Michał Julian Piotrowski 1929-1938


Michał Julian PIOTROWSKI (1929-1938)b Warsaw 29 September 1887, d Kraków 12 July 1949

Director of the Conservatory of the Kraków Music Society (1928-38)
Music theoretician and teacher

The student of H. Opieński and F. Szopski in Warsaw, as well as of V. d’Indy in Paris. After returning to Warsaw, he established a music school together with J. Miketta (1916), he was an active member of the Music Teachers Society (also as a chairman), of board of Warsaw Philharmonic and of other artistic committees. In 1920 he became a music theory lecturer at the Conservatory of the Kraków Music Society. He designed his lectures as a systematic course, from the principles of music through harmony to musical forms, emphasizing the historical changes. After the death of W. Barabasz (1928) he took over the directorship of the Conservatory and continued the reforms planned by his predecessor. The changes were aimed at broadening the autonomy of the Conservatory within the Kraków Music Society, the board of which made all the decisions concerning the conservatory. As a result of disagreement with the board, a number of faculty members left the conservatory and established W. Żeleński Music School (1929). Piotrowski brought the situation under control, recruited many new teachers (among them Z. Dymmek, K. Garbusiński, B. Kon, A. Malawski, A. Rieger), he established the class of wind instruments and percussion as well as the class of composition (B. Wallek-Walewski) and the class of opera (K. Kniaginin). He organized 2 student orchestras: 70-person symphonic orchestra (conductor Z. Dymmek) and 40-person wind orchestra. The orchestras, together with the opera company and a choir led by K. Garbusiński participated in the Kraków musical life. In May 1931 the Conservatory staged P. Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana with great success. Under the leadership of Piotrowski, the Conservatory achieved the peak of development: in the school year 1931-32 it had 39 teachers and 786 students and practically maintained the Society, however it was still unable to have the raised funds at its disposal. The world crisis caused the conservatory’s regression and sharpened the issue of its independence. As a result of yet another conflict with the board of the Society, Piotrowski, on 16 May 1938, was dismissed from the function of the Conservatory director. Many teachers left the institution along with him.

Maciej Negrey