Composer of orchestral, film,
theatre and pop music, conductor, and active participant in cultural
life. Markowski studied composition under the direction of Artur
Malawski from 1939 to 1941 in Lublin, then trained as a pianist under
Marcelina Kimont-Jacynowa. During the Warsaw Uprising, he fought in
the ranks of the Home Army. After the War, he attended Trinity
College of Music, London (1946-1947), honing his compositional skills
under Alec Rowley. In the years 1947-1955, he was a student of the
State Higher School of Music in Warszawa [Warsaw], where he studied
composition (in the classes of Piotr Rytel and Tadeusz Szeligowski)
and conducting (in the classes of Tadeusz Wilczak and Witold
He was conductor of the Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice, the first conductor and artistic director of the Krakow Philharmonic, and conductor of the Philharmonics in Wrocław, Warszawa and Łódź.
Markowski was also an organiser of musical life - on his initiative were established the Vratislavia Cantans International Oratorio-Cantata Festival, the Festival of Polish Contemporary Music in Wrocław, the Festival of Organ and Harpsichord Music, and the Kraków Spring of Young Musicians Festival (at which several contemporary composers - including Grażyna Bacewicz, Julisz Łuciuk and Tadeusz Machl - gave première performances). As a member of the Repertoire Committee of the Warszawska Jesień [Warsaw Autumn] International Festival of Contemporary Music, he decided on the première performances of Polish and foreign composers - including Grażyna Bacewicz, Tadeusz Baird, Zbigniew Bujarski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bogusław Schaeffer, Witold Szalonek, Paweł Szymański, Pierre Boulez, Charles Ives, György Ligeti, Olivier Messiaen, Arnold Schönberg, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Igor Stravinsky.
As a composer, Markowski became well known for his music for many films, including Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Cień [Shadow] (1956); Kazimierz Kutz’s Krzyż walecznych [Cross of Valour] (1959); Andrzej Wajda’s Pokolenie [A Generation] (1954) and Idę do słońca [I Walk in the Sun] (1955); and Jerzy Hoffman’s Pan Wołodyjowski [Colonel Wolodyjowski] (1969).
He was the first in Poland to use electronic music in film – in the experimental films of Andrzej Munk, Jan Lenica, Walerian Borowczyk and Krzysztof Urbański. He also pioneered the use of elements of musique concrète in theatre.
Markowski received numerous awards, including the Orfeusz award, awarded twice, in 1968 and 1971 at the Warsaw Autumn Festival, and the award of the Polish Composers’ Union.
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