Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Routes


Trasa First performances

Witold Lutosławski’s early works were performed mainly in Warsaw. After 1945, when the war-time destruction meant that the principal current of Polish musical life continued outside the capital, his new chamber and pedagogic works were presented in Cracow, whilst the symphonic works were premiered in Katowice, to where the Polish Radio Orchestra had relocated. By way of exception, in 1949, the Overture for Strings was played in Prague, since it was composed to commission for Czechoslovakian Radio. That was the first real composition commission that Lutosławski had received, together with a guaranteed performance and fee.

The works from the 60s and early 70s were written for festivals and cycles of new music held outside Poland: for Venice, Zagreb, Stockholm, Hamburg, Hagen and Graz. The commission from the Royal Philharmonic Society in London for the Cello Concerto, in 1970, opened a new phase in the concert life of Lutosławski’s music, with slightly different addressees of first performances. New works, full of energy, expressive contrasts and diverse sonorities, and so containing what concert-goers traditionally associated with good music, were also commissioned from him by renowned orchestral ensembles, such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. They were performed in festivals in Lucerne and Salzburg and made it onto the programme of concerts given by the Berlin Philharmonic. During the last decade, several works were written to commission for American ensembles, including two symphonies written for orchestras in Chicago and Los Angeles.

The list of venues hosting first performances of works by Lutosławski comprises four cities in Poland and thirty in Europe and North America. Detailed information about the performers and dates can be found under those cities