Krzysztof Herdzin | One Man – Orchestra

7 December 2019, 19:00
Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio, Warsaw

Katarzyna Budnik – viola
Paweł Gusnar – saxophone
Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Krzysztof Herdzin – conductor

Assertive Prelude (Preludium asertywne)
Nonassertive Toccata (Nieasertywna toccata)
Suite on Polish Themes (Suita na tematy polskie) (Polka / Olender / Mazurek / Krakowiak / Polonez / Zbójnicki)
Symfonic poem Winter Sketches (Szkice zimowe)
Double Concerto for viola and alto saxophone (Koncert podwójny na altówkę i saksofon altowy) (Allegro / Adagio con pieta / Vivace burlesco)

fot. Kuba Majerczyk

Although terms such as “an icon of Polish jazz” are sometimes overused, in the case of Krzysztof Herdzin, they are absolutely justified and well deserved. This outstanding artist – a pianist, chamber musician, conductor, composer, arranger, band leader, producer and academic lecturer – is one of the greatest musicians of his generation and, although generally associated with the jazz scene, he is also active in the sphere of classical music (as a well-educated graduate of the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz, including a class taught by the incredible K. Popowej-Zydroń) and pop. As early as the 1990s, he was cooperating with giants on the Polish stage, saxophonists Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski and Janusz Muniak, and also played in the band of Zbigniew Namysłowski. Over a career spanning close to 30 years, his work as a pianist was associated, among others, with: Jacek Pelec’s City Jazz Trio, Mariusz Bogdanowicz’s Back To The Bass, Quintessence ’96 by Eric Kulm; the West, Ostatni Dzwonek (Last Bell) and KGB groups; the quartets of Zbigniew Namysłowski, Janusz Muniak, Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski, Kazimierz Jonkisz, Wojciech Staroniewicz, Michał Kulenty, Cezary Konrad, Dawid Lubowicz; the sextet of Marek Napiórkowski; and bands of Edyta Geppert, Anna Maria Jopek, Ewa Bem, Halina Frąckowiak, Danuta Błażejczyk, Anna Serafińska, Dorota Miśkiewicz and Mieczysław Szcześniak. He currently plays with his own trio, Big Band, and performs solo and tours with the band of Anna Maria Jopek.

Herdzin has published 20 of his own albums and, as a pianist, conductor, composer and arranger, has taken part in recording more than 200 CDs. To date, he has received 18 Gold and five Platinum Records for his arrangement work. He is the first Polish composer to record for DECCA Records in London, the monographic album Suite on Polish Themes, with one of the most famous orchestras worldwide – the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Selected compositions from this incredibly fascinating album will be included in the programme of the concert in December, conducted by the composer himself and featuring talented soloist performers Katarzyna Budnik (viola) and Paweł Gusnar (saxophone). The programme will highlight Herdzin’s activity as a composer, whose works, varied in form and genre (including those ordered by the Polish Composers’ Union and the Institute of Music and Dance), have resounded at prestigious festivals, as well as in the best Polish and foreign concert halls. “I would describe the compositions on the album Suite on Polish Themes as impressionist-neoclassical and strongly associated with Polish folklore,” said the artist of his London recording. “This is contemporary music with expanded tonality, inspired both by my Polish masters – Karol Szymanowski, Grażyna Bacewicz, Tadeusz Baird, Wojciech Kilar – as well as Shostakovich, Prokofiev and the French group Les Six.” [Piotr Maculewicz]