Lutosławski, Witold

Lutosławski, Witold, 1913–94, Polish composer, b. Warsaw, studied Univ. of Warsaw, Warsaw Conservatory. His early works were mainly neoclassical and often included elements from Polish folk music, but following World War II his music was increasingly avant garde in style. His Symphony No. 1 (1947) was condemned by the Stalinist government as formalist, and his works were banned from public performance until restrictions loosened in the 1950s. Lutosławski won acclaim for his Concerto for Orchestra (1954), based on folk themes, but his mature style dates from the late 1950s. His Funeral Music (1958), a twelve-tone composition written in memory of Bartók, established his international reputation. In Venetian Games (1961) he first employed aleatory music techniques, which, along with serial music elements, are found in most of his later compositions. Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (1970), the Chain series (1980s), Piano Concerto (1988), and Symphony No. 4 (1992) are among his best-known work. Other compositions include choral works, songs, and chamber music.

See Z. Skowron, ed., Lutosławski on Music (2007); studies by S. Stucky (1981) and C. Bodman Rae (3rd ed., 1999).

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