Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog


Witold Lutosławski first travelled to Cologne in June 1960, for the World Music Days. On that occasion, he was elected vice president of the International Society for Contemporary Music, and he would hold that post for the next six years. Besides the official concerts, there was also an informal strand to the society’s work. ‘I remember when my stepfather returned from Germany and told me about what was happening in the so-called avant-garde – related Lutosławski’s stepson, Marcin Bogusławski, then a student of architecture. – That was a concert at which German professors dressed in dark suits, white shirts and appropriate ties were sat in the front rows. On the stage, meanwhile, the artists took a piano to pieces, before hurling eggs at those professors. When I started to laugh at this, Witold said: “Don’t laugh, it’s a very important function that they’re performing. They’re overthrowing the existing canons, which have to be overturned every so often”.’

It is not surprising that in a city so favourable to the then avant-garde as Cologne, Lutosławski’s latest and most unconventional work to date, Jeux vénitiens, was performed as early as 1961, and so just after its very first performance. On 24 October 1961, in the Musik der Zeit concert series organised by the WDR, it was played by the Warsaw Philharmonic under Witold Rowicki. After hearing the work, one reviewer wrote: ‘Lutosławski’s ideas tower above the imagination of his Western colleagues through a fusion of structurality and spontaneity’. Cologne radio broadcast that recording many times, all the more readily in that a great interest was arising in Germany at that time in the ‘Polish school’, and the emotional quality of that ‘Polish avant-garde’ was emphasised many times. A consequence of that attitude was the WDR’s readiness to commission from Lutosławski an oboe concerto for Lothar Faber, during the mid sixties, although ultimately nothing came of it. Another project that failed to get off the ground was the intention conceived a few years later of obtaining a second cello concerto from Lutosławski for another virtuoso, namely Siegfried Palm, an enthusiast of modernity who was associated with Cologne.

Lutosławski appeared in Cologne in the role of conductor in April 1973, invited to a concert combined with a recording by the WDR radio orchestra. He returned in October 1992, giving his last concert in the city at the then new philharmonic concert hall.

Situated in Cologne were the headquarters of the record company EMI-Electrola. In May and June 1976, that company recorded in Katowice a complete set of discs featuring Lutosławski’s most important works to date, in the cutting edge quadrophonic technique. A box-set of six LPs released three years later was excellently received. It won the Deutsche Schallplatenpreis, and Lutosławski was named ‘Artist of the Year’.

It was in Cologne that the musicologist Martina Homma wrote her 700-page doctoral thesis, a scrupulous analysis of Lutosławski’s composition technique that remains the biggest theoretical work on the subject of his music.

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