An Interview with Violin Faculty Elzbieta Winnicki: Music in the Family
The Winnicki family trio, featuring Performing Arts School faculty member Elzbieta Winnicki with husband and pianist Andrzej Winnicki and son and marimbist Michael Winnicki, will perform Sunday, October 27 at 3:00 p.m. in the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts Salon Series at the Performing Arts School located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. The Cabaret-style seating on stage with the performers in Wharton’s black box theatre serves as the setting for an intimate concert showcasing works by Wieniawski and Shostakovich as well as Astor Piazzolla’s Spring, Autumn, and Invierno Porteño. Wine and cheese will be served.
Having immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1983, the musical family has performed at the Polish Cultural Foundation in Clark (NJ) and at the Kosciuszko Foundation and Polish Consulat General in New York. Both Elzbieta and Andrzej received formal training in Poland and return annually to visit family and reconnect with their roots. All three members of the ensemble have served on the faculty of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts.
Q: How long have you been teaching violin at Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts?
A: 26 Years
Q: Your husband and son have also served as instructors at Wharton’s Performing Arts School. What areas of study have they taught?
A: Piano, Introduction to Music Technology, and Percussion
Q: Many of our students know you from the annual String Camp. How many summers have you directed this camp?
A: 14 Summers
Q: Tell us a little about some of the repertoire your family plans to perform on October 27.
A: We chose three movements from Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires arranged by Jose Bragato for violin, cello (to be played by my son Michael on marimba), and piano for our love of tango. For those who might not be familiar with his music, Piazzolla was an Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player, and arranger who really reinvented the tango by fusing traditional elements with jazz and other forms, making a new style known as nuevo tango.
Q: In addition to some duo repertoire on the program, what else will you perform as a trio?
A: We are excited to perform Five Pieces by Dmitri Shostakovich, originally written for two violins and piano accompaniment. As the story goes, Shostakovich as a young man had a job playing piano for silent movies—essentially improvising a live soundtrack—and based on this experience, he composed these miniatures. The five movements are like a reel of scenes, each one a short story including a prelude, an elegy, and three dances.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for seniors, and free for all Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts students. Tickets are available at the door or by calling 908-790-0700.
Elzbieta Winnicki is an active violinist and pedagogue. She is a faculty member of Fairleigh Dickinson University and Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts. Her orchestral experience includes the Riverside Symphonia, Plainfield Symphony, Capital Philharmonic, Bravura Philharmonic, Bedford Spring Festival Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra In Italy, and the Szczecin Symphony Orchestra in Poland. She graduated from the Academy of Music in Wrocław, Poland with continued studies in the United States with Oscar Ravina of the New York Philharmonic. She has appeared at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Carnegie Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall and has toured in Italy, South Korea, and China.