Alison in Poland
Alison Pearce, the British soprano soloist with a distinguished international career in oratorio, opera and recital, has been awarded the memorial medal by the Karol Szymanowski Music Association in Poland for her contribution towards the popularisation of Karol Szymanowski’s music. Miss Pearce was invited to the Polish Embassy to give a recital of Szymanowski’s songs (attended by both the Polish and German Ambassadors) when she was presented with the award.
Alison’s first visit to Poland was in 1997 at the invitation of the Karol Szymanowski music association for a series of concerts in connection with the sixtieth anniversary of this great composer’s death. She sang his music in Zakopane, Cracow and Warsaw in recital and as a guest artist of the Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as appearing at the British Embassy. The first two concerts were recorded for Polish radio and television. Later in 1997 Alison returned to Cracow at the invitation of Maestro Stanislaw Galonski and Capella Cracoviensis to perform at the Festival of Music in Old Cracow and record a CD.
On her return to England, Alison continued to popularise the works of Szymanowski with concerts at the Polish Embassy and at several British Universities and contributed to the BBC Proms feature on the composer in 1998.
Alison has also established a link with the Academia Muzyczna im Fryderyka Chopina in Warsaw where in 1998 she gave a series of masterclasses entitled “The holistic approach to the use of the voice through the balance of mind, body and emotion”.
In the year 2000 Alison taught a three day master course on British Vocal Music at the Academia Muzyczna in Warsaw. During this visit she also had the pleasure of giving recitals at the Villa Decius in Cracow, in Bialystock and Warsaw, (in the series of the Academia) and one at the British Embassy.
Alison returned to Cracow later that year to give master classes in the newly established Summer Music Academy in Cracow and to appear as a guest artist in the Festival of Music in Old Cracow. Alison was once again invited to return to both Warsaw and Cracow in 2001 for a further series of concerts and master classes.
As a direct result of her work in Poland, Alison received an invitation to sing in Israel as the guest operatic soloist in the first festival in memory of the virtuoso Polish pianist Felicja Blumental. Maestro Krzysztof Penderecki has also given Alison the honour of working with him when she had the pleasure of being the soprano soloist for a performance of his ‘Te Deum’ at the Royal Festival Hall in London, where he conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Bach Choir. More recently she was invited to Germany to sing Maestro Penderecki’s ‘Seven Gates of Jerusalem’ in the presence of both the composer and his wife.
Alison has also had the opportunity to give a celebrity recital at the Padrewski Museum in Warsaw, and a recital and master-class in Bialystok. She has returned to Cracow to star in the Villa Decius event ‘Music & the Monarchy’ and also to the Philharmonic Hall as the guest soloist for ‘Cracow Last Night of the Proms’ with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. She has continued her association with the Villa Decius giving recitals and master classes each summer in their Arts Festival.
Most recently in London Alison sang Chopin/Viardot songs at the Wigmore Hall for the 15th Jacqueline du Pré Charity Concert in association with the Chopin Society and the Polish Cultural Institute celebrating 200 years since the composer’s birth.She was also delighted to be giving a recital for The Chopin Society in Westminster during their recent season of concerts.
Press Statement – Krakow
A beautiful voice as well as great artistry was presented a day later by Alison Pearce in the Florianka Hall. The Artist has visited Krakow before to rouse the admiration in moving and extremely accurate interpretations of music by Karol Szymanowski. On another occasion we could listen to her “Stabat Mater” by Pergolesi. This time she performed a recital from Baroque pieces by T. Arne and H. Purcell (miraculous “Dido’s lament”), to songs by E. Chausson and G. Verdi and “Sieben fruhe Lieder” by A. Berg, finishing with songs from the English country elaborated by B. Britten. For an encore she held the audience with an amusing E. Satie song. Such a variety of songs of different periods during one performance can be dangerous. But Alison Pearce found suitable colour and expression for every single piece. Indeed, expression! The way of creation of the songs, making every single dramatic scenery, not oversinging, and allowing the audience to understand the text, even for those who do not understand foreign languages (the artist sang in English, Italian, German and French). This was the biggest aspect of the performance during the evening. There are not many artists who understand the meaning of the “Art of Songs” in Poland. I was also happy to learn that Alison Pearce gave Master Classes at Krakow Academy of Music. I hope that young artists can learn just a bit from her mastery.