2021/2022 Jubilee Concert Season Opening Concert Filharmonia Narodowa

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2021/2022 Jubilee Concert Season Opening Concert
Krzysztof Jabłoński, fot. artist's archive

It is hard to believe, but Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, one of the most famous and popular works ever written for this instrument and whose opening chords have become emblematic of the composer’s music, enjoyed only a lukewarm reception during its premiere performance at the Moscow Conservatoire, and one of the harshest critics of the piece was the great pianist Nikolai Rubinstein. His adverse opinion hurt Tchaikovsky to the quick – he erased the dedication to Rubinstein, bestowing this honour instead on the first ever performer of the work, Hans von Bülow. Despite an enthusiastic reception in the United States, in Europe the Concerto continued to divide opinion. It was a work to which no-one could remain indifferent, and eventually even Rubinstein took to Concerto in B-flat Minor and became an excellent interpreter of the piece, which became a permanent fixture in the concerto repertoire.

The early 19th-century collection of German folk songs and poems compiled by Joachim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano – Des Knaben Wunderhorn – had an enormous impact on Gustav Mahler, which is very much reflected in his work. He arranged selected pieces as songs and each of his first four symphonies (even the instrumental First) includes allusions and quotes from The Boy’s Magic Horn. The Fourth, completed in 1900, closes this chapter – a peculiar symphonic “tetralogy”, full of intertextuality and hidden agendas – by recalling in its finale the song Das himmlische Leben (The Heavenly Life), so delightful in its simplicity. This Symphony stands in stark contrast to the later Fifth (we highly recommend hearing this work for yourself on 29 and 30 April), the musical architecture of which is more traditional, the mood joyful and exuberant, and reliant on a smaller, chamber-like orchestral line-up.

Krzysztof Penderecki worked on his monumental Polish Requiem for over a quarter of a century, and each of its movements (starting from the evocative Lacrimosa, commissioned by Lech Wałęsa to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of December 1970) has become a musical epitaph for different figures and events, and at the same time a powerful synthesis of the author’s creative exploration of oratorio music, which was always very important to him.

 

The Warsaw Philharmonic Strategic Patron of the Year – PKO Bank Polski – warmly welcomes you to join us in this concert
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Bartosz Michałowski

Bartosz Michałowski graduated with distinction in choral conducting from the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań. In the years 1998-2005, he was assistant to Professor Stefan Stuligrosz and conductor of the Poznań Philharmonic Choir. Together with this Choir, otherwise known as the Poznań Nightingales, he has performed extensively in Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Russia, and Japan.

Bartosz Michałowski won the L’Orphée d‘Or 2015 of the Académie du Disque Lyrique in Paris, was nominated for a Fryderyk 2015 award for his 2CD album featuring works by Pasquale Anfossi, is the recipient of one Gold Disc, and also won the 9th Polish National Choral Conductors Competition, where additionally he received a special prize for his diligent work on voice production with choirs.

Bartosz Michałowski is the founder, conductor and Artistic Director of the Poznań Chamber Choir, one of the best ensembles of its kind in Poland. He is likewise the founder and Director of the Opus 966 Polish Composer Competition, and the author of Pisz muzykę – to proste! (Write Music – It’s Easy) composing workshops for children and young people. He is also a co-author of the Obrazogranie project organised as part of the Art for Children Biennale in Poznań.

Together with the Poznań Chamber Choir his talents have been recognised in prestigious competitions in Germany and France, and he has also received First Prize and the Audience Prize at the International Choir Festival in Neuchâtel (Switzerland).

The Poznań Chamber Choir is the only choir in Poland to collaborate with the legendary Concerto Köln Orchestra; in addition, it has appeared with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and performed many times with the Poznań Philharmonic Opera, the Polish Radio Orchestra, the Lower Silesia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gorzów Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Czech Virtuosi.

As a conductor, Michałowski has garnered major prizes in reputable choral competitions as well as numerous special awards for, inter alia, best vocal technique of an ensemble, best performance of contemporary music, and best conductor.

During his 18-month stint with the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, he conducted – both in the Warsaw Philharmonic concert hall and outside of it – Szymanowski’s Kurpie Songs, Kodály’s and Gretchaninov’s Masses, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle and Mozart’s Coronation Mass. In October 2017, as the Choir’s director he prepared the ensemble for a performance of the world premiere of Anton Rubinstein’s sacred opera Moses (cond. Michail Jurowski) and in February 2018, he recorded Roman Padlewski’s Stabat Mater as part of the “100 na 100 – Muzyczne dekady wolności” (100 by 100 – Musical decades of freedom) project launched by the Polish Music Publishing House. He also helped prepare a dozen vocal-instrumental concerts of the Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, during which he collaborated with such eminent conductors as Ton Koopman, Christoph König, Matthew Halls, and Jacek Kaspszyk, as well as with Krzysztof Penderecki on his Polish Requiem.  

He has been invited to participate in prestigious festivals, such as the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, the Gaude Mater International Festival of Sacred Music, the International Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki Festival, the Transatlantyk Festival, the Nostalgia Festival, the Wojciech Kilar Contemporay Music Festival, the Poznań Spring Contemporary Music Festival, the Musica Sacromontana Oratorio Music Festival, the Lower Silesia Music Festival, and the Mikołów Music Days.

To date, Michałowski has rehearsed and staged several hundred a capella pieces from all musical periods, and he has also collaborated regularly with renowned institutions and orchestras on performances of vocal-instrumental works. His output includes numerous first performances.

In addition to gaining a wealth of experience as a conductor, Bartosz Michałowski has spent many years working on enhancing his skills and knowledge in the field of voice production – he has completed master classes with Poppy Holden (Great Britain), Christian Elsner (Germany) and Józef Frakstein (Poland). As a conductor, chorus master and soloist, he has featured on 20 albums.