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Wojciech Widłak – composition

© Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne. Photo – Bartek Barczyk

Wojciech Widłak, composer, profesor and since 2020 rector of The Krzysztof Penderecki Academy of Music in Krakow, native Cracovian, born 1971 in a family with multi-generational musical traditions. In the field of composition he was a student of Marek Stachowski (1990-96, Academy of Music in Kraków) and Hans Abrahamsen (1999, Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen). He enhanced his skills as a composer under the direction of a.o. Franco Donatoni, Per Nørgård, Goce Kolarovski, Robert Saxton. The graduate of the organ class of Jan Jargon (1990-95).

Laureate of several composition competitions, incl. a prestigious recommendation of the 56th International Rostrum of Composers UNESCO in Paris, 2006 (for “Earthsumption” for orchestra and organ). Author of dozens of works performed till now in 16 European countries, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, USA, Mexico, recorded on a dozen of CDs in Poland and Italy, printed in Poland, France, Germany, commissioned by institutions, artists and ensembles of international renown (a.o. The Warsaw Autumn Friends’ Foundation and the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung München, Polish Institute of Music and Dance and Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, The National Museum in Cracow).

In his early works from the 90’s Wojciech Widłak was using traditional, distinct harmony, expressive rhythm and obsessive repeatability. Since 2000 he has turned into more radical timbre, multilayered structure, game of musical idioms. Lately, he has been focusing on expression’s extremes, microtonality, perceptual time and his original conception of „swivel harmony”. When reflecting on composition, he compares the process with the work of a sculptor. He finds inspiration in the visual sphere, in words and in the “images of the imagination”. He perceives the essence of his work as creating and expressing an individual world of sounds and experiences, discovering beauty and sharing it with a listener.

In addition to composing orchestral, chamber, solo and choral music, an area of Wojciech Widłak’s activity is church music. Since 1987 for almost 20 years he was active as church organ player in several catholic churches of Cracovian Archdiocese. 1998-2003 he was the first director of Diocesan School of Church Music in Bielsko-Biała. He is author of religious works as well as utilitarian music for liturgical purposes (chants, arrangements, harmonizations). In 2000s for a few years he was member of Polish Church Music Association, active also in the Commission for Church Music of Cracovian Archdiocese.

At the age of 41 Wojciech Widłak received the title of Professor of Art from the President of Poland, having obtained before the first degree qualifications (PhD, 1999) and habilitation (Ass. Prof. degree, 2004). At the Academy of Music in Cracow he has got a class of composition in which young composers from Poland and many other countries have studied (China, Brasil, Great Britain, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway, Slovakia, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, USA). Among his students and graduates are: Katarzyna Szwed, Marcin Pączkowski, R. Yigit Özatalay, Michal Pal’ko, Nadim Husni, Jarosław Płonka, Peter Javorka, Paweł Malinowski, Paweł Siek et al. He has been a supervisor of several doctorates in music arts (harpsichordist Goska Isphording, composers: Henryk J. Botor, Jarosław Płonka, Michał Gronowicz, Issidoros Papadakis, Josuè W. Amador, Wassim Ibrahim). He has held guest-lectures and composition masterclasses in USA, Israel, Turkey, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia and Hungary. Employed since 1995 at the Academy of Music in Cracow, first at Chair of Organ, and since 1996 – at Chair of Composition (since 2005 being its director). 2012-2020 Dean of the Faculty of Music Composition, Interpretation and Education. During his tenure this Faculty twice obtained the prestigious, distinctive scientific category A+ (2013 as the only music faculty in Poland, 2017).

Wojciech Widłak is a member of the Polish Composers’ Union. He was a member of jury panels in several composition competitions in Poland and Italy. The main publisher of Widłak’s music  is PWM Edition (Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne).

Employed since 1995 at the Academy of Music in Cracow, first at Chair of Organ, and since 1996 – at Chair of Composition (2005-2020 being its director).