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Józef Kozłowski

Józef Kozłowski


Józef Kozłowski, Osip Antonowicz, born in 1757, died 11 March (27 February) 1831 in St Petersburg, composer working in Russia. He came from a landowning Polish family; according to W. Babrowicz, he was born in a farmstead near Slawogorod around the perimeter of Mogilev in Belarus and as a 7-year-old boy under the care of his uncle, W. Trutowski, a musician and collector of folk songs, came to Warsaw, where he received basic musical education. Initially he was a singer and soloist in the boys’ choir boy in the St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw, where he was also took on organist functions. Around 1773 he became music teacher to Michał Kleofas Ogiński and his siblings at the court in Guzów and Trakai. Around 1777 he was briefly a member of Governor J. Stępowski’s band in Łabunie (Zasławski district). From 1786-1796 he served in the Russian army with the rank of officer and took part in the war with Turkey (1787-1791). He came to the attention of Prince Grigory Potemkin, who invited Kozłowski to his court in 1790. From 1791 he stayed in St. Petersburg, where he gained fame as the organiser of the music for Potemkin celebration in 1791 for the capture of the Turkish fortress of Izmail (Danube). After the death in October 1791 of Kozłowski’s protector, he lived in the house of Leo Naryshkin, a former favourite of Catherine II. He became acquainted with Russian folk music and composed occasional music, becoming a respected writer in Russia. From 1799 he was the music inspector, and from 1803 to 1819 musical director in the Directorate of the Tsar’s theatres. After an attack of paralysis in 1819, Kozłowski retired as a court adviser. From 1822-1823 he stayed in Poland, from 1824 he lived in St. Petersburg again.