Let’s face it: Poland is not the first place you think of when wondering about young, capable and innovative conductors. But instead of ruminating about this state of affairs, I want to present readers with an interview with Polish musician who is all of that, and much more (and who graciously agreed to answer a few questions about his work). Chief conductor of Polish Radio Orchestra, sensitive interpreter of operatic repertoire, foremost explorer of unknown musical grounds and just a terribly nice person. Ladies and gentlemen, Łukasz Borowicz.
[Polska wersja rozmowy znajduje się w tym miejscu. Zapraszam!]
fot. Justyna Mielniczuk
1) Last year you’ve conducted “King Roger” by Szymanowski in Bilbao. Could you tell us something more about this event? Will “King Roger” travel further?
Production of “King Roger” was my musical dream and I am happy that I was able to realize it in such a fine company: lead singer Mariusz Kwiecien and director Michal Znaniecki. It wasn’t the first time that “King Roger” was played in Spain – it was programmed in Barcelona earlier. Our performance took place in Bilbao Opera House, with Basque National Orchestra. Piece reception was incredibly warm and local choir sang with utmost Polish enunciation. Respect and awe exuded towards the music of Karol Szymanowski really inspired us. There are talks currently in progress about further stage life of this production and I am almost certain that very soon I will be able to invite listeners to another premieres.
2) Symphonic programming still remains a fairly conservative genre. You, on the other hand, are well-known for unearthing and indefatigably promoting many previously unknown, splendid compositions. What inspired you to commit to such endeavour?
Curiosity, unwillingness to copy ideas of other people. Moreover, it is a passion of mine to discover forgotten works of music, especially Polish music. My work with Polish Radio Orchestra made it possible to direct listeners attention towards works such as: “Maria” by Statkowski, Dobrzyński’s “Monbar”, “Zaginiona jaskółka” ["L' Hirondelle inattendue"] by Laks, or Grażyna Bacewicz’s “Przygoda Króla Artura” ["The Adventure of King Arthur"]. Also, symphonic music by Noskowski, Stojowski, Brzowski, Dobrzyński and many more composers.
3) Polish music has long operatic tradition. Do you think that amongst lesser-known Polish operas there are gems hidden that deserve a comeback not only to the local scene, but to the standard repertoire as well?
Of course! Worldwide career of “King Roger” would be the best proof – nothing short than few years ago no one would expect that to happen. I am very happy that I will be able to conduct a premiere of Statkowski’s “Maria” in Baltic Opera. I believe it’s another opera which spotlight is approaching quickly. Queue consists of neoromantic operas, especially “Legenda Bałtyku” by Nowowiejski. I dream of a renaissance of Kurpiński operas performed on period instruments.
4) You have just finished your Japan tour with Prague Symphonic Orchestra and pianist Ayako Uehara. Have you found any new additions to your already famous classical music cd’s collection?
I’ve brought home many cd’s: mainly Japanese editions of Deutsche Grammophon discs (Kubelik, Abbado), many Denon issuings unavailable in Europe (Eliahu Inbal performances). I am especially fond of Japanese edition RCA recordings made by Fritz Reiner.
5) What can we expect from you next? Could you reveal some plans and projects for the next season?
Most currently, a disc with piano concertos by Zelenski and Zarzycki performed by Jonathan Plowright (BBC Scottish SO) came out and pretty soon two recordings of Piotr Beczala will be released – I was most honored to accompany him with Polish Radio Orchestra (“Verdi arias” – Orfeo) and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (“Tribute to Richard Tauber” – Deutsche Grammophon). In a very short time I will also launch my official webpage, which will be used to inform listeners about current performances and projects. Meanwhile, I invite everyone to follow my facebook fanpage.