Biography of Peter Paul Koprowski

"Prolific, pensive and articulate," the prize-winning Peter Paul Koprowski was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1947. Noted for his early compositions as an “outstanding talent”, he attended and graduated in nearly half the required time from the Krakow Academy of Music, earning awards and having his works broadcast and performed in concerts. Starting with his orchestral In Memoriam Karol Szymanowski, written when he was only sixteen, Mr. Koprowski has gone through a musical evolution of an unusual breadth. As a child prodigy he absorbed the advanced harmonic languages of Scriabin and Szymanowski and was profoundly influenced by the polyphony of the Renaissance. During this time he was also exposed to a wide range of contemporary music presented at the annual Warsaw Autumn Festival -- Poland in the 1960s being like Paris fifty years earlier, in the vanguard of European music.

After a period in England, where he received further awards, Mr. Koprowski moved to Canada in 1971 and completed his doctorate at the University of Toronto. Since then his prolific output has continued with a canon extending from songs to symphonies -- all commissioned works exceeding 50 in number, from orchestras, ensembles and distinguished artists such as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. Mr. Koprowski’s works have been presented by many noted artists, such as Pinchas Zukerman, Trevor Pinnock, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Okko Kamu, and Wojciech Michniewski. In November 2006, his Elegiareceived its American premiere at Carnegie Hall, New York, by the New York Grand Opera Orchestra, with Maria Knapik as a soloist under Maestro Vincent La Selva. Five months later, his Tapestries for Soprano Solo and Orchestra received a world premiere with Maria Knapik and the Kingston Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Glen Fast, and was subsequently recorded for CD. Many other works received performances in North America and in Europe in the intervening months.

In 1983, Mr. Koprowski returned to Poland as a guest of the Warsaw Autumn Festival. In 1988, he was a Composer in Residence with the Canadian Opera Company. Twice, in 1989 and in 1994, he was recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts’s Jules Leger Prize and in 1990 he was awarded the interdisciplinary Victor Martyn Lynch-Stanton Award. In 1997, he received the Jean A. Chalmers National Music Award for four orchestral compositions: Viola ConcertoSymphony of Nordic TalesAncestral Voices and Saga(the only such occurrence in the history of the award). In 2002 his Viola Concertoreceived a JUNO nomination. In 2005, Peter Paul Koprowski was bestowed the Knight’s Cross of the Order Polonia Restituta.

Currently, Dr Koprowski resides in Canada, near Ottawa. He is also a professor of composition at the University of Western Ontario, and divides his time between European and North American engagements as a composer and conductor.