Wojciech Kilar


WOJCIECH KILAR is a Polish composer and pianist, author of orchestral music, chamber vocal-instrumental and piano compositions, and scores for the theatre and cinema. Born in 1932 in Lviv, Ukraine, spent his life in Poland, passed away in 2013.

Until 1974, when he composed the symphonic poem Krzesany, possibly his most famous work, Kilar was viewed as a leader of the Polish musical vanguard. His achievements included Riff 62 (1962), a composition that was ultra-modern in both sound and form and a work became a symbol of rebellion against tradition, a manifesto of progress. Kilar repeated this success with his subsequent two compositions – Generique (1963) and Diphtongos (1964) as well two works of minimal music – Upstairs-Downstairs (1971) un Prelude and Carol (1972). Kilar remained faithful to the style he defined for himself in these works throughout his career. Having abandoned avant-garde technical means almost entirely, he continued to employ a simplified musical language, in which sizeable masses of sound would serve as a backdrop for highlighted melodies that are often emotionally potent. This would occur in those compositions that were referencing folk music and in patriotic and religious pieces.

The building blocks for Kilar's film music were similar, and this specialization had helped the composer gain far-reaching fame throughout the world. Kilar has created music for such films as The Promised Land (Ziemia obiecana, dir. A. Wajda), The King and the Mockingbird (Le Ro iet L’oiseau, dir. P. Grimault), From a Far Country: Pope John Paul II (Z dalekiego kraju: Papiez Jan Pawel II, dir. K. Zanussi), The Pianist (dir. R. Polanski) and many others. Although it was his cooperation with Francis Ford Coppola on Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) that consolidated the composer's position in the film world.

Wojciech Kilar received numerous awards for his artistic activity and achievements. The Polish State Cinema Committee honored Kilar with a lifetime achievement award in 1991. In May 2012 he received the Order of the White Eagle from the President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski “in recognition of his services for the Polish culture and outstanding achievements in his creative work”. In 1991 Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi made a biographical film about the composer titled Wojciech Kilar.


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