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Walter Buczynski: Biography

Walter Buczynski
1933 -
Region: Ontario

Walter Buczynski

Walter Buczynski was born in 1933. His early studies were with Earle Moss (piano) and Godfrey Ridout (theory). He won first prize in CAPAC's composition competition (1954) with his Piano Trio and the following year made his orchestral debut with the Toronto Symphony, playing Chopin's Concerto in F minor. Subsequent studies included stints with Darius Milhaud (composition) in Aspen, Colorado (Fromm Award 1955), Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1960) and piano studies with Zbigniew Drzewiecki in Warsaw.

From 1962 to 1969, Buczynski taught piano and theory at the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and from 1970 to the present he has been teaching at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto where he was a Professor in the Theory and Composition Department. He was CAPAC, Canadian League of Composers president from 1974-75

For many years, Buczynski's dual commitment to the piano and composition found him giving one, then the other, his attention. As an outstanding concert artist, he has performed and recorded the music of Chopin and many Canadian composers as well as his own compositions.

From 1975 all his attention has been devoted to composition. One major phase of his output culminated in his series of five Zeroing In pieces, the piano suite, 27 pieces for a 27 minute show, and the chamber opera, From the Buczynski Book of the Living. These works, all written between 1971 and 1973 are perky and provocative, filled with theatrical touches which satirize different aspects of the contemporary technique of composition or performance. In 1976 he received the Queen Elizabeth medal for his contribution to the Polish musical scene in Canada. From 1976 till the present Buczynski has written a tremendous amount of chamber works as well as a series entitled Lyric for..., works for solo instrument and orchestra beginning with Lyric I for piano and orchestra and ending with Lyric V for oboe and string orchestra.

Buczynski has performed in many piano recitals often featuring his own works such as the 24 Preludes for Piano (The August Collection), and (with the soprano Lorna MacDonald) the song suite Part of Seven. Premieres of his compositions were given by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (Lyric VXI for strings), and the pianist Greg Oh. Buczynski's works were also introduced to Poland and Czechoslovakia. Macerollo recorded his Fantasy on Themes of the Past (Persuasion, CBC Musica Viva 1096, 2001); and Kubálek recorded The August Collection (Polkas, Etudes and Preludes, CBC Musica Viva 1059, 1999).

His works have been performed by such leading orchestras as the Toronto Symphony, Montréal Symphony, CBC Vancouver Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. His chamber works have been performed by the Purcell String Quartet, Lyric Arts Trio, Canadian Brass and York Winds and such soloists as Antonin Kubalek, Mark Dubois, Victor Danchenko, Vladimir Orloff, Robert Aitken and William Aide.

Buczynski retired from the University of Toronto in 1999. His 70th birthday was celebrated extensively in the Toronto music community with several concerts and performances.

2005 (with notes from the Canadian Music Encyclopedia)

Centrestreams

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