Żaneta Rydzewska is a Polish composer now living in Köln and Warsaw. Her ornate, dramatic works have been performed across Europe, taking into account listener perception through the melding of sound, light, and scent. We are excited to present the world premiere of her Piano Quintet as part of Parallels.

Parallels takes place tonight at 7 PM at the Aranoff Center’s Weston Art Gallery in collaboration with Salon 21, pianist Jill Jantzen, and the 4-Way String Quartet.

CSB: Could you tell us a little about your activities as a composer?

ŻR: I am interested in instrumental new music as well as electronic music; in the last two years, I have used lot of electronics in my pieces. I really love writing chamber music and orchestral music and am also working on music for theatre.

Last week, I was working with Ensemble Musikfabrik on my piece sit back and relax for piano, double bass, percussion, live electronics and light. Now, I am looking forward to this concert in Cincinnati with the amazing musicians playing my Piano Quintet.

CSB: Describe the work being premiered on this concert.

ŻR: Piano Quintet is very important for me. I wrote the piece with my mind full of memories of my composition professor, who died a few months ago. My work on the musical material during the formation of the quintet was previously determined and strictly mathematical. In the piece, I also employ a harmonic technique which I call “central tones”. For example, I often use f sharp as a central tone, and then add other pitches which are close to it: for example, f quarter tones, f natural.

CSB: What are you hoping audiences will experience during the piece?

ŻR: In Piano Quintet, I tried to present my vision of emptiness. In last part of the piece, I think it should be audible. I tried to show both a helplessness and a process of accepting reality.

CSB: You are splitting your time between Poland and Germany at the moment. How would you compare the scenes for contemporary music in those two places?

ŻR: I think that it is a hard task to compare these both scenes. It is always changing. But in Poland, I can observe a clear division between contemporary music centers: the traditional and the experimental.

CSB: What upcoming projects are on your radar?

ŻR: At the moment I am writing a piece for my graduate studies in Cologne for Ensemble Musikfabrik and a piece for large orchestra for my graduate studies in Warsaw.