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New Music Festival Preview: Cezary Duchnowski

Editor's Note: This post is part of series previewing the 2014 New Music Festival at the University of Louisville School of Music.

Cezary Duchnowski (b. February 25, 1971; Elblag, Poland) is an avid composer and performer of contemporary electroacoustic works. He studied at the Karol Lipinski Academy of Music in Wrocław with Leszek Wisłocki, where he later facilitated in the creation of their Studio of Computer Composition. Currently, he serves as a lecturer at his alma mater.

Duchnowski began his musical studies primarily as a performer, studying violin, cello, organ, trumpet, and piano. He now focuses on performing as a pianist and improviser, mostly in electroacoustic genres. As someone who collaborates with other artists, Duchnowski performs in various ensembles. Along with Marcin Rupocinski, he helped found the interdisciplinary artistic group Morphai. As an enthusiast of improvisation, Duchnowski has collaborated with jazz musicians in the creation of live improvised music. One of his most important partnerships is with the composer and soprano Agata Zubel in Duo ElettroVoce, for voice and electronics. Another notable group is Phonos ek Mechanes, of which he is a member along with Pawel Hendrich and Slawomir Kupczak. This group has implemented the concept of “human electronics,” an improvised electronic music genre in which computers are controlled by acoustic instruments.
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His music has been featured at many festivals and has been performed by musicians and ensembles such as the Hilliard Ensemble, AUKSO, and the Tech-No Orchestra. Duchnowski’s “Monad 3” for Voice, Piano and Computer (2003) received First Prize at the 10th International Rostrum of Electroacoustic Music in Rome. His collaboration with Agata Zubel garnered them the Special Award at the Gaudeamus International Contemporary Music Interpreters Competition in Amsterdam. A recent project, “el Derwid” was recorded along with Agata Zubel and Andrzej Bauer and was nominated to the Fryderyk Award of the Polish Phonographic Academy. This album featured new arrangements of eleven songs by Witold Lutosławski. Duchnowski has also been recognized by the Polish Composers Association for his promotional activity of the Polish contemporary music.
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His complex style originates from (or at least is strongly influenced by) his use of electronics and his fascination with improvisation. Both advanced control and spontaneity are crucial to his aesthetic throughout his solo and collaborative works. His exploration of new timbres and evolving textures create unique sound worlds that simultaneously retain a sense of form and cohesiveness.
Duchnowski will be performing his own compositions as well as works by his peers as part of his ensembles Elettrovoce and Phonos ek Mechanes during the Electronic and Improvisation night of the University of Louisville New Music Festival on Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. in the Rauch Planetarium. He will also be giving a lecture on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 from 9:00–10:30 a.m. at the University of Louisville School of Music in room LL26. Both of these events are free and open to the public. For more information about Duchnowski, please visit duchnowski.com and listen to his works at soundcloud.com/duchnowski

Jabez Co, Iara Gomes, Chris Kincaid and Ben Williams contributed to this article. They are students of Dr. Rebecca Jemian, a member of the music theory faculty at the University of Louisville.

Daniel Gilliam is Program Director for LPM Classical. Email Daniel at dgilliam@lpm.org.

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