Obituary: Conductor and composer Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, 93

Posted on: February 22, 2017

“Minnesota’s beloved maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who defected from Communist Poland to lead the Minnesota Orchestra to new heights, died Tuesday at 93,” writes Jenna Ross in Tuesday’s (2/21) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). As music director in the 1960s and 1970s he “expanded the orchestra’s repertoire and raised its national profile. He regularly returned to that podium between guest-conducting major orchestras around the world and composing his own works.” It was Skrowaczewski’s “relentless proselytizing that got Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis built in 1974 after decades in the then-acoustically deficient Northrop Auditorium.” During his long career Skrowaczewski “conducted nearly 5,000 concerts.… Both in Japan, where he had become a kind of rock star, and Minneapolis, he sold out concerts and earned lingering ovations.” Born in Lwow, Poland, he began studying piano and violin at four, composed his “first symphonic work” at seven, and “played and conducted Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto at thirteen.” He gave up performing following a hand injury suffered in the German bombing of Lwow, but “composed and conducted, becoming known as Poland’s young star maestro.” The Minnesota Orchestra, then known as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, “courted him after he electrified crowds with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1958.”   

Posted February 22, 2017