The concert’s programme consists, among others, of the following masterpieces by Piazzolla: Milonga is Coming, Melancólico Buenos Aires, Balada Para Mi Muerte, Tango Suite, Vuelvo al Sur, Adiós Nonino, Verano Porteño, Milonga per tre, Preludio para el Año 3001, and Tango Ballet.
Piazzolla’s timeless music will be presented by our Artists: guitarist Krzysztof Meisinger, singing actress Aneta Todorczuk, and bassist Michał Sobuś.
Another star of these three evenings at the Lentz Villa is Royal String Quartet, consisting of: Izabella Szałaj-Zimak (1st violin), Elwira Przybyłowska (2nd violin), Paweł Czarny (viola), and Michał Pepol (cello). The Quartet has repeatedly appeared at the BBC Proms. Its reputation has been enhanced by a special concert performed for Queen Elisabeth II.
Saturday, 28th Jan. 2023, 5 and 8 p.m.
Sunday, 29th Jan. 2023, 5 p.m.
Tickets are available from:
- Krzysztof Meisinger
- The Royal String Quartet
- Michał Sobuś
- Aneta Todorczuk
The Royal String Quartet
- Izabella Szałaj-Zimak – 1st violin
- Elwira Przybyłowska – 2nd violin
- Paweł Czarny – viola
- Michał Pepol – cello
20 years of joint music-making, 17 internationally critically acclaimed albums, two Fryderyk Awards and six Fryderyk nominations; concerts on all continents, and a loyal audience. Moreover, 15 years of the Kwartesencja festival, promoting artistically ambitious projects that escape all genre classification.
Today, the Royal String Quartet is a globally recognisable brand. In contact with their exuberance, artistic ingenuity, exploring spirit, and openness to new challenges, it is hard to believe that they have been performing together for so many years. ‘While playing we look for extreme emotions in ourselves’, declare the quartet members. In the quartet’s interpretations critics have praised a multitude of vivid ‘textures and colours, supported by the insightful knowledge of the musical construction’ (BBC Music Magazine). Their rendition is ‘confident and energetic, characterised by a vast array of dynamics and timbres, with carefully planned, surprising twists’ (Gramophone).
As students they would come to London for master classes held by the Amadeus Quartet and longingly look at the chamber musicians’ mecca – the Wigmore Hall. Today they can already pride themselves on as many as fifteen recitals at this venue. Working on their sound and diligently practising quartet literature classics, little did the quartet members think that they would soon become experts in 20th- and 21st-century music. When they were setting up their ensemble at Warsaw’s Chopin Academy of Music in 1998, they most likely did not suspect that they would soon be able to combine the classical quartet sound with song, folk, jazz, and even club music, while the list of their achievements and successes would become long enough to be shared among several such quartets.
Technical precision, clarity of musical form, and impeccable style are the foundations on which the Royal String Quartet have built their career. Apart from the Amadeus Quartet, they owe the most to the Alban Berg Quartet (postgraduate studies in Cologne, 2001-2004), the Camerata Quartet, and Ryszard Duź from the Wilanów Quartet. Hard work and the acquired skills have been recognised with a series of awards, among others, in Casale Monferato (Italy), Cracow, Kuhmo (Finland), and the prestigious Banff competition. The RSQ are also recipients of the Borletti-Buitoni trust award ‘for outstanding musicians on the threshold of their career’ and a Special Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage ‘in recognition of contributions to the Polish culture’. In 2007 they were nominated for the prestigious UK Royal Philharmonic Society award.
The sound of the quartet has become familiar to music lovers worldwide thanks to their cooperation with BBC. In the years 2004-2006, the ensemble was part of the elite New Generation Artist scheme, which led to numerous performances, recordings (some of which were released on CDs sold with the BBC Music Magazine), and radio broadcasts. Since then, the quartet’s concerts can regularly be heard on Polish Radio Channel 2, BBC 3, and many other radio stations. The RSQ’s recitals have been broadcast by Mezzo TV and TVP Kultura. A special concert performed for Queen Elizabeth II played a major role in building the quartet’s reputation. Since that time, the word ‘royal’ in their name, which, according to the quartet’s members, had been a rather spontaneous, random choice, acquired quite a new meaning…
Widely appreciated at the world’s major festivals, they have performed five times at the BBC Proms, as well as at the City of London Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, West Cork Music in Ireland, Schleswig Holstein and Rheingau Festivals in Germany, the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw, the ‘Sacrum Profanum’ in Cracow, the ‘Wratislavia Cantans’ in Wrocław, and the Australian Perth International Arts Festival. Apart from Wigmore Hall, the quartet has given recitals at London’s Cadogan Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, Washington’s National Gallery of Art, Phillips Collection, and the Smithsonian Institute (on a set of Antonio Stradivari’s instruments), Studio 104 at Paris Maison de la Radio, Bordeaux Grand Theatre, Prague’s Martinů Hall, Brussels’ Palais des Beaux-Arts, Konzerthäuser in Vienna and Berlin, the Sejong Center in Seoul, Beijing Concert Hall, Stockholm Konserthuset, as well as the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio in Warsaw, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra seat in Katowice, and Warsaw Philharmonic.
In 2008 the quartet’s achievements led to a contract with the UK Hyperion Records. The RSQ has become a leading ambassador of Polish culture. They have recorded four albums of quartets by Karol Szymanowski and Ludomir Różycki (premiere recordings), the complete string quartets by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Witold Lutosławski, as well as compositions by Paweł Szymański and Paweł Mykietyn. Recently they have been commissioned by Hyperion to record works by the British modern classic James MacMillan (2018). The ensemble’s releases have been highly acclaimed by reviewers from, among others, Gramophone Magazine (Editor’s Choice), BBC Music Magazine (Disc of the Month), Diapason, and The Strad.
As passionate promoters of achievements by the young generation of avant-garde composers, the quartet members are deeply dedicated to working on new pieces, learning unconventional techniques, and undertaking unusual tasks (acting included!). This has borne fruit, among other things, in the form of the DVD Liminal Studies (featuring audio-visual compositions by Wojtek Blecharz) and the CD Umbrae (quartets by Andrzej Kwieciński; Bôłt Records 2017). For their albums released in Poland by DUX and BeArTon, the quartet has received two Fryderyk Awards of the Polish Phonographic Academy.
The quartet’s artistic friends include the best classical instrumentalists and singers, such as Angela Hewitt, Sir Thomas Allen, Mark Padmore, Urszula Kryger, Stephen Kovacevich, Janusz Olejniczak, Martin Fröst, Ingolf Wunder, Maciej Frąckiewicz, Marcin Zdunik, Andrzej Bauer, Łukasz Kuropaczewski, Wojciech Świtała, the Škampa, Silesian, and Kwadrofonik string quartets.
The wish to overcome the classical conventions in search for new forms of expression as well as the need to reach a wider-than-philharmonic audience has led to unique meetings with artists working in radically different parts of the music scene. Worth mentioning in this context is the album Kayah & Royal Quartet (Kayax/Agora 2010), which won wide acclaim and became a Gold Record. The theatrical project ‘Nowa Warszawa’ (‘New Warsaw’) was a recital of songs about Poland’s capital, sung by Stanisława Celińska in sophisticated arrangements by Bartek Wąsik (Nowy Theatre, 2012).
In 2004 the RSQ members founded their own festival, Kwartesencja, which has by now become one of Warsaw’s major music events. It presents great chamber music classics, but most of all demonstrates that music need not be a cliché in a tailcoat, but it can instead become an interesting, surprising, and frequently uncanny sound art, brilliantly representing the modern world. It is during the Kwartesencja festival that numerous works composed specially for the RSQ by Paweł Szymański, Wojciech Blecharz, Andrzej Kwieciński, Zygmunt Konieczny, and Marcin Stańczyk have received their world premieres.
For many years now, the RSQ have been sharing their knowledge and experience with younger generations of chamber musicians. In 2012-2015 they were Quartet-in-Residence at Belfast’s Queen’s University. For the last 10 years they have remained faithful to their own master classes in Rybna. The quartet members are on the faculty of the Chopin University of Music and Warsaw’s music schools.
Their openness and will to experiment, as well as constant search for their own artistic truth, mean that the Royal String Quartet does not lose momentum, not to mention falling into a rut. ‘After 20 years of working together we still don’t know everything about one another,’ its members admit. This is why they continue to surprise their audiences and themselves alike.
Krzysztof MeisingerPublicly and critically acclaimed worldwide as one of the greatest and most charismatic classical guitarists of the day, Meisinger has appeared with such classical music stars as Sumi Jo, Philharmonia Quartett Berlin, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. His talent has been compared by international reviewers to that of Piotr Anderszewski and Pepe Romero, and his teachers have included such major guitarists of our time as Aniello Desiderio and Christopher Parkening. Meisinger has performed throughout the world from Tokyo to Los Angeles to Buenos Aires, playing in the most prestigious concert halls such as Vienna’s Musikverein, London’s Wigmore Hall, Tokyo International Forum, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, and the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera in Warsaw. His debuts at the Berliner Philharmonie and the Golden Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein both earned a several-minute-long standing ovation. Meisinger performs with the best orchestras, such as the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, PKF – Prague Philharmonia, the Sinfonia Varsovia, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, and Sinfonietta Cracovia, under the baton of such masters as Wojciech Michniewski, Krzysztof Urbański, Michał Klauza, Michael Maciaszczyk, and Łukasz Borowicz.
He has appeared at such major events as the Festival of Polish Music in Cracow, the Usedomer Musikfestival, the Łańcut Music Festival, the Jerzy Waldorff Summer Festival in Radziejowice, ‘Music in Old Cracow’, the Warsaw Philharmonic Summer Festival, ‘La Folle Journee de Varsovie’, ‘Nova Music and Architecture’ in Toruń, and the Festival of Music Competition Winners in Bydgoszcz.
Meisinger’s discography, which comprises 10 solo albums and numerous guest appearances, has received numerous awards and excellent international reviews. His solo releases include music recorded with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under José Maria Florêncio at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios (Melodia Sentimental), with Sumi Jo, PKF – Prague Philharmonia, and Philharmonia Quartett Berlin (Meisinger), the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra (Astor and Astor – Live at the Opera), and Poland baROCK Baroque orchestra (Vivaldissimo). In May 2020, Krzysztof Meisinger signed a three-year exclusive contract with the UK CHANDOS record company. His debut album under that label, Elogio de la Guitarra, has received glowing reviews and won the ‘Best of 2021’ title of the leading US music website AllMusic.
Meisinger’s personal accolades include the Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis, Artistic Award of the President of Szczecin, Pro Arte Prize, and the Individual Award of the Minister of Culture.
The guitarist is the founder and artistic director of the annual MEISINGER Music Festival, held since 2017 in Szczecin, which, thanks to its top class artistic standards and professional organisation, soon gained the status of West Pomerania’s largest and most prestigious classical music event. Since its inception, the Festival has hosted such outstanding artists as Ivo Pogorelić, Sumi Jo, Piotr Anderszewski, Mariza, L’Arpeggiata, Alena Baeva, Janoska Ensemble, Daniel Stabrawa, Sinfonia Varsovia, Soyoung Yoon, and many others.
In the UK music website uDiscoverMusic’s May 2022 rankings, Krzysztof Meisinger was named one of the twenty greatest classical guitarists of all time, along with such names as Andrés Segovia, Julian Bream, and Francisco Tárrega.Graduate of Warsaw’s Chopin Academy of Music and postgraduate studies at the USC Thornton School of Music (California), Sobuś is a soloist in the orchestra of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera in Warsaw and deputy leader of the double-bass section in the Sinfonia Varsovia.
He co-founded the Sinfonia Varsovia String Quintet, with which he has given performances in Europe and Japan. He also performs with such orchestras as the Sinfonietta Cracovia, the Polish Radio Orchestra in Warsaw, and Warsaw’s theatres. A passionate educator, he has also for many years been invited by Krzysztof Meisinger to take part in the latter’s numerous musical projects.Graduate of Białystok Secondary Music School (violin) and the Acting Department of Warsaw’s Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art, she made her professional stage debut in 2001 as Agnès in Molière’s The School for Wives (dir. Jan Englert). In the same year she became a full-time member of Warsaw National Theatre’s acting crew. At present she performs in such theatres as the Komedia, Polonia, Och-Theatre, Teatr Warszawy, at the Municipal Theatre in Leszno.
She has appeared in dozens of films, TV series, and theatrical spectacles. She also presents her own muso-dramas (Mother, Wife, and Lover; The Koft Project; The Woman Who Bumped into the Door) in venues throughout Poland.