51 Facts About Andrzej Panufnik


Sir Andrzej Panufnik was a Polish composer and conductor.

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Andrzej Panufnik became established as one of the leading Polish composers, and as a conductor he was instrumental in the re-establishment of the Warsaw Philharmonic orchestra after World War II.

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Andrzej Panufnik's grandmother gave him piano lessons, but although he showed talent his studies were erratic.

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Andrzej Panufnik soon left the percussion class to concentrate on studying composition and conducting; he worked hard and completed the course in much less time than normal.

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Andrzej Panufnik recalled how, on the night before his medical, he heard the national Polish medieval chant Bogurodzica on the wireless.

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Andrzej Panufnik travelled to Vienna in 1937 for his studies with Weingartner.

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Andrzej Panufnik fulfilled his intention of studying music by the composers of the Second Viennese School, but while he applauded Arnold Schoenberg's imposition of constraints to give artistic unity to a composition, dodecaphonic music did not appeal to him.

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Andrzej Panufnik returned to Poland before the end of his planned year-long stay, leaving shortly after the Anschluss when the political situation caused Weingartner to be removed from the Academy.

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Andrzej Panufnik lived for some months in Paris and London, where he studied privately and composed his first symphony.

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Andrzej Panufnik met Weingartner again in London, and the older conductor urged him to stay in England to avoid the consequences of the worsening international situation.

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Andrzej Panufnik composed some illegal Songs of Underground Resistance, especially "Warsaw Children" which became popular among the defiant Polish community.

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Later, Andrzej Panufnik was able to conduct a couple of charity concerts, at one of which his Tragic Overture was first performed.

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Andrzej Panufnik fled from Warsaw with his ailing mother, leaving all his music behind in his apartment, just before the Warsaw uprising in 1944.

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Andrzej Panufnik accepted the post of Principal Conductor with the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Andrzej Panufnik reconstructed some of his music that had been lost, starting with the Tragic Overture which was still fresh in his mind.

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However, his first symphony did not prove so easy and, disappointed with the result, Andrzej Panufnik decided that he would thereafter concentrate on composing new works.

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Andrzej Panufnik was instructed to include his Tragic Overture as a reminder to Germany of their recent actions in Warsaw.

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Andrzej Panufnik composed a Sinfonia Rustica, deciding to give it a name rather than the designation "Symphony No 1" out of feeling for his two lost works in the genre.

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Andrzej Panufnik became Vice-President of the newly constituted Union of Polish Composers, accepting the post after being urged to do so by his colleagues.

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Andrzej Panufnik encountered composers such as the English Alan Bush, who were sympathetic to the aims of Stalinist Socialism, and other composers on the political far-left such as Benjamin Frankel.

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Andrzej Panufnik later mused on the nebulous nature of Soviet Realism, quoting a Polish joke of the time that it was "like a mosquito: everyone knew it had a prick, but no-one had seen it".

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Andrzej Panufnik's Nocturne was singled out for criticism, and later General Wlodzimierz Sokorski, Secretary of Culture, announced that Panufnik's Sinfonia Rustica had "ceased to exist".

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Andrzej Panufnik later described the symphony as "a patently innocent work", and he found it particularly galling that one of the panel that decided on the work's proscription had earlier been on the panel that had awarded it first prize in the Chopin Composition Competition.

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In 1950, Andrzej Panufnik visited the Soviet Union as part of a Polish delegation to study Soviet teaching methods.

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Andrzej Panufnik met Dmitri Shostakovich, whom he had befriended at previous conferences, and Aram Khachaturian.

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Andrzej Panufnik wrote a three movement work, ending with a setting of words by his friend, the poet Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz.

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Andrzej Panufnik hoped to work his own conception of peace into the composition, rather than the official Soviet ideology.

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Andrzej Panufnik soon discovered she was epileptic, but in spite of his doubts the couple were married in 1951 and soon had a baby daughter, Oonagh.

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Andrzej Panufnik now had a young family to support, and so threw himself into his lucrative work for the Film Unit.

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In 1952 Andrzej Panufnik composed a Heroic Overture, based on an idea he had conceived in 1939 inspired by the struggle of Poland against Nazi oppression.

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Andrzej Panufnik submitted this work for the 1952 pre-Olympic music competition in Helsinki, and it won.

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Andrzej Panufnik described this as effectively an order to spy for Moscow, and as the last in a "succession of final straws".

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Andrzej Panufnik decided to migrate to Britain to highlight the conditions in which Polish composers were being forced to work.

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Bernard Jacobson described the events of Andrzej Panufnik's escape from Poland as being straight out of a John le Carre novel.

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Andrzej Panufnik was anxious not to arouse suspicion by appearing too eager to accept the invitation when it arrived.

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Andrzej Panufnik gave members of the Secret Police who were following him the slip during an alarming night-time taxi-ride through Zurich.

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Andrzej Panufnik eventually boarded a flight for London, and was granted political asylum on arrival.

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Andrzej Panufnik received financial support from fellow composers including Ralph Vaughan Williams and Arthur Benjamin; Panufnik was as heartened by the gesture of professional solidarity as by the money.

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In 1960, Andrzej Panufnik visited the United States to visit Leopold Stokowski.

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Stokowski had given the American premiere of the Symphony of Peace in 1953, and in 1957 he conducted the world premiere of Andrzej Panufnik's revised version of the symphony, entitled "Sinfonia Elegiaca", which is dedicated to all the victims of World War II.

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Andrzej Panufnik continued to find it frustratingly difficult to get permission to travel to the States.

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Andrzej Panufnik bemoaned the time wasted, and indeed the surviving original scores show that Andrzej Panufnik's revisions excised some of the more radical passages in these works.

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In 1959, Andrzej Panufnik became romantically involved with Winsome Ward, who was diagnosed with cancer the following year.

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Andrzej Panufnik still had to complete his Piano Concerto for Birmingham and to fulfil his commission for his Sinfonia Sacra.

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Andrzej Panufnik accepted, and she rapidly discovered that he had not replied to letters offering conducting engagements and enquiring about commissions.

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In 1963, Andrzej Panufnik entered his newly completed Sinfonia Sacra for a prestigious international competition in Monaco for the best orchestral work: it won first prize.

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Andrzej Panufnik's works were in demand by such major figures as Leopold Stokowski, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn and Sir Georg Solti, as well as Yehudi Menuhin who commissioned a violin concerto, and Mstislav Rostropovich who commissioned a cello concerto.

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Andrzej Panufnik received 3 commissions from the London Symphony Orchestra and commissions for Centenary symphonies from both Boston and Chicago.

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Andrzej Panufnik refused to return to Poland until democracy was restored in 1990.

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Andrzej Panufnik died in Twickenham, aged 77, and was buried in Richmond Cemetery.

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Andrzej Panufnik was posthumously awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta by Poland.

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