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Józef Patkowski

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Józef Patkowski (1929-2005) – musicologist, composer, eminent authority on new music and its devoted propagator, lecturer at the University of Warsaw and in musical institutions of higher learning in Cracow and Katowice. In 1957, he founded the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, which he headed until 1983. He inspired many composers to take up the creation of electroacoustic music, and made an immense contribution to its introduction and dissemination in Poland, and other Eastern Bloc countries. At home and abroad, he gave lectures and wrote many texts devoted to electroacoustic music, as well as led the radio program cycle Horizons of Music (together with Anna Skrzyńska). He was head of the Program Commission of the Contemporary Music Festival ‘Warsaw Autumn’, and President of the Polish Composers’ Union. The Witold Lutosławski Society was created on his initiative.

Józef Patkowski described his connections with Lutosławski to Grzegorz Michalski in a radio interview: “In the Polish Radio Theatre, I took over the position of musical advisor from Stefan Jarociński, and at the time, Witold Lutosławski wrote for the Theatre. That’s where we met. It is a very important chapter in my life. I have met few other people as wonderful as Witold Lutosławski. He was for me, in a sense, a father. I consulted him in numerous matters, received suggestions, and above all, I took advantage of his great kindness, exceptional cordiality, and intelligence. As one known philosopher said, “wisdom is intelligence plus goodness”. Witold Lutosławski certainly fulfilled these conditions... I considered the acquaintanceship as an important friendship in my life. Many times, after his return from abroad, Witold would phone me and relate how the concert went, what his impressions were, etc. The matters of the Composers’ Society were [more] obvious – whenever we saw each other I gave him an account of the news relating to the Warsaw Autumn... Being still very young, I undertook the responsible work of creating the Radio’s Experimental Studio. There was no one to professionally consult me about how to resolve certain things. Sometimes I had to make a decision: to make a move this way, or that. Generally, I was concerned whether I would manage. In such situations, it is important to have someone wise to take a look from the side, give encouragement, and help make a bit of order in the head, introduce some hierarchy of values. In this sense, I owe much to Lutosławski”.

kt / trans. mk