Celebrating the Andrzej Panufnik Centenary

Celebrating the Andrzej Panufnik Centenary

Andrzey Panufnik and his composer daughter Roxana
Andrzey Panufnik and His Composer Daughter Roxana


On 30 November 2014, the Brodsky Quartet and the Panufnik family and friends will hold a chamber music festival to mark the centenary of Anglo-Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik’s birth at Kings Place London. The festival will include performances of well-loved chamber works by Andrzej and the London premiere of a quartet written in memory of her father by Roxanna Panufnik premiered at the Cheltenham Music Festival at the beginning of July. The UK premiere of Jem Panufnik’s documentary “My Father, the Iron Curtain and Me” will be hosted by Norman Lebrecht, photographs of Andrzej Panufnik, as composer and family man, will be exhibited, and the day will culminate with a cabaret evening, led by Jacqui Dankworth and Charlie Wood.

Forged in the fires of the two World Wars, Andrzej Panufnik’s compositional output is inextricably linked with the major social and political events of the 20th century. Born in Warsaw at the onset of the First World War, he lived through the German occupation of the city in the Second World War and participated in musical resistance activities with the composer Lutosławski. Over the course of the conflict, Panufnik lost many of his closest relatives and saw his compositions consumed by the fires of the Warsaw Uprising. Initially fêted by the socialist government, he became unable to compose suitably ‘positive’ music and, accused of bourgeois decadence, made a dramatic escape to Britain in 1954. Panufnik spent the next 40 years in the UK and was knighted for his services to British music in 1991.

This Centenary Celebration will present chamber works spanning his life – from his piano trio (1934), reconstructed after the war, to his three string quartets (written between 1976 and 1990) to be performed by the Brodsky Quartet, ‘Artists in Residence’ at Kings Place. The programmes will feature complementary pieces by Andrzej’s daughter Roxanna as part of his legacy, including the London premiere of a new quartet especially written for the Brodsky Quartet. The Celebration will culminate in a 1930s Warsaw Cabaret evening, led by Jacqui Dankworth and Charlie Wood, who hope to highlight Panufnik’s ‘quirkiness and originality’.

Andrzej and Roxanna Panufnik’s music is close to the hearts of all the performers, many of whose centenary recordings will be featured at the festival. Heather Shipp’s Dreamscape, of songs and piano trios, was released by Signum Records in May 2014; Clare Hammond’s disc of the complete piano works of both Andrzej and Roxanna was released by BIS Records in June; and the Brodskys, Richard May and Robert Smissen will release a disc of Andrzej and Roxanna’s string quartets and sextets on Chandos in September. Paul Cassidy of the Brodsky Quartet praises Panufnik for his ‘unique voice’ and describes his music as ‘accessible, challenging, humorous and moving; attributes essential for all great music’.

All events to be held at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG.

‘Love Song’, Hall 1, 2.30pm with mezzo soprano Heather Shipp, pianist Clare Hammond and members of the Brodsky Quartet. Online Rates: £15.50, £19.50, Savers: £9.50

‘My Father, the Iron Curtain and Me’, St Pancras Room, 4pm with Norman Lebrecht and the Panufnik family. Online Rates: £6.50

‘O Vos Omnes’ (To You All), Hall 1, 6.30pm, with the Brodsky Quartet, cellist Richard May and violist Robert Smissen. Online Rates: £13.50, £15.50, £19.50, £24.50, Savers: £9.50, LCMS Members: £10

‘Warsaw Cabaret Evening’, Hall 2, 9pm with Jacqui Dankworth, Charlie Wood and friends. Online Rates: £9.50

Day Pass £30. There is a free Panufnik boxed set including CD, DVD, audiobook and extensive booklet, for the first 20 Day Pass purchasers (not available commercially).

Available from the Kings Place Box Office: 020 7520 1490  http://www.kingsplace.co.uk/panufnik

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