Music Notes: UB Honors Paderewski

A Polish patriot and composer is remembered in Buffalo.

Buffalo, NY – Celebrating a major Polish pianist and composer. Good morning. I'm Bill Raffel with Music Notes.

You're probably expecting Frederic Chopin. After all, the anniversary of his birth is February?22, and the Chopin Singing Society will sponsor its annual free celebration with Polish Pianist Igor Lipinski tomorrow at 7?p.m. in the Leonard VFW Post on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga.

But actually, Igor is in town for a festival honoring Composer, Pianist, Statesman and Philanthropist Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

Paderewski lived between 1860 and 1941 and visited Buffalo 14 times during this life, where he met his greatest friend, the future Health Commissioner of Buffalo Dr. Francis Fronczak. Robert Fronckowiak is the President of the Polish Arts Club of Buffalo.

Paderewski's connections with the area are featured in a new play by UB Theatre Professor Kazimierz Braun called Paderewski's Children. While the second act takes place in Poland shortly after Paderewski's death, the first act is at a Military training base in Niagara-on-the-Lake during World War I, where Paderewski helped finance the Kosciuskzo Army to liberate his homeland. Braun listened to Paderewski's recordings and music for hours while writing the play.

The play calls for a live piano music. And that's why Igor Lipinski is here from Tarnow, Poland. He's 17 years old, won two competitions at the annual Paderewski festival, and has been preparing for this festival since September.

Igor Lipinski will be featured in the Play Paderewski's Children between February 25th and the 29th at UB's Center for the Arts. You can also see him for free tomorrow (Tuesday, 2/17) at 7?p.m. at the Leonard VFW Post in a tribute to Chopin. Plus, at a lecture/recital with Kazimierz Braun about Paderewski's life and works, Saturday (2/21) at 7?p.m. at the Montante Cultural Center of Canisius College. Discounted pre-sale tickets are available through Denton, Cottier and Daniels at 460 Dodge Road in Amherst (689-6996) or the Polish Union of America, 745 Center Road in West Seneca (677-0220).

Here is the complete schedule for the Paderewski Festival.

Well, Poland's neighbor to the East is Lithuania. (Poland is responsible for Mark Wozniak, and Lithuania, partially for Bill Raffel. You tell us which is the better country.) And Lithuanian Mezzo Soprano Judita Leitaite joins Pianist Vita Binder in recital Sunday (2/22) at 5?p.m. in Saint Joseph's University Church on Main Street near UB.

Some unusual instruments will be featured at the Amherst Symphony's next concert. Carl Vine's Percussion Symphony will be featured, along with Accordionist Albert Schlisserman in some Strolling Czardas Sunday (2/22) at 7?p.m. in the Amherst Middle School, with Steven Thomas conducting.

Guest Conductor Jorge Mester will lead the Buffalo Philharmonic in Dvorak's New World Symphony, with pianist Fabio Bidini as soloist in Mozart's 20th Concerto. The performances are Friday (2/20) and Saturday (2/21) nights at 8?p.m., with pre-concert talks at 7?p.m.

The Buffalo Chamber Music Society presents the Cavani String Quartet tomorrow (Tuesday, 2/17) at 8?p.m. with a pre-recital talk at 7:15?p.m., then a free recital with Soprano Courtenay Budd joining Pianist J.?J. Penna Sunday (2/22) at 3?p.m., both in Kleinhans.

Pianist Frank Scinta gives a free half-hour recital Friday at 12:30?p.m. in Saint Pauls Cathedral downtown.

Finally, several organ students from the Eastman School of Music will perform on the Fisk Pipe Organ in UB's Slee Hall on Saturday (2/21) at 8?p.m.