International Katarzyna Myćka
Reviewed by Nicholas Grüber.
The second edition of the International Katarzyna Mycka Marimba Academy - in short IKMMA - took again place in the Polish city of Wroclaw.
Situated in the south-west of Poland, the upcoming and well connected city with its strong cultural and historical background offered the 32 participants from 13 countries, apart from lessons, practice and concerts, also the opportunity to socialize and make new friends.
The local preparations were taken care by Prof. Jacek Wota who is professor for percussion at the Music Academy Wroclaw. For the second time his work was well done, so that all participants could enjoy their stay at the conservatory.
The four professors of IKMMA, Katarzyna Mycka (Poland/ Gemany) Momoko Kamiya (Japan), Bogdan Bacanu (Austria), and the already mentioned Jacek Wota (Poland) had been busy with giving their daily single lessons and supervising the chamber music practice.
However, also the young musicians made full use of the opportunities offered to them: thanks to the marimba manufactures ADAMS, Marimba One, and YAMAHA, 26 marimbas had been available for 14 hours a day: from 8am untill 10pm all rooms were booked.
People not practicing, went to listen to the single lessons of their collegues or searched the own IKMMA-shop for new sheet music, mallets, and CDs. All this material was kindly provided by Herbert Brandt Percussion Versand, Norsk Musikforlag und Ineke Busch Verlag.
Thanks to the help of Norsk Musikforlag not only popular works (e.g. R. Pawasser's "Sculpture in Wood" and the Tangos of Astor Piazzolla) were performed. Also many new pieces were prepared and presented during the time of IKMMA. Amongst them were the quartetts of David Friedman ("Hand Dance") and "The Blues Thing" of the new marimba music composer Libor Sima. But also new duos from Ney Rosauro ("Brazilian Fantasy") and Matthias Schmitt's "2Gather" became popular with both the students and the audiences.
IKMMA 2005 had two special guests: The composers Eckard Kopetzki and John Thrower came to Wroclaw to support students and to introduce some of their new works.
Eckard Kopetzki even gave two days of single lessons, where students studying his pieces for a performance had the opportunity to get advice from the composer himself.
The presentations of the pieces happened each night at the conservatory, but there were also three concerts at other venues: one open-air performance in the botanic gardens of Wroclaw, a concert in the Oratorium Marianum (a concert hall of the university of Wroclaw) and - as a special highlight - at the Sudenten Philharmony in Walbrzych.
Walbrzych is about 1,5 hours bus drive from Wroclaw, but the day trip will be rememebered not only for its two successful concerts, but also for the traditional Polish meals, both for lunch and dinner.
It was always a special moment, if the professors came on stage to play: Katarzyna Mycka and Momoko Kamiya together with the Polish singer Agnieszka Drozdzewska performed the European premiere of John Throwers "Just One World" at the Oratorium Marianum. The piece took the hearts of all attendees by storm - even the composer himself was deeply moved.
Apart from this European premiere there was - like at IKMMA 2003 - a world premiere: Miroslaw Gasieniec, a composer from Wroclaw, dedicated his "Capriccio" for two marimbas to Prof. Jacek Wota. He performed the piece together with Katarzyna Mycka in Wroclaw and Walbrzych.
The founder of IKMMA, Katarzyna Mycka, is concentrating her teaching not only on single lessons, but also on chamber music: "The students learn a lot because of the combined practice and this genre of music also offers more variety for a concert programme."
There is also a social aspect in chamber music: The participants from different countries and cultures make music together and at the same time they start to become friends.
Looking back on the ten days of IKMMA 2005, one can say that is was loads and loads of hard work for both students and teachers, but at the same time all the work was also enjoyable and fun. Because of the many new friendships created during these ten days the most heard sentence saying good-bye was: "See you again at IKMMA 2007!"