Last February, the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota hosted a huge 90th birthday celebration at Orchestra Hall for Emeritus Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Stanislaw Skrowaczewski (his actual birthday was October 3, 1923). Several composers wrote brief works in tribute (John Harbison, Steven Stuckey, Paul Schoenfield … whose four-handed piano piece was very tongue-in-cheek) that were premiered on the occasion. Gunther Schuller who, despite precarious health, attended and conducted his own special birthday offering. And Lynn Harrell (the first soloist to perform with the Minnesota Orchestra in their then-new Orchestra Hall, way back when) participated in a piece Skrowaczewski had written for him for the occasion, and also played selections from the Bach Solo Cello Suites.
Betsy Hodges, Mayor of Minneapolis and life-long supporter of the Minnesota Orchestra, read a proclamation from Governor Dayton. Richard Cizek (Executive Director of the Minnesota Orchestra during the Maestro's tenure … and longtime friend) offered personal glimpses, and Skrowaczewski conducted a Festival String Orchestra (MNOrch and SPCO players remember, this was during the lockout!) in his arrangement of a movement from the Bruckner String Quintet and Skrowaczewski's own passionate Symphony for Strings. The Maestro also had a few words of his own to add.
I provided onstage continuity.
The concert, overflowing with good vibes and interesting, unusual music passionately performed ended with everyone singing a Polish birthday song.
Sto Lat, Stan!!!
SKROWACZEWSKI Fanfare to Ken (Birthday tribute to Kenneth Dayton on his 80th birthday, in 2002)
HUSA Happy Birthday, for String Quartet (for Stan, premiere)
SCHOENFIELD 'Sto Lat' Galop, for Piano Duet 4-hands (for Stan, premiere)
STUCKY: Najlepsze Zycaenia, for Clarinet, Flute and Piano (for Stan, premiere)
HARBISON Four Encores for Stan, for String Quartet and Narrator (for Stan, premiere, based excerpts from Stan's writings)
SCHULLER Encomium, for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Percussion and Piano (for Stan, premiere, conducted by the composer who is in frail health and himself 87+ years old who flew from Boston to be party to the Party for Stan)
SKROWACZEWSKI King Lynn and His Three Naughty Kobolds, for Cello, Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon (written by Stan for guest soloist Lynn Harrell, premiere)
BRUCKNER (trans. Skrowaczewski) Adagio, from String Quintet in F
SKROWACZEWSKI Symphony for Strings, Op. 25 (1947) these two featuring the Skrowaczewski Birthday String Orchestra (MNOrch and SPCO players +) conducted by Skrowaczewski
The concert closes with the audience singing the Polish Birthday Song "Sto Lat" and "Happy Birthday"
Listen to this concert broadcast on Classical MPR on Friday, Oct. 3, at 8 p.m.
To listen to part one, click the player at the top of the page. For part two, click the link on the right side of the page (under "audio") "Stanislaw Skrowaczewski Salute - Part Two."