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Celebrating 100 years of Poland-US Diplomatic Relations. Grand Gala of the XXI Chopin and Friends Festival. Saturday November 23rd at 8 PM | Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall.

In celebration of 100 years of Poland-US Diplomatic Relations Ars Activa Foundation presents its 6th concert at Carnegie Hall, POLISH-AMERICAN FANTASY – Granda Gala of the XXI Chopin and Friends Festival of New York Arts and Innovations. Saturday November 23rd at 8 PM, at Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall. Featured will be 13 performers on stage, including the youngest laureate in the history of the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, two world premieres and in attendance members of both Polish and American diplomacy and government.

Poland-US Diplomatic Relations

The strong US-Poland relationship dates back to the American Revolution, when Polish heroes such as Tadeusz Kościuszko and Kazimierz Pułaski aided the cause and led American Patriots towards liberty. Poland’s own recovery of independence was made possible thanks to the Fourteen Points of President Woodrow Wilson and in 1919 the United States became the first country to recognize independent Poland, with the first diplomatic missions instored in Washington, DC and New York. 30 years ago the fall of communism was brought by the joint efforts of Pope John Paul the 2nd and President Ronald Reagan, 20 years ago Poland joined United States in NATO, and on November 11th, 2019 Poland officially entered the US Visa Waiver Program. The Gala Concert celebrates 100 years of not only diplomatic relations, but also friendship and a shared commitment for freedom for Poland and the United States.


Tony Yang, 5th prize winner and youngest ever laureate at the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and recipient of the Jury Discretionary Award at the 15th Van Cliburn International Competition

Tim Ries, regular saxophonist with the Rolling Stones since 1999, whose performing and recording credits include icons Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, East Gipsy Band from Budapest

Clarinetists Bence Szepesi and Wojtek Komsta, violinists Kinga Augustyn, Mariusz Monczak and Nadia Monczak, pianists Xheni Rroji and David Oei, Show Me Your Heart Foundation Ensemble: Eilene Lee (violin), Phoebe Han (viola), Ethan Han (cello), Katherine Wang (piano)

Animation by Polish and American film and TV actress Liliana Komorowska.


Fryderyk CHOPIN – 3rd Piano Sonata and Fantaisie Impromptu

George GERSHWIN – Excerpts from Rhapsody in Blueand Porgy and Bess

Henryk WIENIAWSKI – Faust Fantasy

Henryk Mikołaj GÓRECKI – Little Fantasia

John WILLIAMS – Theme from the movie Schindler’s List

Jakub POLACZYK – Halny Fantasy *World Premiere

Tim RIES – For Those I Loved (in memory of victims of World War 2) *World Premiere

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI – Piano Quartet, I. Allegro con brio

William KROLL – Banjo and Fiddle

Join us in celebrating 100 years of Poland-US Friendship and Commitment to Freedom!

Polish-American Fantasy

Saturday, November 23rd at 8PM

Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall

Tickets: $39 - $49 |


Biographies of artists:

Tony Yike YANG, 20-year-old Chinese-Canadian pianist, is emerging as one of the foremost pianists of the younger generation. As a frequent prizewinner, Yang garnered 5th Prize at the 17th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition at age 16, the youngest-ever laureate of the competition. More recently, Yang was awarded the Jury Discretionary Award at the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, where he was the youngest competitor. In previous years, Yang has won top prizes at the Thomas and Evon Cooper International Piano Competition, the Bosendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Junior Piano Competition, the Hilton Head International Young Artists Piano Competition, the Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition, and the Canadian National Chopin Competition. Highlights of his performing career incude appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, Orchestre Métropolitain, the Fort Worth Symphony, the Toronto Sinfonietta and the Hunan Symphony, as well as performances for Her Royal Highness Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Polish President Andrzej Duda. As of 2018, Yang was appointed a youth cultural ambassador of the city of Guangzhou, as well as an artistic tutor of Sun-Yat-Sen University. Yang’s debut album, Tony Yike Yang – Chopin: Sonata B-Moll / Ballada F-Moll / Mazurki, was released in August 2016 on the Fryderyk Chopin Institute’s Blue Series. Yang has been featured on many television programs, including the "Inspiration Generation" series on Global TV, where he was selected as one of six outstanding Canadian young people. In 2016, he was named CBC Music’s Classical Young Artist. Yang is currently pursuing a dual-degree in Economics and Piano Performance through the Harvard University-New England Conservatory of Music Joint-Degree Program. Additionally, he is studying in a post-graduate at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole in Italy with Prof. Eliso Virsaladze and is a fellow of the International Lake Como Piano Academy at Oberlin Conservatory. He’s been a full-scholarship student at Juilliard Pre-College School, and the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy of the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Kinga AUGUSTYN is a New York City-based virtuoso concert violinist and recording artist, with a repertoire of more than 40 concerti, both standard and lesser known. She has performed as a soloist with orchestras in the United States, Europe and Asia, including the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, the Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Riverside Symphonia. Augustyn’s expanding discography on major labels such as Naxos, includes Paganini Caprices, World Premieres by Romuald Twardowski with the Torun Symphony Orchestra and Polish Violin Music, a highly praised, “fascinating” (The Strad) album of lesser-known Polish composers. She has performed at such prestigious venues as Beijing Poly Theater, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Stern Auditorium and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Aspen Music Festival and Chicago Cultural Center. Ms. Augustyn has won international awards, including First Prizes at the Alexander & Buono International String Competition, Artist International Presentations, J. S. Bach String Competition in Zielona Gora and the 2017 "Young Poland" contest. Other top honors include prizes at the Johannes Brahms International Competition and the Kloster Schoental International Young Artist Competition. Ms. Augustyn studied at The Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay, ChoLiang Lin and Naoko Tanaka, and also holds a doctorate from the Stony Brook University where she worked with Phil Setzer and Pamela Frank. Kinga Augustyn plays on an early 18th century violin made by Antonio Zanotti, generously on loan to her from a private collector. In 2019 she was appointed the Artistic Director of New York Dance Arts & Innovations and the International Chopin & Friends Festival.

David OEI, pianist, was a soloist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic at the age of nine and has since performed with major orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore Symphonies. Mr. Oei is the winner of five Interlochen Concerto Competitions and the Concert Artists Guild, WQXR Young Artists, Young Musicians Foundation and Paul Ulanowsky Chamber Pianists Awards. He has made guest appearances with the Audubon Quartet, Claring Chamber Players, Da Capo Chamber Players, New York Philharmonic Ensembles, St. Luke's and Orpheus Chamber Ensembles and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. A former regular artist at Bargemusic and Chamber Music Northwest he has performed at various festivals including Caramoor, Sitka, Bard, Gretna, Seattle, Chestnut Hill, OK Mozart, Washington Square and Kuhmo. His television credits include Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts, CBS News Sunday Morning and the Today Show. He was Music Director for numerous music theatre productions. He has recorded a wide range of chamber works for Delos, ADDA, Vanguard, CRI, Pro Arte, Arabesque, Albany, Grenadilla and New World Records. A former longtime faculty of Summertrios, Hoff-Barthelson Music School and the Mannes College of Music, he is currently a faculty member of the Bennington Chamber Music Conference and the Alaria Chamber Music Program. In 2017 he received a Citation of Honor from the New York Classical Music Society for Mezzrow Classical Salon with David Oei, a monthly chamber music series at Mezzrow, voted “Best Jazz Club 2015” by the Village Voice.

Liliana KOMOROWSKA is an accomplished actress and director, a graduate from the State Theatre Academy in Warsaw with a Master’s degree in Fine Arts. For her role as Abigail in “The Crucibles “she was awarded Best Debut Performance by the Polish Television Academy. Liliana was showcased in theatre, film and television productions in Poland, England, United States and Canada. Her American film credits include “War and Love” by Oscar-winning director Moshe Mizrahi as well as Hollywood blockbusters “Screamers”, “The Assignment”, “The Art of War”. She has worked with Aidan Quinn, Donald Sutherland, Sir Ben Kingsley, Wesley Snipes. Liliana’s directorial debut “Beauty and the Breast” achieved a series of honors at many international film festivals, including Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature Documentary and Best First-Time Director awards at the London Film Awards. Her second documentary film, “To my father”, talked about the crimes of the NKVD on the Polish population in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. Currently she is producing a documentary on legendary Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda - “Wajda & You”. Liliana received the Silver Medal of Merit for the work she has done through the Foundation Liliana Komorowska for the Arts in promoting Polish cultural heritage. She sits on the board of directors of Montreal International Musical Competition Foundation and is a member of the Canadian Film and Television Academy as well as the Polish Filmmakers Association.

Clarinetist Wojtek KOMSTA has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician throughout Europe and the Americas, and has been featured on European television and radio. Komsta studied in his native Poland at the Music Academy of Krakow. In Europe he has been principal clarinetist of the Mozart Academy Opera in Poland and Italy, held a position at the Capella Cracoviensis and collaborated with Luciano Berio in Florence, Italy. Komsta furthered his clarinet studies at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. For years he performed with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and he now holds a position in the New York Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Gerard Schwartz. Komsta was a prizewinner as a soloist at the International Competition of Contemporary Chamber Music in Krakow.  Komsta has given masterclasses at Juilliard, Indiana University, Ithaca College, and Stony Brook University, amongnst many others. Komsta’s background in engineering has led him to make novel contributions to clarinet acoustical design, and he performs with his own custom equipment. He is known around the world for his instrument repair, which is informed by his playing and has been refined by years of experience.

Violinist Mariusz MONCZAK obtained his Master’s and Doctorate in Music at Université de Montréal, after emigrating from native Poland. He is currently active as a soloist and chamber musician, playing in such renown halls as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre in New York, Place des Arts in Montréal, Union Hall in Rotterdam, Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Grand Theatre in Wuxi, China. He has performed solo with the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, Young Virtuosi of Montreal, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Concordia Symphony Orchestra, Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of the Polish Radio and the Philharmonics of Zielona Góra, Białystok, Toruń, Sudety, Koszalin, Kalisz Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of the Łomża Philharmonic. Mariusz regularly plays in numerous music festivals all over Poland as well as the International Shanghai Arts Festival (China), Festival Primavera (Brasil) Festivals de Música L'Escala (Spain), Music in the Baliński Palace in Jaszuny (Lithuania). An advocate of Polish and Canadian contemporary music, he has collaborated with such important composers as Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Krzysztof Penderecki, Denis Gougeon and André Prévost, and has done many world premieres, some of which have been recoded for Radio Canada and CBC 2 in Toronto. He often records for radio, television and the recording labels: SNE, Concordia Records, Castalia and Dux. Since 1998, he has been serving as artistic director of a great number of music festivals in Poland and in Canada.

Nadia MONCZAK is a Canadian violinist of Polish origin who divides her time between Europe and the Americas. She has played as a soloist and chamber musician in Canada, United States, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Iceland, Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Armenia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico and Chile. Nadia has performed amongst others at the Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall, the Orford Arts Centre, the Penderecki European Centre for Music, Kursaal Interlaken and played solo with the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Franfkurt Oder, the Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra “Amadeus”, Torun Philharmonic, Sudety Philharmonic, Koszalin Philharmonic, Zielona Gora Philharmonic, the Lubuska Synfonietta and many others. She has led numerous ensembles as concertmaster, including productions of Mozart operas in the Netherlands, and is a regular member of the Zakhar Bron Chamber Orchestra in Switzerland. Nadia is the the founder and director of the Chopin Music Society of Montreal. Humanitarian work being essential to her artistic mission, she has lead music workshops in El-Sistema orchestras for under-privileged youth in South America and worked for music organizations for children in refugee camps in Greece – work which has been filmed and featured by CBC Arts. She completed her studies with professors Vladimir Landsman and Boris Belkin and is currently doing a Doctorate Thesis on the Violin Playing Principles of prof. Zakhar Bron, her mentor since many years. She plays on a 1845-6 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin and 1920 Claude Thomassin bow generously on loan by the company Canimex of Drummondville, Québec.

Saxophonist, composer, arranger, producer and educator Tim RIES received degrees from both The University of North Texas (BM) and The University of Michigan (MM). He has had a unique and varied career, which began in 1983 with the great Maynard Ferguson. Tim moved to New York City in 1985 and since that time his performing and recording credits include a who’s who of jazz, rock, pop and world music icons: The Rolling Stones from 1999 to the present, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Donald Fagen, Michael Jackson, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Rod Stewart, Lyle Lovette, and jazz greats Red Garland, Donald Byrd, Hank Jones, Jack DeJohnette, Phil Woods, Tom Harrell, Chico Hamilton, Michael Brecker, Joe Henderson, Tony Bennett, Louie Bellson, Dave Liebman, Al Foster, John Patitucci, Danilo Perez, Bela Szakcsi Lakatos and Maria Schneider. Tim was a member of the Prism Saxophone Quartet from 1993-2003. In 2005 and 2008 respectively, he released The Rolling Stones Project (Concord) and Stones World (Sunnyside), both are his versions of Stones classics arranged in jazz and world music genres. Both CDs have drawn rave reviews across the globe. Some of the guest artists featured on these discs include: all four Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, Milton Nascimento, Sara Baras, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Lisa Fischer, Bernard Fowler, Larry Goldings, Franck Amsallem, Eddie Palmieri, Brian Blade and Ana Moura. His latest collaborations are with the great flamenco dancer Sara Baras and The East Gipsy Band from Budapest. Tim has taught saxophone and composition at The New School, Rutgers University, The City University of New York and The University of Toronto. Tim Ries plays Francois Louis mouthpieces, reeds and ligatures and The Virtuoso tenor and alto saxophones by RS Berkely.

Xheni RROJI is a classical pianist and producer and educator, born in Tirana, Albania. She studied music in her native country and later at the Superior Conservatory of Music in Paris and the Manhattan School of Music in New York. Xheni has concertized in Europe, the U.S. and Latin America. She is the co-founder of the Ossia Symphony Orchestra and the Roadmaps Festival. Xheni has always maintained a vivid interest in producing events of an artistic, educational and humanitarian nature. Her various interests in the music industry led her to create and co-organize projects that infuse artistic perspectives to current global issues.  Through Breaking Borders with Music and the Roadmaps Festival Xheni strives to bring together a variety of artists, historians, politicans and humanitarians into a platform that provides a multifaceted view on global issues that concern us all. Xheni Is also the Vice President of the OA Music Productions & Management based in Manhattan. As an educator Xheni spent this past decade dedicating her knowledge and skills to the students at The College of New Rochelle in New York.

Bence SZEPESI is an established performer in Europe who made his Carnegie Hall debut with a unique solo clarinet program celebrating Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday and bringing beauty from his home country Hungary with the Pereg Verbunk from Leo Weiner. Mr. Szepesi navigates comfortably on any stage as a soloist, a principal clarinetist, or a member of his own quartet, the Budapest Saxophone Quartet. Mr. Szepesi has won multiple international awards including the prestigious Artisjus Award in Hungary. He graduated from Franz Liszt Academy of Music with distinction. In addition to his solo and chamber works, he is the founder and artistic leader of Budapest Saxophone Quartet since 1995 and Principal clarinetist of the Dohnanyi Symphony Orchestra. His academic contributions include being a Professor at the University of Miskolc and guest lectures and performances at top international institutions. Mr. Szepesi is the Chairman of the International Clarinet Association and the President of the Hungarian Clarinet and Saxophone Society.

New York Concert Review of Bence Szepesi Carnegie Hall concert: “To say that the Rossini piece was brilliant would be an understatement. The pyrotechnics from the clarinet were simply breathtaking. Lightning fast passagework and quicksilver dynamic changes were all within seemingly easy grasp, and a dazzling finish led to still more thunderous ovations.”