LAST FULBRIGHT POST, 2017-18

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It is hard for me to believe not only that I have finished my Fulbright grant for 2017-18 at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, but that I have now been back in the U.S. for two weeks. 

.As a means of thanking all who made this possible and as a way for me to try to absorb this momentous last year, I would like to share some of my thoughts with you (and pictures too!). The words that come to mind in describing this experience are life-changing, amazing, inspiring, and challenging - sometimes very challenging!   But, this will always be one of the great highlights of my life.

Being the only musician in the English Faculty (WydziałAnglistyki) at Adam Mickiewicz University took some initial adjustment, for sure, but it proved to be a wonderful and meaningful year.  Through the Dean, Professor Katarzyna Dziubalska-Kołaczyk 's invitation to take part in this interdisciplinary experiment, I functioned as a sort of resource person or artist-in-residence, and this gave me contact with so many more people, than if I had just been in one classroom. I would say that this innovative, cutting-edge approach to learning was a remarkable and deep experience which was a “win” for everyone involved.  

Due to the flexibility of the Fulbright program and the Dean herself, I was really able to do everything that I had hoped to - teaching about American music and culture, continuing my research on the great Polish pianist and composer, Frederic Chopin, in his home country, and performing concerts.  But, in addition to these things, I had no idea before I went to Poland that I would be able to present an extra 35 performances, lecture-demonstrations, workshops, and conferences in 8 Polish cities and even in 1 other country, Denmark.  This was truly exciting for me.

Specifically, in the English faculty, I taught two classes on American music and culture, "The Musical Legacy of Immigration," and "Music and The Movies."  My WA students were great, the courses were a lot of fun to teach, and I believe and hope that I helped increase the students’ understanding and awareness about the American music and film culture that they love so much.

I was also able to give a huge variety of other presentations, usually involving me taking my keyboard along so I could demonstrate how music, language, and culture intersect.  I did things like visit graduate seminars, first-year English classes, the Culture Vultures Club and the Language, Gender, and Sexuality Club.  I also played the English Faculty Christmas party, several faculty recitals and lectures, and participated in American Education Week.

But, the thing of which I am most proud and which has most meaning for me is that - through music - I was able to reach hundreds and hundreds of Polish people.  I was able to visit Polish primary and secondary schools, play several U.S. Embassy events, form a choir with some of my fellow Fulbrighters, and even play a concert in the unlikely and unusual venue of the Stary Browar shopping Mall in Poznan!  All of this reconfirming for me that music truly is the universal language.

Most importantly, this Fulbright year and my Adam Mickiewicz experience has reaffirmed for me the great power we have as individuals to reach out to people across the world to find our similarities and the things that we share in common.  This is needed now more than ever in this world.

I would like to thank the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission, Dean Dziubalska-Kołaczyk, and especially you, my readers, for going on this journey with me.  Below you will find some photos from May and June, including the memorable Fulbright Graduation Ceremony on June 8. 

Wishing you all the best,

Pamela Howland

Poznan Spring, 2018.  View on the River Warta, behind our apartment.

The famous Poznan Mural on the side of a building.

Two different groups on May 21 visit to Katolicka Szkoła Podstawowa i Liceum, Poznan - high schoolers, and dancing 4th-6th graders.

Playing for the English Faculty Graduation at AMU, May 26.

Images from May 28 "A Fusion of Two Musical Worlds" concert at AMU Aula, with Stan Breckenridge.

I presented at the "Nostalgia in Contemporary Society" Conference at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, on June 3-4, and we loved Copenhagen also:  mural on the side of a building en route to Odense, rhubarb and asparagus in a market, and the Copenhagen Opera House.

On June 10 I had the honor of playing a concert at the Piotr Janowski Festival in Grudziadz, Poland.  I played solo and four-hand with Piotr's widow, pianist and  Frederic Chopin University of Music Professor, Joanna Maklakiewicz, in a beautiful park named after my former beloved chamber music professor.

June 17, on my last research trip in search of Szafarnia. The town is close to Torun, and the scenery was not only beautiful but took us back in time.  This is where Chopin spent his summers when he was 14 and 15 and where he learned so much about mazurkas.

On June 8 we celebrated Fulbright Graduation.  I had the honor and pleasure of being in Poland this year with about 35 other Fulbrighters who are not only wonderful human beings, but brilliant and talented, too! We performed music, accepted diplomas from Justyna Janiszewska, Director of the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission, Alesander Danda, Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, and John C. Law, U.S. Embassy Warsaw.  And finally, we spent our last time together - especially our little Polish family, including, Sasha Whitaker, Olivia Schimmel, Wendell Myers, Deanna Segal, and Hannah Gill.  We have definitely made some new friends!  

(This site pamelahowland.com is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of its author Pamela Howland and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.)            

POLISH POSTERS & CONCERTS in April & May

During April and May I have had the great pleasure of giving several concerts and interacting with students at both the University of Warsaw and Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, my host institution.  

The ingenuity of Polish designers of posters never fails to amaze me.  So, I have included a few here, along with several accompanying photos and links from these very diverse performances, in hopes that you will enjoy them too!

Concert at Łaźnia Galeria, Radom, April 16, 2018.   Thanks especially to Karolina Adamczyk & Ula Malmon, American Corner Radom, and Beata Drozdowska, Dyrektor at Łaźnia Galeria.

Radom community audience, and Steinway instrument, April 16, 2018. Photo:  Joanna Gołąbek/Echo Dina Radom.

Performance Talk for Students of American Literature Studies & Department of Cultural Studies at The University of Warsaw, April 18, 2018.

With students, my host Professor Justyna Włodarczyk. and colleagues, and Dan Hastings, Cultural Attache, U.S. Embassy, Warsaw (left), plus a podcast of the event:  https://programrozszerzony.podbean.com/e/pamela-howland-on-the-american-musical-tradition/   Photo:  University of Warsaw.  Podcast:  Professor Piotr Szymczak.

Concert for the public at Poznań's most elegant shopping Mall - Stary Browar (the old renovated brewery).  I truly enjoyed sharing my music with the many people who stayed for the entire show, as well as the many people passing through.  It is great to be able to bring music to people in such an unusual venue.  April 28, 2018.

Two views of this concert, and an article by the U.S. Embassy, Warsaw   https://pl.usembassy.gov/ 

Photo:  Jakub Krzyżanowski

 

Masterclass/workshop given with Stan Breckenridge for one of the many active clubs at Adam Mickiewicz University's English Faculty, the Culture Vultures.  It was fun to share our process in performing four-hand piano music, and to listen to students perform.            May 8, 2018.  Photo:  Lisa Konczal/Vérité Creative.

A happy student group.  Photo:  Wendell Myers

(This site pamelahowland.com is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of its author Pamela Howland and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.) 

SPRING COMES TO POLAND

SPRING COMES TO POLAND

  Easter comes to a market in Poznan, March 2018.

Easter comes to a market in Poznan, March 2018.

As I write this, spring has begun coming to Poland and it is welcome!  The last 3 months – January, February, and March  have reminded us of the power of wintry weather in the North.  Having grown up in a very similar climate to Poznan, but then having lived in the South for 30+ years, it has been a challenge for us this year.  Having made it to April, we are now confident in the joy of the rest of the Fulbright experience, with just 11+ weeks left.

Here are highlights from this winter:

In January, I visited a lively, creative, and nurturing primary school in Lubon, a suburb of Poznan.  I presented 2 different classes for 6-9 year olds, and 10-12 year olds (1st to 6th graders).  The students were completely charming, and wonderfully fluent in English for their young years.  I performed American music for them and taught them a few American songs, and we talked about music’s power.  I also answered their many questions in English as they “interviewed” me; for example, “Do you like strawberries?” “ Do you like blueberries?” “Do you have a dog?” and
“Do you speak other languages,?” These questions were put to me by brave and serious students!  And finally, I was gifted with a beautiful bouquet at the end of my time there, along their wonderful original art renditions of me playing the piano.

The Polish University system has a very different calendar than the U.S. system.  Nearly the entire month of February is an exam period and a holiday time. 

So, we took advantage of this for a needed 5 day vacation to the enchanting (and warmer) Portugal.  This was our first of many visits, we hope!

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At the end of February, I performed at the 9th edition of the annual Chopin Birthday Concerts festival in Warsaw.  Following a solo concert on February 26, I had the fun of performing some 4-hands with fellow Fulbright chemistry scholar and pianist, Jiwon Park. *** In addition, my new class on American Movie Music began, and I am able to share my love of great movie music over a chronological survey of wonderful movies/scores spanning “The Wizard of Oz” to “Dunkirk.” In late January, we traveled to Sopot/Gdansk up on the Baltic, to see a screening of  “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings,”  complete with full symphonic orchestra and 100 piece choir rendering Howard Shore’s accompanying score live.  It was a wonderful way to prepare for my class!*** Pictures from these***events appear at the end of this blog!

 

On March 8th, I gave a Distinguished Faculty Recital for the Faculty of English at Adam Mickiewicz University, Lubranski Hall.  The hall was packed with both older and younger listeners coming together to hear my combination of Chopin and The Beatles.  I was humbled and delighted by their enthusiasm, the beautiful bouquets, and the attendance of some of my little students from Lubon. What a wonderful audience!

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I greatly look forward to many more exciting events for the last part of my Fulbright, but am also aware that I will be missing some parts of Poland when I return!  Stay tuned for more spring updates to follow.

Wishing you a beautiful spring,

Pam

 

 

 

Two views from our apartment in Poznan, March 2018.

Sopot, Poland - snow on the Baltic beach, January, 2018; Solo Concert, Warsaw, February 26th, 2018; Fulbright Reception after Concert on February 28th, 2018 with Jarek Cholodecki and Jiwon Park (Fulbright student scholar).

(This site pamelahowland.com is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of its author Pamela Howland and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.) 

Happy New Year 2018 from Poland

Happy New Year 2018 from Poland

I had the great honor of performing at the 100th Anniversary of the Fourteen Points Address, 2018 Warsaw, Poland on Monday, January 8th.  This is the important moment-100 years ago - in Polish history when American President Woodrow Wilson put forth these points,  #13 being that there should be an independent Polish State - thus bringing back sovereignty to this beleaguered country.

At this event, the U.S. Ambassador, Paul Jones, presented a commemorative Woodrow Wilson Plaque, and there was a concert of music from the 1930s and 1940s.

I performed the famous Paderewski "Minuet," as well as Gershwin's "Summertime," 1935, and Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow," 1939.  Paderewski was not only an important and beloved virtuoso pianist, but he was also a diplomat politican, serving as prime minister in 1919 for the newly sovereign Poland.  Although Paderewski had written his famous "Minuet" in 1877, he was featured - 50 years later  - performing this hugely popular composition in a 1937 film called "Moonlight Sonata."  Can you imagine having a "hit" song that lasted more than 50 years that you were continually being asked to perform?  Clearly Paderewski's musical ability did as much for peace and harmony as his did his diplomatic talents.

Also featured on the concert was the Szymanowski Young Power Big Band.  This was a wonderfully gifted group of high school youth with an amazing and mature sound.  They are going places!

What a great way to start the new year.  My Fulbright continues with many exciting challenges and as always, I feel honored to have this opportunity to learn more about both Poland and America.  In December and January I also had wonderful experiences meeting and performing for Polish people - for colleagues at the University of Gdansk at the 2nd International Memory, Melancholy & Nostalgia conference, and students at 3 locations- university students in Warsaw, high school students in Sopot, and 70 6th-graders in Poznan.  

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL - may 2018 bring peace and harmony to our world!

(This site pamelahowland.com is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of its author Pamela Howland and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.) 

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  University of Warsaw English Students, with Professor Justin Wlodarczyk, January 9, 2018

University of Warsaw English Students, with Professor Justin Wlodarczyk, January 9, 2018

  2nd International Interdisciplinary Memory, Melancholy & Nostalgia Conference, Dec. 7-8, 2018

2nd International Interdisciplinary Memory, Melancholy & Nostalgia Conference, Dec. 7-8, 2018

  Gdansk, Poland

Gdansk, Poland

   II Liceum  Ogólnoksztąłcące, al. Niepodległości in Sopot at the  100 Lat Razem! U.S. Embassy Celebration of Polish-American Ties, Dec. 6

 II Liceum  Ogólnoksztąłcące, al. Niepodległości in Sopot at the  100 Lat Razem! U.S. Embassy Celebration of Polish-American Ties, Dec. 6

  Primary School #7, Poznan - Christmas in America, for 70 6th-graders! December 13, 2018

Primary School #7, Poznan - Christmas in America, for 70 6th-graders! December 13, 2018

  January 8th, 2018 100th Anniversary of the Fourteen Points Address at Fort Sokolnickiego, Warsaw

January 8th, 2018 100th Anniversary of the Fourteen Points Address at Fort Sokolnickiego, Warsaw

3 THANKSGIVINGS - November in Poland

3 THANKSGIVINGS - November in Poland

We began the month of November with a trip to the Poznan zoo on November 5 with beautiful Fall weather.  Since then, we have had to accept the fact that for the next while it is colder and sun is going down at 4:00 - and we are still a ways away from the shortest day of the year!  

HOWEVER, the bright news is the work and people here!  Recently, I have traveled to Leszno on November 16 to perform at a high school and participated in 3 Thanksgivings by coordinating musical entertainment including my solo piano music, accompanying singers, and leading a choir!  

The 1st event was at 1:00 p.m. on November 23 at the beautiful old Stary Dom restaurant in Warsaw , hosted for Fulbrighters and guests by the Polish Fulbright Commission. It was a beautiful and delicious Polish take on the Thanksgiving meal.  The 2nd event was at 6:30 p.m. that same night at Nowy Swiat Muzyki, hosted for friends of Poland and America, thanks to the creator of this annual event, Jarek Cholodecki.  We Fulbrighters presented another program, and got an additional delicious take on the the Thanksgiving meal.

On Monday, November 27 we traveled to Krakow (a six hour train ride from Poznan) and participated in the U.S. Consul General's Thanksgiving, held at his residence.  Again, it was a wonderful meal and a thoroughly American celebration.  

It was so gratifying to be making music at these events. Having young and old  singing together in celebration of Thanksgiving, followed by a musical start to the holiday season was very special to those of us far from home.  What a reminder that we all have so much for which we can  be grateful!

Wishing you a beautiful December from Poland.

(This site pamelahowland.com is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of its author Pamela Howland and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.) 

OCTOBER 2017 in POLAND for the FULBRIGHT

OCTOBER 2017 in POLAND for the FULBRIGHT

OCOTBER in POLAND has been intense, busy, wonderful, and full of new experiences.  Sharing music with audiences and students here in Poland has been the familiar experience and it acts as a sort of anchor.  Teaching started on October 3 with my undergraduate seminar called "The Musical Legacy of Immigration" - about the origins of American music.  I have a great class of 20 interesting students.  During the 2nd week of October we went to Warsaw, and I had two performances there on the 16th and 18th; the first at Nowy Swiat Muzyki and the 2nd at the Chopin Salon, where a lot of the Warsaw Fulbrighters were in attendance.  On my day off we had a wonderful time seeing the "golden leaves" at Łazienki Park, where the famous summer Chopin concerts are held.  On the 24th I had the great opportunity of giving a lecture-performance for the CULTURE VULTURE club of the English Department at my university, Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań.  My presentation was called "NIGHT MUSIC:  Perspectives on the work of Frederic Chopin and Kazuo Ishiguro."

IN GETTING READY FOR THE FULBRIGHT there was so much preparation this past summer  - lectures and classes, my music for performances, getting physicals and shots and doctor/dentist visits, seeing friends - that we didn't give too much thought to the idea of what it would be like to live in Poland for nearly a year.  We have had some wonderful visits to Poland, but it is a very different thing from living here!

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES - while many more Polish people speak English than in past years, there are still many others who don't - and many signs are only in Polish.  So, it is sometimes hard to know what to do in very common place situations - taking a train (not all that common in truth, where we live), buying tickets, checking out at the grocery store, reading notices posted in the apartment building lobby, etc.  I am currently taking Polish class 6 hours a week - and for the first time I feel that just maybe there's a future possibility that I might actually be able to speak it someday--:) "Trzymam kciuky!" (meaning, "I'm covering my thumbs" - the Polish equivalent of "I'm crossing my fingers" for good luck!).

Every day we walk A LOT. Every day we go to the grocery store.  And then we walk some more...but this is actually a great thing!  Yes, there are buses and trams, but WALKING + WALKING = CAKE AND MORE CAKE (one of the best parts of living in Poland!)  Many simple tasks take more effort to accomplish than in America where life is so easy because you just hop in your car and go- and that is definitely different for us.  At the same time, the Polish people we have encountered who are hard working (which is all of them) seem to be enjoying life and people more - they have time for conversation, for making music, for showing strangers where to go.  For instance, we have had this experience repeatedly--when we have asked for directions, rather than just telling us, people have actually stopped what they were doing to take us where we needed to go ---- whether that was a book store or a coffee machine.  

TRAVEL IS of course, a great way to reflect about things like what is and is not working in our lives, what we like and do not like about where we live, etc. Certainly there are many things that we miss in North Carolina and the U.S. that perhaps, we have taken for granted.  At the same time, it is wonderful to be in a safe place where people aren't quite so stressed or hurried as in our typical lives.  We are learning from this, and while of course still missing our friends and loved ones, we are also so incredibly grateful for this unique experience.  Thanks for reading - and please enjoy some beautiful October moments in the pictures below! ....................all photos courtesy of my very talented and patient husband, Wendell Myers - wendellmyers.com

(This site pamelahowland.com is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of its author Pamela Howland and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.) 

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 EVERYDAY CHOPIN CONCERTS AT NOWY SWIAT MUZYKI IN WARSAW, OCTOBER 16, 2017

EVERYDAY CHOPIN CONCERTS AT NOWY SWIAT MUZYKI IN WARSAW, OCTOBER 16, 2017

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 LAZIENKI PARK, WARSAW

LAZIENKI PARK, WARSAW

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 FALL ART

FALL ART

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 FULBRIGHTERS POST-CONCERT WITH OUR HOST, JAREK CHOLODECKI, B AND B OWNER

FULBRIGHTERS POST-CONCERT WITH OUR HOST, JAREK CHOLODECKI, B AND B OWNER

 "NOCTURNES:  Perspectives on the Work of Frederic Chopin & Kazuo Ishiguro" presentation at Adam Mickiewicz U CULTURE VULTURE club, October 24, 2017.

"NOCTURNES:  Perspectives on the Work of Frederic Chopin & Kazuo Ishiguro" presentation at Adam Mickiewicz U CULTURE VULTURE club, October 24, 2017.

First Week of the Fulbright in POLAND

It is very hard to believe that we are into the 2nd week in Poland already!  We arrived last Monday, Sept. 18 and moved into our new apartment in Poznan.  It is only about a 15 minute walk from Adam Mickiewicz University.  Poznan is a delightful mix of old and new - there is a wonderful Old Town Square which is very close to  the old brewery-now renovated into a very sophisticated new mall - Stary Browar.  

 First Night in Poznan - view from our apartment.

First Night in Poznan - view from our apartment.

 Some of my favorite buildings in the Old Square

Some of my favorite buildings in the Old Square

 Old Town Square, Poznan 

Old Town Square, Poznan 

 Inside the STARY BROWAR Mall - many levels in this renovated brewery.   

Inside the STARY BROWAR Mall - many levels in this renovated brewery.

 

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On Wednesday, Sept. 20 we headed to Warsaw via train for the 3-day Fulbright Orientation.  The above picture is a view from the University of Warsaw Library, where part of the meeting was held (looking towards the Old Town).

Meeting my fellow-fulbriyhters was an incredible experience.  We were 5 (old) professors, 18 English teaching assistants, and 16 student scholars from all over the U.S.  The enthusiasm, creativity and talent in this bunch is quite amazing --- people are here studying/teaching everything from theatre, literature, law to- astronomy, physics and sustainability.  We are stationed all over Poland, with larger concentrations of groups in Warsaw, Krakow, and Poznan - but also the towns of Rzeszow, Szczecin, Lodz, and others.  The meeting was INTENSE (with lectures on all aspects of Poland), but a wonderful start of building a community away from home, thanks for the Fulbright planners in the Warsaw Office.  

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Poznan is in the Wielkoposkie region of Poland (central west).  It was once under Prussian rule, but Poland will soon be celebrating 100 years of sovereignty in 2018.  There are 5 of us here - me, Sasha(student scholar), and Deanna, Hannah, Olivia (all English TAs).  We look forward to gathering often to share our experiences.  See all of us below!

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We returned to Poznan late Sunday night, and now the fun work begins.  I had my first tour of Adam Mickiewicz yesterday, Tuesday, Sept. 26, and was able to try out one of their beautiful Steinways (upon which I will hopefully be practicing soon! :)  What a great welcome I have received - thank you UAM!

 ALL of us America Fulbright Grantees - a wonderful and lucky bunch!  (This site, pamelahowland.com, is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of its author Pamela Howland and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.” )

ALL of us America Fulbright Grantees - a wonderful and lucky bunch!

(This site, pamelahowland.com, is not an official Fulbright Program site. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of its author Pamela Howland and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.” )

NEW CD SINGLE

I am happy to announce the release today of my new arrangement, Amazing Grace Celtic Medley.  In it I weave together favorite Celtic songs, anchored by the eternal "Amazing Grace."  I created this piece in honor of my Dad and his love for his Scots heritage.  I hope you enjoy it - you can find it at http://cdbaby.com/cd/pamelahowland18

Stay tuned for a new blog series beginning tomorrow, Sunday, September 17 when we leave for my Fulbright year in Poland!

Wishing you all the best,  Pam

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EXCITING FULBRIGHT NEWS!

EXCITING FULBRIGHT NEWS!

I wanted to share with you my exciting news.  I have received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Poland for teaching/research in the 2017-18 academic year.  We will be going to Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland and couldn't be more delighted.  My project, "The Musical Legacy of Immigration," will include teaching Polish students about American music and continuing my Chopin research while in Poland.  

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries that are needed to solve global challenges. This year marks the 71st anniversary of the Fulbright Program's establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas.  Since then, the Program has given more than 360, 000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

I am thrilled and honored to have this opportunity to use music - the universal language - as a vehicle for fostering goodwill, communication, and inspiration. 

CHOPIN BIRTHDAY CONCERTS Festival 2017, Warsaw, Poland

CHOPIN BIRTHDAY CONCERTS Festival 2017, Warsaw, Poland

This great festival http://chopin.smolna.org was celebrated for the 8th time on February 22-March 1, 2017 at the Nowy Swiat Muzyki http://nowyswiatmuzyki.pl.  It was a complete joy to participate in such a widely varied program which featured daily events from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., including over 110 performers on two stages, performing music for children, solo Chopin, chamber music and jazz in over 90 concerts- 5,000 audience members and participants.

I was honored (and challenged) to play 4 different programs in 5 days!  They ranged from my one-woman show REMEMBERING FREDERIC:  A Musical Conversation Between Chopin and George Sand on Feb. 23, to a wonderful collaboration with two improvisational dancers Hanna Jurczak and Ksenia Opria on Feb. 25, to a jazz performance ("playing FOR Chopin") with Stan Breckenridge on Feb. 26, and concluding with a solo recital on Feb. 27th.  See photos and hear excerpts below!

I congratulate the wonderful group of organizers and thank them for such a visionary way to celebrate the life and music of Frederic Chopin on his 207th birthday!

 Pam as Chopin/Sand after one-woman show with Polish violinist Mareusz Strzelecki, February 23, 2017.

Pam as Chopin/Sand after one-woman show with Polish violinist Mareusz Strzelecki, February 23, 2017.

 Pam and dancers Ksenia Opria and Hania Jurczak with host and founder of this festival, Jarek Cholodecki, after successful collaboration to music of Chopin and Gershwin, February 25, 2017

Pam and dancers Ksenia Opria and Hania Jurczak with host and founder of this festival, Jarek Cholodecki, after successful collaboration to music of Chopin and Gershwin, February 25, 2017

Pam with dancers Ksenia and Hania in am impromptu "Over the Rainbow," February 25, 2017.

 Pam and Stan Breckenridge, February 26, 2017.

Pam and Stan Breckenridge, February 26, 2017.

a brief excerpt of "Song For My Father," four-hand piano with Stan Breckenridge, February 26, 2017.

Pam playing excerpts from her the Chopin and Beatles pairs, February 27, 2017.

FEBRUARY 2017 CONCERTS

FEBRUARY 2017 CONCERTS

February is the Month of Chopin!  Scholars still have yet to decide on which was Chopin's real birthdate-- February 22 or March 1, 1810.  Leave it to Warsaw's musical innovators at NOWY SWIAT MUZYKI to create an EIGHT day festival called CHOPIN BIRTHDAY CONCERTS (at ulica Nowy Swiat 63 in Warsaw). This is the 8th edition of this marvelous event featuring all-day programming.  While I have been invited to perform at this festival before, this is the first year that it has been possible for me to go.  I am thrilled and practicing a lot!  I am honored and excited to be performing 4 different concerts in the 10 days I am there.  In addition, my documentary film  REMEMBERING FREDERIC:  The Genius of Chopin will be screened, and I will be giving a workshop for pianists.  So, if you are in Warsaw, please stop by.  All concerts are free.  If you can't make it to Poland, come see REMEMBERING FREDERIC:  A Musical Conversation Between Chopin and George Sand on Friday, February 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the Olde Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, South Carolina, sponsored by Lancaster Cultural Arts Center for free.  

Here's wishing you a wonderful February and please try to listen to some Chopin!  All the best, Pam

Below is the schedule:

  Thursday, February 23 at 6:00 p.m.  REMEMBERING FREDERIC:  A Musical Conversation Between Chopin and George Sand .  One-woman show written and performed by Pamela Howland, is both a theatre and concert performance in English (Polish translations available).  75 minutes   

Thursday, February 23 at 6:00 p.m.  REMEMBERING FREDERIC:  A Musical Conversation Between Chopin and George Sand.  One-woman show written and performed by Pamela Howland, is both a theatre and concert performance in English (Polish translations available).  75 minutes

 

  Saturday, February 25 at 8:00 p.m .   Nocturnal Concert  featuring music of Chopin, The Beatles, and American composers Joplin, Gershwin, and others.  45 minute concert.

Saturday, February 25 at 8:00 p.m.  Nocturnal Concert featuring music of Chopin, The Beatles, and American composers Joplin, Gershwin, and others.  45 minute concert.

  Sunday, February 26 at 9:00 p.m.  Jazz Concert featuring Pamela Howland and Stan Breckenridge Duo featuring their four-hand piano, and piano and vocal selections.  30 minutes, to be followed by the Stan Breckenridge Trio.

Sunday, February 26 at 9:00 p.m. Jazz Concert featuring Pamela Howland and Stan Breckenridge Duo featuring their four-hand piano, and piano and vocal selections.  30 minutes, to be followed by the Stan Breckenridge Trio.

  Monday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m .   Chopin Meets The Beatles:  Songs of Love, Loss, and Longing .  Howland’s innovative pairing of favorite Chopin masterworks with her own Chopin-inspired Beatles arrangements.  45 minutes, sponsored by the Chopin Society.

Monday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m.  Chopin Meets The Beatles:  Songs of Love, Loss, and Longing.  Howland’s innovative pairing of favorite Chopin masterworks with her own Chopin-inspired Beatles arrangements.  45 minutes, sponsored by the Chopin Society.

In Memory of my Dad

A week ago yesterday we were saying goodbye to my Dad in a final service for him in Wisconsin.  He had a beautiful life - 93 years.  But,  I will miss him for the rest of my life... his kindness, gentleness, generosity, humor, wisdom, and passion for doing the right thing. These are just some of the things he has left with us, and I am so grateful for that legacy.  At the service, I played two very different pieces - one fairly upbeat, and the other mournful.  The first was a Celtic medley I arranged based on "Amazing Grace," including some of his favorite Scots songs.  The second was by the wonderful composer Paul Schoenfield, who I had met in 1986.  The piece I played, "Achat Shaalti," the 2nd movement from Six Improvisations on Hassidic Melodies, is both mournful and peaceful, at the same time.  The title comes from Bible Psalm 27:  "One thing I ask from the Lord, one thing I desire - that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the pleasantness of the Lord and to meditate in his temple."  

To say that music helps us in dealing with and healing our grief sounds so obvious and almost silly - but the truth is that it is  one of the greatest tools that has ever been given to us for healing and reflection- a kaleidoscope of forgiveness, patience, non-judgement, warmth, and all-embracing comfort.  It is whatever we need at the time to encourage our feelings - whether deep dark despair, bright hope, or bittersweet reminiscence.  

Recently, I read a powerful memoir by an author who said that when she was in the throws of addiction, she absolutely could not tolerate listening to music because it made her 'remember her heart' and feel her aloneness so acutely that she simply could not stand it.  But as she was returning to her life and health, and in this process of putting her world back together,  music now gave her immense comfort and connection with her feelings.  I had never imagined anyone feeling like music wasn't their best friend or companion - a necessary and saving grace always; I was horrified by the bleakness of a world or a life without music....where would we be without it?  I'm sure you have your own unique answer to that.  

I would like you to have a recording I made of the Schoenfield piece, and I hope that it speaks to you.  Even though I have played this piece many times, both at concerts and  funerals, the only recording I have is from way back in 2001 (I play this piece at a slower tempo by choice, these days!).  You can find it at the top of my Sound Cloud page, along with some other music I recorded with my dear friend - the late, great tenor Richard Heard, who we also mourn this year.

https://soundcloud.com/pamela-howland-music