Karol Szymanowski was popularly known as a Polish composer and pianist. He passed away on 29 March 1937 at the age of 54. Before his death, he was a member of the modernist Young Poland movement that flourished in the late 19th and early 20th century.
His early works show the influence of the late Romantic German school as well as the early works of Alexander Scriabin, as exemplified by his Étude Op. 4 No. 3 and his first two symphonies. On 3 October 2023, Google celebrated the Polish composer and pianist. In this post, we have more details about him. Keep reading to find out more.
Szymanowski was awarded the highest national honours, including the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and other distinctions, both Polish and foreign.
Who Was Karol Szymanowski?
Karol Szymanowski was born on 3 October 1882 in Tymoszówka, Russian Empire. He was born into the Korwin-Szymanowski family who were members of wealthy Polish nobility from the Mazovia region. His great-great-grandfather Dominik was exiled from Poland to Dnieper Ukraine.
In his education history, he studied music privately with his father before enrolling at the Gustav Neuhaus Elisavetgrad School of Music in 1892. He also attended the State Conservatory in Warsaw from 1901 to 1905. After his studies, he became the director of the institution from 1926 until retiring in 1930.
Karol Szymanowski Career
As already revealed, Szymanowski attended the State Conservatory in Warsaw and later became its director from 1926 to 1930. As a result, he travelled across Europe and North Africa. In his journey in Berlin, he founded the Young Polish Composers’ Publishing Company (1905–12), whose primary aim was to publish new works by his countrymen.
During his stay in Vienna (1911-1914), he wrote the opera Hagith and two song cycles, The Love Songs of Hafiz, which represent a transition between his first and second stylistic periods. Some of his works also included Mity (1914; “Myths”), Metopy (1915; Métopes), and Maski (1916; “Masques”).
Szymanowski completed the manuscript of a two-volume novel, Efebos, which took homosexuality as its subject in 1918. Years later in 1926, he also accepted the position of Director of the Warsaw Conservatory, though he had little administrative experience. Unfortunately, he became ill in 1928 and lost his post.
He was diagnosed with an acute form of tuberculosis, and in 1929 travelled to Davos, Switzerland, for medical treatment. Szymanowski resumed his position at the Conservatory in 1930, but the school was closed two years later by a ministerial decision.
In 1936, Szymanowski received more treatment at a sanatorium in Grasse, but it was no longer effective. He died at a sanatorium in Lausanne on 29 March 1937. His body was brought back to Poland by his sister Stanisława and laid to rest at Skałka in Kraków, the “national Panthéon” for the most distinguished Poles.
Google Doodle Celebrates Polish Pianist
For his significant contribution to music, Google today celebrated Karol Szymanowski. He was popularly known as a Polish composer and pianist. He passed away on 29 March 1937 at the age of 54. Some of his notable works include the opera Hagith and two song cycles, The Love Songs of Hafiz, Mity (1914; “Myths”), Metopy (1915; Métopes), and Maski (1916; “Masques”).
Karol has also been awarded several times. Some are the National Prize for Music in 1935, the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, as well as the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. Szymanowski passed away on 29 March 1937 at the age of 54.