Join the NFM for an evening of music by the lesser known Polish composers that instructed and inspired the celebrated Karol Szymanowski and Witold Lutosławski.
Zygmunt Stojowski, was a pianist, romantic composer and much sought-after pedagogue. He studied composition with Żeleński in Kraków, and piano and composition with Diémer and Delibes, respectively, while living in Paris. He was also a pupil of Paderewski, Saint-Saëns and Massenet. His early compositions draw elements from Wagner, Saint-Saëns and Franck while his later writing exhibits the harmonic and structural influence of French impressionism. Stojowski relocated to the United States in 1906, where he served as the head of the piano department at the New York Institute of Musical Art until 1912. Around 1918, he opened his own Stojowski Studios, due to the great demand of students who sought him as an instructor. During the summers of 1932 and again from 1940 to 1946, Stojowski served as a member of the summer school faculty at the Juilliard School Music, which had been established by the merging of IMA with the Juilliard Graduate School. Stojowski produced hundreds of pianists, many of whom led distinguished careers or became venerated piano teachers. One such pupil, Oscar Levant, wrote the following words about professor Stojowski:
However, a good deal of what I know of music and also what I feel about it owes its origin to Stojowski, who is not only a brilliant pedagogue but a warmly sympathetic human being. The several years I spent studying piano in New York with him remain among the most profitable and worth remembering of my life. He provided the best summation of that period when he asked me what music I was going to play at a student recital for which he was preparing the program. "I think I'll play Debussy's Reflets dans l'eau or Poissons d'or," I answered. He looked at me intently for a moment and then said, "Your piano playing is not improving but your French is."
Witold Maliszewski earned a degree in medicine at St Petersburg University before studying composition at Saint Petersburg Conservatory under Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1913, he founded and served as the first director of the Odessa Conservatory, where he taught composition, harmony and counterpoint. In 1921, he relocated to Warsaw where he became the director of the Chopin School. He was appointed the head of the music department at the Polish Ministry of Culture and he served as Chairman of the First International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition, in 1927. The following year, he was a prizewinner in the Geneva competition for a finale to Schubert's Symphony no.8. Maliszewski was one of the founders of the Chopin Institute, in 1934 and served on the faculty of the Warsaw Conservatory between 1931 and 1939. His students include Witold Lutosławski, Mykola Vilinsky, Shimon Shteynberg, Boleslaw Woytowicz, Feliks Roderyk Łabuński and Feliks Rybicki.
Zygmunt Noskowski was born in Warsaw in 1846. He studied at the Warsaw Music Institute under Apolinary Kątski and Stanisław Moniuszko and then in Berlin with F. Kiel and R.F. Wuersta. Between 1875 and 1880 he was based in Konstanz, where he served as director of the Bodan singing society and music school. He returned to Warsaw in 1881, serving as the director of the Warsaw Music Society until 1902. In 1888 he became professor of composition at the Music Institute. From 1905 to 1908 he was director and conductor of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and from 1907 was also director of the opera.
Noskowski is one of the most important Polish composers of the latter half of the 19th century, during which he taught a generation of Polish composers including Karol Szymanowski and Grzegorz Fitelberg. The main characteristic of his style is an emphasis on contrapuntal techniques. His musical language is conservative and his symphonic and chamber works are based on Classical cyclic forms. Noskowski made extensive use of folk melodies and his composition Step was the first symphonic poem in Polish music.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator