fot. Jerzy Benedykt Dorys / www.polona.pl
Andrzej Czajkowski, photo by Jerzy Benedykt Dorys / www.polona.pl

Pianist and composer, born 1 November 1935 in Warsaw, died 26 June 1982 in Oxford.

Having studied the piano under Emma Altberg at the National Secondary School of Music in Lódż in 1945-8, Czajkowski continued his education under Lazare Lévy in Paris in 1948-50, first as a private student and later at the National Conservatoire, from which he graduated top of the list. After he had returned to Poland he studied the piano under Olga Iliwicka-Dąbrowska at the National Higher School of Music in Sopot, to move to Stanisław Szpinalski's piano class and Kazimierz Sikorski's composition class at the National Higher School of Music in Warsaw in 1951. In 1957 he attended for a while Nadia Boulanger's composition classes in Fontainebleau near Paris.

In 1955 Czajkowski won the 8th prize and the special prize (a Calisia piano) for the youngest Polish laureate of the 5th International Chopin Piano Competition. He then went to Brussels to study the piano under Stefan Askenazy. This helped him to win the 3rd prize at the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in Brussels in 1956.

Czajkowski gave concerts in Europe, the USA and New Zealand, performing with the world's best orchestras conducted by André Cluytens, Karl Böhm, Carl Maria Giulini, Paweł Klecki, Fritz Reiner, Dmitrios Mitropoulos, Colin Davis, Antal Dorati, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt and Carlo Zecchi. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he gave 500 piano recitals and was tremendously successful. His piano repertoire spanned works from Bach to the 20th century; he never played Tchaikovsky, though. He recorded music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Frederick Chopin, Gabriel Fauré and other composers for the radio and for labels such as EMI, RCA Victor and Pathé Marconi. In later years he began to reduce the number of concerts and focused on composing, Hans Keller becoming his composition consultant after Czajkowski had settled in London in 1960.

In 1950-8 Czajkowski was a member of the Young Composers Group of the Polish Composers' Union.

Major compositions:

  • Ten etudes for piano (1949)
  • Sonata in G-major for piano (1949)
  • Suite, Prelude, Cavatina, Waltz, Lullaby for piano (1950)
  • Violin concerto (1950)
  • Concerto for flute and orchestra (1950)
  • Variations on the theme of Cohen for piano (1950)
  • Prelude and Fugue for piano (1953)
  • Sonata for viola and piano (1954)
  • Two preludes for piano (1954)
  • Two etudes for piano (1955)
  • Song for soprano and piano (1955)
  • Piano concerto (1956-57)
  • Piano sonata (1958)
  • Symphony (1958)
  • Sonata for clarinet and piano op. 1 (1959)
  • Two songs to lyrics by William Blake for soprano and instrumental quintet (1960)
  • Octet for clarinet, oboe, horn and five violins (1961)
  • Piano inventions op. 2(1961-62)
  • Concerto classico, violin concerto (1962-64)
  • Arioso and fugue for solo clarinet (1964-65)
  • Seven Shakespeare's sonnets for contralto and piano (1966)
  • Piano concerto no. 2 op. 4 (1966-71)
  • The Merchant of Venice op. 7, opera [unfinished] (1968-82)
  • Ariel, a cycle of three songs for mezzo-soprano and instrumental group (1969)
  • String quartet no. 1 ('in A') op. 3 (1969-70)
  • String quartet no. 2 ('in C') op. 5 (1973-75)
  • Trio notturno op. 6 for violin, cello and piano (1978)
  • Piano trio (1981)
  • Six dances for piano (1981)
  • Five miniatures for violin and piano (1981)


Author: Malgorzata Kosinska, Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, October 2006.