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composers (L)


Witold Lutosławski,

composer and conductor, b. Jan. 25, 1913 in Warsaw, d. Feb. 7, 1994 in Warsaw. He started learning to play the piano at the age of six. His tutors were Helena Hoffman, then, after 1924, Józef Śmidowicz, and later - A. Taube. In 1926-32 he also took violin lessons with Lidia Kmitowa. For four years from 1928 he took private lessons in theory and composition with Witold Maliszewski. It was under the latter's supervision that in 1930 he composed his first work - Taniec Chimery (Chimera's Dance) for piano. In 1932 he entered the Warsaw Conservatoire, where he continued his composition studies with Maliszewski, as well as studying piano with Jerzy Lefeld. He graduated as a pianist in 1936; in 1937 he took a degree in composition for his Requiem for soprano, mixed choir and orchestra. In 1931-33 he also studied at the Faculty of Mathematics, Warsaw University. The composer himself chose the first performance of his Symphonic Variations (1936-38) in 1938 as his composing debut. His promising artistic career was interrupted by World War II.
He spent the years of Nazi occupation in Warsaw, where he earned a living by, among others, playing in a piano duo with Andrzej Panufnik in the city's cafés: "SiM" (Art and Fashion) and "U Aktorek" (The Actresses'). His only surviving work from this period are the Variations on a Theme of Paganini for two pianos (1941). After the war, Lutosławski took up permanent residence in Warsaw. In 1946 he married Maria Danuta Bogusławska (née Dygat). At that time he became involved in the organization of the Polish Composers' Union, an organization in which he was active until his death as a member of the authorities and co-organizer of the "Warsaw Autumn" International Festival of Contemporary Music. He never got affiliated with any music academy, but he taught numerous master classes: in 1962 - in Berkshire Music Center w Tanglewood (Massachusetts), where he met, among others, Edgar Varèse and Milton Babbitt; in 1963 and 1964 - in the Summer School of Music in Darlington (England); in 1966 - in Kungliga Svenska Musikaliska Akademien in Stockholm; in 1966 - at the University of Austin, Texas, in 1968 - in Århus (Denmark). In the 1970s and 80s he only sporadically accepted invitations to lectures, which were devoted to his own works.
Since 1963, when he made his conducting debut with the first performance of Three Poems of Henri Michaux for choir and orchestra (1961-63), he remained an active conductor until the end of his life. As a conductor he toured, among others, France (1964), Czechoslovakia (1965), the Netherlands (1969), Norway and Austria (1969). He led the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Orchestre de Paris and WOSPRiT - the Polish Radio and Television Grand Symphony Orchestra (now: NOSPR).
In recognition of his achievements, Lutosławski received numerous prizes and distinctions, including the award of the Polish Composers' Union for 1959 and 1973, the Minister of Culture and Arts Award, First Class (1962), the State Award, First Class (1955, 1964, 1978), 1st prize at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris (1959, 1962, 1964, 1968), the Sergey Koussevitzky Award (1964, 1976, 1986), the Gottfried von Herder Award (1967), the L. Sonning Award (1967), the Maurice Ravel Prize of Paris (1971), the Jean Sibelius Prize (1973), the Ernst von Siemens Award (1983), the Grawemeyer Award (1985), the Prize of Queen Sophie of Spain (1985). In 1983 he was honoured with the Artistic Award of the "Solidarity" Committee for Independent Culture. In 1985 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society in London, and in 1992 - the gold medal and the title of "Musician of the Year 1991" granted by the British Incorporated Society of Musicians as well as the medal of the Stockholm Concert Hall Foundation, in 1993 - the "Polar Music Prize" and the "Kyoto Prize" in the field of arts. In 1994 Lutosławski was accorded the highest Polish state distinction: the Order of the White Eagle. He was also granted honorary membership of numerous music societies, artistic and scientific academies, including: The International Society for Contemporary Music, Kungliga Svenska Musikaliska Akademien, Freie Akademie der Künste in Hamburg, Deutsche Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Akademie der Schönen Künste in Munich, American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, Royal Academy of Music in London, the Polish Composers' Union. He held honorary doctorates from, among others, Warsaw University, the universities in Toruń, Chicago, Lancaster, Glasgow, Cambridge, Durham, the Jagiellonian University in Cracow and McGill University in Montreal.
Since 1990 the International Witold Lutosławski Competition for Composers has been organized in Warsaw by the National Philharmonic.


Witold Lutosławski ranks with Frederic Chopin and Karol Szymanowski among the greatest Polish composers of all times. He is also a 20th-century classic, like Bela Bartók, Sergey Prokofiev and Olivier Messiaen. Musicologists distinguish several periods in his work. The early compositions, such as Symphonic Variations (1938), Symphony No. 1 (1947) and String Overture (1949) are neo-Classical in character. Little Suite (1950) and Concerto for orchestra (1954) are the most straightforward examples of Lutosławski’s interest in Polish folklore. Five songs to words by Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna (1957) mark the beginning of the “twelve-tone” period, characterised by the use of serial technique, as in Funeral music (1958). In the next period, commencing with Venetian games (1961), Lutosławski developed his highly individual technique of controlled aleatorism, which introduced the element of chance into the rhythmic structure, while retaining the strict organisation of pitch. The specific formal model on which Lutosławski worked for many years is first presented in Symphony No. 2 (1967) and in Livre pour orchestre (1968). This model depends on the sequence of two phases of development, the first of which acts as an introductory section, the second - develops the main idea of the composition. Mi-parti (1976) presents one more construction device peculiat to Lutosławski: the introduction of several overlapping sound schemes which make up a “chain” structure. This formal principle is most distinct in the three numbered pieces called Chains.
For all these differences among works from different periods and the constant development of his musical language, Lutosławski remains a rare modern example of a composer with a highly distinctive stylistic individuality discernible throughout his artistic life. He never belonged to any composing “school”, did not yield to any trends or fashions, did not uphold a tradition, nor did he take part in avant-garde revolutions. He was, however, both an avant-garde artist and a follower of tradition. Amid the artistic uncertainty of the 2nd half of the 20th century, he found his own way, guided by an unfailing artistic taste. His music is a paragon of ideal balance between form and content, intellect and emotion. These accomplishments have ensured for him a secure place among the greatest masters of the 20th century.


Sonata for piano (1934)
Symphonic variations * (1936-38)
Lacrimosa for soprano and orchestra (with the possibility of using a four-part mixed choir) * (1937)
Two studies for piano * (1940-41)
Variations on a theme from Paganini for two pianos * (1941)
Symphony No. 1 * (1941-47)
Songs of underground struggle for voice and piano (1942-44)
Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon (1944-45)
Folk melodies for piano * (1945)
Twenty carols for voice and piano * (1946)
Two nightingales for choir and piano (1947)
Six children’s songs for voice and piano * (1947)
Mr Tralaliński a children’s song for voice and piano * (1947-48)
The late nightingale a children’s song for voice and piano * (1947-48)
String overture * (1949)
Little suite for chamber orchestra (1950)
Straw chain and other pieces a cycle of children’s songs for soprano and mezzo-soprano, flute, oboe, 2 clarinets and bassoon * (1950-51)
Concerto for orchestra * (1950-54)
Spring a cycle of children’s songs for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra * (1951)
Recitativo e arioso for violin and piano * (1951)
Silesian triptych for soprano and symphony orchestra * (1951)
Little suite [version II] for symphony orchestra * (1951)
Bucolic pieces for piano * (1952)
The late nightingale [version II] for voice and chamber orchestra * (1952)
Five folk melodies for string orchestra * (1952)
Six children’s songs [version II] for three-part children’s choir and orchestra (1952-53)
Six children’s songs [version III] for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra * (1952-53)
Dance preludes for clarinet and piano * (1954)
Funeral music for string orchestra * (1954-58)
Dance preludes [version II] for clarinet and chamber orchestra * (1955)
Five songs to words by Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna for female voice and piano * (1956-57)
Five songs to words by Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna [version II] for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra * (1958)
Little spark’s fable and other songs for children for voice and piano * (1958)
Three postludes for orchestra * (1958-60)
Dance preludes [version III] for nine instruments (1959)
Jeux vénitiens for chamber orchestra * (1961)
Trois poèmes d’Henri Michaux for choir and orchestra * (1961-63)
Bucolic pieces [version II] for viola and cello * (1962)
String quartet * (1964)
Paroles tissées for tenor and chamber orchestra * (1965)
Symphony No. 2 * (1965-67)
Invention for piano * (1968)
Livre pour orchestre * (1968)
Concerto for cello and orchestra * (1969-70)
Prelude and fugue for 13 string instruments * (1970-72)
Sacher Variation for cello * (1975)
Les espaces du sommeil for baritone and orchestra * (1975)
Mi-parti for symphony orchestra * (1976)
Variations on a theme from Paganini [version II] for piano and orchestra * (1977-78)
Novelette for orchestra * (1978-79)
Epitaphium for oboe and piano * (1979)
Double concerto for oboe, harp and chamber orchestra * (1979-80)
Grave Metamorphoses for cello and piano * (1981)
Grave [version II] Metamorphoses for cello and string orchestra * (1981-82)
Symphony No. 3 * (1981-83)
Mini-overture for wind quintet (1982)
Chain 1 for 14 performers * (1983)
Chain 2 Dialogue for violin and orchestra * (1983-85)
Partita for violin and piano * (1984)
Twenty carols [version II] for soprano, women’s choir and chamber orchestra (1984-89)
Chain 3 for orchestra * (1985-86)
Fanfare for Louisville for wind instruments and percussion (1986)
Fanfare for CUBE for wind quintet (1987)
Concerto for piano and orchestra * (1987-88)
Slides for 11 soloists * (1988)
Partita [version II] for violin and orchestra * (1988)
Symphony No. 4 * (1988-92)
Fanfare for Lancaster for brass ensemble and snare drum (1989)
Prelude for G.S.M.D for orchestra (1989)
Lullaby for Anne-Sophie for violin and piano * (1989)
Chantefleurs et Chantefables a song cycle for soprano and orchestra * (1989-90)
Interlude for orchestra * (1989-90)
Tarantella for baritone and piano (1990)
Subito for violin and piano * (1992)
Fanfare for Los Angeles Philharmonic for brass ensemble and percussion (1993)

literatura wybrana

Lutosławski. Homagium, Wydawnictwo Galerii Zachęta, Warszawa 1996
"Musik-Konzepte" 71/72/73 (Hg. Heinz-Klaus Metzger, Reiner Riehn), edition text + kritik, München 1991
Astriab Jan, Jabłoński Maciej, Jan Stęszewski (red.) Witold Lutosławski. Człowiek i dzieło w perspektywie kultury muzycznej XX wieku [Witold Lutosławski. The man and the work in the context of 20th-century musical culture], Wydawnictwo Poznańskiego Towarzystwa Przyjaciół Nauk, Poznań 1999
Będkowski Stanisław, Hrabia Stanisław Witold Lutosławski. A Bio-Bibliography, Greenwood Press, Westport - London 2001 (c.)
Chłopecki Andrzej Postsłowie. Przewodnik po muzyce Witolda Lutosławskiego, Towarzystwo im. Witolda Lutosławskiego, Warszawa 2012
Couchoud Jean Paul La musique polonaise et Witold Lutosławski, Stock, Paris 1981
Gwizdalanka Danuta, Meyer Krzysztof Lutosławski. Droga do dojrzałości (tom I), PWM, Kraków 2003
Gwizdalanka Danuta, Meyer Krzysztof Lutosławski. Droga do mistrzostwa (tom II), PWM, Kraków 2004
Homma Martina Zwölfton-Harmonik - Formbildung „aleatorischer Kontrapunkt”, Bela Verlag, Köln 1996
Kaczyński Tadeusz Conversations with Witold Lutosławski, Chester, London 1984
Kaczyński Tadeusz Lutosławski nieznany
Kaczyński Tadeusz Lutosławski. Życie i muzyka [Lutosławski. Life and music], Sutkowski Edition, Warszawa 1994
Kaczyński Tadeusz Rozmowy z Witoldem Lutosławskim [Conversations with Witold Lutosławski], TAU, Wrocław 1993
Kaczyński Tadeusz, Varga Bálint András Gespräche mit Witold Lutosławski, Verlag Philipp Reclam jun, Leipzig 1976
Maciejewski Bogusław M. Twelve Polish Composers, Allegro Press, London 1976
Markowska Elżbieta (red.) Lutosławski 1913-2013, Towarzystwo im. Witolda Lutosławskiego, Warszawa 2012
Meyer Krzysztof Witold Lutosławski, Ars Nova, Poznań 1994
Michalski Grzegorz Lutosławski w pamięci. 20 rozmów o kompozytorze, słowo/obraz, terytoria, Gdańsk 2007
Nikolska Irina Conversations with Witold Lutosławski (1987-92), melos: En Musiktidskrift, Stockholm 1994
Nikolska Irina Muzyka to nie tylko dźwięki. Rozmowy z Witoldem Lutosławskim, PWM, Kraków 2003
Nikolska Irina Статьи, беседы, воспоминания, Tantra, Moskwa 1995
Nordwall Ove (ed.) Lutosławski, Hansen, Stockholm 1968 (c.)
Owińska Zofia Lutosławski o sobie, słowo/obraz, terytoria, Gdańsk 2010
Paja-Stach Jadwiga Lutosławski i jego styl muzyczny [Lutosławski and his musical style], Musica Iagellonica, Kraków 1997
Paja-Stach Jadwiga Lutosławski Witold in: PWM Encyclopaedia of Music (biographical part, ed. by Elżbieta Dziębowska), vol. „klł”, PWM, Kraków 1997
Paja-Stach Jadwiga Witold Lutosławski, Musica Iagellonica, Kraków 1996
Paja-Stach Jadwiga (red.) Witold Lutosławski i jego wkład do kultury muzycznej XX wieku, Musica Iagellonica, Kraków 2005
Petersen Peter Lutosławski Witold in: Komponisten der Gegenwart (Hg. Hanns-Werner Heister, Walter-Wolfgang Sparrer), edition text + kritik, München 1992-
Pociej Bohdan Lutosławski a wartość muzyki [Lutosławski and the value of music], PWM, Kraków 1976
Polony Leszek (red.) Witold Lutosławski. Sesja naukowa poświęcona twórczości Kompozytora, Akademia Muzyczna w Krakowie, Kraków 1985
Rae Charles Bodman Muzyka Lutosławskiego [Lutosławski’s music], PWN, Warszawa 1996
Rae Charles Bodman The Music of Lutosławski, Faber and Faber, London 1994
Rappoport Lidia Витольд Лютославский, Muzika, Moskwa 1976
Rust Douglas Conversation with Witold Lutosławski, "Musical Quarterly" 1995 nr 1, s. 207-223
Skowron Zbigniew (red.) Estetyka i styl w twórczości Witolda Lutosławskiego, Musica Iagellonica, Kraków 2000
Smoleńska-Zielińska Barbara, Zieliński Tadeusz A. Witold Lutosławski. Przewodnik po arcydziełach, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego , Warszawa 2011
Stucky Steven Lutosławski and his Music, Cambridge 1981
Tarnawska-Kaczorowska Krystyna (red.) Witold Lutosławski - prezentacje, interpretacje, konfrontacje. Materiały sesji muzykologów ZKP [Witold Lutosławski - presentations, interpretations, confrontations Proceedings of a conference session of the Polish Composers’ Union, musicologists’ section], ZKP, Warszawa 1984



O muzyce. Pisma i wypowiedzi, słowo/obraz, terytoria, Gdańsk 2011
Postscriptum, Fundacja Zeszytów Literackich, Warszawa 1999
Zapiski, Towarzystwo im. W. Lutosławskiego, Warszawa 2008