Photograph courtesy of POLMIC

b. 26 December 1950, Warsaw


Krzysztof Baculewski is a Polish composer and musicologist. He studied composition with Witold Rudziński at the Warsaw Academy of Music and graduated in 1974. Afterwards Baculewski continued his studies in Vienna and in Paris, focusing on composition and music analysis under Olivier Messiaen’s direction, and studied electronic music at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales.

As a composer Baculewski belongs to the generation that first came to national attention in mid-1970s. This group includes Rafał Augustyn, Andrzej Krzanowski, Eugeniusz Knapik, Krzysztof Knittel, Andrzej Lasoń, Elżbieta Sikora, Paweł Szymański and Lidia Zielińska. A formative function in the development of this generation was the Festival of Young Musicians for the Young City, held in Stalowa Wola. Knittel, Sikora and Wojciech Michniewski debuted as an electro-acoustic music collective, Grupa KEW. In contrast, Baculewski followed an individual path, initially revealing some French influences (Xenakis, Messiaen). His pieces have been praised for “subtlety of delicate texture” (Le Monde, 1982), and for being “dense and clear, blending tradition with postmodernism in a unique fashion” (Ruch Muzyczny, 1993).

From 1979 to 1986 Baculewski lectured at the Musicology Institute of the Warsaw University. Since 1982 he has been an instructor at the Composition, Conducting and Theory Department at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. In 1987 his book Polish Composers’ Output 1945 – 84 was published by the PWM Edition. This book is a shorter version of his 1982 doctoral dissertation prepared under Prof. Józef Chomiński at the Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw.

Baculewski has also been active as a music critic; he wrote articles and reviews on music, mainly in the columns of Ruch Muzyczny. He has won many competitions for composers and his works have been performed in Poland, Finland, France, USA, Germany, Mexico, Hungary and South America.

In His Own Words

“The most important element informing the composition is the articulation and the technique of emitting sound from the instrument: in the piece, there are two moments of smooth transition from the sounds labelled as ‘unconventional’ to those that the avant-garde of the sixties contemptuously called ‘traditional’. My intention, therefore, was not so much to reconcile these two opposed worlds – a physical impossibility, a Gombrowiczian impossibility – as an attempt to create a third half-world out of them, or at least an underworld for a single use…”

[Composer’s commentary to his work, Is-Slottei, premiered in Warsaw in 1976]

Our generation of Polish composers is not intimidated by clusters or triads. We do not favor sevenths, seconds or tritones. We attempt to synthesize new means with tradition, because the time has come for reflection. [….] Aggressiveness and sonoristic tendencies recede into the background. Instead, the music features a return to melody, sonorous beauty, consonances, phrasing and form. Music is not identified with psychodrama; a musical work has to be sufficient in itself and be understood in its own right.

[Output of Polish Composers, 1984]

In music there are certain moments which somehow evade rational calculations or planning. After all this is the secret of art: it somehow escapes from a complete intellectual control. Of course, it affects the mind and is created by it, but this is a different matter. […] In 20th century music the aesthetics of beauty ceased to function and while the category of beauty could be applied to certain particular sounds, in general the aesthetics of beauty belongs in the past. It is in the Renaissance or the Baroque periods that the primary task of an artist was to create beauty or truth. Now, the purpose of art is not to provide beauty nor truth, but rather evoke certain emotions which are intellectual more often than artistic.

[From an unpublished interview by Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, 1986]


Chamber Music

Vivace e Cantilena for flute, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello and double-bass (1974)
Is – Slottei  (1975)
Passacaglia for percussion quartet (1979)
Concertino for harpsichord and string quintet (1980)
Partita for alto E-flat saxophone and harpsichord (1980)
Suite de Cheminee for 2 accordions (1983)
String Quartet No. 1  (1984)
String Quartet No. 2  (1985)
String Quartet No. 3  (1986)
Antitheton I for violin, cello and piano – 1989

Orchestral Music

Epitaphium (1972)
A la Recherche des Harmonies (1976-77)
Ground (1981)
Concerto (1981-83)
Concert Armonico for string orchestra (1987)
A Walking Shadow in memory of Andrzej Krzanowski (1990)

Solo Voices, Choir and Baroque Instruments

The Whole & Broken Consort for 5 recorders, shawn, bombardon, rauschpfeife, 2 crumhorns and percussion (1986)
The Profane Anthem to Anne for soprano solo, quartet of soloists, chamber choir, 2 violins, viola, cello, violone, harpsichord and organ (1993)
Christmas Motet for soprano solo, tenor solo, chamber choir, 2 violins, viola, cello, violone, harpsichord and organ (1993)
Antitheton II for 2 violins and continuo (1994)
Chansons romanesques et frivoles I for voice and instrumental ensemble (1998)
Chansons romanesques et frivoles II for soprano, tenor, two violins and continuo (1998-2000)
Miserere for mixed a cappella choir (1999)
Ozwodne i krzesane for mixed a cappella choir (2000)
Carmina rei ultimae antiquitatis for soprano, baritone, choir, instrumental ensemble (2001)

Music for Solo Instruments

Sonata for one percussion player (1972)
Meander for flute (1973)
Spring Sonata for flute (1982)
Capriccio Piccolo in Cinque Movimenti for flute (1992)
Etiudy for piano (2006)

Stage Works

The New Deliverance to a libretto by the composer after Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz’s drama (1974)

Music for Tape

Quartier Latin piece in old style (1981)
Voyage a Travers le Paysage Metaphysique for tape (1992)

Music for Children and Young People

A View in Rain from the Veranda in a Warm Night for cello solo (1986)
Quartet for 12 Instruments  (1987)

Arrangements and Reconstructions

Mr. Twardowski suite from Adolf Gustaw Sonnenfeld’s ballet from 1860 (1975)
Piano Concerto in A Flat Major op. 2 by Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński, 1824 (1986)
33 Christmas Carols for soloists chamber choir (and continuo) (1990-93)


Manuscripts at USC

See the PMC Manuscript Collection


Selected Publications

“Lutosławski: Jedna technika, jeden styl?” [Lutosławski: One technique, one style?] Muzyka vol. 40, no. 1-2:156-157, 1995, p. 25-39

“The newly discovered Romantic piano concerto: Concerto in A flat major, op. 2 by Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński”, Polish music/Polnische Musik vol. 26, no. 2-4, 1991, p. 45-49

Polska twórczość kompozytorska 1945-1984. [Polish composers’ output 1945-84]. Series: Muzyka polska w dokumentacjach i interpretacjach. Kraków: Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne, 1987) 342 p. Music examples, bibliography, list of works, index. In Polish

“In statu nascendi: O muzyce nowej generacji kompozytorów.” [In statu nascendi: Music of the new generation of composers]. In Zeszyty naukowe: Akademia Muzyczna w Krakowie, Poland (1986), p. 245-68

“Polish music week in Hamburg : Hamburski tydzień muzyki polskiej.” Ruch Muzyczny vol. 30 no. 2 (January 1986): 17-18

“Zagadnienia faktury w Etiudzie Bairda.” [Problems of texture in Tadeusz Baird’s Etiuda]. Muzyka vol. 39 no. 1-2 (1984): 83-109

“O muzyce nowej generacji kompozytorów.” [The music of the new generation of composers]. Ruch Muzyczny vol. 28 no. 8 (April 1984): 3-5; no. 8 (April 1984) 8-10; no. 10 (May 1984): 17-18

“Psychodrama” Tadeusza Bairda.” [Psychodrama by Tadeusz Baird]. Ruch Muzyczny no. 18 (September 1973): 15

Page updated on 27 February 2018