Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog


A Mecca for ‘Lutosologists’ is Cathedral Square in Basle. Here, in the Paul Sacher Archive, Lutosławski sketches, manuscripts of works and correspondence have been held since 1990. Witold Lutosławski is the only Polish composer whose legacy has been deposited in the Basle archive, next to the manuscripts of Stravinsky, Bartók, Webern and other outstanding twentieth-century composers.

Lutosławski – unaware that his legacy would one day be kept here – can be pictured standing here for the first time in May 1968, when he was invited to deliver a lecture on a subject that was almost automatically associated with him: ‘The element of chance in composing’. The idea set out in the composer’s words was illustrated by Jeux vénitiens, which he then conducted in person for the first time. With composition students of Basle Music Academy, meanwhile, he participated in a seminar devoted to another issue that interested him a great deal at that time: ‘The possibilities for writing a large closed form’. In June 1970, when he was again invited to the Music Academy, he shared with the listeners his reflections on a work which he regarded as an important composition in his life, precisely on account of its form, namely Albert Roussel’s Third Symphony. On the list of his lectures, however, that was an exceptional theme.

Lutosławski travelled to Basle in 1970 for the annual World Music Days, which remained a special festival over the course of his enduring contacts with the International Society for Contemporary Music. A long-standing member of that society, he had led its Polish section and a year earlier had been made an honorary member. Yet his compositions had never previously been performed in festivals organised by the ISCM. During the post-war years, the works submitted by Poland had failed to receive the approval of the international jury that compiled the concert programmes. Since the fifties, Lutosławski had been a member of the jury, and so he had not put forward his scores. Consequently, the organisers of the festival in Basle included his String Quartet on the programme, availing themselves of a paragraph in the statute entitling the organisers to select several works not proposed by the national sections. In that way, Lutosławski’s music was heard in the World Music Days – after a delay of almost a quarter of a century.

Basle and Mulhouse airports

In the dim and distant past, before the age of smartphones or even computers, sending recordings of music quickly over a thousand kilometres – the distance between Warsaw and Basle – was only possible thanks to the kindness of an aeroplane crew. So in 1988 Krystian Zimerman’s wife sent recordings of successive parts of Lutosławski’s new piano concerto every day on an aeroplane flying to Warsaw, where the composer picked them up from the airport. That is how the pianist near Basle and the composer and conductor in Warsaw prepared for the work’s first performance in Salzburg.

Place Category
Aix-en-Provence Appearances
Aldeburgh Appearances
Amsterdam Appearances
Århus Education
Aspen Appearances
Austin Other
Baranów Sandomierski Other
Basel Other
Basztowa Street Performance spaces
Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts Other
BBC Orchestra and other ensembles Appearances
Belfast Other
Berea Performance spaces
Berlin Appearances
Białystok Education
Boston Appearances
Brisbane Other
Budapest Other
Calgary Education, Other
Cambridge Other
Celle Publishers / Bookshops
Chicago Appearances
Cincinnati Other
Cleveland Appearances
Cologne Other
Copenhagen Appearances
Cracow Philharmonic Performance spaces
Dartington Education
Donaueschingen Other
Dresden Other
Drozdowo Flats
Düsseldorf Appearances
Edinburgh Other
Evian Appearances
Filmography Radio / TV
Florence Appearances
Geneva Appearances
Glasgow Other
Graz Other
Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Hagen Other, Performance spaces
Hamburg Other
Hanover (New Hampshire) Other
Helsinki Education
Herkulessaal Appearances, Performance spaces
Houston Other
Huddersfield Appearances
Indianapolis Other
Jagiellonian University Education
Katowice Other
Kazimierz nad Wisłą Other
Komorów Flats
Łagów Other
Lancaster Appearances
La Rochelle Appearances
Leeds Appearances
Leipzig Education, Performance spaces, Publishers / Bookshops
Lisbon Appearances
Liverpool Appearances
Łomża Education
London Sinfonietta Performance spaces
Los Angeles Appearances
Louisville (Kentucky) Other
Lublin Appearances
Lucerne Other
Madrid Appearances
Manchester Appearances
Mikołajki Other
Milan Appearances
Montreal Appearances
Moscow Appearances
Munich Philharmonic Appearances, Performance spaces
New York Appearances
Odense Education, Performance spaces
Olsztyn Education
Opio (near Grasse) Flats
Oslo Other
Paris Appearances
Pittsburgh Appearances
Poznań Other
Prague Appearances
PWM EDITION Publishers / Bookshops
Riga Performance spaces
Rome Other
Rotterdam Appearances
Royal Albert Hall Appearances, Performance spaces
Royal Philharmonic Society Appearances
Saint Paul (Minnesota) Other
Salzburg Other
San Francisco Appearances
Strasbourg Appearances
Stockholm Appearances
Sydney Appearances
Szczecin Other
Tanglewood Education, Other
Tokyo Appearances
Toronto Education
Toruń Education
Venice Performance spaces
Vienna Performance spaces
Villars-sur-Ollon Other
Warsaw Appearances, Flats, Other, Performance spaces
Washington Appearances
Wawel Appearances
Wehr near Rheinfelden Other
Wrocław Other, Performance spaces
Wzdów Other
Zagreb Performance spaces
Zegrze Other
Zurich Performance spaces