A Polish composer born January 25, 1913 in Warsaw who died February 7, 1994 in Warsaw.
A pianist and violinist by training, Witold Lutoslawski furthered his musical studies at the conservatories of Warsaw and Hamburg, where he was the pupil for composition of Witold Maliszewski. He obtained his piano diploma in 1936 and that for composition in 1937. A prisoner of war in 1939, then pianist in the cafes of Warsaw until the Liberation, he pursued the composition activity he had begun in 1922. Following his First Symphony (1941-1947), criticised for its ‘formalism’ and banned during the Stalinist period, he composed in a more ‘acceptable’ neo-Bartokian style, and continued his stylistic investigations. A synthesis of tradition and the avant-garde, his writing integrates Polish folklore (Petite suite, 1951), nineteenth-century piano virtuosity (Piano Concerto, 1988), and also dodecaphonic techniques (Musique funèbre, 1958) and aleatory practices (Jeux vénitiens, 1961; String Quartet, 1964). He invented the concept of controlled chance, according the performer highly circumscribed freedom, and developed bipartite form (Symphony no 2, 1967). His fame being henceforth international, he gave composition lessons in the US and in Europe. He also devoted himself, for the rest of his life, to conducting and undertook many artistic journeys. His works, exempt of electro-acoustic features, further include Paroles tissées (1965), Les espaces du sommeil (1975), Symphony no 4 (1992).