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Bernadetta Matuszczak

Composer, born 10 March 1931 in Toruń.

Bernadetta Matuszczak writes mostly works for the stage and vocal-instrumental pieces. Her compositions have been performed numerous times in Poland and abroad, among them, Septem tubae for mixed choir, organs and symphonic orchestra (1966) at the Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) - 43. Weltmusikfest 1969 - in Hamburg, her opera Juliet and Romeo (1967) at the Internationale Maifestspiele in Wiesbaden in 1972 and the opera monodrama Diary of a Fool (1976) at the Brighton Music Festival in 1984.

She was born into a musical family and graduated from the Secondary School of Music in Toruń and studied at the State Higher School of Music in Poznań. She read music theory with Zygmunt Sitowski, piano in the class of Irena Kurpisz-Stefanowa and composition with Tadeusz Szeligowski. After having obtained in 1958 a diploma with honours from the Music Theory Department, she halted her studies on the other subjects and started working as an assistant lecturer to Zygmunt Sitowski.

In 1960, she returned to her composition studies at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw under the guidance of Tadeusz Szeligowski, and following his death – in the class of Kazimierz Sikorski. In 1964, she obtained her degree in composition. Four years later, in 1968, she left for Paris as a scholarship student of the French Government, where she continued to further her composition studies under the guidance of Nadia Boulanger.

Bernadetta Matuszczak has received numerous awards for her compositions - among them, an award in the Young Composers' Competition of the Polish Composers' Union in 1965, 2nd prize in the Grzegorz Fitelberg Competition for Composers for her Septem tubae in 1966, her Musica da camera per 3 flauti, 4 timpani e 5 tom-toms (1967) received in 1967 an award in the Jeunesses Musicales Competition. Twice she was awarded the Prix Italia for her radio operas-oratoria - in 1973 for Humanae voces (1970-71) and in 1979 for Apocalypsis according to St. John (1976-77).

Author: Małgorzata Kosińska, Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, July 2002; Updated: December 2008.

Important compositions:

  • Gitanjali for flute, soprano, bells and male reciting voice (1963)
  • Sans titre for piano (1963-68)
  • Chamber Drama for baritone, baritone from tape, reciting alto voice, bass clarinet, cello, double bass and percussion (1965)
  • Septem tubae for mixed choir, organs and symphonic orchestra (1966)
  • Quarter for 3 flutes and harpsichord (1966)
  • Musica da camera per 3 flauti, 4 timpani e 5 tom-toms (1967)
  • Juliet and Romeo, chamber opera in 5 scenes according to William Shakespeare for soloists, pantomime, reciting voices, choir and orchestra (1967)
  • Invocazione per dieci voci, flato, contrabbasso, teorbano e gong (1968)
  • Poésie de chambre pour récitation (baritone), soprano (garson), clarinette basse, vibraphone, 2 cymbales et tam-tam (1968)
  • Per strumenti for string orchestra, bass clarinet, trumpet and percussion (1969)
  • Canzone for soprano, soprano from tape, English horn and percussion (1969-70)
  • Humanae voces, opera-oratorio for reciting voices, dramatic soprano, choir and orchestra (1970-71)
  • Rilke-Lieder for baritone and orchestra (1971)
  • Salmi for baritone, reciting voice, harp, double bass, percussion and light (1972)
  • Heloise's Mysterium, opera in 7 scenes for soloists, choir and orchestra (1973-74)
  • Elegy on a Polish Boy for soprano, reciting alto voice, 2 female choirs and orchestra (1974-75)
  • Aphorisms for solo flute (1976)
  • Diary of a Fool, opera monodrama according to Nicolai Gogol for actor, baritone, pantomime and chamber orchestra (1976)
  • Apocalypsis, oratorio for soprano, baritone, reciting voices, choir and orchestra (1976-77)
  • Forefathers' Eve – the Kaunas Books, a drama by Adam Mickiewicz for soloists, choir and orchestra (1978)
  • Canticum canticorum for alto, baritone, choir and orchestra (1978-79)
  • Ossesioni concertanti in quattro parti per percussione (1980)
  • Quartetto in dodici parti for string quartet (1980)
  • Bagatelles for a cappella male choir (1980)
  • Prometheus chamber opera after Aeschylus for soloists, choir and orchestra (1981-82)
  • Twelve Preludes for strings (1982)
  • Poems for children for a cappella female choir (1982)
  • Canti della vita e della morte for baritone, cello and percussion (1982-84)
  • Canto solenne for baritone, choir and orchestra (1983)
  • Momenti musicali per flauto ed archi (1983)
  • The Norwid Triptych for baritone, bass clarinet and cello (1983)
  • Aphorisms for piano (1984)
  • Sound Toys for piano for children (1984)
  • Christmas Carol for alto with piano accompaniment (1984)
  • Landscapes for mezzo-soprano and piano (1984)
  • Improvisatione per flauto solo (1984)
  • Ballet Miniatures for orchestra (1985)
  • Notturno - Karol Szymanowski in memoriam in tres partes per cello solo (1987)
  • Canticum polonum per archi (1987)
  • By Night at the Old Town, pantomime based on Isaac Leib Peretz for solo voices, choir and symphony orchestra (1988)
  • Wild Swans [stage version], a ballet fable based on Hans Christian Andersen – electronic music (1988)
  • Fase per archi da camera (1989)
  • Hymnus in honorem beatae Mariae virginis de monte Carmelo for alto, or counter-tenor and positive organ or organs (1990)
  • No Roof above his Head for alto with piano accompaniment (1990)
  • Blue Lullaby for alto with guitar accompaniment (1990)
  • Christmas Carol A. D. 1990 for alto with guitar accompaniment (1990)
  • Wild Swans [radio version], ballet suite for actor and tape (1991)
  • Libera me... for baritone and tape (1991)
  • Song of Mourning in Memory of the Katyń Victims for soprano and organs (1991)
  • Children's Dreams for piano (1992)
  • Quo vadis, musical drama based on Henryk Sienkiewicz for soloists, choir and orchestra (1993-94)
  • Canto funebre per archi, in memoriam Wojciech Broniewski (1995)
  • Crime and Punishment, drama based on Fyodor Dostoievsky in 9 scenes with prologue and epilogue (2008)'s picture
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