Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog


In 1964, Swedish Radio (Sveriges Radio) commissioned from Witold Lutosławski a string quartet. It was to be performed for the tenth anniversary of the Nutida Musik concert series devoted to new music, the following year. That commission gave rise to Lutosławski’s most important chamber work. It was first heard at the Moderne Museet in Stockholm on 12 March 1965, performed by the American LaSalle Quartet. One of the most valuable exhibits at the museum was Alexander Calder’s mobile The Four Elements, and by a curious coincidence Lutosławski called the successive parts of his quartet, played by independent instruments, ‘mobiles’, although he never wished to admit to any connection with Calder.

Between 22 and 28 November 1987, six concerts of Lutosławski’s music were given in Stockholm. He conducted two of them himself. The programme of that week comprised minor pieces, early works (the children’s songs) and large-scale compositions, including his latest work Chain III. The concerts were accompanied by an exhibition devoted to Lutosławski, held at the philharmonic, and a Lutosławski lecture on his music.

Lutosławski first made contact with the Royal Academy of Music during the sixties. He was invited there many times to give lectures, for the first time in March 1964. In 1992, at an initiative from the academy, he became a laureate of the Polar Music Prize (Polarpriset). The prize, to the tune of one million Swedish crowns, was funded by Stig Anderson, manager of the pop group ABBA. The first winner, in 1991, had been Paul McCartney. From the following year, two musicians were rewarded: one from the realm of lighter music, the other from the classical world. And the first ‘Classic’ was Lutosławski. The award ceremony, in the presence of the king of Sweden, took place on 18 May, on the day of St Eric, the patron saint of Stockholm. It was held during a concert consisting mainly of folk music and popular songs. One classical work was also performed: Peter Jablonsky played the Variations on a theme of Paganini in the version for piano and orchestra, which was mistitled in the programme Rhapsody.

It was in Stockholm that the first book about Lutosławski published outside Poland was issued. Its author was Ove Nordvall, the publisher Wilhelm Hansen, and it came out in 1968 in an English translation and only the following year in Swedish (Witold Lutosławski och hans musik). A couple of years later, Nordvall had a son. When the boy had grown up a bit, he began to learn the trumpet. Friendly with many composers, Nordvall asked several of them to compose a short piece for his son. In July 1984, Lutosławski wrote for the then eleven-year-old trumpeter a miniature that a few years later was published as Tune for Martin.

At the beginning of April 1992, Lutosławski was staying in Stockholm when he unexpectedly met Esa-Pekka Salonen, who from that season had been conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. ‘After the concert, there was a supper, which I went to – recalled Salonen. – In the middle of the meal, Witold said that he would like to ask me about something in connection with the fact that during the year ahead he was to be conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra […]. He asked: “Would you be very upset if I altered the programme?” “Of course not – I replied – but why would you want to change the programme?” “Well, I’ve finished that new symphony and I would like to present it to you”. And I very nearly fell off my chair. I was incredibly excited and immediately ran to the telephone – that was in the days before cell phones. I called Ernest Fleischman, who was then managing director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and I shouted: “Ernest, can you prepare a contract and all the necessary paperwork? Because Witold has got that new symphony and wants the first performance to be given in Los Angeles”. […] I returned to the table and said: “Done”. And Witold appeared most amused at the state of my nerves’.

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