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100th Anniversary of the Witold Lutosławski's Birth

Today, January 25, we celebrate 100th anniversary of birthday of Witold Lutosławski – one of the greatest composers of 20th century. The composer, pianist and conductor, Witold Lutosławski, a leading figure in Polish music of the second half of the 20th century, was born in Warsaw on 25 January 1913 and died there on 7 February 1994. He studied piano with Jerzy Lefeld and composition under Wiktor Maliszewski, at the Warsaw Conservatory, graduating in 1936 and 1937, respectively. He also studied mathematics at the Warsaw University (1931-33). His first significant achievement as a composer was Symphonic Variations (1938), which was favourably received by both audiences and critics.

The Second World War interrupted his promising career as a composer. Lutosławski was involved in the struggle with the Germans in September 1939 and during the German occupation of Poland resided in Warsaw, earning his living as a pianist playing duets with Andrzej Panufnik in Warsaw cafes. The many transcriptions made by him at that time included Variations on a Theme of Paganini for two pianos composed in 1941 and still popular.

After the war his activities as an artist and composer became more intensive. He completed his First Symphony (1947) and made his debut at the "Warsaw Autumn" International Contemporary Music Festival in 1956 with his Little Suite (1950) and the Concerto for Orchestra (1954). Funeral Music, performed at this festival in 1958, earned him international fame with the first place at the UNESCO International Composers' Tribune in Paris (1959) as well as numerous performances throughout the world. Lutosławski was also awarded the UNESCO prizes for Venetian Games in 1962, Three Poems of Henri Michaux in 1964 and the Second Symphony in 1968.

Lutosławski also acted as a conductor focusing exclusively (from 1963) on the preparation and direction of his own works. He performed with many excellent soloists including Mstislav Rostropovich, Sophie-Anne Mutter and Krystian Zimerman as well as with world-famous orchestras. He sat on the juries of many composition competitions and participated in numerous international festivals. At the same time he gave (from 1962) courses for composers, lectures and seminars on music and composition in European and American musical institutions, increasingly presenting his own works exclusively.

He participated in the activities of many institutions and played a leading role in the Polish Composers' Union, the UNESCO International Musical Council, and the Programme Council of PWM Edition. In 1989 he became a member of the Citizens' Committee attached to the President of the "Solidarity" Independent Self-governing Trade Union and, in 1990, a member of the Polish Cultural Council.

That Lutosławski's activities as a composer and artist were held in great esteem was proved by numerous awards and Polish and foreign distinctions. He was awarded the most prestigious prizes including those of the Polish Composers' Union (1959, 1973), the National Prize, first class, (1955, 1964, 1978), the prize of the Minister of Culture and Art, first class (1962), the Artistic Prize of the Independent Culture Committee of the "Solidarity" Trade Union (1983); the Koussevitzky Prize (1964, 1976, 1986), the Jurzykowski Prize (1966), the Herder Prize (1967), the Ravel Prize (1971), the Sibelius Prize (1973), the Siemens Prize (1983), the Grawemeyer Prize (1985), the Queen Sophia of Spain Prize (1985) and the Kyoto Prize (1993). In 1993 in Stockholm he was the first composer of classical music to receive the Polar Music Prize, considered a musical Nobel Prize. In 1994 he received the highest Polish distinction: the Order of the White Eagle.

As one of the highest authorities on contemporary music he was accorded honorary membership of many art institutions, including the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, Freie Akademie der Künste in Hambourg, the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York and the Royal Academy of Music in London. He became an honorary member of the International Society of Contemporary Music, the Polish Composers' Union and the British Union of Professional Musicians. He received an honorary doctorate from a number of institutions including the Cleveland Institute of Music (1971), Warsaw University (1973), the Copernicus University in Toruń (1980), the Jagiellonian University in Cracow (1984), the University of Cambridge (1987), the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston (1990), Université des Sciences Humaines in Strasbourg (1990) and the McGill University in Montreal (1993). Festivals devoted entirely to his output have been held, and since 1990 the Witold Lutosławski Composition Competition has been organised by the National Philharmonic in Warsaw.

Witold Lutosławski created his own individual style built on a perfect compositional technique, notable for its modern sound language, innovations in respect of harmony, melody and temporal relations, mastery of form, conceptual originality, perfect realisation of detail, adherence to tradition and modernity as well as an ideal marrying of intellect and emotion. Of decisive importance was the introduction of the so-called "controlled aleatory usage", whose aim was the maximally individualised involvement of the players in collective performance. Beside works with an intense emotional charge, there are also serene works, full of hope and optimism. The composer's works for children as well as a number of treatises on the theory of music are also worthy of consideration.

Most popular:

IL TEMPO PASSA. The first monographic album by Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa

Time passes constantly, changing the world and its soundscape around us. The title IL TEMPO PASSA may be both a reflection on the impermanence of life, world and things and a piece of advice to enjoy the moment. The latest album by ANAKLASIS presents Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa’s cameral and symphonic works from recent years. Premiere on 28 May 2024, on the composer’s 75th birthday.

THE TALE OF THE HEART. FAVOLA IN MUSICA: a joint project by Aleksander Nowak and Radek Rak from ANAKLASIS on sale as of 6th October

It is a musical-literary tale about a quest for identity, truth, and for what makes us human. The new stage work by Aleksander Nowak – which is, at the same time, Radek Rak’s operatic debut – explores the sources of good and evil, fusing reality with mythology and steering towards ‘the left-hand side of the world’. The authors spin a tale about the dual human nature. THE TALE OF THE HEART. FAVOLA IN MUSICA – the album that presents their joint project – will go on sale on 6th October.


Różycki’s Adventures in Jazzland. The album INSPIRED BY LUDOMIR RÓŻYCKI from ANAKLASIS on sale as of 28th August

Spectacularly successful as Ludomir Różycki’s music was in his lifetime, it is seldom programmed nowadays. All the same, such remarkable art could hardly fall into utter oblivion. It has attracted and fascinated excellent jazz pianist Kuba Stankiewicz, who has translated it into the language of jazz. The effects have been recorded and released on ANAKLASIS label’s most recent album, INSPIRED BY LUDOMIR RÓŻYCKI, which goes on sale as of 28th August.

PWM przenosi się na Wiejską

PWM Edition is entering the execution phase of the revitalisation of its Warsaw department. With the commencement of the renovation and the implementation of the assumptions of the architectural design, the Hire Department and the editorial office of “Ruch Muzyczny” are moving to a temporary headquarters at 19 Wiejska Street, Warsaw.


This is by no means a piece about the centuries-long Polish-German conflict. It is, instead, a tale of impossible love, of tragic conflict between personal happiness and the common good.

PWM Edition is the exclusive representative of the Ricordi publishing house in Poland

PWM Edition resumes cooperation with the Italian publishing house Ricordi, as well as with its international partners forming Universal Music Publishing Classics & Screen. This means that rentals of orchestral materials from the catalogues of all publishing houses belonging to Classics & Screen is carried out in Poland by Dział Zbiorów Nutowych (Sheet Music Department) of PWM.


The most fascinating phenomena in contemporary music; a wide range of genres; outstanding works, excellent composers and performers – are the trademarks of the record label ANAKLASIS, launched by PWM Edition. ANAKLASIS is now celebrating its third birthday. It continues to grow at a dizzying pace and maintains the high artistic standards of its releases.


When asked to attempt a definition of her music, she called it lyrical expressionism. The choice of this term says much about the emotional intensity of Elżbieta Sikora’s music, which may reflect the experience of her two home countries, Poland and France, but is also a consequence of her artistic maturation in an age when two powerful trends – the avant-garde and neo-Classicism – were vying for the palm. Such a label may also result from the artist’s focus on the listener as her target, whom she invariably attempts to surprise, shock, or bewilder.

Polish chamber music of the 19th and 20th centuries in Estonia!

In cooperation with the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Tallinn, we invite you to two concerts and lectures presenting the diversity and beauty of Polish music.