© 2018 Friends of Chopin Australia Incorporated

ABN: 91 147 334 136
Association Number: A05315
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Heart of Poland

with pianist Peter de Jager

a remembrance of the outbreak of World War II through Chopin

ANU School of Music, 29 November 2019, 7pm-9pm

The Friends of Chopin Australia are very pleased to present a concert to remember the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War 2, through the music of Chopin in the context of the Nazi occupation of Poland.

“Chopin’s heart – heart of Warsaw, heart of the Nation.”

 

These words written in February 1946 by Mieczysław Idzikowski, Secretary of the Committee for the National Celebration for the Return of Chopin’s Heart to Warsaw, about the realisation of the return of Chopin's heart to its resting place in the central pillar of the Church of the Holy Cross on the 17 October 1945, soon after the end of World War II.

 

The Heart of Poland concert remembers the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War 2 and the Nazi occupation of Poland on 1 September 1939, through Fryderyk Chopin and his music. Poignantly reflecting the struggles and triumphs of Poland and her people – one in heart with Chopin, it is a musical journey into the paradoxes of faith and fate. 

The sublime pianist Peter de Jager, winner of the 1st Australian International Chopin Piano Competition 2011 will be performing works that saved the Polish Jewish pianist Władysław Szpilman  (whose heroic story of survival was brought to life in the Roman Polanski film The Pianist) and purged the despair of musician Adam Kopycinski during his time in Auschwitz.

Date: Friday 29 November 2019 commencing at 7.00pm

Venue: ANU School of Music, Larry Sitsky Recital Room (LSRR)

Tickets available now online and at the door on the day from 6.30pm

Adults $50; FCA members $40; Concessions $30; Children under 12 $20

Ticket page loading

 
 

Chopin's Piano

with author Paul Kildea

An Illustrated Lecture with Musical Accompaniment

ANU School of Music, 16 October, 6pm-7pm, FREE with REGISTRATION

The Friends of Chopin Australia are very pleased to pass on this exciting Chopin event being held at the ANU School of Music. The below is reproduced from the ANU's website:

"Internationally acclaimed musician and author Paul Kildea is giving an illustrated lecture, with piano accompaniment, on his critically acclaimed book, Chopin's Piano: A Journey Through Romanticism. Sovereign Films in London has acquired global film rights.

Chopin's Piano is part cultural history and part detective story, in which Kildea takes the reader on an unexpected journey through musical Romanticism, allowing us to reflect freshly on the changing meaning of music over time.

It begins in 1838 when Frédéric Chopin, seeking to escape the harsh Parisian winter, travels to Majorca with his lover George Sand. Here, Chopin composes many of his famous 24 Preludes, on a pianino made by local craftsman Juan Bauza. Paul Kildea follows the composition of the Preludes, how the piano came to be owned by the great keyboard player and musical thinker, Wanda Landowska, and what happened after it was seized by Nazis in the early 1940s.

 

Paul Kildea became Artistic Director of Musica Viva, Australia in mid-2019. Originally from Canberra, Kildea has held a number of artistic leadership positions, among them Head of Music at the Aldeburgh Festival in Suffolk from 1999 to 2002, Artistic Director of London's Wigmore Hall from 2003 to 2005, and Artistic Director of the Four Winds Festival in Bermagui."

"I wanted to write a meditation on Romanticism, creativity, and the changing meaning of music over two centuries of revolution, war, industrialization, nationalism and murderous xenophobia. It is a mighty canvas". Paul Kildea

'Chopin's Piano is an exceptionally fine book: erudite, digressive, urbane and deeply moving.' The Wall Street Journal

 

Summers in Nohant

with Kotaro Nagano, pianist

A recital of some of the music Chopin composed in Nohant

The Friends of Chopin Australia invite you to an exquisite piano recital of Chopin's music from his seven summers in Nohant, France.

 

The Friends are again collaborating with the amazing Kotaro Nagano, to present a wonderful program of music based around the pieces Chopin composed over seven summers spent at the country estate of his lover, the female novelist George Sand. From 1839 to 1846 Chopin and Sand would spend their summers in the country side, often with friends and artists such as fellow pianist-composer Franz Liszt, fellow writer Honor de Balzac, the artist Eugene Delacroix, and many others. This was a very productive and creative period for Chopin with some of his most beautiful and best known works emerging from this period.

 

Join us in the beautiful setting of All Saints Church in Ainslie for some heavenly music, that will transport you from the Canberra winter to the summers of rural France.

Where:      All Saints Anglican Church

                  9 Cowper Street, Ainslie.

When:       Saturday 24 August 2019

                  Doors open at 6:00pm for a 6:30pm start

Tickets:     $50 adults

                  $40 FCA Members
                  $30 Concessions

                  $20 children under 16

                  Limited tickets will be available at the door

Enquiries: 0438 195 183

 

Chopin's Birthday Concert

with Penelope Thwaites AM, pianist

"Happy Birthday Chopin - With Gifts of Folk Music"

The Friends of Chopin Australia, with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Canberra, cordially invite you to celebrate Chopin's birthday with the esteemed pianist Penelope Thwaites AM. Join us at the Embassy for a glass of champagne, a slice of cake, and some amazing music gifts of folk music to celebrate this most cherished of composers. Penelope's magnificent program for the evening showcases the inspiration folk music has had on Chopin and other composers.

Where:      The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Canberra

                  7 Turrana Street, Yarralumla.

When:        Thursday 21 February 2019

                  Doors open at 6:30pm for a 7pm start

Tickets:     $50 adults

                  $40 concessions/FCA Members

                  $15 children under 12

                  No tickets will be available at the door

Enquiries: 02 6104 9598

ABOUT THE CONCERT

The Friends of Chopin Australia are opening their concert year for 2019 with a celebration and commemoration of Chopin’s birthday. This year it is in collaboration with the remarkable Australian pianist Penelope Thwaites AM. The theme of this year’s birthday concert is Chopin and the folk music inspiration. A passionate supporter of Australian music, and a leading authority on the music of Percy Grainger, Penelope Thwaites has also been connected with Chopin throughout her career as a student and a performer. The English composer, William Reed, with whom she studied orchestration, exhorted her to learn the mazurkas of Chopin.. Later in her career, in October 1994, Penelope toured in Poland with Musica Viva and performed at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. In Warsaw she presented a program of Australian music, along with Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu, and a selection of his Mazurkas, which were very well received by the Polish critics, noting the Mazurkas were “…played with inspiration, showing proper understanding of folk stylisation” (Andrzej Sulak, Music Movement, 30 October 1994) 

Penelope has been a frequent visitor, performer and contributor to music in Australia across her career, and is well known and well loved in her Antipodean home. Recently, Greta Bradman of ABC Classics listed Penelope as one of the greatest Australian performers in an article where ABC Classics presenters were asked to compile a list of Australia’s greatest classical performers sharing company with Dame Joan Sutherland, Sir Bernard Heinze, William Barton, and Richard Gill among others. Of Penelope, Greta said the following:

 

“Her playing is simply exquisite, and she is such a humble and generous contributor to the classical music community. And whilst we take for granted the prominence of Australian composer Percy Grainger in the collective musical consciousness worldwide, it is great and prolific interpreters such as Thwaites we have to thank for elevating him so.” – Greta Bradman.

This Friends birthday concert is a celebration of the joy of life in folk music as a musical gift to Chopin. For this recital, Penelope is presenting a selection of mazurkas and waltzes by Chopin, a selection of Percy Grainger’s folk pieces, Bartok’s Roumanian Dances, and a selection from Bach’s Partita No 1 in B flat minor, a suite of dance music.

 

But there is more to the folk music connection than just a birthday celebration. Chopin was inspired by the folk music of Poland at a young age, particularly the Mazurka and the Polonaise. Chopin became a refugee due to occupation of his homeland in his early 20s, and taking up residence in Paris, he elevated the simple Mazurka into an astonishingly beautiful concert piece for solo piano and art form in the miniature. In this way he could preserve the culture and folk traditions of Poland, and reach as wide an audience as possible. Chopin’s mazurkas and polonaises contain some of his most beautiful and fiercely nationalistic music, and remain an important part of Poland and Polish culture to this day.

 

Percy Grainger was also passionate about recording and promoting the English and Nordic folk music traditions, not only in composition but also as an early adopter of recording technology as a means of preservation and distribution. And Grainger himself was no stranger to the music of Chopin, having recorded Chopin’s Polonaise, his Sonata, and some of his etudes early in the 20th Century. Some of his earliest recordings of Chopin were made 101 years ago in 1918.

There are some other interesting parallels between Grainger and Chopin as well. Both were child prodigies, and both began giving private society concerts from an early age.

The Friends of Chopin Australia’s first event each year is timed around Chopin’s birthday. There has been much confusion over Chopin's actual date of birth, with sources indicating both 22 February and 1 March. Although determined by the National Institute of Fryderyk Chopin that the correct date of Chopin's birth is 1 March, the Friends reserve the right to celebrate both, and this year we are celebrating the birth date that comes first. This year is also another first, the first time an Australian composer has featured on one of our recital programs, and it seems fitting that it be the music of Percy Grainger, and in the hands of such a pianist and Grainger expert as Penelope Thwaites.

Penelope will be introducing the collections of pieces during the concert and sharing her personal and professional experiences with the music of Chopin and Grainger.

The Friends of Chopin Australia are also dedicating this concert to the life and work of Professor Mieczysław Tomaszewski, a Polish musicologist who spent his career opening up the understanding of Chopin’s music to the world. Professor Tomaszewski passed away on 14 January 2019.

Percy Grainger plays Chopin's Piano Sonata No 3, 1st and 2nd movements. Recorded in 1925.

Percy Grainger plays Chopin's Piano Sonata No 3, 3rd and 4th movements. Recorded in 1925.

The late Harold C Schonberg wrote of Percy Grainger (The Great Pianists), "Grainger was one of the most gifted pianists of the century, and his credentials were impeccable: student of Louis Pabst, James Kwast, and Ferruccio Busoni: friend of Grieg, exponent of modern music (Debussy, Delius, Albeniz) at the turn of the century. He had a free, easy swing at the piano, a superb tone, and an effortless , completely natural technique.----He was one of the keyboard originals." This 1925 performance is the first recording of Chopin's Piano Sonata No 3 Op 58. John Bird, Grainger's biographer writes, ": This performance has stood the test of time and is the recording to which connoisseurs always turn when Grainger's greatness as a pianist is discussed. It is played with a ferocity and wild abandon that at times is frightening."

Percy Grainger plays Chopin's Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor Op. 31. Recorded in 1924.

Percy Grainger plays Chopin's Etude in B Minor, Op. 25, No. 10. Recorded in 1928.

Percy Grainger plays Chopin's Prelude in A-flat major op.28 no.17. Recorded in 1918.

Percy Grainger plays Chopin's Trois Nouvelles Etudes No. 2

 

Purchase Tickets

We wish to advise that tickets have now sold out for Penelope Thwaites' concert "Chopin and the Folk Music Inspiration" in celebration of Chopin's 209th birthday.

 

Brian and Dianne Anderson

invite you to enjoy

"CHOPIN in the GARDEN"

with Lucas Krupinski pianist

57 Arthur Circle, Red Hill

Saturday 12 January 2019

Sunday 13 January 2019

ABOUT THE CONCERT

 

Taking inspiration from recitals in Paris, Warsaw, and Zelazowa Wola (Chopin’s birthplace), the Anderson’s are opening their beautiful garden up for the recital, which has twice been a part of Australia’s Open Garden Scheme. Come and spread a blanket on the grass in the shade of the trees and share the beautiful strains of Lucas’ incomparable playing in the warm afternoon sun with some friends. There are also limited seats available inside if sitting in the garden is not possible for you. Please contact Dianne or Trish for further enquiries.

ABOUT LUCAS

 

Lucas (Lukasz) Krupinski is an amazing concert pianist and will be holidaying in Canberra with the Anderson’s in January. We are delighted that he will be able to give another special performance whilst here.

Since first coming to Australia in 2014 for the 2nd Australian International Chopin Piano Competition in Canberra, Lucas’s career has enjoyed a stellar trajectory. He has performed for the President of Poland and for the President of China, he has made his debut in Carnegie Hall, and has performed with the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. Lucas has given numerous concerts in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Belgium, France, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and the USA, including a special performance for the opening of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Lucas was the winner of the 7th International Piano Competition in San Marino in 2016 and also won all of the contest prizes - The Audience Award, The Music Critics Award and The Orchestra Award. 

He was the winner of International Piano Competitions in Aachen (2016) and Hannover (2015) and has also won numerous other prestigious prizes and awards including the Stanislaw Moniuszko International Competition of Slavic Music in Minsk, Belarus, 2011 (First Prize and Special Award), the 2nd Chopin Siberian International Piano Competition in Tomsk, 2013 (Grand Prix and two Special Awards), Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship Competition 2014 (First Prize).

Born in 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, Lucas graduated with a “Magna cum Laude” distinction from the Frederick Chopin University of Music in Warsaw under the supervision of Professor Alicja Paleta-Bugaj and Dr. Konrad Skolarski. He then joined the class of Professor Arie Vardi at Hannover University of Musik, Drama and Media, and in September this year he commenced a Piano Performance Degree at the Royal College of Music in London in the class of Professor Dmitry Alexeev.

 
 

'Rising from the Ashes'

25 November 2018

A Commemorative Concert to Celebrate the Centenary of Poland’s Regaining Independence
1918-2018 

The Arrival - Dr Christopher Sainsbury
00:00 / 00:00
Hastiludium - Dr Aleksander Nowak
00:00 / 00:00

About the Commissions

 

Music has played a central role in keeping Polish culture and the Polish spirit alive during the periods of occupation and of loss of borders. This is particularly true of the music of Fryderyk Chopin which bound the population together especially through the Nazi and Soviet occupations of the 20th century. Chopin himself was a refugee, spending half his life in France due to the Russian occupation. He expressed his frustration, rage, sorrow, longing, and loss of his homeland through his music, and his music unified all Poles who were subjugated or made refugees by occupation.


The Friends of Chopin Australia are seeking to reflect on and celebrate Polish history and the regaining of independence through two commissioned compositions. The commissions seek two perspectives on occupation and independence, one for the Poles who remained in occupied Poland, and one for the Poles who had to leave their land. The perspective for those that remained is commissioned from a Polish composer, representing the continuity of the geographical situation of Poles and Polish culture throughout occupation and loss of independence. The perspective from those that had to leave is commissioned from an Australian composer, representing the Polish diaspora, and the thriving of Polish communities in new lands.


Australia and Poland have a long history of interactions, from the second voyage of Captain Cook (1772-1775) where the Forsters, father Johann Reinhold and son Georg born in what is now northern Poland, accompanied the expedition as naturalists, to the present day. These commissions are to help form a bridge between the Australian and the Polish cultural experience and help further bilateral relations into the future.

Australia Commission

The Australian commission has the aim of uniting, through music, the Australian community and the members of the Polish diaspora through their shared migration story; uniting the Polish diaspora with their memories of their homeland; and uniting the children of the members of the diaspora who have been born in Australia with their Polish history and traditions.


The piece was requested in the miniature form as an homage to the music of Fryderyk Chopin, who wrote extensively in the miniature form, often encapsulating pure emotion or fond remembrances in an immediate communication with his audience.


The commission was asked to speak to the experiences of Poles who have left their homeland and found a new life in Australia. The migrant experience of setting foot in a strange land, sharing experiences with other migrants, building relationships, families, careers, and communities throughout Australia; understanding Australia through its physical landscape and its cultural landscape, both indigenous, colonial, and migrant. And what the centenary of independence means to them.

Polish Commission

The Polish commission has the aim of uniting, through music, the Australian community and the members of the Polish diaspora through their shared migration story; uniting the Polish diaspora with their memories of their homeland; and uniting the children of the members of the diaspora who have been born in Australia with their Polish history and traditions.


The piece was requested in the miniature form as an homage to the music of Fryderyk Chopin, who wrote extensively in the miniature form, often encapsulating pure emotion or fond remembrances in an immediate communication with his audience.


The Polish piece was asked to speak to the experiences of Poles who remained in their homeland while borders disappeared or were re-written, and as armies invaded, annexed or occupied. Those who have been dispossessed but not displaced, or have become a minority in their own home. It is for the Poles who have had to retain their cultural heritage in secret or who have had to strive to create a future that has a resurgent Poland in it, by overt or covert means. The piece should reflect what the regaining of independence means to them.

About the Concert

2018 marks the centenary of the regaining of Poland's independence at the end of the First World War. 

This is a significant event for Poland and for Polish communities all around the world, who have organised a number of celebrations and commemorations throughout the year. 

In Canberra, the Council of Polish Organisations in the ACT organised a commemorative concert (also called an Akademia) to mark this very special occasion. 

The Friends of Chopin Australia's contribution to this very significant and joyous occasion by commissioning two pieces of new music, one from an Australian composer and one from a Polish composer, to reflect on the meaning of the regaining of independence to Poles in Poland, and Poles forced to flee their homeland and settle in Australia.

This special commemorative concert was held under the honorary patronage, and in the presence of, His Excellency Mr Michał Kołodziejski, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Australia. 

Other special invited guests included: Senator The Honourable Zed Sezelja, representing the Prime Minister of Australia The Honourable Scott Morrison; three members of the Polish Parliament Mrs Elżbieta Stępień Chair of the Polish-Australian Bilateral Group, Mr Grzegorz Długi Vice-Chair of the Polish-Australian Bilateral Group, and Mr Tomasz Latos Member of the Polish-Australian Bilateral Group; the Hon. Mr David Clarke MLC, Member of the NSW Legislative Council, and Parliamentary Secretary for Justice.

From the Composers

 

'The Arrival' a piece for solo piano by Dr Christopher Sainsbury

 "I conceived of a piece to do with the Polish experience of coming to Australia. The piece starts with quotes of Polish bird songs - sounds of the 'old home' - being at home. An ostinato accompanies the bird songs, and this uses intervals from the bird songs. (Most of the work stems from the bird songs of Poland). This moves to a section called ‘Wrenched away', built on the same intervals. It is demanding and talks of journeys forced upon peoples. Many Polish came to Australia under PM Curtin's 'Populate or Perish Policy' after WWII. These enriched Australia. So the next section is called 'The Arrival' which has a sense of anticipation. It also uses the opening ostinato stemming from the Polish bird songs. There are a couple of instances of re-stating earlier sections before a final hymn section with Australian bird songs above - effectively the sounds of an 'adopted home'. These sounds are new, but the hymn tune stems from the opening ostinato and the Polish bird song. The piece resolves peacefully, but with some feel of displacement indicated by the odd way the Australian bird song sits against the hymn tune.”

'Hastiludium' a piece for piano trio by Dr Aleksander Nowak

“The title Hastiludium refers to the Latin term meaning tournament: a competition between armed knights, being something in between a sports game and deadly fight. The history of Poland, and the spirit of its’ people brings to mind such ambivalence. Particularly our independence seems to be in need of constant reconstitution in a more or less competitive manner. Along these premises, recalling Chopin’s style, the separate lines, not only individual instruments but also both hands of the pianist are in a perpetual melodic, harmonic and rhythmic shift, in search of union.”

About the Composers

 

Dr Christopher Sainsbury: is an accomplished composer and a highly experienced music educator, currently lecturing in Composition and Musicology at the Australian National University (ANU). He has made a sustained contribution to Australian music as a working composer in both professional and community music arenas for many years. His output ranges from simple solo works to large orchestral works. Dr Sainsbury is a descendant of Australia's first settled Indigenous people - the Dharug (also known as Eora) of Sydney and surrounds.

 

Dr Aleksander Nowak: is currently Chair of Composition at the Katowice Academy of Music in Poland, where he teaches composition, orchestration and scoring. Since 2011 he has been the president of the Silesian branch of Polish Composers' Union in Katowice. He also coordinates festivals such as "Silesian Contemporary Music Days" and "Brand-New Music".

Chopin among the ANZACs

3 October 2018

Honouring the sacrifice of Australian soldiers in the great war through the life of L/Cpl C.F.G. Chopin, and commemorating the role Fryderyk Chopin's music played in the trenches, at home, and abroad

A memorial concert from the Friends of Chopin Australia honouring the spirit and sacrifice of the ANZACs during World War I.

 

It honours the ultimate sacrifice of 18-year-old Lance Corporal Charles Frederic Giles Chopin SN7134 and remembers him on the 100th anniversary of his death. He represents some 60,000 ANZACs who died.

 

It honours those abroad and back home through the powerful music of Fryderyk Chopin and how it was used to heal, to rest, to grieve, and to provide solace and hope.

 

And it is an opportunity to reflect on the personal sacrifices and contributions of our soldiers in the Great War and the impacts it has had on our communities and our families over the generations to today, and to observe the centenary of its ending.

 

Performed by Peter de Jager, winner, 1st Australian International Chopin Piano Competition, 2011, Canberra.

 

Time: 6:30pm (doors open 5:30pm)

Venue: All Saints Church, 9-15 Cowper St, Ainslie

Admission: Gold coin donation (proceeds to the Legacy Club of Canberra)

Preceding this concert at 4.55pm there will be a Last Post Ceremony for L/Cpl C.F.G. Chopin on the 100th anniversary of his death at the Australian War Memorial, in the Commemorative Courtyard. Wreaths can be laid in his honour. Contact lastpostceremony@awm.gov.au

All other enquiries contact Wanda Horky on  0438 195 183, or vice-president@friendsofchopin.org.au

* Image AWM E04486 used with the permission of the Australian War Memorial. Messines Sector, Belgium, 22 January 1918. A group of members of the 2nd Division at the entrance to the Catacombs — a system of tunnels built in Hill 63, in the Messines Sector. Note the cut out kangaroo silhouette on the top of the tunnel.