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Andrzej Markowski (Conductor)

Born: August 22, 1924 - Lublin, Poland
Died: October 30, 1986 - Warsaw, Poland

The Polish composer and conductor, Andrzej Markowski (pseudonym: Marek Andrzejewski), studied composition in Lublin with Artur Malawski, and in 1943-1944 - piano with Marcelina Kimontt-Jacynowa in Warsaw. As a soldier of the underground Polish Home Army, he took part in the Warsaw Uprising (August-October 1944), then became prisoner-of-war in an officers’ camp in Murnau, and subsequently officer trainee in the 2nd Polish Armed Corps in the West. In 1946-1947 he studied composition with Alec Rowley at the Trinity College of Music in London, and in 1947-1955 composition with Piotr Rytel and Tadeusz Szeligowski and conducting with Tadeusz Wilczak and Witold Rowicki at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw. In the same period, he worked for drama theatres, first as a music tutor (1947-1949), then as music director (1949-1950) in the Drama Theatre in Szczecin and (1950-1953) in the Nowy Theatre in Warsaw.

In 1954, Andrzej Markowski became 2nd conductor in Poznañ Philharmonic. In 1955-1959 he was a conductor in the Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice, and in 1959-1964 artistic director and principal conductor of the Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1959, he founded a chamber orchestra in Cracow for performances of new music. Later, he organised the concert cycle “Musica Antiqua et Nova” and the festival “Cracow Spring of Young Musicians”, where he gave first performances of works by such composers as Juliusz Łuciuk, Tadeusz Machl and Grażyna Bacewicz. With orchestras from Cracow, he gave concerts in Italy, Belgium and the USA. In 1965-1969 he was the director of Wrocław Philharmonic, for which he managed to secure its own, new seat. He founded the internationally famous “Wratislavia Cantans” Oratorio and Cantata Festival, whose artistic director he was in 1966-1976. In the same period, he was the director of the Festival of Polish Contemporary Music in Wrocław, and the Festival of Organ and Harpsichord Music. In 1970, together with Witold Rowicki, he conducted the National Philharmonic Orchestra during a tour of the Far and Near East, and in 1972 in Italy. In 1971-1977 he was 2nd conductor and deputy artistic director of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw. In 1974 he conducted concerts in the Milanese La Scala. With the Polish Radio Great Symphony Orchestra he toured England, and with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra he twice gave concerts in Japan. From 1980 he was permanent guest conductor in Groningen in the Netherlands. In 1982, he became artistic director of ŁódŸ Philharmonic and served in this post until his death in 1986.

Andrzej Markowski’s conducting activity focused around two areas of interest: Baroque non-operatic vocal-instrumental forms, and 20th century music. He presented contemporary music in Poland and abroad, most importantly - during the “Warsaw Autumn” Festival, on whose Programme Committee he served in 1971-1981. He gave numerous first performances of works both by Polish composers (Tadeusz Baird, Augustyn Bloch, Zbigniew Bujarski, Andrzej Dobrowolski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Roman Palester, Krzysztof Penderecki, Kazimierz Serocki, Kazimierz Sikorski, Tomasz Sikorski, Bogusław Schaeffer, Bolesław Szabelski, Witold Szalonek, Paweł Szymañski) and by composers from abroad (Pierre Boulez, Cornelius Cardew, Edison Denisov, Hans Werner Henze, Charles Ives, Gy?rgy Ligeti, Bruno Maderna, Olivier Messiaen, Arnold Schoenberg, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Igor Stravinsky, John Taverner, Edgard Var?se, Anton Webern, Iannis Xenakis). His recording of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Utrenya won the French record award Grand Prix du Disque in 1974.

As a composer, Andrzej Markowski composed numerous works for orchestra, instrumental and entertainment works. He won recognition for his film music, particularly his electronic music to short and experimental films by Andrzej Munk, Waleriana Borowczyk, Jan Lenica and Kazimierz Urbañski. These includes soundtracks to the movies: Shade (1956), Cross of Valour (1958), Silent Star (1959), Big, bigger and biggest (1962), Wounded in the forest (1963), Ashes (1965), Layer Cake (1968), Mr. Michael (1969). He was also the first Polish composer to write incidental concrete music for the theatre.

In 1965, Andrzej Markowski was awarded the Minister of Culture and Art Award, 2nd class; in 1968 and 1971 – the “Orpheus” critics’ award for outstanding artistic creations at the “Warsaw Autumn”; in 1969 the annual award of the Polish Composers’ Union; in 1974 State Award, 1st class.

Andrzej Markowski and poster from La Scala [01]

Andrzej Markowski conducting [02]

Andrzej Markowski and his wife Bogna Markowska, Luigi Nono and Giacomo Manzoni. [03]

Andrzej Markowski and Stefania Woytowicz [04]

Wratislavia Cantans 1971 [08]

Andrzej Markowski portrait [05]

Andrzej Markowski portrait [06]

Andrzej Markowski portrait [07]

Source: Polish Music Information Centre; Polish Wikipedia Website (August 2011), English translation by Aryeh Oron (April 2012); Andrzej Markowski Foundation Website (Photos 01-06, 08)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2012)

Andrzej Markowski: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Andrzej Markowski (Polish Music Information Centre)
Andrzej Markowski Foundation [Polish]

Andrzej Markowski - muzyk (Wikipedia) [Polish]
Andrzej Markowski (Wikipedia) [English]


Komorowska Małgorzata Markowski Andrzej. In: Encyklopedia Muzyczna PWM (czêœæ biograficzna pod red. Elżbiety Dziêbowskiej), t. „m” [PWM Music Encyclopaedia, biographical part ed. by Elżbieta Dziêbowska], vol. “M”, PWM (Krak?w 2000)

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