THE POLISH CHAMBER CHOIR
Jan Łukaszewski - conductor
Bogusław Grabowski - organ
Maciej Sikała - saxophonist
Bonifacio Graziani (1604-1664)
Ave Regina Caelorum
Bogusław Grabowski &
Mater Sanctissima I - improwizacje na saksofon i organy
Andrzej Panufinik 1914–1991
Song to the virgin Mary
Bogusław Grabowski &
Mater Sanctissima II - improwizacje na saksofon i organy
Andrzej Koszewski 1922–2015
Zdrowaś Królewno Wyborna
Schola Cantorum Gedanensis is an outstanding, fully professional ensemble whose hallmarks are its unique sound, supreme technical skills and depth of feeling, as well as a truly broad repertoire. It has won acclaim not only in Poland’s most renowned concert venues but also in many prestigious music centres across Europe, in North America and Asia. The ensemble was founded in 1978 in Gdańsk on the initiative of Ireneusz Łukaszewski, who became its first artistic director. In 1983, his duties were taken over by his brother Jan Łukaszewski. The Choir has also established a high reputation for its performances of contemporary music, having given world premieres of over 700 works, including those by such composers as Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar and Krzysztof Penderecki. Along with other Polish composers (Augustyn Bloch, Krzysztof Meyer, Edward Pallasz, Juliusz Łuciuk, Andrzej Koszewski and Paweł Łukaszewski) and several foreign composers, Kilar and Penderecki are among those who have dedicated their works to the ensemble. Thanks to its excellent quality of sound and interpretation, and perfect command of the ‘vocal instrument’ in the most demanding of works, the Choir has been invited to perform with such leading orchestras as Sinfonia Varsovia, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, Divino Sospiro, Neue Düsseldorf Hofmusik, Concilium Musicum Wien, Sinfonia Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Venice Baroque Orchestra and outstanding choral conductors such as Eric Ericson, Uwe Gronostay and Stephen Layton. It has also been invited to numerous prestigious festivals, such as the Warsaw Autumn, Wratislavia Cantans, Soundstreams, Music in Old Kraków, Poznań Musical Spring. Foreign tours have taken the Choir to three continents, from Japan, through Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Spain, to the United States and Canada. The discography of the Polish Chamber Choir comprises over 80 CDs, about 20 of which have been nominated for the Fryderyk Award of the Polish recording industry and five of which have received this prestigious accolade. The Choir has also recorded for Polish and foreign radio and television stations, The recordings of the Polish Chamber Choir have demonstrated not only its perfection in meeting all the technical and musical demands of a score, but also its charming, instantly recognizable timbre, which is often compared to that of the finest violins or the most beautiful birdsong. The Polish Chamber Choir under Jan Łukaszewski was the first choir in the world to have recorded Penderecki’s entire output for unaccompanied choir. In 2010 and 2014, these albums received Orphée D’or awards from the French Academie du Disque Lyrique. The choir gave the world premiere of the second version of Penderecki’s Missa Brevis , and performed many of his works in the composer’s presence, including some under his baton. In 2013, the Polish Chamber Choir joined forces with the Swiss instrumental ensemble Musica Fiorita, under Jan Łukaszewski, in a project featuring 55 extant motets by the Gdańsk composer Andreas Hakenberger (1574–1627). A 2-CD album with these works was released in 2018 on the Naxos label. The Polish Chamber Choir is a cultural institution of the City of Gdańsk. A member of TENSO (the European Network for Professional Chamber Choirs), Since 2006 the Choir has organized the ‘Mozartiana’ International Mozart Festival, being one of its featured ensembles.
is an outstanding conductor, a highly regarded teacher and an accomplished organizer of musical life. Since 1983 he has directed the Polish Chamber Choir Schola Cantorum Gedanensis, with which he has given almost 700 premieres and made several hundred recordings for radio and television, as well as over 80 CDs. Twenty two of the latter were nominated for the Fryderyk Award of the Polish recording industry, five received this prestigious accolade, and two received Orphée D’or awards from the French Academie du Disque Lyrique. He has conducted several thousand concerts in Poland, almost all European countries, the United States, Canada, China and Japan. He has sat on the jury of the Musica Sacra Nova International Composers’ Competition and conducted the performances of prize- winning works. Jan Łukaszewski was born in the Gdańsk district of Oliwa. Its picturesque park is the venue of the ‘Mozartiana’ International Mozart Festival, which he initiated in 2006 and has served as its artistic director. The event’s final concerts under his baton have attracted many leading soloists and renowned European instrumental ensembles to the historic Oliwa Cathedral, and have been broadcast to many European countries. The list of composers who have dedicated their works to Jan Łukaszewski includes such outstanding names as Krzysztof Penderecki, Wojciech Kilar, Augustyn Bloch, Edward Pałłasz, Paweł Łukaszewski, Andrzej Koszewski, Krzesimir Dębski, and Juliusz Łuciuk. He has worked closely with the singers Julia Lezhneva, Simone Kermes and Emma Kirkby. As an orchestral conductor, he has performed with Sinfonia Varsovia, the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, and Venice Baroque Orchestra. It was in collaboration with these household names in the musical world that numerous concerts of the highest calibre were given and excellent recordings were made. Jan Łukaszewski conducted the Polish Chamber Choir in the world’s first recording of Krzysztof Penderecki’s entire a cappella choral output and, in partnership with the Swiss period instrument ensemble Musica Fiorita, they have made a pioneering recording of the complete set of 55 extant motets by Andreas Hakenberger, a Gdańsk composer who flourished from the late 16th into the early 17th century. A conductor of rare distinction, Jan Łukaszewski feels equally at home in the choral and oratorio repertoire and is able to delve into the intentions both of composers from previous periods, such as Hakenberger, and those who have been active in recent decades, such as Penderecki. The hallmarks of his art of conducting are the perfection of intonation, the ideal vocal balance and precision in reading a composer’s score, all this blended with a creative courage of interpretation. He has gained a reputation for masterful performances of texturally, harmonically and rhythmically complex contemporary pieces. A professor of musical arts, Jan Łukaszewski has several prestigious honours to his name, including the Gloria Artis Silver Medal of Cultural Merit (2008), the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Reborn Poland (2018) and an award from the Board of the ZAiKS Authors’ and Composers’ Association (2020). In 2021, following a decision by the Council of the Phonographic Academy, he received the Golden Fryderyk for outstanding artistic achievements.
launched their cooperation in 2007 with checks and rehearsals which built the duo’s repertoire. Soon, they began giving concerts winning highly positive reception of their audiences. Asked again and again about the recordings of the presented music they resolved to make a record. The first one, The Colours of Space, was recorded in 2009. The duo is made up of two instruments so far apart in their sound and typical designation. The very combination of the church organ and the saxophone is so rare as to actually be unprecedented in music. Nevertheless, in the case of these particular musicians the combination does not produce a sense of a clash; on the contrary, it sounds fantastic! Furthermore, the artists improvise together and simultaneously, which is also unusual. The latter fact makes each concert they give a sole and unique event, not to mention they have already given hundreds of performances. No matter where they play or for whom, their music is always received enthusiastically, the audience frequently moved. It is this type of creative art which links people instead of separating them, it is timeless and pan-cultural conveying the essence of all religions, i.e. it is universal in the best sense of the word. The connoisseurs will find superb technique and artistry in the music. The aesthetes will find themselves enchanted with the beauty of the melodic line and unmatched harmony. The faithful will hear prayer. Mater Sanctissima, the second record, is devoted wholly to the Virgin Mary. Just like the first one, it was all recorded in St Mary’s Basilica in Gdańsk.
(born 1961 in Gdańsk) is a jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist, composer, and educator. As an educator, Maciej is currently the Lecturer in Jazz Saxophone at the Academy of Music in Gdańsk and the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz. He co-operated, performed and recorded with many top Polish jazz musicians such as Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski, Henryk Miśkiewicz, Tomasz Szukalski, Leszek Możdżer, Piotr Wojtasik, Jarosław Śmietana, Leszek Kułakowski, Wojciech Karolak and numerous foreign musicians including Lester Bowie, David Liebman, Ronnie Burrage, Billy Harper, Wayne Dockerey, John Betsch, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Tim Haggans and David Kikoski. He has recorded more than 50 CDs, five of which under his own name. Two of them were nominated to the “Fryderyk” award. For a couple of years he has been conducting classes at jazz workshops in Pułtusk and Nysa. He performed in Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Belarus, Lithuania, France, Sweden, Moldova, Romania, Canada, Israel, Austria and Ukraine. The first place winner in the tenor saxophone category of the Jazz Forum Magazine readers’ poll “Jazz Top” in the years 1995 -2005, 2010 and 2012 -2014.