An account from Toronto, from 1980, gives us some idea of how Danuta and Witold Lutosławski spent their time on concert tours. ‘[They] came to Toronto in time for a reception at the Polish Consulate on April 12, 1980 – as the flautist Robert Aitkin recalled the composer’s first stay – and stayed in town until the New Music Concerto on April 19, giving his attention in between to interested composition students and a major lecture in Walter Hall on April 18 (plus of course rehearsals for the concert). What little time was left, he spent composing in the hotel room and proofreading the manuscript which his wife Danuta copied each day’.
Lutosławski appeared in Toronto again on 24 October 1993. That concert would prove to be his last. ‘That concert […] was thanks to an invitation from Montreal, to receive an honorary doctorate from McGill University on October 30. Our concert was on October 24, the week before – Aitkin recalls. – This time the concert was recorded by the CBC with the plan to release it as a live recording. Little did we know that there would be a little old lady coughing in the first row… and that this would be Witold Lutosławski’s last conducted concert. Considerable effort went into editing out the wheezing and other extraneous noises and New Music Concerts released the recording at its own expense in 1994. For this purpose our NMC photographer André Leduc took a large number of photographs and in the sport of the occasion Witold was pleased to pose in a number of (very) amusing ways.’ In 2010, a recording of that concert, containing Partita, Chain II and Chantefleurs et Chantefables, was released by Naxos.