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Marta Ptaszyńska (1943-    )

Marta Ptaszynska, composerMarta Ptaszyńska, composer, percussionist, and professor of composition, was born in Warsaw, Poland, has been living in the United States since 1972. In her native Poland Ptaszynska studied composition at the Academies of Music, both, in Warsaw and in Poznan. Also, she worked privately with Witold Lutoslawski, who later became her mentor. As a French Government ‘s grant recipient, she studied in the early seventies with Nadia Boulanger and attended Olivier Messiaen’s analysis classes at the Paris Conservatory, and the Centre Bourdan  de L’ORTF. In 1974, she received an Artist Diploma Degree in Percussion Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, where she worked with Cloyd Duff, Richard Weiner, and Donald Erb. Widely acclaimed as a virtuoso percussionist, for several decades she has performed extensively as a soloist percussionist, and has participated in many European and American festivals. She is the author of such well-known works as the Concerto for Marimba, Winter’s Tale, Sonnets to Orpheus, and Moon Flowers, as well as numerous composition for percussion (Siderals, Graffito, Spider Walk, Space Model, Letter to the Sun) which have been performed often around the world. Ptaszynska has received commissions from orchestras including the  Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Polish Chamber Orchestra, W. Lutoslawski’s Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Varsovia, and from artists such as contralto Ewa Podles, marimba virtuoso Keiko Abe, and percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Her television opera Oscar of Alva, produced by the Cracow Television, received both audience and critical acclaim at the International Festival of Television Operas in Salzburg in 1989. Her opera for children, Mister Marimba, which was in the repertory of the National Opera in Warsaw from 1998 until 2006, has enjoyed phenomenal success and popularity for seven consecutive seasons with 114 performances. Her opera Magic Doremik was premiered at the National Opera in Warsaw in 2008 and performed during the seasons 2007-08 and 2008-09.  Her Holocaust Memorial Cantata gained international recognition when performed several times in 1993 under the baton of Lord Yehudi Menuhin. Marta Ptaszynska has been honored with many prizes and awards, including the 2006 Benjamin H.Danks Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Fromm Music Foundation, Alfred Jurzykowski Award in New York, multiple ASCAP Awards, the Award at the International Rostrum of Composers at the UNESCO in Paris, awards from the Percussive Arts Society, and from the Union of Polish Composer. In 1995, she received the “Officer Cross of Merit” of the Republic of Poland. Her distinguished career as a composition teacher includes professorships at Bennington College in Vermont, the University of California in Berkeley and in Santa Barbara, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Indiana University in Bloomington, and Northwestern University in Evanston. In 1998 Ptaszynska was appointed a Professor of Music and in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. Since 2005 she holds an endowed chair and is Helen & Frank Sulzberger Professor of Composition.

COMPOSITIONS         Ptaszyńska Links   ~ ~ ~   Works by Genre  ~ ~ ~  More on Ptaszyńska   ~ ~ ~   Ptaszyńska on Ptaszyńska
Preludes (4), vibraphone and piano (1965)
Scherzo, xylophone and piano (1967)
Ostinato, piano (1967)
Variations, flute (1967)
Improvisations, orchestra (1968)
Passacaglia and Fugue, organ and 2 percussion groups (1968)
Suite Variee, childrens' percussion quartet and piano (1968) [for young players]
Little Mosaic, percussion ensemble (1968) [for young players]
A Tale of Nightingales, baritone, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, harp, vibraphone and marimba (1968)
Three Interludes, 2 pianos (1969)
Jeu-Parti, harp and vibraphone (1970)
Vocalise for soprano and vibraphone (1971)
Madrigals "Canticum Sonarum," Igor Stravinsky in Memoriam, woodwind qt, string qt, trpt, trom and gong (1971)
Little Mexican Fantasia, 7 percussionists and piano (1971) [for young players]
Oscar Of Alva, TV opera in 6 scenes (1971-72; rev. 1986)
Cadenza, flute and percussion (11 players) (1971-72)
Stress, percussion and tape (1972) [tape by Elzbieta Sikora]
Arabesque, harp (1972)
Spectri sonori, orchestra (1973)
Crystallites, orchestra (1973-74)
Siderals, 2 percussion quintets and optional light projection (1974)
Concerto for Percussion Quartet and Orchestra (1974)
Recitativo, Arioso and Toccata, violin (1969-75)
Two Poems, tuba (1973-75)
Touracou, harpsichord (1973-75)
Space Model, solo percussion and pre-recorded performer's tape (1971-75)
Farewell Souvenir, piano (1975)
Mobile, 2 percussionists (1976)
Classical Variations, timpani and string quartet (1976)
Quodlibet, doublebass and pre-recorded performer's tape (1976)
Epigrams, female chorus, flute, harp, piano and percussion (1976-77)
Un Grand Sommeil Noir (A Great Dark Sleep), soprano, flute and harp (1977)
Tunes from Many Countries of the World, children’s songs, arr. for percussion and instruments (1977) [for young players]
Colourful World of Percussion, flutes, voices and percussion (1978) [for young players]
ABC of the Percussionist (1978; pub. 1993) [co-author  Barbara Niewiadomska]
Journeys Into Space, 19 miniatures, 2 vols., piano (1978) [for young players]
Synchromy, percussion trio (1978)
Dream Lands, Magic Spaces, violin, piano and 6 percussionists (1979)
Music of Five Steps, 7 miniatures, 2 flutes and percussion ensemble (1979) [for young players]
Bagatelles (6), harp (1979)
Soiree Snobe Chez la Princesse, instrumental theatre, 2 keyboards, pre-recorded performer's tape, mimes and lighting (1979)
Die Sonnette An Orpheus (Sonnets to Orpheus), medium voice and chamber orchestra (1980-81)
Conductus - A Ceremonial for Winds, band (1982)
Ave Maria, 4 men's voices, brass, percussion and organ (1982; rev. for .male chorus and orchestra, 1987)
Miniatures (14 pieces), piano (1982) [for young players]
Scintilla, 2 marimbas (1984)
La Novella D’inverno (Winter’s Tale), string orchestra (1984)
Four Seasons for Four Hands (12 pieces), piano 4-hands (1984) [for young players]
Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra (1985)
Silver Threads and Other Songs for Children, voice, chorus, pf and children's perc. instruments (1985-86) [for young players]
Musical Alphabet, 22 pieces, mainly dances from A to Z, 2 pianos (1985-86) [for young players]
Moon Flowers, cello and piano (1986)
Charlie's Dream - Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (1988)
Polish Letters (Listy polskie), cantata, soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus and chamber ensemble (1988)
Graffito, marimba (1988)
Songs of Despair and Loneliness, mezzo-soprano and piano (1988-89)
Ajikan: Unfolding Light, flute and percussion (1989)
Poetic Impressions, wind quintet and piano (1991)
Ode to Praise All Famous Women, orchestra (1992)
Hommage I.J. Paderewski, piano (1992)
Holocaust Memorial Cantata, "Chant for All the People on Earth, soli, chorus and orchestra/ or perc and piano (1992)
Spider Walk, solo percussion (1993)
Fanfare for Peace, orchestra (1993)
Pan Marimba (Mister Marimba), children's opera in 3 acts (1992-95) [chamber version in 2 acts, 1993-95]
Four Portraits, string quartet (1994)
Liquid Light, mezzo-soprano, piano and percussion (1995)
Distant Voices, mezzo-soprano and string quartet (1995) [originally titled "Silver Echoes of Distant Bells"]
Cantiones Jubliationis, female chorus and percussion (1995)
Concerto Grosso, 2 violins and chamber orchestra (1996)
Mancala, 2 violins (1996)
Scherzo di Fantasia, euphonium and piano (1997)
Linear Constructions in Space, percussion sextet (1997-98)
Olympian Rings, soprano steel drum (1997-98)
Letter to the Sun, frame drum, percussion quartet and narrator (1998-2000)
Luna Stelle, 2 pianos and 2 percussionists (1998-99)
Primary Colors, percussion quartet (1999, unpublished)
Fanfare in Memoriam Frederic Chopin, orchestra (1999)
Letter to the Sun, narrator and percussion (1998-2000)
Inverted Mountain, orchestra (2000)
The Last Waltz in Vienna, accordion trio (2001)
Sogno D'euridice, 2 harps (2001)
Drum of Orfeo, concerto for percussion and orchestra (1999-2002)
Mosaics, string quartet (2002)
Awakening Birds, concerto for percussion and wind orchestra (2003)
Sinfonia Wratislavia, orchestra (2003-04)
Pianophonia, piano (2004)
Elegy in memoriam John Paul II, viola (2005)
Magiczny Doremik (Magic Doremik), opera for young audiences (2006-07)
Lumen, chamber orchestra (2007)
Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra (2007-08)
Street Music, large percussion orchestra of 70 players (2008)
Hymn of the Universe, chorus and organ (2008)
Trois Visions De L'Arc-En-Ciel (Three Visions on a Rainbow), cl, vln, va, vc, pf and perc (2008)
Winter in Majorca (L’hiver a Majorque), opera on Chopin in Majorca, in two acts (2008-09)
Of Time & Space, a concerto for percussion solo, electronic tape and orchestra (2010)
The Lovers from the Cloister of Valldemosa, opera (2008-10)


WORKS BY GENRE            Ptaszyńska Links  ~ ~ ~  More on Ptaszyńska   ~ ~ ~   Ptaszyńska on Ptaszyńska      ~ top of page ~
Dramatic/Theater
Oscar Of Alva, TV opera in 6 scenes (1971-72; rev. 1986)
Soiree Snobe Chez la Princesse, instrumental theatre, 2 keyboards, pre-recorded performer's tape, mimes and lighting (1979)
Pan Marimba (Mister Marimba), children's opera in 3 acts (1992-95) [chamber version in 2 acts, 1993-95]
Magiczny Doremik (Magic Doremik), opera for young audiences (2006-07)
Winter in Majorca (L’hiver a Majorque), opera on Chopin in Majorca, in two acts (2008-09)
The Lovers from the Cloister of Valldemosa, opera (2008-10)

Orchestra
Improvisations, orchestra (1968)
Spectri sonori, orchestra (1973)
Crystallites, orchestra (1973-74)
La Novella D’inverno (Winter’s Tale), string orchestra (1984)
Ode to Praise All Famous Women, orchestra (1992)
Fanfare for Peace, orchestra (1993)
Fanfare in Memoriam Frederic Chopin, orchestra (1999)
Inverted Mountain, orchestra (2000)
Sinfonia Wratislavia, orchestra (2003-04)
Lumen, chamber orchestra (2007)
Street Music, large percussion orchestra of 70 players (2008)

Band
Conductus - A Ceremonial for Winds, band (1982)
Awakening Birds, concerto for percussion and wind orchestra (2003)

Soloist(s) w/Orchestra
Concerto for Percussion Quartet and Orchestra (1974)
Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra (1985)
Charlie's Dream - Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (1988)
Concerto Grosso, 2 violins and chamber orchestra (1996)
Drum of Orfeo, concerto for percussion and orchestra (1999-2002)
Awakening Birds, concerto for percussion and wind orchestra (2003)
Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra (2007-08)
Of Time & Space, a concerto for percussion solo, electronic tape and orchestra (2010)

Chorus w/Orchestra
Ave Maria, 4 men's voices, brass, percussion and organ (1982; rev. for .male chorus and orchestra, 1987)
Polish Letters (Listy polskie), cantata, soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus and chamber ensemble (1988)
Holocaust Memorial Cantata, "Chant for All the People on Earth, soli, chorus and orchestra; or perc and piano (1992)

Choral
Epigrams, female chorus, flute, harp, piano and percussion (1976-77)
Ave Maria, male chorus, brass, percussion and organ (1982)
Silver Threads and Other Songs for Children, voice, chorus, piano and children's perc. instruments (1985-86) [for children]
Holocaust Memorial Cantata, "Chant for All the People on Earth, perc and piano; or soli, chorus and orchestra (1992)
Cantiones Jubliationis, female chorus and percussion (1995)
Hymn of the Universe, chorus and organ (2008)

Chamber
Preludes (4), vibraphone and piano (1965)
Suite Variee, 4 percussionists and piano (1965) [for children]
Scherzo, xylophone and piano (1967)
Passacaglia and Fugue, organ and 2 percussion groups (1968)
Little Mosaic, percussion ensemble (1968) [for children]
Jeu-Parti, harp and vibraphone (1970)
Madrigals "Canticum Sonarum," Igor Stravinsky in Memoriam, woodwind qt, string qt, trpt, trom and gong (1971)
Little Mexican Fantasia, 7 percussionists and piano (1971) [for children]
Cadenza, flute and percussion (11 players) (1971-72)
Siderals, 2 percussion quintets and optional light projection (1974)
Space Model, percussion and tape (1971-75)
Mobile, 2 percussionists (1976)
Classical Variations, timpani and string quartet (1976)
Tunes from Many Countries of the World, children’s songs, arr. for percussion and instruments (1977) [for children]
Synchromy, percussion trio (1978)
Dream Lands, Magic Spaces, violin, piano and 6 percussionists (1978)
Music of Five Steps, 7 miniatures, 2 flutes and percussion ensemble (1979) [for children]
Scintilla, 2 marimbas (1984)
Moon Flowers, cello and piano (1986)
Ajikan: Unfolding Light, flute and percussion (1989)
Poetic Impressions, wind quintet and piano (1991)
Four Portraits, string quartet (1994)
Mancala, 2 violins (1996)
Scherzo di Fantasia, euphonium and piano (1997)
Linear Constructions in Space, percussion sextet (1997-98)
Luna Stelle, 2 pianos and 2 percussionists (1998-99)
Primary Colors, percussion quartet (1999, unpublished)
Letter to the Sun, frame drum, percussion quartet and narrator (1998-2000)
The Last Waltz in Vienna, accordion trio (2001)
Sogno D'euridice, 2 harps (2001)
Mosaics, string quartet (2002)
Trois Visions De L'Arc-En-Ciel (Three Visions on a Rainbow), cl, vln, va, vc, pf and perc (2008)

Solo Instrument
Variations, flute (1967)
Stress, percussion and tape (1972) [tape by Elzbieta Sikora]
Arabesque, harp (1972)
Recitativo, Arioso and Toccata, violin (1969-75)
Space Model, solo percussion and pre-recorded performer's tape (1971-75)
Two Poems, tuba (1973-75)
Quodlibet, doublebass and pre-recorded performer's tape (1976)
Bagatelles (6), harp (1979)
Graffito, marimba (1988)
Spider Walk, solo percussion (1993)
Scherzo di Fantasia, euphonium and piano (1997)
Olympian Rings, soprano steel drum (1997-98)
Elegy in memoriam John Paul II, viola (2005)

Percussion
Preludes (4), vibraphone and piano (1965)
Suite Variee, 4 percussionists and piano (1965) [for children]
Scherzo, xylophone and piano (1967)
Passacaglia and Fugue, organ and 2 percussion groups (1968)
Little Mosaic, percussion ensemble (1968) [for children]
Jeu-Parti, harp and vibraphone (1970)
Little Mexican Fantasia, 7 percussionists and piano (1971) [for children]
Cadenza, flute and percussion (11 players) (1971-72)
Stress, percussion and tape (1972) [tape by Elzbieta Sikora]
Siderals, 2 percussion quintets and optional light projection (1974)
Space Model, solo percussion and pre-recorded performer's tape (1971-75)
Mobile, 2 percussionists (1976)
Classical Variations, timpani and string quartet (1976)
Tunes from Many Countries of the World, children’s songs, arr. for percussion and instruments (1977) [for children]
Synchromy, percussion trio (1978)
Colourful World of Percussion, flutes, voices and percussion (1978)
Dream Lands, Magic Spaces, violin, piano and 6 percussionists (1978)
Music of Five Steps, 7 miniatures, 2 flutes and percussion ensemble (1979) [for children]
Scintilla, 2 marimbas (1984)
Graffito, marimba (1988)
Ajikan: Unfolding Light, flute and percussion (1989)
Spider Walk, solo percussion (1993)
Olympian Rings, soprano steel drum (1997-98)
Linear Constructions in Space, percussion sextet (1997-98)
Luna Stelle, 2 pianos and 2 percussionists (1998-99)
Primary Colors, percussion quartet (1999, unpublished)
Letter to the Sun, frame drum, percussion quartet and narrator (1998-2000)
Of Time & Space, a concerto for percussion solo, electronic tape and orchestra (2010)

Piano
Ostinato, piano (1967)
Three Interludes, 2 pianos (1969)
Touracou, harpsichord (1973-75)
Farewell Souvenir, piano (1975)
Journeys Into Space, 19 miniatures, 2 vols., piano (1978) [for children]
Miniatures (14 pieces), piano (1982) [for children]
Four Seasons for Four Hands (12 pieces), piano 4-hands (1984) [for children]
Musical Alphabet, 22 pieces, mainly dances from A to Z, 2 pianos (1985-86) [for children]
Hommage I.J. Paderewski, piano (1992)
Pianophonia, piano (2004)

Vocal
A Tale of Nightingales, baritone, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, harp, vibraphone and marimba (1968)
Vocalise, female voice and vibraphone (1971)
Un Grand Sommeil Noir (A Great Dark Sleep), soprano, flute and harp (1977)
Colourful World of Percussion, flutes, voices and percussion (1978) [for children]
Die Sonnette An Orpheus (Sonnets to Orpheus), medium voice and chamber orchestra (1980-81)
Silver Threads and Other Songs for Children, voice, chorus, piano and children's perc. instruments (1985-86) [for children]
Songs of Despair and Loneliness, mezzo-soprano and piano (1988-89)
Liquid Light, mezzo-soprano, piano and percussion (1995)
Distant Voices, mezzo-soprano and string quartet (1995) [originally titled "Silver Echoes of Distant Bells"]

Electronic
Stress, percussion and tape (1972) [tape by Elzbieta Sikora]

Music for Young Players/Instructional Materials
Suite Variee, childrens' percussion quartet and piano (1968) [for young players]
Little Mosaic, percussion ensemble (1968) [for young players]
Little Mexican Fantasia, 7 percussionists and piano (1971) [for young players]
Tunes from Many Countries of the World, children’s songs, arr. for percussion and instruments (1977) [for young players]
Colourful World of Percussion, flutes, voices and percussion (1978) [for young players]
ABC of the Percussionist (1978; pub. 1993) [co-author  Barbara Niewiadomska]
Journeys Into Space, 19 miniatures, 2 vols., piano (1978) [for young players]
Music of Five Steps, 7 miniatures, 2 flutes and percussion ensemble (1979) [for young players]
Miniatures (14 pieces), piano (1982) [for young players]
Four Seasons for Four Hands (12 pieces), piano 4-hands (1984) [for young players]
Silver Threads and Other Songs for Children, voice, chorus, pf and children's perc. instruments (1985-86) [for young players]
Musical Alphabet, 22 pieces, mainly dances from A to Z, 2 pianos (1985-86) [for young players]
Pan Marimba (Mister Marimba), children's opera in 3 acts (1992-95) [chamber version in 2 acts, 1993-95]
Magiczny Doremik (Magic Doremik), opera for young audiences (2006-07)


PTASZYNSKA  LINKS        Works by Genre  ~ ~ ~  More on Ptaszyńska    ~ ~ ~   Ptaszyńska on Ptaszyńska     ~ top of page ~
Award for Marta Ptaszyńska - American Academy of Arts and Letters (culture.pl)
The Lovers from the Cloister of Valldemosa (Goodspeed Notes, Univ of Chicago)
Musicians Discovering Musical Works of Ptaszyńska (Jennifer Carnig, Chicago Chronicle)

Composer website (at Theodore Presser)  . . .   contact Marta Ptaszyńska:  here
Composer website (at Polish Music Centre)
    see also - Full Biography
    see also - Discography
    see also - Reviews
    see also - Bibliography

Ptaszyńska @ Wikipedia
Ptaszyńska @ Wikipedia.pl (in Polish)
Ptaszyńska @ arregladores
Ptaszyńska @ Classical Archives
Ptaszyńska @ Classical Composers Database
Ptaszyńska @ ClassicsToday
Ptaszyńska @ culture.pl
Ptaszyńska @ Facebook
Ptaszyńska @ info-poland/State University of New York at Buffalo
Ptaszyńska @ InstantEncore
Ptaszyńska @ John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
Ptaszyńska @ MusicWeb International
Ptaszyńska @ NewMusic USA
Ptaszyńska @ Opera Krakowska
Ptaszyńska @ Polish Music Centre    also    here
Ptaszyńska @ Polish Music Information Centre
Ptaszyńska @ PWM (Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne)
Ptaszyńska @ Theodore Presser
Ptaszyńska @ University of Chicago

Publisher
Ptaszyńska @ Alpheus Music
Ptaszyńska @ Alphonse Leduc
Ptaszyńska @ Fallen Leaf Press
Ptaszyńska @ Lang Percussion Co.
Ptaszyńska @ E.B. Marks [MarksPrint/Special Reproductions on Demand; Theodore Presser Company, selling agent]
Ptaszyńska @ Piedmont Music [E.B. Marks Music, sole selling agent; now Hal Leonard Pub?]
Ptaszyńska @ PWM (Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne)
Ptaszyńska @ Theodore Presser
Ptaszyńska @ Paul Price Publications
Ptaszyńska @ Wilson Publishing [B. Willson Publishing Co.]
Ptaszyńska @ Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Agencji Autorskiej
Ptaszyńska @ ZAIKS

Streaming Audio
Ptaszyńska @ Classical Archives
Ptaszyńska @ info-poland/State University of New York at Buffalo

Recordings
Ptaszyńska @ ArkivMusic
Ptaszyńska @ ClassicsOnline
Ptaszyńska @ Discogs
Ptaszyńska @ Naxos

Video
Ptaszyńska @ YouTube
Ptaszyńska @ Google Video

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Ptaszyńska on Ptaszyńska: Invitation to her opera "Chopin on Majorca"  (VIDEO)







Ptaszyńska on Ptaszyńska: More on "Chopin on Majorca"  (VIDEO - in Polish)







Ptaszyńska on Ptaszyńska: On "Lovers from the Cloister of Valldemosaa"  (VIDEO - in Polish)



                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~ top of page ~
More on Marta Ptaszyńska
    see also - Full Biography
    see also - Discography
    see also - Reviews
    see also - Bibliography

Full Biography
MARTA PTASZYNSKA, composer, percussionist, and professor of composition, born in Warsaw, born in Warsaw, Poland, has been living in the United States since 1972.  She is the author of such well-known works as the Concerto for Marimba, Winter’s Tale, Sonnets to Orpheus, and Moon Flowers, as well as numerous composition for percussion (Siderals, Graffito, Spider Walk, Space Model, Letter to the Sun) which have been performed often around the world. Ptaszynska has received commissions from orchestras including Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Polish Chamber Orchestra, W. Lutoslawski’s Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia Varsovia, from artists such as contralto Ewa Podles, marimba virtuoso Keiko Abe, and percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Her television opera Oscar of Alva, produced by the Cracow Television, received both audience and critical acclaim at the International Festival of Television Operas in Salzburg in 1989. Her opera for children, Mister Marimba, which was in the repertory of the National Opera in Warsaw from 1998 until 2006, has enjoyed phenomenal success and popularity for seven consecutive seasons with 114 performances. Her opera Magic Doremik was premiered at the National Opera in Warsaw in 2008 and performed during the seasons 2007-08 and 2008-09. Her Holocaust Memorial Cantata gained international recognition when performed several times in 1993 under the baton of Lord Yehudi Menuhin.

Marta Ptaszynska has been honored with many prizes and awards, including the 2006 Benjamin H.Danks Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, The Fromm Music Foundation, Alfred Jurzykowski Award in New York, multiple ASCAP Awards, the Award at the International Rostrum of Composers at the UNESCO in Paris, awards from the Percussive Arts Society, and from the Union of Polish Composer. In 1995, she received the “Officer Cross of Merit” of the Republic of Poland.
Her music has been performed at prestigious international festivals, including ISCM World Music Days, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the Salzburg Festival, the Warsaw Autumn International Festival, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Gulbenkian Foundation New Music Festival, the Prix Futura in Berlin, and many others.

In her native Poland Ptaszynska studied composition at the Academies of Music, both, in Warsaw and in Poznan. Also, she worked privately with Witold Lutoslawski, who later became her mentor. As a French Government ‘s grant recipient, she studied in the early seventies with Nadia Boulanger and attended Olivier Messiaen’s analysis classes at the Paris Conservatory, and the Centre Bourdan  de L’ORTF. In 1974, she received an Artist Diploma Degree in Percussion Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, where she worked with Cloyd Duff, Richard Weiner, and Donald Erb. Widely acclaimed as a virtuoso percussionist, for several decades she has performed extensively as a soloist percussionist, and has participated in many European and American festivals.
 Her distinguished career as a composition teacher includes professorships at Bennington College in Vermont, the University of California in Berkeley and in Santa Barbara, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Indiana University in Bloomington, and Northwestern University in Evanston. In 1998 Ptaszynska was appointed a Professor of Music and in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. Since 2005 she holds an endowed chair and is Helen & Frank Sulzberger Professor of Composition.    
Her music is published by PWM (Polish Music Publications) in Poland and by Theodore Presser in the US. Her music is recorded on CD Accord-Universal, Muza Polish Records, Chandos, Olympia, Dux, Bayers Records, and Pro Viva Sonoton labels.

Ptaszynska’s commissions include the work FANFARE  PEACE for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra centennial, the opera for children  MISTER MARIMBA and MAGIC DOREMIK for the National Opera in Warsaw, Poland and the new opera on Chopin WINTER IN MAJORCA for the Grand Opera in Lodz, Poland,  orchestral work INVERTED MOUNTAIN for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, WINTER’S TALE for the Polish Chamber Orchestra, MOON FLOWERS for BBC in England, a percussion work LINEAR CONSTRUCTIONS IN SPACE for Sudwestdeutsche Rundfunk in Baden-Baden in Germany, DRUM OF ORFEO- Concerto for Percussion for Evelyn Glennie, MOSAICS for Pacifica String Quartet , FOUR PORTRAITS for the WILANOV String Quartet,  the arrangement of Lutoslawski's Paganini Variations for Safri Duo, SILVER ECHOES for the Kosciuszko Foundation's 75th  Anniversary, SCHERZO DI  FANTASIA for International Women's Brass Conference, SINFONIA WRATISLAVIA for the 50th anniversary of the W.Lutoslawski’ Symphony Orchestra and many others.

As a percussionist she has been performing extensively as a soloist and a chamber player, and has participated in many European and American festivals.  Many compositions for percussion were written and dedicated to her.  In 1986 she co-founded the International Percussion Workshops in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

She often serves as a judge at international and national competitions for composers and percussionists, such as the International Competition for Musical Performers in Geneva, Switzerland, K. Serocki International Composers Contest in Warsaw, ASCAP Composers Contest in New York, PAS Composition Contests, and K. Penderecki's International Contest for Contemporary Music in Cracow, Poland.

In 1965-70 Ptaszynska was a president of the Circle of Young Composers of the Union of Polish Composers in Poland.  Also, in the years 1981-84 she served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) in the U.S.  In 1991 she co-founded and for several years was vice president of the American Society of Polish Music in New York. Currently she is a member of ASCAP, the Percussive Arts Society, and the Polish Music Reference Center in Los Angeles, and serves on the board of the International Alliance of Women Composers.

As an artistic adviser, she arranged the music program of two Polish music festivals which took place at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center in New York in 1994 and 1996.

Her music is published  by PWM (Polish Music Publications) in Poland and by Theodore Presser in the U.S.  Her works are recorded on Muza Polish Records, Olympia, Chandos, ProViva, Bayers Records, DUX, and Polygram-CD Accord labels.
In 2002 Polish Music Publications in Cracow, Poland released a book about her music entitled MUSIC –The MOST PERFECT LANGUAGE, CONVERSATIONS WITH  MARTA PTASZYNSKA.



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    see also - Full Biography
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Marta Ptaszyńska – Discography

TOURACOU for harpsichord
Goska Isphording, harpsichord, DUX Records, DUX 0605,2008 Dux Recording Producers, Warsaw, Poland

STREET MUSIC for 70 Percussionists
Poznan Philharmonic Recording,  DVD and CD-2009, Poznan, Poland

GRAFFITO for Marimba Solo
 Nebojsa Zivkovic, marimba, Bayer Records BR 150 006, CD-1991, Germany;
Jacek Pawelec, marimba, PRO ARTE- CD – 1999, Art Institute, Krakow;
Sun-Min Shim, marimba, Bauer Studios – CD- 2008, Ludwigsburg, Germany

CONCERTO FOR MARIMBA & ORCHESTRA
Keiko Abe, marimba, Cracow Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Szymon Kawalla – Polish Records MUZA PN LP SX 2709 and LP PN CD 075- 1991, Warsaw, Poland; Indiana University Press- Contemporary Anthology of Music by Women, ISBN 0-253 33547-7-CD ( 3rd movement only) Agnieszka Nawratil, marimba, Kielce Philharmonic Orchestra/ Jacek Rogala –
DUX RECORDS- 2009 ( to be released in November 2009)

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CANTATA for 3 Solo Voices, Choir & Orchestra
Sinfonia Varsovia/Lord Yehudi Menuhin,Polygram Polska CD Accord ACD 016 – 1996, Warsaw, Poland

EPIGRAMS for Women’s Choir and Instrumental Ensemble
The Dorians Choir/Michael Ingham, Pro Viva ISPV 152 – 1988,
Edition Pro Nova, Sonoton Musikverlag, Munchen, Germany

LA NOVELLA D’INVERNO ( WINTER’S TALE) for String Orchestra
Polish Chamber Orchestra/Jerzy Maksymiuk, Polish Records MUZA PN LP SX 2427 ( LP)- 1985, Polish Records MUZA PN CD 075-1991, Warsaw, Poland

MANCALA for Two Violins
Bartlomiej Niziol & Jaroslaw Pietrzak, DUX RECORDS, DUX0398- 2002, Warsaw

MOON FLOWERS for Cello and Piano
Roman Jablonski, cello/ Krystyna Borucinska, piano; Polish Records MUZA PN LP SX 2465 (LP) – 1986; Polish RecordsMUZA CD 2709 – 1991, Warsaw, Poland; Pro Viva ISPV 152 ( LP) – 1988, Edition Pro Viva, Sonoton Musikverlag, Munchen, Germany:
PAGANINI VARIATIONS by Witold Lutoslawski arranged for two pianos and two percussionists by Marta Ptaszynska
Safri Duo/Slovak Piano Duo, Chandos Records, CHAN 9398 (CD) -1995, Colchester, Essex, England

JEU-PARTI for Harp & Vibraphone
Urszula Mazurek, harp/Hubert Rutkowski, vibraphone, Olympia Records OCD 324- 1989, West Sussex, England;   also Polish Radio PRCD 077 AAD- 2006, Warsaw

PAN MARIMBA (MISTER MARIMBA), opera for children
Choir Alla Polacca, Instrumental Ensemble of the Warsaw National Opera/ Slawek Wroblewski ( cond), CD ACCORD 126-2003, Warsaw Cracow Opera/ Slawek Wrobleski, DVD – 2009, Cracow, Poland

POETIC IMPRESSIONS for Piano & Wind Quintet
Warsaw Wind Quintet/Michiko Otaki, piano, DUX Records, DUX 0241(CD) -1995

SONGS OF DESPAIR & LONELINESS for Mezzosoprano & Piano,
Ewa Podles/Jerzy Marchwinski, Polish Records MUZA PN CD 075 – 1991, Warsaw

SPACE MODEL for Solo Percussion
Marta Ptaszynska, percussion, Pro Viva ISPV 152 ( LP) – 1988, Edition Pro Viva, Sonoton Musikverlag, Munchen, Germany

SPIDER WALK for Solo Percussion
Edith Salmen, percussion, Castigo CD 02419- 2004, Bayrischer Rundfunk, Germany
Stanislaw Skoczynski, percussion, Polonia  Records CD 027- 1994, Warsaw

UN GRAND SOMMEIL NOIR for Voice, Flute & Harp
Szwajgier/Swiatek/ Lutak, Polish Records  MUZA PN LP SX 1847 -1979, Warsaw



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Marta Ptaszyńska – Reviews

MARTA PTASZYNSKA -  PORTRAIT IN MUSIC (fragments)
by Zbigniew Granat  , Polish Daily News, New York, Feb. 13, 1997 (translation by Julia Rafalska)

How should one evaluate Ptaszynska’s creative work? Is it cosmopolitan or is it Polish?
It seems that the answer to this question is twofold. If one considers the fact that Ptaszynska’s music is performed throughout the world and that her works are found in the programs of the most prestigious music festivals, then without doubt she is an international composer. If , however, one looks at the aesthetic and  technical characteristics of her music, her Polish identity cannot be questioned. The “Polishness” of Ptaszynska’s music is most clearly evident in the  realm  of ideas, which portrays the composer’s deep historical awareness. A characteristic quality of Ptaszynska’s thinking is that she often combines “Polish motives” with elements taken from different sources, thus giving them a universal and transcendental dimension.

Universal themes that cross all boundaries require a universal language and Ptaszynska uses exactly such a device. In her compositions, she consciously combines various musical as well as cultural traditions, while at the same time  incorporating Polish elements. Intertwining  various styles  seems to be the composer’s favored compositional procedure which suggests that however different the temporal,  geographic, and cultural terrains, themes expressed by humans are similar everywhere, being created through similar ways of perceiving the world.

In this brief article it would be hard to describe Marta Ptaszynska’s wide-ranging artistic interests or to illustrate the various motives present in her creative work. However, one cannot omit an influence which perhaps most strongly affects her individuality -  inspiration from painting. The rare capability of transforming  visual inspiration into sounds allowed Ptaszynska to create a highly original concept of the sonic palette , which emphasizes the chromatic, the mosaic , and the expressive , and is achieved by various, oftentimes avant-garde, means of expression.

One must not forget that the composer’s roots lie in the so-called “sonorism” (textural music), whose main characteristic was the exploration of new and non-conventional sound textures. Ptaszynska was able to selectively utilize the experiments of the avant-garde and combine them with more traditional elements, creating her own unique style.. A style, which could have been formed only in the imagination of a Polish composer.

In the wide spectrum of contemporary music Marta Ptaszynska occupies a unique and established place. Her prestige is widely known and respected. I think. however, that the composer’s significance in the development of music as well as culture in general, has an even greater meaning.  When Ptaszynska’s name appears in the concert programs in the distant corners of the world, together with her music there travels the reminder that Poland  is not merely present in the world, but that it enriches it.”.


POETRY OF SOUNDS AND MOODS  (excerpts)
by Tadeusz Andrzej Zielinski, “Studio” June 1994, No. 6, Warsaw, Poland (translated by Marta Ptaszynska)

What do Chopin, Karlowicz, and Szymanowski have in common- composers who created the richest tradition in Polish music- but wrote in quite different styles? Obviously a certain quality of sound and expression, extremely refined and well structured, sensually attractive, fanciful in tone colors (almost picturesque), and full of deep expression. Especially this care and sensitivity in matters of timbre and sound reveals in our top composers: emotionalism and expression, often filled with melancholy, sadness, pain, but also love, joy, enchantment...This colorful and sensual strata of sounds and lyricism is perhaps the most characteristic spiritual attribute of Polish music. ... These characteristics are clearly visible in the  music of the three above mentioned composers, as well as in some works by Andrzej Panufnik and Witold Lutoslawski (especially of the last period). This attribute also reveals itself in the music of Marta Ptaszynska with an intensity unlike in any other Polish contemporary composer. The author of Sonnets to Orpheus (1980) and Moon Flowers (1986) mesmerizes the listener by the tasteful beauty of  sonorous sound textures and very deep emotional lyricism. As in all  of Marta Ptaszynska’s works , modernism and tradition are not the opposing forces. Rather, they intermingle and fuse in a very natural way. Her music is clearly immersed in the new sound aesthetics, but in some works one can find distant echoes of traditional forms... Employing the contemporary music language, close to the avantgardist approach, the composer is not afraid to introduce the melodic element in her music. Most important of all however, is that the author of  Sonnets to Orpheus is continuing the aesthetic tradition of Polish music, creating a style in which one can find a spiritual relationship with our greatest composers: Chopin, Karlowicz, and Szymanowski.

WOMEN COMPOSERS,CONDUCTORS, AND MUSICIANS OF THE XX CENTURY, Jane Weiner LePage, Scarecrow Press,  USA,  1983, vol. II (excerpts)

 Ptaszynska’s music is unique; she has the uncanny ability to compose with a variety of musical possibilities and is committed to the individuality of the final product. Her versatility as a composer in a variety of forms includes orchestra, opera, chamber works, solo instruments , and music for children. her works are vastly admired for their overwhelming beauty that challenges the musical complacency of listeners... Her music seeks new directions and inspired heights. She is a creative discoverer in the musical culture and such expertise is limitless. Ptaszynska’s compositions traverse a broad  expressive range and provides the performer as well as the listener with a profound musical experience. The passing of time and the continued expression of her creative talents will eventually determine her final place on the roster of leading contemporary composers.


PERCUSSION, POETRY, AND COLOUR - The Music of Marta  Ptaszynska
by Maria Anna Harley- Trochimczyk,  Music works Magazine, Canada, 1999, No.74 ( excerpt)

Ptaszynska’s work, Holocaust Memorial Cantata, is a highly dramatic and compelling composition. It crowns the Polish composer’s output in the domain of public, monumental music devoted to events and causes that she deeply cares about. Cantata acquires a universality beyond the limits of its title. The text becomes even more dramatic and poignant in the context of Ptaszynska’s musical setting, which draws elements from her vocabulary of modernist  gestures, connected with stylizations of synagogue singing with deep expressions of suffering and grief.

Lord Yehudi Menuhin, who premiered the work in Germany at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in 1993 said that:” the Cantata ...is a remarkable piece and has an enormous impact, a real power, which conveys the voices of the victims ( rarely heard). We live in a terrifying age,  when everything that we thought we had succeeded in transcending - brutality, ruthlessness, humiliation - is returning to plague humanity and the whole world.” He said  then “ I am infinitively grateful for the privilege of presenting this powerful work, and to have done so in Germany was a particular emotion”.

The list of Ptaszynska’s politically engaged works includes ...a series of compositions on Polish themes: Conductus (1982), the cantata Polish Letters (1988) , and The Fanfare for Peace, commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1993). These three works , written during the composer’s American years, celebrate her Polish heritage by quoting the most ancient and revered Polish anthem, Bogurodzica (The Mother of God”, dating from thirteenth century)... Ptaszynska’s use of the melody of Bogurodzica in Fanfare for Peace is directed to her American listeners. Here the composer draws from the religious, spiritual content of the prayer, emphasizing the connection of faith to peace, apparent in the anthem’s conclusion, which expresses a hope for peaceful existence on earth and eternal happiness afterwards. While many texts could serve this purpose, her selection of Bogurodzica and the skillful manipulation of its motivic material in a virtuosi display serves to draw attention to the “high culture” aspects of the Polish heritage.  References to Bogurodzica served this cause perfectly.


SELECTED  PRESS  REVIEWS                                                                ~ top of page ~
SIDERALS - “ a tremendous score  both in its physical dimensions and its sonorities. Some aspects of it evoked memories when I was working with Varese on Ionisation”
                             Nicolas Slonimsky, Los Angeles, 1977

SPECTRI SONORI - “ It is the most interesting example of innovative tone painting, in which excellent organization of ideas sets noticeably above the sound-effect category”
                Bill Zakariasen, New York Daily News, Nov. 30, 1982

WINTER’S TALE  - “ ...one of the most interesting work heard... She was able, using only the resources of string instruments, to create amazingly varied sound colors”.
                    Jonathan Kramer, Musical America, March 1987
“Ptaszynska’s icy-beautiful piece for string ...was a hit.”
                    Ray Cooklis, The Cincinnati Enquirer, May 6, 1989
“ In this particularly successful composition,...Ptaszynska presented a sound vision of dreamlike fantasies in a very suggestive and unusually attractive musical construction. Reaching for the music of Venetian composer, Ptaszynska did it so gracefully and with such a good taste, that, as a result, an entirely new work was created , a composition extremely homogeneous in style and musical expression. As a matter of fact we may not even see all these technical manipulations. But if noticed , we sense even more strongly the hidden content of this  extremely absorbing and interesting musical story.”
                    Tadeusz Zielinski, Ruch Muzyczny 1986, No.10

CONCERTO FOR MARIMBA - “Although the piece is clearly immersed in the new sound aesthetics,  the composer avoids any artificial extremism and is not afraid of employing certain selected elements of tradition. In this way, she creates an original and suggestive style in matters of timbre and the expression and mood connected with it. This carefully selected and differentiated sensual strata and sound texture of Ptaszynska’s music are closely bound with her visual imagination and interest in painting. ..Concerto explores the composer’s fascination with the art of the surrealists; furthermore, each movement of the work evokes images of a certain painting (of Yves Tanguy, Max Ernst, and Graham Sutherland)...The composer emphasizes a new content and a new, personal sound order within traditional formal patterns.Various segments of the composition are founded on only a few chosen sounds...Each change of sound structure or each switch into broader material is perceived very powerfully and conveys a determined emotional content.”
            Barbara Smolenska-Zielinska, Percussive Notes, USA, 1991 vol. 29

DREAM LANDS, MAGIC SPACES - “ a demonstration of a successfully integrated, yet novel  compositional approach. This work...has a diversity and spaciousness which is impressive. The manner in which musical actions and consequences follow upon each other in an allusive texture, effectively conveys the sense of irrationality implicit in the title.”            
            Mark Behm, Perspectives of New Music, USA,.Fall, 1981

SONNETS TO ORPHEUS - “ Lyrical and fanciful expression... materializes most beautifully in  Sonnets to Orpheus, ...designed tastefully with refined sound colors, each with individual and very specific intervalic and harmonic climate”.
            Olgierd Pisarenko, Ruch Muzyczny, 1989, No.11

UN GRAND SOMMEIL NOIR - “Ptaszynska’s setting of a Paul Verlaine poem... employs extremely subtle effects, ...to reinforce the mournful, withdrawn emotions of the vocal part, which interweaves sung and spoken French and English. The three performers made something absolutely haunting of this interior drama”.
            John van Rhein, Chicago Tribune, Jan. 10, 1999

“ ...equally spellbinding LIQUID LIGHT for mezzosoprano, piano and percussion , featuring the brilliance of the composer,...evoked gentle and colourful pictures of the Caribbean in a rich warm light”.
            Malcolm Cruise, Huddersfield, Nov. 25, 1996

“Marta Ptaszynska gave a splendid account of her own SPACE MODEL, a piece for percussion and tape in three movements. The fascination here came from the fact that each successive movement was integrated with tape of the previous one, the layering eventually culminating in a huge structure, taut, vivid, and exciting”.
            Malcolm Cruise, Huddersfield, Nov. 25, 1996

MOON FLOWERS  - “The work is stunning... The effect is a potent march through ever higher peaks of dramatic power”.
            Timothy V. Clark, St. Louis Riverfront Times, Nov. 28, 1990

 HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CANTATA - “The Cantata is a remarkable piece and has an enormous impact, a real power, which conveys the voices of the victims ”.
                     Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Polish Television interview, 1993
“ ...profoundly moving and ultimately inspirational work”
                                     Anshe Chesed, Fairmount  Bulletin, Cleveland, 1996
“Listening to Holocaust Memorial Cantata was a shattering experience . I had difficulty sleeping that evening  because the music, the words, and the form kept repeating in my head. I was a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. I have visited the Holocaust sites in Europe, I have been to Yad V’shem in Israel about twenty times, I have taught large Holocaust classes, written articles on the Holocaust, but I have never had such an experience as this.  It was the finest interpretation of the Holocaust I have ever experienced.  It shall be with me all my life.”
            Rabbi Bernard S. Raskas, Temple of Aaron, St. Paul, 1996

FANFARE FOR PEACE - “ Composer Marta Ptaszynska’s Fanfare for Peace, written for the CSO  centennial, opened the concert with muted trumpet calls and brash harmonies worthy of Beethoven himself. ...It was compelling for its luminous counterpoint, echo effects and orchestral colors”.
            Mary Ellyn Hutton, The Cincinnati Post, Nov. 19, 1994

EPIGRAMS - “ It is a powerful, strangely haunting work, written by an artist of complete integrity. Demanding unusual acoustical effects from all the performers and great technical skill, the work is particularly taxing  for the singers”.
            Kenneth A. Brown, Santa Barbara News Press, June 16, 1979



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Bibliography

James Briscoe: Contemporary Anthology of Music by Women, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1997, p.2241 -259

P.H. Chan: “ Marta Ptaszynska’s Holocaust Memorial Cantata” , DMA dissertation, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, 1996.

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd  edition, Grove/ Macmillan Publishers,  2001, vol. 20, entry by Michael Meckna

Zbigniew Granat: Marty Ptaszynskiej Portrait in Music, Polish Daily News, Nowy Dziennik, New York,  Feb. 13, 1997

 Maria Anna Harley : Percussion, Poetry, and Colour, in  Musicworks, Toronto, Canada, 1999, vol 74

Kare Kolberg: Den Dype Estetiske Erfaring... Et Portrett av den komponisten  Marta Ptaszynska,  Ballade, Oslo, Norway, 1993, vol. 3, p. 16-21

Malgorzata Komorowska : Marta Ptaszynska i jej swiat muzyki, Ruch Muzyczny, 2000, No. 17

Magdalena Kotarska: Marta Ptaszynska ‘s Children Opera MISTER MARIMBA, M.A. dissertation, Warsaw Academy of Music , Warszawa, 2000.     

Jane Weiner LePage: Women Composers, Conductors, and Musicians of the XX Century, Scarecrow Press , USA, 1983 (volume II) p.221 -239

Don Michael Randel: The  Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music, Harvard University Press, Cambridge & London  1996

Jolanta Rostworowska: Marta Ptaszynska- Polish Composer, PolAmerica, Los Angeles, Spring 1988

J.A. Sadie : The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers, Norton, New York, London, 1995, p. 377-378

Nicolas Slonimsky: Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, VI Edition, Schirmer Books, New York, 1978

Barbara Smolenska-Zielinska: Concerto for Marimba & Orchestra , Percussive Notes , USA, 1991, April, vol 29, no.4, p.78-82

Barbara Smolenska-Zielinska : Natchnac Awangarde Nowym Duchem , wywiad z Marta Ptaszynska, Ruch Muzyczny, 1986, No. 25

Barbara Smolenska-Zielinska : Koncert na Marimbe Marty Ptaszynskiej, Ruch Muzyczny, 1988, No. 12

Dorota Szwarcman: “The Colorful World of Marta Ptaszynska” , Polish Music, Warszawa, Poland, 1988, vol. 2-3 p. 25-30

Tadeusz Andrzej Zielinski: Poezja Brzmien i Nastrojow, Studio, Warszawa, 1994, Nr. 6

Tadeusz Andrzej Zielinski : Opowiesc Zimowa Marty Ptaszynskiej , Ruch Muzyczny, 1986, No. 10

Robert Zierolf: Composers of Modern Europe, in Karin Pendle ed. Women & Music, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1991  p. 199-201;  2001, p. 291-294

                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~ top of page ~
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