The ceremony of conferring the honoris causa degree took place in the Professor Roman Suchecki Concert Hall at 3 Staszica Street on 28th May, 2010.
Mieczysław Tomaszewski was born in Poznań on 17th November, 1921. Despite the fact that it was interrupted by World War II, he completed his piano education at the Music Conservatory and the Mieczysław Karłowicz School of Music in Poznań (under Professor Janina Illasiewicz-Stojałowska, a student of Ignaz Friedman). He studied humanities in Toruń (but did not graduate in Polish studies at Nicolaus Copernicus University) and Kraków (where he graduated in musicology at the Jagiellonian University). He obtained his doctorate in musicology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, where he was also awarded the degree of doktor habilitowany [doctor habilitatus]. Since 1959 he has been working at the Academy of Music in Kraków, where he is presently Head of the Department of the Theory and Interpretation of Music. In the years 1946-1949, he was a co-editor of Arkona, a magazine dedicated to art and culture, published in the Pomerania region. Then, from 1949 to 1952, he was the director and art director of the Pomeranian Symphony Orchestra in Bydgoszcz (1949-52). In the years 1952-1988, he was the director of the Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne [Polish Music Publishing House] in Kraków.
At the core of Professor Mieczysław Tomaszewski’s academic interests is 19th and 20th -century music, with a special focus on Chopin studies, the romantic art song, and Polish contemporary music. The said interests revolve around the functioning of a musical work in culture as well as the issue of semiotic similarities, relationships, and interactions occurring between particular works and arts, particularly between music and poetry, word and sound.
Professor Tomaszewski is the author of around 250 academic papers and essays published at home and abroad, in France, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Slovakia, and Lithuania. These publications include 24 books, among them Krzysztof Penderecki i jego muzyka [Krzysztof Penderecki and His Music] (1994), Muzyka Chopina na nowo odczytana [Chopin’s Music Revisited] (1996), Studia nad pieśnią romantyczną [Studies of the Romantic Art Song] (1997), Nad pieśniami Karola Szymanowskiego [On Karol Szymanowski’s Songs] (1998), Chopin. Człowiek, dzieło, rezonans [Chopin. Man, Musical Work, Resonance] (1998, the monograph has won four awards), Chopin und seine Zeit (1999), Interpretacja integralna dzieła muzycznego [An Integral Interpretation of a Musical Work] (2000), Muzyka w dialogu ze słowem [The Dialogue between Music and Word] (2003), Chopin i George Sand [Chopin and George Sand] (2003), O muzyce polskiej w perspektywie intertekstualnej [Polish Music – an Intertextual Perspective] (2005), Penderecki. Bunt i wyzwolenie [Penderecki. Rebellion and Liberation] (2008/9, a two-volume monograph), Chopin. Fenomen i paradoks [The Phenomenon and the Paradox of Chopin] (2009), Chopin. Ein Leben in Bildern (2010). Moreover, the professor is the author of the multimedia encyclopaedic dictionary Fryderyk Chopin. Życie twórcy [Fryderyk Chopin. An Artist’s Life] (1995), the Chopin documentary screened for Polish Television Channel 2 and the Arte Channels (1997), and regular programmes for Polish Radio Channel 2: Fryderyka Chopina Dzieła Wszystkie [Complete Works of Fryderyk Chopin] (42 programmes), Godzina pieśni [An Hour of Art Songs] (28 programmes), and Godzina pieśni polskiej [An Hour of Polish Art Song] (32 programmes). He goes in for artistically and humanistically-oriented musicology and music theory. He has gathered a team of collaborators, known as the ‘Kraków School of Music Theory’.
Professor Mieczysław Tomaszewski has lectured at universities and academies of music and delivered papers in congresses and symposiums in Leipzig, Hamburg, Geneva, Zurich, Bratislava, Vilnius, Paris (including several times at the Sorbonne), Dijon, Nohant, London, Berlin, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Vienna, Graz, Aarhus, Imatra, and Valldemossa. He has been the chairman of academic advisory boards of over 30 national and international symposiums held in Warsaw and Kraków on such themes as Fryderyk Chopin (1987, 1989, 2004), Art Song History and Theory (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1997, 2000), Krzysztof Penderecki (1993, 2003, 2008), and Ludwig van Beethoven (annually since 1997). He initiated the publication of many series, including the Documenta Chopiniana, Biblioteka Chopinowska [Chopin Library], Musica viva, Muzyka i Liryka [Music and Lyric], and Beethoven. Studia i Interpretacje [Beethoven. Studies and Interpretations]. He is a co-editor and a member of the editing team of such publications as Rocznik Chopinowski [The Chopin Yearbook], Chopin Studies, Res facta, Res facta nova, Penderecki Studies, Polski Słownik Biograficzny [The Polish Biographical Dictionary], Encyklopedia Muzyczna PWM [The Polish Music Publishing House Encyclopaedia of Music], and the Melos-Ethos (Bratislava) and Lietuvos Muzikologija [Lithuanian Musicology] (Vilnius) year books. He has been the editor of several joint publications volumes.
Professor Tomaszewski is a full member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary member of the Polish Composers Association, and a member of many other academic organisations, including the Polish Chopin Academy (vice-president), the International Federation of Chopin Societies (an Honorary Committee member), the Academic Advisory Board of the Frédéric Chopin Institute, and the National Academic Degrees and Titles Committee.
Professor Tomaszewski is the awardee of the honoris causa degree conferred by the Academy of Music in Kraków as well as of many other distinctions, including the Alfred Jurzykowski Prize (New York, 1978), the Solidarity Prize for independent creative output (1988), the publishers-awarded Jan Długosz Prize for his book Chopin. Człowiek, dzieło, rezonans [Chopin. Man, Musical Work, Resonance] (1998), the Foundation for Polish Science Prize (1998), the International Chopin Foundation Prize (1999), and the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture Gloria Artis (2006). He was also awarded the Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2005).
Three festschrifts have been dedicated to Professor Mieczysław Tomaszewski: Księga Jubileuszowa Mieczysława Tomaszewskiego. Kompozycje i teksty — w 60-lecie urodzin [A Festschrift to Honour Mieczysław Tomaszewski on His 60th Birthday. Compositions and Texts.] (Kraków 1984), Muzyka, słowo, sens. Mieczysławowi Tomaszewskiemu w 70. rocznicę urodzin [Music. Word. Sense. A Festschrift to Honour Mieczysław Tomaszewski on His 70th Birthday] (Kraków 1994), and Muzyka w kontekście kultury. Mieczysławowi Tomaszewskiemu w 80-lecie urodzin [Music in the Context of Culture. A Festschrift to Honour Mieczysław Tomaszewski on His 80th Birthday] (Kraków 2001). Many encyclopaedic dictionaries contain biographical notes of the professor, for example Encyklopedia Muzyczna PWM [The Polish Music Publishing House Encyclopaedia of Music] (2009) and Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (2008, erg. Bd.).