Professor Paweł Łukaszewski, DMus Hab.

Paweł Łukaszewski

Prorector 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). (…)

last modified: 19/02/2018