Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

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Bolesław Woytowicz - biography


Bolesław Woytowicz, a Polish pianist and composer, was born on 5 December 1899 in Dunajowice (Podolia region), and died on 11 July 1980 in Katowice. He began his music lessons in 1913. Three years later he became a pupil of Aleksander Wielhorski in Kamieniec Podolski (1916-1917). He completed Slavic philology studies in Kiev, and law and mathematics in Warsaw. From 1920 to 1924 he attended Aleksander Michałowski's piano class, as well as Felicjan Szopski and Witold Maliszewski's composition classes at the Warsaw Conservatory. From 1929 to 1932 his musical education was enhanced in Paris under Nadia Boulanger. In the 1920s and 1930s he went on frequent tours of Europe and the United States. In 1927 he took part in the first International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, and in 1932 he won the second prize in the Kronenberg Composition Competition for his Piano Concerto. Despite the award, the composition was denounced by critics, and he soon destroyed the score. From 1924 to 1939 he taught piano and music theory at the Warsaw Conservatory. During the Nazi occupation, he organised concerts at his own café, which provided livelihood for many Polish artists. From 1945 until his retirement in 1975, he was the head of the piano and composition classes at The Higher State School of Music in Katowice. Between 1958 and 1961 he also lectured in composition at The Higher State School of Music in Warsaw, and between 1963-1979 he taught music editing at The Higher State School of Music in Krakow. He was a versatile pianist, who succeeded in every repertory. Thanks to his mathematical mind, he was able to understand the architectonics of the piece he was playing. He boasted a great pianistic technique, which enabled him to perform easily even the most difficult and the most complicated piano works. His wide-ranging repertoire included baroque, classical, romantic and modern pieces. His favourite recitals consisted of Beethoven's sonatas, Chopin's etudes, preludes and sonatas, Liszt's etudes, Hungarian rhapsodies and transcriptions, and the Sonata in B minor, Debussy’s Preludes, and Prokofiev's sonatas. Woytowicz was sometimes accused of being too intellectual instead of emotional in his interpretations. As a composer, he left three symphonies, two string quartets, three cantatas, Little Sonata, and two exquisite cycles of piano etudes (12 Etudes, 10 Etudes). For teaching and concert purposes, he edited and published several dozen pieces by Albéniz, Wilhelm F. Bach, Beethoven (all sonatas), Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Kurpiński, Liszt, Melcer, Moszkowski, Musorgsky, as well as chamber works with piano parts. He sat on the jury of International Chopin Competitions in 1937, 1949, 1960, 1965 and 1970. His pupils in the piano class included Irena Protasewicz, Monika Sikorska-Wojtacha, Maria Szraiber and Zbigniew Śliwiński, and in the composition class Tadeusz Baird, Wojciech Kilar, Witold Szalonek, Józef Świder, and Romuald Twardowski.

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