Polish-American conductor and composer Stanisław Skrowaczewski was born in Lwów on 3 October 1923. He showed promise as a pianist from an early age, giving his first public recital at eleven, but had to reconsider his options when he suffered a hand injury during World War II.
He studied composition and conducting at the Kraków Academy of Music, and, later, after the war, composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, where he also co-founded Groupe Zodaique. He worked as music director of a series of Polish orchestras - the Wrocław Philharmonic, the Katowice Philharmonic, the Kraków Philharmonic and the Warsaw National Orchestra - and in 1956 won the Santa Cecilia Conductors' Competition in Rome.
He then worked in the USA for the next couple of decades, as music director of the Minnesota Orchestra.
From 1984 until 1991, Stan was principal conductor of the Hallé Orchestra, giving concerts across England, Europe and the USA, and recording extensively. He also appeared as a guest conductor in North and South America, Europe and Japan.
Amongst a large number of recordings, he's known particularly for his Bruckner and Beethoven symphonies with the Saarbrücken Radio
His compositions include Ricercari notturni (1977) and a clarinet concerto for Joe Longo, the Minnesota Orchestra's principal clarinettist. His Passacaglia Immaginaria, commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra, was nominated for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize, and his Concerto for Orchestra brought him a second Pulitzer Prize nomination, in 1999.
In October 2015 he became the oldest conductor to perform at London's Royal Festival Hall, performing and recording Bruckner's Symphony No 5 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. A year later, to celebrate his ninety-third birthday, he conducted the Minnesota Orchestra in Bruckner's Symphony No 8.
The Polish government has conferred it's highest order on Skrowaczewski - the Commander Order of the White Eagle.
Skrowaczewski died in St Louis Park, Minnesota, on 21 February 2017, aged ninety-three.
A selection of M&V articles about Stanisłav Skrowaczewski
CD Spotlight. A Short Straw? - Skrowaczewski conducts Brahms, heard by Howard Smith. '... Brahms' sonic architecture is overlooked.'
What makes a conductor? - 'Conductors in Conversation' by Jeannine Wagar, reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz
Record box. Sonorous richness - Ron Bierman explores Skrowaczewski's world