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(b. 1943, Kraków)

Biography List of Works Manuscripts Meyer's Words Publishers


Krzysztof Meyer was born on 11th August, 1943 in Cracow. From the age of five he learned the piano, and from 1954 - theory and composition with Stanisław Wiechowicz. After graduating from the Fryderyk Chopin State Secondary School of Music in Cracow he began to study at the College of Music in Cracow where he obtained two diplomas with distinction: in 1965 in composition, under Krzysztof Penderecki (after Wiechowicz's death), and in 1966 in theory (with Aleksander Frączkiewicz). In 1964, 1966, and 1968 he studied with Nadia Boulanger in France. In 1965-67 Meyer appeared as a pianist with the contemporary music group "MW2 Ensemble", giving concerts both at home and in most European countries. He also played his solo compositions for piano.

From 1966 to 1987 Krzysztof Meyer taught theoretical subjects at the State College of Music (now Academy of Music) in Cracow. In the years 1972-75 he was the head of the Department of Music Theory. From 1987 he teaches composition in Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. He also lectured on contemporary music abroad (Soviet Union, East and West Germany, Austria, Brazil). In the years 1985-1989 he was the President of the Union of Polish Composers.

Krzysztof Meyer is a prize-winner of numeruos awards, such as the First Prize at the competition for young composers in France (1966), Second Prize at the Young Polish Composers' Competition for Symphony No.1 (1966), the Aaron Copland Scholarship (1966), Honourable Mention for Symphony No. 2 (1967) and the First Prize for Symphony No. 3 at Fitelberg Competition (1968), Grand Prix at the Prince Pierre de Monaco International Composer's Competition for his opera Cyberiada (1970), twice Special Mention at Tribune Internationale des Compositeurs UNESCO in Paris for String Quartet No. 2 and String Quartet No. 3 (1970 and 1976 respectively), twice the Award of the Minister of Culture and Art (1973, 1975), the First Prize at the Karol Szymanowski Competition in Warsaw for Symphony No. 4 (1974), twice the Medal granted by the Government of Brazil for String Quartet No. 4 and Concerto retro (1975, 1977 respectively), the Gotfried-von-Herder-Preis (1984), the annual Award of the Union of Polish Composers (1992), the Alfred Jurzykowski Award (New York, 1993) and Johann-Stamitz-Preis (Mannheim 1996). He is the member of Freie Akademie der Künste in Mannheim. A music historian as well as composer, Meyer is the author of the first Polish monograph on the life and work of Dmitri Shostakovich (PWM 1973; new edition and translations: Paris 1994, Bergisch Gladbach, 1995; Amsterdam, 1996; Madrid, 1997; St. Petersburg, 1998; Warszawa, 1999). He has also written a number of articles, mainly on contemporary music, published in Melos, Muzyka, Ruch Muzyczny, Das Orchester, Sovetskaya Muzika, and other periodicals.


  • Internationale Musikverlage Hans Sikorski, Germany [detailed cataloque of Meyer´s works:];
  • Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne [], Poland; represented in the U.S. by Theodore Presser, [];
  • Moeck Verlag, Germany;
  • Sonoton Musikverlag - Pro Viva, Germany;
  • C. F. Peters [www.edition-];
  • Brevis, Poznan (Poland).


Krzysztof Meyer, photo Maja Trochimczyk
    "It is a paradox that thanks to communist politics, treating culture as a means of propaganda, we succeeded in creating a musicological and compositional Arcadia. Perhaps it was not as tranquil as its ancient model, but when I look at it from the perspective of my generation, I see that in the 1970s and 1980s the Composers' Union was not as autocratic as it was in the beginning of the 1950s. Obviously reasons for feeling threatened and dissatisfied may differ. What is worse for a composer: to have no opportunities to compose as he likes, or to not have any occasions to present his music? For some of my colleagues the first issue was a real tragedy, but luckily it ended in the mid-1950s. For others the nightmare was the second issue, the threat of social non-existence, and this threat has had a much longer life. [Meyer, essay on the 50th anniversary of the Polish Composers' Union, 1995]

I consider composing Cyberiada a particularly significant experience. I worked on this opera while avant-garde tendencies were still very strong in Polish music: Aleatoricism, sonorism, bruitism and other phenomena characterizing the so-called Polish school were for me something completely obvious and natural. I also was greatly attracted to these phenomena. Please note that these tendencies were expressed to the fullest in the domains of instrumental and vocal-instrumental music which featured a clearly instrumental treatment of the choir (the early works by Penderecki, Górecki, Kilar and Szalonek). Cyberiada was an attempt to transpose such phenomena into the domain of operatic music. It turned out that such techniques were perfectly suitable for music composed for the stage. Moreover, through these techniques I could realize various expressive shadings and contrasting moods - from the most dramatic to the grotesque, from melancholy to joy. I was convinced about this aspect of my music several years ago, while listening to a performance of this work (a performance of extraordinary quality, by the way) by one of the German opera houses. [Meyer, interview with Maciej Jabłoński, 1994]

  • Cyberiada [Cyberiade], fantastic opera in 3 acts and 11 scenes, based on science-fiction stories by Stanis aw Lem (1967-70). Manuscript score in three volumes in hard cover and navy binding. Written in red, blue and green ink, with correction marks in pencil, 436 pages.

  • String Quartet no. 10, op. 82 (1993-1994). Sketches in pencil and black ink, 16 bifolios of STAR music paper, 24 staves.

  • Additional manuscripts, donated in April 2001 have not been catalogued yet.


    Chamber Music

    Introspection for 5 Violoncellos - 1960

    Music for 3 Violoncellos, Kettledrum and Piano - 1980

    Matinata trio for violin, viola and cello - 1948

    Interludio statico , for clarinet and 4 violoncellos - 1977

    Hommage a Nadia Boulanger , for flute, viola and harp - 1967-71

    String Quartet No.2 - 1969

    Quattro colori , for clarinet, trombone, violoncello and piano - 1970

    String Quartet No.3 - 1971

    String Quartet No.4 - 1974

    Concerto retro , for flute, violin, violoncello and harpisichord - 1976

    String Quartet No.5 - 1977

    Interludio drammatico , for oboe and chamber - 1980

    Piano trio - 1980

    String Quartet No.6 - 1981

    Canzona per violoncello e pianoforte - 1981

    Pezzo capriccioso , for oboe and piano - 1982

    Sonata per violoncello e pianoforte - 1983

    String Quartet No.7 - 1985

    Quartet for 4 Saxophones - 1986

    Clarinet Quintet - 1986

    String Quartet No.8 - 1985

    Capriccio per sei strumenti - 1987-90

    Wittener Kammermusik , for flute, oboe and clarinet - 1988

    String Quartet No.9 - 1989-90

    Piano Quintet - 1990-91

    Pezo per Mauro , for ensemble - 1991

    Orchestral Works and Concertos

    Concerto da camera per fluto , percussione ed archi - 1964

    Symphony No.1 - 1964

    Concerto for Violin and Orchestra - 1965

    Concerto for violoncello and Orchestra - 1971-72

    Concerto da camera per oboe, percussione ed archi - 1972

    Symphony No.4 - 1973

    Concerto for trumpet and orchestra - 1973

    Fireballs , for orchestra - 1976

    Symphony in D major in Mozartean Style - 1976

    Symphony no.5 , for string orchestra - 1978-79

    Piano Concerto - 1979-89

    March for Military Band - 1979

    Symphony No.6 "Polish Symphony" - 1982

    Hommage a Johannes Brahms , for orchestra - 1982

    Concerto for flute and Orchestra - 1983

    Canti Amadei - Concerto da camera per violoncello ed orchestra - 1984

    Concerto retro per fluto, violino, cembalo ed orchestra d'archi - 1986

    Musica incrostata per orchestra - 1988

    Caro Luigi per quattro violoncelli ed orchestra d'archi - 1989

    Stage Works

    Cyberiada - 1967

    The Countess

    The Gamblers

    The Maple Brothers - 1988

    Vocal-Instrumental Works, Choral Works

    Symphony No.2 "Epitaphium Stanislaw Wiechoicz in memoriam" , for mixed choir and orchestra - 1967

    Symphony No. 3 "Symphonie d'Orphee"

    Polish Chants , for soprano and orchestra - 1974

    Ach moj Jasienko - 1975

    Lyric Triptych , fro tenor and chamber orchestra - 1976

    Mass for Mixed Choir and Organ - 1987-92

    Vielitchlnaya , for mixed choir - 1988

    Works for Voice and Piano or Small Ensemble

    Songs of Resignation and Denial - 1963

    Quartettino for Soprano,Flute, Violoncello - 1966

    5 Chamber Pieces for Piano, Clarinet and Viola - 1967

    9 Limericks of Stanilaw Jerzy Lec , for soprano and piano - 1979

    Sunday Colloquium in the Street , for baritone and piano - 1981

    Instrumental Solo Works

    Sonata per violoncello solo - 1959

    Aphorisms for Piano - 1961

    Sonata for Piano No.1 - 1962

    Sonata for Piano No.2 - 1963

    Sonata for Piano No.3 - 1966

    Sonata for Piano No.4 - 1968

    Sonata per clavicembalo - 1972

    Sonata for Piano No.5 - 1975

    Sonata per violino solo - 1975

    Moment musicial , fo r Violoncello - 1976

    3 Pieces for Percussion

    24 Preludes for Piano - 1978

    Sonata per flauti soli - 1980

    ^ Preludes per violino solo - 1981

    Monologue for cello solo - 1990

    Fantasia for organ - 1990

    Music for Children

    Magic Picturees , for piano - 1975

    Children Suite , for piano - 1978

    Geigen Kramchen , for violin and piano - 1981

    Sonatina for the Young , for violin and piano - 1983

    Incidental and Film Music

    King Oedipus , incidental music to tragedy by Sophocle fo r choir and orchestra - 1967-68

    Rose, incidental music to a play by Zeromski, for small ensamble - 1970

    Kordian, incidental music to the tragedy by Słowacki, for small ensamble - 1970

    Fircyk w zalotach, incidental music to the piece by Zabłocki - 1970

    Bolesław Smiały, incidental music - 1973

    Judith , incidental music to the tragedy by Giraudoux - 1974

    Złoto Północy , music to the film of Z. Bochenek, for small ensemble - 1970

    Klakier, music for the film of J. Kondratiuk for orchestra - 1982

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    Copyright 1999-2001 by the Polish Music Center
    Send your comments and inquiries
    Based on materials from the program book of the Warsaw Autumn Festival,
    Encyklopedia Muzyki (Warsaw: PWN, 1995)
    and PMRC Archives. July 2000, Błażej Wajszczuk.
    Updated in September 2001.