We were saddened to hear the news on Tuesday that conductor and composer Stanislaw Skrowaczewski had passed away. He was a great conductor, composer, and an amazing man and he will be missed. It was a great pleasure to have released two recordings featuring him as both a composer and conductor with the Minnesota Orchestra. The Minnesota Orchestra will hold a celebration of his life on March 28th at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
From Musical America:
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, distinguished conductor and composer, conductor laureate of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern, died today in Minneapolis at the age of 93. His affiliation with Minnesota, in particular, was notable, having been its music director for 19 years, from 1960 to 1979, and then returning every season in his laureate position. He last led the group in October 2016 in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8, honoring his 93rd birthday. The previous year he led the same composer’s Fifth Symphony with the London Philharmonic, becoming the oldest conductor ever to perform at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Bruckner was a specialty.
Born in 1923 in Lwów, Poland, Skrowaczewski was a child prodigy; he played and conducted Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto at the age of 13. During a Nazi bombing of his city in 1941 he suffered a hand injury, and so switched from piano to conducting and composing. Following a move to Kraków after the war, he joined musical circles that included Andrzej Panufnik and Witold Lutoslawski, whose Concerto for Orchestra he was to premiere in the U.S. in 1958. He led the Paris premiere of the Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony in 1948 with L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.