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Jerzy Maksymiuk,

conductor, composer and pianist, b. 9th April 1936 in Grodno (now Grodna in Belarus). He studied composition with Piotr Perkowski (degree in 1962), piano with Jerzy Lefeld (degree in 1964) and conducting with Bogusław Madey (degree in 1969) at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw.

Winner of numerous music competitions: in 1961, 1st prize in the National Ignacy Jan Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz; in 1962 – 1st prize in the National Competition for Improvisers in Katowice. He was also awarded in competitions for composers: the Artur Malawski Competition in Cracow and the Grzegorz Fitelberg Competition in Katowice.

In 1970-72, he was a conductor in the Grand Theatre in Warsaw, on whose Side Stage he presented world premieres of Zbigniew Bargielski’s Little Prince, Bernadetta Matuszczak’s Juliet and Romeo, and the Polish Ballets with music by Witold Lutosławski, Zbigniew Turski, and Krzysztof Penderecki, as well as as his own composition - Metaphrases (1971). In 1972, he started conducting his new orchestra, formed in Warsaw Chamber Opera, which in 1973 took the name of Polish Chamber Orchestra and soon gained international acclaim. In 1984, the orchestra was transformed into Sinfonia Varsovia. In 1973, Maksymiuk began to conduct the Great Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio, with which he toured Austria, and in 1974 and 1976 – the USA. In 1975-77, he was the principal conductor and artistic director of this orchestra.

The success of his first tour with Polish Chamber Orchestra in 1977, particularly in Britain, brought Maksymiuk a recording contract with EMI, and numerous appearances with British orchestras: London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He also performed as guest conductor with such orchestras as: Israel Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In 1979, he conducted Polish Chamber Orchestra in New York’s Carnegie Hall, and in 1981 he took the orchestra on a grand concert tour of Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Germany. In 1983-93 he was the director of BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow, an orchestra which he conducted also in Poland – in Cracow, Wrocław, Bydgoszcz and Warsaw, and twice during the “Warsaw Autumn” Festival: in 1985 (performing works by Iannis Xenakis, Igor Stravinsky, Zbigniew Penherski) and in 1987 (with compositions by, among others, Augustyn Bloch, Witold Lutosławski, Arvo Pärt). In 1990, Maksymiuk made his debut at the BBC Proms in Royal Albert Hall in London. He also started conducting the English National Opera, in which he prepared the premieres of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni(1991) and Johann Strauss’s The Bat (1993). His work in Great Britain, highly acclaimed by the critics, earned him many prestigious titles: in 1990 – an honorary doctorate of Strathclyde University in Glasgow, in 1993 – the honorary title of Conductor Laureate by BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Jerzy Maksymiuk is a distinguished promoter of contemporary music. For many years,he was a co-author of the “Warsaw Autumn” Festival, where he served on the Programme Committee. On his initiative, many works were written specially for the Polish Chamber Orchestra.

He has recorded around 100 albums for prestigious labels, including EMI (13 CDs), Hyperion and Naxos. Many of them were honored with such awards as Wiener Floeten Uhr for the interpretations of works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with Polish Chamber Orchestra (1982), twice the Gramophone Award: in 1993 – for The Confession of Isobel Gowdie by James MacMillan (EMI) and in 1995 – for Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3 by Nicolas Medtner (Hyperion). In Poland, his recordings were awarded the Fryderyk Award of the Phonographic Academy: the album with Henryk Mikołaj Górecki's works recorded with Sinfonia Varsovia, J. Olejniczak, A. Kruszewski (BeArTon, 2003), the album with Witold Lutosławski's works recorded with Sinfonia Varsovia, J. Olejniczak, O. Pasiecznik (BeArTon, 2004), the album with Mieczysław Karłowicz's works recorded with Sinfonia Varsovia and A. Szymczewska (BeArTon, 2009). In 2011, the Phonographic Academy honored him with the Golden Fryderyk. The Elgar Society awarded him the prestigious gold medal for popularizing Edward Elgar's music.

As a film music composer, Jerzy Maksymiuk made his debut in the student years. He wrote music for about 200 documentary and feature films, including The Hourglass sanatorium directed by Wojciech Has. He wrote music for the silent film Mania starring Pola Negri, which was performed live in 2012 with the screening of the film in London, Madrid, Paris, Kiev, Berlin and Warsaw.

In 2018, a documentary Maksymiuk. Concero for two, directed by Tomasz Drozdowicz and based on a screenplay by Maria Nockowska, won the audience award for the best documentary film at the Warsaw Film Festival. In the same year Maestro was granted Honorary Membership of ZAiKS Association of Authors. He is also a member of the Phonographic Academy (classical music section).

In 2019, the Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC published a monographic CD of Jerzy Maksymiuk's works (co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Culture Promotion Fund under the "Music Trail" programme implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance; project partners: Polish Radio S. A. and Repliq Media Sp.z o.o.)

For many years of artistic activity Jerzy Maksymiuk has been repeatedly honored with important awards, such as: the Prime Minister's Award for works for children and youth (1971), the Award of the Chairman of the Radio and Television Committee (1976), the Award of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (1979), Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1998), Gold Medal for Merit to Culture  Gloria Artis (2005), Diamond Baton of the Polish Radio (2006), SuperWiktor Award (2007), Honorary Pearl of the Polish Economy in the Culture category, awarded by the Polish Market magazine (2013), Golden Scepter award of the Polish Culture Foundation (2014). In 2016, the artist celebrating his 80th birthday was awarded the Polonia Minor award and the Medal of the 70th anniversary of the Cracow Philharmonic. Jerzy Maksymiuk is an Honorary Citizen of the City of Bialystok and a winner of the 2017 Coryphaeus of Polish Music Award in the "Honorary Award" category. In 2017, he received the title of doctor honoris causa of the University of Białystok. In 2019, he was awarded by President Andrzej Duda the Medal of the 100th Anniversary of Regaining Independence.

updated: 2020 (ac)

Artist's official website: www.jerzymaksymiuk.pl


Jerzy Maksymiuk’s brilliant conducting career is connected mainly with Polish Chamber Orchestra, which he led from itsearliest beginnings in 1972. He brought this ensemble of twenty four string instrument players to the summit of performing mastery, and endowed the ensemble with a unique artistic individuality. His work with Polish Chamber Orchestra became the subject of numerous anecdotes. He was an extremely demanding boss, who made every musician work at full capacity at all times. Orchestra members who did not live up to his standards were replaced without remorse. There was no end to rehearsals. Still, once the ensemble started performing publicly, it caused a genuine sensation. Maksymiuk presented a new quality of style and sound. He paid special attention to articulation, which refreshed and radically rejuvenated the orchestral sound, endowing it with unusual energy, clarity and flexibility. He individualised the orchestral sound, giving every instrument an important role in the total sound image. He abandoned the traditional phrasing of the Romantic era and revolutionised the dynamics. Most of all, he shocked the audiences with fast tempos, which he pushed to the limit of performing capacities. Polish Chamber Orchestra was a typical string orchestra, the musicians played ordinary instruments, but Maksymiuk’s new aesthetic models approximated to the so called “authentic” performance, aiming at reconstructing original performing styles from different periods. Today “authenticity” has become an important part of music life worldwide, but in the early 1970s the attempts at reviving the original performing practices in early music were still in the trial phase. Maksymiuk followed the model of the enormously successful Academy of St. Martin in the Fields conducted by Neville Marriner, an ensemble quite similar to Polish Chamber Orchestra. In Poland, the orchestra gained recognition after a 1973 concert in the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, when it performed, among others, the 17th-century Tamburetto by Adam Jarzębski – a performance which in those days became a genuine revelation. Also unusual and, at that time, highly controversial, were the interpretations of Mozart’s works. Maksymiuk’s orchestra soon became specialised in Vivaldi’s music. Before long, the ensemble won international fame, which was borne out by a whole series of recordings for the leading European record company EMI. The orchestra’s discography included European works from various periods: Vivaldi’s compositions with the famous Four Seasons, Mozart and Rossini, as well as works by Polish composers: Jarzębski, Janiewicz, Baird and Górecki. The conductor and his orchestra were highly praised by Neville Marriner himself. In 1979, Polish Chamber Orchestra played in the celebrated Carnegie Hall in New York.
In 1983, Jerzy Maksymiuk became the director of BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow, and a year later the extended Polish Chamber Orchestra changed its name to Sinfonia Varsovia and found a new conductor in the person of Yehudi Menuhin. Maksymiuk gave performances with this old-new ensemble only sporadically. When asked (in an interview for “Studio” music magazine) why he had abandoned his ensemble, he explained: “we could not work so intensively any longer. And besides, if one spends too much time with the same people, things begin to go wrong. Another thing – the repertoire of chamber music is limited. I was asked all the time to conduct serenades by Tchaikovsky and Dvořak, Britten’s Variations and Bartók’s Divertimento. Our interpretations were excellent, every note was really mine, but how long can one play the same things? Now I am a symphony conductor, not a chamber musician”. (“Studio” 1992 No. 1)


String Trio (1966)
Level II for female voice and chamber ensemble (1966)
Continuum for piano (1966)
Episodes for chamber orchestra (1967)
Divertimento for orchestra (1967)
Momenti for chamber orchestra (1968)
Mouvements I-III for 2 pianos and 2 percussions (1968)
Fortuna fortes adiuvant for children’s choir and 2 orchestras (1968)
Capriccio for 6 violins and cello or double-bass * (1969)
Impromptus II for flute, violin, viola, cello and piano (1969)
Harmonia nattura for choir and instrumental ensemble (1969)
Metaphors for orchestra (1970)
L’action for orchestra (1970)
Capriccio for 6 violins and cello or double bass (1970)
Animations II for violin and piano (1971)
Metaphrases, a ballet (1971)
Decet for instrumental ensemble (1971)
Habrokomes and Antia, a ballet (1972)
In medio vero omnium resident sol, a ballet (1972)
Ballad for strings (1978)
Dawn for voice and instrumental ensemble (1998)
Arbor vitae, oratorio for solo voices, choir and orchestra (2002, 2006)
Intermezzo pastorale for orchestra (2002, 2006)
Red Moon, song cycle for soprano and orchestra (2004)
Whispers and a Cry of Dreams for cello solo and chamber orchestra (2005)
Concerto for two violins (2006)
Preludes for piano (2006)
Four Colours for two violins and orchestra (2006)
Paderewski in memoriam for piano and orchestra (2007)
Strings of Life for chamber orchestra (2007)
Norwidiana, symphonic poem for 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano and orchestra (2008)
Music for flute, harp and string orchestra (2008)
…jeno lotom nie wzbraniaj... for organ and orchestra (2008)
Ave verum for choir (2009)
Sea Fanfares for orchestra (2009)
Notturno per archi "Leaves Falling Here and There" for string orchestra (2010)
Music for tube and brass instruments (2010)
Vivaldi in Boston for baroque orchestra (2011)
Lament of the Heart. Kielce in memoriam for two clarinets, timpani, piano, female voice and strings (2012)
Adagio for string orchestra (2012)
Thoughtfully, Adagio for strings and piano (2012-2013)
Dedication for string orchestra (2013-2014)
Goldwasser Suite. Tribute to Gdańsk for symphony orchestra (2014)
Vers per archi (2015)


Mozart Symphony in C major KV 200, Purcell Suite from "The Fairy Queen" no. 1, Telemann "Don Quixote" Suite - Polskie Nagrania, SXL 1071 LP (1974)
Bartók Divertimento for string orchestra, Lidholm Music for strings - Polskie Nagrania, SX 1437 LP (1976)
Bacewicz Concerto for string orchestra, Górecki Three Pieces in an Old Style, Jarzębski Tamburetta, Chromatica, Canzona Quatra, Anonyme 16th c. Duma - Polskie Nagrania, SX 1254 LP (1977)
Baird Colas Breugnon, Górecki Three Pieces in an Old Style, Janiewicz Divertimento, Jarzębski Tamburetta and Chromatica - EMI-Electrola, 1C 065-30 735 Q LP (1977)
Mozart Divertimento in F major KV 247, Symphonies in B flat major KV 137 and F major KV 138 - EMI, 2C 069 02972 Quadro LP (1978)
Rossini Sonatas for strings nos. 2-5 - EMI, ASD 3464 LP (1978)
Rossini Sonaty na smyczki nr 2-5 - EMI, SQ-1 60351 LP (1978)
Bach Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 BWV 1046-51 - EMI, ASD 3658-9 LP (1979)
Tchaikovsky Serenade in C major op. 48, Dvořak Serenade in E major op. 22 - EMI, 1C 039 1436371 LP (1979)
Haydn Symphonies in E minor No. 44 and F sharp minor No. 45 - EMI, 2C 069 03765 LP (1979)
Haydn Symphonies in B flat major No. 56 and G major No. 47 - EMI, 2C 069 03438 LP (1979)
Haydn Symphonies in C major No. 48 and F minor No. 49 - EMI, 1C 063 03436 LP (1979)
Vivaldi “The Four Seasons” Violin Concertos op. 8 No. 1-4 - EMI, 1C 063 03707 LP (1979)
Tchaikovsky Serenade in C major op. 48, Grieg Holberg Suite op. 40, Two Elegiac Melodies op. 34 - EMI, ESD 7084 LP (1980)
Mozart Piano Concertos in A major KV 414 and C major KV 467 - Polskie Nagrania, SX 1954 LP (1980)
Mozart Piano Concertos in B flat major KV 456 and C major KV 503 - Polskie Nagrania, SX 2066 LP (1980)
Mozart Piano Concerto in D minor KV 466 - Polskie Nagrania, SX 2067 LP (1980)
Bach Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 BWV 1046-51 - Polskie Nagrania, SX 2069-70 LP (1981)
Dvořak Serenade in E major op. 22, Suk Serenade in E flat major op. 6 - EMI, 1C 065 43 049 LP (1981)
Mendelssohn Symphonies for string orchestra Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6 - EMI, ESD 7123 LP (1981)
Mozart Piano Concertos in E flat major KV 449 and B flat major KV 450 - Polskie Nagrania, SX 1982 LP (1982)
Mozart Piano Concertos in E flat major KV 449 and A major KV 414 - EMI, C 069 46437 LP (1982)
Rossini Sonatas for strings Nos. 1-6, Overtures to operas: Signor Bruschino, The Silken Ladder, La cambiale di matrimonio, L’inganno felice - EMI, 1C 157-43 296-97 T 2 LP (1982)
Vivaldi Violin Concertos in C major op. 8 no. 6 RV 180, in C minor RV 199, in E flat major op. 8 no. 5 RV 253, in B flat major op. 8 no. 10 RV 362, in D major op. 8 no. 11 RV 210 - EMI, ASD 143442 1T LP (1982)
Corelli Concerto grosso in G minor op. 6 no. 8, Locatelli Concerto grosso in F minor op. 1 no. 8, Manfredini Concerto grosso in C major op. 3 no. 12, Torelli Concerto a quattro in G minor op. 8 no. 6 - EMI, ED 2700221 LP (1983)
Leclair Violin Concertos in D minor op. 7 no. 1, in A minor op. 7 no. 5, Tartini Violin Concertos in D major D.36 and C major D.12 - EMI, 1C 067 14 3644 1LP (1983)
Mozart Piano Concertos in C major KV 415 and B flat major KV 456 - Ades, 14042 LP (1983)
Mozart Piano Concertos in C major KV 246 and E flat major KV 271 - EMI, 27 0071 1 LP (1984)
Vivaldi Concertos in A major for two violins and orchestra op. 3 no. 5 RV 519, G minor for two cellos and orchestra RV 531, Violin Concerto in D major F.1 no. 30, Sinfonia in C major RV 192a - Savitor, SVT 010 LP (1984)
Bach Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in C major BWV 1061, Haendel Concerti grossi in G major op. 6 no. 1 and D minor op. 6 no. 10, Mozart Divertimento in D major KV 136 - Polskie Nagrania, SX 1607-08 2LP (1985)
Bartók Divertimento for string orchestra, Britten Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge op. 10 - Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm, MD+G G 1180 DDD (1985)
Mozart Piano Concertos in D major KV 451 and B flat major KV 238 - Aperto, APO 86 108 LP (1985)
Mozart Piano Concerto in E flat major KV 482, Concert Rondo in D major KV 382 - Aperto, APO 86 107 LP (1985)
Palester Concerto for saxophone and string orchestra - Proviva, ISPV 136 LP (1986)
Vivaldi Violin Concertos in E major op. 3 no. 12 RV 265, A minor op. 3 no. 6 RV 356, D minor op. 8 no. 7 RV 242, G major op. 3 no. 3 RV 310, C major op. 8 no. 12 RV 178 ... - EMI, CDC 74 7958 2 DDD (1986)
Mozart Piano Concerto in E flat major KV 482, Concert Rondo in D major KV 382 - Polskie Nagrania, SX 2558 LP (1988)
Bacewicz Divertimento for strings, Pensieri notturni, Concerto for orchestra, Concerto for viola and orchestra, Concerto for two pianos and orchestra - Olympia, OCD 311 AAD (1988)
Mozart Piano Concertos in D minor KV 466 and A major KV 488 - Polskie Nagrania, PNCD 077 DDD (1990)
Ptaszyńska La novella d'inverno for strings - Polskie Nagrania, PNCD 075 (1991)
Ptaszyńska Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra, Songs of Despair and Loneliness for voice and piano, La Novella d'Inverno (Winter's Tale) for strings - Polskie Nagrania, PNCD 075 ADD (1991)
Bacewicz Sonata no. 4 for violin and piano, Piano Sonata no. 2, Concerto for String Orchestra, Violin Concerto nr 7 - Olympia, OCD 392 ADD (1993)
Szymanowski, Górecki, Baird - EMI, 7243 5 75670 2 2 ADD (2002)
Bartók Divertimento for string orchestra, Britten Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge op. 10 - Savitor - SVT 019 LP (br)
Corelli Concerto grosso in G minor op. 6 no. 8, Locatelli Concerto grosso in F minor op. 1 no.8, Manfredini Concerto grosso in C major op. 3 no. 12, Torelli Concerto a quattro in G minor op. 8 no. 6 - EMI, CD-EMX 2140 ADD (br)
Mozart Divertimento in D major KV 136, Serenades in G major KV 525 "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" and D major KV 136 "Serenata notturna" - EMI, 1C 067 43264 T LP (br)
Mozart Piano Concertos in C major KV 246 and E flat major KV 271 - EMI, CDM 7 69512 2 DDD (br)
Mozart Piano Concertos in E flat major KV 449 and A major KV 414 - EMI, CDC 7 49174 2 DDD (br)
Mozart Symphonies in B flat major KV 182, E flat major KV 184 and D major KV 202 - Polskie Nagrania, SX 1447 LP (br)

literatura wybrana

Beethoven, władca natury [Beethoven, the Ruler of Nature. A Conversation with Jerzy Maksymiuk], „Muzyka21” 2004 nr 4, s. 20-21
Moim instrumentarium jest orkiestra [The Orchestra Is My Instrument. Marta Ługowska’s Conversation with Jerzy Maksymiuk], „Studio” 1992 nr 1, s. 4-6
Neuer Adam Maksymiuk Jerzy 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
Piasecka Ewa (opr.) Maksymiuk na maksa [Maksymiuk to the Full], Mondo Świat Literacki, Izabelin 2002