Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog

New York

Danuta and Witold Lutosławski made their first journey to the United States aboard the MS Batory. They sailed in 1962. After a two-week voyage, their first impression from the New World was the famous sunrise over New York, admired from the bay. They returned to New York following a stay in Tanglewood and a month-long ‘goodwill tour’. On that occasion, they had the chance to visit Milton Babbitt’s electronic studio and meet the 79-year-old Edgard Varèse.

The person of Lutosławski was preceded in this city by his music. In a series of New Year concerts around the turn of 1961, Stanisław Skrowaczewski led a performance of the Concerto for Orchestra at the New York Philharmonic. The same work was played by that orchestra a couple more times during Lutosławski’s lifetime, and the reviews show what a variety of reactions it drew. Seiji Ozawa’s interpretation in 1971 induced the critic of Hi Fidelity to write that the Concerto ‘was spectacular, in the spirit of Hollywood’. Twelve years later, the critic of the New York Times heard in the same work, but under the baton of Zubin Mehta, ‘shrieks of pain and horror’. Mehta was conducting in the programme of a Lutosławski birthday concert, at the start of January 1983. The almost 70-year-old composer was also there, conducting the Cello Concerto and Novelette before the interval. That was only the second monographic concert of a living composer in the history of that philharmonic society; the previous one, in February 1971, had honoured Karlheinz Stockhausen.

During Lutosławski’s lifetime, his music appeared a couple more times on the programmes of the New York Philharmonic, selected by such conductors as George Solti and Daniel Barenboim, whilst Zubin Mehta twice conducted his solo concertos. After a performance of the Piano Concerto with Krystian Zimerman (1988), Lutosławski was compared to Rachmaninov – one of the composers he appreciated the least. He could have consoled himself with the press’s reaction to Chain II,played by Anne-Sophie Mutter (1990), when the reviewer for the New York Times heard in that work ‘sensual refinement unheard of since the times of Ravel’.

The year 1988 abounded in New York performances of Lutosławski’s music, and not just the above-mentioned Piano Concerto. As part of the 1st International Festival of the Arts, three orchestral works were performed by three different ensembles. On 2 December, meanwhile, the first performance was given of Slides, written as a birthday present for the 80-year-old Elliott Carter.

The Alfred Jurzykowski Prize

Alfred Jurzykowski (1899–1966) was a Polish industrialist who in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz founded a car factory in Brazil. In 1963, he funded a prize that was intended to honour outstanding scholars, writers and artists of Polish origins – regardless of their place of residence or citizenship. The group of prize-winners in 1966 included Lutosławski, Kazimiera Iłłakowicz, Zbigniew Brzeziński and two emigrants who were the subject of efforts back home to efface their memory: Witold Gombrowicz and Andrzej Panufnik. Lutosławski was able to accept the prize in person, as he happened to be in the United States at the time, invited to the Hanover Arts Festival in Kentucky. An additional pleasure for the composer was a performance of his Concerto for Orchestra by the American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Giving an interview on that occasion to a journalist with the New York Times, Lutosławski anticipated a likely question with a political subtext by saying: ‘I hope you don’t mean to ask me if I am “free”. Western journalists are always doing that. And well I’m here, aren’t I?’

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