Learning at the Organist School absorbed me very much, and for the four years I was an exemplary student. To demonstrate this, let me just say that I hardly ever went home for holidays or vacations. Instead, I stayed in Płock to practice passionately, taking advantage of the fact that the instruments were not occupied. No wander that doing so throughout the period of my studies, I was a much better student than all of my colleagues. Unfortunately, I had to cope with a permanent shortage of funds, a problem that never ended. Although in the second year of my studies I began to earn my food by playing and singing at chapels, first at the St Joseph Hospice for the Elderly, and then at the Chapel of the Holy Trinity Hospital, I failed to pay my tuition starting from the second year on, and I studied on credit. I wasn’t removed from the school, however, perhaps because as a student, I had excellent results.
The task of the Bishop’s Organists School in Płock was to educate future parish organists. During the four years of study, the school taught the rudiments of such musical subjects as organ and piano playing, and theoretical subjects such as the principles of music, solfege, harmony, music forms, history of music, Gregorian chant, choir conducting, etc, in addition to the specific vocational subjects. In the third year, I started to think about what I would do after completing the studies. In no event did I want to become an organist at some country parish, as was the best scenario for a young graduate of our school. I didn’t wait until I finished my studies, but I went to the Warsaw Conservatory. Mainly, I wanted to see Professor Bronislaw Rutkowski. At the Conservatory, I procured the data on the program requirements for the entry exams to the organ class. I had to pass two exams: the piano and the organ. So, I concentrated all my efforts and diligence on preparing for the entry exam at the Warsaw Conservatory, in addition to preparing for the diploma exam at the Bishop’s Organists School. The results of my hard work were good: from among the forty candidates, I was the only one to be admitted to the fourth year of study, while other graduates of similar musical schools were admitted to the first or the second year. This beginning was encouraging. It was 1936.
Now I had to face new problems: I needed a place to live, food, an instrument to practise, money to pay my tuition, clothes and other things. I asked the Conservatory’s secretary office for a certificate to attest that I had passed the entry exams and I went to see my brother Alfred to ask him for financial assistance. At that time, he worked as a doctor in Daleszyce near Kielce. He appreciated the fact that I had passed the difficult exam and that I was admitted to the leading Polish music school. My brother was proud of me. He bought me a new suit immediately, and gave me some money to pay the first installment of my tuition. Unfortunately, his assistance ended at this point. He was a young doctor then, and he was still furnishing his house and his surgery. For this reason, he could not afford to help me more. Anyway, he helped me a lot. I looked around my new environment and got acquainted with my new colleagues, especially with Franciszek Wesołowski who had been a student for one year already. Then, I started to organise my new life. Wesołowski gave me the address of an honest elderly couple who lived in 14 Freta Street. I stayed with them and my sister Maria paid my rent.
/Written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on November 20, 1995/
This biography was written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on 20th November, 1995
My father Teofil Paciorkiewicz was a milling master recognised in Sierpc and in the Sierpc district in central Poland. My mother, Józefa nee Frejlich, ran a tailor’s shop which was very popular with the ladies from the town and the surrounding area, in addition to rearing her eight children (two died in infancy).
I was born in Sierpc on the 17th of October 1916 as the eighth, youngest child. Alfred, my eldest brother, of whom our parents were very proud, finished the famous Małachowianka high school in Płock and went to study law to Vilnius. Shortly, however, he changed his mind and moved to Poznań to study medicine. After he had completed his studies, he opened a physician practice in Daleszyce near Kielce, which he would then move to Starachowice, Wieluń and Opoczno. My sisters, Jadwiga and Maria, attended the local girl’s high school of Mrs. Piniarewiczowa.
For lack of funds, however, they had to stop their learning and take care of the house and the younger children after our mother died in 1920. My mother passed away during the difficult post-war period, and her death submerged our house in painful poverty . My elder sister Jadwiga got married, and Maria was sent to the Teacher’s College in Plock, because by brother Alfred had convinced our father that being so talented, she should continue her education. This decision was right, because Maria really was very talented and also very diligent. After she had finished the Teacher’s College in Płock, Maria worked for various village schools, and just before the second world war, she got married. When the war was over, a widow now, she finished higher mathematical studies in Warsaw and started to work as a teacher at the Stanisław Konarski Mechanical School in Warsaw where she worked until she retired. The other two brothers, Kazimierz and Józef, got practical vocations. Kazimierz established a butcher’s shop and Józef opened a confectionery.
My childhood after mother’s death was very difficult. Without her attendance, I had to go through almost all possible diseases. After I finished comprehensive school, I stayed for one year with my father and I helped him at home. At that time, it occurred to father that I should go to the Bishop’s Organists School in Płock. At home, we had cultivated music and song amateur style. My father would encourage us to sing together and he even sent us to violin classes. Now, I was to learn to be a professional musician. I passed the exam successfully.