Obituary: Composer Romuald Twardowski Dies at 93

By Francisco Salazar

Polish composer, pianist, and organist Romuald Twardowski died on Jan. 13, 2024. He was 93.

Born on June 17, 1930, Twardowski studied the violin during the years of occupation and World War II. He started to study piano and organ after the war and began playing organ in several Vilnius churches.

He went on to study piano and composition at the Conservatory of Vilnius and became a member of the folklore ensemble Wilia.

He moved to Warsaw where he continued to study at the Warsaw Academy of Music from 1957 to 1960. Later, with a scholarship from the Polish Composers’ Union, he studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger.

In 1971, Twardowski became a professor at the Academy of Music in Warsaw and taught composition and instrumentation. He went on to become president of the Orthodox Music Foundation and organized the International Orthodox Music Festival Hajnówka in Białystok.

Twardowski became a well-known composer who wrote such operas as “Cyrano de Bergerac (1962),” “Tragedy, or the Story of John and Herod (1965),” among others.  He also composed ballets, Choral works, piano and orchestra works as well as chamber works.

Among the many prizes he won throughout his career were the Polish Young Composers competition, UNESCO International Composers’ Tribune, Grand Prix in Monaco, the Prague Spring International Music Festival, and the West European Federation of Choral Societies, among others.

He was also nominated several times for the Fryderyk Music Award.