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Warsaw Philharmonic, Valentina Lisitsa featured at upcoming Secrest Series concert

October 21, 2008

The renowned Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, known as the National Orchestra of Poland, will perform with solo pianist Valentina Lisitsa at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 in Wake Forest University’s Wait Chapel.  Presented by the University’s Secrest Artists Series, the concert will be conducted by Maestro Antoni Wit. 

The concert program will include “Symphony no. 6 in B minor” from Tchaikovsky’s, “Pathetique,” “Piano Concerto no. l, E-flat major” by Franz Liszt and “Serenade, op. 2” by Polish composer Mieczysław Karłowicz.      

A Secrest Signature pre-performance talk by David Levy, professor of music at Wake Forest, will also be held in conjunction with the concert at 6:40 p.m. in the Balcony Room of Wait Chapel.

The Warsaw Philharmonic held their first performance in Poland in 1901.  Their quality and professionalism drew performances by numerous soloists and conductors from around the world, which made Warsaw the main center of music in Poland and one of the leading centers in Europe.  During World War II, the orchestra was at the height of popularity and fame when its hall was destroyed and more than half of its players perished. 

After the war, the orchestra was re-formed and has since regained its popularity and fame.  Today, the 110-instrument ensemble has performed more than 100 tours on five continents.  They are regularly invited to famed musical centers around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Berliner Philharmonie and Royal Festival Hall.  They have performed in The Great Orchestras of the World cycle in London and participated in leading musical festivals, including the Athens Festival, the Bergen International Festival, the Prague Spring Festival, The Wratislavia Cantans, the Maggio Musicale Florentino and the Festival Due Mondi in Spoleto.

Lisitsa is an internationally renowned pianist known for her virtuosity and lyricism.  Reviewers have called her “the kind of talent that comes around once in a generation.”  At age 6, she presented her first solo recital.  She graduated from the famed Kiev Conservatory and won numerous international prizes, including the Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition, Concertino Prague, The Lysenko Piano Competition, The Paris Chamber Music Competition and the Ukrainian Chamber Music Competition.

In 1995, she made her New York debut at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.  Since then, she has performed extensively around the world.  She has been a frequent guest artist of numerous orchestras and festivals, including Chicago’s Grant Park Festival, where she has appeared seven years in a row.

She has recorded seven highly acclaimed CDs, the PBS special “Valentina in Miami” and a DVD of her interpretation of all 24 Chopin Etudes. She was also recently featured in a segment of the CBS News program “Sunday Morning.”

Wit is considered one of the most highly regarded Polish conductors.  He has won numerous state awards and second prize at the Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition in Berlin.  He studied conducting with Henryk Czyż and composition with Krzysztof Penderecki at the Academy of Music in Cracow and then continued his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.  

Tickets for the concert are $20 general admission; $17 for senior citizens and students; and $5 for children under 12.  Group rates are also available.  Tickets are available at the Wake Forest University Theatre Box Office at (33) 758-5295.  The pre-performance talk is free. 

Upcoming concerts scheduled for the 2008-2009 Secrest season include:

  • Alison Balsom & Ensemble; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19; Brendle Recital Hall. 
  • Meredith Monk; 7:30 p.m. March 19; Brendle Recital Hall. 
  • Takacs String Quartet with pianist Marc André Hamelin; 7:30 p.m. April 16; Brendle Recital Hall. 

For information, visit or call the Secrest Artists Series office at (336) 758-5757.   

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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