prof. dr hab.
Vice-Rector for Scholarly Affairs
Composer; born on 1968 in Częstochowa. Son of a composer, Wojciech Łukaszewski. In 1968 he graduated with honours from the State Secondary Music School in Częstochowa. He studied at the Academy of Music in Warsaw in the period of 1987–1992, class of Professor Andrzej Wróbel and in the period of 1991–1995, class of composition of Professor Marian Borkowski (diploma with the highest grade). In 1994 he also completed the Management of Culture Course at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, and in 1996 he completed a two-year Postgraduate Choirmaster Course at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz (diploma with the highest grade). During his studies he also participated in many specialist courses, e.g. the Computer Music Course in Warsaw (1992), Summer Courses for Young Composers in Kazimierz Dolny (1992, 1993), Contemporary Music Course in Krakow (1993) and Music Computer Graphics Course in Warsaw (1993–95).
Paweł Łukaszewski is active as an organizer of music life. Since 1992 he has held the function of Chairman of the “Musica Sacra” association. In the period of 1992–93 he was Secretary of the Youth Circle of the Polish Composers’ Union, and since 1995 he has been Secretary of the Board of “The Laboratory of Contemporary Music”. In 2001 he held the function of Editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine “Muzyka 21”.
His works have been performed in such countries as France, Germany (the “Unerhörtemusik” festival in Berlin), Italy (Festival Internazionale di Musica Contemporanea “Musica Viva” in Rome), Belgium, Monaco, Great Britain, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Canada (the 5th Edmonton New Music Festival), the USA, China and in Poland (on such festivals as: the Sacred Music Festival “Gaude Mater” in Częstochowa, “The Young composers’ Forum” in Krakow, “Music in the Old Krakow”, “Wratislavia Cantans”, “The Laboratory of Contemporary Music” in Białystok, “Warsaw Music Meetings”, “Legnica Cantat”, “Conversatorium of the Organ Music” in Legnica, “Days of Music by Ryszard Bukowski” in Wrocław).
His works have been recorded on over 50 CDs. In 1999 his composition Winterreise for string orchestra (1993) was presented by the National Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio conducted by Jerzy Maksymiuk on the prestigious concert The Last Night of the Proms in Krakow, which was held under the patronage of the Prince of Kent.
Many times he was awarded with scholarships: Scholarship of the Office of the City of Częstochowa (1993), the Union of Stage Artists and Critics Scholarship (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007), Scholarship of the Professor Bogdan Suchodolski Foundation in Warsaw (1995) and Scholarship of the Fund for Promotion of Creative Activity attached to the Minister of Culture and Art (1996).
For his compositions Łukaszewski has been awarded with numerous prizes and honorary mentions, e.g. in 1988 – a honorary mention at the Academic Community Competition in Krakow for Modlitwa (Prayer) for the mixed choir a capella (1988), in 1994 – the 2nd Prize at the Young Composers’ Forum in Krakow for Winterreise and an honorary mention at the Tadeusz Baird Young Composers’ Competition for Arrampicata for orchestra (1992), and in 1995 – the 1st Prize funded by Orfeo – Bogusław Kaczyński’s Foundation at the Competition of the Academy of Music in Warsaw, also for Arrampicata, in 1996 – the 2nd Prize at the 5th Adam Didur Composer’s Competition in Sanok for Recordationes de Christo moriendo for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra (1996), in 1998 – the 2nd Prize at the 27th International Competition Florilege Vocal de Tours in France for Dwa motety wielkopostne (Two Lenten Motets) for mixed choir a capella (1995), and in 2003 – tho 3rd ex aequo Prizes for the Composers’ Competition “Pro Arte” in Wrocław. He was also honoured with the Award of the President of the City of Częstochowa for his compositions (1995), Medal for Achievements and Chancellor’s Award of the Baltic Higher School of Humanities in Koszalin (1998), Honorary Emblem for Merits for the Koszalin Voivodship, the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1998) and the Brother Albert Award (2006), the Gloria Artis Medal of Merit for Culture (2011), the Award from the Primate of Poland (2011), and the Fryderyk Award — Artist of the Year (2013), Orphee d’Or (2014).
From 1996 to 2001 Paweł Łukaszewski worked as Assistant at Chair of Composition of the Academy of Music in Warsaw, where in 2000 he obtained the academic title of doktor (DA), and in 2006 he obtained a post-doctoral degree (doktor habilitowany) in composition. Since December 2010 he has held the post of Professor. In 2014 received the title of Professor of Musical Arts.
Review of the concert of 8th March 2002 by Stanisław Olędzki:
During Lent the Way of the Cross services are celebrated in Catholic churches. Hence, it is not surprising that the first performance of such a mass composed by Paweł Łukaszewski, master of contemporary church music, gathered a full concert hall at the Philharmonic. Nobody could dream of a better programme at that time. (…) All music pieces by Łukaszewski should be regarded as the perfect setting for special church ceremonies. And if today there was any sense in imposing any individual style upon the contemporary sacred works it is Paweł Łukaszewski I would point to, represented by his numerous sacred compositions, including Via Crucis. If only such music, or at least with a similar quality, could we hear in our churches more often… (…)
Despite his young age Łukaszewski has great achievements, especially in the area of choral music, in which he moves freely, shaping the substance according to the truth of his own style, nature of the language and enormously expressive passages. Such features of skills are usually obtained in the phase of one’s full creative maturity, after many years of work. Łukaszewski achieved them a long time ago, which proves the uncommon scale of his talent.
Łukaszewski’s Via Crucis is a composition lasting 56 minutes. It is developed on the basis of a mega-rondo, i.e., a great rondo, in which each of the fourteen Stations is preceded and closed with similar music (like in a refrain), consisting of the formula of the name of the Station (choral male voices), invocation: We bow down before Thee … (choral female voices), and at the end the lamentation You who suffered wounds for us … (choral female voices) and instrumental interludes, which in my opinion symbolize the passages between the Stations (on the background of low drones of the brass we hear the hasty steps, almost tangled, chanted sounds of flutes, oboes and clarinets). There are more such “talking sounds” in this music (see below). To the moments consolidating the form I would also include the strokes (from one to fourteen), which are recognized by the listener from the third or the fourth one as a peculiar numbering of the Stations and later on he just waits for them like for something permanent. I have not seen the score but I think that also the above mentioned “permanent” elements of the piece are subtly varianted in their texture and means of expression, creating a peculiar “variety of the unity”. The strongest difference could be easily noticed in the Stations of taking off the Cross and putting in the grave (calmed dynamics in the choruses of passages between the Stations and in the strokes “numbering” these Stations).
In works such as Via Crucis one can notice many elements of archaization of the composer’s language – lack of them would arouse justified suspicions. Only in sound aspect of the piece they are numerous drones emphasizing the severity of the harmonic climate (as if taken from the early organum by Hucbald and Guidon of Arezzo), frequently used austere sound of the brass and the high-pitched, almost medieval “pipes” (flutes, oboes, clarinets in passages between the Stations) and general harshness (bitterness) of the sound; in its melodic aspect – austere recitatives and melodeclamations similar to synagogue singing (especially in Station 8 and 13); in the choral texture – the opposition: female voices vs male voices similar to the old antiphonal singing (in all “refrain” choral parts, also in some “plot” parts, e.g. Stations 3, 7). The composer deliberately referred to the practice of rhetorical figures by “visualising” his sound language to the maximum, thanks to which he achieved such vivid pictures as in the following Stations: Station 3 (the sequence of invocations of individual voices of the choir a capella with prolonged last syllables to the form of drones), Station 7 (exclamations depicting moans and sighs of the tortured Christ), Station 9 (“wandering” sounds depicting the words of Isaiah All we like sheep have gone astray), Stations 10 and 11 (culmination of tortures by crucifixion has its equivalent in the dramatic movement in music, quivering of the choral and the orchestral texture), in the Stations of dying, taking off the Cross and putting in the grave – the music is thinning down, freezing (“death”). Moreover, in this last Station of the Way of the Cross we are struck by the melody of the sad carol and lullaby Jezus malusieńki. This quotation probably symbolizes the rebirth to the new life in the moment of death of the body). Such quotations are justified from the point of view of expression, form, idea, as well as theory (as the so-called “locus exemplorum”). They have become tradition of the Polish music , e.g. the carol Silent night in Symphony No. 2 (Christmas Symphony), the song Święty Boże, Święty mocny… in the Polish Requiem (Recordare), Boże, coś Polskę… in Te Deum by Penderecki, quotations in music by H.M. Górecki (Old Polish Music, Symphonies No. 2 and 3), Wojciech Kilar (Krzesany, Siwa mgła [Hoary Fog], Bogurodzica [Mother of God]) and others.
If in these “refrain” parts the composer deliberately imposed the self-limiting discipline on himself, in the fourteen Stations and the fifteenth one, which plays the role of a coda, we could witness and, more importantly, experience the growing dramatic tension of the piece, reaching its apogee in the Stations on the Golgotha (10–14) and the final Station 15 (the Resurrection). Despite the generally accepted assumption of some asceticism, or perhaps because of it (by saying little we can say much more than saying much), we are so preoccupied with the plot that we do not feel bored for a single moment. It happens because the composer knows the arcane of psychology and perception of large (long) forms and he has worked out his own set of formal means. Using the refrain fragments, seemingly the same but always a little different, he sort of deletes all that happened from our memory, leaving the listener before a new piece after each Station. In my perception, such “reset” function in a sense had the amorphous fragment of passing from Station to Station. In the fundamental “plot” fragments (eleven times based on the Gospel, three times based on the Book of Isaiah) the musical plot is very reach and varied: from quite ascetic passages based only on the narration parts (spoken or melodeclaimed), through choral Stations a cappella, to the very dramatic ones, using the rich choral and orchestral apparatus (Stations 10, 11 and 15). (…)