Witold Lutoslawski

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lutosławski, Witold


Born Jan. 25, 1913, in Warsaw. Polish composer; member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music since 1962.

Lutoslawski was trained at the F. Chopin Higher School of Music in Warsaw, completing his studies in piano in 1936 and in composition in 1937. He lives in Warsaw and has served on the juries of various international competitions and festivals. Since 1962 he has been giving composition courses at the international seminars at Tanglewood (USA) and at other seminars on contemporary music. His first work to be performed was the Symphonic Variations (1938). The compositions of his early period, notably his Concerto for Orchestra (1954), show the influence of Polish folk music.

Lutoslawski first used a 12-tone series to organize his musical material in Funeral Music (1958), dedicated to the memory of B. Bartok. In Venetian Games (1961) he introduced the technique of aleatory operations, which he called controlled aleatory and which he has employed in all his subsequent compositions. Among his most important works are Three Poems of Henri Michaux for chorus and orchestra (1963), Second Symphony (1967), Book for Orchestra (1968), and Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (1969). He received the State Prize of the Polish People’s Republic in 1952, 1955, and 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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of Warsaw, Poland) compiles all of the writings of Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994): essays, speeches, lectures, and articles, many of which are translated in English for the first time and previously unpublished.