Lived: 1913 – 1994
Mostly In: Warsaw
Best Known For:Concerto for Orchestra, four symphonies, Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Cello Concerto
Similar To: Bartók, Pendercki, Ligeti
For the last 25 years of their lives, Witold Lutosławski and his wife Danuta lived in a clean-lined detached house in Warsaw. Paintings by contemporary Polish artists hung on the walls, the whisky chest stood on the parquet floor of the living room, and Lutosławski worked upstairs in an L-shaped room with his desk, grand piano and shelves of books and scores. Everything was neat and elegant, like the man himself.
Lutosławski composed much of the time at the piano, in front of a custom-made, angled work-stand, the sketches carefully clipped in groups across it. One of the first pieces that he composed in his new house was the Cello Concerto, which Mstislav Rostropovich premiered in London in 1970. While Lutosławski was in London for the premiere...