30 August 2014
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Andrzej Markowski, pseudonym: Marek Andrzejewski; conductor and composer, b. 22nd August 1924 in Lublin, d. 30th October 1986 in Warsaw. In 1939-41 he studied composition in Lublin with Artur Malawski, and in 1943-44 – piano with Marcelina Kimontt-Jacynowa in Warsaw. As a soldier of the underground Polish Home Army, he took part in the Warsaw Uprising (Aug.-Oct. 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 1946-47 he studied composition with Alec Rowley in Trinity College of Music in London, and in 1947-55 – composition with Piotr Rytel and Tadeusz Szeligowski and conducting with Tadeusz Wilczak and Witold Rowicki in the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw. In the same period, he worked for drama theatres, first as a music tutor (1947-49), then as music director (1949-50) in the Drama Theatre in Szczecin and (1950-53) in the Nowy Theatre in Warsaw.
In 1954, Andrzej Markowski became 2nd conductor in Poznań Philharmonic. In 1955-59 he was a conductor in the Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice, and in 1959-64 – 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 United States. In 1965-69 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 1966-76. 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 1971-77 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 Łódź Philharmonic.
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 1971-81. 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 Szymański) and by composers from abroad (Pierre Boulez, Cornelius Cardew, Edison Denisov, Hans Werner Henze, Charles Ives, György Ligeti, Bruno Maderna, Olivier Messiaen, Arnold Schönberg, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Igor Stravinsky, John Taverner, Edgard Varèse, 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, 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 Urbański. 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.
literature
Komorowska Małgorzata Markowski Andrzej.In: Encyklopedia Muzyczna PWM (część biograficzna pod red. Elżbiety Dziębowskiej), t. „m” [PWM Music Encyclopaedia, biographical part ed. by Elżbieta Dziębowska], vol. “M”, PWM, Kraków 2000
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