Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Polish-American conductor and composer, Died at 93


Stanisław Skrowaczewski was born on October 3, 1923, and died on February 21, 2017.

He was a Polish-American classical conductor and composer.

He was born in Lwów (then in Poland, now in Ukraine).

Skrowaczewski studied the piano and violin as a child; displaying talent on the piano at an early age, he made his public debut playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, he had a hand injury ended his piano career.

Following World War II, Skrowaczewski graduated from the Academy of Music in Kraków (in the composition class of Roman Palester and conducting class of Walerian Bierdiajew) and soon, in 1946, became the music director of the Wrocław Philharmonic, then the Katowice Philharmonic, the Kraków Philharmonic and finally the Warsaw National Orchestra.

Skrowaczewski studied composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

Skrowaczewski won the Santa Cecilia Competition for Conductors, in 1956.

George Szell once invited Skrowaczewski to conduct the Cleveland Orchestra.

During 1960, Skrowaczewski was appointed music director of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (later renamed the Minnesota Orchestra under his tenure in 1968), a position he held until 1979 when he became conductor laureate.

During 1981 the American Composers Forum commissioned the Clarinet Concerto which Skrowaczewski wrote for Minnesota Orchestra principal clarinetist Joe Longo, who premiered it in 1981.

Skrowaczewski was principal conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, from 1983 to 1992

His Passacaglia Immaginaria, completed in 1995, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1997. He was Commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestral Association to honor the memory of Ken and Judy Dayton, it was premiered at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis in 1996.

Skrowaczewski received the Commander Order of the White Eagle, the highest order conferred by the Polish government, as well as the Gold Medal of the Mahler-Bruckner Society, the 1973 Ditson Conductor’s Award, and the 1976 Kennedy Center Friedheim Award.

Stanisław Skrowaczewski passed away at 93 years old.