Krzysztof Baculewski, born 26 December 1950 in Warsaw, is a composer and teacher.
Baculewski studied composition under Witold Rudziński at the Frederic Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, graduating in 1974. In 1975–76, he perfected his musical skills at the Conservatoire de Paris under Olivier Messiaen and took an internship at Pierre Schaeffer's Groupe de Recherches Musicales. From 1977 to 1980, he taught at the University of Warsaw's Institute of Musicology, whilst completing his PhD in Humanities at the same university. He has taught at the Department of Composition, Conducting and Theory of Music at the Academy of Music in Warsaw since 1982, obtaining the title of professor in 2001. In 2002 he taught as visiting professor at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. Since 1973, he has also worked as a journalist for Ruch Muzyczny. His works have been performed in Poland and abroad, including in Germany, France, Finland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the United States and South America.
He has won numerous awards over his career, including third prize at the International Competition for Organ Work in Szczecin in 1973 for La terra incompareggiabile for organ (1970–73), the Competition of the Young Polish Composers' Union in 1975 (honourable mention) for the Night cantata for soprano and chamber orchestra (1975), Competition of Warsaw Branch of the Polish Composers' Union in 1984 (third prize) for String Quartet No. 1 (1984), in 1986 (honourable mention) for String Quartet No. 3 (1986), in 1990 (first prize) for Antitheton I for violin, cello and piano (1989), second prize for his Concerto for Orchestra (1982–1983) and the award for String Quartet No. 2 (1985) at a competition organized for 25th anniversary of the Poznań Musical Spring Festival in 1985, and Karol Szymanowski’s Composers Competition in 1988 (honourable mention) for Concerto armonico for string orchestra (1987). In 1986, the State Opera in Wrocław staged his music drama Nowe wyzwolenie (New Liberation) based on the drama by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (1974). On numerous occasions, he has been commissioned to write music for the Second Programme of Polish Radio, the Alkagran festival, the Mikołaj of Radom International Early Music Festival, Warszawska Jesień Festival(Warsaw Autumn), and for prominent musicians: Anna Szostak, Agata Sapiecha, Piotr Kusiewicz, Jadwiga Rappé and ensembles - Ars Nova and Camerata Silesia.
He is the author of two books on Polish contemporary music (Polska Twórczość Kompozytorska 1945-1984/ Polish Art of Composition, Polish Music Publishing, Krakó 1987, and Współczesnść Vol. 1 / Modernity Vol 1, 1939–1974 in the series History of Polish Music Sutkowski Edition, Warsaw 1996) and many other scientific, critical and journalistic publications.
Since 1986, Krzysztof Baculewski has been on the Warszawska Jesień Festival's repertoire committee. From 1991 to 1997 and from 1999 to 2003, he was a member of the Board of the Association of Polish Composers.
In the introduction to his piece Is-Slotteti, which premiered at the Warszawska Jesień International Festival of Contemporary Music in 1976, Baculewski wrote:
The most important element informing the composition is the articulation and the technique of emitting sound from the instrument: in the piece, there are two moments of smooth transition from the sounds labelled as 'unconventional' to those which the avant-garde of the sixties contemptuously called 'traditional'. My intention, therefore, was not so much to reconcile these two opposed worlds – a physical impossibility, a Gombrowiczian impossibility – as an attempt to create a third half-world out of them, or at least an underworld for a single use...
However, against the declaration of its single use and the rationale behind the statement formulated specifically in relation to the sound structure of Is-Slotteti, Baculewski’s assertion can be treated as an ideological statement to which he has remained more or less loyal to this day. Not only does he reconcile "unconventional" and "traditional" sounds, but he attempts to synthesize the "new" and "old" on a more general level. Yet Is-Slotteti closes the "experimental" direction of his creative practice, as the composer himself stated. From then on, experimentation receded into the background, and Baculewski focused on the issues of form and expression, clearly revealing his classical artistic taste.
A symbolic sign of attachment to tradition can be discerned in Krzysztof Baculewski’s employment of old instruments. They have, of course, excellent sound quality, as in The Whole And Broken Consort for old instruments ensemble (1986) and the Sonata canonica for two Baroque violins (1998), but they are also embedded in the broader context of tradition. Baculewski uses old instruments in this manner in The Profane Anthem to Anne, referring to the famous English Baroque master Henry Purcell’s Ode in Honour of St. Cecilia. The premiere was performed by the well-known Il Tempo ensemble, led by eminent Polish early music specialist Agata Sapiecha. In the programme of the 37th Warszawska Jesień Festival in 1994, the composer wrote:
I have composed The Profane Anthem to Anne for Anna Szostak (hence the dedication in the title) and her choir Camerata Silesia. It was commissioned by Grażyna Krzanowska for the concert during the Alkagran Festival, scheduled for October 1, 1993 (International Music Day). The programme included Henry Purcell's Ode to St. Cecilia, the patron of music. The commissioned piece was to relate in some way to Purcell’s music and to employ a similar cast. The direct impetus for the composition was, however, my encounter with Camerata Silesia and my fascination with their artistry and high musicality of all the members of the ensemble.
Only a few instances of the The Profane Anthem to Anne are styled in an English Baroque way, and embedded in specific appropriations typical of contemporary compositional techniques, thus discreetly shaping the piece. The composer inserted three verses in the original language from the songs of the English metaphysical poet John Donne (1572-1631). The title The Profane Anthem to Anne can be translated as "secular hymn to Anna". Its premiere took place on 1st October 1993 at the Alkagran Festival in Czechowice, and was performed by: Magdalena Szostak - soprano, Elżbieta Starczynowska - soprano, Violetta Gawara - alt, Krzysztof Kowalski - tenor, Adam Myrczek - bass, with the baroque ensemble Il Tempo under the baton of Agata Sapiecha: Monika Raczyńska - harpsichord, Krzysztof Baculewski – positive organ, and the Camerata Silesia choir conducted by Anna Szostak.
Author: Małgorzata Kosińska, Polish Information Center, Association of Polish Composers, July 2006, update: November 2008, transl. GS, 25.08.2014