Born in 1954 in Łomża, she is a composer, music theorist, and teacher. In 1975–84 she studied music theory (graduating with honours in 1980) and composition in the class of Marian Borkowski (graduating with honours in 1984) at the Music Academy in Warsaw. Her many awards and accolades include the 3rd Prize at the Master’s Theses Competition in Gdańsk (1984) and 2nd Prize at the Young Composers’ Competition of the Polish Composers’ Union (1986, for Rolling). Recordings of her works have received Fryderyk awards and nominations.
Her works have been performed at many concerts and leading music festivals throughout Poland (notably at the Lutosławski Forum in Warsaw, Gaude Mater International Sacred Music Festival in Częstochowa, Warsaw Autumn, Young Polish Music in Szczecin, Cantate Domino Warsaw Choir Meetings, Composers’ Symposia at the Warsaw Music Academy, Warsaw Music Meetings, Zamość Music Days, Święta Lipka Music Evenings) as well as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Finland, Germany, Great Britain (Polish Realities Festival in Glasgow), Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the United States, Uruguay, and Vatican.
Since 1984, Maria Pokrzywińska has lectured at the Fryderyk Chopin Music University in Warsaw, currently as Professor. In 2005, she obtained her habilitation. She has also cooperated with the Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, lecturing in harmony (2000–2). She has taught modern music and aspects of compositional technique. She is particularly interested in harmony, having notably authored a manual for practical harmony studies (2004), recommended for school curricula by the Polish Ministry of Culture.
Selected works: Variations for Piano (1975), Mazurka for Piano (1976), Psalm 113 To Your Name Give Glory for voice and piano (1976), Psalm 113 Praise the Lord for voice and piano (1976), Capriccio per clarinetto solo (1977), Wind Quintet (1978), Three Songs for alto and piano to words by Wisława Szymborska (1980), Idios for percussion (1980), Ad vivum for orchestra (1981), Thought–Forms for piano (1981), Con espressione for bass clarinet and string quartet (1981), Reglamentoso for tape (1982), Psalm 96 for choir and orchestra (1982), Double Concerto for clarinet, cello and orchestra (1984), Rolling for wind quintet and four string quartets (1986) Capriccio for tuba and orchestra (1986), Replays for two clarinets and piano (1988), Refrainfor 11 instruments (1988), Romanza for cello (1991), Omen for 13 instruments (1994), Apostolus Christi for mixed a cappella choir (1997), Cantate Domino for mixed a cappella choir (1997), Versus for clarinet and organ (1997), Sonet VI for mixed a cappella choir (1998; version for boys’ choir, 1999; version for uniform voice choir, 2003), Toccata capricciosa for organ (1999), Souvenir for M. for bass clarinet (2000), Toccata capricciosa a quattro mani for organ (2001), Hymnus in Honorem Sanctae Hedvigis for a cappella choir (2001), Valse Chalumeaufor clarinet sextet (2003), Symphony (2003–4), Pater noster for four percussions (2007), Danza saltica per auto solo (2007), Passacaglia for string orchestra (2007), Our Life, song for soprano and string orchestra to words by Henryk Gała (2008), Who Carries Within Himsef, ballade for soprano, choir and orchestra to words by Henryk Gała (2008), Passacaglia a otto per archi (2009), Invitation for soprano saxophone and piano (2011), Four Pranks for mixed a cappella choir to words by Mikołaj Rej (2014), Link for two pianos and two percussions (2015), Ballo orticanto a otto per ati e archi (2016), Sing Beautifully, carol for mixed a cappella choir to words by Jan Węcowski (2016), Toccata capricciosa II for harpsichord (2017), Aphorism 148 for string quartet after Krzysztof Bilica (2017).