Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Persons catalog

Adrian Thomas

Adrian Thomas (b. 1947) — English musicologist and composer. He studied in Nottingham, Cardiff, and Cracow, with Bogusław Schaeffer, among others. A long-time professor at universities in Belfast and Cardiff, now professor emeritus, he is a great authority on new Polish music and author of many studies devoted to it. Among these, his most valued books include: Bacewicz: Chamber and Orchestral Music, Górecki (English and Polish edition), Polish Music since Szymanowski, and under preparation, a monograph on Witold Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto.

He also disseminates knowledge about Polish music as guest lecturer in Europe and the United States, he gives public talks, conducts, authors radio programs and commentaries to recordings and concerts (including The Proms 2013), and initiates events, such as the exhibit The Hidden Composer: Witold Lutosławski and Polish Radio (London, 1997) and the national British festival Poland!, organized in 1993 (while he was director of the music section at BBC) and which underscores the round birthday anniversaries of Lutosławski, Górecki, and Penderecki occurring at the time. In his work, he not only presents the Western public with Polish composers’ musical creativity, but also places it in the context of political history, especially that of the ‘Dark Decade’ of post-war social realism. “Lutosławski stood at the origins of my fascination with Polish music – reminisces Adrian Thomas in conversation with Beata Bolesławska. Already as a student, he conducted, together with his English friend, the premiere of Trois poèmes d’Henri Michaux.

In recognition of his service to Polish music, Adrian Thomas was honoured with the Polish Composers’ Union Award (1989), the Order of Service to Polish Culture (1996), and the Witold Lutosławski Society Medal for the year 2004, while on January 24 of the present year, he received the Lutosławski Centennial Medal. (kt/mk)