Karol Szymanowski

Karol Maciej Szymanowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˌkarɔl ˌmat͡ɕɛj ʂɨmaˈnɔfskʲi]; 3 October 1882 – 28 March 1937) was a Polish composer and pianist. Szymanowski was born into a wealthy land-owning Polish gentry family (of the Korwin/Ślepowron coat-of-arms) in Tymoszówka, then in the Russian Empire, now in Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine. He studied music privately with his father before going to Gustav Neuhaus' Elisavetgrad School of Music from 1892. From 1901 he attended the State Conservatory in Warsaw, of which he was later director from 1926 until retiring in 1930. Musical opportunities in Russian-occupied Poland being quite limited at the time, he travelled widely throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. These travels, especially those to the Mediterranean area, provided much inspiration to the composer and esthete. The fruits of these trips included not only musical works, but poetry and his novel on Greek love Efebos, parts of which were subsequently lost in a fire in 1939. The central chapter was translated by him into Russian and given as a gift in 1919 to Boris Kochno, who was his beloved at the time.


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