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Jan A. P. Kaczmarek

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Jan A.P. Kaczmarek fot. Szymon Kaczmarek.jpg
Jan A.P. Kaczmarek in 2009
Jan Andrzej Paweł Kaczmarek

(1953-04-29) 29 April 1953 (age 65)
Konin, Poland
Years active1977 – present
Elżbieta Bieluszko
(m. 1977; div. 2014)

Aleksandra Twardowska (m. 2016)

Jan Andrzej Paweł Kaczmarek (Polish: [jan andʐɛj ˈpa.vɛw kat͡ʂˈma.rɛk], born 29 April 1953) is a Polish composer who has lived and worked in the United States since 1989. He has written the scores for more than 60 feature films and documentaries, including Finding Neverland (2004), for which score he won an Oscar and National Board of Review Award. Other notable scores were for Hachi: A Dog's Tale, Unfaithful, Evening, The Visitor, and Washington Square.

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  • ✪ Wybitne Postacie Uniwersytetu #27 - Jan A.P. Kaczmarek


My coming to Poznan is nothing unusual, because everyone, at least once in their lifetime comes back to their roots. ‫ Every street reminds me of something I spent 17 years here, 17 very interesting years, studying, then working and giving concerts and so on. And at the same time it seemed to me that I would make myself useful here. Above all, America has taught me discipline, how to build human structures, it has taught me how to be effective. Back in the day, when coming to Poland, occasionally, I saw that, even though,the Iron Curtain fell down, the cultural barrier was still there, and that it was making it difficult for young people to take the first step. Something was blocking them. So these thoughts led to the creation of the Rozbitek Institute and the Festival. Redford and what he has done in Sundance inspired me. And this is when I came across Rozbitek. At first, I fell in love with the park, then of course the palace and actually an attic. The park and the attic in the palace, those were the two places that seduced me. The distance between Poznań and Rozbitek seems perfect to me. A 45 minute drive doesn’t take much effort. Rozbitek is like an island of complete illusion, fantasy. This distance helps to stay focused, to work, switch off for a moment from the daily rhythm, daily routine. The openness is the principle of this place and the holistic concept of man. So, I would like here taking place things that related with various cultural aspects of human activity, which is practically everything. But! Film and music will set the tone. So far it has been working great. Lots of people come to The Transatlantyk Festival and lots of people visit Rozbitek, when it’s open to the public during the Festival. - And tell me, you don’t want to sit on this chair and, therefore, there is a suggestion, maybe you could come down to the audience. - And if I was by the harp? If I stood here by the harp? -Thank you. We keep going, right? So, dear Jan, could you say this text to all of us, please? So that everyone will know what the signs are. Let’s rehearse it now, ‘cause there are some people who.. -All right, but quickly. -… right? - Gloria Campaner, an excellent Italian pianist who enjoys the international fame. She will play the II Rachmaninoff's Piano Concert with the Association of Gorzów Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Monika Wolińska. I’m more and more in love with the Gorzow Orchestra. It’s a young team, full of energy and professionalism. And Monika Wolińska - a first-class director also a rare example of such professionalism, great dedication and passion, without which there’s no music and no art at all. We received a couple of offers and one of them was from the Gorzow Orchestra. They wrote a very nice letter. in such a style that contrasted with all other letters. They attracted my attention right away so I went to see them in action. I came to their rehearsal, I listened to them and I just fell in love. The Gorzow Orchestra was selected to open the Festival. -One, one, two, three .. - I will just try something.. The piano will be here, right? And then you will move it, right? I have always believed that boys from small towns have greater dreams and ambitions. Of course, they are also separated from the world, the urban culture, the easiness of access. So, when they are thrown into this world, then it becomes like a magic garden to them. Suddenly their imagination and passion, all of it, work with doubled power. I’m still this passionate boy from Konin. Naturally, each place in which I lived in had an influence on me and on things I did. In Konin I went to high school and this place, in a way, was a fantastic beginning of my career. Because that's where I started to compose. I wrote the school’s anthem, which was performed regularly for 20-some years. Then I had a rock band, I played in a school cabaret. So, in a way the foundations for freedom of creation and expression originated there. Later, when I was still convinced that music couldn’t be my profession, I went to the law school in Poznan. And Poznań was the first big city that I got to know closer. It was a phenomenal city that was activating completely new things in me. The encounter with the Theatre of the Eighth Day was very important for me. Perhaps the trip to Grotowski’s theater a while earlier was even more important. The internships in Wrocław in Grotowski’s theater revolutionized my way of thinking. they changed virtually everything. It was like a shock, which built the whole, next part of my life. I was composing a lot for the Polish theater. These're mainly alternative theaters, so the ones that grew out of the students’ movement. They had a very strong identity and were more interesting than most of the professional theaters. I was working for so called adults’ theaters as well. From classics like "Nie-boska komedia" or “Kordian” to performances in the Teatr Studio. As for the movie, my adventure began aside from my theatrical interests. Once Jerzy Satanowski invited me to co-compose music to a movie. This was one of my first episodes. My fascinations were slowly changing From a performer, I became a film score composer. The studies were an interesting time, because I was primarily being taught how to put my thoughts in order. I’ve always had a tendency to have the correct command of Polish language and there I was also being taught the accuracy, responsibility for a word. I chose professor Ziembiński‘s seminar, it was Logic, The theory of State and Law, which is a very special section of the structure of legal studies, where thinking was formulated by a filter of logic and high precision. And it has helped me tremendously later in my life, because I was able to read my contracts on my own. At the time when I was a novice composer in the United States, I couldn’t afford an agent nor a lawyer. However, I was able to read my contract, recognize the traps, or understand that I am safe. At the end, it came to this, that I was fixing my contracts for my agents.. .. because somewhere out there I had this training from Poznan. -Leszek, the idea is.. since we agreed that I have birthday today if you could do me a favour and play the theme from "Unfaithful"? - What is the theme? - John, could you invite Leszek Możdżer? -Hi, hello, Leszek. It’s great that you are here, you know? Here you go, the piano is yours. I will just walk up to you with music scores, you know? -"Unfaithful" was one of many projects that has joined us. -And it was in Los Angeles. It was our first big.. -Listen, if you could just play this theme for my birthday again. -That’s the favorite theme of arabic ... -Do you have any music scores? ..princesses. Well, I have the scores, I’ve brought the scores. Here you have. And I’ll put them here. Yes,yes. -And where are those scores anyway? Are they here? -I don’t know. -Have you seen them anywhere? -No. -No. No one has seen the scores to "Unfaithful", for convenience. -I’ll remind you, you know, just in case. -It was more or less like that, you know? that will see how they play together.. Americans have appreciated my contribution to music. My first award and also an American one, was theater-related. It was in New York in 1991 year. I did a multitude of performances: twenty, thirty.. during those first two or three years. I was performing mainly on the small stage, the experimental stage of the great theater in Los Angeles, which was called Taper Forum, and where plenty of plays originated and later became American hits. For example "Angels in America". It was a phenomenal period! because they're paying me almost nothing, but I was composing huge amounts of music. and I’ve built an amazing music collection. And my skills have improved greatly, because I was doing what a composer should be doing. I was composing days and nights. I ran away from theater on purpose because there I couldn’t create music other than chamber music. I was fascinated by the world of symphonic music and that music was possible only in cinematography. "Total Eclipse" by Agnieszka Holland was my breakthrough. It has opened many doors for me. First of all, Sony Classic - the most renowned record company in the world- signed a contract with me. I became a composer of their stables. It was a privilege that every living composer of contemporary music dreamed about. I didn’t even appreciate it so much because I was still full of the arrogance of a young man and I was racing forward. It seemed to me that I deserved it and that I was awarded far too late. Now, when I think about that I’m aware how revolutionary moment it was, how much it meant and how important it was. That was my another very important career-building step. -They already know, right? -They already know. - We’ll rehearse it now? -Exactly, because I'm learning. My first conducting lesson. You can play anything, don’t bother that I’m here... -Relax. Feel the roots in the ground. -I already feel them. And I have my head in the space. -Head in space. Open your heart.. And you can conduct. -Attention! - What’s happened? .. Please! -The composition number 315. Attention!.. Excellent! Then, I'll be meditating; different things. Don’t bother yourself with me. We'll finish more or less together, right? I might end later, but it doesn’t matter. Attention! -I think they're listening to me. -Marvelous! -I will be doing gymnastics. I'll be musing about something. The Oscar both closed a big part of my career: I received an Oscar after 15 years of working in Hollywood, a debut of a newcomer. And it also opened a new stage The Oscar relieved me from certain duties. I envied athletes: everything is clear for them..right? If you jump more than two feet then you are a world’s champion. If you are the first on the finishing line then you are the winner. And of course in the art and music it is still wandering in an undefined area. Some people may think that you have created something extraordinary, and others think it is completely hideous. And of course.. award is always debatable, right? You can argue about whether it should or shouldn’t be given, whether it should be ever considered I think that we, artists, deserve awards because they soothe our moments of doubt. I’m a part of a very exclusive club, I’m a member of the American Academy. I’m the first Pole in history, who is a member of the executive committee of the Academy, where a dozen of people decide about the rules of the game. Where we disqualify or we accept. And it’s very pleasant. And here my legal education comes in handy, because in those debates with my colleagues in our section of the Academy, in the musical section, sometimes we need to establish new rules, and it’s often my voice that’s very appreciated. -I'd like to inform our television audience that those aren't directed ovations. They’re real. This is how Poznan welcomes Jan Kaczmarek on the stage of the Adam’s Mickiewicz Aula Dear John, I will just add few details about your artistic life, which isn’t very long, but very fruitful. If you allow me, it will be something about your first times. I’ve learned that your first artistic success took place in high school. In high school in Konin.. It seems to me that I'd a good life. And I still have a good life. I still do things that I have passion for. I feel the highest excitements, the pure joy of life usually when I compose or perform a sucessful piece. I grew up in the times when dreams were just irresponsible activities. Therefore, for a very long time, I simply didn’t use the word “dream”. I didn’t even know that I was dreaming. It turned out I had dreamed, and many of those dreams came true. Now, I probably still dream but.. I’m still unable to say what my dreams are. Actually, there is only one, that has already enrolled somewhere in my head and I pronounce it often: I still assume that I haven’t written my life’s work yet, and it will come to me in a moment, so I have a reason to live. Translated and synchronized:


Early life and education

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek was born in 1953 in Konin, Poland. Studying music from an early age, he graduated in law studies from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.


In the late 1970s, Kaczmarek started working with Jerzy Grotowski and his innovative Theater Laboratory. He created the Orchestra of the Eighth Day in 1977. He recorded his first album, Music for the End (1982), for the United States (US) company Flying Fish Records.

In 1989, Kaczmarek moved to Los Angeles, California in the US. In 1992 he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Play for his incidental music for 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. His music has been released by Sony Classical, Decca, Varèse Sarabande, Verve, Epic, Milan, and Savitor Records. He gives concerts in the United States and Europe.

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek in the Museum of Emigration in Gdynia, 2017
Jan A.P. Kaczmarek in the Museum of Emigration in Gdynia, 2017

In 2005, Kaczmarek received the Academy Award for Best Original Score for Finding Neverland, directed by Marc Forster, on which he worked with music editor Christopher Kennedy, among others. Kaczmarek also won the National Board of Review award for Best Score of the Year and was nominated for a Golden Globe and the BAFTA's Anthony Asquith Award for Achievement in Film Music.

In addition to his work in films, Kaczmarek was commissioned to write two symphonic and choral pieces for two important national occasions in Poland: Cantata for Freedom (2005) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Solidarity movement, and Oratorio 1956 (2006) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a bloody uprising against totalitarian government in Poznań, Poland. Both premieres were broadcast live on Polish national television. Other concert works of the composer include Jankiel's Concert, The Open Window and Fanfare A2. On 10 May 2014, the world premiere of Universa – Open Opera, an opera written for the 650th anniversary of the Jagiellonian University, was held in Krakow's Main Square. Jan's last monumental work, Emigra - The Neverending Symphony, was performed in February 2017 in Gdynia, Poland.

He received the Knight's Cross of the Order of Reborn Poland (the Order of Polonia Restituta) for his outstanding artistic achievements and the promotion of Polish Culture.

Kaczmarek is a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, European Film Academy and Polish Film Academy.

In 2007, Kaczmarek began working to set up a film institute in his home country of Poland. Inspired by the Sundance Institute, he intends for the new institute to serve as a European center for the development of new work in film, theater, music and new media. His Instytut Rozbitek (Rozbitek Institute) opened in 2010.

Kaczmarek is the founder and director of the Transatlantyk Festival, in Łódź (from 2016; 2011-2015 in Poznań), Poland. The first edition of the international film and music festival was organized in 5–13 August 2011, 2nd edition in 15–22 August 2012, 3rd edition in 2–9 August 2013, 4th edition in 8–14 August 2014 and 5th edition in 7–14 August 2015. In 2016 the festival moved to Łodź: the 6th edition was organized in 23–30 June 2016, the 7th edition was organized in 14–21 July 2017 and the 8th edition was organized in 13–20 July 2018.



Year Title Note
1993 White Marriage
1994 Gospel According to Harry
Dead Girl
1995 Total Eclipse
1996 Bliss
1997 Washington Square
1999 Aimée & Jaguar
The Third Miracle
2000 Lost Souls
2001 Quo Vadis
Edges of the Lord
2002 Unfaithful
2004 Finding Neverland Academy Award winner
2006 Who Never Lived
2007 The Visitor
2008 The Karamazovs
2009 Horsemen
City Island
Get Low
Hachiko: A Dog's Story
2010 Leonie
2012 The Time Being
2013 Tajemnica Westerplatte
2013 Joanna
2014 Inbetween Worlds
2014 Dancing Before the Enemy: How a Teenage Boy Fooled the Nazis and Lived
2016 La Habitación (Tales of Mexico)
2018 Paul, Apostle of Christ


Year Title
1993 Night Owl
Empty Cradle
2001 Shot in the Heart
2002 A Soldier's Girl
2006 A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story
2007 War and Peace
2008 Pinocchio
2009 The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler


Year Film Awards Category Result
2004 Finding Neverland National Board of Review Awards 2004 Outstanding Film Music Composition Won
2005 77th Academy Awards Best Original Score Won
62nd Golden Globe Awards Best Original Score Nominated
58th British Academy Film Awards Best Film Music Nominated
2009 The Karamazovs Czech Lion Best Music Nominated

See also

External links

This page was last edited on 20 March 2019, at 17:40
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