POLIN Music Festival: Roots’n’Fruits

What is Jewish music? What form could it take? What does the Jewish identity mean for contemporary composers and performers? Are the roots of contemporary Israeli and Polish music intertwined? What could be the fruit of a meeting of the composers and performers from Israel, Poland and the Jewish diaspora? We would like to pose these questions and seek as many answers as we can get during the first edition of POLIN Music Festival: Roots’n’Fruits.

  • 16-18 February 2018

The festival will open with a concert performed by the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra.

The leading Polish symphony orchestra will be conducted by the young Israeli conductor Bar Avni and will be accompanied by soloists: Michael Guttman, Jing Zhao and David Krakauer. The evening will start with the overture of Carl Maria von Weber's “Oberon”. This work in 1936 ended the inaugural concert of the Palestine Symphony founded by a violinist of Jewish origin, Bronisław Huberman, who hailed from Częstochowa. By setting up the orchestra, Huberman not only laid the foundations for the national orchestra of Israel, known today as the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Above all, he provided shelter and work for dozens of musicians and members of their families who could not feel safe in Europe ruled by the Nazi ideology. Zygmunt Rolat has been the guardian of the memory of Bronisław Huberman for years, which is why this concert is dedicated to him - the great music lover and friend of POLIN Museum.

The second piece of the evening will be the violin concerto of Noam Sheriff - an outstanding Israeli composer, awarded with the Israeli Prize, the most prestigious honor presented to artists in Israel. Noam Sheriff also the author of the composition "Mechaye Hamethim" which was performed at Yad Vashem on the occasion of Israel's jubilee. will be An outstanding violinist, and also the curator of the POLIN Music Festival, Michael Guttman, will be the soloist in this concert. Sheriff wrote the Concerto specifically with him in mind.

The second part of the concert will be opened by Bedřich Smetana's “Má vlast”. There is a motif in this work, which is attributed to many fathers - from an Italian tenor of the Renaissance to Romanian shepherds. Today, it is best known as the theme of "Hatikvah" - Israel's national anthem. It will be a musical reference to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, which is celebrated this year.
Next, Jing Zhao will appear on the stage. This eminent cellist, collaborating with such great composers as Tan Dun, a student of Mstislav Rostropovich and Yo-Yo My, will perform the famous "Kol Nidrei" by Max Bruch.

The finale of the evening will be the performance of "Concert for klezmer clarinet" by Wlad Marhults – a composer born in Belarus, brought up in Poland and now living and working in the US. This work, awarded the main prize during the first edition of the Azreli Music Competition, was written especially for David Krakauer. The artist, who participated in the concert celebrating the grand opening of the POLIN Museum core exhibition, will appear at the Museum again after three and a half years to perform this piece.

16 lutego (piątek), godz. 19.00

The second day of the festival will include three chamber music concerts.

At 6PM, the Warsaw collective Hashtag Ensemble will perform a program specially curated for the POLIN Music Festival - composed of works by young Jewish composers: Aviya Kopelman, Yair Klartag and Judd Greenstein. For Judd’s piece Hashtag Ensemble will by joined by David Krakauer and Kathleen Tagg.

The POLIN Music Festival will also be the first opportunity for the Polish audiences to get acquainted with a new project of Krakauer-Tagg duo: Breath and Hammer. With accompanying effects of video recording, David and Kathleen will present a spectrum of acoustic possibilities of the clarinet and piano. The musicians will perform compositions written especially for them by John Zorn, Kinan Azmeh, Roberto Rodriguez and the performers themselves.

17 lutego (sobota), godz. 18.00

At 9PM, POLIN Museum will have the privilege to introduce Martha Argerich accompanied by Michael Guttman and Jing Zhao. The performance of this contemporary icon of classical music - the artist's first concert in Warsaw since the last edition of the Chopin Competition and one of her few performances in Europe - is not only a great honor for POLIN Museum, but also one of the most important musical events this year in Poland.

At the artist's special request, the musicians will be accompanied by a young Japanese pianist Akanae Sakai. Together they will perform the pieces by Szymon Laks, Karol Szymanowski, Witold Lutosławski, Ernest Bloch and Dimitri Shostakovich.

17 lutego (sobota), godz. 21.00

The last day of the POLIN Music Festival will be a night of the  Jewish tango in various, sometimes surprising, takes. Aside from classical music, tango is the passion of Michael Guttman, the prime mover behind the POLIN Music Festival. The violinist invited his friends from Brussels: the pianist Alexander Gurning, bandoneonist Lysandre Donoso  and double-bass player Ariel Eberstein.

18 lutego (niedziela), godz. 19.00

The prime mover behind POLIN Music Festival is Michael Guttman - an outstanding violinist and promoter of Israeli music in the world. Guttman was the youngest violinist in history accepted to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels. He also graduated from the Juilliard School of Music. As a soloist and conductor, he performs in the most prestigious halls of the world - at the Barbican Center in London, at New York's Avery Fisher Hall, at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam or at Tokko Bunko Kaikan. He works with many composers. At the invitation of Philip Glass, he took part in the premiere of his "Double Concerto for violin and cello" (Hong Kong, 2012, New York 2014). With the London Philharmonics under the baton David Shallon he recorded the music of Israeli composers - including Noam Sheriff's violin concerto, written especially for Guttman. Michael Guttman is also the donor of the Steinway piano, which you hear during concerts at our Museum.

POLIN Music Festival: Roots’n’Fruits PROGRAM

  • 16.02.2018, Friday
    • 19:00 Roots’n’fruits – koncert symfoniczny: Orkiestra Sinfonia Varsovia pod batutą Bar Avni oraz soliści: Michael Guttman (violin), Jing Zhao (wiolonczela) i David Krakauer (clarinet)
  • 17.02.2018, Saturday
    • 18:00 Hashtag Ensemble with Friends
                Krakauer-Tagg-Duo "Breath and Hammer"
    • 21:00 Martha Argerich / Michael Guttman / Akane Sakai / Jing Zhao
  • 18.02.2018, Sunday
    • 19:00 Żydowskie Tango: Michael Guttman (violin) / Alexander Gurning (piano) / Lysandre Donoso (bandoneon) / Ariel Eberstein (contrabass)





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