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Zbigniew Bargielski,

composer; b. 21st January 1937 in Łomża. He studied law at Maria Skłodowska-Curie University in Lublin (1954-57). In 1958, he began his composition study in the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw with Tadeusz Szeligowski, and after the latter’s death - with Bolesław Szabelski in the State Higher School of Music in Katowice, from which he graduated in 1964. In 1966-67 he continued his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, and in 1972 - in Hochschule für Musik in Graz. In 1986, he received a scholarship of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst.

His works have been performed in many European countries, in the USA, Australia and South America.

Zbigniew Bargielski has won numerous competitions for composers. In 1965 he was awarded 1st prize in the Young Composers’ Competition of the Polish Composers’ Union for Parades for orchestra (1965). His String Quartet No.1 “Alpine” (1976) won him the 2nd prize in the Artur Malawski competition for composers in Cracow in 1976 and was one of the recommended works of the International Rostrum for Composers in Paris in 1981. A Dream’s Just a Dream for tenor and piano to words by Kazimierz Wierzyński (1982) took 3rd prize in the Karol Szymanowski competition in 1982. In 1995 his Trigonalia for guitar, accordion, percussion and chamber orchestra (1994) received a recommendation of the International Rostrum for Composers in Paris.

A CD dedicated exclusively to his works was released by the Polish Radio in 2006 as part of the “Music of Our Time” series. In April 2008, the Silesian Quartet recorded Bargielski’s complete string quartets, released under the CD Accord label in 2012. The recording was Critics’ Choice for February 2013 of MusicWeb International and received a nomination for the Fryderyk 2013 Award of the Polish Phonographic Academy.

Besides composing, he is a writer and music teacher. He has been teaching composition in Music Academy in Bydgoszcz (since 2002) and in Music Academy in Kraków (since 2003). He also writes music for films and the stage.

Zbigniew Bargielski has been decorated with the Medal of “Merit for the Polish Culture” (1990), the Officer’s Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order (1995). the Award of the Polish Composers’ Union (2001), and the Gloria Artis Gold Medal (2011).


The work of Zbigniew Bargielski has a largely autonomous place in Polish music history, and it has developed independently of fashions, trends and tendencies. He makes very efficient use of the various achievements of modern compositional language, but without a radical departure from tradition, and he maintains a noticeable distance from both modernism and post-modernism. The characteristic feature of Bargielski’s music is his concept of a “central” system which organises mostly the pitch, but is also at times applied to the organisation of rhythm and sound colour. “The procedure allows for the selection of dominant sounds,” says the composer, “which in their turn function as centres for the various segments of the form. Those dominant elements come to the fore through frequent repetition while other, more neutral sounds make up the structural backdrop.”
In his commentary to Zbigniew Bargielski’s Slapstick in the 1998 “Warsaw Autumn” programme book, Andrzej Chłopecki writes: “It is clear that Bargielski’s work is still evolving, but it is rather a spiral development which aims at enriching the aesthetics by subtle gradual transformations, not by leaps. It is noteworthy that in the last two decades Bargielski has not undergone a crisis leading to an aesthetic change - neither radical and violent (as with Penderecki), nor veiled but equally distinct (as in the case of Lutosławski). If there is any transition point to be found in Bargielski’s work, it is marked by the Violin Concerto of 1976, whose insensely lyrical quality, though not suffused with either the germ of the new simplicity, or the New Romanticism (the latter made a frontal attack on Polish music in that very memorable year), is nevertheless a subtle proof of Bargielski’s sensitivity to the spirit of the age. But the music of Zbigniew Bargielski emerged unscathed from that aesthetic turmoil.”


Neosonatina for violin and piano * (1956)
Seven Studies for piano * (1957)
Parades for symphony orchestra * (1964-1965)
Danton or Several Scenes from the History of the Great French Revolution, pseudo-historical opera (1968-1969)
In the Circle for soprano, alto, baritone, solo bass and chamber ensemble to words by Alicja Patey-Grabowska * (1969)
Parades 1970 for orchestra * (1970)
Four Love Songs for mezzo-soprano (alto) and piano to words by Alicja Patey-Grabowska * (1971)
Rosegarden for baritone or alto and bass clarinet to words by T. S. Eliot (1971)
Alice in Wonderland, opera for young people (1971-1972)
Ein Zimmer for clarinet, trombone, cello, piano, and reciting voice or tape * (1973/1987)
Concerto for percussion and orchestra * (1975)
Concerto for violin and orchestra * (1975)
Impromptu for solo percussion * (1975)
Polish Rhapsody for wind instruments and percussion (1976)
String Quartet No. 1”Alpine” * (1976)
A Valley of Bare Bones [1st version] for instrumental ensemble and percussion (1977)
A Valley of Bare Bones [2nd version] for improvised piano, instrumental ensemble and percussion * (1977/1993)
... Ablaze Will They Be with Unquenchable Fire for string orchestra * (1978)
A Butterfly Cage for wind quintet * (1978)
In a Manor, opera after Stanisław Witkiewicz (1979-1980)
Es ist noch Nacht, noch ein Laut für Mezzosopran, Schlagzeug und Orchester (1980)
Traumvogel für Akkordeon und Schlagzeug * (1980)
String Quartet No. 2 "Wiosenny" * (1980)
An Evening in the Past for guitar, harpsichord and celesta * (1980)
Nocturne in Blue for violin and string orchestra (1981)
Icarus for bass clarinet or alto saxophone and marimbaphone or vibraphone (1981)
Talking to a Shadow for 2 accordions (1982)
Gemalte Wolken für Akkordeon solo (1982)
A Dream’s Just a Dream [1st version] for tenor and piano to words by Kazimierz Wierzyński * (1982)
A Dream’s Just a Dream [2nd version] for baritone and piano to words by Kazimierz Wierzyński (1982)
Epitaph [1st version] for 2 violins * (1982)
Four Trees with a Horn for wind quintet (1982)
Four on a Journey for saxophone quartet (1982)
Epitaph [2nd version] for violin and cello (1982/1999)
Rondo alla polacca for small orchestra (1983)
Sonnenlieder for mezzo-soprano, baritone, bass, choir and chamber ensemble (1983)
A Night of Farewells for accordion and string quartet (1983)
Three Polish Suites for solo accordion (1984)
Black Mirror for guitar and accordion (1984)
Labyrinth der vergessenen Blicke for cello and piano (1984)
Flooded Flame for violin, cello and accordion (1985)
A Garden of Desires for soprano, bass clarinet (and alto saxophone), percussion and accordion * (1985)
Arc-en-ciel for mandolin and Celtic harp (1985)
String Quartet No. 3 “Still Life with a Shriek” * (1985-1986)
A Journey into the Unspeakable for orchestra (1986)
A Suite of Songs and Dances for accordion (1986)
A Report from the Vienna Wood for vocal ensemble, piano (or accordion, or harpsichord) and 3 flutes (1986)
Quatuor à l’heure dite for strings (1986)
Grazer Variationen für Akkordeonsorchester (1987)
Sonata for violin and piano (“Forgetfulness Sonata”) * (1987)
Night Birds for clarinet quintet (1987)
Labyrinth for cello and accordion (1987)
Illusions and Desires for organ and percussion (1988)
Caleidoscope for accordion (1988)
In No-Man’s Land, oratorio (1988-1989)
String Quartet with Clarinet "On the Other Side of the Mirror" (1988/2003)
String Quartet with Flute "On the Other Side of the Mirror" (1988/2009)
Oboe Quintet "On the Other Side of Silence" (1988/2014)
A Ring of Shadows for saxophone quartet (1989)
Cha-ord for orchestra (1990)
Egad for accordion and vibraphone (1991)
Soundmill for accordion orchestra and percussion (1991)
Zwischenspiel for 2 pianos for 8 hands  (1991)
Konzert für Trompette und Orchester (1991/2005)
Requiem for orchestra (1992)
Mutationen 92' für Tonband (1992)
Trigonalia for guitar, accordion, percussion and chamber orchestra (1994)
String Quartet No. 4 “Le temps ardent” (1994)
Concertino for piano and chamber orchestra (1995)
A Dance on the Edge of Light for chamber ensemble (1995)
Night-Day, 5 songs for soprano and piano (1995)
Lost-Found for solo violin (1996)
Orpheus for baritone, violin and bells (1996)
In the Search of the Lost Sound for solo flute (1996)
A Landscape of Memories (Witold Lutosławski in memoriam) for violin, cello and piano (1996)
Hierophany for 5 percussionists (1996)
Tango for chamber ensemble (1997)
Slapstick for chamber orchestra * (1997)
Shrine for An Anonymous Victim, electronic music (1999)
Music for Children for piano (1999-2001)
Light Cross, electronic music (2000)
Tangoroso for piano for four hands (2000)
Flea Market [2nd version] for instrumental ensemble (2000)
Flea Market [1st version], a cycle of piano miniatures for 2 and 4 hands (2000/2015)
Towards Organic Geometry, electronic music (2001)
String Quartet No. 5 „Le temps qui n’est plus” (2001)
Le cristal flamboyant for harpsichord and tape (2002)
Jeux à trois for 3 accordions (2003)
Letter to Milena for soprano, violin and piano (2005)
Nocturne in Red and Blue for violin and string orchestra (2006)
String Quartet No. 6 “Dramatic” (2006)
Beyond the Horizon for choir, orchestra and tape (2008)
Make-Believes and Strange-States for small symphony orchestra (2009)
Non omnis... for chamber ensemble (2010)
Mystery of Space for symphony orchestra, choir and electronic tape (2010-2011)
Das schöne Zimmer for soprano, baritone and chamber ensemble (2011)
Hierofania II "decoupage" for percussion and small orchestra (2011-2012)
Schizophonia for string quartet and piano (2012)
Concerto for Piano, Percussion and Symphony Orchestra (2013/2016)

literatura wybrana

Dąbek Stanisław Zbigniew Bargielski’s Work, Ruch Muzyczny 1979 nr 5
Ledzińska Agnieszka, Przech Violetta Zbigniew Bargielski. Katalog tematyczny utworów [thematic catalogue, in Polish], Akademia Muzyczna im. Feliksa Nowowiejskiego / Uniwersytet Muzyczny Fryderyka Chopina, , Bydgoszcz - Warszawa 2012
Perkowska Małgorzata Bargielski Zbigniew In: PWM Music Encyclopaedia (biographical section ed. by Elżbieta Dziębowska), vol. „ab”, PWM, Kraków 1979
Podobińska Klaudia Bargielski Zbigniew in: Encyklopedia Muzyczna PWM (biographical section ed. by Elżbieta Dziębowska), vol. "ab - suplement”, PWM, Kraków 1998