Kazimierz Kord, photo: Grzegorz Rogiński / Forum
Conductor, born on November 18, 1930, in Podgórze.
Kazimierz Kord graduated from the Secondary School of Music in Katowice in 1949, where he studied piano. From 1949 to 1955 he continued to study piano with Vladimir Nilsen at the Leningrad Conservitory, and from 1956 to 1960 he worked as a conductor with Artur Malawski and Witold Krzemieński at the State Higher School of Music in Kraków. From 1960 to 1962 he was choirmaster and conductor at the Warsaw Opera. From there he went on to become chief conductor and artistic director of the Musical Theatre of the City of Kraków where he staged on around 30 premieres, including Charles Gounod's Faust, directed by Kord himself with set design by Józef Szajna. He held this post until 1969.
The success of this show opened the doors some of the world's most prestigious theatres, including the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich (where Kord worked on Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades and Béla Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle) and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, which invited Kord to conduct Queen of Spades, Boris Godunov Modest Mussorgsky's , Giuseppe Verdi's Aida and Macbeth and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Così fan tutte. From 1969 to 1973 he directed the Grand Polish Radio and Television Orchestra in Katowice, and from 1977 to 2001 he served as general and artistic director of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw with whom toured Europe, the United States, Australia, China and Japan. He also recorded for various radio stations and record companies.
At the same time, Kord was conducting the Südwestfunk Orchestra in Baden-Baden (1980-86), and performing with renown orchestras in Leningrad, Cleveland, Chicago (a debut in 1973), Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Tokyo, Toronto (1974 European Tour with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra following Karel Ančerl's death), London, Prague, Munich, Stuttgart, Rome, Milan, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt and Athens. He has staged shows in opera theatres in New York, London (Covent Garden), Munich, Düsseldorf (Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress), Amsterdam (Georg Friedrich Handel's Orlando, Dmitri Shostakovich's Katarina Izmailova directed by Aleksander Bardini and Alband Berg's Wozzeck), Copenhagen (the Royal Opera) and San Francisco (Verdi's Rigoletto, Otello and Falstaff, Amilcare Ponchielli's Boris Godunov and Gioconda). From 2005 to 2006, Kord was the music director of the Teatr Wielki National Opera in Warsaw, where he conducted Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme (directed by Mariusz Treliński), Mozart's Magic Flute (directed by Achim Freyer), and a number of other operas.
Kord has also made numerous recordings, including the works of Jean Sibelius and Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony with the New Philharmonia Orchestra (Decca), Ludwig van Beethoven's Fidelio and Verdi's Requiem (Polskie Nagrania). He has also recorded for television for the programme Südwestfunk, for which he did Joseph Haydn's masses, Mozart's Requiem and the work of Karol Szymanowski and George Gershwin. In addition, he initiated the "Lutosławski Forum", a series of concerts combined with fine arts and a forum for discussion.
Kord has received many awards for his work, including the Critics' Award of the Music Biennale in Berlin (1971), the Golden Orpheus from the Warsaw Autumn Festival (1972) and Conductor of the Year in Munich (1972). In 1976 he was awarded a certificate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in recognition of his achievements in promoting Polish music abroad, and in 1977 he won an award from the Ministry of Culture and Art. He was also decorated with the Knight's Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order in 2001, and in 2005 was given the Golden Medal Gloria Artis for "Cultural Merit" and the Diamond Baton, a distinction awarded by the board of the Polish Radio.