now the series has been completed.
Since 1949, with the exception of the V International Chopin Piano Competition, Jan Ekier was a judge for all the post-war contests. In 1985, 1990, 1995 - he served as chairman of the jury in 2000, 2005 and 2010 he was honorary chairman of the jury. Ekier was frequently invited to participate in juries of international piano competitions including Budapest (1956), Leipzig (1964), Bolzano (1975, 1977), Geneva (1975, 1986), Munich (1977) and Tel Aviv (1980) among others.
Jan Ekier has been awarded for his outstanding artistic and scientific achievements many times - in 1995, he was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. In 1998, he was awarded the Chopin Prize by the International F. Chopin Foundation. In 2000, Jan Ekier was awarded the Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta. In 2005 he received the prize of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage – the Gold Medal "for services to culture Gloria Artis". Two years later in 2007 was awarded the Cyprian Kamil Norwid "Lifetime’s Work" award from the Mazowieckie voivodship government. In 2010, Jan Ekier was awarded the Order of White Eagle.
The Polish Music Library is the youngest member of the top flight of Polish libraries, exceptional in terms of its collection and unrivalled for accessibility. It is maintained by PWM Edition, the biggest Polish publisher of sheet music and books about music, which thanks to its international prestige effectively promotes the output of Polish composers around the world. PWM sums up this project, which has been realised since 2017, with an attractive animation presenting the process through which its resources have been digitised.
Does music call for gender equality? It can surely defend itself. Nonetheless, the artistic advantages of excellent present-day women-composers and their eminent predecessors are worthy of being noticed and highlighted. Women have their separate and distinctive voice in Polish music. In recognition of the need to acknowledge that voice, on 29th January ANAKLASIS will release the CD POLISH HEROINES OF MUSIC, comprising orchestral works by Elżbieta Sikora, Hanna Kulenty, Grażyna Bacewicz, and Agata Zubel.
A panorama of compositional output combining Polish and Yiddish inter-war hits with sorrowful, despairing tangos from the Ghetto. The disc Bajgelman. Get to Tango represents a twenty-first-century take on the output of the outstanding musician Dawid Bajgelman, from Łódź. These arrangements and reworkings of selected works by one of the greatest composers of Jewish theatre music were produced by the outstanding musician and composer Jarosław Bester. The album comes out on 11 December.
The ANAKLASIS record label, created by PWM just one year ago (on 22 November 2019), already boasts sixteen albums, and it shows no signs of slowing down, with further releases announced.
PWM Edition has launched a campaign and an international educational project, which brings the works by Polish composers closer to the audiences worldwide. ‘Music from Chopin’s Land’ encompasses more than just pieces by Chopin – it also means Paderewski, Szymanowska, Moniuszko, Kilar, Kurpiński and many other composers.
On 7 November 2020, during a gala broadcast on TVP Kultura, the laureates of the 10th edition of the Coryphaeus of Polish Music awards were announced. The award for Event of the Year went to the premiere of Aleksander Nowak’s opera Drach. Dramma per musica, given at the AUKSODRONE festival. Aleksander Nowak’s work, to a libretto by Szczepan Twardoch based on his heralded novel, was rewarded for ‘emphasising local dimensions in universal processes, for the strength of its musical and cultural message’.
Paderewski was a great composer. Herdzin is a great improviser. The fusion of the worlds of these two musical giants has given rise to a new phenomenon, which we share with you today. On the 160th anniversary of the birth of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, it is time to prick up our ears to the most beautiful impressions on his music.
On 30 September, the call for applications for the International Composition Contest for Wind Orchestra Warsaw Wind Ensemble Composition Contest 2020 was closed. From almost 50 applications, the jury selected seven laureates and distinguished five compositions.
In the year of the exceptional jubilee, the composer's 90 birthday, a unique album is published in the ANAKLASIS catalogue, devoted to the chamber vocal and instrumental works of Twardowski. They are performed by the world-famous bass-baritone, Tomasz Konieczny, and an outstanding pianist, Lech Napierała.
The songs of Stanisław Moniuszko and Romuald Twardowski are widely known and appreciated both by the public and the musical world. But what if we could get to know these pieces from the inside out? Two world-class musicians invite you to a unique master class experience – delivered straight to your doorstep! The acclaimed bass-baritone Tomasz Konieczny and the ingenious pianist Lech Napierała will be the guides to those who are curious about the most beautiful Polish songs. The online Song Master Class program is launching now.