31st Mozart Festival in Warsaw
Royal Castle in Warsaw
Elizabeth Pitcairn and Silesian Chamber Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Divertimento in D major
Corgliano – Suite from “Red Violin” film
Gershwin/Heifetz/Smolij – Three Preludes (for violin and chamber orchestra)
Chadwick – Suite for String Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Serenata Notturna
Elizabeth Pitcairn – violin
Silesian Chamber Orchestra
The concert of the chamber orchestra will present two remarkable works of this genre by W.A. Mozart (Divertimento in D major, KV136, Serenata Notturna KV239) in a contrasting combination with later compositions of this genre, for an identical instrumental composition by American composers:
George Whitefield Chadwick (1854–1931) – Serenade in F for String Orchestra
A piece kept in the early-Romantic convention, a scheme of parts and instrumentation inspired by Mozart’s serenades. Chadwick’s compositions clearly reflect the American musical style that developed rapidly in the late 19th century. Serenade F for String Orchestra was completed in 1890. The piece is witty and charming, reminiscent of popular European serenades. The work, in a four-movement form, begins with a cheerful and optimistic Allegro, which gives way to a lyrical movement. The third part refers to the classical era, taking the form of a minuet – Chadwick imbues the piece with energy that contradicts the traditional charm and playfulness of this form. The finale takes place on a rocking metre 6/8 and plays with alternating double and triple beats that bring the finale to a great ending.
John Corigliano (born 1938) – Suite from “Red Violin” film,
The composition of the music for the film of the same title from 1998 (Oscar-winning music), scored for the same instruments as Serenata Notturna (strings + timpani, solo parts for the violin), is a musical journey through various musical styles depicting the history of the famous Stradivarius nicknamed “The Red Mendelssohn”. The concert’s soloist E. Pitcairn is now the owner of this historic instrument. The historical violin was made in 1720 by Antonio Stradivari, who remains the most famous violin maker of all time to this day. Not long after its creation, the instrument disappeared for over 200 years. Speculations about the mysterious violins became the narrative for the film “Red Violin”. In the twentieth century, the violin was purchased by the heirs of the composer Felix Mendelssohn, later it went to an industrialist from New York, to finally find its way into the hands of Elizabeth Pitcairn. She is the first famous artist who set the goal of showing the beauty of the violin sound with people.
George Gershwin /J. Heifetz / M. Smolij – Three Preludes for violin and chamber orchestra.
Gershwin composed Three Preludes for solo piano in 1927, Heifetz arranged them for violin and piano in 1942. Mariusz Smolij arranged it for solo violin with a string orchestra in 2000, copying the formula for solo violin and chamber orchestra initiated in the Baroque period and used by W.A. Mozart.
Violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn is one of America’s most famous and beloved soloists. Born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to a family with a musical tradition, she began playing the violin at the age of three. At the beginning of her artistic career, she gave concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and in 2000 she made her debut in New York with the New York String Orchestra. She has performed, i.a., at Carnegie Hall, Fisher Center, and Kimmel Center.
She is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she later lectured with prof. Robert Lipsett, who was previously her academic teacher. She also graduated from Colburn School in Los Angeles. She also studied under such professors as Julian Meyer, Sylvia Ahramjian, Jascha Brodsky and Shmuel Ashkenasi.
She’s passionate about youth and education. The artist pursues this interest as the President and Artistic Director of the Luzerne Music Centre, which provides training for gifted young musicians (aged 9-18) from the northern part of New York State. The artist is a great philanthropist and is often involved in charity events, performing for the American Cancer Society, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Helpful Hands and Heart Foundation and the Nakashima Foundation for Peace.
The artist plays one of the world’s most legendary instruments – the “Red Mendelssohn”, the famous Stradivarius violin from 1721. Previously, they were in the possession of another prominent violinist – Joseph Joachim. The Stradivarius “Red Mendelssohn” played by Elizabeth is fitted with Wittner Finetune-Pegs and travels in a titanium case by GEWA.
Silesian Chamber Orchestra
It is the youngest of the three artistic ensembles of the Silesian Philharmonic. It was established in 1981 by prof. Jan Wincenty Hawel, composer and conductor, who was its artistic manager for 2 decades. From 2006 to 2010, its artistic manager was an Italian conductor, Massimiliano Caldi, the winner of the First Prize at the G. Fitelberg International Competition for Conductors (1999). Nowadays, the Silesian Chamber Orchestra works with two conductors, who are appointed ensemble’s artistic managers – Maciej Tomasiewicz and Piotr Pławner, one of the most outstanding and most creative violinist in its generation who performs also as a soloist.
The ensemble’s repertoire covers wide range of compositions. It includes apart from the great classics of chamber music, rarely played compositions of Holst, Piazzolla, Respighi, as well as string arrangements of virtuoso chamber music oeuvres by Schubert, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich.
The orchestra enjoys international recognition – it is invited to many international festivals, such as: Festival in Rialp, International Music Festival in Český Krumlov, Music Festival in Łańcut, Festival Murten Classics, Le Festival des Voutes – Sud-Vendée, Schubertiade – Schloss Eyb, Swiss Crans-Montana Classics, the Silesian Quartet Chamber Music Festival and its Guests, and Music in Old Cracow. It has also appeared in such prestigious concert halls in Europe as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Verdi Hall at the Conservatory in Milan, or the Berlin Konzerthaus.
The ensemble has worked with numerous A-list soloists, including: Shlomo Mintz, Ivan Monighetti, Kevin Kenner, Garrick Ohlsson, Eugen Indjić, Bruno Canino, Marianna Vasilieva, Wolfgang Güttler and Konstanty Andrzej Kulka, Krzysztof Jakowicz, Kaja Danczowska, Agata Szymczewska, Leszek Możdżer and Andrzej Jagodziński. It has also performed under the batons of outstanding conductors: Paul Esswood, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Mirosław J. Błaszczyk, Tadeusz Wojciechowski and Marek Moś. The albums of the Silesian Chamber Orchestra have gained the recognition of music lovers and critics, repeatedly appearing on the list of nominees for the Fryderyk Award. These were, among others, recordings of cello concerto by Stanisław Moryta with the participation of Tomasz Strahl (2006), or with works by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki and Mikołaj Górecki with the participation of Kaja Danczowska (2013), both conducted by prof. Mirosław J. Błaszczyk. The album with Paweł Łukaszewski’s Missa de Maria a Magdala (2014) was recognized abroad and won the Choc de Classica awards of the French monthly Classica and the Parisian Orphée d’Or – Grand Prix International du Disque Lyrique.
The orchestra’s versatility is emphasized by the fact that its albums were nominated for the Fryderyk Awards not only in the categories of chamber music, but also of popular music. This was the case with the recording of 7 views on the way to Cracow with Grzegorz Turnau in 2015.
The albums released in recent years include: I am not Amadeus Mozart or the jubilee of Leszek Długosz under the baton of Robert Kabara with Leszek Długosz, Elżbieta Towarnicka and other artists (2016), Listening to the Universe comprising i.a., premiere recording of Radiating Brightness – A Little Mystery for soprano and string orchestra by Mikołaj Górecki conducted by Robert Kabara with the participation of Agata Zubel (2017), or an album with works by Mieczysław Wajnberg, released on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birthday (2019) with Łukasz Długosz (flute) and Aleksandra Gajecka-Antosiewicz (harpsichord), conducted by Robert Kabara.