23 August 1925, Warsaw — 4 September 2014, Warsaw


Włodzimierz Kotoński studied composition with Piotr Rytel and Tadeusz Szeligowski at the Warsaw Higher School of Music. In 1957-1961 he attended the International Courses of New Music in Darmstadt. One of the regular collaborators the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, Kotoński also worked at the electronic music studios of Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne (1966-1967) and Groupe de Recherchers Musicales ORTF in Paris (1970). In 1970-1971 he was in West Berlin as fellow of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. Since 1983 he has lectured on composition and directed the Electronic Music Studios at the Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw. Since 1983 he has been professor of this school (retired 1995). Among his numerous pupils there are such composers as Paweł Szymański, Hanna Kulenty, Stanisław Kurpowicz, Tadeusz Wielecki, Edward Sielicki, Jacek Grudzień and Paweł Mykietyn.

Kotoński also lectured at many international institutions. He was the guest lecturer of composition and electroacoustic music in Stockholm (1971), Buffalo (1978), at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (1982), at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem (1990), and at the Conservatory in Alkmaar, Sweden (1993). In 1983-1989 he served as the president of the Polish Society for Contemporary Music (the Polish branch of ISCM).

A pioneer of electroacoustic music, Kotoński began his creative work at the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio. Established in 1957, the Studio was a world center of tape-recorded music. The composer’s reputation in the field was established with the first Polish work for tape, Concrete Etude (for one cymbal strike), a 2’41” composition of a recorded single soft stick strike on a medium-sized cymbal. This sound was extensively transformed within a strictly controlled formal structure. Kotoński’s Concrete Etude was first performed at the Warsaw Autumn Festival in 1960 and later received a number of performances all around the world.

Włodzimierz Kotoński received a number of honors and awards, including the Minister of Culture and Art’s Award (1973), the Union of Polish Composers’ Award (1976) and the Chairman of Radio and Television Committee Award (1979). Originally published by PWM in Polish in 1963, Kotoński’s book, Percussion Instruments in a Modern Orchestra was translated into several languages and its revised version came out in 1981. His Muzyka elektroniczna [Electronic Music] and Leksykon współczesnej perkusji [A Lexicon of Modern Percussion] were published by PWM in 1989 and 1999. Kotoński compositions are published by PMW, Schott, Moeck, Rossenberg Musikalien, and Brevis publishers.

Selected Compositions

Chamber Music

Quartettino for 4 French horns (1950)
5 Miniatures for violin and piano (1955)
6 Miniatures for clarinet and piano (1957)
Trio for flute, guitar,and percussion (1960)
Canto per complesso da camera (1961)
Selection I for 4 jazz musicians (1962)
Pezzo per flauto e pianoforte  (1962)
Quintet for woodwinds and horn (1964)
a battere for viola, cello, guitar, harpsichord and metal percussion (1966)
Pour quatre for clarinet, trombone, cello and piano (1968)
Lyrical Scenes for 9 instruments (1986)
Tlaloc for harpsichord and percussion (1987)
Birds, 8 short pieces for clarinet, cello and piano (1989)
Motu proprio for bassoon and piano (1992)
Sonant for 4 trombones (1992)
Variable Structures for clarinet, trombone, piano and cello (1994)
Sextet for woodwinds and piano (1998)
String Quartet no 1 (2002)
Wilanów Landscapes for flute and string quartet (2002)

Orchestral Works

Poemat (1949)
Tańce goralskie (1950)
Szkice baletowe [suite] (1951)
Prelude and Passacaglia (1953)
Chamber Music for 21 instruments (1958)
Musique en relief for 6 orchestra groups (1959)
Concerto per quattro for harp, harpsichord, guitar, piano and chamber orchestra (1960)
Musica per fiati e timpani (1963)
Music for 16 cymbals and strings (1969)
Concerto per Oboe (1972)
Róża Wiatrów (1976)
Bora (1979)
Sirocco (1980)
Terra incognita (1984)
La gioia for string orchestra (1991)
Concerto for electric guitar and wind orchestra (1976)
Symphony no. 1 for large orchestra (1995)
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1996)
Symphony no. 2 for orchestra (2001)
Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (2004)
Symphony no. 3, “Mountains” for choir and orchestra (2005)

Music for Solo Instruments

Romance and Toccata for harp (1951)
4 Preludes for piano (1952)
Monochromie for oboe (1964)
Mellan Hoch Fiss for trumpet (1971)
Morton Feldman in memoriam for flute (1988)
Bucolica for flute (1989)
Cadenze e arie for guitar (1989)
3 Rhythmical etudes for piano (1990)

Vocal-Instrumental Music

Sny o Potędze for female voice and strings (1948)
Harfa Eola for soprano and 4 musicians (1973)
7 Haiku for soprano and chamber ensemble (1994)
3 Deutsche Lieder for baritone and guitar (1997)
Drei Gesaenge for baritone and guitar (1997)
Polskie madrygały for soprano, 3 lutes and baroque harp (2004)

Electroacoustic Music

Etiuda na jedno uderzenie w talerz for tape (1959)
Microstructures for tape (1963)
Klangspiele for 2 tapes and 4 musicians (1967)
AELA for tape (1970)
Eurydice for tape (1970)
Les ailes for tape (1973)
Zatarty ślad, epitafium for tape (1982)
Textures for tape (1984)
Zywe obrazy w ogrodach w stylu angielskim [Live pictures in English-style gardens] for tape (1986)
Spring Music for flute, violin, synthesizer, tape (1978)
Pełnia lata [Midsummer] for clarinet, cello, piano and tape (1979)
Herbstlied for harpichord and tape (1981)
Winterreise for flute, oboe, violin, tape, cello and tape (1995)
Antiphonae for tape (1989)
Tierra caliente for tape (1992)

Instrumental Theatre

Multiplay (1971)
Musical Games for 5 instruments (1973)
Promenada I i II for clarinet, cello and 2 synthesizers (1973)

Page updated on 13 March 2018