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Poland celebrates life and work of composer Witold Lutoslawski

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 25.01.2013 09:35
  • Poland celebrates life and work of composer Witold Lutoslawski
Poland marks one hundred years today since the birth of Witold Lutoslawski, one of the 20th century's most important composers.

Witold Lutosławski (1946): photo - PAP

Finnish conductor Eka-Pekka Salonen and music critic Agata Kwiecińska of Polish Radio’s cultural channel tell reporter Michal Kubicki why Lutoslawski, who died in 1994, was Poland's most pre-eminent contemporary composer.

Witold Lutosławski studied piano and composition with Jerzy Lefeld and Witold Maliszewski at the Warsaw Conservatory.

He started his career before the war but all his early scores were burnt during the Warsaw Uprising. He himself spent the years of the German occupation playing in a piano duo in the cafes of Warsaw with fellow composer Andrzej Panufnik.

In the post war years, after writing some folk-based functional music during the period of socialist realism, he has developed a spectacular international career with orchestral, chamber and vocal works, including the Concerto for Orchestra, Venetian Games, Livre pour orchestre, Mi-parti, four symphonies, the piano concerto written for Krystian Zimerman and Chain Two and Partita – composed for the world famous violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.

Lutosławski’s honours included the Koussevitzky Award (1964), the Herder Award (1967), the Sonning Award (1967), the Ravel Award (1971), the Sibelius Award (1973), the Ernst von Siemens Award (1983), the 'Solidarity' Award (1984), the Grawemeyer Award (1985), the UNESCO Award (1985), the Queen Sophie Award (1985), the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society in London (1985), the Polar Music Prize (1993) and the Kyoto Prize (1993).

He also received the Order of the White Eagle, the highest Polish state distinction (1994). He was a member of several academies, including the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He held honorary doctorate degrees from Warsaw University, the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Lancaster University, Glasgow University, Durham University, Queen's University, Belfast, Cleveland Institute of Music and McGill University in Montreal. (pg)

See video of PIOTR BORKOWSKI conducting W. LUTOSLAWSKI - SYMPHONY NO 4 1st movement (2009)

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