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Polish famous musicians
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) - pianist; the greatest Polish composer. Born in Żelazowa Wola near Warsaw. Spent most of his life abroad, mostly in France. He composed his works almost exclusively for the piano: with orchestra - 2 concertos (in F-minor and E-minor), 'Variations on Mozart'; solos - 3 sonatas, 2 fantasias, 27 etudes, 25 preludes, 16 polonaises, 57 mazurkas, 19 waltzes, 19 nocturnes, 4 ballades, 4 scherzos, other minor works and also songs for solo performance. His works had an enormous influence on the music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Urszula Dudziak (born 1943) - jazz singer. When she was just starting out on her career she was already being invited to work with the well-known jazz band of Krzysztof Komeda. Later she changed her style and worked with her future husband, Michał Urbaniak. In the late 1960s she gave many foreign concerts. She also was also a successs at several Jazz Jamborees (1969 - 72. In 1973 Urszula Dudziak decided to embark on a career in the USA, which led to with the best jazz musicians and singers in the world: the Gill Evans band, Archie Shepp, Lester Bowie, the Vienna Art Ensemble band. Selected works: 'Super Constellation' (1973), 'Ulla' (1982), 'Jazz Unlimited' (1993), 'Journey, Saturation' (1994).

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (born 1933) - composer. Graduated from the Katowice Academy of Music , where he later lectured, before becoming professor there and rector (1975-1979). In the 1960s, alongside Krzysztof Penderecki and Wojciech Kilar, he created the Polish avant garde school and a new direction in modern music known as Sonorism. Górecki's greatest success is his Third Symphony (ther Symphony of Sorrowful Songs: more than 700, 000 copies have been sold). His musical achievements are impressive. His compositions include his mazurkas for the piano (1980), the First String Quartet, The night has come' (1988), his Flute Concerto (1992), and 'Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit) for a cappella choir (1993).

Wojciech Kilar (born 1932) - composer. With Mikołaj Górecki and Krzysztof Penderecki he created a new trend in contemporary music known as Sonorism. His work often alludes to traditional sources, inspired by folk and religious music. Examples are works like 'Struck' and 'Skeleton 1909'. He has also orchestral works to his name: ('Generique', 'Choral prelude', 'Orawa'), 'Piano concerto', and vocal and instrumental works ('Grey mist', 'Exodus', 'Angelus'), ballet: 'The Mask'. Also known to a known to a wider audience for his film music: 'The Doll' (1968) by Wojciech Has, 'Land of Promise' (1975) and 'Pan Tadeusz' (1999) by Andrzej Wajda. He is also the composer of music to Jane Campion's 'Potrait of a Lady' (1996). He worked with Roman Polański on 'Death and the Girl' (1994), 'The Ninth Gate' (1999), 'The Pianist' (2001). He was awarded an Oscar for his music to Francis Ford Coppola's 'Dracula' (1992).

Krzysztof Komeda - Trzciński (1931-1969) - jazz pianist and composer of film music, by profession a doctor. The precursor of modern jazz in Poland. He composedthe sound tracks for Roman Polański's first films, including 'Knife in Water' (1962), 'Disgust' (1965), ''The Trap' (1966) and 'Rosemary's Baby' (1968). His splendid Hollywood career was cut short by a tragic accident. He died after being brought back to Poland. He is buried in the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw.

Krzysztof Penderecki (born 1933) - composer and conducter. A professor at the of Music, and lecturer at Essen and Yale. His career began in 1959 at the the Young Composers' Competition of Polish Composers' Union, where he was awarded three prizes, for 'Emanations', 'The Psalms of David' and 'Strophes'. His other works include his 'Threnody for the victims of Hiroshima' (1960), 'Passio et Mors Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Lucam'(1965), 'Magnificat' (1974), 'Symphony No. 2' (The Christmas Symphony - 1980), 'Viola Concerto' (for viola and orchestra, 1983), 'The Seven Gates of Jerusalem' (1996), 'Mass' (1998) and 'Credo' (1999). He has been honoured with doctorates from many European centres of learning. He is the winner of prestigious awards, including the prestigious Prince of Asturia arts award (2001). His innovative talent as a composer, which has allowed him to combine different types of music, is highly esteemed.

Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994) - one of the greatest 20th-century composers. He graduated in Piano and Composition from the Warsaw Conservatory (he also read Mathematics). He was awarded honorary doctorates from universities in Warsaw, Cracow, Toruń, Chicago, Glasgow and Cambridge. He lectured in many centres of learning around the world, including Essen, Copenhagen and Stockholm. In 1959-65 he was a member of the board of the International Society of Contemporary Music, and later for 4 years its vice-president. His most important works include 'Mourning Song' (1958), 'Venetian Games' (for orchestra - 1961), 'String Quartet' (1964), 'Concerto for Cello and Orchestra' (1970), 'Four Symphonies' (1988). On the 80th anniversary of the prestigious Polar Music Prize (also known as the musical Oscar), he was a triple winner of the first-class state award. In 1994 he was awarded the Order of the White Eagle.

Adam Makowicz (born 1941) - jazz pianist, modern jazz musician. Made his debut in the 1960s. Associated with Tomasz Stańko's band. Left Poland to work in the United States in the late 1970s, where he was one of the few musicians from Europe to achieve considerable success. He has worked with some of the most famous musicians in the field, like Benny Goodman, Herbie Hancock, Earl Hines, Freddie Hubbard, Sarah Vaughan, Teddy Wilson and George Shearing.
His status was further reinforced in the 1990s with concerts featuring symphony orchestras, at which he presented special arrangements of classical music.

Zbigniew Preisner (born 1955) - composer of theatre and film music and songs. For many years he has been associated with the well-known Cracovian cabaret Piwnica Pod Baranami. He made his international fame with his music to Kieślowski's 'Ten Commandments' (1989), 'Three Colours' (1993, 1994) and 'The Double Life of Veronique' (1991), for which he received an Oscar nomination. He has worked with Agnieszka Holland on 'Europa, Europa' (1990), 'The Secret Garden' (1994), and with many French and American directors. He is also a composer of non-film music: 'A Requiem for my Friend' (1998), dedicated to the memory of Krzysztof Kieślowski and '10 Easy Pieces for the Piano' (1999).
He is the winner of many awards, including two Cesars (for his music to Krzysztof Kieślowski's 1994 'Three Colours: Red' and for 'Elisa', 1995, by Jean Becker), the Golden Bear (for 'The Island on Bird Street', 1997, by Soren Kragh-Jacobsen) and has received several nominations for the Golden Globe. The Los Angeles Film Critics' Association has voted him film music composer of the year three times. He has been nominated for the Oscar three times.

Artur Rubinstein (1887-1982) - one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, unrivalled for his interpretation of Chopin's music. He played classical, romantic as well as modern music. He studied with the greatest musicians of the time in Berlin, where he made his debut in 1900. His life was a series of concerts, in the USA, Austria, Italy, England, Russia, and Spain. He was received with great enthusiasm wherever he played. He became an American citizen in 1946.

Tomasz Stańko (born 1942) - the most renowned Polish jazz trumpet player, a pioneer of the jazz avant-garde. In the 1960s he was the leader of the quartet Jazz Darings, and later played in Trzaskowski's and Komeda's bands. In 1967-1973 he had his own quartet, one of the most renowned Polish modern jazz bands. Later he played with various musicians regardless of artistic conception, and gave more and more solo performances. In the 1990s he recorded for the prestigious Munich label ECM Records. An important part of Stańko's work is the music he has composed for films and theatre. Selected works: 'Jazz Jamboree'61', 'Astigmatic' (1965), 'Music for K' (1970), 'Balladyna' (1975), 'Grand Standard Orchestra' (1982), 'Tomasz Stańko: Polish Jazz' (1989), Goodbye Maria' (1993), 'Mother Joanna' (1995), 'From the Green Hill' (1999).


Krystian Zimerman (born 1956) - one of the most acclaimed contemporary pianists. He graduated from the Katowice Academy of Music. His repertoire includes the works of Beethoven, List, Schubert, Brahms, Chopin and Szymanowski. He has won awards at many international competitions, like the Hradec Kralove Beethoven Competition (1973), and the Warsaw Chopin Competition (1975). In the 1980s he went on an international tour with Leonard Bernstein. In 1999 he perfomed at concerts in Europe with the Polish Festival Orchestra. He has lived in Basel since 1984.
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