Wolak-Donnelly BC Tour: Piano, clarinet player find common ground

From the Vernon Morning Star
by Donna Wedgewood-Maynes
on March 11, 2016 Link to full article

In its objective to provide diversity and excellence during the 2015-16 concert series, the North Okanagan Community Concert Association (NOCCA) believes it has succeeded with its next performance.

The upcoming concert duo of Kornel Wolak and Chris Donnelly will take to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre stage Sunday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Armed with a clarinet, a piano and their personable stage presence, Wolak and Donnelly present a remarkable blend of traditional classical and jazz music rarely heard in live performance.

Their musical expertise coupled with their humour and personal interaction engage the audience in a very entertaining manner. In short, they make a great team.

Fresh from their successful concert tour of eight border states earlier this year, Wolak and Donnelly look forward to their time with the Vernon audience.

As Wolak humourously suggests, “come and see the weirdos!”

Throughout the program, Wolak and Donnelly also showcase their talent as solo artists.

Highly praised on two continents for his glorious tone, precise technical control, and musical imagination, Polish-born Wolak began piano lessons at age six and took up the clarinet when he was 12.

“I was not forced into music by my parents, both classical musicians. I was encouraged on a regular basis,” he said.

Wolak’s successful university studies in Europe won him a scholarship at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he earned a master’s in music. He then pursued advanced orchestral studies at the Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto in the fall of 2005, earning an artist’s diploma.

“I was inspired not by individual clarinet players, but by former clarinet teachers,” said Wolak.

Tickets for the March 20 performance are available at the Ticket Seller box office, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca. More info. is at www.nocca.ca.

Wolak to inaugurate the 7th West Pomeranian Clarinet Festival April 12-17, 2016


Kornel Wolak will inaugurate the 7th West Pomeranian Clarinet Festival in Szczecin, Poland as well as serve as one of the competition judges.

Visit www.festiwalklarnetowy.szczecin.pl for application form and details.

The Inaugural Concert of the 2016 Festival – Clarinet recital
12 April 2016 (Tuesday)
Assembly Hall Music Schools in Szczecin
Solost: Kornel Wolak, clarinet
Joanna Zathey- Wójci?ska, piano

“Jazzy” Concert with Greater Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra – Saturday May 14, 2016


Saturday, May 14th – 8:00 PM
Calvin Presbyterian Church

Jean-Michel Malouf – conductor,
Kornel Wolak – clarinet

G. Gershwin – West Side Story
L. Bernstein – Porgy and Bess
B. Goodman – Memories of You, medleys for clarinet & orchestra
A. Copland – Hoedown
Maxime Goulet – Fishing story

For TICKETS visit gtpo.ca

January 26 – February 15, 2016 – Wolak-Donnelly Duo U.S. Tour


Armed with a clarinet, a piano, and their personable stage presence, Kornel Wolak and Chris Donnelly present a remarkable blend of classical and jazz music rarely heard in live performance. From revered classical pieces to Gershwin, Chris and Kornel captivate audiences with virtuosity, familiar melodies, and a profound passion for music and performing.

Sample Program
Premiere Rhapsodie – Debussy
Flight of the Bumblebee – Rimsky-Korsakov
Sonata for Clarinet & Piano – Brahms
Rhapsody in Blue – Gershwin
Adagio from Clarinet Concerto in A Major – Mozart
Moto Perpetuo, Op. 11 – Paganini
Intro, Theme and Variations – Rossini
Tico-Tico no Fuba – Abreau
Allegro from Violin Sonata No. 3 – Bach
A Paganini – Yadzinski
Henry’s Song and Dance – Donnelly
Hymn to Freedom – Peterson

Visit Allied Concert Services for info and bookings.

Barrie Concerts Review: “Duo the cream of the crop”

DOC001Steven Fielder, Barrie Examiner (Oct. 2015)

“…The first Barrie Concert of the 2015 season — the Double Double Duo on Saturday — turned all these pre- and misconceptions of both the compositions of classical composers and their 21st-century classical music performers on their ears. The entire evening was, quite simply, superbly professional, relaxed and fun.

This first concert of the Barrie Concerts series played to a packed house at what is arguably the best concert venue in Barrie, Hi-Way Pentecostal Church, and it was an incredible evening. It was billed as a “Double Double Duo, from Bach to Benny” featuring music from Bach to the present, and featuring accordionist Michael Bridge and clarinetist Kornel Wolak.

Accordion? Read on, and join the 21st century.

The duo presented a wonderful evening of music (either their own transcriptions or on-the-spot improvisations) from the music of Bach, Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky, Paganini, Bechet, Balkan folk tunes, Brahms, Benny Goodman, de Abreu, Rossini and Acker Bilk.

And their performances were fresh, exciting and fun, dispelling any of the old preconceptions about classical music being stuffy and outdated. This duo brought every composition from the past to 21st century to life. It was a great evening.

The performances by Michael Bridge on the Roland digital accordion throughout were exciting, superbly performed, and perhaps his solo performance of the 1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky), complete with bells and cannon (yes, from his accordion) was the most eye-opening of what this new instrument could do.

It’s one thing to have 21st-century technology available in the instrument, but it’s quite another to have an extremely talented young musician like Mr. Bridge to make use of technology and to explore it’s possibilities for the future. Did I happen to mention he was just having fun in his performances?

Clarinetist Kornel Wolak was superb, and showed why he is one of the best clarinetists of our time. His duo and solo performances were exciting, subtle and so sensitive, his improvisations were exquisite. He is a brilliant performer.

This Double-Double Duo was the best of new, young “classical” musicians opening the windows to fresh air and bringing their own style of intellect, expertise, talent and just plain fun to a new 21st century audience.

The audience at this concert enjoyed every minute. A great start to the Barrie Concerts series.”

From thebarrieexaminer.com