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106th Anniversary of the Birth of Grażyna Bacewicz

2015-02-04

We are celebrating the 106th anniversary of the birth of Grażyna Bacewicz, regarded as the greatest Polish woman composer of the twentieth century.

The Polish composer and violinist, was born on 5 February 1909 in Łódź and died on 17 January 1969 in Warsaw. She studied at the Warsaw Conservatory under Kazimierz Sikorski (composition), Józef Jarzębski (violin) obtaining diplomas in 1932 and also under Józef Turczyński (piano). In addition, she started studies at the faculty of philosophy of Warsaw University, but had to abandon them because of pressure of work. She completed her studies in compositions in Paris under Nadia Boulanger and violin playing under André Tourret and Carl Flesh. Untill 1952 she combinedcompositonal and performance activities which met with numerous successes on European stages where she gave recitals and concerts directed by such eminent conductors as Paul Kletzki, George Georgescu, Hermann Abendroth and Constantin Silvestri. For her work in both domains, she was awarded prizes and her music - highly valued by both conductors and performers - was increasingly to be found on programmes of concerts and festivals in Poland and abroad. From 1953 she devoted herself entirely to composition, which she had earlier combined with didactic work; between 1934-35 and 1945-46 she taught harmony, counterpoint and ear training and conducted the violin class at the Łódź Conservatory. From 1966 until her death she was a composition professor at the State High School of Music in Warsaw. Recognised as an authority both in the field of composition and violin playing, she served on juries of international violin competitions, chamber music competitions and contests for composers - in Poland and abroad (Warsaw, Paris, Liege, Moscow, Naples, Budapest - among other places).
Between 1955-57 and again from 1960 until her death she acted as the vice-chairman of the Polish Composers' Union.

Grażyna Bacewicz's creative output is extremely rich and varied, ranging from solo miniatures and chamber works to symphonies and concertos with solo instruments, songs, cantatas, ballets and a radio opera. She also wrote music for film and theatrical performances. Successful literary work was another facet of this comprehensively oriented creative personality, open and sensitive to all the manifestations of the world around her.
The numerous prizes and distinctions with which she was honoured are a symbolic expression of recognition for her titanic work and artistic and compositional achievements as a consequence of which she deservedly gained a reputation as the greatest Polish woman composer - an outstanding figure of our century's music.

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