Born on 21 January 1950 in Bydgoszcz, died on 23 September 2012 in Warsaw. He was an animator of musical life, promoter of new music, eminent music critic and journalist. A masterful writer and speaker, radio commentator, author of radio broadcasts. In all these areas he made his mark as an outstanding individuality. From 1999 (with one break in 2003) he was a member of the Warsaw Autumn Repertoire Committee. Founding member of the Witold Lutosławski Society (1997) and the Friends of the Warsaw Autumn Foundation (1997; president of serving as from 2001). Ordinary member of the Polish Composers Union from 1982. Active in the ISCM, Polish Section. He was also involved in teaching and academic research.
He graduated in musicology from the University of Warsaw in 1975. In 2006 he obtained a doctorate from the Academy of Music in Cracow for of a dissertation entitled Alban Berg. The Man and the Work of His Youth. From Solo to Orchestral Songs, writen under the tuition Prof. Mieczysław Tomaszewski.
He received five DAAD scholarships to attend the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music (1980, 1982, 1988, 1990 and 1994). In 1980 he stayed in Paris on a scholarship of the Fondation pour une Entraide Intellectuelle, in 1984 and 1986 – in Vienna on scholarships from the Institute for Human Sciences Foundation and later from the Alban Berg.
From 1982 he was a lecturer at the Academy of Music in Cracow, where he gave e.g. open lectures on the music of Alban Berg (1993) and on musical postmodernism (1995). In 1996 he began teaching music literature, the history and aesthetic of 20th-century music and seminars on music criticism at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, where from 2006 he held the post of assistant professor. On some occasions he also gave lectures in other academic institutions, such as the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Warsaw’s State High School of Theatre (now the Aleksander Zelwerowicz State Theatre Academy).
His spectacular career at the Polish Radio began in 1975, when he became head of the Contemporary Music Section. He lost that position in 1981 when under martial law he and some of his colleagues were banned from any radio work. He spent the time between the imposition of the martial law (1981) and the fall of communism working as head of the Promotion Department for PWM Edition, Warsaw Branch. He returned to the Polish Radio in 1991.
From the mid-1970s he presented his own broadcast cycles on the radio, including The Composers Forum (1978–80), Counterpoints – a 20th-Century Music Weekly (1978–81), Musica Polonica Nova (1979–81), from 1994: The International Rostrum of Composers, from 1995: New Counterpoints.
Apart from heading the Contemporary Music Section, he held the important post of Polish Radio commissions selector. It was on his recommendation that, beginning in 1993, the Polish Radio commissioned such works as e.g. Paweł Szymański’s Miserere, Stanisław Krupowicz’s Fin de siècle, Zbigniew Bargielski’s Trigonalia, Paweł Mykietyn’s 3 for 13, Tadeusz Wielecki’s Egocentric Poem and Id, Martin Smolka’s Three Pastoral Motifs, Włodzimierz Kotoński’s Winterreise, Eugeniusz Knapik’s Up into the Silence, Krzysztof Knittel’s De profundis, Hanna Kulenty’s Concerto for Trumpet and Symphony Orchestra, Zbigniew Penherski’s Piece for String Orchestra, or Magdalena Długosz’s Silent Asphodels – In Memoriam Józef Patkowski.
He also collaborated as an author with the Deutschlandfunk Köln, which presented many of his broadcasts: Neue Generation – Junge Musik in Polen (29/7/1987), Hommage à Karol Szymanowski. Zu einem Kompositionsprojekt der Polnischen Gesellschaft fuer Neue Musik (20/7/1988), Im Zeichen der Windrose, Włodzimierz Kotoński (26/10/1988), Neue Musik in Litauen (co-author: Krzysztof Droba; 26/7/1989), Komponistenportrait – Tomasz Sikorski (7.02.1990), Neue Namen in der polnischen Musik: Hanna Kulenty und Tadeusz Wielecki (5/9/1990), Schlecht anwesende Musik von Andrzej Panufnik (26/12/1990), Kazimierz Serocki und musikalische Sonorismus (24/4/1991), Innerund Äußerlichkeiten. Postmoderne Musik in Osteuropa (6/5/1992), Ein postmoderner Anarchist? Zur Musik von Krzysztof Penderecki (12/8/1992), Schaefferissimo oder Musik Bogusław Schaeffers (20/1/1993), Polnische Neue Alternative in der Musik: Knittel – Nowak – Kapuściński (17/4/1993), Musik Journal – Warschauer Herbst ‘93 (30/9/1993), and Zygmunt Krauze und die unistische Musik (12/10/1994).
He programmed many Polish radio concerts broadcast to all the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) member countries, such as the Polish music concert on the German Unity Day (Jesus-Christus-Kirche Dahlem, Berlin, in co-operation with the DeutschlandRadio Kultur, 3/10/1993), the opening concert of the Polish Season on BBC3 (broadcast from Polish Radio Concert Studio in Warsaw, 19/11/1993), Meta-Mass, a concert for the opening of EBU’s concert season broadcast from Cracow (September 1994), a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the WWII Victory Day (in co-operation with DeutschlandRadio Kultur, Berlin, 8/05/1995), a Présences Festival concert in Paris featuring first performances of works by François-Bernard Mâche and Paweł Szymański (in co-operation with Radio France, 12/5/1995), the inaugural concert of UNESCO 50th anniversary celebrations in Paris (dedicated entirely to the music of Witold Lutosławski, in co-operation with Radio France, 13/5/1995), a concert of the festival “Copenhagen – A Cultural Capital of Europe” featuring the premiere of Eugeniusz Knapik’s composition fragment (Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen, in co-operation with the Danish Radio) and a concert of Polish music at the seat of the Danish Radio (Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra under Jan Krenz, October 1996), “Radio Orchestras Create History”, broadcast from Katowice, featuring the first performance of a work by Hanna Kulenty (3/3/2003), and a concert presented as part of the EBU project “Warsaw – The European City of Music” including the premiere of Filip Matuszewski’s new piece (January 2005).
In 2001–07, Andrzej Chłopecki ran his own scholarship project – Förderpreise für Polen – designed for young composers and performers from Central and Eastern Europe on the basis of an agreement with the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. The project resulted in commissions for new works from such Polish composers as Agata Zubel, Katarzyna Głowicka, Adam Falkiewicz, Cezary Duchnowski, Marcin Bortnowski, Wojciech Ziemowit Zych, Paweł Mykietyn, Weronika Ratusińska, Jarosław Mamczarski, Aleksandra Gryka, Katarzyna Taborowska, Mateusz Bień, Aleksander Gabryś, Michał Talma-Sutt, Filip Matuszewski, Sławomir Kupczak, Jarosław Chełmecki, Jakub Sarwas, Krzysztof Wołek, Andrzej Kwieciński, Marzena Komsta, Maciej Żółtowski, Dobromiła Jaskot, Wojciech Widłak and Aleksander Nowak, as well as from artists representing such countries as Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.
He also managed to obtain commissions for new works from such institutions as the BBC (Marek Stachowski’s Choreia), Radio France (Eugeniusz Knapik’s Partita, Paweł Szymański’s Piano Concerto), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (Hanna Kulenty’s String Quartet; financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage), Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (Hanna Kulenty’s E for E), the Grand Theatre – National Opera (operas by Paweł Szymański, Eugeniusz Knapik, and Paweł Mykietyn).
The compositions chosen by Chłopecki the annual International Rostrum of Composers in Paris were frequently selected or recommended at that competition. These were: Stanisław Krupowicz’s Fin de siècle and Paweł Szymański’s Miserere (recommended, 1994), Paweł Mykietyn’s 3 for 13 (winner in the U-30 category, 1995), Zbigniew Bargielski’s Trigonalia (recommended, 1995), Aleksander Lasoń’s Concerto festivo (recommended, 1997), Zygmunt Krauze’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (recommended, 1998), Tadeusz Wielecki’s Concerto à rebours (recommended, 1999), Robert Kurdybacha’s Concerto for Guitar and Strings (recommended in the U-30 category, 1999), Jerzy Kornowicz’s Frayed Figures (recommended, 2000), Zbigniew Penherski’s Little Music for the End of the Century (recommended, 2001), Hanna Kulenty’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra (winner in the general category, 2003), Jacek Grudzień’s Ad Naan (recommended, 2003), Krzysztof Knittel’s Harpsichord Concerto (recommended, 2005), Wojciech Widłak’s Earthsumption (recommended, 2006).
Chłopecki was the initiator and artistic director of the Velvet Curtain Festival held first in Cracow (as part of the project Cracow 2000 – A European City of Culture) and then in Lviv (as part of Lviv’s 750th anniversary celebrations in 2006). Also in 2006, he was the artistic director of the Festival of Paweł Szymański’s Music, and in 2010 – of the Musica Polonica Nova Festival in Wrocław.
As an authority in his field, he was invited to serve on various bodies determining the shape of music life in Poland. He was a member of the Culture Foundation’s Promotion Council in Warsaw, the repertoire committees of the Grand Theatre – National Opera in Warsaw (2000), Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice (2001), and the Polish Audiovisual Publishing House (2005, and President of the Board from February 2006 to February 2010). In 2010 the Minister of Culture and National Heritage appointed him to the Programme Board of the National Audiovisual Institute (NINA). He also sat on the Programme Board of the bimonthly “MusikTexte. Zeitschrift für Neue Musik” in Cologne (from 1993).
Andrzej Chłopecki also on the juries of the competition for the Kranischsteiner Prize (an award for participants of the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music); from 1994 – the International Rostrum of Composers organised by the International Music Council (UNESCO’s advisory body) in Paris; in 1995 – the Polish Composers’ Union 50th Anniversary Competition for Composers; in 2001 – the Masterprize International Composition Competition organised by the Royal Academy of Music in London; in 2009 – the OPUS Public Media Award.
As a musicologist and music critic, he specialised in the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly in Polish music from the time of Karol Szymanowski and later. He was chiefly interested in (widely conceived) modernism (starting with the Second Viennese School) and postmodernisn. The vast majority of his academic, critical and journalistic writings were delivered in public in the form of papers, presentations or statements during debates. Many of these have never been printed; only some have been published in conference proceedings or periodicals. From 1990, he gave such papers and seminars as Polish Music after 1956 (paper and seminar held at Arnhem Music Conservatoire, during the Festival Oost-West-Passage, 1990), New Music after the Fall of the Berlin Wall (comment in a panel discussion broadcast by the Netherlands Radio Hilversum), Bronius Kutavičius’ Ethno-oratorios (paper delivered at a Polish-Lithuanian musicological symposium, Cracow 1990), Festivals und Subkulturen. Das Institutionengefüge der Neuen Musik in Mittelund Osteuropa (paper read during a congress organised by the Institut für Neue Musik und Musikerziehung in Darmstadt), two seminars at the same congress: Gesichter der Postmoderne. Kompositorische Positionen in mittelund osteuropäischer Musik (printed in: Neue Musik im politischen Wandel. Fünf Kongreßbeiträge und drei Seminarberichte, Mainz:Setroli 1991, Schott), A Postmodern Bach (paper read at the Melos-Etos Conference, Bratislava, printed in Slovak in: Staré v Novom/Das Alte im Neuem, Bratislava 1997), In the Circles of Musical Postmodernism: 1. Negative Critique of Modernism in the Music of John Cage and Luigi Nono; 2. Musical Posthistoricism According to Gavin Bryars and Arvo Pärt; 3. Surconventionalism in the Music of Helmut Lachenmann and Paweł Szymański (lectures at Soros Foundation, Vilnius 1996), Surconventionalism between Paweł Szymański and Helmut Lachenmann, paper delivered at the conference Zeitgenössische Musik zwischen Ost und West, Melos-Etos, 1997), In Search of Sense Being Lost (a comment in a panel discussion during the Lutosławski Forum, Warsaw Philharmonic, 1998), The Criteria of Modernity in Contemporary Music (paper put forward at a musicological symposium in the Academy of Music in Szczecin 1998), The Pataphysical Context of New Opera: Penderecki, Ligeti, Corigliano, and Others... and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Music in the Context of 20th-Century Theatre (delivered at the Academy of Music in Cracow, 1998, printed in English in 1998, in Polish in 2000), The Canon of 20th-Century Art (comment in a panel discussion at the Lutosławski Forum, Warsaw Philharmonic 1999), The Icons of 20th-Century Art (comment in a panel discussion at the Lutosławski Forum, Warsaw Philharmonic 2000), Music at the Turn of the 20th Century and the Threshold of the 21st: Ukrainian and Polish Music in the Era of Globalisation (concert liner notes Lviv 2000), The Late Style of 20th-Century Modernism in the Works of Music Composers (paper delivered at a conference in the Academy of Music in Katowice, 2000, printed by the Academy of Music and Silesian University Publishing, Katowice 2002), Supporting The Composition of Music in the 21st Century: Music Promotion in the Public Sector (paper read at a symposium of the German Music Council held as part of the Warsaw Autumn 2001), Zur Rezeption der Neuen Musik in der DDR aus der Perspektive des “Warschauer Herbst” (paper presented at the symposium Musik – Macht – Perspektiven: Neue Musik in der DDR im europäischen Kontext, Weimar, 2001, printed in: Zwischen Macht und Freiheit. Neue Musik in der DDR, ed. Michael Berg et al., Cologne – Weimar – Vienna 2004), The Sacred Rite of Spring between Igor Stravinsky and Katarzyna Kozyra (lecture in the Zachęta Gallery, Warsaw, 2002), The Situation of New Music in Uniting Europe (co-chair of the German Music Council Forum during the Warsaw Autumn, 26/9/2002), Open the Gate of Oblivion – die moderne litauische Komponistin: Onutė Narbutaitė (chair of the discussion with the composer’s participation during the International Frankfurt Book Fair, 2002), Neue Musik zwischen Ost und West (paper delivered during the 5th Weimarer Frühjahrstagen, 2004), The Media and Promotion of New Music (a paper read at the International IAMIC Conference, University of Warsaw 2004), Is There a Place for Authority in the Postmodernity? (comment in discussion, University of Warsaw 2004).
Many valuable essays by Chłopecki have been printed in CD booklets. These include: Zygmunt Krauze’s Unism (Thesis), Wojciech Kilar’s Music (Jade Music), Lutosławski’s Music (Polish Radio), liner notes to the 6CD series with Lutosławski’s orchestral music (Naxos), Quartets by Szymanowski and Lutosławski (CD Accord), The Music of Paweł Szymański (CD Accord), Szymanowski’s “Kurpie Songs” (Musicon), Szymanowski’s “Harnasie” and Symphony No. 4 (CD Accord), Karłowicz – Górecki – Kilar (CD Accord), The Music of Yuri Laniuk (CD Accord), Lutosławski: “Mi-parti”, Meyer: “Mass”, Penderecki: “Concerto grosso” (CD Accord), Kilar: “Hoary Fog”, “Orawa”, M. Karłowicz: “Serenade” (Sony Music), Witold Lutosławski at the Polish Radio, Documents – An Accomplished Project (Polish Radio), The Music of Krzysztof Knittel (Polish Radio), Paweł Szymański’s Piano Works – Maciej Grzybowski (EMI Poland), Rhapsody – Paraphrases, Transcriptions, Improvisations by Marek Tomaszewski (MCP), concept and liner notes to the Polish Collection of the Warsaw Autumn 1956–2005 (ZKP, Polmic).
Chłopecki’s texts also appeared in the programme books and booklets of concerts, spectacles at the Grand Theatre and other opera houses, festivals, etc., including the Warsaw Autumn programme book (where his texts were printed from the mid1970s) and the festivals of which he was the artistic director. Even in his student days, Chłopecki published in the biweekly “Ruch Muzyczny”. In the 1990s and after 2000 his texts appeared in the Cologne-based periodical “MusikTexte”. These included: Verzweiflung nackter Klänge. Tomasz Sikorski and Kurse für NeueEG-Musik. Zu den Darmstädter Ferienkursen (No. 36, 1990), Aus der Geschichte der schlecht anwesenden Musik. Andrzej Panufniks Rïckkehr nach Polen (No. 37, 1990), Dialektischer Dialog. Das elfte Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (No. 38, 1991), Zeugnis zerfallender Werte. Witold Lutosławskis Abschied von der Moderne (No. 42, 1991), Acht (zufällige) Blicke auf das Lachen John Cages (No. 46, 1993), Im Zeichen der Windrose. Włodzimierz Kotoński and Überall zu Hause. Zur neuen Welle polnischer Komponisten (No. 109, 2006).
Andrzej Chłopecki’s texts were also occasionally published in the quarterly “Opcje” and in magazines dedicated to culture in general, such as “Odra” and “Tygodnik Powszechny”. His memorable essay The Superstitions of the Waning Century was printed in the ephemeral periodical “Dysonanse” – his original project – which had only one issue in 1997.
Among the critical-journalistic publications (in Polish) that Chłopecki himself valued most were the following: On Lost Utopia, “Studio”, March 1992; Polyphemus Making Peace with Ulysses – for Krzysztof Penderecki’s Birthday, “Tygodnik Powszechny” 1994 No. 1; Deadlock. On the Public Radio in Poland, “Rzeczpospolita” 24/9/1997; Opening the Door Behind Him: On Krzysztof Penderecki’s Music, “Tygodnik Powszechny”, 8/3/1998; “Serious” Music 89-98: Changing of the Guard? “Tygodnik Powszechny”, Kontrapunkt, 17/5/1998; The Northern “Warsaw Autumn”, “Tygodnik Powszechny”, 11/10/1998; Preisner, or an Apology of Kitsch, “Tygodnik Powszechny”, 1/11/1998; A Patriarch’s Autumn. Penderecki’s Birthday, “Gazeta Wyborcza” 19/11/1998; Górecki – A Stray Star, “Gazeta Wyborcza”, Katowice edition, 4–6/12/1998; Freedom and Xenophobia (A Speech at the Polish Composers Union General Assembly), “Ruch Muzyczny” 1999 No. 9; The Dance of Lent with Carnival – 20th-Century Music, “Gazeta Wyborcza”, 20–21/1/2001; What to Love It For, What to Loathe It For... 100 Years of Warsaw Philharmonic, “Polityka” 2001 No. 19; The Young Ear – the Spring of the “Warsaw Autumn”, “Polityka” 2001 No. 42; To Each What He Deserves, or Stefan Rieger Lost for a Century (a polemic), “Tygodnik Powszechny” 23/1/2003; Is This What We Aimed At? (a polemic with Leszek Polony), “Ruch Muzyczny” 2003 No. 2; War? – Yes, Please, “MusikTexte” No. 97, 2003 (also in “Ruch Muzyczny” 2003 Nos. 15-16 and “Novaya Polsha” 2003 No. 12); How Does Music Erect? Several Intuitions Concerning the Orgasmic Character of the art of Sound, “Res Publika Nowa” 2003 No. 6; Rubik, or the Triumph of Arrogance, “Tygodnik Powszechny” 22/1/2007; Between What’s Old and Banal and What’s New and Pretentious – Several reflections the Music of Paweł Szymański in the Background, “Secesja” (publ. Austrian Institute, Warsaw), February 2007; The Silesian Mining Region of Music, “Treasures of Silesia”, supplement to “Gazeta Wyborcza”, Katowice, 7/5/2007.
Chłopecki contributed as a columnist to the “Res Publika Nowa” monthly (the series Audio Daily, 1993–1997), the “Studio” monthly (the series Penderecki’s Decade, 1998) and – for the longest period – to “Gazeta Wyborcza” (the series Sharp Listening, from September 2001). He took part in discussions printed in the Sobering Salon of the “Przekrój” weekly (April to June 2002) and in the Critics’ Debates printed in the “Res Publika Nowa” monthly (from 2001).
Andrzej Chłopecki’s include such awards and distinctions: the Polish Radio Management Board Award for the promotion of Polish music (1994), Special Award of the Chapter of the Grand Prix of the Culture Foundation (for the year 1997, granted in 1998), nomination for the 1999 Fryderyk Award of the Polish Phonographic Society for the recording project “Hommage à Lutosławski” (2000), Mozart Medal of the International Music Council granted during the 50th International Rostrum of Composers in Vienna (2003), Silver Medal of Merit for Culture – Gloria Artis (2005), Medal for the 80th Anniversary of the Polish Radio (2005), Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Lithuania (2006), Honorary Badge of Merit for Polish Culture (2007), Annual Prize of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage for the promotion of culture (2007), Siemens Medal (2007), Golden Microphone Award (2008), Special Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2009).
Compiled by Elżbieta Szczepańska-Lange
“Dear Marcin, I somehow like you sending me this letter at 4:37 am, for it is my favourite time of day.” This is how Andrzej began his reply to my email on 8 April 2002. We had met about half a year earlier at the Warsaw Autumn. It was then that Andrzej commissioned a piece with me – White Angels, which became my Warsaw Autumn debut the following year. In later years we met at various festivals, sometimes quite casually, on social occasions – and we corresponded quite intensely.
That acquaintance became especially important for me when in 2009 Andrzej became the artistic director of the Musica Polonica Nova Festival. He began to visit Wrocław more frequently, and I was always happy to invite him to my place.
In our late night conversations about music, we used gestures, wine, and also a few words. It seemed that we had got to know all there was to know about the world, about music, and their mutual relations. They had no secrets for us: everything was beautiful. This is what I miss most today. The memory of those meetings also makes me realise the shallowness of academic speculations about music which, after all, lives deep inside us and not in some parallel dimension. Andrzej knew this perfectly well, and this is why he never accepted any falsehood in music.
Some say that no one is irreplaceable, but that is not true – in fact no one can be replaced. And it would not even make sense to try to replace Andrzej, because such efforts are doomed to failure. His world was governed by its own distinct principles, which some people could not accept.
Dear Andrzej, if you are looking at me now, at 2:57 am, as I’m ineffectually trying to put together my most precious memories of you – you should know that I am sure we will meet again, where the “White Angels” are: “And night will be no more”, “And the sea is no more”...
My friendship with Andrzej Chłopecki began in 1983 with our first meeting at the courses for composers in Kazimierz. That friendship was a bit in the Morton Feldman style – long and quiet, with many rests, after there always came a similar pleasant tone. As for tone: Andrzej’s voice was like slowly plucking the baritone strings on a harp or guitar – long and quiet, as expected. I never saw him in a hurry: this is another parallel between his personality and the music of Morton Feldman or Tomasz Sikorski.
I also do not recall ever seeing him “arrive” – he always “emerged” or “appeared” out of the blue. An angel! An angel disguised behind his spiky “drzej” rather then the smooth “gel”, behind his hippie beard, cigarette smoke and an old fox’s smile.
Andrzej inaugurated a new style in Polish musicology: he was its first – and so far its last – hippie. All hail to the memory of Andrzej Chłopecki.
Much has been said about Andrzej’s role in the musical culture of our age. It is undeniable that the history of that culture would have been quite different in the last thirty-odd years without Andrzej. If one man can have a crucial impact on the world around, Andrzej was such a man and this truth has often been publicly expressed – unfortunately only after his death.
In his lifetime, many people were aware of the significance of his work, but he also had sworn enemies (a fact passed over in funeral orations). He had a highly individual, clearly defined vision of music and musical culture: uncompromising and anti-egalitarian. This provoked negative emotions in those who knew they were unable to fit into that vision. Many officials and decision-makers feared that Andrzej might have influence on the management of some areas under their control.
My friendship with Andrzej lasted more than thirty years. When Andrzej visited us in our home, he plunged into the armchair and placed a cup of tea on its armrest. Then he began to manoeuvre that cup rather precariously. And yet, for all those thirty odd years, the cup defied the laws of gravity and never smashed on the floor. This was his special kind of dexterity. He was similarly dexterous in manoeuvring above the hostile forces of mediocrity and usually – for a longer or shorter time – managed to take effective action against all odds. This is how he founded festivals, obtained commissions for new works and created cultural facts. Did the world, however, take full advantage of his talent?
The funeral orations repeated the same common stereotype: “Nothing can fill the void left after his departure.” Nothing more false! Nature abhors a vacuum. The vacuum left behind by outstanding personalities is likely to fill with mediocrity very soon.
Andrzej Chłopecki was a man of ideas. He lived modestly (though he gladly enjoyed the pleasures of life). He did not bow to authority or to the high and mighty of this world. He died with dignity, preserving his characteristic, slightly nonchalant irony till the very end.
The characteristic movement of his head as he threw back his hair. The slight smile, which contained a hundred shades from mockery to sadness, from reflection to flirtatiousness. The ironic intonation that accompanied a cordial welcome hug. And his penetrating eyes which had their own independent intonations, often in counterpoint to the voice and the smile. To come to the Warsaw Autumn and not to meet that artistic nature – neither in the concert hall, nor in the hubbub of voices in a hotel bar after the concert? I believe that his impatient, ever-sparkling spirit and mind will remain present at the Festival – not just this year, but for a much longer time, also when we no longer realise and name it. All those completed and just initiated projects, carefully formed ideas, inspired works of music, interpersonal bonds! These embers are likely to kindle many a new fire. Not only here in Warsaw, which in my memory will forever be associated with him, though we often met also in other places – in Cracow, Vilnius, even in Kyiv, where the concert of the Velvet Curtain Festival with premieres of works by Roman Berger, Martin Smolka, Yuri Laniuk and myself was presented again. And also during the Frankfurt Book Fair, where he chaired an open meeting with me.
Perhaps because our meetings were occasioned by such circumstances, he always seemed to live exclusively by and for the music – passionately and to the full. He was demanding, independent, always on the lookout for new inspirations, true to his own internal “tuning fork”. To the composers he never appeared as a soothing sleeping pill or a balm to heal their wounds. In retrospect, however, I look back to our infrequent but unforgettable meetings – his support, his inspirations – with genuine gratitude.
Onutė Narbutaitė, Vilnius, 21 April 2013