Witold Lutosławski

Witold Lutosławski (25 January 1913 – 7 February 1994) was a Polish composer and conductor. He was one of the major European composers of the 20th century, and one of the preeminent Polish musicians during his last three decades.

Witold Lutosławski Biography: Early Life (Part 1)

First in a series of four biographical films on the Polish composer, Witold Lutosławski. This film focuses on the composer's early life and beginnings in music. Series Advisor, Steven Stucky and Philharmonia Orchestra Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, Esa-Pekka Salonen traveled to Poland to discover how tragic and traumatic events in Lutosławski's early life shaped his compositions and personality.

Part of the Philharmonia Orchestra's series Woven Words: "Music begins where words end". Explore the series' digital resources at www.philharmonia.co.uk/lutoslawski

He earned many international awards and prizes. His compositions include four symphonies, a Concerto for Orchestra, a string quartet, several instrumental concertos and orchestral song cycles.

During his youth, Lutosławski studied piano and composition in Warsaw. His early works were influenced by Polish folk music. His style demonstrates a wide range of rich atmospheric textures. He began to develop his own characteristic composition techniques in the late 1950s. His music from this period onwards incorporates his own methods of building harmonies from small groups of musical intervals. It also uses aleatoric processes, in which the rhythmic coordination of parts is subject to an element of chance.

During World War II, after escaping German capture, Lutosławski made a living by playing the piano in Warsaw bars. After the war, Stalinist authorities banned his First Symphony for being "formalist"—allegedly accessible only to an elite. Lutosławski believed such anti-formalism was an unjustified retrograde step, and he resolutely strove to maintain his artistic integrity. In the 1980s, Lutosławski gave artistic support to the Solidarity movement. Near the end of his life, he was awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest honour.

Source: Wikipedia

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