• Writing

Adrian Thomas is a leading international authority on Polish music.  His work has been recognised by three different Polish institutions:

• 1989: the annual award of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP)
• 1996: the Polish Government’s medal of the Order of Merit for Polish Culture
• 2005: the Lutosławski Society medal (above, with the Polish film director Andrzej Wajda)
• 2013: the Lutosławski Society medal marking the composer’s centenary

He was a member of the UK Honorary Committee of the ‘Fryderyk Chopin 2010’ celebrations marking the bicentenary of the composer’s birth.  He is currently a member of the Warsaw-based Honorary Committee of the Witold Lutosławski Year 2013.

He is perhaps best known as the author of the only major study on Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1997; Polish edition, 1998), but he has also written extensively on other Polish composers including Witold Lutosławski, Grażyna Bacewicz and Andrzej Panufnik.  He is a specialist in what he has called the ‘Dark Decade’ of post-war socialist realism in Polish musical culture.  In 2000 he was awarded an AHRB research grant of £120K for a project entitled ‘The Struggle for Music in Poland, 1945-56’.  His most recent book is Polish Music since Szymanowski (2005). He is currently completing a monograph on Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto.


• Bacewicz: Chamber and Orchestral Music (Los Angeles: USC, 1985)
• Górecki (Oxford: OUP, 1997; Polish translation, Kraków: PWM, 1998)
• Polish Music since Szymanowski (Cambridge: CUP, 2005)
• Lutosławski. Cello Concerto (Aldershot: Ashgate, forthcoming)

Articles and Chapters (selected)

• ‘Beyond the Dance’, in J. Samson (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Chopin (Cambridge: CUP, 1992), 145-59
• ‘Your Song is Mine’, The Musical Times, 1830 (August 1995), 403-10
• ‘Pivotal Bacewicz: Some Aspects of the Nature and Function of her Lyrical Impulse’, in M. Szoka (ed.), Rodzeństwo Bacewiczów (The Bacewicz Siblings) (Lódz: Music Academy, 1996), 101-16
• ‘Autocytat w muzyce Grażyny Bacewicz’ (Self-Quotation in the Music of Grażyna Bacewicz), in M. Gąsiorowska (ed.), O Grażynie Bacewicz (About Grażyna Bacewicz) (Poznań: Brevis, 1998), 88-117
• ‘Witold Lutosławski: Musique funèbre’, in F. Meyer (ed.), Settling New Scores: Music Manuscripts from the Paul Sacher Foundation (Mainz: Schott, 1998), 265-7
• ‘Mobilising our Man: Politics and Music during the Decade after the Second World War’, in W. Thomas (ed.), Composition-Performance-Reception: Studies in the Creative Process in Music (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998), 145-68
• Squaring the Triangle: Traditions and Tyrannies in 20th-Century Polish Music (London: SSEES, 2000) [in English and Polish]
• ‘Jeux vénitiens: Working Methods at the Start of Lutosławski’s Mature Period’, in Z. Skowron (ed.), Lutosławski Studies (Oxford: OUP, 2001), 211-43
• ‘File 750: Composers, Politics, and the Festival of Polish Music (1951)’, Polish Music Journal, vol.5/1 (Summer 2002) <http://www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/PMJ/issues.html> [further navigation required, via ‘Archives’ link, to correct issue]
• ‘In the Public Eye: Panufnik and his Music, 1948-54’, in J. Paja-Stach (ed.), Andrzej Panufnik’s Music and its Reception (Kraków: Jagiellonian University, 2003), 205-20
• ‘Intense Joy and Profound Rhythm’: An Introduction to the Music of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’, Polish Music Journal, vol.6/2 (Winter 2003), <http://www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/PMJ/issues.html>
• ‘One Last Meeting: Lutosławski, Szymanowski and the Fantasia’, in Z. Skowron (ed.), Karol Szymanowski w perspektywie kultury muzycznej przeszłości i terazniejszości (Karol Szymanowski from the perspectives of musical culture past and present) (Kraków: Musica Jagiellonica, 2007), 309-26
• ‘Boundaries and Definitions: The Compositional Realities of Polish Sonorism’Muzyka 1 (208) special issue: ‘Sonoristic Legacies. Towards New Paradigms in Music Theory, Aesthetics and Composition’ (Instytut Sztuki PAN, 2008), 7-14

Dictionary Entries

• The New Grove Dictionary of Opera (1992)
• The New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers (1994)
• The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Second Edition (2001)
• The Oxford Companion to Music (2002)
• Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (2002)


The Hidden Composer – Witold Lutosławski and Polish Radio, BBC Festival ‘Breaking Chains’, GSMD, Barbican Centre, London (January 1997)

CD and Programme Notes

Adrian Thomas also contributes CD and programme notes to a wide range of international organisations.  For examples, please click here on CD NOTES or PROG NOTES or scroll down the CD NOTES and PROG NOTES tabs above.


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