Witold Małcużyński (1914–1977) – pianist, third prize laureate of the 3rd International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. For this competition, he prepared for several months under the direction of Ignacy Jan Paderewski. He began his great career in 1940 by giving concerts first in South America, in the United States, and after the war, also in Europe. A superb interpreter of great Romantic works, he gained fame primarily as one of the best performers of Fryderyk Chopin’s music, he twice made a world tour on the occasion of Chopin anniversaries (1949, 1960), and participated in the operations of the International Chopin Piano Competition jury (1960, 1970, 1975).
Witold Lutosławski remembered Witold Małcużyński in a conversation with Zofia Owińska thus: “He was one of my closest friends, which wasn’t strictly tied to music. Put simply, we were friends at the Conservatory, although not in the same grade – because he was with Turczyński – but we finished our studies in the same time. Later, we began to see each other really only after the war, because before that, there was no such possibility. And from this time we regularly kept in touch. I really miss him. There was something important between us. And it wasn’t in a way a strictly musical friendship, but simply a human one. Or perhaps even more than that”.
Małcużyński enticed Witold Lutosławski to write the Piano Concerto. Lutosławski himself revealed in conversation with Zofia Owińska: “Małcużyński cared much about the creation of the Concerto, and in fact I cared likewise about him as a performer. However, this (already second) attempt was not successful. On the other hand, the first attempt at composing the Concerto was interrupted by the war”. The sketches for the composition, created in the years 1937-1939, were lost during the war. (kt / trans. mk)