29 August 2014
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composers (L)
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Aleksander Lasoń, composer, pianist, conductor and music teacher; b. 10 November 1951 in Siemianowice Śląskie. In 1970-74 he studied at the State Higher School of Music (now the Music Academy) in Katowice at the Faculty of Jazz and Popular Music, and, subsequently, composition with Józef Świder (an honours degree in 1979). Winner of the 4th Piano Improvisation Contest in 1972. In 1976 he won 2nd prize in the Grzegorz Fitelberg Competition for Composers for his Symphony No. 1 for wind instruments, percussion and two pianos (1975), and in 1978 - a prize in the composers' competition organised as part of the "Young Musicians for the Young City" Festival in Stalowa Wola. In 1980 he received the 2nd prize in the Young Composers' Competition of the Polish Composers' Union for his Mountains for symphony orchestra (1979-80). In the same year, he was granted the Beethoven Prize of the City of Bonn for Symphony No. 2 "Concertante" for piano and orchestra (1977-79). During the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris, Aleksander Lasoń received three coveted awards: in 1980 - Symphony No. 1 was selected in the "composers under 30" category; in 1988 - his String Quartet No. 2 (1987) and in 1997 - his Concerto festivo for violin and orchestra (1993-95) were recommended. For his artistic achievements, he was honoured with the "Silesian Polyhymnia" Award (1985), the S. Wyspiański Artistic Award (1986), The "Exclusiv" Prize of Tonos Music Publishers in Darmstadt (1988-91) and the Witold Lutosławski Scholarship-Award in 1987 and 1989. He was also granted prizes by the cities of Mikołów (1999), Bytom (2000) and Tarnowskie Góry (2001).
Aleksander Lasoń was active as a pianist-improviser before concentrating on composition and conducting. In 1996 he was the initiator of the New Music Orchestra in residence at the Music Academy in Katowice. The orchestra's aim is to promote most recent compositions, as well as 20th-century classics. The orchestra consists of the graduates, lecturers and talented students of the Academy.
Since 1975, Lasoń has also been an active teacher. He is a professor at the Cieszyn branch of the Silesian University, as well as at the Music Academy in Katowice. In January 2000, the academic title of Professor of Musical Arts was conferred upon him. In 1986-89 he was vice-president of the International Society for Contemporary Music, Polish Section, and in 1990-93 - president of the Katowice branch of the Polish Composers' Union.
works
Aleksander Lasoń formed, together with Eugeniusz Knapik and Andrzej Krzanowski, a group of composers named “Generation ‘51” because of the date of their birth. All the three made their debuts at the “Young Musicians for a Young City” Festival in Stalowa Wola, which played a major role in the development of Polish music in the late 1970s. It was at this festival that the new artistic generation defined its identity. The main representatives of the generation were Lasoń, Knapik and Krzanowski, and their shared objective – to oppose the 1950s and 1960s avant-garde, and revert in a creative way to the same tradition that the avant-garde had radically rejected. In 1975-80 in Stalowa Wola, eleven compositions by the “Generation ‘51” composers, also known as the “Stalowa Wola Generation”, were first performed. Of Aleksander Lasoń’s works, the following had their first performance at this festival: Sonata for solo violin (1975), Music for any voice and magnetic tape (1975), Concerto for piano and three magnetic tapes (1975), Chamber Music II (1976) and Chamber Music III (1978).
Among the composers of “Generation ‘51”, Lasoń was probably the one least involved in the ideological dispute. He always treated composing primarily as craftsmanship, and music – as a spontaneous interplay of the instrumental forces, an attitude which may well have originated in his training as an improvising pianist (apart from composition, he studied jazz and popular music at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice). His early compositions are characterised by vitality, rich palette of sound colour and an optimistic mood. With time, however, his music has become more profound in expression, darker in sound and more powerful in dynamics, though he still presents a preference for pure, absolute music.
compositions
Sonata for violin and piano (1970-71)
Songs for soprano and piano (1973)
Impressions for piano and orchestra (1974)
Chamber Music No. 1 “Stalowa Wola” [1st version] for piano and string quartet * (1974-78)
Symphony No. 1 for brass instruments, percussion and two pianos * (1975)
Sonata for solo violin no. 1 * (1975)
Music in Shakespeare for baritone and magnetic tape (1975)
Chamber Music No. 2 for piano, 2 horns, trumpet, 2 trombones and tuba (1976)
Concerto for piano and 3 magnetic tapes (1976)
Music in Four Parts for double-bass and piano * (1977)
Symphony No. 2 “Concertante” for piano and orchestra * (1977-79)
Chamber Music No. 3 for brass instruments, percussion and piano * (1978)
Mountains for symphony orchestra * (1979-80)
String Quartet No. 1 * (1979-80)
Wind Quintet “Spring” * (1980-81)
Chamber Music No. 5 “The Four Seasons” for clarinet, trombone, piano and strings * (1981)
Three Songs to texts by Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna for alto, oboe, violin, cello and piano (1983)
Sonata for solo violin no. 2 * (1983-84)
Concerto “Pablo Casals in memoriam” for cello and orchestra * (1985)
Concertino in Two Parts for violin and piano (1986)
String Quartet No. 2 * (1987)
The Cathedral for symphony orchestra (1987-89)
String Quartet No. 3 * (1992-93)
Hymn and Aria for string orchestra * (1993)
Concerto festivo for violin and orchestra * (1993-95)
Bass-relief for Andrzej for string quartet * (1995)
Symphony No. 3 “1999” for choir and orchestra (1996-97)
Credo for symphony orchestra * (1997)
“2 plus 2” for Witold for violin, cello and 2 pianos (1997)
“20 for 4” for string quartet (1998)
Musica Sacra – Sanctus for four male voices, organ and string orchestra (1998)
Fanfares “50” for chamber ensemble (1999-2000)
Chamber Music No. 6 “Saxophonium” for saxophone quartet and percussion (2000)
String Quartet No. 4 “Tarnowskie Góry” (2000)
A Little Book for clarinet and strings (2001)
Canto – “Dharma” [1st version] for cello and strings (2001)
Canto – “Dharma” [2nd version] for cello and piano (2002)
Suibusium felix for two violins and string orchestra (2002)
literature
Emotion controlled. An interview with Aleksander Lasoń, „Ruch Muzyczny” 2004 nr 18, s. 12-13
Bias Iwona Aleksander Lasoń. The composer’s portrait [Aleksander Lasoń. Portret kompozytora], Akademia Muzyczna w Katowicach, Katowice 2001
Polony Leszek Lasoń Aleksander.In: The PWM Encyclopaedia of Music - biographical section, ed. by Elżbieta Dziębowska [Encyklopedia Muzyczna PWM (część biograficzna pod red. Elżbiety Dziębowskiej)], vol. "klł", PWM, Kraków 1997
Thomas Adrian Lasoń Aleksander.In: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Second Edition (ed. Stanley Sadie), vol. 14, Macmillan Publishers Limited, London 2001
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