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Zygmunt Krauze

Zygmunt Krauze, photo: courtesy of the composer
Zygmunt Krauze, photo: courtesy of the composer

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


  • Trzy preludia/ Three preludes for piano (1956)
  • Pięć utworów / Five pieces for piano (1958)
  • Prelude, intermezzo, postlude for piano (1958)
  • Dwie inwencje/ Two inventions for piano (1958)
  • Sześć melodii ludowych/ Six folk melodies  for piano (1958)
  • Siedem interludiów/ Seven interludes for piano (1958)
  • Sonatina na fortepian/ Sonatina for piano (1958)
  • Trio stroikowe/ Reed trio for oboe, klarinet and  clarinet and bassoon (1958)
  • Trzy etiudy/ Three études for piano (1958)
  • Temat z wariacjami/ A theme and variations  for piano (1958)
  • monodia i fuga/ monody and fugue for piano (1959)
  • Cztery tańce/ Four dances for piano (1959)
  • Ohne Kontraste für Klavier (1960)
  • Liczby pierwsze/ Prime numbers for two violins (1961)
  • Pantuny malajskie/ Pantuns for three flutes and contralto ( mezzo-soprano) (1961)
  • Pięć kompozycji unistycznych/ Five unist compositions for piano (1963)
  • Tryptyk/ Triptych  for piano (1964)
  • Kwartet smyczkowy nr 1/ String quartet nº1 (1965)
  • Esquisse for piano (1966-67)
  • Entrée for clarinet, trombone, cello and piano (1968)
  • Polichromia/ Polychromy for clarinet, trombone, cello and piano (1968)
  • Kompozycja przestrzenno-muzyczna nr 1/ Spacial music composition nº1  for six tapes (1968)
  • Utwór na orkiestrę nr 1/ A piece for orchestra nº1 (1969)
  • Kwartet smyczkowy nr 2/ String quartet nº2 (1970)
  • Kompozycja przestrzenno-muzyczna nr 2/ Spacial music composition nº2 for two tapes (1970)
  • Utwór na orkiestrę nr 2/ A piece for orchestra nº2 (1970)
  • Fallingwater for piano (1971)
  • Voices for 15 instruments (1972)
  • Folk Music for orchestra (1972)
  • Stone Music for piano (1972)
  • Gloves Music for piano (1972)
  • Aus aller Welt Stammende for 5 violins, 3 violas, and 2 cellos (1973)
  • One Piano eight Hands for 4 musicians playing one upright piano out of tune (1973)
  • Song for 4-6 optional melodic instruments (1974)
  • Idyll for tape and 4 solo folk instrumentalists (1974)
  • Automatophone [version I] for 15 playing mechanisms and 15 plucked instruments (1974)
  • Fête galante et pastorale [version I] for 6 instrumentsl groups and 13 tapes (1974)
  • Soundscape for tape and 4 soloists playing 4 zithers, 4 melodicas, 8 flutes, 8 sheep bells, 8 glasses, 4 harmonicas (1975)
  • Fête galante et pastorale [version II] for orchestra and 4 folk instrumentalists (1975)
  • Automatophone [version II] for 3 or more mandolins, 3 or more guitars and more playing mechanisms (1976)
  • Koncert fortepianowy nr 1/ Piano concerto nº1 (1976)
  • Suite de dances et de chansons for harpsicord and orchestra (1977)
  • Music Box Waltz for piano (1978)
  • Ballada/ Ballad for piano (1978)
  • Koncert skrzypcowy/ Violin concerto (1980)
  • Gwiazda/ Star [version I], chamber opera for 2 soprano, 2 mezzo-soprano, contralto, tenor saxophone, trumpet, drums, accordion, electric guitar, violin, double bass  (1981)
  • Diptychos for organs (1981)
  • Tableau vivant for chamber orchestra (1982)
  • Commencement pour clavecin solo (1982)
  • Utwór na orkiestrę nr 3/ Apiece for orchestra nº3 (1982)
  • Kwartet smyczkowy nr 3/ String quartet nº3 (1982)
  • Arabesque for piano and chamber orchestra (1983)
  • Quatuor pour la naissance pour clarinette, violon, violoncelle et piano (1984)
  • Fête galante et pastorale [version III] for 13 instrumental groupes, 5 voices and 13 tapes (1984)
  • Je prefère qu'il chante pour basson (1984)
  • Blanc-rouge / Paysage d'un pays for 2 wind orchestral masses, mandolin and accordion orchestra and 6 percussions (1985)
  • Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra (1985)
  • Symfonia paryska/ Parisian symphony for chamber orchestra  (1986)
  • Rivière souterraine [version I] for clarinet, trombone, cello, piano, percussion, guitar, accordion and 7 tapes (1987)
  • Rivière souterraine [version II] for 7 tapes  (1987)
  • From Keyboard to Score for piano (1987)
  • Nightmare Tango for piano (1987)
  • Siegfried und Siegmund for cello and piano (1988)
  • Pocztówka z gór/ Postcard from the mountains for soprano, flute, oboe, clarinet, vibraphone, violin, viola, cello and double bass (1988)
  • La chanson du Mal-aimé for piano (1990)
  • Blue Jay Way for piano (1990)
  • For Alfred Schlee with Admiration for string quartet (1991)
  • Kwintet fortepianowy/ Piano quintet (1993)
  • Refren for piano (1993)
  • Terra Incognita for 10 string instruments and piano (1994)
  • Gwiazda [version II] one-act opera for soprano, mezzo-soprano, orchestra, choir and ballet  (1994)
  • La terre sur des poźmes de Yves Bonnefoy pour soprano, piano et orchestre (1995)
  • Rhapsod for string orchestra (1995)
  • Pastorale for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and french horn (1995)
  • Koncert fortepianowy nr 2 / Piano concerto nº2 (1996)
  • Trois chansons pour 16 chanteurs mixtes (1997)
  • Serenada na orkiestrę (1998)
  • Pięć pieśni do poezji Tadeusza Różewicza/ Five songs for Tadeusz Różewicz' s poems for baritone and piano(2000)
  • Fmilly Bell for string orchestra (2000)
  • Pięć pieśni do słów Tadeusza Różewicza/Five songs for Tadeusz Różewicz' s poems [wersja II] na baryton i orkiestrę (2000)
  • Adieu [version I] for symphonic orchestra (2000)
  • Balthazar, opera in two acts for soloists, choir and orchestra (2001)
  • Adieu [version II] for solo piano amd orchestra (2001)
  • Iwona, księżniczka Burgunda/ Ivona, Pirincess of Burgundia, opera in four acts for soloists, chamber choir and orchestra  (2004)
  • Bal w Operze/ Ball in the Opera for chamber choir and 12 instruments, based on Julian Tuwim's poem (2004-2006)
  • Gwiazda/ Star [version III], one-act opera for soparno, computer and two operators (2006)
  • Hymn do tolerancji/ Hymn to tolerance for symphonic orchestra  (2007)

Author: Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, April 2002.'s picture
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Zygmunt Krauze


Content: Many Themes, Many Dimensions | Lutosławski | Penderecki | Górecki | The "Polish Composers' School" Syndrome | Bargielski | Emigrants | Polish Minimalists: Tomasz Sikorski and Zygmunt Krauze | The Perspective of the Last Decade of the 20th Century | The youngest generation. Read more about: Contemporary Polish Composers of Classical Music

Zygmunt Krauze


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