Zygmunt Stojowski: Life and Music

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Zygmunt Stojowski: Life and Music

Joseph A. Herter


Zygmunt Stojowski: Life and Music by Joseph. A. Herter is the first comprehensive biography of this long-neglected and undeservedly forgotten virtuoso pianist and composer. Stojowski was born in Poland in 1870 and studied at the Conservatoire Nationale in Paris with Léo Delibes, Théodore Dubois, and Louis Diémer. By 1891, he became a student of Paderewski, and later one of his closest and most trusted friends. Stojowski moved to America in 1905 and settled in New York City.


He continued to perform throughout North and South America and Europe, attracting highly favorable comments from the world press. Stojowski’s symphonic music was programmed by the most prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony, and New York Philharmonic. In England, Stojowski’s compositions were performed for Queen Victoria, and the venerable conductor, Sir Charles Hallé was one of many enthusiastic supporters. During World War I, Stojowski lent his considerable influence to rally support for Polish independence, teaming with Paderewski and Sembrich to raise substantial funds for his war-torn homeland.


Towards the end of his life, Stojowski once again activated his musical and social connections to help Poland during the dark days of World War II. Mr. Herter’s book provides many fascinating insights and details of Stojowski’s colorful life, his close association with the most important musicians of his era, including Brahms, Casals, Elgar, Massenet, Nikisch, Stokowski, Tchaikovsky, and von Bulow, among many others. The book also traces careers of many illustrious students of Stojowski, including Shura Cherkassky, Oscar Levant, Alfred Newman, and Guiomar Novaes, and provides a comprehensive catalogue of Stojowski’s compositions

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Publication Date08/2007 ISBN: 9781932800265 Number of Pages 327
Author Biography
Joseph A. Herter, a native of Detroit, is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s School of Music in Ann Arbor, where he studied voice with Rosemary Russell, conducting with Thomas Hilbish and Gustav Meier, and musicology with Glenn Watkins. Mr. Herter continued his education with summer choral studies at Westminster Choir College in Princeton. He also studied orchestral conducting as a member of the 1984 conductors’ seminar at Tanglewood. At the beginning of his career, Joseph Herter worked as music teacher and music director in several Detroit Roman Catholic schools and churches, including downtown’s historic Old St. Mary’s Church, known for its outstanding music program and orchestral Latin Masses. After going to Poland in 1974 as a Kosciuszko Foundation grantee, he relocated there and has lived in Poland ever since. In his adopted homeland, Mr. Herter has been very active as a teacher and conductor, with numerous engagements leading the philharmonic orchestras of Częstochowa, Jelenia Góra, Kielce, Koszalin, Lublin, Łódź, Olsztyn, Opole, and Szczecin, as well as the Warsaw National Philharmonic, with whom he also has recorded the soundtrack for feature films and TV serials. For nearly twenty years, Maestro Herter has been working at the Teatr Rozrywki, a music theater in northern Silesia, conducting American musicals, such as West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof. Joseph Herter is also the founder and conductor of Cantores Minores, the Warsaw Archdiocesan Cathedral Boys’ and Men’s Choir. Together, they have traveled to seventeen countries and taken part in twenty-eight festivals. Under Mr. Herter’s direction, Cantores Minores has won top prizes at competitions in Lecco, Prague, Moscow, and Międzydroje. In addition to his busy performing schedule, Joseph Herter is widely respected as a writer for such international publications as The Polish Review, Polish Music Journal, Polish Music Newsletter, and Elgar Society Journal. In Poland, he is a frequent contributor to Muzyka 21 and Ruch Muzyczny. Mr. Herter has been invited to deliver papers and lectures at various conferences and symposia in Berlin, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. The long and distinguished record of Joseph Herter’s musical activities has been universally recognized: he is a recipient of awards from the City of Warsaw (1999), the Polish Ministry of Culture (2003) and the Polish Union of Choirs and Orchestras (2005). In 2004, Joseph Herter was elected an Honorary Member of the Polish Singers’ Alliance of America, North America’s oldest Polish cultural society. Since November 2006, he has been the Warsaw representative of the Kosciuszko Foundation. Joseph Herter’s pioneering research of pianist and composer Zygmunt Stojowski led to the reintroduction of Stojowski’s music to the concert stage and the release of several commercial recordings over the past few years.
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