Composer and conductor Paweł Łukaszewski was born in 1968 in Częstochowa, Poland, into a family of musicians. His father, Wojciech (1936-1978) was a noted composer, and his younger brother, Marcin (b. 1972) is currently active as a pianist, musicologist and composer.
Paweł Łukaszewski began his music education at the Częstochowa Music High School where, during the years 1981-1987, he studied cello with Grzegorz Janusz and graduated with distinction. He continued at the Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw, where he received a diploma in cello performance in 1992. Mr. Łukaszewski then studied composition with Professor Marian Borkowski, earning his diploma with distinction in 1995. At the same time, Mr. Łukaszewski completed post-graduate courses in choral conducting with Ryszard Zimak at the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz. By 2007 Mr. Łukaszewski completed his doctorate in composition and currently he holds a title of professor at Chopin University in Warsaw. In 2003 and again in 2006 he was invited as a visiting professor to universities in Chile and Argentina, and in 2010 has held a series of lectures in France, Germany, Spain, and Norway.
Mr. Łukaszewski’s compositions have been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including Honorable Mention at the Tadeusz Baird Young Composers’ Competition (1992), Second Prize at the Young Composers’ Forum in Kraków (1994), First Prize at the Warsaw Music Academy Competition (1995), Second Prize at the Adam Didur Composers’ Competition in Sanok (1996), and Second Prize at the Florilege Vocal de Tours Competition in France (1995). He was also given the Częstochowa City Award in 1995, was decorated with the Cavalier’s Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order in 1998, the Saint Albert Brother Award in 2006 and the Silver Gloria Artis Medal in 2011. Also in 2011 he was honored with the Primate of Poland Award. Recordings of Mr. Łukaszewski’s works have won the prestigious Fryderyk Awards (the Polish equivalent of the American Grammy Award) in 1999, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2011, and he was named the City of Warsaw Scholarship recipient in 2010.
Finding a wide appeal among audiences and performers, Paweł Łukaszewski’s compositions have been heard at over one hundred festivals in Poland and abroad and recorded for over seventy different labels, including Hyperion, Acte Préalable, Polskie Nagrania, DUX, Musica Sacra Edition, and Signum Records. Over fifty of his compositions have been published by Chester-Novello, PWM Kraków, Edition Ferrimontana, Edizioni Carrara, Lorenz Corporation, and Choris Mundi.
Since 1995, Mr. Łukaszewski has served as Secretary and Program Director of the Laboratory for Contemporary Music International Festival and, since 2000, as president of the Musica Sacra Society. Mr. Łukaszewski is also a member of the ZAiKS Society and of the Board of the Polish Recording Academy. He serves on the boards of international festivals including the Gaude Mater Sacred Music Festival in Częstochowa and as a jury member for composition competitions in Arrezzo, Moscow, Bucharest, Katowice, Bydgoszcz, Legnica, Warszawa, and Częstochowa. In addition to his activities as composer, Mr. Łukaszewski directs the Cathedral Choir of the Warsaw-Praga and heads the Musica Sacra Publishing Company.
During the past few years, Mr. Łukaszewski’s music has been featured throughout the United Kingdom in performances by such renowned ensembles as The King’s Singers, The Holst Singers, BBC Singers, Trinity College Choir, Tenebrae, Britten Sinfonia, and Polyphony, conducted by Stephen Layton. Two recordings devoted exclusively to Mr. Łukaszewski’s music were issued by Hyperion Records. In addition to concerts in the British Isles, Mr. Łukaszewski’s compositions have been performed in Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Romania, Switzerland, Ukraine, and at the Vatican, as well as in Argentina, Chile, China, Israel, Cuba, Canada, South Korea, Peru, Uruguay and the United States.
In spite of his young age, Paweł Łukaszewski is a prolific composer. The catalogue of his orchestral works includes such entries as Arrampicata (1992), Winterreise (1993), Organ Concerto (1996), Sinfonietta (2004), Concerto for String Orchestra (2006), Divertimento (2006), Trinity Concerto (2007), Genome (2008), Piano Concerto (2008), Utopia (2008) and Adagietto (2009). The catalogue of his vocal-instrumental compositions includes Vesperae pro defunctis (1995/2011), Via Crucis (2000), Messa per voci e fiati (2004), Symphony No. 1 – Symphony of Providence (1997-2006), Symphony No. 2 – Festinemus amare homines (2002- 2005), Magnificat & Nunc dimittis (2007), Miserere (2008), Missa de Maria a Magdala (2010), and Symphony No. 3 – Symphony of Angels (2010).
In the chamber music realm, Mr. Łukaszewski’s entries include Quasi Sonata (1991), three String Quartets (dating from 1994, 2000 and 2004), Concertino for Piano and Brass (2007), Piano Trio (2008), and Concertino for Organ and Brass (2009). Among solo works, his catalogue includes Capriccio for P.P (1991) for violin solo, Two Preludes (1992) and Stadium (2002) for piano, Moai (2003) for flute solo, Souvenirs (2007) - a cycle of five works for different solo instruments, and Icon (2010) for organ solo.
Especially noted for his vocal and choral works, Mr. Łukaszewski’s compositions in this genre include Four Poems (1989), Ave Maria (1992), Tu es Petrus (1992), Modlitwa za Ojczyznę [A Prayer for the Homeland] (1994), Stabat Mater (1994), Angelus Domini (1995), Beatus vir (1996-2001), Antiphonae (1995-1999), Two Motets for Christmas (2000), Kolędy [Christmas Carols] (2001), Hommage à Edith Stein (2002), Ave maris stella (2003), Veni Creator (2004), Two Funeral Psalms (2008), Pięć żałobnych pieśni kurpiowskich [Five Funeral Songs from the Kurpie Region] (2009), Responsoria tenebrae (2010), and Lamentationes (2011), among others.
Over the past two decades, Mr. Łukaszewski received numerous commissions from such diverse organizations and performers as Theatre des Cinq Diamants (Paris, France; 1992), Polish Radio (1997), Musica Viva Association (Montreal, Canada; 2003), Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso (Chile; 2003), Akademie Klausenhof (Germany; 2004), Kobe Chuo Chorus (Japan; 2005), Polish Composers’ Union (2006), Britten Sinfonia (United Kingdom; 2007), Contemporary Music for All (United Kingdom; 2008), Kultur-Insel (Switzerland; 2009), Adam Mickiewicz Institute (Poland; 2010), The King’s Singers (United Kingdom; 2010), and Wrocław Philharmonic (Poland; 2011).
Paweł Łukaszewski’s music—especially his extensive catalogue of sacred choral music—has its roots in the neo-mediaeval tonality and spiritual tradition espoused by such composers as Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Arvo Pärt, John Taverner, and Morten Lauridsen. Working within what the composer describes as a “renewed tonality,” Łukaszewski achieves surprisingly rich and subtle expressive results. The use of major and minor modes serves the composer only as a point of departure for his highly subjective musical style which, especially in the realm of vocal compositions, is inspired by texts he is setting to music. Łukaszewski’s highly individual musical language, rhythmic vitality, and the careful formal layout present in all of his works, as well as his profound understanding of the liturgical texts in the Catholic rite, combine to produce music that is strikingly traditional yet fully modern.