Cued Up on Q2: “Polish Music Since 1945”

Juilliard’s Focus! 2011presents Polish Modern: New Directions in Polish Music Since 1945


“Risen from the ashes of World War II, Poland birthed a rich community of forward-thinking composers, persevering in the face of the Nazis’ extermination of many of the country’s prominent music-makers. Fast forward to 2011, and listen to Joel Sachs host Juilliard’s Focus! Festival 2011, Polish Modern: New Directions in Polish Music Since 1945, here on Cued Up on Q2.

Since 1985, Juilliard has annually presented its Focus! Festival, an immersive series that spotlights 20th and 21st century music. Sachs, Focus! artistic director, conductor and Juilliard veteran, has worked with the Polish Cultural Institute in New York to produce six concerts whose programming thoroughly surveys an often overlooked wellspring of modern Polish concert music, as well as household names such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold Lutoslawski and Henryk Gorecki.

This episode of Cued Up features Lutoslawski’s Overture for Strings, performed by the Juilliard Orchestra, as well as the New Juilliard Ensemble performing three Western Hemisphere premieres by some Polish composers that many listeners would not be familiar with: Chorale Prelude (1988) by Wajiech Kilar (b.1932), an avant-garde-turned-minimalist composer who grew up right in the middle World War II-era Poland; a contemplative Sonata for Cello (2006), chuck full of microtonal harmonics, by Paweł Mykietyn (b.1971); and Canzona (1995) by the French-dwelling, Polish-born Elżbieta Sikora (b.1943).

Listen in on Sunday at 2 p.m. to hear Joel Sachs guide us through these works, all performed during this past festival of January 2011.”

Be there or be square.