July 17, 1932 - December 29, 2013
born in Lviv, Ukraine, composed during the Contemporary period
Even though many listeners may be most familiar with the Polish composer Wojciech Kilar's work through his score for Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), his compositions also include numerous highly successful orchestral works, in addition to many vocal and chamber pieces. Following a rigorous education in Eastern Europe, the composer began to take several prizes, and continued to do so throughout his career. His formal training in piano and composition began in 1950 at the State Higher School of Music in Katowice with B. Woytowicz and continued with him at the State Higher School of Music in Kraków between 1955-1958. During the same period of time (1957), he attended summer classes at Darmstadt. Shortly after he completed his training with Woytowicz, he received a French government scholarship that allowed him to further his education in composition, this time in Paris with Nadia Boulanger (1959 - 1960). The year he finished these studies, his Oda Béla Bartók in memoriam gained him the Lili Boulanger Award. Prizes that followed included the Polish Composer's Union Award (1975), the Polish State Award (1980), the Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation Prize (1984), an ASCAP Award (1992), and the Sonderpreis des Kulturpreis Schlesein des Landes Niedersachsen (1996).
Kilar's orchestral (symphonies, symphonic poems, concertos, etc.) and stage works (11 scores total) are very widely recorded, the former exclusively under the Milan label and the latter under a wider selection of recording companies like Olympia, Erato, London, Silva Screen, and Varese Sarabande. Of his compositions that have been recorded, most are excerpts from his film scores, which include L'année du soleil calme, La chronique des événements amoureux, Full Gallop (Cwal), Hypothesis (Hipoteza) (1973), Land of Promise (Ziemia Obiecana) (1975), The Portrait of a Lady (1996), and La terre de la grande promesse. ~ Meredith Gailey, Rovi