Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Places catalog


It was in Zurich that Witold Lutosławski’s parents studied and met. His father, Józef Lutosławski, studied at the polytechnic. The huge neoclassicist building of the polytechnic also housed the university’s medical department, where one of the many students from Eastern Europe was Maria Olszewska, from Podolia. They both travelled to lessons on the Polybahn – the only urban funicular railway of its kind in Europe, still running today.

Witold Lutosławski came to Zurich seventy years later, invited to the seventieth birthday celebrations of the conductor Paul Sacher. The collection of musical gifts (prepared for the occasion at the initiative of Mstislav Rostropovich) included his Sacher Variation. That occasion enabled Lutosławski to strike up contact with Sacher, a conductor and musicologist who had come into possession of a huge fortune from the pharmaceutical firmHoffman-LaRoche and for years had supported early and new music as the wealthiest private patron in Europe.

In January 1986, it was in Zurich that Paul Sacher conducted one of the two works that he commissioned from Lutosławski: Chain II. That Dialogue of violin and orchestra, as the composer entitled Chain II, was written for Anne-Sophie Mutter. ‘In 1985, that was a huge shock for me, because I had never previously performed contemporary music – recalled the violinist. – When I received the score from Paul Sacher, it seemed to me like hieroglyphs. The proposition of performing Chain II flattered me, but I was worried whether I would be able to understand that music, to bring something personal to it. Not just play it, but breathe life into it…’

The performance of Chain II at the Tonhalle proved a triumph, and that work launched a friendship between the 72-year-old composer and the 22-year-old star of the violin. Still today, Mutter considers that ‘It was a turning point in my musical development’.

Planned for March 1994 was a Lutosławski Week in Zurich. Alas, the composer did not live to see that project. Neither did he manage to compose a work for the centenary of the New Tonhalle, although he was ready to accept the commission on account of his sentiment for the city in which his parents had spent their youth.

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