In Memory of Bohdan Mazurek, Composer of Electronic Music (1937-2014)
A composer and sound engineer, Bohdan Mazurek was born on the 20th of December 1937 in Warsaw. He was a key figure in the development of electronic music in Poland and helped develop the Polish Radio Experimental Studio (PRES)
He graduated from the Faculty of Sound Engineering at the Academy of Music in Warsaw in 1963. A year earlier, he had began to work as a recording and sound engineer at the legendary Polish Radio Experimental Studio. He started exploring his talent for composition in 1966, around the same time as Eugeniusz Rudnik - another central figure of the PRES. In 1972, he took part in Summer Courses of New Music in Darmstadt.
Bohdan Mazurek's work is a decade by decade (60s, 70s, 80s) chronicle of the PRES, presenting the use of a characteristic arsenal of means and manners of selection and processing of material. His work belongs to the pre-computer era and is linked to devices that, for the most part, have become obsolete - Monika Pasiecznik wrote.
Mazurek was awarded and invited to play at numerous world festivals. Bozzetti (1967) was awarded at the International Electronic Music Competition at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire (USA). Episodes (1973), Daisy Story (1977/79) and Six Electronic Preludes (1981) were awarded at the International Electronic Music Competition in Bourges.
"What is striking in all his compositions is the attention to detail and the organisation of space, the many layers of the composition'' – Piotr Tkacz commented in Czas Kultury. ''Today, Daisy Story for example, with its wide range of timbres generated through synthesisers and digitalised voices could easily measure up to recordings by Keith Fullerton Whitman, and Epitaph created in 1969 (the story of the composition refers to the self-immolation of the Czech student Jan Palach) – to the works of Kevin Drumm'' - Bartosz Chaciński added on his blog.
Bohdan Mazurek's artistic output consists of more than 30 standalone musical compositions, plus music for theatre, film and art galleries. He made scores for over a dozen films, mostly documentaries and animations (he collaborated with Julian Antonisz). He is best known for his music for films about the adventures of Mr Kleks (Mr Kleks in Space, Mr Kleks' Trips and The Academy of Mr Kleks), made in collaboration with Andrzej Korzyński.
Bohdan Mazurek was well-liked and active in visual arts circles. With Roman Różycki and Wojciech Markowski, he created an array of audiovisual micro-shows and installations presented later at, among other venues, the Contemporary Gallery in Warsaw. He also helped Krzysztof Wodiczko in the realisation of his Personal Instrument in 1969.
''The instrument enables the transformation of ambient sounds.
The instrument functions thanks to hand movements,
The instrument reacts to the light of the sun.
The instrument is portable.
The instrument can be used anywhere and whenever.
The instrument is only for the author.
The instrument enables the author to achieve virtuoso work."
Between 1974 and 1990 he taught at the Composition, Theory and Conducting Faculty and the Sound Engineering Faculty of the Music Academy in Warsaw. In 1980, he immigrated to the United States, where he taught composition at the University of Illinois, and the Mühlenberg College in Pennsylvania (where he was an artist-in-residence). He also taught at Leigh University, the Moravian College and Lafayette College.
Author: Filip Lech, translation by Mai Jones 23/05/2014