Andrzej Panufnik's Centenary Celebrations
From the Lutosławski year, Poland moved smoothly into the centenary of another of its great composers: Andrzej Panufnik – a wartime friend of Witold Lutoslawski who spent the last years of his life in political exile. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is co-organizing the celebrations.
Panufnik's centenary is honored this year with several performances, meetings and talks about the legacy of the composer. Additionally, a tribute is being paid to other artists living in exile , and the launching of a special website devoted to the composer, A Report on the presence of Andrzej Panufnik and his music in 1991-2013 is also planned.
Among those to perform Panufnik’s oeuvre figure the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic , the London Symphony Orchestra, Minerva Trio , Brodsky Quartet , Maciej Grzybowski , Ewa Pobłocka, and several others.
A new release has also been announced: in January, the British publishing house Heritage Records launched Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra and Symphony No. 9 , and the Munich publishing house CPO issued eight discs of Panufnik’s orchestral works. This spring, a new edition of the composer's autobiography is being made available: Composing Myself .
Born in 1914 in Warsaw, Panufnik had a tumultuous life. Between 1932 and 1936, Panufnik studied music theory and composition under Kazimierz Sikorski at the Warsaw Music Conservatory and ultimately graduated with honors. In 1937 and 1938, he completed a course in conducting under Felix Weingartner in Vienna, and expanded on his studies in 1938 and 1939 in Paris under Philippe Gaubert. He spent the years of the Second World War in German-occupied Warsaw, where as a pianist he participated in both permitted and illegal concerts, and performed in cafes in the legendary piano duo with Witold Lutoslawski.
He was then conductor of the Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra during 1945 and 1946 and acted as director of the Warsaw Philharmonic in 1946 and 1947. During these years, Panufnik was a guest conductor with top international ensemble - with the Berlin Philharmonic, with the L'Orchestre National in Paris, and with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1950 he was elected vice chairman of the UNESCO International Music Council, while in 1953 he headed an official Polish cultural delegation to China where he met with Chairman Mao Tse-tung.
In the period after the Second World War, Panufnik won awards in composing competitions in Poland and abroad. Following Panufnik's death in 1991, Sir Georg Solti, one of the greatest of conductors, wrote that "he was an important composer and first-class conductor, the finest protagonist of the European tradition of music making".
The celebrations of the centenary of Panufnik's birth are taking place in collaboration with the National Polish Radio, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Association of Polish Composers, the Witold Lutosławski Society, and the Polish National Audiovisual Institute.
- 07/01 Purcell Room, London, Minerva Trio, ''Piano Trio''
- 10/01 Szczeczin Philharmonic Orchestra, ''Old Polish Suite'' i ''Angel Sing'' of Roxanna Panufnik
- 10/01 Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Katowice, ''Concerto Festivo''
- 26/01 Kings Place, London, Tippet Quartet, ''String Quartet no. 3''
- 31/01 Gorzów Philharmonic Orchestra, ''Lullaby''
- 31/01 St. Luke’s, Old Street, London, Michael Petrov, Melos Sinfonia, ''Cello Concerto''
Sources: press materials, own materials, December 2013.