composer, cellist and conductor; b. 15th May 1926 in Kalisz; d. 1st August 2020. Son of Alfred Wiłkomirski, brother of Wanda and half-brother of Maria, Kazimierz and Michał. In the years 1936-1939 he attended the Helena Kijeńska-Dobkiewiczowa Music Conservatory in Łódź. In 1943-1944 he studied cello with his brother Kazimierz and Dezyderiusz Danczowski at the Staatliche Musikschule in Warsaw. During the war he fought as a soldier of the underground Home Army and took part in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. After the war, he studied history and archeology at the University of Łódź as well as conducting with Kazimierz Wiłkomirski, Zdzisław Górzyński and Włodzimierz Ormicki at the State Higher School of Music in Łódź (1946-49) and with Faustyn Kulczycki at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw (1949-50). In 1954-46 he continued his conducting studies with Walerian Bierdiajew.
From 1946 he was a cellist at the State Philharmonic Orchestra in Łódź and the orchestra of the Polish National Opera in Warsaw. In 1950-51 he was a conductor of the State Philharmonic in Kraków, and in 1954-57 of the State Philharmonic in Poznań. In the years 1957-71 he was the director and artistic director of the Szczecin Philharmonic. In 1978 he founded the Philharmonic in Wałbrzych and until 2005 he was its general and artistic director.
He devoted more than 55 years of his long artistic career to conducting. He has conducted over 1,600 concerts in 24 countries in Europe, Asia and America. He has conducted at all philharmonics in Poland, as well as at the Polish National Opera in Warsaw and the Wrocław Opera House. Since 1968, he has focused on composing. His works were performed in 14 countries in Europe, Asia and America.
He also popularized music on radio and television (about 100 broadcasts) and in the press, not only musical. He wrote about 400 articles and essays published in “Ruch Muzyczny”, “Polityka” and “Głos Szczeciński”. In the local "Wałbrzych Television" he ran his own weekly programme Uncensored, covering a variety of subjects. He has given over 300 lectures for various audiences. He is the author of over 70 musical fairy tales for preschool children, as well as several short and science-fiction stories.
He was one of the founding members of the Szczecin Society of Culture, then its vice-chairman, as well as the president of the Artistic Centre Development Association. In 1967 he became a delegate of the Szczecin Province to the Congress of Polish Culture.
Wiłkomirski is a laureate of many state awards and decorations, including the Gold Badge of the "Pomeranian Griffin" (1960), the Szczecin Music Award (1961), the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1963), the honorary badge "Meritorious Activist of Culture" (1967), the Award for Dissemination of Culture (1970), the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1979), the City of Wałbrzych Award (1979, 1999), the Lower Silesia Prize (1982), the Wałbrzych Award (1983), the Medal of the Commission of National Education (1984), the Warsaw Uprising Cross (1985), the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, 1st class (1986), the Special Badge of the "Child's Friend" (1993), Home Army Cross (1995), Veteran of the War of Independence Badge (1995), the Gold Badge Meritorious Activist of the Children's Friends Society (1998), Commander's Cross with the Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1998), the title "Meritorious to the Wałbrzych poviat" (2005), the title "Meritorious to the city of Wałbrzych" (2006). In 2014, he was awarded the medal and diploma on the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising in which he participated. In 2015, he was awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of the City of Kalisz.
The documentary film Four Temperaments [Cztery temperamenty] directed by Andrzej Papuziński was dedicated to the Wiłkomirski family. In September 2006, the Museum in Wałbrzych organized the exhibition "Józef Wiłkomirski – 80 years of life, 60 years of work". The composer's autobiography Years 1926-2006. Remembering not only music [Lata 1926-2006. Wspomnienia nie tylko muzyczne] was published in 2009.
updated: 2020 (ac)
Sonata for cello solo (1968)
Concerto for harp and chamber orchestra (1969)
Sinfonietta No. 1 for orchestra (1969)
The Adventures of Kacperek, symphonic fairy tale for reciter and symphony orchestra (1969)
Little suite for cello solo * (1970)
Sinfonietta No. 2 for orchestra (1970)
Stela 70 for symphony orchestra (1970)
Sonata for violin and piano (1971)
Sonata for cello and piano (1971)
Piano Trio (1971)
The Royal Castle in Warsaw, suite for symphony orchestra (1971)
Sonata for double bass and piano (1972)
Fairy-Tale of the Fair Prince, ballet-pantomime (1972)
Dance Suite for percussion quartet * (1972)
Concerto for four harps (1972)
Funeral Poem for symphony orchestra (1973)
Concerto for orchestra (1973)
Concertino for cello and orchestra (1974)
Sonata for viola and piano (1975)
Sonata for violin solo * (1975)
String Quartet (1975)
Love Songs [version I] for soprano and piano (1975)
September Alarm for soprano, baritone, reciter, choir and orchestra (1976)
Love Songs [version II] for soprano and orchestra (1976)
Isia i kosmoskrzaty, symphonic fairy tale for reciter and symphony orchestra (1993)
Obsession for symphony orchestra (1997)
Oberek for symphony orchestra (2001)
Suite Concertante for marimba and chamber orchestra (2005)