Dobrowolski, Andrzej


Composer and educator, born 9 September 1921 in Lviv, died 8 August 1990 in Graz. Under the German occupation during World War II he studied organ with Bronisław Rutkowski, clarinet with Ludwik Kurkiewicz and singing with Stefan Belina-Skupiewski. In 1945-51 he continued his studies with Stefania Łobaczewska (music theory) and Artur Malawski (composition) at the State School of Music in Cracow. From 1947 to 1954 he taught theory at the State Secondary Music School and at the State High School of Music in Cracow. In 1954-76, he was associate professor of theory at the State High School of Music in Warsaw, where from 1964 he also taught his own composition class. From 1976 he became lecturer in composition and electronic music at the High School of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, becoming Dean of the Department of Composition, Theory and Conducting in 1979. He was also active at the Polish Radio Experimental Studio in Warsaw and the Institute of Electronic Music at the High School of Music in Graz.

His accolades include the Gold Cross of Merit (1969), Minister of Culture and Arts Award (1971), Award of the Polish Composers' Union for lifetime achievements (1972), and Johann Joseph Fux Music Award of the Government of Styria (1990).

He authored a theoretical study entitled Metodyka nauczania harmonii w szkołach muzycznych II stopnia [Methodology of teaching harmony in secondary music schools] (Cracow: PWM Edition, 1967).

When in 1958 one of the world's first studios of music for tape, the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio, was founded in Warsaw, Andrzej Dobrowolski was one of its first users. Together with Włodzimierz Kotoński, Zbigniew Wiszniewski, and Bogusław Schaeffer, he played a key role in the history of Polish music for tape, determining the directions in which it developed until the 1970s. Andrzej Dobrowolski's first work in which he applied the new electroacoustic technology was Music for Tape no. 1 recorded in the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio in 1962. The input sound material was derived from a variety of sources, which was a new idea, as the earlier pieces from the Warsaw Studio had been based on homogeneous sound material. Dobrowolski used polytones from generators, piano chords, voices, and sounds of the piano resonating box into which individual vowels were exclaimed. Despite such heterogeneous sources, Music for Tape no. 1 is characterised by a unity and integrity of sound, which is distinctly "electronic" in character. is is due to the identical structuring processes to which the composer submitted all the sounds collected on the tape. The publication of the score by PWM Edition was an extraordinary event: works for tape usually exist only as a unique studio recording and are virtually never published in print.

Music for Tape no. 1 was played back twice at the Warsaw Autumn Festival (in 1962 and 1963). Virtually each subsequent electronic piece by Andrzej Dobrowolski was presented at that festival, almost invariably becoming a major event in the programme. In 1966, Music for Magnetic Tape and Solo Oboe inaugurated a series of pieces that combined a live performer with music from loudspeakers. This was followed by Music for Strings, Two Groups of Wind Instruments and Two Loudspeakers (1967), Music for Tape and Piano (1971), Music for Tape and Double Bass (1977), Music for Tape and Bass Clarinet (1980). S for S, Electronic Music from 1973 was purely electronic; finally, in 1988, the 70-year-old Dobrowolski wrote Passacaglia für TX with the use of computers.

Electroacoustic works were by no means the dominant means of artistic expression for Andrzej Dobrowolski. Throughout his life, he used various musical genres, but even in the field of purely symphonic music, the "electronic" sound can be discerned, which he created by breaking the conventions related to the traditional sound structure of the orchestra.


Selected works: Symphonic Variations for orchestra (1949), Overture for symphony orchestra (1950-51), Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra (1953), Symphony no. 1 (1955), Trio for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon (1956), Eight Studies for oboe, trumpet, bassoon and double-bass pizzicato (1958-59), Music for Magnetic Tape no. 1 (1962), Music for String Orchestra and Four Groups of Wind Instruments (1964), Music for Magnetic Tape and Solo Oboe (1965), Music for Strings, Two Groups of Wind Instruments and Two Loudspeakers (1966-67), Music for Orchestra no. 1 (1968), Krabogapa for clarinet, trombone, cello and piano (1969), Amar. Music for Orchestra no. 2 (1970), Music for Magnetic Tape and Solo Piano (1971-72), Music for Solo Tuba (1972), Music for Orchestra no. 3 (1972-73), S for S (Study for Synthi) for tape (1973), A­LA. Music for Orchestra no. 4 (1974), Music for Mixed Choir, Two Groups of Wind Instruments, Double Basses and Percussion (1975), Music for Magnetic Tape and Solo Double Bass (1977), Music for three Accordions, Mouth Organ and Percussion (1977), Passacaglia. Mu­ sic for Orchestra no. 5 (1978-79), Music for Magnetic Tape and Solo Bass Clarinet (1980), Music for Orchestra no. 6 (1981-82), Musik für Grazer Bläserkreis for eight trumpets, eight horns, eight trombones, two tubas and percussion (1984), Music for Orchestra and Solo Oboe (1984-85), Flüchten, music for chamber ensemble and speaker to words by Wilhelm Muster (1985-86), Music for Orchestra no. 7 (1986-87), Passacaglia für TX, computer music for tape (1988, rev. 1989), String Quartet (1989).