Soyeon Kate Lee                       Mark Gibson                        Daniel Weeks

The College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati (CCM for short) is widely recognized as one of America’s top music schools. But what is not known is that CCM is the largest presenter of arts events in the State of Ohio.

I asked Maestro Mark Gibson, Director of Orchestral Studies at the School and conductor of the CCM Philharmonia, how the idea of a festival of Polish music came about. With typical humor he answered that all of the compositions featured in the four-part project are worthy of attention but what keeps them below the radar of many orchestras is that the names of the composers are so hard to pronounce.

But hard as the pronunciation of the names of the composers might be, the discovery of the music of Lutoslawski, Szymanowski, Moniuszko and Penderecki should prove to be interesting and rewarding for many listeners unfamiliar with most of it.

Witold Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra, a mid-century, resolutely tonal and intensely Polish composition opens the Festival on Friday September 9 in CM’s Corbett Auditorium. It will keep company to Fredric Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. in F Minor. The concerto will feature as soloist, faculty artist Soyeon Kate Lee. The program will also include a world premiere work by CCM alumnus Piotr Szeweczyk.

Also on tap at the four-concert festival are evenings with CCM’s Concert Orchestra, led by its music director Aik Khai Pung and the CCM Jazz Orchestra and Faculty Jazztet led by Scott Belck, with jazz pianist Włodzimierz “Wlodek” Pawlik as the featured soloist.

The month-long festival wraps up on October 2 with an afternoon concert featuring faculty artist Daniel Weeks as tenor soloist in Karol Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 3 in Bb Major, Op.27 “Pieśń o nocy” (Song of Night), a setting of a 13TH century text by the Persian poet Rumi.

Also in the program will be the Overture to the opera, Halka by Stanislaw Moniuszko. Krzysztof Penderecki’s harrowing Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima and Stanisław Skrowaczewski’s rarely heard Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra. The instrumental forces of the orchestra will be augmented by the combined CCM Chamber Choir and Xavier University Concert Choir.

Links to some of the pieces in the Polish Music Festival

Lutoslawski’s – Concerto for Orchestrahttps://youtu.be/-IYw_8xzkWE

Szymanowski’s – Symphony No. 3 in Bb Major, Song of Nighthttps://youtu.be/7rclyUJ5LC8

Moniuszko – Overture to Halkahttps://youtu.be/kIjiT0IS_PI

PendereckiThrenody to the Victims of Hiroshimahttps://youtu.be/Pu371CDZ0ws


In future posts I look forward to sharing with our readers some details about CCM’s many other concerts and its Mainstage Series of Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre and Opera, to prove that CCM is indeed where much of the musical action is in the Queen City.

Rafael de Acha

CCM’s season brochure, with its detailed schedule of events, may be obtained in person at the CCM box office during the school’s business hours and also on line at WWW.CCM.UC.EDU



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