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Henryk Czyż

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Henryk Czyż, b. June 16, 1923, in Grudziądz, d. January 16, 2003, in Warsaw; conductor, composer, and pedagogue. After his studies in Poznań under Walerian Bierdiajew he worked with the Poznań Opera and the Great Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio. He was two-time artistic director of the Łódź Philharmonic (in 1957-1960 and 1972-1980), and lead the Cracow Philharmonic in the years 1963-1967; he also fulfilled the role of general musical director in Düsseldorf. He devoted much attention to contemporary music, and collaborated with Krzysztof Penderecki among other composers, creating the first recordings of several of his works. In addition, he was a superb popularizer of music and author benefitting from the great popularity of the television program The Devil Isn't as Bad as He Seems and his many books on the subject of music.

On October 8, 1965, Henryk Czyż conducted the world premiere of Witold Lutosławski's Three Postludes at the Cracow Philharmonic. The performance took place on the twentieth anniversary of the PWM Edition celebratory concert, which was also a farewell to its retiring and meritorious director, Tadeusz Ochlewski. As Danuta Gwizdalanka and Krzysztof Meyer remind us, "The enthusiastic public exacted a repetition of the last [piece]". (The first Postlude received its premiere two years earlier in Geneva under Ernest Ansermet.) At the time, the Polish composer remarked: "The title Postludes fits these pieces also because they are the last which I wrote in a completely non-aleatoric convention". Later, Lutosławski did not particularly favour these compositions, although he admitted: "They were of certain service to me, because they were the first large-scale works in which I applied the results of my work on musical language".

kt / trans. mk