Ptaszynska, Marta

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Marta Ptaszynska


Born: July 29, 1943

Country: Warsaw, Poland

Studies: Warsaw Academy (Masters), Cleveland Institute of Music

Teachers: Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz, Jerzy Sgodzinski, Nadia Boulanger


Marta Ptaszyńska is one of the best known Polish woman composers. Born in Warsaw, Poland, and living in the United States since 1972, she has been musically active in both the U.S. and Europe. Also widely recognized as a virtuoso percussionist specializing in performances of contemporary music, she has appeared on many new music festivals, and premiered numerous percussion works. In her native Poland Ptaszyńska studied composition with Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz and percussion with Mikołaj Stasiniewicz and Jerzy Zgodziński. In 1968 she earned three Master of Arts degrees with distinction in composition, music theory and percussion at the Academy of Music in Warsaw and Poznań. In the early seventies she continued her composition studies with Nadia Boulanger and electronic music at the ORTF Center in Paris, and then percussion at the Cleveland Institute of Music in the U.S., where she received an Artist Diploma Degree in 1974. At the Institute she worked with Cloyd Duff, Richard Weiner and Donald Erb.

Since 1970 she has been teaching composition and percussion first at the State College in Warsaw and then successively at Bennington College in Vermont, the University of California in Berkeley and Santa Barbara, and Indiana University. For many years Ptaszyńska has been in demand as visiting lecturer and clinician, and has given master classes, lectures and concerts at many colleges, universities, and music schools in the U.S.

She often serves as a judge at international and national competitions for composers and percussionists, and has also participated in many workshops.

Ptaszyńska has received numerous awards, grants and commissions over the years, including a second prize at the International Rostrum of Composers at UNESCO in Paris in 1968 for Winter's Tale for string orchestra, the Polish Radio and Television Composers Award for a TV opera Oscar of Alva to the Lord Byron poem. In 1988 she was honored with a medal from the Union of Polish Composers. Her works for percussion instruments have won critical acclaim around the world and have received prizes from the Percussive Arts society in the U.S. for Siderals in 1974, for Classical Variations in 1976, and for Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra in 1987.

Her music has been performed in many countries and has been presented at prestigious international festivals of contemporary music including the ISCM World Music Days, Warsaw Autumn, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany, Aspen Festival, Gulbenkian Foundation New Music Festival in Mexico City, International Cantata Oratorio Festival in Wrocław, Poland and the Percussive Arts Society International Conventions in the U.S. Many of her works have been premiered by such artists as Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Mathias Bamert, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Keiko Abe, Bertram Turetzky, Nancy Allen, Roman Jabłonski, Ewa Podleś, and by such renowned ensembles and orchestras as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Polish Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, Warsaw Percussion Group, and Les Percussions de Strasbourg.

In 1991 Ptaszyńska became co-founder and vice president of the American Society for Polish Music, a non-profit organization for promotion of Polish music in the U.S. She is music advisor to the Lira Singers in Chicago and served as a member of the board of directors of the Percussive Arts Society in the U.S.[1]

Works for Percussion

Ajikan - Unfolding Light - Multiple Percussion; Flute
Cadenza (Ptaszynska) - Multiple Percussion; Flute
Classical Variations - Timpani; String Quartet
Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra (Ptaszynska) - Marimba; Orchestra
Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (Ptaszynska) - Percussion Quartet; Piano; Orchestra
Dream Lands, Magic Spaces - Percussion Sextet; Violin; Piano
Four Preludes for Vibraphone and Piano - Vibraphone; Piano
Graffito - Marimba
Jeu-Parti - Vibraphone; Harp
Letter to the Sun - Percussion Quartet; Voice
Linear Constructions in Space - Percussion Sextet
Little Mexican Phantasy - Percussion Septet; Piano
Little Mosaic - Percussion Septet
Mobile - Percussion Duo
Music of Five Steps - Percussion Septet; Recorders (2)
Scherzo for Xylophone and Piano - Xylophone; Piano
Scintilla - Percussion Duo; Marimba Duo
Siderals - Percussion Ensemble (10)l with Tape
Space Model - Multiple Percussion; with Tape
Spider Walk - Multiple Percussion
Stress - Multiple Percussion; with Tape
Suite Variee - Percussion Quartet; Piano
Synchromy - Percussion Trio