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Piotr Rytel

Piotr Rytel


Rytel Piotr, nickname Witold Szeliga, W. S., F. C., born 16 V (according to the tombstone in the Powązki graveyard, and not 20 September as other sources provide) in 1884 in Vilnius, died 2 I 1970 Warsaw, Polish composer, pedagogue and music critic. 1903 to 1908 he studied at the Music Institute in Warsaw, obtaining diplomas in A. Michałowski’s piano class and composition in Z. Noskowski’s class. He was a teacher in the same school (later the Conservatory) from 1911 until the outbreak of World War II (from December 1, 1932, as Professor) teaching piano, harmony and musical forms. In the years 1925-1926 and 1931-1939 led the composition class. From 1928 he worked in the Programme Commission for the Ministry of Religion and Public Education, 1932-1939 was a member of the science and art committee in the conservatory. In 1908 he began his composing and journalism work, which lasted until 1963.

He published numerous articles, columns and reviews of music in newspapers, including before 1939, in "„Nowości Muzyczny”, „Scena i Sztuka”, the Poznań "Kultura", "Gazeta Warszawska" (1920-1935), after 1945, in "Tygodnik Warsaw", "Słowo Powszechny", "Gazeta Ludowa" (1946-1949 ), "Kurier Polski", "Ruch Muzyczny", "Muzyka" and "Teatr". He survived the occupation in Warsaw, teaching at the S. Kazuro secret Conservatory. After the Warsaw Uprising 5 October 1944, he was evicted from Warsaw along with the rest of the civilian population, to which he returned in March 1945. From 1 May 1945, until retirement (1952) he taught music theory and led the composition class at the conservatory (PWSM from 1946), and there served as Vice-Rector from 1946 to 1947; he was also director of the Music and Opera Stages (1945-1948) and director of the State Institute for Music ( 1946-47); he collaborated with the State Organization for Artistic Events "Artos" (1951-1954), the Central Board of Musical Institutions of the Ministry of Culture and Art (1955-1956) and Polish Radio (as author and reviewer of music broadcasts). He returned to education as Rector (December 1956-1961) and Professor (February 1958) in the PWSM in Sopot.

Rytel was active in the community; including from 1925 to 1933, he was co-organizer and board member of the Association of Contemporary Polish Composers, from 1925 to 1935, Vice President of the Union of Music and Theatre Rapporteurs, 1948-1952, president of the Warsaw Music Society (he initiated the Społeczne Ognisko Muzyczne), and from 1947-1955, he was Vice-President of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute (since 1950 the Fryderyk Chopin Society); a member of PCU, SPAM and ZAiKS. He was honoured with the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1937), among others; in 1911 received a distinction in the composition contest on the occasion of the Warsaw Philharmonic’s 10th Anniversary for his symphonic poem Dante's Dream, in 1960 he was awarded the prize of the City of Gdańsk.

Most of Rytel’s compositions remained in manuscript or copies and are located in the PWM Orchestral Materials Library and since 1983 in the National Library.