Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Routes


Trasa Celebrations of Lutosławski’s music

By the time Witold Lutosławski reached the age of fifty, his oeuvre was sufficiently abundant and his standing in the world of music sufficiently good that he began to become the protagonist of what might be called festivals of his music. The first such initiative came from the town of Hanover in the US state of New Hampshire, where Lutosławski was invited in the summer of 1966 as composer-in-residence of the 4th Arts Festival in the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College. Eight works were scheduled, with the idea of providing a survey of his output, and Lutosławski, who three years earlier had first decided to conduct in public, began learning his old scores, in order to expand his repertoire.

The next such initiative came five years later from Cleveland, where in the summer of 1971 Lutosławski’s music was the focal point of the Contemporary Arts Festival. The programme of his stay there also included seminars at the Cleveland Institute of Music and on the music departments of both the local universities, and the centrepiece of that ‘Lutosławski festival’ was the ceremony in which the guest was awarded an honorary doctorate.

In later years, Lutosławski was the protagonist of several similar events. In August 1982, there was the annual festival organised in Paris under the catchy name ‘Festival estival de Paris’. In London, in March 1984, the Royal Academy of Music organised a ‘Lutosławski Festival Week’, and five years later the London Philharmonic Orchestra devoted its ‘winter’ festival to Lutosławski, naturally with the composer conducting his works.

Lutosławski was invited as resident composer and conductor to the festivals in Aspen and Huddersfield. The music academies in Odense and Rotterdam combined concert series with seminars for students. Other places to have honoured Lutosławski and his music in such a way are marked in the Atlas. The composer participated in an event on such a scale for the last time in Manchester, in February 1992. Under the umbrella title ‘Lutoslawski Live’, eight concerts featuring music by the then eighty-year-old composer were given over eight days. A similar Lutosławski Week was planned for March 1994 in Zurich, but unfortunately the composer died in the meantime.