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Photograph courtesy of PolMIC

(b. 1933, Muszyna)

Biography Manuscripts at USC


Zbigniew Bujarski is a Polish composer and composition teacher. He studied composition at the State College of Music in Cracow under Stanisław Wiechowicz. In 1961 he received a honorary mention at the Young Polish Composers' Competition organized by the Polish Composers' Union and in 1964 he won the 2nd Prize at the Grzegorz Fitelberg Composers' Competition.

In 1967 his composition Contraria received a honorary mention at the UNESCO International Composers' Rostrum in Paris and in 1978 his Musica domestica won the 2nd Prize there. Bujarski was twice awarded the Prize of the Minister of Culture and Arts (1979, 1987). He also received the Polish Composers' Union Award (1984), the City of Cracow Award (1984), and the Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation's Award (1991). At present he is in charge of the composition class at the Academy of Music in Cracow.

Bujarski belongs to the generation of Polish avant-garde composers whose debut took place at the beginning of the fifties. It was at that time that the composers profoundly changed their aesthetical views and compositional techniques. Bujarski's musical explorations initially focused on sound material and its enrichment by the use of quarter-tones. His early creative period (Burning Bushes, Synchronies I and II, Zones, Chamber Composition, Kinoth) is characterized by sonoristic experiments and the propensity for an enlarged volume of sound (through the use of amplifiers and electroacoustic sound projection). He also searched for unconventional means of articulation and avoided regular meters by using free notation. The oratorio El Hombre (1969-1973) for large symphony orchestra, mixed choir and soloists), to fragments of various texts ranging from psalms to contemporary English and French poetry, constitutes a climax of this early period in Bujarski's music.

Among the compositions written in later years two deserve particular attention: the cycle Similis Greco (I for orchestra; III, The Birth - for choir and orchestra), Concerto per archi (for violin and for cello), and the most popular of Bujarski's works, Musica domestica. The composer explains the latter works' title as denoting the music of one's home, of an ideal place, of one's native country.

Bujarski's talent finds its most perfect outlet in chamber music. Some impressive examples are his Three String Quartets and a cycle of pieces entitled The Fear of Birds. The expressive power of his music is often coupled with a simultaneous reduction and compression of compositional devices. Bujarski's compositions fully engage critical faculties and attention of his listeners through their ambiguity and original formal designs which are not based on known models, and, therefore, are difficult to grasp. Yet, the music remains lively thanks to an inner movement of a continually changing musical texture, devoid of sharp outlines and rapid contrasts in dynamics. Bujarski's style is characterized by an attention to detail and instrumental color; the latter trait should not be surprising for those who know that Bujarski is also a painter. The pieces constitute the composer's very personal expression; they pose questions rather than make statements. The listener is the composer's partner entering into a fascinating and sophisticated musical discourse.


  • Concerto per archi, for solo violin and string orchestra (1979). Manuscript score in dark blue or black ink, with red marks in pencil, 68 pages. Music paper from Dom Książki, 20 staves.

  • Musica domestica, for string orchestra (1977). Sketches in black ink, with red, green and blue marks in pencil (Both donated in 2000).



    Zones (Strefy) for symphonic ensemble - 1961, 10'

    Kinoth - 1963, 7'

    Contraria for symphony orchestra - 1965, 11'

    Musica Domestica - 1977, 12'

    Concerto per archi for violin solo and string orchestra - 1979, 18'

    Veni Creator Spiritus - 1988, 15'

    Concerto per archi II for cello solo and string orchestra - 1992, 22'

    Scolaresca for string orchestra - 1993, 15

    Pavane for a Remote One (Pawana dla "oddalonej") for string orchestra - 1994, 10'

    Lumen for orchestra - 1998, 15'


    Burning Bushes (Krzewy płonące) 3 songs for voice and piano - 1958, 7'

    Chamber Piece (Kompozycja kameralna) for voice, flute, harp, piano and percussion -1963, 8'

    El Hombre oratorio for solo voices, mixed choir and orchestra - 1973, 45'

    The Birth (Narodzenie) for mixed choir and symphony orchestra - 1983, 20'

    The Gardens (Ogrody) a cycle of songs for soprano and orchestra - 1987, 20'

    Five Songs (Pięć pieśni) for soprano, string orchestra and vibraphone - 1994-96, 25'


    Quartet for a House-Warming (Kwartet na otwarcie domu) for string quartet - 1980, 20'

    Qartet for Advent (Kwartet na Adwent) for string quartet - 1984, 20'

    Quartet for Easter (Kwartet na Wielkanoc) for string quartet - 1989, 30'

    The Fear of Birds (Lęk ptaków) for violin, viola and percussion - 1993, 7'

    The Fear of Birds II (Lęk ptaków II) for 2 clarinets and percussion - 1994, 8'

    The Fear of Birds III (Lęk ptaków III) for clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, viola and percussion - 1995, 8'

    Cassiazione per Natale for wind chamber ensemble and percussion - 1996


    Veni Creator Spiritus for organ - 1983, 12'

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    This page updated in December 2000 by Blanka Sobus. Updated on 26 June 2001.