Grażyna Bacewicz, married to Biernacka (* 5.2.1909 Łódź – † 17.1.1969 Warsaw)
An outstanding Polish composer and violinist. She is one of the most eminent composers of the 20th century. She came from a Polish-Lithuanian family of musicians. From 1919 she studied at the Music Conservatory of Helena Kijeńska-Dobkiewiczowa in Łódź. In 1928-1932 she studied at the State Conservatory of Music in Warsaw in the composition class of Kazimierz Sikorski, the violin class of Józef Jarzębski and the piano class of Józef Turczyński. From 1932 she continued her studies at the École Normale de Musique in Paris with Nadia Boulanger (composition), André Tourret and Carl Flesch (violin). Winner of the 1st prize for composition at the International Competition for Composers (Paris 1933) and in Liège (1951, 1956), 3rd prize at the UNESCO International Composers’ Rostrum in Paris (1960), the Belgian Government award and gold medal at the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium in Brussels (1965). Until 1950, she performed as a violinist in Poland and abroad. As an excellent instrumentalist, she performed her compositions as a violinist and pianist. In 1935, she was awarded at the 1st International Violin Competition. H. Wieniawski. At the request of Grzegorz Fitelberg, in the years 1936-1938 she took the position of concertmaster of the Polish Radio Orchestra, with which she also performed as a soloist. She was a member of the Association of Young Polish Musicians in Paris. She was the President of the Polish Composers’ Union (1962-1969). Winner of many national decorations and awards. The artist’s additional interests were in writing. She is the author of the detective story “Sidła”.
Among the more important compositions are orchestral works, among others 4 symphonies, two Sinfoniettas (1929, 1935) and a Concerto (1948) for string orchestra, suites, overtures, Symphonic Variations (1957), Music for strings, trumpets and percussion (1958), Pensieri notturni (1961), Concerto for great orchestra symphonic (1962), Musica sinfonica in tre movimenti (1965), Divertimento for string orchestra (1965), Contradizione for chamber orchestra (1966), In una parte (1967), numerous compositions popular for Polish Radio.
Among the works for a solo instrument with orchestra, there are 7 for violin, 2 for cello, 1 for viola, 1 for piano and 1 for 2 pianos. Moreover, Polish Rhapsody for violin (1949). 7 string quartets, Quartetto per 4 violoncelli (1964), 2 piano quintets, Quintet for wind instruments, Trio for oboe, violin and cello (1935), Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon (1948), Trio for oboe, harp and percussion (1965), Inlays for French horn and chamber ensemble (1965).
Recorded by String Quartet No. 4 (1951) III part. Allegro giocoso performed by Szymanowski Quartet available here
For violin and piano, she wrote 5 sonatas, 4 caprices, 2 oberek, Mazowiecki Dance (1951), Polish Dance (1948), Slavic Dance (1952), Humoreska (1953), Lullaby (1952), Partita (1955), Easy Pieces in 1st position (1946), Easy Pieces (1949) and Concertino (1945) in 1st-3rd positions. Apart from that, pieces for solo violin, such as 3 sonatas, 2 caprices (including the popular Polish Caprice), and 4 capricci (1968).
Piano works include 3 sonatas, Theme with Variations (1924), Suite for Children (1933), Scherzo (1934), Preludes, Etudes, Toccata (1932), Concert Krakowiak (1949), Sonatina (1955), Little Triptych (1965) ) and Esquisse per organo (1966).
In her work, she also included vocal and instrumental works, which include songs for voice and piano, works for solo voices, choir and orchestra, incl. Cantata olimpijska (1948), cantata Akropolis for the 600th anniversary of the Jagiellonian University (after Akropolis by S. Wyspiański; 1964), radio opera Adventure of King Arthur (1960).
The ballets are represented by Z peasant king (1953-1954), Esik in Ostend (1964), and Desire (1968-1969).
Most of the manuscripts of Grażyna Bacewicz’s works are in the collection of the National Library in Warsaw. The full thematic catalog of works was published by Grażyna Briel: Thematisches Verzeichnis der Werke von Grażyna Bacewicz mit einem biographischen Essay (Aachen 2001). The bibliography on the composer is included in the PWM Music Encyclopedia (1979, supplement 1998) and in the monograph by Małgorzata Gąsiorowska Bacewicz (Kraków, PWM, 1999).
The artist’s discography is available at discogs.com.