Remembering Poland’s Wojciech Kilar (1932-2013)

Remembering Poland’s outstanding pianist & composer Wojciech Kilar (1932-2013)

From the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago

Wojciech Kilar, Poland’s renowned pianist and composer of classical music and scores for many films, e.g. Roman Polanski’s Oscar-winning “The Pianist” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” died on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013 in Katowice.

Wojciech Kilar is considered one of the co-founders of the highly regarded Polish Composers’ School. He cooperated with many Polish and foreign film directors, including: Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Andrzej Wajda, Kazimierz Kutz, Krzysztof Zanussi, Jane Campion and Francis Ford Coppola.

Kilar composed scores for more than 100 masterpieces of the world cinema. His music for “Dracula” won him the Best Score Composer award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He also received the French national film award César for Roman Polanski Oscar-winning “The Pianist.”

For his outstanding contributions to the Polish culture he was awarded, among others, Poland’s highest decoration, The Order of the White Eagle from Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.

Wojciech Kilar was born in 1932 in Lvov, a then-Polish city, now in Ukraine. He spent his childhood in Rzeszow and Krakow in southern Poland before moving to Katowice in Poland’s region of Upper Silesia, where he lived most of his life and which he considered his “little homeland.” He was also deeply attached to Czestochowa where he often celebrated his birthdays.

Wojciech Kilar graduated with top honors from the State Music Academy in Katowice in 1955. He launched his career in the late 1950s. From the early 1960s he co-founded, together the renowned Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, the Polish avant-garde school and a new approach to musical composition in contemporary music called sonorism.

“Over the past half a century Wojciech Kilar’s symphonic, sacral and film music accompanied us nearly every day. Sometimes we are not aware that a well-known motif or theme was written by Wojciech Kilar. He was a widely admired artist,” said Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.

“Wojciech Kilar was a leading world-class composer. His works are characterized by quality, diversity and perfection,” said Bogdan Zdrojewski, Poland’s Minister for Culture and National Heritage.

“Poland has lost one of the most individual voices in 20th and 21st-century music,” said Jerzy Kornowicz, Chairman of the Polish Composers’ Union.

Wojciech Kilar will be buried in Katowice on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.

More at the Consulate’s website: www.chicago.mfa.gov.pl
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