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Polish jazzman rediscovers music of Victor Young

PR dla Zagranicy
John Beauchamp 14.04.2015 09:33
A Polish jazz trio led by pianist Kuba Stankiewicz has given a concert at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews promoting its latest CD ‘Stankiewicz – Young’, which features works by the American composer, arranger, violinist and conductor Victor Young.
Kuba Stankiewicz. Photo: Polskie Radio/Wojciech KusińskiKuba Stankiewicz. Photo: Polskie Radio/Wojciech Kusiński

In an interview for the PAP news agency, Stankiewicz said his idea is to make Young better known in Poland.

“When we listen to Young’s standards, it may seem we are confronted with the essence of Chicago-style American jazz. Few people know that even though he was born in Chicago, in 1900, he had Polish parents, was sent to Poland at the age of ten to stay with his grandfather and study at the Warsaw Conservatory. His teachers included the composer Roman Statkowski and the violinist Stanisław Barcewicz. While still in his teens, Young was a violinist with the Warsaw Philharmonic,” Stankiewicz said.

Young returned to the States in 1920 and soon turned to popular music, moving to Hollywood in the mid-1930s. He composed soundtracks to some 300 films, including such box office hits as Rio Grande and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

As many as 22 of his soundtracks received Academy Award nominations. He received his only Oscar posthumously, in 1957, for Around the World in Eighty Days, less than a year after his death, aged 56.

While exploring Young’s musical legacy, Stankiewicz got in touch with his niece, Bobbie Hill Fromberg, a resident of Los Angeles. She gave him access to a wide range of documents and photographs relating to Young’s career and offered a special gift – Young’s 1918 graduation diploma from the Warsaw Conservatory. Stankiewicz handed it over to the collection of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. (mk/jb)

tags: stankiewicz
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