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Piotr Perkowski

Piotr Perkowski

1901-1990

Born on 17 March 1901 in Oweczacze in the Ukraine, he died on 12 August 1990 in Otwock. He was not only a composer, but also a teacher as well as a music organizer. Between 1923 and 1925 he studied composition with Roman Statkowski at the Warsaw Conservatory and, privately, with Karol Szymanowski. Between 1926 and 1928 he continued his studies in Paris with Albert Roussel, attending also the Ecole des Sciences Politiques. In December 1930 he returned to Poland to become director of the Society of the Friends of Symphonic Music. Until 1939 he was a  member of the board and vice-president of the Polish Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music and between 1931 and 1935 also a member and vice-president of the Polish Music Publishing Society. From 1931 he also sat on the board of the Polish Composers' Association. Between 1936 and 1939 he was director of the Conservatory as well as director and vice-president of the Pomerania Music Society in Toruń.

He spent the years of German occupation in Warsaw where he was active in the resistance movement as an organizer of mutual-aid actions; he also organized concerts, both open and underground, and taught music theory and composition. As head of several committees he prepared plans of the revival of musical life after the liberation. He took part in the Warsaw Uprising under a pseudonym "Dr Puławski". After the capitulation he founded Polnische Rotes Kreuz Transportgruppe, with the aim to evacuate the young Home Army combatants as well as the wounded and sick people from Warsaw. After the liberation (until March 1945) Perkowski was president of the Musicians' Trade Union Organizing Committee and a co-organizer of the Polish Composers' Union as well as the State Higher School of Music and other institutions in Cracow. From April to June 1945 he was director of the Music Department at the Ministry of Culture and Art as well as president of the Chief Verification Committee for Musicians in Warsaw.

Between 1945 and 1951 and between 1954 and 1971 he was a professor and, from 1964, also head of the Composition Department at the State Higher School of Music (since 1979 the Academy of Music) in Warsaw. Between 1951 and 1954 he was a professor and dean of the Instrumental as well as the Theory of Composition Faculties at the State Higher School of Music in Wrocław. Among his pupils were Tadeusz Baird, Piotr Moss, Tadeusz Natanson and Zdzisław Rudziński. Between 1949 and 1951, in addition to his teaching activities, he was director as well as  artistic director of the Cracow Philharmonic and between 1956 and 1957 – director and  artistic director of the Polish Radio Large Symphony Orchestra in Katowice. He retired in 1972.

Throughout his career he was an ideological community worker as well as an indefatigable organizer of musical life and a disinterested protector of young artists. He was co-founder of the Young Polish Musicians' Association in Paris (1926) and, until 1930, its vice-president. After the war he was active in the committees formed to reconstruct the Warsaw and National Philharmonics as well as to organize  the Wrocław Philharmonic (1957-1961). He was a co-organizer and the first president of the Polish Composers' Union (1945-48), a president of the Radio Musicians' Trade Union (1945-49) and co-organizer and the first president of the Cracow Operatic Society (1954-56). He also performed many other social functions: in 1948 he was president of the Artistic Unions' Council attached to the Central Council of Trade Unions, between 1957 and 1961 he was president of the Musical Sector of the Trade Union of the Artistic Institutions Workers. Between 1959 and 1965 he was president of the Warsaw Music Society as well as vice-president of the Union of Stage Artists and Composers and president of the Musical Section of the Culture and Art Council attached to the Ministry of Culture and Art. Between 1965 and 1973 he was a councillor of the capital city of Warsaw. In 1966 he was president of the jury of the Henryk Wieniawski International Composition Competition in Poznań. Between 1971 and 1973 as well as 1975 and 1977 he was president of the Warsaw branch of the Polish Composers' Union. From 1962 he was a member of the jury in the Ministry of National Defence as well as in  the Central Artistic Council of the Polish Army Political Board. From 1973 he was a member of the Music Programmatic Council attached to the Ministry of Culture and Art, and between 1983 and 1987 – of the National Council PRON (Poland's Rescue Council). He was an honorary member of the Pomeranian Music Society (1946), the Polish Composers' Union (1949), the Trade Union of Musicians of the Polish People's Republic (1949) and the Warsaw Music Society (1973).