For almost two decades now, four manuscript scores by Joanna BruzdowiczTrio dei due mondi, Tre contre tre, Concerto pour piano et orchestre symphonique, and Marlos Grosso Brasileiras—formed an important part of the rich and unique Polish Music Center’s Manuscript Collection. They were donated by the composer herself, beginning with her initial visit to USC as the Paderewski Lecturer in 2003 and continuing throughout the years when Joanna Bruzdowicz visited the PMC in connection with several performances of her music at local venues.

Following the composer’s unexpected death in November of 2021, her sons—Mark, Jan and Jörg Tittel—decided to generously donate many more manuscripts of their mother’s compositions to the Polish Music Center. The family also pledged to donate to the Center many artifacts from Bruzdowicz’s home in southern France, as well as voluminous correspondence with leading contemporary musicians who were her close friends and colleagues.

Contents of the Collection

In mid-February 2022, PMC director and curator Marek Zebrowski travelled to France to meet with Jan and Jörg Tittel as well as with Łukasz Wódecki-Meyger—a conductor for many concerts and recordings of Joanna Bruzdowicz’s music as well as longtime assistant to the composer. Together, they were able to sort out the manuscripts, some of the artifacts, as well as many published scores and books that were destined for the PMC. As a result of this visit, the Polish Music Center will now have a substantial amount of materials related to Joanna Bruzdowicz and her creative work, and the materials donated by the composer’s family will be known as the Joanna Bruzdowicz Collection at the Polish Music Center, USC.

The highlights of the new Bruzdowicz Collection include manuscript scores for such works as:

  • Pieśńi do poezji Konstantego Ildefonsa Gałczyńskiego (1968)
  • Concerto pour piano et l’orchestre (1974)
  • Concerto pour violon et orchestre symphonique (1975)
  • Concerto pour contrebasse et orchestre symphonique (1982)
  • Je me souviens for Marimba Solo (1990)
  • World for Soprano and Piano (1990)
  • Il pianto del Phoenix (1994)
  • Spring in America—Sonata for Violin and Piano (1994)
  • Tango [for harpsichord] (1996)
  • The Song from Hope and Love for cello and piano (1997)
  • Salvador Dali—Poème pour bariton et piano (2004)
  • 16 Tableaux d’une Exposition Salvador Dali (2004)
  • Ave Maria pour contralto et orgue (2007)
  • II Symfonia (Concertino pour orchestra) (2007)
  • Concertino for Piano and Orchestra in memoriam Władysław Szpilman (2013)
  • Koncert na flet, organy i orkiestrę symfoniczną (2018)
  • A la tombée du jour for Contralto and Organ (2018)
  • Une reve de paix pour oud et l’orchestre a pleutres (2019)

Joanna Bruzdowicz and her late husband, Horst-Jůrgen Tittel, were also avid collectors and among the artifacts donated by the Tittel family to the PMC are several interesting bronze and brass medals. These were struck for various occasions and anniversaries, including the 150th anniversary of Henryk Wieniawski’s birth (1985), a Józef Piłsudski medal (ca. 1935), a Teatr Wielki/Łódź medal for promoting physical culture (1967), a Two Hundred Years of Polish Ballet medal (1985), an Artur Rubinstein medal (Łódź, 1984), a Chopin – Duszniki-Zdrój medal (ca. mid-1970s), as well as rare paperweight with relief of Karol Szymanowski, dating from the late 1930s, made shortly after the composer’s death.

The PMC archives were also enriched by published scores for such Joanna Bruzdowicz works as:

  • Stabat Mater for mixed choir a cappella
  • 16 Tableaux d’une Exposition Salvador Dali
  • Sonate d’Octobre pour piano
  • Quatour No. 1, “La vita,”
  • Quatour No. 2, “Cantus aeternus,”
  • Esitanza pour piano a quatre mains
  • World for Soprano and Piano
  • Prélude & Fugue pour clavecin
  • Śpij w spokoju [for voice and piano]
  • Sonata “Il ritorno” per violino solo
  • Episode pour piano et treize cordes
  • Stigma [pour] violoncelle seul
  • Mater polonica pour orgue
  • An der schönen blauen Donau for two pianos and tape

In addition to these published materials, three boxes of books on music and musicians from Joanna Bruzdowicz’s library, many of them inscribed by various authors to the composer, have been sent by courier from France and arrived safely at our doors within the last two weeks. In due course these books will be catalogued and processed, and made available to students, faculty, performers and researchers interested in Joanna Bruzdowicz and her rich life in music.

Once again, on behalf of the Polish Music Center’s staff, many thanks to Mark, Jan and Jörg Tittel as well as to Łukasz Wódecki-Meyger for their far-reaching assistance in securing all Joanna Bruzdowicz’s materials for the Polish Music Center. We’re looking forward to expanding the Bruzdowicz Collection at the PMC and keeping everyone abreast of the latest developments regarding this unprecedented gift.

[Photos source: PMC Collection, all rights reserved]