Grażyna Bacewicz


In the shadow of the Warsaw Autumn

On 18 June 1950 Grażyna Bacewicz’s Concerto for String Orchestra was premiered during the General Assembly of the Polish Composers’ Union. The Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Grzegorz Fitelberg. The work was immediately successful. Among numerous words of praise and enthusiastic reviews there emerged the question of the composer’s gender. Stefan Kisielewski wrote: […]

Difficult times of socialist realism

Grażyna Bacewicz’s official biography from the first few years after the war may suggest that a world of unlimited possibilities opened up for the her. Soon after returning from Paris, in June 1947 she gave an interview for Ruch Muzycznyin which she described her impression from her stay in the city, formulating her own artistic […]

First successes

After returning to Poland the young violinist and composer faced new responsibilities. The man instrumental in this was Grzegorz Fitelberg, who “suggested” to Szymanowski that the piano score of the ballet Harnasiehe was waiting for should be prepared by Grażyna Bacewicz. He needed the score for the rehearsals of planned performances of the ballet in […]

Studies in Warsaw and Paris

In 1928 Grażyna Bacewicz began her studies at the Warsaw Conservatory, choosing three main subjects: composition in Kazimierz Sikorski’s class, violin in Józef Jarzębski’s class and piano in Józef Turczyński’s class. She also followed the example of her brother Kiejstut and enrolled in a philosophy course at the University of Warsaw. She was consumed by […]


Grażyna Bacewicz was born on 5 February 1909 in Łódź. She was the third child of parents of mixed nationality. Her father, Vincas Bacevičius, came to Łódź in 1899 from the so-called Užnemunė, part of Lithuania west of the Nemunas River with a largely indigenous Lithuanian population. In 1893 he graduated from a teachers’ college […]

War and the first post-war years

Grażyna Bacewicz was in Warsaw, when the war broke out. After the first bombardments in 1939, she and her family decided to leave the city. After reaching Garwolin she, guided by an inexplicable instinct, forced her loved ones to continue their journey. Looking back, the refugees saw the town being bombed [Grażyna describes this in […]

Childhood and youth

Grażyna Bacewicz’s and her siblings’ musical education began at home. But as early as in 1919 Grażyna enrolled in a private school, Janina Pryssewicz Humanistic Gymnasium in ul. Sienkiewicza. The following year she began to attend a “music school regarded as the best in Łódź, the Helena Kijeńska Music School.” [Magdalena Grajter, “Antoni Dobkiewicz. Przyczynek […]

Final years

In a letter to her brother Vytautas Grażyna Bacewicz described a family scene, half-sad, half-funny, when the composer’s mother, very ill at the time, issued an “instruction” ordering that after her death (she died on 18 July 1958) the head of the family should be a person with the best predispositions, mentally the strongest, i.e. […]