Marian Borkowski composer


Marian Borkowski, composer, musicologist, pianist, pedagogue, and organizer of musical life, b. 17 Aug. 1934 in Pabianice. He studied composition with Kazimierz Sikorski and piano with Jan Ekier and Natalia Hornowska at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw (1959–1965; Master of Arts in 1965). At the same time he studied musicology at Warsaw University under Józef M. Chomiński (Master of Musicology in 1966). In the years 1966–1968, thanks to a French Government grant, he continued postgraduate studies in composition with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory and American Conservatory in Fontainebleau and with Iannis Xenakis at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, and in musicology under Jacques Chailley and Barry S. Brook at the Paris University (Sorbonne). Simultaneously, he studied philosophy with Jean Hyppolite and Jules Vuillemin at the Sorbonne and the Collège de France. He participated in the International Courses of New Music in Darmstadt (1972, 1974) and in the courses given by György Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Franco Donatoni at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena (1973, 1975 — Diploma di Merito).

      He has been on the faculty of the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw since 1968, as lecturer (1968–1971), assistant professor (1971–1976), associate professor (1976–1989), full professor (since 1989); deputy dean of the Faculty of Composition, Conducting and Music Theory (1975–1978), Vice-Rector of the Academy (1978–1981, 1987–1990), head of the Chair of Music Theory (1993–1999), dean of the Faculty of Composition, Conducting and Music Theory (1996–1999), organizer and director of the Postgraduate Studies in Music Theory (1998–2008), head of the Chair of Composition (1999–2004), organizer and director of the Postgraduate Studies in Composition (2000–2008). In the years 2010–2013 he has been the professor of composition class at the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz. He has given lectures and masterclasses in Amsterdam, Belgrade, Breaza, Bucharest, Cleveland, Cluj, Esztergom, Klagenfurt, Kwangju, Lyon, Mexico-City, Montreal, Moscow, Olsztyn, Paris, Québec-City, Seoul, Siena, Taegu, Tashkent, Valparaíso and Vienna.

      Since 1989 he has also held visiting professorships in composition or has served as guest composer at Concordia University, Conservatoire de Musique du Québec (Québec-City), the University of Montreal, the National Conservatory of Music in Boulogne-Billancourt (Paris), the Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Siena), the University of Kansas (Lawrence), the University of Southern California (Los Angeles), San Francisco State University, Eastman School of Music (Rochester), Georgia State University (Atlanta), Tulane University of Louisiana (New Orleans), the University of North Texas (Denton), Bowling Green State University, Shenandoah University (Winchester), the University of Charleston, Rice University (Houston), the University of Miami, William Paterson University of New Jersey (Wayne), Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory (Berea, Ohio), Southwest Missouri State University (Springfield, U.S.A.), Hanyang University (Seoul), Seoul Superior Conservatory of Music, Keimyung University (Taegu), Catholic University of Taegu-Hyosung, Korean National University of Arts (Seoul), The University of Suwon, Seoul National University, and Chonnam National University (Kwangju) in Korea.

      He has educated several dozen Polish composers including Joanna Badełek, Renata Baszun, Wojciech Blecharz, Marcin Błażewicz, Maria Borecka, Katarzyna Bortkun-Szpotańska, Artur Cieślak, Dorota Dywańska, Łukasz Farcinkiewicz, Aleksandra Garbal, Szymon Godziemba-Trytek, Alicja Gronau-Osińska, Igor Jankowski, Szymon Kawalla, Jerzy Kornowicz, Aleksander Kościów, Bartosz Kowalski, Renata Kunkel, Paweł Kwapiński, Dariusz Łapiński, Paweł Łukaszewski, Marcin Tadeusz Łukaszewski, Emilian Madey, Aldona Nawrocka, Ryszard Osada, Grażyna Paciorek-Draus, Maria Pokrzywińska, Paweł Przezwański, Roman Rewakowicz, Jędrzej Roch-Rochecki, Piotr Spoz, Paweł Sprync, Paweł Strzelecki, Łucja Szablewska, Dariusz Szankin, Wojciech Szmidt, Seweryn Ścibior, Hadrian Filip Tabęcki, Marek Towiański, Tadeusz Trojanowski, Marcin Wierzbicki, Sławomir Wojciechowski, Sławomir Zamuszko, Maciej Zieliński, Maciej Żółtowski, and has also offered instruction to many foreign undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students, e.g. Boris Alvarado (Chile), Robin Chemtov (Canada), Choi Chun-hee (Korea), Alessandra Ciccaglioni (Italy), Joe Cutler (Great Britain), Gwon Sung-hyun (Korea), Hong Jin-pyo (Korea), Kim Jin-keum (Korea), Lee Chong-man (Korea), Lee Mi-jin (Korea), Daniel Luzko (Paraguay/USA), Ginger Mayerson (USA), Paul Scriver (Canada), Tony Srouji (Canada), Brian Thompson (Canada), Fanny Tran (Belgium), Gabriel Mãlãncioiu (Romunia). His students and graduates have won over 350 awards and honourable mentions at national and international composers’ competitions.

      His compositions have been performed in concerts in 25 European countries as well as in Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Iran, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, South Korea and USA, as well as at over 100 festivals, including those in Aix-en-Provence, Berlin, Bilbao, Darmstadt, Esztergom, Geneva, Kwangju, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Lviv, Madrid, Meadville, Metz, México-City, Munich, Paris, Pusan, Salzburg, Santa Cruz, Seoul, St. Petersburg, Taegu, Utrecht, Valparaíso, Viitasaari, Warsaw and Witten. Many of his compositions were recorded for radio and television in more than 25 countries. His discography includes over 50 LPs and CDs on such labels as Acte Préalable, DUX, Global Sound Media (Seoul), GM Records, MTJ, Musica Sacra Edition, Muza, Olympia (London), Polonia Records, ProViva Intersound (Munich), Sound-Pol, Gamma CD and Veriton.

      Marian Borkowski has given piano recitals in Poland, France, Italy, Canada, Great Britain, South Korea, USA, Austria and Russia. He has also recorded many of his own and other composers’ pieces for radio, television as well as on several labels.

      His research output includes over 20 theoretical studies on contemporary music, notably modern compositional techniques, analysis of 20th and 21st century music, modern orchestration techniques, the time factor in new music, problems of music sonology, Webern’s compositional techniques, serial music, Polish contemporary music and the teaching of composition. He has participated in numerous conferences, symposia and festivals in Poland and abroad (over 70).

      He is a member of many music organizations in Poland, Belgium, Japan and the United States. He served as a deputy chairman of the Warsaw Branch of the Polish Composers Union (1971–1977). He is the founder and Artistic Director of the ‘Laboratory of Contemporary Music’ Festival (since 1985) and President of the ‘Laboratory of Contemporary Music’ Association (since 1995). He has sat on the juries of many competitions for composers and performers (Belgrade, Florence, Paris, Esztergom, New Orleans, Seoul, Suwon, Taegu, Valparaíso, and Guadalajara).

      Marian Borkowski is a prize winner of the Young Composers’ Competition in Warsaw (1966), the G. B. Viotti International Composers’ Competition in Vercelli (1969), the Karol Szymanowski Competition for Composers in Warsaw (1974), the International New Music Composers Competition in New York (1990), and many awards and nominations to Polish Academy of Phonography Award „Fryderyk” (1998–2014). His honours also include the Award of the Minister of Culture and Art (1976, 1980, 1982, 2004, 2008), the Silver Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland (1977), the Silver Medal Premio Vittorio Gui (Italy, 1979), the Medal of the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw (1981), the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1984), the Badge of Merit in Culture (1985), the Medal of the 40th Anniversary of People’s Poland (1985), the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2002), the Plaque of Honour of the Chopin Academy of Music (2004), the Medal of Honour of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (2004) and the and Silver Olympic Laurel (2004). He received an honorary membership of the Musica Sacra Association (2004) and the Karol Nicze Music Society (2006). In 2005 he received an honorary citizenship of the town of Pabianice. In 2008 he received an honorary award of the Polish Composers’ Union, and the Gloria Artis Silver Medal for compositional achievements. In 2009 he received The Saint Albert Award, in 2010 — the Medal of Merit for Fryderyk Chopin University of Music and Award of Author’s Association ZAiKS. He also received the „Fryderyk” Award of the Polish Academy of Phonography in the „Composer of the Year” category (2011), the Medal of the Commission of the National Education (2012), and the „Grand Prix” from the Rector of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw (2012).

      In 2014 his compact disc “Marian Borkowski – Choral works” received the „Fryderyk” Award of the Polish Academy of Phonography in the „The Most Outstanding Recording of Polish Music” category.


Translation: Michał Kubicki

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