Apr 222011

Reading beautiful poems by Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska, Poswiatowska, Karol Wojtyla, Baczynski and others, most prominent Polish poets has been a fantastic way of venturing out from today’s world dramas.  Listening to music and songs of Osiecka, Mlynarski, Grechuta, brought tear to my eye, those years will never come back….  Luckily we do have many great recordings of those who are not with us any more and now I would like to bring some of their songs and poems back in our next gathering May 15th at the newly formed Literary Cafe at the Kosciuszko Foundation on O Street in Washington DC.

I was so happy to hear that Ivo Kaltchev, an accomplished concert pianist will join us May 15th!

Ivo Kaltchev                                    

Associate Professor, Chair of Piano Division

Prizewinner of international piano competitions and a Bösendorfer Artist, Ivo Kaltchev is enjoying a successful performing career as recitalist, soloist with orchestras, chamber musician and recording artist. “Formidable technique” (Piano Journal, England), “possesses the genius of rubato”(Diapason, France), “superb musicianship” (Phar, Israel), “distinctive and original” (Soviet Culture, Russia), “impressive” (Frankfurter Neue Presse, Germany), “most beautifully and idiomatically played” (International Record Review, England), “glittering,” “ big technique” (The Washington Post, USA), “his tonal qualities are astounding…first class” (American Record Guide, USA), “fine” (Fanfare, USA), “a master of the whole range of pianistic attacks and coloristic effects” (The Star Ledger, USA) – these are some of the words which music critics have used to describe Mr. Kaltchev’s unique artistry.

Dr. Kaltchev has performed in musical centers throughout the world, includingLincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Kennedy Center, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory Malii and Rachmaninov Halls, St. Petersburg State Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw National Philharmonic Hall, Salle Moliere (Lyon, France), Teatro Verdi (Salerno, Italy), Tel Aviv Museum Recanati Auditorium (Israel), Mendelssohn Hochschule für Musik Hall (Leipzig, Germany), Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium, the Library of Congress, and the Bulgaria Great Hall.

He has performed and taught at music festivals throughout the world including the Washington International Piano Festival (Washington DC),  the European Academy for Music and Arts (Montepulciano, Italy),  the Chinese-American International Piano Institute (Changdu, China), the Perugia International Music Festival (Italy), Nancyphonies International Music Festival (France), Mozart International Music Festival (Frankfurt, Germany), the Toledo International Music Festival (Spain), the Sofia Music Weeks International Festival (Bulgaria), the Lincoln Center French Music Festival, the Prague Spring International Music Festival (Czech Republic), the Varna Summer International Festival (Bulgaria), the Rutgers SummerFest (USA), Vivace International Music Festival (USA), and Florida University Young Pianist Festival (USA). Some of the highlights of recent seasons include both a solo recital and a concerto performance with the New York Festival Orchestra (now EOS Orchestra) in Alice Tully Hall, performances of the complete solo piano works of Debussy and the complete songs of Henri Duparc as well as concerts in the U.S., China, Russia, Germany, Spain, Finland, Bulgaria, Italy, France, Czech Republic and the Virgin Islands. A respected chamber musician, Mr. Kaltchev has collaborated with the New York Metropolitan Opera soloists Sharon Christman, Fabiana Bravo and Patrick Carfizzi; pianist Ilana Vered; Essex Quartet;  French actress Marie Christine Barrault as well as members of the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Mr. Kaltchev performs regularly at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with Russian pianist Prof. Irina Koulikova. His engagements for the 2010-11 concert season include recitals and master classes in the United States, Bulgaria, Thailand, Singapore, Portugal and China.

Mr. Kaltchev’s critically acclaimed commercial recordings on the Bulgarian “Gega New” label include an all-Charles Griffes CD (hailed by the French magazine Diapason as “the most accomplished interpretation known until now”) and a CD with the world premieres of solo piano works by the French composer Florent Schmitt. Mr. Kaltchev has been a featured artist for the New York City’s WNYC and WQXR Radio Stations, Radio Free Europe (Germany), Radio Moscow, Klara Radio Station (Brussels, Belgium), Bulgarian National TV and Radio, and many others.

Mr. Kaltchev holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rutgers University (USA), the Master of Music degree from Yale University (USA), the Bachelor of Music degree from the Sofia State Academy of Music (Bulgaria) and a Diploma from the Franz Liszt Hoscschule fur Musik (Weimar, Germany). His principal teachers include pianists Ilana Vered, Boris Berman, Milena Mollova as well as chamber musicians from the Guarneri and Tokyo String Quartets.

Dr. Kaltchev is a recipient of pedagogy awards for teaching excellence from the Piano Teachers Society of America and the Princeton Steinway Society. He has presented lectures, workshops and master classes at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference, the European Piano Teachers Association Conference, the American College Music Society Conference, the Improving University Teaching International Conference, the Yale University as well as in the United States, Europe, China, Korea and the Virgin Islands. Dr. Kaltchev is an active adjudicator and has judged the following international piano competitions: Maria Clara Cullell International Latin American Piano Competition (Costa Rica), Louisiana International Piano Competition (USA), Vladigerov International Piano Competition (Bulgaria), Jacinto Guerrero Piano Competition (Spain), Florida International Piano Competition (USA), Andorra International Piano Competition, International Young Artist Piano Competition (USA), Liszt-Garrison International Piano Competition (USA) and Los Angeles International Liszt Piano Competition (USA). Mr. Kaltchev’s students are prizewinners of more than 20 piano competitions and have performed with numerous orchestras including I Solisti di Perugia (Italy). Dr. Kaltchev is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Bulgarian Music Society Concert Series at the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington DC.

Currently, Dr. Kaltchev is Associate Professor of Piano and Chair of the Piano Division at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is also a Visiting Professor at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China and Co-Director of the Washington International Piano Festival in Washington DC. During the Fall 2010 semester, Dr. Kaltchev will be teaching at the Yale University School of Music as a Visiting Lecturer.


Apr 222011

Hoffman Boston ES students become Ambassadors of International Culture

This season Ambassadors of International Culture Educational Program travels to ancient Egypt and China with the 2nd Graders of Hoffman Boston Elementary School in Arlington, VA.  

We have started coming to school twice  a week since October 2010 and helped the students to learn about the ancient worlds of Egypt and China  through the theater games and exercises.  The first few weeks the kids traveled on the world map and learnt about the continents, and major oceans.  They had lots of fun playing the games with the mnemonic devises as tongue twisters which helped them to memorize all the continents and oceans.  They have invented several rap songs with the continents and oceans while dancing around.  They played Echo Games with various character voices and with emotional expressions while reciting all the names.   Finally after few weeks of understanding where each continent is on the map they traveled to Egypt and China.

Reading the alphabet written in hieroglyphics and symbols became a  truly fun time for all kids.  They learned to visualize all the symbols through movement and memorized short poems about most important inventions, facts and monuments related to a specific country.

It was  so wonderful to watch them creating the pyramids, imitate the Sphinx or move as Pharaoh.  I cannot wait to see the final presentation June 7th!

It’s been a true pleasure to go to Hoffman Boston and discover the beauty of Ancient Egypt and China with kids who have so much to offer.

Now, we are excited to work with the Embassy of Egypt and China.  Few days ago I met with Mrs. Suzi Shoukry, wife of the Ambassador of Egypt, who graciously invited all the kids to visit her at the Ambassador residence in May and enjoy a nice exhibition of Egyptian art and little mummies while listening to Mrs. Shoulry talk to kids about her beautiful country.  There is going to be a surprise but I will talk about it later….

I also met with Mr. Tibin from the Embassy of China who has already prepared lots of materials in support of learning about China and to help us make our presentation more colorful.   We are already very excited about that too but the kids will find out later about it after they come back from their Spring Break!

You may watch us on the schools website: http://www.apsva.us/1553201016103444450/blank/browse.asp?A=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&C=66856

We will let you know more later!

Dec 092010

Here’s a little early holiday cheer:

Hanna Bondarewska with Thomas at the White House 2010Our Artistic Director, Hanna Bondarewska, spent this past Saturday evening at the White House Holiday Tour. She was accompanied by ATICC’s Board member, Irena Blaszkiewicz and her friend Joanna, as well as Thomas Freireich and his mother and grandmother. Thomas, you will recall, was ATICC’s first supporter, a former student who gave Hanna a dollar and told her to start her theater when it was still just an idea, four years ago, when he himself was only four years old. Hanna had seen him since then, of course. Just a few weeks before, at the opening for The Little Prince, he had told Hanna that he was going to have his parents make a special arrangement for his birthday: instead of giving him presents, Thomas asked that friends and family donate money to Ambassador Theater.
On Saturday Thomas presented Hanna with an envelope containing over two hundred dollars in donations.
What better validation could ATICC receive than for this boy to voluntarily give up his birthday gifts to benefit the theater? His generosity is a testament to what we are trying to do: to move our audience, and instill in them a devotion to the arts that will last a lifetime.
Santa himself could give no better gift.

Oct 202010

We are now after the opening of “The little Prince.  Success, many great reviews and great feedback from everyone who came to see the show!  I feel so excited that our mission is truly working and we are creating such a great collaboration of artists to work on such beautiful productions as “The Little Prince”.  I am so grateful to a very talented director and me dear friend, Lilia Slavova, for creating this    magical show on the stage.  I do not have enough words of  gratitude to my Associate Artistic Director and best friend,  Magda Pinkowska without whom nothing would be  possible.  Thanks to her devotion and professionalism and  talent we are able to be a true artistic team that continues to  carry out the artistic and business vision of our theater.

I am also very grateful to our very supportive Board of  Directors whose friendship and support allows us all to  bring more and more interesting works from around the  world and share it with the DC Metro area audience.

I am  also very happy to welcome our friend, Madeline Muravchik as the Director of Development to our Ambassador Theater team.  Some of you might remember her from our production of Summer at Nohant.   We are very grateful to Madeline for her help in developing our grant programs and promotion. I am so happy to work with such talented actors and crew to bring so imaginative show with powerful messages to life.

Congratulations team!

Oct 142010

Ambassador Said Jawad and Hanna Bondarewska at IFE/INFO Public Policy Roundtable

Wearing many hats could be a truly exhilarating experience!  I have been always changing hats in my life since I was a little girl.  I loved hats and my mom and everyone told me that I look good in them.  They allowed me to change not only my appearance but also my attitude and behavior. Once I was a cowgirl with a huge hat and pants or another time a Sheik.  But these days in America I wear a different type of hats, those hats that you do not go on stage and get into a specific character but actually multitasking and taking care of many things usually done by various people.  These days I had to learn how to wear a magician’s hat that magically would turn things around and make them happen.  

I am now a business manager, developer, artistic director, box office manager, house manager, janitor, production manager, marketing director, PR, and so on and on and on.  I believe my acting skills and enormous energy given to me by my parents and God help me to really take upon myself so many roles until we get the Ambassador Theater on its feet.

Jul 202010

We are extremely delighted to embark on our second season  at Ambassador Theater with the most prominent Belgian  playwright, poet, and essayist, and Nobel Laureate: Maurice  Maeterlinck, whose very symbolic works aroused so many  artists around the world and demanded a new artistic vision.  Despite the passage of time, Maeterlinck’s words still inspire  artistic exploration and experimentation with new eyes.  Maeterlinck wanted to reveal the interconnectivity of the  inner and the outer world, a mirroring of the macro to  microcosm. Today in the Information Era, as in Maeterlinck’s  time with the Industrial Revolution, we search for spiritual connectedness with the universe, with each other, and within ourselves. We search for a common tongue to provoke each other into dialogue. With these two of Maeterlinck’s very different plays, a fairy-tale and a satire, death is a main subject, seen from distinct perspectives. Both pieces provoke us to laugh, cry, think and enter into a shared conversation.  As the author and translators have inspired me to present both plays, so the actors and designers helped to craft the artistic vision for which I am extremely grateful. We invite all to an open discussion about life and death and Maeterlinck’s artistic vision presented to you with the gracious partnership of the Embassy of Belgium.

Enjoy the show!

Apr 092010

There are so many interesting people and places in the world but we did not find one as interesting and vibant as Nohant.  Turning the black box at the Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint was a real creative effort. Thanks to a great artist, Andrzej Pinkowski, who used his artistic magical hand and eye and at a flip of a magic wand, he changed the place into a 19th century salon.

The three act play took us all on a great tour into a 19th century salon where we discovered the beauty of erotic passions, turmoil, and artistic inspiration, where “among kitchen squabbles- something so full of transcendental genius was being produced!” It has been a great pleasure to rediscover this very interesting play depicting a part of the lives of these very special people, George Sand and Fryderyk Chopin with such a great group of American actors and take them on a tour of France and Poland.  It has been a very interesting ride, full of passion; snow days and stormy weather which still did not stop us all from bringing some sun to “Summer at Nohant.”  Thank you to all its dear “inhabitants” for all their passion and hard work, especially my dear assistant Magda and her family who tirelessly worked to make our salon so beautiful and vibrant.  I love you all and let us all breathe in the very extraordinary air of Nohant!  Hopefully, we will come back to it very soon!

Dec 302009

Dear Friends,

The Team of the Ambassador Theater wishes you all Happy Holidays and thank you to all of our Members and Supporters for all their help to make our inaugural season such a success!

As we enter this holiday season, we here at Ambassador Theater and International Cultural Center (ATICC) are celebrating the successes of the past year and looking forward to the next. ATICC is dedicated to reaching out to a larger audience in 2010 and we need your help to do so! DSC_8018HelenaLectureChrisProfessor

2009 Season Highlights

The 2009 season was such an exciting time for ATICC. From our sold-out production of Sławomir Mrożek’s Out to Sea to the spirited presentation of Hopa Tropa! during Kids Euro Festival 2009, we have been able to put on some of the most entertaining, educational, and culturally diverse performances in the D.C. area.
This year, we collaborated with many local and international community leaders, including the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, France, the Embassy of Sweden, and Bulgaria.

HopaTropa at Embassy of Sweden Our works have been performed at the Shakespeare Theatre, Kennedy Center, the Arc Center, and Flashpoint Theatre, as well as various embassies. We have been featured on Fox News and NBC.com and have received many good reviews and great audience respond. Not ones to merely rest on our laurels, we are dedicated to expanding the variety and range of our programming next year in order to promote cultural awareness and the performing arts to even greater audiences.  But we do need your help!

All of us here at ATICC highly value the trust you have placed in us to be the best new theater in Washington, DC. It is my sincere hope that you will consider making a first time gift to help us expand and enhance our programs.  You may visit our website, www.aticc.org to learn about our events and programs and make your contribution on line, www.aticc.org/about/youcanhelp

I thank you in advance for your consideration and extend my best wishes to you for a joyful holiday season!


Hanna Bondarewska and the Ambassador Theater Team

Dec 302009

Helena Modjeska by Tadeusz Ajdukiewicz, 1880 I’m very humbled to introduce to you Madame Helena Modjeska  (Modrzejewska), the Polish-American Shakespearean icon of the 19th Century, in  whose footsteps many actors would have loved to follow. Thanks to Professor  Braun and his writing, I was inspired to further research the life of this  mysterious and intriguing personality. I started to dream about all the amazing  roles she performed in her life, and fantasized about her railway car tours of the  United States. I even thought of building a special train to take our shows on the  road, all in the name of Helena. Who was Helena Modrzejewska? How can we  suppose to know when, during her life, she asked herself the same question? Mr.  Braun in his work conveys this palpable uncertainty in Modrzejewska’s own  words: “Who am I in reality?…Helena Modrzejewska, or Countess Modjeska…A  fake, or an aristocrat? A player, or a woman?..An usurper, or a legitimate queen?…American or a Pole? I do not know.” Do we know who we are in reality?  Although we are not playing our roles on stage as Helena did, we inhabit the  various roles in our lives, that of the father, the mother, the friend, at work, at home,…with the same fervor. With the development of technology and information, and the increasing speed our lives gain, we take upon ourselves unfamiliar roles and tasks. The line between reality and artifice is blurred. This dichotomy is one that fully concerned Modrzejewska. We see it in the passion of her performances, both on and off the stage. The conviction with which she lived her life is an emblem of the powerful sense of mystery and enchantment the theatre holds over all of us. Most amazing to me is the innate ability of my American actors to take on the ambitious task of portraying a group of iconic Poles! Without their commitment to their roles, and their eagerness to learn more about the rich lives of Modrzejewska and her friends, the intimate portrait we present to you tonight would have been impossible. A toast to you Madame Helena and to you, her audience!

Jul 142009

As we begin to move through this summer and finish the run of our inaugural production, our thoughts are immediately moving onto our exciting projects for the fall and winter. “Hopa Tropa” is just one of our upcoming creative projects that will bring a colorful taste of Bulgarian culture to the DC area.
“Hopa Tropa” began as an idea to continue with Ambassador Theater’s mission to highlight international cultures and bring them to the DC area. After working with Polish theater, we enthusiatically moved to working on Bulgaria. And what better way to bring the color, fun, and excitment of Bulgarian culture, than through a children’s show! We began searching for a piece to work on, going so far as to contact artists at famous children’s theater in Varna, Bulgaria, who informed us that the particular piece we were interested in was created experiementally through improvisation, and no written draft was available. Brainstorming on what next to do, we decided to write our own piece, dubbed by Lilia Slavova “Hopa Tropa!”, after a spirited jump in a dance. With this kind of spirited spontaneity, “Hopa Tropa” was born.