Ptaszynska, Marta

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Ptaszyńska, Marta

Ptaszyńska, Marta , Polish composer, percussionist, and teacher; b. Warsaw, July 29, 1943. She was a student in composition of Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw, where she also studied theory. She studied percussion with Jerzy Zgodziński at the State Higher School of Music in Poznan. In 1969–70 she pursued postgraduate studies in composition with Nadia Boulanger and at Centre Bour-dan in Paris. In 1972 she settled in the U.S. and received her Artist Diploma in percussion performance from the Cleveland Inst. of Music in 1974. While pursuing a career as a percussionist, she also taught at Bennington (Vt.) Coll., the Univ. of Calif, at Berkeley and at Santa Barbara, Ind. Univ., the Univ. of Cincinnati Coll.-Cons. of Music, and Northwestern Univ. In 1991 she became deputy director of the American Soc. for Polish Music. Her compositions have won various prizes, including the Polish Radio and TV Competition in 1972 and the Percussive Arts Soc. Competition of the U.S. in 1972 and 1976. In 1986 she took 2nd prize at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. She was awarded the Polish Composers’ Union Medal in 1988, the Officer’s Cross of Merit in 1995, and the Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation Prize of N.Y. in 1997.


DRAMATIC: Oscar z Alway (Oscar of Alva), television opera (1972); Pan Marimba (Mister Marimba), children’s opera (1993–95; Warsaw, May 1998). ORCH.: Improw-izacje (Improvisations; 1968; Krakow, March 26, 1971); Crystallites (1973; Bydgoszcz, Jan. 24, 1975); Spectri sonori (1973; Cleveland, Jan. 22, 1974); Percussion Quartet Concerto (Bennington, Vt., Oct. 20, 1974); La Novella d’inverno for Strings (1983–84; Lisbon, May 5, 1985); Marimba Concerto (1984–85); Alto Saxophone Concerto, Charlie’s Dream (1988); Ode to Praise All Famous Women (1992); Fanfare for Peace (Cincinnati, Nov. 18, 1994); Concerto grosso for 2 Violins and Chamber Orch. (1996; Warsaw, Jan. 26, 1997). CHAMBER: 4 Preludes for Vibraphone and Piano (1965); Scherzo for Xylophone and Piano (1967); Wariacje (Variations) for Flute (Warsaw, April 2, 1968); Recitativo, arioso e toccata for Violin (1968–75); Jeu-parti for Harp and Vibraphone (Paris, April 19, 1970); Mala fantazja meksykan-ska (Little Mexican Fantasy) for Percussion and Piano (1971); Madrigals “Canticum Sonarum” in memoriam Igor Strawinski for String Quartet, Woodwind Quartet, Trumpet, Trombone, and Gong (1971; Warsaw, May 18, 1972); Stress for Percussion and Tape (1971; Cleveland, April 29, 1973); Space Model for Percussion and Tape (Warsaw, May 20, 1971); Arabeska (Arabesque) for Harp (1972); Cadenza for Flute and Percussion (1972; Cleveland, April 1, 1974); Two Poems for Tuba (Cleveland, March 1973); Siderals for 2 Percussion Quintets and Light Projection (Urbana, 111., Nov. 21, 1974); Mobile for 2 Percussionists (1975); Classical Variations for Timpani and String Quartet (1976); Quodlibet for Double Bass and Tape (1976); Melodie z róinych stron (Tunes from Many Countries of the World) for Percussion Ensemble (1977); Synchromy for Percussion Trio (1978; Warsaw, April 22, 1979); Dream Lands, Magic Spaces for Violin, Piano, and 6 Percussionists (1978–79; San Jose, Nov. 13, 1980); Muzyka pieciu stopni (Music of Five Steps) for 2 Flutes and Percussion Ensemble (1979; Warsaw, July 12, 1980); 6 Bagatelles for Harp (1979); Scintilla for 2 Marimbaphones (1983); Kwiaty ksiezyca (Moon Flowers) for Cello and Piano (Warsaw, Sept. 27, 1986); Graffito for Marimba (1988); Ajikan-Unfolding Light for Flute and Percussion (Southampton, Sept. 10, 1989); Poetic Impressions for Wind Quintet and Piano (1991); Spider Walk for Percussion (1993); Four Portraits for String Quartet (N.Y., April 22, 1994); Mancala for 2 Violins (N.Y., April 15, 1997); Scherzo di fantasia for Euphonium and Piano (St. Louis, June 29, 1997). KEYBOARD: Piano: Farewell Souvenir (1975); Podróie w kosmos (Journeys into Space; 1978); Miniatury (Miniatures; 1982); Four Seasons for Piano, 4-Hands (1984); Music Alphabet for 2 Pianos (1985–86); Hommage à I.}. Paderewski (1992). Harpsichord: Touracou (Cleveland, April 21, 1974). VOCAL: Ba-jka o stowikach (A Tale of Nightingales) for Baritone, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Harp, Vibraphone, and Marimba (1968; Warsaw, Jan. 12, 1969); Vocalise for Soprano and Vibraphone (Breukelen, July 18, 1971); Epigrams for Women’s Chorus, Flute, Harp, Piano, and Percussion (1976–77; Santa Barbara, May 8, 1977); Un grand sommeil noir for Soprano, Flute, and Harp (1977); Dwa sonety do Orfeusza (Two Sonnets to Orpheus) for Middle Voice and Chamber Orch. (1980–81; Warsaw, Oct. 3, 1989); Ave Maria for 4 Men’s Voices, Brass Ensemble, Percussion, and Organ (Boston, Oct. 10, 1982; also for Men’s Chorus and Chamber Orch., 1987); Listy polskie (Polish Letters), cantata (1988; Warsaw, July 15, 1989); Songs of Despair and Loneliness for Mezzo-soprano and Piano (1988–89; Warsaw, Oct. 3, 1989); Holocaust Memorial Cantata (Schleswig-Holstein, Aug. 16, 1993); Cantiones Jubilationis: In Praise of Peace for Women’s Chorus and Percussion (Chicago, March 19, 1995); Silver Echoes of Distant Bells for Mezzo-soprano and String Quartet (N.Y., Dec. 10, 1995). OTHER: Soirée snobe chez la Princesse, instrumental theater (1979); children’s pieces.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire