Summary of the 2016/2017 season
Twenty-eight wonderful concerts presenting the symphonic well-known „classics”, as well as a large number of attractive compositions that were brought back to life.
„I left the concert hall thinking: the young play better. They believe that they can do everything, that they can change the world. They are able to completely lose themselves in music, pass on their passion, entrance and convince even the most unconvinced”, these words from a review by Agnieszka Malatyńska-Stankiewicz of Sinfonia Iuventus’s concert in Krakow may be a motto of the last very impressive, and successful season. It would be impossible to mention all the twenty-eight concerts in a brief summary, but each of them was an artistic success which would not be possible without the hard work of young musicians, as well as the work of the management and the back office, which usually escapes the notice of the public. Although they never bow after concerts, let’s applaud them as well!
Most of the symphonic and chamber performances of the ensemble (which does not have its own concert hall) took place in the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio in Warsaw, famous for perfect acoustics. Other prestigious venues of the Polish capital which played host to the concerts were the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle with the impressive Baroque and Rococo interior design, the hall of the Warsaw University of Technology, and the Reading Room of the Central Agricultural Library (the historic, former St. Bernard venue at Krakowskie Przedmieście), which remains relatively unknown to music aficionados. Outside the capital, the ensemble played in Radomsko (where the Orchestra played to commemorate its „founding father” Jerzy Semkow, who was born in that town), in Krakow, including as part of the 13th Polish Music Festival, and during the Jan Kiepura Festival in Krynica Zdrój.
The carefully prepared concert programmes presented both the well-known and well-received symphonic „classics”, as well as a large number of attractive compositions that were brought back to life after a period of oblivion. Of particular interest were the Symphonic Rhapsody for piano and orchestra by Zygmunt Stojowski (performed with bravado by Jonathan Plowright under the baton of Łukasz Borowicz – both of them are great musicians, famous for their passion for exploring unknown repertoires), and Mieczysław Wajnberg’s Symphony No. 5 conducted by Gabriel Chmura. Music aficionados will be delighted to hear that both works (along with other important pieces) will appear on the albums that Sinfonia Iuventus recorded during this season, and which will open the new phonographic cycle that Sinfonia Iuventus is preparing for the global brand Warner Classics. There was no shortage of new compositions – an important achievement was the world premiere of Brass Symphony by Piotr Wróbel (as part of the 2016 Collections programme of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage „Composition Commissions”; conductor Andrzej Borzym), as well as the Polish premiere of Dialog mit Mozart by Peter Eötvös (conductor Bassem Samir Akiki). Polish music is always at the centre of Sinfonia Iuventus’s interest. It was, apart from the works mentioned above, represented by the compositions of F. Chopin, H. Wieniawski, Z. Noskowski, I. J. Paderewski, M. Karłowicz, K. Szymanowski, G. Bacewicz, A. Panufnik, J. Maksymiuk, and K. Penderecki (Maestro, the Honorary Patron of the orchestra, conducted three concerts).
We could also admire some wonderful maestros, including the pianists Paweł Wakarecy, Janina Fialkowska, Szymon Nehring, Jonathan Plowright, Julia Zilberquit, Florian Uhlig, and Piotr Nowak; the violinists Celina Kotz, Sergei Krylov, Patrycja Piekutowska, Jakub Haufa, Shunske Sato, and Maria Włoszczowska; the cellists Marcel Markowski and Bartosz Koziak, as well as the maestro of the trumpet Aleksander Kobus, and Paweł Gusnar who is one of the most renowned Polish saxophonists, Krzysztof Grzybowski (who gave an unforgettable performance during Mozart’s Concerto in A major with the unusual basset horn), and the flautist Marianna Żołnacz (who reminded us of the little-known, but charming Flute concerto by C. Reinecke). A splendid ensemble of great singers performed during vocal and instrumental concerts such as the impressive, half-staged performance of Puccini’s Tosca (Tadeusz Kozłowski), or the somewhat forgotten, but impressive cantata Widma by Moniuszko (an adaptation of Mickiewicz’s drama Dziady). Singers also accompanied the ensemble during a concert conducted by our Principal Guest Conductor Michail Jurowski, which featured Irina Papenbrock’s performance of Wagner’s Isoldes Libestod. Another example was an impressive performance by Katarzyna Oleś-Blacha, who presented a very interesting programme of songs by R. Strauss and K. Szymanowski.
We could also see numerous eminent bandmasters behind the conductor’s stand, both from Poland and abroad, representing different generations, always on good terms with young musicians, who inspire the musicians with their knowledge and experience, but also get inspired with the youthful energy and sincere expression of the orchestra. These were the following artists: Marek Pijarowski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Tadeusz Kozłowski, Tomasz Tokarczyk, Andrzej Borzym, Jean-Marc Grob, Michail Jurowski, Jan Jakub Bokun, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Łukasz Borowicz, Gabriel Chmura, Hidemi Suzuki, Alexis Kossenko, Andrzej Jurkiewicz, Piotr Wajrak, Bassem Samir Akiki, Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk, Maciej Tworek, Jakub Klecker, and Andiry Yurkevych.
Excerpts of reviews:
The orchestra, conducted perfectly by Tadeusz Kozłowski, played with bravado and great technical skills. (Ewelina Grygier about the concert performance of Tosca, 15 October 2016, „Twoja Muza”).
I very much enjoy playing with them, because there is youthful passion in them. They are not spoilt with many-year’s work in an orchestra where a repertoire is often repetitive and musicians get into a routine. They are full of energy and ideas already at the stage of reading through the work (harpist Elżbieta Baklarz, who plays as a guest with Sinfonia Iuventus, in an interview with Alina Ert-Ebert, „Twoja Muza”).
The whole performance of Katarzyna Oleś-Blacha can be regarded as a top-class event owing to her technical skills, as well as ease with which she treated the vocal parts, great musicality, and an almost theatrical performance. […] Of course part of credit for the success of that performance goes to the conductor Tomasz Tokarczyk, whom the youthful orchestra obeyed with excellence (Joanna Tumiłowicz about the concert, 20 May 2017, maestro.net.pl).
…it was one of the most beautiful concerts of the last months […] because of the way they played! Enough to make the air vibrate in the hall of the Krakow Philharmonic. […] The young play better – this was the thought I had when leaving the concert. They believe that they can do everything, that they can change the world. They are able to completely lose themselves in music, pass on their passion, carry away and convince even the most unconvinced (Agnieszka Malatyńska-Stankiewicz about the concert, 29 April 2017, www.radiokrakow.pl).