Twoje Zagłębie, 08.10.2016

20 April 2017

His work is appreciated all over the world, and every year hundreds of talented composers come to the international competition of his name. Who was Michal Spisak born in Dąbrowa Górnicza?

Michal Spisak was born on September 14, 1914 in Dąbrowa Górnicza, a family of craftsmen. His father Gustav was a co-worker, and his mother Władysława ran a laundry and dye house.

The young Michal had no easy childhood and had to deal with many health problems. He suffered from Heine-Medina’s disease. At that time, his incredible musical abilities were revealed.

Michal Spisak took his first violin lessons in his hometown. After some time, the mother decided to send her talented son to a family in Warsaw. There he began his education at the. M. Karłowicz School of Music.

Little is known about his initial stage of education. It is certain that he completed a seven-grade school of universal. Music was, however, his great passion and he decided to continue to educate himself in that direction. As a 16-year-old he returned home and in 1930 he began his studies at the Conservatory of Music in Katowice in the violin and composition class.

In spite of his disability he performed difficult songs and became known as an extremely urgent and obligatory student. Lecturers spoke positively about his talent and announced a great future.

Michał Spisak wanted to be perfect, so in 1936-1937 he has been taking private lessons from Kazimierz Sikorski in Warsaw. It was he who valued him the most and thanks to him, as he admits himself, he learned the most.

The Conservatory in Katowice Spisak graduated with a very good result. He also received a scholarship from the Silesian Musical Society for composition studies in Paris. Traveling to France proved to be a turning point in life. Then he did not know yet that this country would become for him another home, where he would remain for the rest of his life.

In the conservatory of Paris, Spisak began his education under the watchful eye of the famous Nadia Boulanger. He received her recognition very quickly. Meeting with a world-renowned mentor, and staying in the cultural capital of Europe, had great impact on his artistic development. Michał Spisak composed and worked on his own style a lot.

After the outbreak of World War II he moved to Voiron. This was one of the more creative periods in his life. It did not stop him even activities on the front and disturbing information from Poland.

Michał Spisak was deeply involved in cultural life. He was active in the Association of Young Polish Musicians, of which he was president. After the war he was a great advocate of popularizing Polish music in France. He organized, among others. Concerts and help young artists develop their musical passions.

The homeland has always been close to the composer from Dąbrowa. In 1947 he became a member of the Polish Composers’ Union. His works were regularly performed at Warsaw Autumn, Poznan Musical Spring and many other festivals.

The hero of our article has a lot of prizes. In 1953, for “Serenade for String Orchestra” he was awarded first prize at the International Composers’ Competition in Brussels. Five years later, “Concerto giocoso” won the prize at the Queen Elizabeth International Composers’ Competition.

Few people remember, but Michal Spisak was the creator of the “Olympic Anthem” for which he was awarded the International Olympic Competition in 1955. This hymn was selected from 392 scores and resounded during the opening of the 7th Winter Olympic Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo and at the XVI Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956.

Unfortunately, after a series of successes, the rapidly progressing illness has remind about herself. In the early 1960s Spisak stopped composing and got into financial trouble. But he could count on support from his wife Andrée Thibault.

In 1964, the Polish Composers’ Union awarded Michał Spisak for the whole of his works. January 28, 1965, the composer died in Paris. His grave is in the cemetery of Montmartre.

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