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Early Childhood

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Witold Lutosławski was born on the evening of January 25th, 1913 near the Warsaw Philharmonic. He was the third and youngest child of 33-year-old Maria Lutosławska (née Olszewska) and 32-year-old Józef Lutosławski. The couple already had two sons: nine-year-old Jerzy and four-year-old Henryk. Witold spent his childhood in the estate at Drozodowo near Łomża, which had belonged to his family for about 150 years.

The First World War interrupted the peaceful existence of the Drozdowo inhabitants. Seeking refuge from German troops, the Lutosławski family settled in Moscow in August 1915.

Active supporters of the fight for Poland’s independence, the family continued their political activity in Russia with tragic results for Józef and his brother, Marian. They were arrested by the Bolsheviks and executed in September 1918. Maria returned to liberated Poland as a widow with her three sons.

Before the advent of the radio and the phonograph, many used to sing and play music during work and for leisure – and so did the Lutosławski family. Quite early, little Witold was extremely sensitive to music. When he was six, his mother decided that he would have piano lessons and soon the boy started to compose simple pieces.