Pianist and composer. Born in Warsaw on the 19th of September 1938.
A 1962 and 1964, respectively, graduate of the National Higher School of Music piano studies in the class of Maria Wilkomirska and of composition with Kazimierz Sikorski, Krauze continued his music education in Paris on a French Government scholarship as a student of Nadia Boulanger in 1966-67.
Since 1963 Krauze has performed concerts as a pianist in Europe and the United States, performing mainly contemporary works. In 1967 he founded the Warsztat Muzyczny /Musical Workshop ensemble, specializing in playing the most recent compositions and consisting of a clarinetist Czesław Pałkowski, trombonist Edward Borowiak, cellist Witold Gałązka, and Krauze at the piano. The ensemble continued until 1988, gave a total of approximately 300 concerts and had more than 100 works composed for it by Polish and foreign composers.
For many years Krauze was involved in teaching alongside composing, lecturing on composition and piano playing in a number of academic centers around the world. In 1970-71 he was a piano professor at the Cleveland State University, and in 1973-74 stayed in Berlin at the invitation of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. He was a lecturer at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm in 1975, the International Summer School of New Music in Darmstadt in 1976, Indiana University in Bloomington and University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1978, the Basel Academy of Music in 1979, Yale University in New Haven in 1982, International Summer School in Kazimierz Dolny and Keio University in Tokyo in 1986, Groznjan in Croatia in 1988, Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem in 1991, and in Osaka, at Kobe University, the National University in Seul, Yale University and Columbia University of New York in 1994. In 1982-89 Krauze lectured in Paris, where he was appointed the artistic advisor at the Institut de Recherche de Coordination Acoustique Musique (IRCAM) at the invitation of Pierre Boulez in 1982 and ran weekly music programs in Radio France Musique in 1983-84. In 1986 Krauze co-produced a series of educational films entitled The Making of Music for the Polish Television, winning the award of the Chairman of the Polish Radio and Television in 1987, followed by a series of films on contemporary music, called The Sound and Silence.
Krauze has also held a number of public appointments in Polish and foreign cultural organizations, including the position of Chairman of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM/SIMC) in 1987-90 and, since 1989, of the Chairman of the Polish Society of Contemporary Music (the Polish section of the ISCM), organizing the World Days of Music in Warsaw in 1992.
Krauze's artistic pursuits have won him a number of awards, including the first prize at the National Contemporary Piano Music Competition in Łódź in 1957; the second prize at the Young Competition of the Union of Polish Composers in 1965 for his String Quartet no. 1 composed the same year; the first prize at the Gaudeamus International Competition for Contemporary Music Performers in Utrecht; the Silver Cross of Merit in 1975; the title of the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, conferred by the French Government in 1984; the Union of Polish Composers' award in 1988; the award of the Minister of Culture and Art in 1989; and the Chopin Gold Medal presented by the Fryderyk Chopin Society in Warsaw.
It was from the beginning, that is from the sixties, that Zygmunt Krauze has taken his own, distinct place in Polish music and beyond, and most of his works possess his unique fingerprint that is recognizable from the first bars.
As soon as he first appeared in Polish music, it became clear that Krauze was not going to be another representative of the then flourishing Polish school. Nor has he yielded to the dictate of serialism as enforced at that time by a part of the European vanguard, and, likewise, no absolutism of dissonance could ever be spotted in his works. And yet he has not remained unaffected by the spirit of the times.
Serialism was commonly considered to break the ties between sounds that mankind has regarded as natural, and Krauze's need to reject it was nothing else but a product of the first whiffs of Zeitgeist, sensed by the composer earlier than it would be by most of his contemporaries.
(...) Although Krauze is a born innovator and a forerunner of many a modern trend in music, he has never been one for short-lived novelties, as evidenced by the unflagging interest in his works, including the innovatory ones. His compositions are performed at lots of music festivals and twentieth-century retrospectives, and they are most certain to continue to do so given how harmoniously they combine the omnipresence of the spirit of the times with the composer's own, highly individual and distinct idiom of musical expression. Ever since 'the new fin-de-siecle' started to push out the fashionable 'postmodernism', music lovers can get a new chance to hear Krauze's old and new works, for, in this new light, fitting within the syndrome of the end of a century, they agree with the spirit of the times as much as they are unique - Elżbieta Szczepańska in Studio 1996 nr 4
Author: Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, April 2002.
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