Paul Sacher (1906–1999), Swiss conductor and musicologist, propagator of early and contemporary music, patron of the arts. He studied with Felix Weingartner in his home city, Basel, and founded the Basel Chamber Orchestra in 1926, as well as the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in 1933, to study early music and early performance practice. In 1941 he brought into being the Collegium Musicum in Zurich. His commissions resulted in the creation of over 200 works by leading composers, which included Bartók, Berio, Britten, Dutilleux, Hindemith, Honegger, Malipiero, Frank Martin, Strawinsky, and Richard Strauss.
On the seventieth birthday of the Swiss artist, Witold Lutosławski dedicated to him the Sacher Variation for cello, composed at Mstislav Rostropovich's inspiration, as well as works written for commissions from Sacher - the Double Concerto, Chain II, and the Interlude.
Witold Lutosławski revealed in a conversation with Zofia Owińska: "In the case of works for Paul Sacher, they are dedications not only to him as a patron, but also as a friend and a close, fellow human being. He is an extraordinary man, characterized by an incredible freshness of mind and emotion. And he is capable of enthusiasm, which constitutes an incredible rarity."
In 1989 Paul Sacher advanced the initiative of purchasing Lutosławski's manuscripts, thanks to which the legacy of the composer is kept at the archive of the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel. (kt/mk)