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Romuald Twardowski

Romuald Twardowski

1930

Born in Vilnius in 1930, he spent his childhood and youth there. During the German occupation he learned violin and after the war – piano and organ. Between 1946-50 he served as organist in Vilnius churches, including St. John's university church, where Stanisław Moniuszko worked as an organist 100 years before.

In 1952 he started composition studies at the Vilnius conservatory, from which he graduated in 1957. He worked for a short time at Poniewież in Lithuania and in December of that year he arrived in Warsaw to continue his studies at the State Higher Music School under Professor Woytowicz.
On winning a competition in 1963 he traveled to Paris for further studies with the famous Nadia Boulanger. In August he took his first trip to Italy, a country to which he has often returned in later years. After his return to Poland he settled in Silesia and there, in Bytom, he produced his first opera Cyrano de Bergerac. In 1967 he moved to Warsaw and in 1972 started his cooperation with the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music there.

The sixties and seventies were the most prolific years in the composer's life. He wrote his Tragedy or the Story about John and Herod (first performance at the Grand Theatre in Łódź), Lord Jim (also premiered in Łódź), the ballets The Naked Prince (premiered in Warsaw) and The Statues of the Magician (premiered in Łódź). His symphonic and choral works earned him numerous awards in Poland and abroad, including the Grand Prix (twice) in Monaco, first prize at the "Prague Spring" festival, second prize at the UNESCO Composers' Rostrum in Paris, second prize in Skopje, two prizes in Tours for choral works and a prestigious AGEC (Western Europe Chorus Federation) for his Small Concerto.
In the meantime the composer made many journeys all over Europe, Asia, Russia and Africa, at the same time promoting Polish music in a very energetic way (Kisielewski mentions this in his Memoirs) both in Poland and abroad.

In the eighties Twardowski was at the forefront in establishing cultural contacts with Lithuania, Armenia and Georgia, which earned him esteem in musical circles and from music critics.
In those years other operatic works by Twardowski appeared: Mary Stuart, staged with great success at the Wielki [Grand] Theatre in Łódź, and A Story of St. Catherine at the Wielki Theatre in Warsaw. Premieres of Twardowski's stage works also took place in Gdańsk, Poznań and abroad, in West and East Germany, Yugoslavia, Finnland and Czechoslovakia. These productions were accompanied by dozens of reviews, statements and interviews.

Twardowski's music, although very modern (there have been numerous performances at the "Warsaw Autumn"), is very clear, full of internal drama and is characterized by its individual trait; It constitutes an original phenomenon in post-war Polish music and, as such, has a chance of establishing a permanent place for itself in Polish music.
In recent years Twardowski's music has been performed more and more frequently in the West and especially the USA, where his Trio for Violin, Viola and Piano is a real success. In his biography It Has Been, but It Is not Gone the composer summed up his creative experience and provided a colorful account of the people and events of the last several decades.