Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog


The last queen of Italy, Marie José, after reigning for the month of May 1946, settled in Switzerland, where she devoted herself to her hobbies: sport and music. One of the fruits of that latter passion was a composition competition which she funded in Geneva. So in October 1960, Witold Lutosławski made his first journey to Geneva, to sit on the jury of that competition. Eight years later, he was a guest of the former queen at her residence in Merlinge, near Geneva.

Before long, his music was heard in Geneva – in exceptional circumstances. To mark the centenary of the International Red Cross, four composers were approached to write works for the occasion. Two composers were chosen from Western Europe, the Englishman Benjamin Britten and the Swiss Frank Martin, and two from Eastern Europe, the Russian Dmitry Shostakovich (who rejected the commission) and the Pole Witold Lutosławski. The work that Lutosławski composed for that occasion concluded a grand concert held on 1 September 1963 at the Geneva Opera House. It was announced with a title that expressed the ideals of the Red Cross: Per humanitatem ad pacem – ‘Through humanitarianism to peace’. The composer later changed this to a more musical title, calling this short piece a Postlude. The precision with which he treated harmony and rhythm in this work could be represented by means of arithmetic relations; one might say that the Postlude was composed with the precision of a Swiss clockmaker.

One event of importance for the promotion of Lutosławski’s music in Switzerland was a Diorama of contemporary music organised in May 1968 by Radio Suisse Romande. The main theme of the programme was Poland. The concerts were held in several cities, and the works performed included Lutosławski’s Five Songs to words by Iłłakowiczówna and String Quartet. As a guest of the Diorama, the composer gave a couple of lectures on his music, speaking mainly about aleatory technique. He also conducted his Second Symphony, in which he had the opportunity to show in practice what that technique involved. And it was then that he met Queen Marie José.

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