Julia Hartwig

Julia Hartwig (1921) – poet, essayist, translator of Henri Michaux’s poetry, and other works.

As she reminisced in conversation with Grzegorz Michalski, she met Witold Lutosławski during martial law in Poland. Their common activity in social life transformed into a friendship between two married couples: Julia Hartwig and Artur Międzyrzecki, and the Lutosławskis – Danuta and Witold.

In the poetry of Julia Hartwig we find several references to the composer’s biography and music. The volume It Will Return (2010) includes the poem "The Unattainable" (which begins with the words "When Zimmerman asked Lutosławski..."), while the volume Zobaczone (The Seen) includes "Fotografia z pamięci" ("Photograph from memory", which opens with the words: "The Lutosławskis are eating pears in the Rialto..."). Hartwig devoted a separate poem to Danuta Lutosławska, "For the Death of a Great Composer’s Wife" in the volume Gorzkie żale (Lenten Psalms, 2011). In addition, she wrote several articles on the subject of the Lutosławskis. Her reminiscence The Lutosławskis was published in a volume of statements by the Polish composer, Postscriptum (in Polish, Warsaw 1999). She also wrote an introduction the Aleksander Laskowski’s conversations with prominent conductors, interpreters of works by Witold Lutosławski, titled Skrywany wulkan (Hiden Volcano, 2013).

In one statement, she described the composer in the following manner: "People who came into personal contact with Lutosławski repeat the opinion that his approach toward his interlocutors had a certain distance, shielded by courtesy. Some even called this distance coldness. Nothing of the sort was to be felt in his relations with friends; he was open, direct, and aways curious of the opinion of others. I think that if such distance did appear, it was a sort of protection against empty words, loss of time, and the everyday pressures toilsome for everyone, and from which he escaped ever so quickly into his creativity. It is appropriate to add that Lutosławski did everything to prevent his fame and position from getting in the way of his relations with loved ones. His behaviour was extraordinarily simple, and in social situations he left out matters of art".

On February 2014, at the Chain 11 festival in Warsaw, Julia Harwig received the Year of Lutosławski medal for her outstanding achievements in the dissemination of the composer’s heritage.