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Kotoński, Włodzimierz


Composer and teacher, member of the Polish music avantgarde of the 1950s and 60s. In that period, he wrote the twelve-tone and serial music, later moving to aleatory composition and instrumental theatre. In the 1970s, his music evolved in the direction of the so-called new tonality and postmodernism. In 1976–82 he wrote a cycle of symphonic poems, The Wind Rose, and numerous works for chamber ensembles.

He was closely associated with the Polish Radio Electronic Studio. He also created his works in electronic music studios in Cologne, Paris, Bourges, Stockholm, Freiburg, and Buffalo.

As professor of composition and director of the Electronic Music Studio at the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw, he was the mentor of several generations of Polish composers, including Paweł Szymański, Hanna Kulenty, Stanisław Krupowicz, Tadeusz Wielecki, Jacek Grudzień, and Paweł Mykietyn. He also lectured as visiting professor in Stockholm (1971), Buffalo (1978), Los Angeles (1982), Jerusalem (1990), and Seoul (1994–95). His publications include: Muzyka elektroniczna (Electronic music, 1989 and 2002), Instrumenty perkusyjne we współczesnej orkiestrze (Percussion instruments in the contemporary orchestra, 1963), and Leksykon współczesnej perkusji (Lexicon of the contemporary percussion, 1999). In 1974–75 he served as Head of Music at the Polish Radio and in 1983–89, as President of the Polish Section of ISCM. He cofounded the Summer Courses for Young Composers in Kazimierz Dolny.

His accolades include the Annual Award of the Polish Composers’ Union (1976), Minister of Culture and Art Award, 1st Class (1989 and 2000), and Prix Magisterium of Bourges (1998).


Major works: three symphonies (1995, 2002 and 2006); four symphonic poems (The Wind Rose, 1976; Bora, 1979; Sirocco, 1981; Terra incognita, 1994); concertos (for oboe, 1972; violin, 1996; clarinet, 2003), cycle of pieces for instruments and electronics (Spring Music, 1978; Height of Summer, 1979; Autumn Song, 1981; Winter Journey, 1995); Wilanów Landscapes for string quartet and flute (2002), Wind Quintet (1964), String Quartet no. 1 (2002), String Quartet no. 2 (2008), Seven Haiku for soprano and chamber ensemble (1994), Monochromia for oboe (1964), Mellan Hoch Fiss for trumpet (1971), Partita for harpsichord (2009), Black Sun for six percussionists (2010), works for tape: Study on One Cymbal Stroke (1959), Microstructures (1963), Sound Games (WDR Studio Cologne, 1967), AELA (1970), Eurydice (GRM Paris, 1970), Les Ailes (GMEB Bourges, 1973), Erased Trace – An Epitaph (1982), Antiphonae (EMS Stockholm and Polish Radio Experimental Studio, 1989), Tierra caliente (1992).