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The Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice

The Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice

The Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice is the oldest higher education school in Upper Silesia. Its beginnings are connected with The State Music Conservatoire founded by Witold Friemann in 1929 which opening was celebrated with a concert on the 28th September 1929. Among the first teachers of the School were such eminent artists as: Stefania Allinówna (A.Michałowski's student), Aleksander Brachocki (Z.Stojowski's and I.J.Paderewski's student), Stanisław Bielecki (I.J.Paderewski's student), Wanda Chmielowska (H.Melcer's student), Marian Cyrus-Sobolewski (a Doctor of Law, W.Żeleński's student), Zbigniew Dymmek (H.Melcer's, A.Michałowswki's, E.Młynarski's and R.Statkowski's student), Władysława Markiewiczówna (a graduate from Krakow and Berlin), Adam Mitscha (a lawyer and musicologist) and Bolesław Szabelski ( an organist and composer, recommended by his teacher, Karol Szymanowski).

Musical education was carried out on three levels - of Lower, Middle and Higher School of Music - and at seven Faculties.

I. Faculty of Theory of Music, Composition and Conducting

II. Piano, Organs and Harpsichord Faculty

III.String Instruments Faculty

IV.Wind Instruments Faculty

V.Vocal Faculty

VI. Music Education and Choral Conducting Faculty

VII. Military Academy of Music (the first in Poland and the second in Europe school educating future bandmasters and members of military orchestras)

In 1938 a lower course was distinguished and after the war this experiment resulted in establishing in Katowice the first in the country school of music, combining the secondary education subjects with professional ones. Functioning until the World War II, The Conservatoire was the most important music institution in the Silesian District. It had a great influence on awakening the love for music in the society and prepared high-qualified musicians: composers, theorists, instrumentalists and vocalists as well as teachers. In 1936, in a year prior to his death, Karol Szymanowski intended to take up a job at the Music Conservatoire. On the 28th March 1936 in his letter to his cousin Maria Machnicka he wrote: "I'm glad that this thing with Katowice is turning out so well and I'm looking forward to further news from you..." The thing ended up with intentions only.

The outbreak of war disrupted functioning of the Music Conservatoire. In the years 1939-1945 in the Conservatoire building the District Silesian School of Music (Hohere Landesmusikschule) was established with Fritz Lubrich as its headmaster. The Conservatoire resumed its activity on the 11th February 1945 and on the 1st September it was renamed as The State Higher School of Music. The core of the pedagogical staff consisted of the professors of the Conservatoire and prominent artists that arrived in Silesia after the war: Bolesław Woytowicz, a composer and pianist; at the height of their careers: Ludomir Różycki, the composer; Adam Didur, the singer; Grzegorz Fitelberg, the conductor. Also at that time a new structure of the School was established. Instead of the previous six faculties four were opened.

I. Faculty of Theory of Music, Composition and Conducting

II. Instrumental Faculty

III. Vocal Faculty

IV. Pedagogical Faculty

In 1968 Professional School of Light Music was founded. Two years later, in 1970, it was transformed into V. Faculty of Light Music. In 1984 it became Jazz and Light Music Faculty - the only such faculty in Polish musical education system. The founder and the first dean of the Faculty was Zbigniew Kalemba.


On the 12th November 1979 the School changed its status to become The Academy of Music and was given the name of the outstanding composer Karol Szymanowski. The School had five faculties:

I. Composition, Conducting and Theory of Music


III. Vocal and Drama

IV. Musical Education

V. Jazz and Light Music

And twelve divisions:

  • Composition, Conducting and Theory of Music
  • Musical Education
  • Choral
  • Piano
  • String Instruments
  • Organs and Harpsichord
  • Wind, Brass and Percussion Instruments
  • Chamber Music
  • Accordion
  • Guitar
  • Vocal
  • Jazz and stage music


On the 18th June 1998 Faculty Councils of Faculties of Composition, Conducting and Theory of Music and of Musical Education passed a common resolution to join both faculties and create one Faculty of Composition, Theory and Musical Education. In result of the fusion since the academic year 1998/1999 teaching has been conducted at four faculties:

I.Composition, Theory and Musical Education

II. Instrumental

III. Vocal and Drama

IV. Jazz and Light Music


The year 2002 was full of changes. In October a new artistic and educational unit was created under the name of the Karol Szymanowski Academic Symphonic Orchestra. New forms of extramural studies: a three-year undergraduate course and two-and a half-year Master's supplementary studies were opened. Changes in the system of international cooperation were implemented in the form of SOCRATES programme. Students acquired the possibility of choosing optional subjects. The system of evaluation according to ECTS was introduced.


On the 25th March 2004 The Senate of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music on proposal of the Faculty Councils of Jazz and Light Music Faculty and Vocal and Drama Faculty passed a resolution to transform both faculties into Institutes which continue the activity of the former Faculties and benefit from their artistic, scientific and teaching achievements. During the same meeting The Senate passed the resolutions to incorporate Institute of Jazz and Light Music into The Faculty of Composition, Theory and Musical Education, and Vocal and Drama Institute into the Instrumental Faculty. The resolutions took effect on the 26th April 2004.


Since the 1st September 2004 the studies in the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music have been held on two Faculties:

I.Composition, Interpretation, Education and Jazz


The Artistic and scietific activity is carried out in the following Departments:

  • Composition, Conducting and Theory of Music
  • Choral singing and conducting
  • Musical Education
  • Piano
  • String Instruments
  • Chamber Music
  • Organs and Harpsichord
  • Wind, Brass and Percussion
  • Accordion
  • Guitar and Harp

and Institutes:

  • Jazz and Light Music
  • Vocal and Drama

The structure of the Academy also includes the interfaculty units:

  • Interfaculty Unit of Piano and Accompaniament
  • Physical Education and Sport Division
  • Foreign Languages Division
  • The Main Library - it has functioned since 1st Septomber 1945, the Silesian Musical Culture Archive - established by the Director of the Library Karol Musioł
  • Computer Music Studio ( functions under the suprvision of the Composition, Conducting and Theory of Music Department) transformed from the Electroaucustic and Computer Music Studio created in the academic year 1993/94
  • the Museum of Silesian Organs ( under the supervision of Organs and Harpsichord Department)

The academic year 2004/2005 was the jubilee year in which The Academy of Music in Katowice celebrated its 75th anniversary with concerts and various artistic events.


The prestige of the School is built up by its outstanding alumni. Its graduates are, among others:


Michał Spisak, Wojciech Kilar, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Witold Szalonek, Józef Świder, Jan Wincenty Hawel, Edward Bogusławski, Eugeniusz Knapik, Aleksander Lasoń;


Karol Stryja, Zdzisław Szostak, Napoleon Siess, Renard Czajkowski, Jan Wincenty Hawel, Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk, Jan Wojtacha, Czesław Freud,


Tadeusz Żmudziński, Lidia Grychtołówna, Józef Stompel, Andrzej Jasiński, Kazimierz Morski, Wiesław Szlachta, Monika Sikorska-Wojtacha, Jerzy Sterczyński, Krystian Zimermann, Joanna Romańska, Krzysztof Jabłoński, Magdalena Lisak, Zbigniew Rabo, Anna Górecka, Wojciech Świtała, Beata Bilińska;

Chamber musicians:

Maria Szwajger-Kułakowska, Urszula Stańczyk, Urszula Musialska, Marek Moś;


Irma Thenior-Janecka, Julian Gembalski


Andrzej Grabiec, Aurelia Błaszczok, Beata Warykiewicz-Siwy, Adam Musialski, Kazimierz Skowronek, Szymon Krzeszowiec;


Bernard Polok, Paweł Głombik;


Jerzy Kotyczka, Edward Mandera


Paweł Roczek, Andrzej Janicki;


Paweł Podleska, Kazimierz Siudmak, Wiktor Osadzin;


Roman Siwek, Jan Górny;

French Horn players:

Józef Breja, Alfred Kasprzak;


Marek Andrysek;


Marek Nosal, Marcin Dylla, Beata Będkowska- Huang


Irena Lewińska, Jadwiga Romańska, Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa, Irena Torus-Mierzwiak, Michalina Growiec, Stanisława Marciniak-Gowarzewska, Jolanta Wrożyna

Jazz and stage music performers:

Andrzej Zubek, Krystyna Prońko, Stanisław Sojka, Lora Szafran, Wojciech i Jacek Niedziela, Bernard Maseli.

The Academy graduates are also members of numerous prestigious music bands and orchestras all over Poland and abroad: among others NOSPR, the Silesian Philharmonics, the Silesian Opera, The Silesian Philharmonic Choir, the Silesian Chamber Orchestra, The Great Theatre, The National Philharmonics and university teachers of many schools in the country and abroad.


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