Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog


The Lutosławski family settled in Drozdowo during the mid eighteenth century. Towards the end of his life, the composer reflected: ‘It was a beautiful place, with a wonderful view from the garden over the Narew Valley. The early years spent in contact with nature were not without influence on my character. I still recall the beautiful forests, fields, rivers, meadows and gardens’. That village is still quite a tourist attraction, since it is most beautifully situated, in the wide channel of the River Narew, drawing admirers of waterfowl from all over Europe.

            The foundations for the Lutosławskis’ relatively short-lived affluence were laid by Witold’s enterprising grandfather, Franciszek Dionizy (1830–1891), who founded a distillery, a starchworks and also – his most successful investment – a brewery, of which only ruins now attest the scale of the venture. The destruction caused by the First World War and the Bolshevik War put an end to the heyday of Drozdowo.

Witold’s parents lived in the Upper Court, now no longer in existence. ‘The bedrooms were upstairs, downstairs there was a living room with a fireplace, in front of which lay a lynx-skin rug – recalled Witold’s cousin, with whom he was brought up with and played with in Drozdowo. – There, the piano was king, and the walls were adorned by reproductions of the English Pre-Raphaelites. The dining room, adjoining the living room, had furniture made from a light-coloured wood, in Zakopane style, and there was a door onto the veranda, from which one passed into a little garden, separated from the courtyard by pickets. In the garden, there were roses, with wistaria climbing over the fencing.

We liked to play with building blocks that were a sort of prototype of the modern-day Lego. They were little slats of wood with notches in, which interlocked in such a way that the whole thing held together. One of us would build a palace and hide treasure in it – bits of coloured glass – and the other one would have to find it. That probably echoed Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, which happened in 1922. We would play cards that we’d made ourselves, making up foursomes of tradesmen’s families, such as Mr Tailor, Mrs Tailor, Master Tailor and Miss Tailor. And of course there were games with Witek’s beloved rabbits, of which he had a whole collection. One rabbit was made of china, another of wood, another of fabric, and so on.

Besides playing, we had lessons in piano, eurhythmics and singing. One image that sticks in my mind is of Witek running semiquavers to the rhythm, because we had to illustrate a musical text with movements’.

Another form of fun – sliding along the Narew Valley – was recalled by Lutosławski himself: ‘In the autumn, the Narew would overflow, covering the entire valley more than a mile across. If that flooding, which happened twice a year, was sufficiently late, and if the icy weather arrived sufficiently early, then everything froze. There was a slide more than a mile wide, and endlessly long – as long as the Narew’.

Souvenirs of the Lutosławski family can be seen today in the old Lower Court, which is home to a Nature Museum.

Lutosławski lived here ‘permanently’ only during his childhood, from his birth until his evacuation in 1915 and between 1922 and 1924. He later spent all his summers and church holidays in Drozdowo. ‘The countryside, the garden, forests, meadows and the Narew Valley were very close to me, although I couldn’t imagine being able to spend my entire life in the countryside. I’ve always known perfectly well that my life would be the life of a city-dweller’.

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