Krzysztof Meyer

born on 11/8/1943 in Krakau, Kleinpolen, Poland

Krzysztof Meyer

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Krzysztof Meyer

Krzysztof Meyer, September 2002
Born August 11 1943
Kraków, Poland
Nationality Polish
Occupation Composer, pianist, music scholar
Years active 1964present

Krzysztof Meyer (born 11 August 1943) is a Polish composer, pianist and music scholar, formerly Dean of the Department of Music Theory (1972-1975) at the State College of Music (now Academy of Music in Kraków), and president of the Union of Polish Composers (1985-1989). Meyer served as professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne from 1987 to 2008, prior to retirement.[1]


Meyer was born in Kraków, Poland. As a boy he played piano and organ, and began his composition study early in 1954, with Stanisaw Wiechowicz. Then, at the State College of Music in Kraków he continued studying with Wiechowicz, and after his death in 1964, did his diploma with Krzysztof Penderecki (1965). He also studied music theory (diploma in 1966). In Paris, he took courses with Nadia Boulanger (1964, 1966, and 1968), and in Warsaw he became a private pupil of Witold Lutosawski.[1]

His Symphony No. 1 was his first work to be performed, in Kraków in 1964. In 1965, while still a student, he made his debut at the "Warsaw Autumn", as the youngest composer in the festivals history (String Quartet No. 1). He was fascinated with avant-garde not only as a composer: from 1965 to 1967, as a member of "MW2 Ensemble", he performed experimental pieces, typical for the sixties, in Poland and in some West European countries. Later he continued to be active as a pianist, performing mostly his own works, or playing chamber music.[1]

From 1966 to 1987 Meyer taught theory at the State College of Music (now Academy of Music in Kraków), holding the chairmanship of the Department of Music Theory from 1972 to 1975. From 1987 to 2008 he was professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. He has written biographies of Dmitri Shostakovich and Witold Lutosawski.[1]

From 1985 and 1989 he was the president of the Union of Polish Composers. For fourteen years (1974-1988) he took part in the work of the Repertory Committee of the "Warsaw Autumn" International Festival of Contemporary Music. Fellow of Collegium Invisibile.[2]


In his early compositions (String Quartets Nos. 14, Symphonies Nos. 13), Meyer experimented with unconventional sonorities, typical of the Polish avant-garde music in the 1960s. He used twelve-tone technique, albeit freely, as well as aleatoric technique and collage. All these means appear in his first opera Cyberiada, to a science-fiction libretto after Stanisaw Lem's The Cyberiad.[1]

The style of Meyer's later works reflects his interest in tradition; even his use of titles such as "string quartet", "sonata", "concerto", "symphony" are indicators of the traditional trend in his aesthetic. "There are contemporary textures and timbres, but they are usually incidental to a language in which tonal pulls and familiar signposts govern the overall flow and structure"[3]

Selected awards

  • First Prize for Symphony No. 3 (1968) at the Fitelberg Composers Competition
  • Prix de Composition Musicale of the Prince Pierre de Monaco Foundation for opera Cyberiada (1970)
  • Special Mention at Tribune Internationale des Compositeurs UNESCO in Paris for String Quartet No. 2 (1970) and String Quartet No. 3 (1976)
  • First Prize at the Karol Szymanowski Competition in Warsaw for Symphony No. 4
  • Gottfried-von-Herder-Preis (Vienna, 1984)
  • Award of the Union of Polish Composers (1992)
  • Alfred Jurzykowski Award (New York, 1994)
  • Johann-Stamitz-Preis (Mannheim, 1996)

Selected works

Stage works

  • Cyberiada. Fantastic Comic Opera - 1970. Libretto by the composer, based upon Stanisaw Lem's series of short stories, The Cyberiad.
  • The Countess [Hrabina]. Ballet on the motives from Stanisaw Moniuszko's opera - 1980
  • The Gamblers [Igroki]. A Completed Version of Dmitri Shostakovich's opera after N. Gogol - 1981 (soloists of the "Bolshoi" in Moscow, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Michail Jurowski, Capriccio 60 062-2)
  • The Maple Brothers [Klonowi bracia]. Children Opera - 1989. Libretto by the composer after E. Szwartz

Works for orchestra

  • 7 symphonies:
No. 1 1964
No. 2 Epitaphium Stanisaw Wiechowicz in memoriam for choir and orchestra 1967
No. 3 Symphonie d'Orphée for choir and orchestra 1968
No. 4 1973
No. 5 1979
No. 6 "Polish" Symphony 1982 (Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, A. Wit, ISPV 179 CD)
No. 7 Sinfonia del tempo che passa 2002-2003 (NOSPR, G. Chmura; DUX 0695)
  • Fireballs 1976 (Silesian Philharmonic, Karol Stryja, Polish Information Center 007)
  • Symphony in D major in Mozartean style 1976
  • Hommage à Johannes Brahms 1982 (Kölner-Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester, A. Wit, KOCH 3-5037-2)
  • Musica incrostata 1988 (WOSPRiT, A. Wit, Koch Schwann 3-1573-2)
  • Farewell Music 1997
  • No.8 "Sinfonia da requiem" (2009)

Works for solo instrument(s) and orchestra

  • 2 Flute concertos
No. 1 1964
No. 2 1983
  • 2 Violin concertos
No. 1 1965 (R. Lasocki, WOSPRiT, K. Stryja, Olympia OCD 323)
No. 2 1996 (M. Rezler, NOSPR, G. Chmura, DUX 0594)
  • Concerto da camera for oboe, percussion and strings 1972
  • Concerto for trumpet and orchestra 1973
  • Concerto for piano 1989 (Pavel Gililov, WOSPRiT, Antoni Wit, Koch Schwann 3-1573-2)
  • Concerto for saxophone and string orchestra 1992 (John-Edward Kelly NEOS )
  • Canti Amadei per violoncello ed orchestra 1984 (I. Monighetti, Capella Cracoviensis, S. Gaoski, ISPV 179 CD)
  • Concerto for violoncello and orchestra 1995 (B. Pergamenschikov, NOSPR, A. Wit, DUX 0594)
  • Concerto for harp, cello and string orchestra 1984 (B. Trendowicz, K. Jaroszewska, Chamber Orchestra Amadeus, A. Duczmal; PR CD 085-2)
  • Caro Luigi per 4 violoncelli ed orchestra d'archi 1989
  • Concerto for clarinet and orchestra 2001 (E. Brunner, NOSPR, G. Chmura, DUX 0594)
  • Double concerto for violin, violoncello and orchestra 2006 (M. Rezler, Julius Berger, . Borowicz, NOSPR; DUX 0695)
  • Concerto for (acoustic) guitar, kettledrums and string orchestra (2011)

Vocal works

  • Symphony No. 2 Epitaphium Stanisaw Wiechowicz in memoriam for choir and orchestra 1967
  • Symphony No. 3 Symphonie d'Orphée for choir and orchestra 1968
  • Liryc Triptych for tenor and chamber orchestra 1976
  • Mass for mixed choir and orchestra 1996 (The National Orchestra and Choir in Warsaw, Antoni Wit, ACD 096-2)
  • Wjelitchalnaja for mixed choir 1988 (Polish Nightingales, Wojciech A. Krolopp, Azymuth AZ AZ CD 11.045)
  • Creation (Schöpfung), oratorio for soli, choir and orchestra 1999
  • Symphony No. 8 Sinfonia da requiem for choir and orchestra 2009

Chamber music

For two instruments

Violin and piano:

  • Misterioso for violin and piano 1994 (A. Breuninger, I. Berger; Ars Musici AM 1204-02)
  • Capriccio interrotto for violin and piano 2000 (A. Bayeva, G. Karyeva, PR CD 194; R. Simovic, Z. Darhomorska, PR CD 191)

Cello and piano:

  • Canzona per violoncello e pianoforte 1981 (D. Geringas, T. Schatz, ISPV 192 CD; E. Mizerska, E. Abbate, TOCC 0098)
  • Two sonatas for cello and piano
Sonata per violoncello e pianoforte No.1 1983 (- R. Korupp, K. Meyer, Ambitus 97848; E. Mizerska, E. Abbate, TOCC 0098)
Sonata per violoncello e pianoforte No.2 2004 (E. Mizerska, K. Glensk, TOCC 0098 CD)

Other combinations:

  • Impromptu multicolore for two pianos 2000 (A. Soós, I. Haag, MGB CTS-M 107)
  • Duetti concertanti for bassoon and piano 2004 (K. & Etsuko Okazaki, ISPV 194 CD)
  • Metamorphoses for saxophone and piano 2004 (J.-E. Kelly, B. Versteegh, ISPV 194)

For three instruments

  • Hommage à Nadia Boulanger for flute, viola and harp 1971 (rec. E. Gajewska, R. Du, H. Storck, ISPV 189 CD)
  • Piano Trio 1980 (Trio Wawelskie, ISPV 176 CD; Arcadia Trio, Bella Musica 31.2415; Altenberg Trio, Challenge classic 72310)
  • Trio for flute, viola and guitar 1992 (R. Aitken, E. Schloifer, R. Evers; ISPV 176 CD)
  • String Trio 1993 (Deutsches Streichtrio; ISPV 176 CD; T. Gadzina, R. Du, M. Wasióka; Acte Préalable AP0146)
  • Trio for clarinet, violin and piano 1998 (E. Brunner, I. Monighetti, P. Gililov; ISPV 189 CD)
  • Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano 2002 (Tomohara Yosiba, Koji and Etsuko Okazaki, ISPV 194)

For four instruments

  • 13 String Quartets
No. 1 1963 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 151 CD; Kairos Quartett, polmic 016)
No. 2 1969 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 184 CD)
No. 3 1971 (Wilanow String Quartet Veriton ECD 035 & ISPV 184 CD)
No. 4 1974 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 162 CD)
No. 5 1977 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 162 CD; Wieniawski-Quartett; Naxos 8.570776)
No. 6 1981 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 162 CD; Wieniawski-Quartett; Naxos 8.570776)
No. 7 1985 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 151 CD)
No. 8 1985 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 151 CD; Dafô Quartet, DUX 10190; Wieniawski-Quartett; Naxos 8.570776)
No. 9 1990 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 171 CD)
No. 10 1994 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 184 CD)
No. 11 2001 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 192 CD)
No. 12 2005 (Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 192 CD; Dafô Quartet, polmic 027)
No. 13 - 2010, op. 113 (Wieniawski String Quartet; Naxos 8.573001, 2012)
  • Quattro colori for clarinet, trombone, 'cello and piano 1970
  • Concerto retro for flute, violin, violoncello and harpsichord 1976 (E. Gajewska, T. Gadzina, M. Wasióka, K. Meyer, Acte Préalable AP0076)

For five or more instruments

  • Clarinet Quintet 1986 (E. Brunner, Wilanow String Quartet, ISPV 147 CD; P. Drobnik, Kwartet Wieniawski; Dux 0507/0508)
  • Capriccio per sei strumenti 1988 (E. Gajewska, T. Gadzina, R. Du, M. Wasióka, ISPV 189 CD)
  • Piano Quintet 1991 (Wilanow String Quartet & K. Meyer; ISPV 171 CD; Wieniawski Quartet & Andrzej Tatarski; Dux 0507/0508)
  • Cinque colori for flute, violin, violoncello, percussion and piano 2001

Instrumental music

For piano solo

  • 6 Sonatas for Piano (Complete Piano Works - Christian Seibert, EDA 36)
No. 1 1962 (K. Meyer, Acte Préalable AP0076)
No. 2 1963 (B. Otto, Sächsische Tonträger LC 9930)
No. 3 1966
No. 4 1968
No. 5 1975
No. 6 2006
  • 24 Preludes for piano 1978 (K. Meyer, ISPV CD 174; P. Kubica, SMS RP 12691 CD )
  • Quasi una Fantasia for piano 2005

For other keyboards

  • Sonata for harpsichord 1973 (E. Chojnacka, ERATO Japan CD 056044
  • Fantasy for organ 1990 (S. Palm; KR 10068)

For violin solo

  • Sonata for violino solo 1975 (W. Marschner, ISPC 192 CD)
  • 6 Preludes for violin solo 1981

For cello solo

  • Two Sonatas for Cello
no. 1 1961 (R. Korupp, CD Ambitus 97484)
no. 2 2007
  • Moment musical 1976
  • Monologue 1990 (D. Geringas; ConBrioDisc ConBES 2019)

For flute solo

  • Sonata per flauti soli 1980 (E. Gajewska, Acte Préalable AP0076; B.-G. Schmitt, ISPV 194 CD)

Essays and professional writings

  • Krzysztof Meyer, Schostakowitsch Sein Leben, sein Werk, seine Zeit, Bergisch Gladbach 1995; also: Paris 1994, Amsterdam 1996, Madrid 1997, St Petersburg 1998, Warsaw 1999, Moscow 2006, Mainz 2008. [Orig. in Polish 1973.]
  • Krzysztof Meyer, Witold Lutosawski (with Danuta Gwizdalanka), Cracow 2003 (vol. 1), 2004 (vol. 2)
  • Krzysztof Meyer, Dmitri Schostakowitch. Erfahrungen, Leipzig 1983
  • Krzysztof Meyer, Prokofjew und Schostakowitsch, in: Bericht über das internationale Symposion "Sergej Prokofjew Aspekte seines Werkes und der Biographie", Regensburg 1993, s. 111133
  • Krzysztof Meyer, Analyse musikalischer Form in Psychologischer Hinsicht, in: Musikpedagogik als Aufgabe, Kassel 2003
  • and numerous articles published in Poland and abroad.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  2. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  3. Adrian Thomas Polish Music Since Szymanowski, Cambridge University Press 2005, p. 212.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Krzysztof Meyer


  • B. M. Maciejewski: 12 Polish Composers. Allegro Press. London, 1976, p. 202-206.
  • L. Rappoport-Gelfand: Musical Life in Poland. The Postwar Years 1945-1977. Gordon & Breach, New York etc. 1991, p. 133-141. ISBN 2-88124-319-3
This page was last modified 28.04.2014 08:02:31

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