Tenement house in Łódź

10 years in Łódź

For the next ten years, I worked as a pedagogue at the State Higher Music School in Łódź. At this point, I should go back to 1944, when I was offered a job as an organist in Ursus near Warsaw. I took this job because it provided better financial conditions and because I wanted to shelter my family: the Warsaw Uprising was just about to break out. At that time we had a daughter Antonina and we were expecting another baby. Although Ursus is just eight kilometres away from Warsaw, we managed to avoid all the atrocities of the Uprising and we even offered refuge to many of our friends and acquaintances who had escaped from transports to the Reich.

Tadeusz and Zofia with their children, 1951

Tadeusz and Zofia with their children, Łódź 1951 /photographer unknown/

In 1949, I was invited by the rector of the State Higher Music School in Łódź Prof. Kazimierz Sikorski and the dean Kazimierz Jurdziński to co-operate with them as a professor of harmony, counterpoint and other theoretical subjects. Together with my family, which at that time included my wife and three children (Antonina, Artur and Paweł) we left Płock and went to Łódź. We had a very difficult start in the new place, but gradually our situation improved. In 1954 I took a parallel job as a pedagogue at the Higher State School of Music in Warsaw, where I commuted twice a week.

In 1959, Prof. Kazimierz Sikorski, at that time already the rector of the Higher State  School of Music in Warsaw appointed me a lecturer of theoretical subjects at that School. So, we moved house once again, this time from Łódź to Warsaw, our final destination. The stay in Łódź took a round ten years. We did not feel attached to that place. Those ten years were an episode in our life. Throughout that period, we never gave up the thought of returning to Warsaw. On the other hand, from the point of view of my artistic development, the stay in Łódź was very fruitful. It was in Łódź that I composed two symphonies, two concertos for the piano, a violin concerto and numerous chamber, choir and didactic works. It was here that I was first recognised as a composer. In consultation with the Łódź pedagogues, I created many didactic works. In particular, I mean the works created in co-operation with Prof. Emma Altberg, Prof. Zofia Romaszkowa and Prof. Franciszek Jamry, whose advice I used when composing the violin concerto. It was very important for my artistic development that all the new works were performed immediately.

…back in Warsaw

/Written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on November 20, 1995/

Royal Castle in the Old Town in Warsaw

Back in Warsaw

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, 1965

Tadeusz at work, 1965 /photo by Paweł Paciorkiewicz/

Our life back in Warsaw was still very active. Antonina and Artur continued their education at a music college and Paweł went to a state primary music school. He was the only one among our children who did not want to be a musician, and after he finished the 22nd High School he went to study at the Warsaw Technical University and became an engineer. Our elder children finished the Higher State School of Music in Warsaw, Antonina as a pianist and Artur as an alto viola player.

In Warsaw, my life became more regular and more creative. In short, it was here that I composed the Gdańsk Romance opera that was staged by the Grand Theatre in Łódź and two operas commissioned by the Polish Radio in Warsaw (Ushiko and Ligea). These operas were performed and recorded on the Polish Radio, and Ushiko was also performed on the BBC in London, translated into English by Gołos. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Nicolaus Copernicus birth, I composed the De Revolutionibus oratorio, staged successfully as part of the anniversary celebrations in Olsztyn.

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, 1981

Tadeusz playing Christmas carols, Warsaw 1981 /photo by Paweł Paciorkiewicz/

It was in Warsaw that I composed further fourteen concertos with for solo instruments with orchestra: the I organ concerto, the trombone concerto, the alto viola concerto, the harp concerto, the oboe concerto, the trumpet concerto, the II organ concerto, the double concerto for violin and alto viola, organ and orchestra. It was here that I created two more symphonies (III and IV), numerous chamber works, including the II String Quartet, the Piano Quintet, overtures for wind bands and works for a cappella choirs.

At the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy (the former Higher State School of Music), I successively progressed through all scientific degrees: from docent to associate professor and to full professor. For many terms, I was the dean of the First Department of Composition, Conducting And Theory. From 1969 to 1971, I was the rector of my mother school. Many students finished the composition class under my direction, among them Marta Ptaszyńska, Zbigniew Bagiński, Stanisław Moryto and the youngest of them, Andrzej Matuszewski.

At the moment, I am retired. I had taught for over 45 years and I did not want to prolong my pedagogical career.

/Written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on November 20, 1995/

PÅ‚ock, view on Tumskie hill

Becoming a musician

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, 1934

Tadeusz during his studies at Bishop’s Organists School. PÅ‚ock, 1934 /photographer unknown/

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 PÅ‚ock 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.

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, 1934

Tadeusz practising in Bishop’s Organists School. PÅ‚ock, 1934 /photographer unknown/

The task of the Bishop’s Organists School in PÅ‚ock 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 WesoÅ‚owski who had been a student for one year already. Then, I started to organise my new life. WesoÅ‚owski 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.

…the War

/Written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on November 20, 1995/

Plebanka - a house bought by Teofil in Sierpc.


This biography was written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on 20th November, 1995

Teofil Paciorkiewicz

Teofil Paciorkiewicz, mid 30′ of the XX century /photographer unknown/

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 MaÅ‚achowianka high school in PÅ‚ock and went to study law to Vilnius. Shortly, however, he changed his mind and moved to PoznaÅ„ 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, WieluÅ„ and Opoczno. My sisters, Jadwiga and Maria, attended the local girl’s high school of Mrs. Piniarewiczowa.

Józefa Paciorkiewicz

Józefa Paciorkiewicz nee Frejlich during WWI. /photographer unknown/

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 [1]. 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 PÅ‚ock, 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 StanisÅ‚aw 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 PÅ‚ock. 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.

… becoming a musician

Warsaw, German occupation, German victory parade

During German occupation

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz in Warsaw, 1938

Tadeusz in Krakowskie Przedmieście St. in Warsaw, 1938 /photographer unknown/

During the second year of my study, I found employment as an organist at the Jesuit Church in Świętojańska St. in Warsaw. There, I worked and studied until 1939 when I enrolled in the army. Initially, I was in service in Toruń, and then in Wesoła near Warsaw [2]. After the German attack, my unit was sent eastwards. The well known events happened so fast that I had not shot one bullet when the Germans took control over these areas. Most of my colleagues were imprisoned. I avoided this fate because I had put on civilian attire earlier than others [3]. At that moment, I set off to walk towards Warsaw, anxious about my fiancee Zofia Wiaczkis and her family. Luckily, I found her at a different address where she stayed with her family. Their apartment had been partly destroyed by bombs. I started to seek ways to support us. In Warsaw, I had no chance of succeeding in this, so I decided to visit my father, who was staying with my brother Józef in our family town of Sierpc.

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, 1938

Tadeusz in 1938 /photographer unknown/

On the way from Warsaw to Sierpc my train stopped in Nasielsk. It was announced that the stop would take several hours. I took this opportunity to visit Professor Jan Bieniek, my acquaintance who had always been very friendly towards me, and who worked as an organist in Nasielsk [4]. He welcomed me very kindly and even offered me a job as an assistant organist at the then huge Nasielsk parish. Very glad, I went on to Sierpc to my father. I found my family town changed. On many houses, swastika flags were waving. The town was full of Germans in Wehrmacht and SS uniforms. Walking the distance of several kilometres from the train station to the town, I was asked many times to show my ID to the Volksdeutschers. Sierpc and the Sierpc district had always been a home for many German colonists. Now, these people became denunciators bound to destroy the Polish population.

Zofia Wiaczkis, 1938

Zofia Wiaczkis, Tadeusz’s fiancee, 1938. /photo by FOTO MORO Warszawa/

Finally, I reached my father’s home and found father very depressed by what had happened. He was glad to see me back home. After a short stay with my father I took my salvaged clothes and books and went back to Nasielsk. I stayed there for nearly a year, helping Mr Bieniek and giving private piano classes to the local girls. During my stay in Nasielsk, I would cross the green border and go to the General Gubern (Poland under German occupation) several times (Nasielsk belonged to the German Reich under the new administrative division). Perhaps I would have stayed longer in Nasielsk, but it became increasingly difficult to cross the border. Those who were caught were beaten or placed in labour camps.

Tadeusz and Zofia

Wedding ceremony of Tadeusz and Zofia /photographer unknown/

After I had handled all the formalities in Ciechanów (Bezierk Ziechenau), I left the hospitable home of Mr and Mrs Bieniek in Nasielsk and returned to my former place in 14 Freta St. in Warsaw. I remained unemployed for several months, which made my situation extremely difficult, but then, absolutely by chance, I found a job as an organist at the St Martin’s Church in 10 Piwna St. That was a really happy moment in my life. In addition to a small salary, I got a two room apartment with a kitchen, and me and my beloved Zosia Wiaczkis could finally marry, which we did in 1941.

At that time I started a life that was normal, by the standards of the German occupation times. The St. Martin’s was not a parish. It was administered by a kind elderly man, priest Dr. Marcin Szkopowski. In order to support myself somehow, I had to take various jobs, e.g. I taught singing at several schools, including the secret Queen Jadwiga High School (of which Mrs. Zanowa was the headmistress), the Industrial School in KonopczyÅ„skiego St. (where Mr LipczyÅ„ski was the headmaster), and the comprehensive schools in 10 Freta St. and in Górczewska St. (both were schools of the Res Sacra Miser Warsaw Philanthropic Society). I also gave private piano classes and managed amateur choirs. All this put me in great danger, because of the incessant street round-ups and the threat of being taken as a slave labourer to the Reich or even worse, to a labour camp.

Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, 1943

Tadeusz playing organs in Warsaw Conservatory, 1943 /photographer unknown/

The jobs that I had did not overshadow the main purpose of my life, which was to continue my musical education. I established contact with my professors: Kazimierz Sikorski, BronisÅ‚aw Rutkowski, Artur Taub and Jerzy Lefeld. At that time, all of them were already working at the restored Conservatory, which the Germans had renamed as Staatliche Musikschule in Warschau. According to the invaders’ intent, this was supposed to be a high school, but the professors were secretly teaching the Conservatory’s curriculum. I was anxious to keep expanding my artistic knowledge, which gave me the strength to work and to survive the terrible time of the occupation. In 1943, I graduated from the organ group and got my diploma [5]. Then, I started composition studies under the direction of Prof. Kazimierz Sikorski. I got my diploma in musical composition only in 1951, as I graduated from the State Higher Music School in Lódz.

…in PÅ‚ock

/Written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on November 20, 1995/

Endnotes to biography

Notes to the Curriculum Vitae of Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz were compiled by his son Paweł Paciorkiewicz

Note 1. Józefa Paciorkiewicz died of influenza in 1920, at the age of 38.

Note 2. In February 1939, my father was called up to the 2 Measurements Division of the Cavalry Artillery that was stationed in ToruÅ„ in the forts of Rudak. He served in the so called sound platoon, the task of which was to carry out monitoring in order to locate the enemy’s positions. His very prankish mare was called Fortuna.

Note 3. After the II World War broke out, the 2 Measurements Division received orders to concentrate around Kowel. As the Red Army was approaching from the east, the orders were modified – the direction of concentration was changed to WÅ‚odawa. However, the 2 Measurements Division never reached WÅ‚odawa: the situation in the German and the Soviet fronts led to the dissolution of this formation. Some of the Division’s soldiers broke through to Romania, and some returned home.

Note 4. Professor Jan Bieniek also managed a high school choir in Płońsk where he commuted from Nasielsk. He was murdered by the Nazis.

Note 5. During the Nazi occupation, my father continued his artistic work. Together with the director Hanna Buterlewicz and the choreographer Krystyna Rokitnicka, he contributed to the staging of Leon Schiller‘s Pastoral under the supervision of the author himself.

Note 6. The Karol Szymanowski Music School in PÅ‚ock, which my father established in February 1945, was a five year vocational school and a music education school with no specified duration of learning. The school also operated a music kindergarten, which however, was closed down after one year due to lack of funds and proper rooms. In 1949, the school was reorganised and expanded. It became a music high school. The organ and solo song groups were established at that time. The school also had two piano groups, one violin group, one accordion group and several other groups. It had a choir and an orchestra. Owing to the great enthusiasm and zeal of my father and the other pedagogues, the school soon became the centre of PÅ‚ock’s musical life. With the school as its basis, the Folk Music Institute of the Mazovia District was established in June 1946. The Institute’s management board was composed of attorney Kazimierz Askanas, Director of the Pedagogical Senior High School J. Gadzik, President of “Wici” K. DÄ…browski, Dr. Stefania KamiÅ„ska and Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, the Music School director. As the only professional musician in this group, my father was appointed Director of the Mazovia District by the Folk Music Institute’s management board. In 1947, my father and Faustyn Piasek established the District Music Information Bureau to meet the information and consulting needs of amateur choirs. The Information Bureau had its own library with an extensive collection of lay, church and folk songs. In 1948, my father co-organised the formation of the PÅ‚ock Chamber Orchestra and the Mixed Choir. My father’s professional life in PÅ‚ock was not limited to his pedagogical work at the School and the Folk Music Institute. He also managed the amateur choir of the PÅ‚ock Music Society, performed as a concert organist (which included performances on the Polish Radio), worked as an organist at the PÅ‚ock cathedral and composed his first music works.

Note 7. The jubilee concert on the occasion on the 50th anniversary of the Karol Szymanowski I and II Degree State Music School in PÅ‚ock took place on February 25, 1995. I was with my father on that day. This interesting celebration was honoured by Ms. Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the then President of the National Bank of Poland, who attended the concert as the school’s graduate.

Note 8. All the time, my father had to cope with many problems, of which the most important one was the lack of funds to overhaul the school building (its walls were cracking) and to improve the standard of living at the students’ hostel. It happened frequently that he gave up his own salary to help the school. Obviously, this was not enough to solve these problems, because the scale of the school’s needs was much larger. In order to end the school’s financing difficulties, my father had tried to make the school state-owned. The city authorities kept postponing this decision, but finally they decided to make the school state-owned and on May 16, 1949 the school was officially taken over. Further co-operation with the city authorities was less successful. The communist authorities didn’t like the fact that the school taught an organ class and that my father combined the function of the school’s director with his job as an organist at the PÅ‚ock cathedral. When they decided to move the school from the building it was occupying to a group of rooms at the local cinema, which were absolutely useless for a music school’s activities, my father decided to leave PÅ‚ock. As an artist whose heart and soul were devoted to music, he did not want to keep struggling futilely with indifferent bureaucracy and to waste his time and nerves. When my father left, many other school activists and pedagogues did so, too. The school found itself in a crisis.

It is worth noting that the pedagogues and students of the school gave my father a great, solemn and touching goodbye. What remains of that celebration is the melody of the “Goodbye Cantata (Farewell Director)”, written by J.W. (we still don’t know who that was) and the “Toast for Male Choir”, written by Faustyn Piasek. Both songs were sung on that occasion. Below are the cantata lyrics:

Goodbye Cantata (Farewell Director)

Kształciles nasze umysły, śswietlaną głosiłes wieść,
Wdzięczności pełne serca niósł Ci dank i cześć.
Wiodłeś nas drogą cnoty w idealniejszy świat,
Za to Ci dziś składamy swych uczuć wdzięczny kwiat,
Za to Ci dziś składamy swych uczuć wdzięczny kwiat.

Hartu uczyłeś dusze, by charakterów stal,
Nie zgięła wraża siła, wśród burzy życia fal.
Dziś, kiedy już opuszczasz nas i nasz szkolny próg,
Niechaj Ci gwiazda świeci, niech Cię prowadzi Bóg,
Niechaj Ci gwiazda świeci, niech Cie prowadzi Bóg.

My father’s activity in PÅ‚ock lasted for four and a half years only, but the people in the city and the surrounding area still remember it very well. In the 80s and the 90s, my father and I would frequently visit PÅ‚ock and the PÅ‚ock area and the older inhabitants would very often recognise my father in the street and greet him heartily.

Paweł Paciorkiewicz

Town Hall in PÅ‚ock, 1945-1950

In P?ock

Music School in PÅ‚ock

Music School founded by Tadeusz in P?ock /photo by Pawe? Paciorkiewicz/

In February 1945, the German occupation was over. Smoke had not yet dispersed over the ruins of war when I went to P?ock to establish a music school there. The idea to found a school in Plock first occurred to me during the occupation in Warsaw. I discussed this plan with many distinguished representatives of the musical community such as Prof. Bronis?aw Rutkowski, Piotr Perkowski, Józef Lasocki and Faustyn Kulczycki, whom I saw in various secret meetings. With this plan ready and complete, we went to P?ock together with our friend Feliks Rudomski. We did this by our own initiative exclusively, not being delegated by anyone, mainly because there were no authorities in the ruined Warsaw at that time. The only document that we managed to procure in order to present it to the authorities in P?ock was a letter from the School Superintendence Office that was getting organised in Praga. I chose P?ock as the place of my future activities because I had been attached to that beautiful city. In P?ock, I met with general kindness, perhaps because I had been a recognised person in the city.

Wind band of Music School in PÅ‚ock

Wind band of Music School in P?ock, 1949. In the middle Jan Szyma?ski, head of the band. Sitting third from the left Ryszard Paciorkiewicz, Tadeusz’s cousin. /photo by W. Å»abowski i S-ka. photo laboratory/

The decision to choose P?ock as the area of my work for the next four and a half years proved to be right. We established a school that P?ock had not seen before. Broadly understood social activity concentrated around the school in the form of choirs or training courses for amateur choir conductors. We even had a theatrical group there. The group, directed by the school’s pedagogues, staged Wesele na Kurpiach by priest W?adys?‚aw Skierkowski in 1946. The performance had an enthusiastic reception. Under auspices of the Folk Music Institute, I organised competitions for amateur choirs from P?ock and the Mazovia region. I also managed to organise the annual Song Festivity [6]. The Music School in P?ock, which celebrated its 50th anniversary recently, still plays an important role in the cultural life of the city and the region [7]. I remained with the School for nearly five years. Personal affairs and my higher artistic ambitions in the field of composition made me leave Plock in 1949 [8].

…10 years in ?ód?

/Written by the composer in Warsaw, Poland, on November 20, 1995/