Polish music featured at New Music fest

Members of the Sobieski family will be the guest artists for the Dana New Music Festival XXIX, which starts Friday at Youngs-town State University.

The family – Dorota Sobieska, soprano; Jacek Sobieski, piano; Wanda Sobieska, violin; Aleksandra Sobieska, soprano; and Julian Sobieski, bass – will present contemporary Polish music selections. Its members have been prominent in the area for many years. Jacek Sobieski is the fourth generation of a Polish family of musicians and musicologists. He served for nearly two decades as music director of the National Theater in Warsaw, where he composed music for more than 10 productions and was awarded The Honorary Man of Merit in Culture by the ministry of Culture and Art in Poland.

Since 1988, he has resided in the U.S. and currently is music director at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Boardman.

He and his wife, Dorota, founded Opera Circle in 1995, and Jacek has served as music director and conductor for many of its productions.

Soprano Dorota Sobieska has performed a variety of operatic roles, often in bel canto style, and as a recitalist. Their daughter Wanda studied violin at the Cincinnati Conservatory and is a free-lance violinist / violist in the Cleveland area. Julian Sobieski and Aleksandra Sobieska are both active in the Opera Circle productions.

Four performances are planned as part of this year’s festival:

Friday – Convocation with Composers Ensemble at 11 a.m. at Bliss Recital Hall.

Monday – YSU Wind Ensemble, Stephen Gage, director; YSU Trombone Ensemble, Michael Crist and John Olsson, directors; and Dana Chamber Winds, Stephen Gage, director, at Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown, at 8 p.m.

The YSU Wind Ensemble will present a concert featuring two major works by contemporary composers: Perry Goldstein’s Abundant Air and Carter Pann’s Symphony No. 1. My Brother’s Brain, a student saxophone quartet, will be the featured solo group.

Wednesday – Composers Ensemble with guest artists Wanda Sobieska, violin, and Jacek Sobieski, piano, at the Butler Institute of American Art, 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown, at 12:15 p.m.

Wednesday – Gala Festival Concert at St. Columba Cathedral, 159 W. Rayen Ave., Youngstown, at 8 p.m.

The Festival Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Robert Rollin, will premiere senior composition major Samantha Hogan’s ”Eclectic Images,” a colorful suite of four descriptive pieces. A movement of the late Dana alumnus Tim Webb’s ”Samson Suite” will be played as a memorial to the composer, who lost his life last fall. A movement from graduating senior Carol Ann Smolka’s ”Images of Helen Keller” also will be played. Dana Faculty member Robert Rollin’s ”Pearls Variations” for violin and string orchestra will be premiered with Dana alumnus Ethan Howard as soloist.

Sean Baran’s performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “La Verbe” from La Nativite de Seigneur, collection of nine meditations the birth of Christ for organ, also will be heard. Several other chamber works will also be presented.

All of the concerts are free except for the Stambaugh event, where tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for non-YSU students and senior citizens and free for YSU students with a valid ID. For more information, call 330-941-3636.