Aleksander Lasoń, Kraków, 16.05.2000, fot. Mariusz Makowski/Forum
Aleksander Lasoń, Kraków, 2000, photo: Mariusz Makowski/Forum 

The composer Aleksander Lasoń was born in Siemianowice Slaskie on 10th November 1951.

Lasoń studied at the Faculty of Jazz and Popular Music, the National Higher School of Music in Katowice, in 1970-74, and continued his education in Jozef Świder's composition class, graduating with distinction in 1979. A laureate of the 4th Piano Improvisation Competition in 1972, Lasoń won the second prize at the 1975 Grzegorz Fitelberg Composition Competition for his Symphony No. 1 for wind instruments, percussion and two pianos, composed the same year; was awarded a prize at the 1978 Piano Competition accompanying the Stalowa Wola Young Musicians for a Young Town Festival; won the second prize at the 1980 Young Competition of the Association of Polish Composers for his piece Mountains for symphony orchestra, composed in 1979-80, as well as the 1980 City of Bonn Beethoven Prize for Symphony No. 2 (The Concerting Symphony) for piano and orchestra, composed in 1977-9. UNESCO's International Tribune of Composers in Paris awarded Lasoń the first prize in the works by young composers category for his Symphony No. 1, and distinguished him, respectively, in 1988 and 1997, for the String Quartet No. 2 from 1987 and for Concerto Festivo for violin nad orchestra composed in 1993-1995. Lasoń's composition output earned him also the Silesian Polyhymnia Award in 1985, the Stanisław Wyspiański Artistic Award in 1986, the Exclusiv Award of the Tonos Music Publishers in Darmstadt in 1988-91, and the Witold Lutosławski scholarship awards in 1987 and 1989.

Initially active as an improvising pianist, over time Lasoń devoted himself to composing and directing. Lasoń was instrumental in establishing the New Music Orchestra at the Katowice Academy of Music in 1996, an orchestra composed of the Academy faculty members, graduates and students aiming to promote contemporary music and the twentieth century classics.

Alongside composing, Lasoń has been involved in teaching. A professor at the Silesian University and at the Katowice Academy of Music, he was conferred the title of Professor of Music Arts in 2000. Prior to that, in 1986-9, Lasoń was the Vice-President of the Polish Society for Contemporary Music (the Polish section of ISCM), and the President of the Katowice Division of the Association of Polish Composers in 1990-1993.

Lasoń forms a composers' group together with Eugeniusz Knapik and Andrzej Krzanowski that is referred to, for the reason of the year of birth, as the Generation '51. All three composers made their debut at the Young Musicians for a Young Town festival in Stalowa Wola, an event of major significance for the development of Polish music in the late 1970s and the place where the artistic face of the new generation took shape. Lasoń, Knapik and Krzanowski became the main representatives of that new generation, all three opposing the avant garde of the fifties and the sixties and cherishing the tradition which the avant garde vehemently denied. The "Generation '51" was to have as many as eleven first performances of their works in Stalowa Wola in the years 1975-80, and came to be sometimes referred to as the Stalowa Wola Generation. Aleksander Lasoń premiered the following of his works at the Young Musicians for a Young Town festival: Sonata for violin (1975), Music for a voice and a pre-recorded tape (1975), Concerto for piano and three pre-recorded tapes (1975), Chamber Music II (1976) and Chamber Music III (1978).

Lasoń was the member of the "Generation '51" who was least involved in ideological discussions, treating composing primarily as a workshop project and music as a spontaneous outcome of the instrumental element, a likely effect of his past as an improvising pianist. While Lasoń's early works are noted for their vitality, rich colour of sound and highly optimistic mood, over time his music achieves increasing depth of expression, the sound becomes darker, and the dynamics intensify. Nonetheless he continues to opt for pure, absolute music.

Author: Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, December 2001.