With pleasure, you are invited to the premiere of my newest work "That is the Question" for soprano and piano written to parts of the soliloquy in the "Nunnery Scene" of William Shakespeare's play "Hamlet". It will open the 4th International Contemporary Music Festival of H.M.Górecki in Krakow, Poland and will be performed by renowned duet Agata Zubel and Maciej Grzybowski.
The piece "That is the question" was written to the famous Shakespearean passage taken from "Hamlet". This soliloquy, probably the most famous speech in the English language, is spoken by Hamlet in Act III. His most logical and powerful examination of the theme of the moral legitimacy of suicide in an unbearably painful world, it touches on several other important themes of the play.
Hamlet poses the problem of whether to commit suicide as a logical question: “To be, or not to be,” that is, to live or not to live. He then weighs the moral ramifications of living and dying. Is it nobler to suffer life, “[t]he slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” passively or to actively seek to end one’s suffering? He compares death to sleep and thinks of the end to suffering, pain, and uncertainty it might bring, “[t]he heartache, and the thousand natural shocks / That flesh is heir to.” Based on this metaphor, he decides that suicide is a desirable course of action, “a consummation / Devoutly to be wished.” But, as the religious word “devoutly” signifies, there is more to the question, namely, what will happen in the afterlife. Hamlet immediately realizes as much, and he reconfigures his metaphor of sleep to include the possibility of dreaming; he says that the dreams that may come in the sleep of death are daunting, that they “must give us pause.”
The concert will take place in the Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice, the oldest department of the National Museum. It is located in the center of the Main Market Square in Old Town Kraków. The gallery features paintings of artists such as Jan Matejko and Jacek Malczewski.
Please come and join me at the concert on Saturday, October 18, 2014 in The Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice 3 Rynek Główny, Kraków, at 7:30 pm (free entrance).
Agata Zubel was born in Wroclaw. She graduated with a distinction (the medal Music Primus Inter Pares) from the Karol Lipinski Academy of Music in Wrocław after composition studies with Jan Wichrowski and voice studies with Danuta Paziuk-Zipser. In 2004 she obtained a doctorate and in 2014 post-doctorate in musical arts. She also studied in the Netherlands and took numerous courses. She is currently a lecturer on the faculty of the Academy of Music in Wroclaw. She has received scholarships from the Ministry of Culture, the Rockefeller Foundation, Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, the Executive Board of the City of Wroclaw, and the International Foundation for Education. The Ministry of Culture honour her with medal “Deserved for Polish Culture”. She is also a member of the Polish Composers’ Union.
2014 - “Polonica Nova” Prize for the composition Not I;
2014 - honourable medal “Deserved for Polish Culture”;
2013 - winner of the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers for the composition Not I;
2010 - “Fryderyk” Award of the Polish music record industry in the category of Contemporary Music for the album Cascando;
2009 - “Orpheus” Award of the Association of Polish Artists-Musicians;
2008 - Wroclaw Music Award for the duo ElettroVoce;
2005 - Wroclaw Music Award;
2005 – “Passport” Award of the “Polityka” weekly for classical music for the year 2004;
2005 - Special Award for the duo ElettroVoce in the International Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition in Amsterdam;
2003 – 2nd Prize in the International P.J.Jurgenson Competition for Young Composers in Moscow;
2003 – 3rd Prize in the International Competition for Interpreters of Contemporary Music for Professional Soloists in Nicati, Switzerland;
2003 – Grand Prix of Leopold Kronenberg’s Bank Foundation in the 20th and 21th Century Music Competition for Young Performers;
2002 – 1st Prize in the Krzysztof Penderecki International Competition of Contemporary Chamber Music;
2002 - Special Award in the 7.Concours Moderne, Chain;
2000 – 1st Prize and a Special Polish Radio Award in the National Adam Didur Competition for Composers;
2000 - 3rd prize at the Competition for Composers for Classical Guitar;
1999 – 1st Prize and a Special PWM Edition Award in the Andrzej Panufnik Competition for Composers;
Warsaw-born Maciej Grzybowski played with Poland's distinguished Sinfonia Varsovia in 1991-92 under such master conductors as Jan Krenz, Witold Lutoslawski, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Grzegorz Nowak. In 1992, he won the Main Prize and the Special Price in the 1st Twentieth-Century Music Competition for Young Performers, organized in Warsaw by the International Society for Contemporary Music, Polish Section. He has recorded music for record companies, radio, and television. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician with Dorota Anderszewska, Anna Karasinska, Urszula Kryger, Olga Pasichnyk, Jadwiga Rappé, Jerzy Artysz, Andrzej Bauer, Krzysztof Bakowski, Jonathan Del Mar, Jacek Kaspszyk, Adam Klocek, Adam Kruszewski, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Wojciech Michniewski, Ivan Monighetti, Marek Mos, Janusz Olejniczak, Pawel Mykietyn, Wojciech Rajski, Håkan Rosengren, Tomasz Strahl and others, as well as the Camerata Quartet, Silesian Quartet, AUKSO Orchestra, Leopoldinum Orchestra, Polish Radio National Symphony Orchecow Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Polish Radio Orchestra.
In 1996-2000 (together with Justyna Reksc-Raubo) he was artistic director of the concert cycle 'NONSTROM presents', held in Warsaw. Chosen as the Individuality of the Year 1997, he played a special concert on Polish Television Program I. A member of the NONSTROM ensemble since 1992, in 1998, together with this ensemble he won the Special Award in the 4th International Music Competition in Düsseldorf. He was nominated three times for the "Passport" Award of the "Polityka" Weekly (individually in 1999 and 2003, and with the NONSTROM ensemble in 1998).
In 2004, Grzybowski released the first CD album dedicated to his performances, with works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Alban Berg, Pawel Mykietyn, Arnold Schönberg and Pawel Szymanski, under the label of Universal Music Polska. In 2005 this CD was nominated for the Fryderyk Award of the Polish music record industry. In March 2005, Grzybowski played a recital of works by Fryderyk Chopin, Andrzej Czajkowski, Pawel Mykietyn and his own composition in Bologne's Mozart Hall - a concert hailed as one of the greatest artistic events there in recent years.