Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog


For thirty years, the Concerto for Orchestra periodically appeared in the repertoire of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It was first played in 1962, repeated two years later, and performed again in 1992, with the composer conducting. The CSO recorded it twice onto disc: with Seiji Orawa (1971) and Daniel Barenboim (1992).

Yet the work most associated with this ensemble is the Third Symphony. Its history dates back to the spring of 1974, when Lutosławski travelled to Chicago to accept the honorary title of Doctor of Fine Arts awarded to him by Northwestern University Evanston. The CSO management took the opportunity to propose that the composer write a symphonic work for the orchestra. Lutosławski accepted the commission, but without a binding deadline, as if sensing that the composition would take more than ten years to complete. After a couple of aborted attempts at composing the work, it was finally ready in March 1982. The contract, for the sum of 25,000 dollars, ensured the Chicago orchestra of the right to its first performance anywhere in the world and its first performance in New York, as well as the privilege of making its first recording for disc. However, when Daniel Barenboim finally recorded the work with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1992, that was not its first recording.

The first performance was to be conducted by Georg Solti. When preparing the new score, he happened to be in London, and so he had to discuss details of performance with the composer, in Warsaw, by telephone. They only met in person just before the first rehearsals, in Chicago. ‘Solti was already there. We were staying in the same hotel, and he asked me to come to his room. He opened the score and again began asking questions, starting with the first page, although there weren’t as many as before. I, however, couldn’t correct the mistakes that I had obviously found in the meantime – since I always find plenty of them – because the score was marked with a thick pen. I couldn’t find the notes that needed correcting. Consequently, I left him a list of mistakes and he made the corrections himself’.

The new symphony was performed in the opening concert of the CSO’s 108th season, broadcast to most countries of Western Europe. It aroused exceptional interest, and not only for artistic reasons. Poland was under martial law at the time, and many listeners interpreted it as an expression of the composer’s opposition to the political situation in his native land.

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