Polmic - FB

persons' index (K)


Stefan Kisielewski, composer, academic teacher, music critic, writer and journalist, b. 7th March 1911 in Warsaw; d. 27th Sept. 1991 in Warsaw. He studied at Warsaw Conservatory, from which he graduated in music theory (1934) and composition (1937) after studies with Kazimierz Sikorski, as well as in the piano (1937) after studies with Jerzy Lefeld. He also completed a two-year study in Polish philology and a one-year study in philosophy at Warsaw University (1929-31). In 1938-39, he continued his composition studies in Paris. Under the Nazi occupation he took part in underground music life. In 1945, he founded the periodical "Ruch Muzyczny", of which he was editor-in-chief till 1948. In 1945-49, he taught theorerical subjects at the State Higher School of Music in Cracow (now the Music Academy).
He was also active as a commentator (writing, among others, feuilletons for the "Tygodnik Powszechny" from 1945, as well as critical articles and essays on music). He also wrote numerous books on musical subjects as well as literary works published in Poland and abroad (some - under the pen names of Teodor Klon and Tomasz Staliński). In 1957-65, he was an MP in the Parliament of the People's Republic of Poland. In 1973-78 he toured, among others, the United States, Canada, France, England, Italy and Scandinavia, delivering papers on subjects pertinent to Polish culture.
Stefan Kisielewski received 2nd prize at the Festival of Polish Music in 1955 for his Concerto for chamber orchestra (1949), 1st prize in the competition for songs to Mickiewicz's poems in 1955 for Bakczysaraj w nocy [Bachčisaraj by Night] for voice and piano (1955), the Music Award of the City of Cracow in 1956, the Prize of the Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation in New York in 1973, the Andrzej Strug Award in Warsaw (1979), the Prize of the Polish Composers' Union in 1982, the Prize of the Schmidheinystiftung Foundation in St. Gallen in 1983 for his entire musical oeuvre, as well as the Adolf Bocheński private journalistic award in 1988.


Stefan Kisielewski was one of the most colourful figures on the Polish music scene. Composing was only one of several fields of his public activity. He was also known as a writer, journalist and commentator, social and political activist. Because of his uncompromising stand in all these areas, he became an object of communist repressions, which included being severely beaten by the so-called "unidentified offenders". He was dismissed from the faculty of Cracow's State Higher School of Music, where he had taught theory; the periodical "Ruch Muzyczny", of which he was the founder and editor-in-chief, was closed for some time. He was banned from the Parliament, where he represented the Catholic club "Znak"; he was forbidden to publish feuilletons in the Catholic weekly "Tygodnik Powszechny"; he had to publish his books under a pen name in the underground. Despite this persecution, he always remained a great authority. It was on his texts that the young generations of journalists and commentators were brought up. He had an important say in the environment of dissident economists and underground activists fighting for Poland's independence.
Kisielewski's music was virtually absent from philharmonic halls, both for political reasons and owing to the conservative neo-Classical style to which the composer remained faithful throughout his artistic life. Kisielewski viewed music as an autonomous art, and the creative process - as multi-level organisation of sounds. He rejected all extra-musical contents, as well as the Romantic aesthetic. He composed works which were clear in form and made frequent use of classical formal patterns. His musical language combined the traditional tonality with modern atonal music. The strong element of humour and self-irony, characteristic of his works, reflected very well the personality of that man, his brilliant wit and unmanageable humour. In recent years, his music has been played more often, as people are more and more aware of its timeless values. Especially his last composition, the Piano Concerto, composed directly before his death, now enjoys considerable popularity.


String Quartet * (1935)
Symphony No. 1 (1939)
Danse vive for piano * (1939)
Six Preludes and Fugues for piano (1943)
Toccata for piano * (1944)
Serenade [1st version] for piano * (1945)
Concerto for chamber orchestra * (1949)
Rustic Rhapsody for chamber orchestra * (1950)
Symphony No. 2 (1951)
Capriccio rustico for piano * (1952)
Five Songs to poems by K. I. Gałczyński for voice and piano * (1952)
Seven Songs to poems by K. I. Gałczyński for voice and piano * (1952-54)
Little Overture for chamber orchestra (1953)
Intermezzo for clarinet and piano * (1953)
Suite for oboe and piano * (1954)
Moto perpetuo for piano (1954)
Suite for piano * (1955)
Perpetuum mobile for small symphony orchestra * (1955)
Bachčisaraj by Night for voice and piano * (1955)
Capriccio energico for violin and piano * (1956)
Symphony for 15 performers * (1961)
Suite for flute and clarinet * (1961)
Dr Tar and Prof. Fluff’s System - a ballet-pantomime (1962)
Divertimento for flute and chamber orchestra * (1964)
Journey in Time for string orchestra * (1965)
Sport Signals - overture for great symphony orchestra * (1966)
Funfair – a ballet (1968)
Meetings in the Desert for 10 performers * (1969)
Dialogues for 14 instruments * (1970)
Cosmos I for great symphony orchestra (1970)
Sonata for clarinet and piano * (1972)
Serenade [2nd version] for piano (1974)
Symphony in a Square * (1974-78)
Piano Concerto * (1980-91)
Capricious Impression for solo flute * (1982)
Three Stormy Scenes for piano * (1983)
Little Rhapsody for clarinet and piano * (1984)
Scherzo for bassoon and piano * (1988)

literatura wybrana

Dąbrowski Florian Stefan Kisielewski, Ars Nova, Poznań 1995
Jasińska Danuta Kisielewski Stefan in: The PWM Encyclopaedia of Music - biographical part, ed. by Elżbieta Dziębowska, vol. "klł", PWM, Kraków 1997
Tarnawska-Kaczorowska Krystyna (red.) Melos, logos, etos. Materiały sympozjum poświęconego twórczości F. Dąbrowskiego, S. Kisielewskiego, Z. Mycielskiego [Melos - Logos - Ethos. Proceedings of a Symposium Devoted to F. Dąbrowski's, S. Kisielewski's and Z. Mycielski's Works], ZKP, Warszawa 1987


Kisielewski Stefan Drzewiecki, PWM, Kraków 1973
Kisielewski Stefan Dzienniki [Diaries], Iskry, Warszawa 1996
Kisielewski Stefan Grażyna Bacewicz i jej czasy [Grażyna Bacewicz and Her Time], PWM, Kraków 1964
Kisielewski Stefan Gwiazdozbiór muzyczny [Musical Constellations] tom I: Od Bacha do Strawińskiego [vol. 1: From Bach to Stravinsky], PWM, Kraków 1959
Kisielewski Stefan Muzyka i mózg [Music and the Brain – a collection of essays], PWM, Kraków 1974
Kisielewski Stefan Poematy symfoniczne Ryszarda Straussa [Richard Strauss’s Symphonic Poems], PWM, Kraków 1955
Kisielewski Stefan Polityka i sztuka [Politics and Art], Wydawnictwo Eugeniusza Kuthana, Warszawa - Kraków 1949
Kisielewski Stefan Z muzycznej międzyepoki [From the Musical Transition Period], PWM, Kraków 1966
Kisielewski Stefan Z muzyką przez lata [With Music Through Years – a collection of essays], PWM, Kraków 1957