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Henryk Gorecki
Birth: Dec. 6, 1933
Death: Nov. 12, 2010
Śląskie, Poland

Composer. Out of a fairly large body of work he shall be remembered for his 1976 Symphony No.3, the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs". Raised in southern Poland by a musical family, he got a late start as a professional, possibly due to chronic health problems. (An improperly treated hip injury at 12 led to almost two years' hospitalization and a lifetime of difficulties). Gorecki entered the Katowice Conservatory in 1955 and was to remain there for five years studying composition. (His only training outside Poland came during two brief stays in Paris). Some of his early work, including "Four Preludes" (1955) and "Sonata for Two Violins" (1957) met with a degree of success, but for a number of years his pieces were called excessively loud and, indeed, violent. His "Symphony 1959" won first prize at the 1960 Paris Youth Composition Biennale and his 1963 "Three Pieces in Old Style" was well received, but not until the early 1970s when he took an interest in choral and vocal composition did his music become acceptable to a larger audience. His Symphony No.2, "Copernican", saw him writing in a less strident style, as did 1976's "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs", a cycle of three songs for soprano that was originally conceived as a Holocaust memorial. Gorecki was appointed instructor at the Katowice Conservatory in 1968, then full professor in 1972 and Rector in 1975, but politics kept getting him into trouble; he was finally fired in 1979 over his protests when Pope John Paul II was not allowed to visit Katowice. Gorecki was able to conduct his "Beatus Vir", a Psalm setting, for the Holy Father in Krakow, and was to protest the crackdown on Solidarity with the 1981 "Miserere", while again honoring the Pope in 1988 with his "Totus Tuus". The collapse of Communism helped bring Gorecki's work to Western listeners, and 1992 saw the publication by Nonesuch Records of the "Symphony No.3" with the London Sinfonietta and American soprano Dawn Upshaw; the CD became one of the most successful classical records in history with sales of over a million, while portions of it became movie background and even "pop" hits. Gorecki was plagued by increasing ill health as time went on, but continued to write, his 1993 "Kleines Requiem fur ein Polka" for piano and 13 instruments earning particular praise. His awards included multiple honorary doctorates, while in the last month of his life he was presented with the Order of the White Eagle, his nation's highest honor. Gorecki died of a chronic pulmonary infection leaving a significant recorded legacy. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
Katowice Sienkiewicza Street Cemetery
Śląskie, Poland
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Nov 13, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61569932
Henryk Gorecki
Added by: Bob Hufford
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