Szymanowska, Maria

Szymanowska, Maria


(née Wolowska). Born Dec. 14, 1789, in Warsaw; died July 25,1831, in St. Petersburg. Polish pianist and composer.

Szymanowska studied piano under A. Lissowski and G. Gremm, and possibly composition under F. Lessel, in Warsaw. In the second decade of the 19th century she began giving concerts and composing. Beginning in 1815 she toured numerous Western European cities and Russia, where in St. Petersburg she received the title of court pianist in 1822; she subsequently appeared in Kiev, Moscow, L’vov, and Kremenets. In 1828 she took up residence in St. Petersburg, where she taught, composed music, and gave concerts; among those who visited her home were A. S. Pushkin and A. Mickiewicz, who was later to marry her daughter. Goethe, L. Cherubini, J. N. Hummel, and J. Field dedicated works to her.

A precursor of F. Chopin, Szymanowska contributed to the formation of a Polish national style. In her compositions, she made use of the musical idiom and rhythms associated with folk dances, and she created works in a variety of miniature piano genres: preludes, nocturnes, études, and dances. In her songs set to the lyrics of Polish and French poets, Szymanowska combined features characteristic of Polish music with the Western European lyric song, whose traditions she transformed to suit her purposes.


Belza, I. Mariia Shimanovskaia. Moscow, 1956.
Russko-pol’skie muzykal’nye sviazi: Stat’i i materialy. Moscow, 1963.
Iwanejko, M. M. Szymanowska. Kraków, 1959.