A composer representing modern Europe. Through his major works such as Musique Funèbre and Second Symphony, his works have had a powerful effect on the postwar music world. A new method of atonality, the distinctive "music of aleatory" and development of contemporary forms of musical expression have made him a master of music in the 20th century.
＊This category then was Category of Creative Arts and Moral Sciences.
Concerto for orchestra
Jeux Venitiens for orchestra
Trois Poemes d’Henri Michaux
Concerto for cello and orchestra
As a master of twentieth century music, Mr. Witold Lutoslawski is a modern European composer who has greatly influenced postwar music worldwide by introducing modern styles of musical expression, such as a new style of atonal music and unique style of “aleatory.”
Mr. Lutoslawski’s musical language begins with neoclassicism, and a work representative of his early years in Variations on a Theme by Paganini, written in 1941. Concerto for Orchstra, composed in 1954, employed a new expression unrestrained by tonality, which could be called a “counterpoint of atonality,” and while influenced by folk music, it attained an individual style transcending the realm of such folk music.
With the “thaw” of introduced in 1956 providing the momentum, Mr. Lutoslawski marked a decisive turning-point in his music with Musyka zalobra-Funeral Music, written in 1958. While the music appears to be based on a series of twelve tones, it is not necessarily so, being constructed of unique musical intervals and chords, resulting in a brilliant, well-balanced and complete structure. Furthermore, he adopted a style of “controlled aleatorism” in Venetian Games for Chamber Orchestra, written in 1961, which imbued the music with a positive significance rather than creating a mere confusion of sounds.
Thereafter, Mr. Lutoslawski continued to produce new works, represented by Second Symphony (1967), Cello Concerto (1970), and the Chain Series in the 1980s. While responding to the spirit of the age, he has actively pursued new realms in musical expression. The balanced coexistence of innovative technique and profound spirituality in his musical style not only creates a deep impression on the audience, it also demonstrates in the broadest terms the possible future of music, and serves as a fine example for modern musicians.
Since the 1960s, Mr. Witold Lutoslawski has actively engaged in musical activities worldwide, and as a twentieth-century composer representative not only of Europe but of the world, he is most eligible for the 1993 Kyoto Prize in Creative Arts and Moral Sciences.
To respond to the wish of the organizers of this meeting I will speak of my life and work. I was born on 25, January, 1913 in a family of landowners. In 1915 my family went to Russia, where I lost my father, executed by Bolsheviks. We returned to Poland in 1918. At the age of six, I began piano lessons. At eleven, I heard the 3rd Symphony of Szymanowski, which was a revelation. At fourteen I began to study composition with Witold Maliszewski, pupil of Timsky-Korsakoff. He didn’t accept my “too modern” Symphonic Variations, which I could complete only after my military service. In the Warsaw Conservatory I got diplomas for piano (1936) and composition (1937). In 1939 I took part in the war as commander of a military radio-station. The period of German occupation (1939-1945) I spent in Warsaw playing in cafes. In 1945 the Russians entered Poland. The country was under their domination for more than forty years. In 1948 the first performance of my First Symphony took place. I also composed some “functional” music (for schools, radio etc.), responding to strong needs of the devastated cultural life. I began working on my sound language. Between 1949 and 1955 was a very depressing period, during which only traditional music was performed. In 1956, however, an annual festival of contemporary music was inaugurated. It was only in 1966 that I was permitted to publish my music in England. Since then only have I been performed and known abroad. In 1963 I began to conduct publicly the concerts of my music in Europe, USA, and Australia. I explain why I haven’t yet composed an opera. I discuss the important question of for whom I compose music. It is connected with the ethics of a creative artist, whose work must be compatible with what he believes in, what is the true expression of his artistic convictions. The “ideal world” is the object of the work of a creative artist. The political changes in our part of Europe have an influence of supreme importance on my life and state of mind.