Maja Trochimczyk on Poets Cafe

The following interview of Maja Trochimczyk by Lois P. Jones originally aired on KPFK Los Angeles (reproduced with permission).

Biographical Information—Maja Trochimczyk

Maja Trochimczyk is a Californian poet, scholar, translator, photographer, and non-profit director from Poland. She studied musicology at the University of Warsaw, Poland (M.A. 1986) and sound engineering at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw (M.A. 1987). In 1988 she emigrated to Canada and in 1994 she earned her Ph.D. in musicology from McGill University in Montreal, for a dissertation on Space and Spatialization in Contemporary Music: History and Analysis, Ideas and Implementations (music by Brant, Boulez, Schafer, Xenakis and others). After a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (1994-1996), Dr. Trochimczyk joined the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music as Director of the Polish Music Center (1996-2004). She also received a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (2001-2002). Since 2004, Dr. Trochimczyk has continued her research and music history activities as an independent scholar while becoming active as a poet and publisher, as well as working as a development officer for healthcare and human service organizations, including St. Francis Medical Center, Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, The Midnight Mission, and Phoenix House. She serves as Board member and Officer for the Polish American Historical Association and as President of Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles. For the years 2010-2012, Dr. Trochimczyk was elected the Sixth Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, California.

Dr. Trochimczyk’s research interests include the history and aesthetics of 20th-century music and poetry, Polish composers (Bacewicz, Górecki, Lutosławski), poets (Miłosz, Szymborska, Polish-American poets), women composers, as well as philosophy of music, and music ecology. She published four books of music studies: Polish Dance in Southern California (East European Monographs, Columbia University Press, 2008), The Music of Louis Andriessen (New York: Routledge, 2002), After Chopin: Essays in Polish Music (Los Angeles: Polish Music Center, 2000), and A Romantic Century in Polish Music, (Los Angeles: Moonrise Press, 2009). She wrote hundreds of peer-reviewed and popular articles, essays, entries, CD liner notes, and interviews on music and culture. Her publications appeared in American Music, Contemporary Music Review, Musical Quarterly, Computer Music Journal, Muzyka, Studia Musicologica, Leonardo, Polish American Studies, Polish Review, and a host of other scholarly journals. She also contributed to books or series including The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians II (Macmillan), Women Composers: Music Through the Ages (G.K. Hall), Lutoslawski Studies (Oxford University Press), and The Age of Chopin (Indiana University Press). Her work was translated into Polish, German, French, Swedish, and Japanese.

For more information, visit her website:


Tiger Nights

Someone nailed gold-plated clouds
to the hard, polished turquoise of the sky.

Striated, like the stripes of a tiger
I did not know I had for a pet

until he bared his teeth
at the dogs flowing through the air

to corner him in my backyard.
The blond fur glistened in shadows.

Three golden labs growled
at the cat the size of a calf.

He turned. His stripes shone
with danger. I woke up afraid.

Now I watch the gold of the clouds
change into orange, scarlet and amaranth

in a quickly darkening cupola
that rests on the hills

above the Hollywood Bowl.
Smooth tones of Joshua Bell’s violin

glow in the air, escaping
the relentless chase of the brass.

Wind snatches notes from the bow,
plays with their glossy sheen.

Stars blossom on cloud-stems
in bouquets, wild as tiger lilies

you gave me that night.
Danger lurks in your smile

as you caress my ear
with a whisper: “Remember?”