( 1932 - 2018) forever in memory of many of us who loved him, his songs and his music.
Recognized and admired Polish Canadian composer talks about his work, love for music, world and people in a private interview for Canadian Polish Congress BC.
A song about love for Poland performed at the Canadian Polish Congress Anniversary Gala Concert May 4, 2014
Documentary by K. Woloczko
click to view pictures from Ryszard Wrzaskala - 86th Birthday
Happy Birthday Richard - 84 years young.
Born March 1st, 1932 in Znin, Poland, composer, arranger, symphonic conductor, teacher. Master of Music degree from the PWSM (State Advanced Institute of Music) in Wroclaw, Poland (1960).
He started his musical career in 1951 as a choral conductor in his high school and for varied cultural institutions in Legnica. From 1959 to 1965 he was a Musical Director and conductor for the Legnica State Symphony Orchestra (LOS). In 1964 he won the first prize in a Polish Radio Song Competition and moved to Warsaw, where he wrote and arranged for Polish Radio and TV. In 1967/68 he won third and fourth prizes, and a special distinction for the "Milosc przyszla” for piano and symphony orchestra, in a competition organized by the above.
In 1968 he was nominated Music Director/Conductor of the world renowned National Dance Company of Poland “Mazowsze”, which he conducted in Australia, Austria, Eqypt, Italy, Lebanon, Syria and other countries till 1969, when he moved to Canada.
He is a recipient of the medal “For Distinguished Services to the Legnica Province”, and the “The International Who’s Who in Music Diploma” for distinguished services to music (April 1980, Cambridge, England).
In Canada, he played various night clubs, did some vocal coaching and arranging for Las Vegas, gave private piano lessons, taught music for the Vancouver School Board but (writes Melanie Minty in the Now newspaper) “his heart – and creative soul – is in composing. ...Wsrzaskala has written more than 200 songs in English and Polish, most of them arranged as instrumental pieces... He also received more than 30 distinctions and honorary mentions over the world, including two gold medals in the Netherlands’ Expo 2000 Song Festival for the Best Song and Best Arrangement of his song “Zelazowa Wola” and another gold in 2002 for the Best Canadian Song “Lonely Man” at the same festival.
In 1976 he wrote “Stanley Park” a piece for piano with orchestra, which was played by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Kazuyoshi Akiyama. In 1979 he was commissioned by the Delta Symphony Society to write a “Centennial Suite” designed to celebrate the Centennial Year of Delta, Richmond and Surrey. In 1994, with a song “You Are There For Me”, he represented Canada in the 31st International Song Festival in Sopot, Poland.
In 2002, Wrzaskala produced and released a CD “One Woman Man” that included 26 songs, and in 2005 a new instrumental CD – “20 Original Piano Pieces” which contains various styles: from classical to ragtime, pop, soul, jazz and blues. He also published a piano book under the same title. The latest work of Wrzaskala is a musical “Soul Food”, a semi-autobiographical love story about two musicians – a Polish conductor and a Jewish pianist. It starts in the communist Poland, and after many heartbreaking situations, ends happily in Canada. In December 2005 he was invited by the Teatr im.Modrzejewskiej in Legnica, Poland, to attend a premiere of the show POMNIK WDZIECZOSCI, based on the songs from his musical. He signed a two year contract with the theatre and was commissioned by the City Council to write a song about Legnica. Lana Hart, Firehall Theatre manager, who intends to produce SOUL FOOD in 2006, is enthusiastic about the composer. She compares his music to Rogers and Hammerstein... “He has made his years count. Not that awards and recognition can make the man, but this man can make music.” (NOW)
Prywatna rozmowa z Ryszardem Wrzaskala przeprowadzona dla Polonii i Strony Internetowej Kongresu Polonii Kanadyjskiej (Czerwiec 2014).
Rozmowe przeprowadzila i zdjecia - Iwona Swiatczak, montaz filmu Jerzy Kusmider.
Private Interview with Richard Wrzaskala in his home where he talks about his work and music ( June 2014 ) for Polonia and Canadian Polish Congress Internet Side.
Interview and pictures - Iwona Swiatczak.
Film Editor - Jerzy Kusmider
Canadian Polish Congress BC is very grateful for the opportunity to meet with Ryszard Wrzaskala and to be able to present the inteview on this website.
Pictures from Anniversary Gala Concert, where Richard Wrzaskala was presented with the Canadian Polish Congress BC Diploma in recognition for his outstanding contributions to Canadian Polish Community.
Also see Richard Wrzaskala - Composer
Charity Concert for David Grzonka
Also listen more on internet radio channel