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Witold Rowicki

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Witold Rowicki - conductor, b. February 26, 1914, in Taganrog, d. October 1, 1989, in Warsaw. From 1931 he studied violin performance at the Conservatory in Cracow, and played in Cracow's Philharmonic Orchestra, and furthermore in the General Government Orchestra during the occupation, simultaneously studying conducting under Rudolf Hindemith and music theory under Zdzisław Jachimecki. In 1945 he began organizing the Great Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio and Television in Katowice, becoming its artistic director, and after the return of Grzegorz Fitelberg, its substitute director. In 1950 he was called to the post of artistic director of the Warsaw Philharmonic, with which he was associated - with a break in the 50s - to the end of his career.

Soon after the commencement of his work at the Warsaw Philharmonic, Rowicki turned to Witold Lutosławski with a request for the composition of a large-scale work for his orchestra. Lutosławski's work on the Concerto for Orchestra took four years. In the world premiere Witold Rowicki directed the Philharmonic orchestra (in the Roma Hall, on November 26, 1954). In his dedication the composer wrote: "To dear Witek, with the sentiment of continued thanks for [supplying] the enthusiasm for the writing of this piece and an unparalleled preparation of the first performance". The conductor included the Concerto and other works by Lutosławski numerous times in the programs of his appearances in Poland and abroad, in the latter during a tour of the National Philharmonic.

The Concerto for Orchestra contributed to Witold Lutosławski's acclaim as a prominent Polish composer and became his most often performed composition in concert halls worldwide.

kt / trans. mk