Kurpinski, Karol Kazimierz

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kurpiński, Karol Kazimierz


Born Mar. 6, 1785, in Wloszakowice; died Sept. 18, 1857, in Warsaw. Polish composer, conductor, and public figure in music.

Kurpiński studied piano, violin, and organ with his father, the organist Marcin Kurpiński. He moved to Moscow in 1800 and became a private music teacher. In 1810 he became a composer and conductor for the People’s Theater in Warsaw; from 1824 to 1840 he was director and leader of the choir of the Warsaw Opera. From 1835 to 1840 he also headed the first Polish School of Music and Dramatic Art. Kurpiński founded and edited Tygodnik muzyczny (1820–21), the first Polish music journal.

A founder of Polish national opera, Kurpiński composed 26 works for the musical stage, including the operas Jadwiga (1814), Szarlatan (1814; presented in St. Petersburg in 1827 as The Miraculous Magus, or The Pretended Corpse), Nowe Krakowiaki (1816; his most significant work), and Zamek na Czorsztynie (1819), as well as musical comedies and melodramas. His operatic style fused elements of the Western European comic opera (influence of Mozart and Rossini) and Polish national melody structures (anticipating the operatic art of S. Moniuszko).

Kurpiński also wrote four ballets, the orchestral work The Battle at Mozhaisk (1812), the overture Music on the Death of Tadeusz Kościuszko, polonaises for piano (he is considered Chopin’s precursor), and other instrumental miniatures, chamber ensembles, sacred vocal pieces, and historical and patriotic songs, including the music for the famous hymn of the Polish uprising, Warszawianka 1831.


Belza, I. Zabytye pol’skie muzykanty… Moscow, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.