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composers (P)


Marta Ptaszyńska,

composer, percussionist, and pedagogue, born on July 29, 1943 in Warsaw.
Studied composition under Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz and music theory at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw and percussion performance under Jerzy Zgodzinski at the State Higher School of Music in Poznan. As a French Government grant recipient she continued her compositional studies in 1969 -70 with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen in Paris. At the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, USA, she received in 1974 an Artist Diploma Degree (ADD) in Composition and Percussion Performance.
Marta Ptaszynska is a prize-winner of many composition contests including The Young Composers Contest of the Union of Polish Composers (1971),The Polish Radio & Television Composers Competition (1972), awards of the Percussive Arts Society in the US (1974 and 1976). In 1986, her work La Novella d’Inverno for strings (1984) won 1st Prize at the International Rostrum of Composers at UNESCO in Paris and her Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra (1985) got an award at the International Composers Competition in New York. Also, she received an Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, the Alfred Jurzykowski Award in New York, and several ASCAP Awards. In 1995 she was honored with the ‘Officer Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
Her television opera, Oscar of Alva, produced by the Cracow Television in 1988, received both audience and critical acclaim at the International Festival of Television Operas in Salzburg (1989) and her opera for children, Mister Marimba, enjoying a great success and popularity, was performed 114 times at the National Opera in Warsaw.
She received commissions from orchestras such as Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, chamber groups such as Pacifica String Quartet and Eighth Blackbird, and from soloists such as Ewa Podleś, Keiko Abe, Evelyn Glennie.
Her music is published by Polish Music Publications (PWM) and by Theodore Presser Co and is recorded on CD Accord, Muza Polish Records, Olympia, Chandos, DUX, Bayer Records, and Pro Viva.
As pedagogue, she has taught composition at many American universities and music schools including the University of California in Berkeley and in Santa Barbara, Indiana University in Bloomington, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Northwestern University. Since 1998 she has been a professor of composition at the University of Chicago and holds an endowed professorship of Helen B. & Frank L. Sulzberger Chair in Composition.
She was a co-founder and a co-organizer of the International Percussion Workshops in Bydgoszcz and in the years 1981-84 served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Percussive Arts Society. In 1991 she became a vice president of the American Society of Polish Music. In 1994 and 1996 she was appointed an artistic adviser of the Festival of Polish Music at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

updated November 2008


Preludes for vibraphone and piano * (1965)
Scherzo for xylophone and piano * (1967)
Ostinato for piano * (1967)
Variations for flute * (1967)
Improvisations for orchestra * (1968)
A Tale of Nightingales for baritone and chamber ensemble (1968)
Suite Variee for children percussion quartet and piano (1968)
Three Interludes for two pianos * (1969)
Recitativo, arioso e toccata for violin solo * (1969-75)
Jeu-parti for harp and vibraphone (1970)
Vocalise for soprano and vibraphone (1971)
Madrigals „Canticum Sonarum” , Igor Stravinsky in memoriam for woodwind quartet, string quartet with double bass, trumpet, trombone and gong * (1971)
Cadenza for flute and percussion * (1971-72)
Space Model for percussion solo and pre-recorded tape * (1971-75)
Stress for percussion and  electronic tape (1972)
Arabesque for harp * (1972)
Spectri sonori for orchestra * (1973)
Crystallites for orchestra (1973-74)
Two Poems for tuba * (1973-75)
Touracou for harpsichord * (1973-75)
Siderlas for two percussion quintets and lighting projection (optional) * (1974)
Concerto for Percussion Quartet and Orchestra (1974)
Farewell Souvenir for piano (1975)
Mobile for two percussionists * (1976)
Classical Variations for timpani and string quartet (1976)
Quodlibet for double bass and prerecorded tape * (1976)
Epigrams for women’s choir, flute, harp, piano and percussion (1976-77)
Un grand sommeil noir (A Great Dark Sleep) for woman’s voice, flute and harp * (1977)
Tunes from Many Countries for percussion ensemble (1977)
Colorful World of Percussion for flutes, voices and percussion instruments (1978)
Journeys into Space for piano * (1978)
Dream Lands, Magic Spaces for violin, piano and percussion (6 players) * (1978)
Music of Five Steps for flutes and percussion ensemble * (1979)
Bagatelles for harp (1979)
Soirée snobe chez la Princesse, instrumental theatre (1979)
Die Sonette an Orpheus (Sonnets to Orpheus) for middle voice and chamber orchestra (1980-81)
Conductus – A Ceremonial for winds * (1982)
Ave Maria [version I] for 4 men’s voices, brass, percussion and organ (1982)
Miniatures for piano (1982)
Scintilla for two marimbas * (1984)
La Novella d’inverno (Winter’s Tale) for string orchestra * (1984)
Four Seasons for Four Hands for piano * (1984)
Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra * (1985)
Silver Threads and Other Songs for Children for voices, choir, piano and percussion instruments * (1985-86)
Music Alphabet for two pianos (1985-86)
Moon Flowers for cello and piano * (1986)
Ave Maria [version II] for men’s choir and orchestra (1987)
Charlie’s Dream – Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra * (1988)
Polish Letters, cantata for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, mixed choir and chamber ensemble (1988)
Graffito for marimba * (1988)
Songs of Despair and Loneliness for mezzosoprano and piano (1988-89)
Ajikan for flute and percussion (1989)
Poetic Impressions for woodwind quintet and piano (1991)
Ode to Praise All Famous Women for orchestra (1992)
Hommage à I. J. Paderewski for piano (1992)
Holocaust Memorial Cantata for soprano, tenor, baritone, mixed choir and orchestra (1992)
Holocaust Memorial Cantata [chamber version] for soprano, tenor, baritone, mixed choir, percussion and piano (1992)
Spider Walk for percussion * (1993)
Fanfare for Peace for orchestra * (1993)
Mister Marimba, children opera in two acts (1993-96)
Four Portraits for string quartet (1994)
Liquid Light for mezzo-soprano, piano and percussion * (1995)
Distant Voices for mezzo-soprano and string quartet * (1995)
Concerto grosso for two violins and chamber orchestra (1996)
Mancala for two violins (1996)
Scherzo di fantasia for euphonium and piano (1997)
Linear Constructions in Space for six percussionists (1997-98)
Olympian Rings for soprano steel drum (1997-98)
Letter to the Sun for frame drum, percussion quartet and narrator (1998-2000)
Luna Stelle for two pianos and two percussionists (1998-99)
Primary Colors for percussion quartet (1999)
Fanfare in memoriam Frederic Chopin for orchestra (1999)
Drum of Orfeo – Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (1999-2002)
Inverted Mountain for orchestra (2000)
The Last Waltz in Vienna for accordion trio (2001)
Sogno d’Euridice for two harps (2001)
Mosaics for string quartet * (2002)
Sinfonia Wratislavia for orchestra (2003-2004)
Pianophonia for piano (2004)
Elegia in Memoriam John Paul II for viola * (2005)
Magic Doremik, opera for young audience in two acts (2006-2007)
Lumen for orchestra (2007)
Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra (2007-2008)
Street Music for large percussion orchestra (2008)
Hymn of the Universe for choir and organ (2008)
Trois visions de l’arc-en-ciel (Three Visions of a Rainbow) for chamber ensemble (2008)
The Lovers of the Valldemosa Cloister. Opera in two acts (2008-2009)
Of Time and Space. Concerto for percussion, electronic tape and orchestra (2009-2010)
Blue Line for marimba solo (2011)
Red Rays for flute and piano (2011)
Improvisations after J.R. for vibraphone solo (2014)
The Twittering Tree for xylophone solo (2014)
Missa solemnis ad honorem Sancti Joannis Pauli Secundi for 3 solo voices, 2 mixed choirs and symphony orchestra (2014-2015)
Voice of the Winds for 100 percussionists (2015-2016)
Songs Sappho for flute and string trio  (2016)
The White Shadows for violin and piano (2016)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2017)
Se-ta for 2 accordions and 2 percussions (2018)