Duo Turgeon returns to our stage on April 5, 2016. One of the pieces for the evening will be Variations on a Theme by Paganini composed by Witold Lutoslawski.
Witold Roman Lutoslawski was born in Warsaw in January 1913 to Polish parents of landed nobility, owning property in the Dorzdowo. Maria and Józef had met at school and married in 1904. Witold was the youngest of three boys. He and his brothers Jerzy (9 years older) and Henryk (4 years older) initially lived on the family estate in Dorzdowo which had been in their family for 150 years.
While his father was still managing their family estates, they moved to Warsaw due to the war. In 1915, the war pushed them to Moscow. Witold’s father, Józef, was involved with the Polish National Democratic Party. Józef and his brother, Marian, were both arrested by the Bolsheviks and the Lutoslawski family could not return home when the fighting ended there. In September of 1918, Józef and Marian were executed, days before their trial.
The rest of the family returned to Warsaw after the war. Their estates in Dorzdowo were in ruins. It is here in Warsaw that Witold started piano lessons at the age of six. His mother, Maria, ran the ruined estates for a time but eventually moved back to Warsaw permanently and went back to earning a living as a physician and translator to English.
Witold was accepted into the Stefan Batory Grammar School and also attended the conservatory to study music. He started to study the violin in 1925. He eventually attended Warsaw University to study math. He also joined the composition classes at the Conservatory in 1932 to pursue his interests and continue his music studies. In 1933 he stopped his studies for mathematics and concentrated on piano and composition. He received a diploma for piano performance in 1936 and one for composition in 1937 from the Conservatory.