Piotr Wojtasik: VOICES
A premiere of the latest project by Piotr Wojtasik, one of the most outstanding Polish jazz trumpeters, which has particularly strong ties with Wrocław, and which is also characterised by unique performance qualities, since it features outstanding jazzmen and the only synagogue choir in Poland. Piotr Wojtasik created exceptional compositions for the invited outstanding musicians:
Piotr Wojtasik – trumpet
Magdalena Zawartko – vocals
Julia Ziembińska – harp
Marcin Kaletka – saxophone
Michał Tokaj – piano
Adam Kowalewski – double bass
Kazimierz Jonkisz – percussion
Choir of the White Stork Synagogue in Wrocław, led by Stanisław Rybarczyk
Piotr Wojtasik: The sound of a choir has inspired me for many years, and I have been turning to it every now and then. Many years ago, I carried out projects with the Billy Harper Quintet and a choir, I also played Stanisław Fiałkowski’s compositions for trumpets and choir. These inspirations demanded some kind of fulfilment, and I eventually I decided to write something of my own. And let’s just say that the Choir of the White Stork Synagogue Choir is magnificent – they are made up of soloists with an amazing sound, they’re just brilliant. Thanks to them, my plans could finally see realisation, and our meeting resulted in cooperation.
Piotr Wojtasik was born on 10 June 1964 in Wrocław. The trumpet virtuoso, an exquisite improviser and composer, has been speaking his own unique musical language for more than 30 years now. He has recorded and performed in most European countries, as well as in Morocco, Israel, Canada, the United States, Japan and India. In the 1980s and 1990s he represented the modern bop trend, which has now taken on a more individual form, based in part on modal jazz with some elements of free and ethnic music. He regularly collaborates with various musicians, including John Betsch, Joris Teepe, Viktor Tóth, Steven McCraven, Nicolas Simion, Michał Barański, Michał Miśkiewicz and Michał Tokaj. For many years, he has been collaborating with legendary saxophonist Billy Harper. He took part in numerous special projects with world jazz giants, including Kenny Garrett, Joe Lovano and Archie Shepp. He also performed as a sideman in other bands, playing alongside renowned musicians, such as Victor Lewis, George Cables, Kirk Lightsey and Joe LaBarbera. He’s one of the few Polish musicians who are regularly invited to take part in international projects, such as Michel Donato Quintet and European Jazz Ensemble. He also participated as a session musician in recordings of dozens of albums. He has recorded 11 albums, which garnered great reviews among critics and music lovers. His albums Circle and Hope both received the prestigious Fryderyk Award – the Polish music industry award, while the majority of the remaining ones was nominated for it. Wojtasik himself received two Fryderyk Awards in 2008 in the Jazz Musician of the Year category and as the author of the Best Jazz Album of the Year – for Circle. He also topped the Jazz Top ranking run by the Jazz Forum magazine multiple times. The latest album – To Whom it May Concern – demonstrates Wojtasik’s sensitivity in terms of performance, composition, as well as in a carefully selected line-up of musicians.
Choir of the White Stork Synagogue in Wrocław – the Choir was founded in April 1996 on the initiative of Stanislaw Rybarczyk, a Wrocław-based conductor, as well as students and graduates of the Academy of Music in Wrocław, courtesy of the Jewish Religious Community in Wrocław. The ensemble performs on a regular basis in Poland and abroad. It took part in numerous festivals, including the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, “Wratislavia Cantans” Festival, Sacred Music Festival in Warsaw, Stage Song Festival in Wrocław, Gaude Mater Festival in Częstochowa and Music Festival in Łańcut. It gave concerts at the International Book Fair in Frankfurt am Main, and participated in the commemorative celebrations of Kristallnacht in Hanover, Brunswick, Berlin, Hamburg and Görlitz. The choir performed with the world’s most famous cantors: Joseph Malovany from New York, Alberto Mizrahi from Chicago, Moshe Schulhof from Miami, Roslyn Barak from San Francisco, Shmuel Barzil from Vienna, Moshe Stern from Jerusalem (the Great Synagogue cantor), Laszlo Fekete from Budapest, Avitall Gerstetter from Berlin, David Ullmann from Jerusalem, Israel Randem from Tel Aviv. The ensemble enjoys critical acclaim, with music critics expressing their enthusiasm towards the musicians’ skills, as well as the unforgettable atmosphere of their concerts.
Stanisław Rybarczyk – conductor, cultural animator, manager and teacher. He performed at numerous festivals, including Wratislavia Cantans, Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Gaude Mater Festival, Silesia Sonans, Legnica Cantat, Moniuszko Festival in Kudowa, Stage Song Review in Wrocław, as well as festivals in Madrid, Wiesbaden, Riga, Nancy, Berlin and Tallinn. He conducted concerts in philharmonics in Poland and abroad, and performed numerous times in most European countries and in China. He conducted many opera performances, including Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor, Verdi’s Nabucco, Paderewski’s Manru, Verdi’s Aida, Traviata, Il Trovatore, as well as Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. He was also responsible for a number of premiere performances, including Tabęcki’s The Polish Mass and Song of the World Oratorio. He made recordings for record companies, radio and television stations in Poland and abroad. Originator and artistic director of Wrocław’s Wieczory Tumskie (Cathedral Evenings), Koncerty Hawdalowe (Havdalah Concerts) as well as the SIMCHA Jewish Culture Festival, head of the Moniuszko Festival in Kudowa-Zdrój. Author of the End of the Century – Meeting of Cultures show. He collaborated on the development of some of the most outstanding shows, including Angels of Europe, Misterium Iniquitatis and Requiem Pro Pace. Artistic director of PRO ARTE Foundation, head of the Art & Business Direction Agency, chairman of the board of the “District of Mutual Respect of Four Faiths” Foundation.