Apolinary Kątski was a composer, conductor and pedagogue who was born in July 1826 in Poznań and died in June 1879 in Warsaw. His brother was Antoni Kątski.
He started to learn violin under the supervision of his father, Grzegorz Kątski – a court officer, amateur violinist, and composer. The famous Niccolò Paganini was later Apolinary's teacher in Paris.
He started to play in public very early. While on a trip to St. Petersburg in 1829, he took a part in a family concert at the court of the tsar, where he played Pierre Rode's violin concert. Later on, he played with his siblings in Russia, Hungary, Vienna, and Paris. In the years 1836-1849 Kątski lived in Paris, where he debuted on 1st February 1837. In the same year he played during the coronation of Queen Victoria in London, and later in France and Germany, where he gained recognition from Hector Berlioz, Giacomo Meyerbeer, and Paganini. He also performed in what is now Kaliningrad where he was given an honorary Doctor of Liberal Arts. In 1849, Kątski gave concerts in Kraków and was later awarded a diploma from the Kraków Scientific Society.
In 1850 he played for the first time in Warsaw. He then moved to Russia, where from 1852 he was the royal soloist in St. Petersburg replacing Henri Vieuxtemps at the spot. He also worked as a chamber music composer cooperating with his daughter, Antoni Rubinstein, Teodor Leszetycki, and Aleksander Dargomyżski. In the late 1850s he came back to Warsaw and limited his responsibilities as a composer to have more time for the creation of the Warsaw Music Society. At first, he was a member of the committee delegated to create the institution, but owing to its poor results, he decided to take the lead. In 1860, as the conductor of a tour across Poland and Russia, he tried to collect funds to organise the society. He used his acquaintances in governmental spheres in St. Petersburg, and that finally enabled him to create the society. Its first classes took place on 26th January, 1861. From that day onwards, Apolinary Kątski was in office as the director of the Music Society, where he also worked as a teacher and conducted an orchestra.
- violin and piano:
- Fantasia on Motives from 'Lucia di Lammermoor' op. 2
- Characteristic Notion 'Kaskada' op. 3
- Mazurian Idyll op. 4
- L'echo caprice-étude op. 5
- Le rêve d'une jeune châtelaine op. 6, poem
- Le départ du Chevalier op. 11
- Six caprices-études artistiques op. 16
- Reminiscences op. 18, waltz
Author: Małgorzata Kosińska, December 2007, translated by AW, November 2016