Charles Bodman Rae

Charles Bodman Rae (b. 1955) — English composer, pianist, conductor, and musicologist, Lutosławski scholar, presently Professor at the Elder Conservatorium of Music at the University of Adelaide.

He studied composition and conducting in Oxford and Cambridge. His fascination with the music of Witold Lutosławski gave birth to the idea of studying at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw (1981-1983). His intensive contact with Lutosławski and research into his compositions resulted after around a dozen years in a doctorate about the latter’s compositional technique (Pitch Organization in the Music of Witold Lutosławski since 1979, University of Leeds, 1992). A monograph by Rae, titled The Music of Lutosławski, was published in 1994 (Faber & Faber; the Polish edition appeared in a translation by Stanisław Krupowicz, Muzyka Lutosławskiego, PWN, 1996). Moreover, Rae is author of the entry about the composer in the English music encyclopedia The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, as well as several articles devoted to his output.

In a conversation with Grzegorz Michalski about his relations with Lutosławski, he said: “He was of course a master, but I never sought the master in him. We were on very cordial terms, and this is also how he related to my close ones: my wife, sister, parents. I played him my new compositions, which we later discussed. To have a friend in such a great man was an honour for me.”

Rae composed his String Quartet no. 2 in 2004, on the tenth anniversary of Funeral Music creator’s death.

In recognition of his work in popularizing the music and knowledge about the Polish composer, he received the Witold Lutosławski Medal in 2005, and the Witold Lutosławski Centenary Medal in 2013.

sw / trans. mk