Tomasz ‘Prasqual’ Praszczałek is a composer, conductor, and pianist. He is interested in theatre, electronic, and microtonal music, as well as spatial interpretations of music. He lives and works in Köln, Germany.
He was born on 2 December 1981 in Jelenia Góra. He graduated with distinction from composition studies under Grażyna Pstrokońska-Nawratil at the Academy of Music in Poznań, as well as postgraduate composition in Köln under Yorka Höllera and Manfreda Trojahna, postgraduate electronic composition under Hans Ulrich Humpert, and piano under Klaus Oldemeyer. He also took composing courses with Brian Ferneyhough, Ivan Fedele, Peter Eötvösa, and Christian Wolff, and, several times with Karlheinz Stockhausen. According to the composer, it is personal contact with Stockhausen that was the most influential factor in his stance towards art.
His compositions have been awarded and nominated for numerous awards at several competitions. For example in 2000 he was given a special award and a Sergiusz Słonimski Authorship Award at the 1st International Young Pianist-Composers Competition in Saint Petersburg, II award for Antipaso for wind quintet at Inter-university Competition in Bydgoszcz, as well as a nomination for Sator for solo soprano and reusable ecological materials in 2000 at the Tadeusz Baird Composers’ Competition. In 2001 he was awarded a Silver Chariot, a press award for artistic achievements, and in 2002 – third prize at Inter-University Fugue Competition in Bydgoszcz. Again, in 2002, he got an honourable mention for chamber opera Ester at Third International Composers Competition in Saint Petersburg. Furthermore, he is a laureate of Award of the President of Poznań, Primus Inter Pares Award, as well as Primus Expert Artist. In 2005 he received the Young Arts Medal, awarded by Głos Wielkopolski. He has received scholarships from DAAD, Deutsche Bank-Stiftung, and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
His compositions have been performed at Warsaw Autumn, Poznań Music Spring, and Musica Polonica Nova festival in Wrocław, among others, as well as in France, Germany, and Russia. In 2003 he took part in a project commemorating 75 birthday of Karlheinz Stockhausen, where he played in Prozession. His opera, Ester, premiered February 2006 in Wrocław Opera. It was here that in October of the same year, his Pięc Śpiewów z Klatki [trans. Five Songs from the Cage], a cycle of songs for soprano, baritone, and chamber orchestra written to words by Tadeusz Różewicz for his 85th birthday, premiered. In 2014, Monika Pasiecznik wrote in Teatr:
Five Songs from the Cage realises the conception of musical architecture upon which Prasqual has been building for a few years in his previous works. The basis of this concept is thinking about the spatial dimensions of music – the composer defines music differently than I traditional concert situation, but he does not go as far as to tread into sound installation territory. The most accurate name seems to be concert installation. But this architectonicity of music is understood really broadly by Prasqual, he embroids it with philosophical, esoteric and existential themes. He adds a ritualistic feeling to his compositions, he introduces a discreet staging to his music, which breathes life in the form, changes proportions and numbers into archetypes, universals. Just like Stockhausen, he refers to the esoteric modernism from the early 20th century, and continued by Le Corbusier in his colour symbolicism and neoplatonic metaphysics of light.
In 2012 he was a resident in Künstlerdorf Schöppingen for 6 months, and in 2015 he became a resident in Künstlerhof Schreyahn. Furthermore in August 2013 he was a resident at Ostrava New Music Days festival, during which his YMORH for 22 musicians was performed. In September of the same year he performed at the 9th Kölner Musiknacht, where he played a recital of his and Bach’s compositions. In 2014 an extended version of this recital was played during Różewicz Open in Radomsko, as well as at the Musik in den Häusern der Stad festival in Köln.
June 2013 marks the date of the opening of Praszczałek’s exhibition in Cité des Utopies in Saline Royale, France, where Praszczałek presented architectonic sketches for a pyramid of 16 speakers and where the first part of opera project Orlando – Architektura Ciemności [trans. Orlando – Architecture of Darkness], which is scheduled to be finished by 2020, is going to be performed. From October 2014 the exhibition was presented in Le Lieu Unique in Nantes.
- Liebeslieder for six performers and one musician (2016)
- INFOLIA ballet music for spatial electronic section (2015)
- NEVERMORE...? ballet music for two percussions and spatial electronic section (2014)
- 5 Gesänge aus dem Käfig for mezzosoprano, baritone, 7 group orchestra and spatial electronic section (2014)
- Architektura światła third part of the opera cycle Orlando for soprano, trumpet, 23 orchestra musicians and electronic section (2013)
- Six Wings of Angels ballet music for 8 speakers in a cube shape (2012)
- Polski Blues compositions fro students and musicians (2011)
- OPHELIA for three vocals, instrumental band and spatial electronic section (2011)
- Moses muss singen musical theatre for four vocals, actor, four instruments and God’s Voice
- RITO for two sopranos and 8-group-orchestra
- CARP&BREAD for children’s voices and instrumental band (2008)
- ESTER for 5 soloists, choir and chamber orchestra
Instrumental and non-theatre music:
- Sator for solo soprano and ecological reusable materials (2000)
- Lux aeterna for four male voices (2001)
- Trzy poematy for mezzosoprano and piano (2001)
- Im Augenblick for clarinet and viola (2002)
- Recordare for eight voices(2002)
- Flash for two flutes and piano (2002)
- Mother Nature. Come to Daddy for clarinet, double bass, percussion and tape (2003)
- Mother Nature for tape (2003)
- Lieber Felix for reciter and piano (2004)
- Spectra for piano (2004, rev. 2008, rev. 2012)
- Cztery pieśni do słów Manfreda Wolffa for soprano and piano (2004)
- Ofelia liryczna chamber opera for his own libretto (2004-2006)
- Pieśni powrotu for amplified harpsichord and 12 strings (2005)
- Koncert for viola and orchestra (2005, rev. 2008)
- L'una vuota for organ(2006)
- Salto mortale for strings and electronic devices (2007)
- Tombeau for cello and trumpet (2007)
- Lebene for orchestra (2008)
- L'una plena for trumpet and organ (2008)
- Furia for violin, clarinet, percussion and piano (2008)
- YMORH for 22 musicians (2010)
- PERNYAI for clarinet, piano and string quartet (2010)
- Sześć portretów for piano (2012)
- Musique pour le Roi Primordial for piano (2014)
- MUQARNYAS for accordion and double 6-group orchestra (2015)
Written by Małgorzata Kosińska, Polish Music Information Centre, Polish Composers' Association; Updated May 2016, Translated by AS February 2017