Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego
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Józef Koffler

Józef Koffler


Józef Koffler was born the oldest son of a wealthy Jewish merchant. In 1914, he began studies at the Faculty of Law of the University of Vienna, but a year later he switched to musicology, which he studied under the guidance of Guido Adler, among others. He had to stop studying due to obligatory service in the Austrian army. In 1920 he returned to his musicology studies, which he finished in 1923 with a doctoral dissertation. A year after graduating, he settled in Lviv. There, he became known as an expert and enthusiast of dodecaphonism. He taught harmony, musical forms and atonal composition at the Conservatory of the Polish Musical Society in Lviv. He wrote reviews, collaborated with Kwartalnik Muzyczny and Muzyka Współczesna, where he published articles in the field of contemporary music. After the Germans entered Lviv, Koffler was imprisoned in the Wieliczka ghetto. The circumstances of his death are unknown; the most probable hypothesis assumes that after the liquidation of the ghetto he hid in one of the villages of Małopolska. Having learned about the capture of his wife and son, he joined them and the whole family was shot by the Nazis.

In his compositions he combined classical elements with a dodecaphonic formula, creating a fully individual creative idiom. After 1935, however, he departed somewhat from stiff twelve-tone rules, heading towards diatonicism.