Tadeusz Wielecki


Tadeusz Wielecki (b. 1954 in Warsaw) — composer, contrabassist, cultural animator, and from 1999, Director of the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music.

He graduated from the Academy of Music in Warsaw, where he studied performance on the double bass under Alfred Wieczorek and Andrzej Mysiński, and composition under Włodzimierz Kotoński. He furthered his education abroad on a scholarship funded by Witold Lutosławski. The latter had created scholarships for the youth from the Grawemeyer Award he received for the Symphony no. 3 from the University of Louisville School of Music. As result, Tadeusz Wielecki went in 1986 to West Berlin, where he perfected his skills under Isang Yun, and subsequently studied with Klaus Huber in Freiburg im Breisgau.

Tadeusz Wielecki became known as contrabassist in many European countries, in Asia, and in the United States, appearing with a contemporary repertoire which included his own compositions. An example was the Auditorio Nacional Hall in Madrid, 2012 premiere of Tadeusz Wielecki’s new composition The Thread Spinneth... IV for double bass and ensemble, with the composer as the soloist. The ensemble Plular was conducted by Zsolt Nagy.

To obtain novel sounds from instruments, Tadeusz Wielecki proposes modifying the traditional technique of playing string instruments, among others. In the Concerto à rebours for violin and orchestra written in 1998, he develops a particular manner of playing which relies upon sliding the fingers on the strings, instead of traditionally placing them on the fingerboard. This particular work found itself among the group of recommended compositions in 1999 at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. For many years, Tadeusz Wielecki worked in education, leading Polish Radio authored radio program cycles for children and youth, acquainting his listeners with the language of contemporary music. They were: Contemporary Musical Hits, Sound Charms, and Something from Nothing. He also collaborated with the Children’s Art Centre of Poznań.

In 1992 Tadeusz Wielecki presided over the World Music Days Artistic Committee of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Warsaw. He was invited as lecturer to the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music in 2004. A year later, at Florida State University in Tallahassee, he lectured and presented his double bass compositions, demonstrating his own playing technique on the instrument. He has composed works on commission from the aforementioned Darmstadt courses and the Warsaw Autumn Festival, Polish Radio, Poznań Philharmonic, Klangforum Wien, and the Hiroshima Symphony Association. From 1999, he is Director of the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music. In this activity, emphasizes Tadeusz Wielecki, “what is important is the historical continuity: the past, and everything, which shaped the successive generations of composers. What is at issue is not only the presentation of music, but also the class of people who influenced the form of the Festival, and here we certainly owe much to Witold Lutosławski”.

However, both in Poland and in Europe Tadeusz Wielecki is valued above all for his creative output (he is laureate of the yearly Music Award). His compositions are regularly presented at the most prestigious festivals. In 2009, Hiroshima became the location for the world premiere of his Piano Concerto, composed for the Hiroshima Symphony Association. The event was broadcast by the Japanese public KTradio and television. Wielecki is a composer whose stance is characterized by an intellectual approach to the creative process on the one hand, and by a clarity of emotional expression on the other hand. When he presented his Beggar Ballad (a piece composed in 1994 on commission by the Warsaw Autumn and dedicated to the ensemble Cikada from Oslo) during the 10th Lutosławski Forum which took place in 2004 at the National Philharmonic, Wielecki wrote: “We are all slightly imperfect and frail, but we sing as best we can; this moves me and I try to honour it”. An important theoretical category, but also a significant element of compositional technique for Wielecki is the “musical gesture”, and he has said: “in the compositional method using gestures I see the possibility of a music that plays with expressions, and with variegated energies”.

Selected works, beginning from 1995:

Study in Gesture for clarinet, piano, and cello (1995), Id for orchestra (1996), Study in Gesture II for piano (1997), Concerto à rebours for violin and orchestra (1998), Study in Gesture III for clarinet, trombone, piano, cello, and double bass (2000), Thesis for solo flute (2000), Credo, quKTia absurdum for tape and dancer (2001), Planes for symphonic orchestra (2002), Time of Stones for amplified double bass and chamber orchestra (2002), String Quartet (2004), Rustle of Semitones for double bass and ensemble (2004), Shoals for symphony orchestra (2005), Knights of the Round Table - A Documentary Opera for soprano, tuba, instrumental ensemble, and electronic media (2006), Necessity and Chance for string quartet and electronic media (2006), The Valley of Dry Water for chamber orchestra (2007), String Vibrations for harpsichord (2008), Piano Concerto (2008-2009), In the Beginning There Was... for slammer poet, sampler, and chamber ensemble (2009), Quarter Tones and Half-Shadows for double bass, two percussion sets, and ad libitum trumpet (2009), Cogs, Springs, and Pinions for violin and guitar (2010), The Thread Spineth... IV for double bass and chamber ensemble (2012), A Subjective Model in Dramatized Form for viola, tuba, tape, and non-formal group of performers (2012), Points of Listening for chamber ensemble (2012).

as / trans. mk