3rd Prize in the 1st Opus Dissonus Composition Competition (2015)



Artur Słotwiński was born in 1990 in Warsaw. He is a polish composer and pianist. In 2009 he graduated The Zenon Brzewski High School as a pianist. He studied there with prof. Anna Jastrzębska-Quinn. From 2009 up to 2012 he studied composition with prof. Stanisław Moryto at Frederic Chopin University of Music in Warsaw (bachelor studies). As a bachelor degree piece he presented to the jury his Symphony no. 3 „Symphony of the love songs” for three percussionists, tenor, choir and orchestra. In 2012 he graduated a bachelor studies. From 2012 to 2014 he studied composition (master studies) with prof. Ph. D. hab. Paweł Łukaszewski also at FCUM. In 2014 he graduated master studies with prof. Paweł Łukaszewski. What’s more, A. Slotwinski is an active pianist (soloist and chamber music performer) and also a member of Polish Composers Union Youth Circle. In 2011 he received a scholarship of Societe Generale Bank. Furthermore, he is a double stipendist of the Polish Ministry Of Culture and National Heritage (2008, 2011). Recently Slotwinski received a scholarship for his works given by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (2012).
Artur Slotwinski's compositions range from solo pieces (Piano Sonata), chamber („Autumn Episodes”) up into large scale works (4 Symphonies, Piano Concerto), choral („Seven Last Words Of Christ”) and electronic music. Slotwinski composes also for comercial productions (Trailer of an fantasy game “Noeton: The Dimension’s Struggle”: symhponic music recorded by the symphony orchestra of FCUM students in 2013). He composes music also for dance performances (a piece for jazz quintet „Wrath”, 2012 FCUM). His most elaborate composition is Noachis terra for 5 solo voices, mixed choir and orchestra, a 70 minutes cantata in 9 movements which he wrote for his masters degree. For this composition he was given the highest possible grade (A+, 25 points). On several compotision courses and workshops he studied with such composers as: Joel Hoffman (Cincinnati College Of Music), Vladimir Scolnic (Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance),, Paweł Łukaszewski (FCUM Warsaw), Stanisław Moryto (FCUM Warsaw) and Lowell Liebermann (Mannes College Of Music). His String Quartet no. 1 was recorded and published as a CD by Ablaze Records Company in Fall 2014. Most of his works were performed in Warsaw, Lviv, Katowice, Częstochowa, Poznań, Cracow and Milna in Croatia. The monographic concert of Slotwinski’s compositions (including IV Symphony) took place in June 2014 (Live recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd_9QYSfDLg). The concert was a great success: the audience applauded the composer and Unplugged Orchestra for sevral minutes. After the concert a music theoretist and musicologist, Ph. D. hab. Marcin T. Łukaszewski wrote an elaborate review on this event and gave an impression on Slotwinski’s music: „Slotwinski’s pieces gave a huge impression on me. After listening all the pieces on the concert I had an impression of stylistic unity and at the same time in every composition I heard something new and innovative. These are: wit and brilliance in „Merry Melodies”, intriguing coegsitence of horn and strings in the matter of sound structures in „Druids Answer” and mainly - deep expressivity in all of the pieces. Symphony no. 4 was astonishing. First of all, because of sense of building tension but also because of Slotwinski’s ability of creating a big form and dramaturgy, also perfectly arranged for huge orchestra.” [trans. A. S.]

OPUS DISSONUS - What was your first contact with the art of composing?

SLOTWIŃSKY - My first real contact with the art of composing in the strict meaning was quite late, at high school with the prof. Sławomir Czarnecki who showed me the world of contemporary techniques. But earlier when I was 11 or 12 I composed my first written down "composition" called Sinfonietta for piano. It was right after I learned the musical notes. After that I worked with professor of harmony and music theory Henryk Smoczyński and he gave me the scheme of sonata-allegro form. In the age of 13 I composed the Sonatina for piano. But those first attemptes to written compositions (I am not countning those not written down of age of 9), quite childish. As a young pianist I played lot of Bach and Czerny so I composed a Badinerie and Gigue and even a 4 movement string quartet but the real contact with the art of composition started at high school in 2007 when I composed something in the shape of Piano Concerto and later my first "contemporary" composition in the sonoristic language "From Chaos to Cosmos", which received a Ist prize in the National Composition Competition. This is how it all started.

OPUS DISSONUS - How does your compositional process work? 

SLOTWIŃSKY - My composition process works, if it works actually ;) ....Actually when it doesn't work I am doing other things - correcting earlier works, playing piano, improvise organ or synths, recording the mock-ups of my not performed works. But when I compose I often have a general idea, inspiration and I work in a flow of hours only with brakes for meal, sleep and some tv, games, bike, friends, concerts. I work fast or slow, it depends on many factors. If I am working on a experimental work in a style which is not quite naitive or in a way which is not natural (pieces written in some system of scales) it takes me lot of time. I can divide my composition process for two ways: the slow process of working on the works which are effect of intelectual processes and the other - when I compose in the need coming from heart. These works are more tonal and include harmony and themes in more traditional way. Of course the major aspects of composition are located in subconsciousness and access to them is quite difficult. For me the precompositional process of thinking, living with the music and of course the piano or organ or synth improvisation is quite important. I often go to concerts not to forget how the orchestra sounds. When the day of composing comes I seat in front of computer, set the layout of the score and I write immidiately for the orchestra. I am not working with piano. Often I am not listening the midi playback, only somtimes to check the harmony. How I work is not very different how my father works, also at computer in complete silence. He is a scientist and how we work is not very fascinating. Only the effect might be, when he presents the lecture on cure for cancer and how to search for it and I when my next symphony is being performed.

OPUS DISSONUS - Who are the composers who have had the greatest influence on your work, from the earliest

SLOTWIŃSKY - Well, I must say that I can of course name the composers which are my favorite but the influence on my work by some composers could show how independent or event dependent my music is. The classical forms and thematic thinking and development of the music material maybe comes from the fact I played lot of Bach & Beethoven during my life. The harmony and climaxes surely come from my fascination of Chopin, Bruckner and Mahler. But also form my very youth the electronic music composers were present in my life, like Jean Michel Jarre or Vangelis. After the studies of contemporary music you can surely find some elements of Penderecki, Kilar, Górecki, Bacewicz, Strawiński & Bartók in my music but not in every piece. In a piano concerto you can surely hear some Rachmaninov, Prokofiev or even Liszt. Also film music composers like John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith had maybe some influence (maybe subconscoious on me). I love also dark harmonies of works in minor key of baroque period (Requiems, Misereres by Zelenka, Caldara, Pergolesi) and of course Bach with Erbarme dich like compositions where voice is in dialogue with instrument. The genius composition I admire for its multilayer texture is Berlioz Messe des Morts. Symphonic rock of Queen, Led Zeppelin and Budka Suflera (polish rock group) had also major influence on my when I was a teenager.

OPUS DISSONUS - In your opinion, what can we expect for the future of classical music? 

SLOTWIŃSKY - I think still Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Beethoven repertoire will be present at philharmonic halls because this is music which stands still in front of the axe of the history which verifies its universal qualities. Some pieces will gone, some genres also, some will evolve. I think the classical music will be present always only if there were people who will be intrested in listening to the music which is so different than the pop-culture music. Classical music must be something special but not in commercial way. When it becomes commercial it will lose its quality becoming quantity. Also there is much hope in creating syncretic forms: dance+visual arts (lasers, holograms, 3D stuff) with music which will evolve to fit the new area of art. In the other hand, always when there is a need in composers hearts: classical symphonies, concerts will be created and performed before the audience who needs desperately the high quality classical art which represents harmony, order and also messages of peace and peacefullness, all we need in the world of war and chaos.

OPUS DISSONUS - Final words/considerations, or your words for the composers of the future.

SLOTWIŃSKY - I see it in terms of futurological groteque but I will try my turn: Dear composers of the future, please remember the classical beauty, melody and harmony, compose in the need of heart more often than in the need of intellectual processes. It will surely have a positive impact on music which has gone in some ways by its revolutionary processes in the dead end. Revolution is nonsens, it is a lefty-idea. The ears are not evolving, the physics is not evolving in terms of human life-span. May your primary foundation be the harmonic series of consonants. Use also some dissonances but resolve them more often. Yeah, just kidding! Have fun always and don't compose pieces which are opposite to your inner nature. Integrate with your soul in the act of composing! Good luck!



© Copyright Opus Dissonus / Artur Cimirro, 2016