USC Monogram Polish Music Center Books



by Maja Trochimczyk

(b. 1944, Lwów; now Lviv, Ukraine)

Biography List of Works In Her Words Manuscripts


Elżbieta Sikora was born in Lwów on 20 October 1944. She completed studies in sound engineering at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw. In 1968-70 she studied electroacoustic music under Pierre Schaeffer and Francois Bayle at the Paris Groupe de Recherches Musicales. After her return to Warsaw, she took up composition studies with Tadeusz Baird and Zbigniew Rudziński. During her studies, together with Krzysztof Knittel and Wojciech Michniewski she formed the KEW composers' group, with which she toured in Poland, Sweden, Austria and West Germany. Since 1981 she has lived in France where she attended a computer music course at IRCAM and studied composition with Betsy Jolas. At present she is professor at the Conservatory in Angouleme, France, where she teaches electroacoustic music.

A recipient of grants from the French government, the city of Mannheim and the Kosciuszko Foundation, she worked under John Chowning for several months at the Center for Computer Research for Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), at Stanford University.
She is the winner of the Young Composers' Circle of the Polish Composers' Union prize (1978, distinction for According to Pascal), Weber Competition in Dresden (1978, Second prize for a chamber opera Ariadna), Electroacoustic Music Competition in Bourges (1980, distinctions for The Waste Land and Letters to M.) and a competition for composers in Mannheim (1982, First prize for Guernica). In 1998 she received a Prix Magistere from the Bourges Festival of Electroacoustic Music.

Sikora's pieces have been performed in a majority of European countries and in the United States, e.g. at the Avignon Festival, Festival de Paris, Dresdner Musikfestspiele, "Fylkingen" in Stockholm and GMEB in Bourges festivals, as well as at the "Warsaw Autumn" Contemporary Music Festival. She received a prestigious commission to write a cantata for the 1000th anniversary of her home city of Gdańsk. Elżbieta Sikora also received two SACEM awards in 1994: Prix Pedagogique for Chant'Europe and Prix du Printemps for all of her works. in 1996 she was granted "Nouveau Talent Musique" prize for her opera L'Arrache-coeur in Paris. In 1997 Sikora was awarded Poland's Cavalier Cross of Merit.


In my work I am in daily contact with the electronic music studio; however, music that is purely instrumental or vocal gradually takes more space in my output. Actually, I think that separating compositional techniques into electroacoustic and instrumental types and that ascribing specific aesthetic positions to these techniques does not make much sense today. Contemporary French music aesthetics is inclined towards the Apollonian trend - i.e. pure art - whereas I feel closer to the Dionysian trend in which emotions are as important as formal principles in building the final shape of a composition. [Sikora, interview with Michel Pazdro, Ruch Muzyczny, 1987]


  • Ariadna [Ariadne], chamber opera to a text based on Cesare Pavese. Manuscript score in black ink, 72 pages, on music paper from Dom Ksi ki, 32 staves. Annotation on the front page: "praca dyplomowa napisana pod kierunkiem doc. Zbigniewa Rudzi skiego na Wydz.I kompozycji PWSM w Warszawie w 1977" [Diploma work written under the guidance of Doc. Zbigniew Rudzi ski at the Department of Composition, State Higher School of Music in Warsaw, 1977].


    Chamber Music

    Inventions for tuba, 2 percussionists and mime - 1969

    String Quartet - 1975

    According to Pascal for trumpet, harp, harpsichord, cello and reciter - 1976

    First Journey for tuba - 1977

    String Quartet No. 2 - 1980

    Interludes for flute and harp - 1980

    Sand for flute and percussion - 1980

    Third Journey for flute - 1981

    Eine kleine Tagmusic for 7 instruments - 1983

    Solo for violin - 1983

    Suite for cello and tape - 1989

    Suite II for harpsichord, tape and transformations - 1990

    Strings Sextet-Hommage a Witold Lutosławski - 1993

    Canzona for viola da gamba and instrumental ensemble - 1994-95

    Thinking of Brahms String quartet - 1996

    Orchestral works

    Cercles for orchestra - 1975

    Suite III (Baroque) for orchestra - 1997

    Electroacoustic music

    Prenom - 1970

    A View from the Window - 1971

    The Uncertainty of Summer - 1973

    First Journey for double bass and two tape recorders - 1974

    Second Journey - 1976

    In the Night with Face to Heaven - 1978

    Rhapsody on the Death of the Republic - 1979

    The Waste Land , radio piece based on T.S. Eliot - 1979

    Letters to M. - 1980

    The Head of Orpheus I - 1981

    The Head of Orpheus III - 1981-82

    Derriere son double , radio opera for voice, instrumental ensemble and electronic sounds - 1983

    Geometries variables - 1991

    On the Line for soprano and tape - 1992

    Flashback - 1996

    Vocal-Instrumental Music

    Heart-Brightening Song for soprano and 5 instruments - 1973

    Heart-Brightening Song for soprano, flute and harpsichord - 1983

    The Creation of the World for 2 vocal ensembles and chamber orchestra - 1976

    Salve Regina for choir and organ - 1981

    L'Arrache - coeur , opera - 1984-86

    La Creation , oratorio - 1986

    Loreley for soprano and instrumental ensemble - 1987

    Rappel II for orchestra and SYTER - 1988

    A peine le temps que dure une vision for soprano, chamber ensemble and tape - 1989

    Chant de Salomon for soprano and chamber ensemble - 1991

    Omnia Tempus Habent , oratorio for solo voice-alto, boys' choir, mixed choir, organ and orchestra - 1997

    Choral Music

    Guernica - Hommage a Pablo Picasso - 1975-79

    Stage Music

    Ariadna , chamber opera - 1977

    L'Arrache - coeur , opera - 1984-86

    La Clef de Verre , ballet - 1986

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    Copyright 1999-2001 by the Polish Music Center
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    Based on materials from the program book of the Warsaw Autumn Festival, Encyklopedia Muzyki
    (Warsaw: PWM, 1995) and an entry in the PWM Encyclopedia of Music.
    Edited in July 2000 by Ewa Grzegrzulka. updated on 2 July 2001.