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From Paderewski to Penderecki: The Polish Musician in Philadelphia

From Paderewski to Penderecki:
The Polish Musician in Philadelphia

by Paul Krzywicki

Extraordinary stories and accomplishments of 170 Polish musicians whose presence in Philadelphia influenced music in America. Paul Krzywicki, a native of Philadelphia, was a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra for thirty-three years, performing in over four thousand concerts, more than 60 recordings and presenting master classes throughout the world. He is currently on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music. A full biography is in Part I

Paperback: 396 pages
ISBN-10: 1483442675
6 x 1 x 9 inches


Full review by Mary Lanham
Book Review Editor, Polish American Journal
August 2016

During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Polish musicians were immigrating in droves to the United States. Some ended up in Philadelphia, forever altering the culture within. These musicians who influenced the Pennsylvanian city as well as two of Philadelphia’s musical institutions are profiled in From Paderewski to Penderecki: The Polish Musician in Philadelphia.

The history of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Philadelphia Orchestra are presented, as are the biographies of those involved. One such person was Jozef Hoffmann. Hoffmann was born near Krakow in 1877 and was taught by his musically-accomplished father. A prodigy in music, he was also mechanically inclined. As a child he toured Europe playing the piano with philharmonic orchestras. He was hired by the Curtis Institute to be head of the piano department. Later he became the director of the institute.

Another notable personage was Marcella Sembrich who rose from poverty in Galicia and learned to play the piano and violin as a child. She took voice lessons and at the young age of nineteen began performing in operas. In the States, Sembrich sang 55 performances in just one opera season. She later became head of the opera departments at the New York’s Institute of Musical Art and the Curtis Institute.

Approximately 200 Polish musicians have entries in this book, ranging from the nineteenth century to the present. Susan Narucki, a soprano and Leila Josefowicz, a violinist are a couple of the many contemporary musicians profiled.

This well-researched tome contains photographs, bibliography, index, and pronunciation guide. It is an essential edition for your Polish and Polish American reference collection.

About the author. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Paul Krzywicki earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana University. He played the tuba in the Cambridge Brass Quintet of Boston, the Portland Symphony, and the Boston Ballet. He also held a position with the Buffalo Philharmonic and was an assistant professor at Youngstown State University. He spent 33 years as a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 1972, the same year Kryzywicki joined the Philadelphia Orchestra he became a teacher at the Curtis Institute. His wife Joan Grahek Krzywicki is also an accomplished musician, lecturer, and teacher.

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