By Maria Pilatowicz

Marta Ptaszynska

Brief Biography List of Works Principal Publishers and Key to Publishers


Marta PtaszyÒska is an internationally acclaimed composer, whose music is performed worldwide. A native of Poland, she has been living in the United States since 1972. She maintains an active schedule of appearances as a composer and as a percussionist both in the U.S. and in Europe. In her native Poland, PtaszyÒska received Master of Arts degrees in composition, music theory, and percussion. She also studied composition privately with Witold Lutoslawski, who later became her mentor, and in Paris with the famous Nadia Boulanger. She holds an Artist's Diploma Degree in Percussion from the Cleveland Institute of Music. In addition to her professional appearances, Marta PtaszyÒska has been much in demand as a teacher, serving on faculties in Poland and the United States at such distinguished institutions as the University of California at Berkeley, Indiana University, the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago. Her music has received numerous awards over the years, including first prize at the International Rostrum of Composers at UNESCO in Paris in 1986 for Winter's Tale, and the Polish Television Award for a TV opera, Oscar of Alva. In 1995, she received the Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland from president Lech Walesa.

From left: Dr. Maria Anna Harley, Marta Ptaszynska, and Wanda Wilk.


Orchestral Music

Improvisations (1968); 81 minutes
First performance: March 26, 1971, Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra,
Renard Czajkowski, conductor. (PWM)

Spectri Sonori (1973); 71 minutes
First performance: January 22,1974, Cleveland Orchestra,
Matthias Bemert, conductor.

Crystallites (1973-74); 14 minutes
Commissioned by the Kosciusszko Foundation of New York.
First performance: January 24, 1975, Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra, Bydgoszcz,
Poland, Antoni Wit, conductor. (PWM rental)

Concerto for Percussion Quartet and Orchestra (1974); 13 minutes
Commissioned by the Sage City (Vermont) Symphony Orchestra.
First performance: October 10, 1974, Sage City Symphony Orchestra.
Luis Calabro, conductor. (PWM rental)

Conductus - A Ceremonial for Winds (1982); 4 minutes
for symphonic band.
First performance: October 10, 1983, Chicago Symphonic Wind. Manuscript.

La Nofella D'Inverno (1984); 10 minutes
for strings
Commissioned by Jerzy Maksymiuk and the Polish Chamber Orchestra.
First performance: May, 5, 1985, Polish Chamber Orchestra, Jerzy Maksymiuk,
conductor, at the 9th Gulbenkian New Music Festival, Lisboa, Portugal.
In 1986, awarded Second Prize at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris, France. (PWM).

Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra (1986); 30 minutes
Commissioned by Zielona Gora Symphony Orchestra and Szymon Kawalla,
First performance: January 17, 1986, Zielona Gora Symphony
Orchestra, Szymon Kawalla, conductor, Stnanislaw Skoczynski, soloist.
Premiere broadcast performance: May 8, 1986, Cracow Radio and TV
Symphony Orchestra, Szymon Kawalla, conductor, Keiko Abe, soloist.
Recordings: CD, Muza Records, Poland, 1991

Charlie's Dream - Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (1988); 18 minutes

Ode to Praise All Famous Women (1992); 12 minutes
Commissionced by the Florida Space Coast Philharmonic.
First performance: March 22, 1992, Florida Space Coast Philharmonic
Orchestra, Maria Tunicka, conductor.

Fanfare For Peace for orchestra (1993); 4 minutes
Commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Premiered: Nov. 19, 1994 by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Jesus Lopez Cobos, conducting.

Vocal and Instrumental Music

A Tale of Nightingales (1968); 12 minutes
for baritone and chamber ensamble. To the poetry of K.I. Galczynski,

Vocalise (1971); 8 minutes
for female voice and vibraphone.
First performance: July 18, 1971 Cornelia van der Horst, sop., Marta Ptaszynska
vibes, Eduard van Beinum Stiching, Breukelen, Holland. Manuscript.

Oscar of Alva, a TV Opera in 6 Scenes (1971-72); 60 minutes
for 5 soloists (soprano, mezzo, tenore, baritone, bass) mixed choir, and orchestra
Libretto to Lord Byron's poem by Z. Kopalko, 1972. Award by Polish Radio and
TV Broadcasting. A TV production: 1988, Polish Radio and Television, Cracow.
Stanislaw Zajaczkowski, director, Cracow Radio and TV Orchestra and Chorus,
Szymon Kawalla, Conductor; in Polish with English subtitles. (PWM rental)

Epigrams (1976-77); 24 minutes
for women's choir, flute, harp, piano and percussion
To ancient Greek poetry; in English. Commissioned by the Dorians Choir
of the University of California in Santa Barbara. First performance: May 8, 1977,
Dorians Choir, Michael Ingham, conductor, Santa Barbara, California. (EBM rental)

Un Grand Sommeil Noir (A Great Dark Sleep) (1977); 10 minutes
for soprano, flute and harp. To Paul Verlaine's poem (French/English).
Commissioned by the Jubal Trio. First performance: June 22, 1979,
XV Festival Pontino di Musica Contemporanea, Italy. (PWM).

Die Sonette an Orpheus (Sonnets to Orpheus) (1980-81); 14 minutes
for middle voice and chamber orchestra. To R.M. Rilke's poems; in German.
First performance: October, 1989, Sinfonia Varsovia, Jerzy Maksymiuk,
conductor, Ewa Podles, mezzo soprano, Warsaw, Poland.

Ave Maria (1982 version); 7 minutes
for four men's voices, brass, percussion and organ. Commissioned by
the S. Moniuszko Musical Society of Boston. First performance: October 10, 1982,
New England Conservatory New Music Ensemble, Boston Cathedral. (PWM rental)

Ave Maria (1987 version); 7 minutes
for percussion, strings and men's choir. (PWM rental)

Polish Letters (Listy Polskie) (1988); 45 minutes
Cantata to commemorate Poland's Independence for percussion, piano,
string quartet, soprano, mezzo, baritone soli. To the poetry of Polish
and European poets; in Polish. First performance: July 15, 1989,
Ryszard Zimak, conductor, Royal Castle, Warsaw, Poland. (PWM rental)
VHS recording: Polish TV Poltel, Warsaw, 1984.

Songs of Despair and Loneliness (1988-89); 24 minutes
for mezzosoprano and piano. Poems by Rilke, Verlaine, Shakespeare, Staff,
and Lorca in original languages. Commissioned by Jerzy Marchwinski
for Ewa Podles, mezzosoprano. First performance: October 3, 1989,
E. Podles and J. Marchwinski,Warsaw Philharmonic, Poland.
Recordings: CD, Muza Records, Poland, 1991

Holocaust Memorial Cantata (1992); 40 minutes
for three solo voices, mixed choir and orchestra (percussion, harp, strings).
To the poetry of Leslie Woolf Hedley Chant for All the People on Earth (English/Hebrew/Yiddish/Polish).
Commissioned by the Lira Singers of Chicago.
First performance: April 5, 1992, Lira Singers, Lucy J. Ding conductor, Glencoe, Illinois. Score and piano reduction.
Recordings: CD, POLYGRAM CD ACCORD, Poland, 1996

Liquid Light for Mezzosoprano, Piano and Percussion (1994-1995); 18 minutes
To the poetry of Modene Duffy.
Commissioned for Patricia Adkins-Chiti.
Premiered at Warsaw Autumn 1997 and in the unabridged version at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Nov. 25, 1997. Patricia Adkins-Chiti, Mezzo soprano, Ian Buckle, piano, Marta Ptaszynska, percussion.

Cantiones Jubilationis for Women's Choir and Percussion (1995); 12 minutes
To the poetry of Modene Duffy.
commissioned by the Lira Singers of Chicago.
Premiered: March 19, 1995 in Chicago by the Lire Singers, Lucy Ding, conducting.

Silver Echos of Distant Bells for Mezzosoprano and String Quartet (1995); 28 minutes
To the poetry of Lord Tennyson, Laslie woolf Hedley, Donald Bogen, Krzysztof Koehler and Stanislaw Wyspianski; in English.
Commissioned by the Kosciuszko Foundation.
Premiered: Dec. 10, 1995 in New York at the Kosciuszko Foundation by Mary Henderson-Stuckey, mezzosoprano and Halcyon String Quartet.

Chamber Music

Four Preludes (1965); 81 minutes
for vibraphone and piano (PWM/EBM)

Scherzo (1967); 4 minutes
for xylophone and piano (PWM/EBM)

Jeu-Parti (1970); 81 minutes
for harp and vibraphone (MFP)

Madrigals "Canticum Sonarum" Igor Stravinsky in Memoriam (1971); 16 minutes
for woodwond and string quartets, trumpet, trombone and gong.
Special Mention, Young Polish Composers Contest, 1971.
First performance: March, 1972, Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Players, Warsaw, Poland. (AA)

Cadenza (1972); 9 minutes
for flute and percussion (one player). (PWM)

Siderals for Two Percussion Quintets and Light Projection (1974); 22 minutes
Commissioned and premiered in 1974 by the University of Illinois Percussion
Ensemble, Thomas Siwe, conductor. 1974 Percussive Arts Society Award.

Mobile for Two Percussionists (1975); 10 - 30 minutes
First performance: November 10, 1976, Louis Calabro and composer, Bennington College, Vermont. Published - special order (TPC).

Classical Variations for Timpani and String Quartet (1976); 12 minutes
1976 Award at the Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest. (EBM rental)

Synchromy for Percussion Trio (1978); 10 minutes

Dream Lands, Magic Spaces for Violin Piano and 6 Percussion Trio (1979); 24 minutes
First performance: November13, 1980, San Francisco Conservatory Percussion
Ensemble, Daniel Kobialka, violin, Barry Jekowski, conductor.
Percussive Arts Society Internaational Conference, San Jose, California. (PWM/EBM)

Scintilla for Two Marimbas (1984); 51 minutes
First performance: 1985 by the duo Tavernier in France. (AA)

Moon Flowers for Cello and Piano (1986); 9 minutes
Commissioned by the BBC in Bristol for the duo R. Jablonski, cello,
and K, Borucinska, piano.
First broadcast performance: September 27, 1986, 29th International Music Festival Warsaw Autumn Poland. (FLP)
Recordings: Proviva - Teldec Germany, ISPN 152.

Ajikan - Unfolding Light for Flute and Percussion (1989); 12 minutes
Commissioned by the Uroboros Ensemble in England.
First performance: September 10, 1989, Southampton International Music Week. (FLP)

Poetic Impressions for Wind Quintet and Piano (1991); 20 minutes
Commissioned by the Warsaw Wind Quintet.(TPC)
Recordings: CD, DUX Records, Poland (CD of the Year 1996)

Concerto for Sxophone and Chamber Orchestra (1988-90); 18 minutes
Solo alto and tenor saxophone.
Written for David Pituch and Sinfonia Varsovia
Premiere scheduled: June 26, 1997, Festival European Cultural Month in Lubljana, Slovenia.

Four Portraits for String Quartet (1994); 15 minutes
Written for the Wilanow String Quartet.
Premiered: April 22, 1995 at Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center in New York.

Concerto Grosso for 2 Violins and Chamber orchestra (1996); 12 minutes
"A Birthday present for Lord Yehudi Menuhin"
Premiered by Sinfonia Varsovia and Lord Menuhin, January 26, 1997, Warsaw, Poland.
VHS recording By Polish Television, Warsaw, 1997

Letter To The Sun for Narrator and Percussion (1996-97); 10 minutes
To the poem by Julie Rafalski; in English.
Written for Morris Lang and the Brooklyn College Percussion Ensemble.
Premiere scheduled: May 1997.

Scherzo Di Fantasia for Euphonium and Piano (1997);
Commissioned by the National Brass Society for the International Brass Conference in St. Louis.
Premiere scheduled: June 1997 by Gail Robertson, euphonium.

Mancala for 2 Violins (1997); 8 minutes
Written for Hann Lachert, violisnist of the New York Philharmonic.
Premiere scheduled: April 1997, Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center in New York.

Multi-Media Works

Soiree Snobe Chez La Princesse, Instrumental Theatre (1979); 15 minutes
for 2 keyboard instruments, prerecorded tape, mimes and lighting.
Commissioned and premiered in 1979 by Annette Sachs and Piotr Lachert,
Theatre European de Musique Vivante, Brussels, Belgium. Manuscript.

Instrumental Solo Works

Variations for Flute (1967); 6 minutes

Space Model for Percussion (1971-75); 12 minutes
Published - (TPC).

Stress for Percussion & Tape (1972); 4 minutes

Arabesque for harp (1972); 7 minutes

Touracou for Harpsichord (1974); 5 minutes

Farewell Souvenir for Piano (1975); 6 minutes

Recitativo, Arioso and Toccata for Violin (1969-75); 10 minutes

Two Poems for Tuba (1975); 7 minutes

Quodlibet for Double-Bass and Prerecorded Tape (1976); 12 minutes

Six Bagatelles for Harp (1979); 9 minutes

Graffito for Marimba (1988); 12 minutes
Commissioned by Nebojsa Jovan Ziukovic.
Premiered: European Percussion Congress, Germany.
Recordings: CD, Bayer Records, Germany. (TPC).

Hommage a I.J. Paderewski for Piano (1992); 5 minutes
Premiered: Jerzy Stryjniak, Washington D.C., 1992 (FLP).

Spider Walk for Solo Percussion (1993) ;7 minutes
Commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Premiere: Nov. 18, 1994 by the Cincinnati Symphony , Jesus Lopez Cobos, conducting

Music for Children

Suite Variee for Percussion (4) and Piano (1965); 4 minutes

Little Mosaic for Percussion Ensemble (1968); 10 minutes

Little Mexican Fantasy for Percussion and Piano (1971); 4 minutes
Arrangement of a Mexican folk tune. (PWM).

Tunes from Many Countries of the World (1977)
Children's songs arrangement for percussion and instruments. (PWM).

Journeys into Space for Piano in two volumes (1978)
A set of 19 miniatures. (PWM).

Colorful World of Percussion (1978)
A book for percussion training in 5 volumes.
Co-author: Barbara Niewiadomska.

Music of Five Steps for Two Flutes and Percussion Ensemble (1979); 19 minutes
for Musical Education. First performance: July 12, 1980 by the pupils of E. Mlynarski
Elementary School of Music in Warsaw, Poland during the XIV World Congress of ISME.(AA)

Miniatures for Piano (1982)
14 miniatures. (EBM)

Four Seasons for Four Hands (1984)
12 pieces for Piano 4 hands. (EBM)

Silver Threads and Other Songs for Children (1986)
for voice, chorus , and percussion in various combinations, to the poetry
of Josef Czechowicz, in Polish (PWM)

Music Alphabet for Two Pianos (1985-86)
A set of 22 pieces, mainly dances from A to Z.

Mister Marimba - children's opera in 3 acts (1992-95); 90 minutes.
Soloists, chidren choir and orchestra
To the libretto of Polish lyricist Agnieszka Osiecka; in Polish and also in English
Written for the National Opera in Warsaw, Poland.
Premiere scheduled: Nov. 1997, National Opera in Warsaw.


PWM Edition (PWM)
Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne
al. Krasinskiego 11a
31-111 Krakow, Poland
Tel/Fax: 48--12--22-01-74

Distribution in North America :

Theodore Presser Company
(Agent of PWM)
Presser Place, Bryn Mawr,
Pennsylvania 19010
fax 215/527 7841


TPC - Theodore Presser Company.
PWM - Polish Music Publications (Theodore Presser Company, distributor).
AA - Author's Agency Publications, Warsaw, Poland.
EBM - Edward B. Marks Music Publications, New York. NY.
FLP - Fallen Leaf Press, Berkeley, CA.
MFP - Music for Percussion, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
LED - Alphonse Leduc (Theodore Presser Company, distributor).
MLP - Morris Lang Percussion, New York, NY.

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Copyright 1996 by the Polish Music Reference Center
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This page updated in November 1997 by M.A. Harley & M. Depinski