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Krzysztof Meyer's 70th Birthday

Polish composer Krzysztof Meyer, who now lives in Germany, will celebrate his 70th birthday on 11 August 2013.

Meyer studied at the Krakow Music Academy where his teachers included Krzysztof Penderecki. In addition, he repeatedly visited the legendary composition teacher Nadia Boulanger in Paris as well as Dmitri Shostakovich in Moscow, about whom Meyer later wrote an important biography. In 1981 he completed Shostakovich's unfinished opera “The Gamblers”. As a professionally trained pianist, he was for a time a member of the Polish “Ensemble for Contemporary Music MW2”, with which he also performed the premieres of several of his own works. For over twenty years, from 1966 until 1987, Meyer taught at the Krakow Music Academy, holding the chair for music theory, and was also Deputy to the Rector for a period of time. Meyer was Chairman of the Polish Composer's Union from 1985 until 1989. In 1987 he was appointed Professor of Composition at the State Academy of Music in Cologne, where he became professor Emeritus in 2008. From 2010 to 2012 he was Director of the European Music Academy in Bonn. Since 2011 he has been President of the Shostakovich Society in Germany. Alongside his activities as a composer, Meyer is also much in demand as a music theoretician.

During the 1960s, the composer was constantly searching for new forms of expression and timbres. His first symphonies and string quartets were composed during this period. Meyer experimented with twelve-tone technique, aleatoric music and collage, composing the opera “Cyberiad”, the revival of which in Poznań was a great success. “I worked on this opera,” Meyer, says, “at a time when avant-garde tendencies in Polish music were still very much alive. Aleatoric music, sonorism, bruitism and other traits that characterised the so-called Polish School at that time were completely natural and self-evident for me.”

During the 1970s Meyer then began to re-evaluate tradition, and has since occupied himself with classical genres including concertos, quartets, sonatas and also a Mass. Considerations concerning self-contained forms and the revival of melody have occupied the centre of his interests. A well-chosen, plastic form is important in order to encourage the listeners' comprehension. The culture of harmony, according to Meyer, has been in decline: “I am profoundly convinced that harmony must be reworked,” he has stated. In recent times, the principle of the formation of tonal centres has acquired a special importance for him. György Ligeti once said about Meyer: “He is, truly, an especially valuable composer-personality in whose talent I wholeheartedly believe.”

Meyer has received important composition commissions (from Polish Radio, the Lucerne Festival, Irish Radio and Television, the International Beethoven Competition in Bonn, the Ruhr Piano Festival Ruhr, KölnMusik and others) as well as numerous prizes and awards, including the Music Prize of the Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco, the Herder Prize of Vienna and the German Federal Cross of Merit with Ribbon.

Current news on the occasion of the jubilee:

World Premieres and Local Premiere Performances

11 January 2013
Düsseldorf, Tonhalle
World premiere: “Chansons d’un rêveur solitaire” for soprano and orchestra
Claudia Barainsky, Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra
Andrey Boreyko (direction)
Commissioned by the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra

25 May 2013
Poznań, Teatr Wielki
Polish premiere: Opera “Cyberiad” (Polish version)
Ran Arthur Braun (stage direction)
Krzysztof Słowinski (conductor)

21 August 2013
Gdańsk, Park Oliwski
World premiere: “Five Contradances for two Orchestras”
Orkiestra Feel Harmony
Lukasz Borowicz (direction)
Commissioned by the Mozart Festival in Gdańsk

28 September 2013
Gohrisch, International Shostakovich Days
World premiere: “Nehmt hin die Welt!” for mixed choir a cappella
Vocal Concert Dresden
Peter Kopp (direction)
Commissioned by the International Shostakovich Days in Gohrisch

4 October 2013
Poznań, Philharmonic
Polish premiere: “Chansons d’un rêveur solitaire” for soprano and orchestra
Olga Pasiecznik (soprano)
Poznań Symphony Orchestra
Andrey Boreyko (direction)

27 November 2013
Berlin, Polish Embassy
World premiere: sei intermezzi for piano
Marek Szlezer (piano)
Commissioned by the Warsaw National Philharmonic

31 January 2014
Düsseldorf, Tonhalle
World premiere: “Musique de la lumière et de la pénombre” for chamber orchestra
notabu. ensemble neue musik
Mark-Andreas Schlingensiepen (direction)
Commissioned by des notabu. ensemble neue musik

Special Events

25 June 2013
Portrait concert at the Bavarian Radio, Munich
(with members of the Munich Radio Orchestra)

Composer-in-residence with the Warsaw National Philharmonic
(including Symphony No. 8 “Sinfonia da requiem” under Antoni Wit)

New CDs

Ponte PRCD 1572
Concerto for guitar, timpani and string orchestra
(Łukasz Kuropaczewski, Jerzy Mackiewicz, “Amadeus” Chamber Orchestra of the Polish Radio; cond.: Agnieszka Duczmal)

DUX 0923
Piano works: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-3, Quasi una fantasia, Aphorisms
(Marek Szlezer)

New Sikorski Publications

SIK 1493
Sonata No. 1 for Piano

SIK 1494
Concerto for guitar, timpani and strings (piano reduction)

Updated work list


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