Persons related to Chopin Persons related to Chopin

Jerzy Maksymiuk

Jerzy Maksymiuk

Jerzy Maksymiuk

*9 IV 1936 Grodno

Born in Grodno, Jerzy Maksymiuk studied at the Warsaw Conservatory, gaining diplomas in piano (under Jerzy Lefeld), composition (Piotr Perkowski) and conducting (Bogusław Madey). In 1961, he won First Prize in the All-Poland Ignacy Jan Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz, but he abandoned pianism in favour of conducting.

In 1972, he founded the Polish Chamber Orchestra, which was soon regarded by many critics as one of the best orchestras in the world. Under his baton, the PCO played around the world, in such prestigious venues as the Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, the Wiener Ferein and of course in Poland. That success led to a recording contract with EMI.

In 1975, he became principal conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, with which he toured Europe and the USA. The years 1983–1991 brought a fruitful period at the helm of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, with concerts and tours, including the BBC Proms, and the title of Conductor Laureate. In 1990, he began work with the English National Opera, where he led premiere performances of Don Giovanni and Die Fledermaus. He has given concerts with such renowned orchestras as the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre National de France and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. He has also continued to give concerts in Poland, often with his beloved Sinfonia Varsovia.

He has recorded around a hundred discs (including for EMI, Hyperion and Naxos), many of which have won prestigious prizes, such as the Wiener Floeten Uhr for Mozart interpretations with the PCO (1982) and a Gramophone ‘Best Concerto of the Year’ award (1992) for James Macmillan’s The Confession of Isobel Gowdie. In Poland, his recordings have won many ‘Fryderyk’ awards, including for a Karłowicz album with the Sinfonia Varsovia and Agata Szymczewska (BeArTon), a Lutosławski CD with the SV, Janusz Olejniczak and Olga Pasichnyk (BeArTon) and an album of music by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki with the same orchestra, Adam Kruszewski, and the PR and Schola Cantorum Gedanensis choirs.

Maksymiuk has always promoted contemporary music. One of the founders of the Polish Contemporary Music Society, he has taken part in a number of Warsaw Autumn festivals (two Orpheus awards) and conducted over 200 premiere performances of contemporary pieces around the globe. To mark his achievements, Glasgow’s Strathclyde University awarded him an Honorary Degree, and he has also received the prestigious Gold Medal from the Elgar Society for promoting Edward Elgar’s music worldwide.

He is also a composer of symphonic music, chamber and ballet pieces, songs and film scores. Among his older works, he is particularly fond of Expront (1980), and among his film music – his score for Wojciech Has’s Sanatorium pod klepsydrą [The hourglass sanatorium].

Recent years have brought A Lonely Star over Be’er Sheva for quintet, Vivaldi in Boston for string orchestra and string quartet, Leaves Somewhere Falling for chamber orchestra and piano, and A Heart’s Lament. Kielce In Memoriam for orchestra, clarinet and soprano. His score for the silent film Mania, starring Pola Negri, was performed live in 2012 during cinema shows in London, Madrid, Paris, Kiev, Berlin and Warsaw.

Maksymiuk has received a number of medals, including the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and the Gloria Artis Gold Medal. Polish Radio awarded him a Diamond Baton, and he has also won a lifetime achievement award from Polish Television. He performed in the ‘Chopin and his Europe’ festival in in 2006, 2012 and 2013.


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