Obituaries – September 2016

Halina Łukomska (1929-2016)

Polish soprano Halina Łukomska died on August 30, 2016 at the age of 87. The artist studied voice with Stanisława Zawadzka and Maria Halfterowa at the Higher State Music School in Warsaw, where she received her diploma in 1954. She continued her studies with Giorgio Favaretto in Siena (1958) and Toti Dal Monte in Venice (1959-60). In 1956, she won the 1st prize at the International Vocal Competition in Hertogenbosch.

In 1960, Halina Łukomska began her international career, giving concerts at festivals in Edinburgh, Perugia, Vienna, Warsaw, Toulouse, and many other places, and performing with major orchestras around the world. The singer made several recordings for the Philips, Columbia, EMI, Polskie Nagrania, and Harmonia Mundi labels. She became known as a great interpreter of contemporary music and performed vocal works by Luigi Nono, Witold Lutosławski, Pierre Boulez, Bruno Maderna, Kazimierz Serocki, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Alban Berg and Igor Stravinsky. She frequently also sang works written by her husband—composer Augustyn Bloch (including EspressioniMeditations, and Salmo gioioso).



Henryk Ludwik Jankowski

Henryk Jankowski was born on August 25, 1924 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He was born to Brunon and Joanna Jankowski and had two sisters, Lucja and Czeslawa. Just as he began high school at the age of 15, he endured considerable hardship when the Nazis invaded his homeland. He saw many of his friends perish. His life was spared when he was captured and sent to Nazi work camps in Estonia and Germany. When the Nazis began to retreat towards the end of the war, he was released and traveled to Italy, where he joined the Polish 2nd Corps of the 8th British Army, also known as Anders’ Army. Following his service there, the army transported him to London, where he was able to enroll in high school and get his diploma. After he was discharged from the army, he worked various jobs while he continued his studies – always with the aim of helping his family back in Poland. Henry was awarded a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Polish University College. During these years in London, he joined a Polish dance ensemble where he nurtured his love of dancing.

After receiving his degree, he sailed to New York on the Ship “SS United States.” He was offered a position at Ralph M. Parsons, a prestigious engineering firm in Los Angeles. Shortly after beginning his career, he traveled to New York to visit some old friends and was introduced to Krystyna Bujnowska, a ballerina from Mazowsze, a well-known Polish Folk dancing group which performed all over the world. Henry traveled back and forth to visit the love of his life while establishing his career at Parsons. After a short courtship, they married on May 19, 1956 in Bayonne, New Jersey. Henry and Krystyna moved to Los Angeles and began their 60 years together. As with most young couples, they worked hard and created a beautiful life with their two daughters, Lydia and Basia. During these early years in Los Angeles, in 1964, they became the first artistic directors for the Krakusy Polish Folk Dance Ensemble. With the original founding members, the dance troupe traveled all over California, introducing Polish traditions and culture. Being a man of tradition and always having the love of his homeland in his heart, he encouraged his daughters to continue the family tradition and dance in Krakusy for many years. He was involved in the initial phases of numerous Polish Organizations in Southern California. Many of those organizations still thrive today and create a positive impact on Polish culture here.

Henry worked on many projects at Parsons, including important government programs. He was chosen to work on anything from airport design to space exploration. Those gratifying years concluded with his retirement after 32 years of dedication and conscientious work. He continued to be active through his hobbies. Henry was an avid stamp and coin collector, but, above of all, he was very knowledgeable about birds. He built aviaries in his back yard and bred different kinds of birds for many years. Henry dedicated his time and effort to help others who sought his advice and wisdom. Henry was well-respected by many, but not more than his family. Henry imparted his knowledge, his integrity and optimism with his favorite saying – “PER ARDUA AD ASTRA” – THROUGH ADVERSITY TO THE STARS. This expression carried him through his struggling London days, as it is the motto of the Royal Air Force. Henry’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will surely live by this motto, as instilled by the loved and honored patriarch of the family. Henry passed away on August 14, 2016, of natural causes surrounded by his loving family. Henry is survived by his wife, Krystyna, his daughters Lydia and Basia, his grandchildren Karina, John and Alex and great-granddaughters Paolina and Melania, as well as his younger sister Czeslawa, nieces and good friends.

Services were held on Monday, August 29th at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City. In lieu of flowers, Henry admired the work of the Polish Music Center and its mission to preserve manuscripts, scores and recordings of Polish music. He also admired the cultural and educational mission of the Kosciuszko Foundation. If you would like to donate in his memory, you may visit:

Please refer to Henryk Jankowski as you make your gift. Thank you!