Topics of coins

Krzysztof Komeda

Krzysztof Komeda was a jazz musician and composer, writer of film scores and a leading figure in modern jazz both in Poland and in Europe. He was a character larger than life. He loved music ever since he was a young child - he studied piano at the Poznań Conservatory from the age of 7. In his own words, playing music was the only occupation he felt passionate about. Yet he completed medical school and obtained the title of an ENT doctor. in spite of the polio which afflicted him in his childhood he engaged in sports such as swimming and skiing. He competed with top performers and often won. Those who shared his artistic endeavours remember him as a workaholic, tyrant and tormentor on the one hand; and a close, true and helpful friend, as well as husband and father, on the other. Krzysztof Komeda considered himself a European with roots in the continent's Hellenic past. He was an art connoisseur whose own art was in a genre highly uncommon, incomparable to any other - because that is what jazz is. He was the first to introduce modern jazz to film music in a logical and consistent manner, thus setting a new trend in film scoring to prevail for decades. Music became inextricably linked with the word, image and silence. in Komeda's compositions, silence played a role on a par with music in evoking the mood. To grasp the creative genius and unique personality of the artist, the term "the Komeda phenomenon" is used most frequently today.

Krzysztof Komeda (born Krzysztof Trzciński) was born in Poznań on 27 april 1931 to an affluent middle class family. He received extensive education, both general and musical. as a young child he started to study piano and the foundations of music. Shortly after the war, while living in Ostrów Wielkopolski, he became interested in jazz. He actively contributed to the nascent jazz movement. at the same time, he completed medical studies in Poznań in 1955 and set out to obtain the title of a consultant ENT doctor.

Eventually, however, jazz prevailed. Nearly two years later Krzysztof Trzciński abandoned medicine and embarked on a career as a jazz musician, assuming his old nickname ?Komeda" as an artistic alias (the nickname being a result of a slip of somebody's tongue while the boys had been playing at soldiers). Krzysztof moved to Cracow with his partner and wife (as well as manager) zofia, where the two lived a life of wobbly and needy existence, yet one that was free and fired by artistic dreams. These dreams proved to be quite realistic. Following a spectacular success of Komeda`s live performance at the First Jazz Festival in Sopot, he became an unquestionable guru and the brightest star of the fledgling Polish modern jazz. The next decade was an uninterrupted stream of artistic achievement. in 1960, the Komedas moved to Warsaw. Krzysztof gradually restricted his live appearances in favour of writing music, which resulted in the release, in 1965, of a work that was to prove fundamental and revolutionary in the history of European jazz - the triptych Astigmatic. increasingly often, Komeda also wrote background music for films. This was an area in which he had become a true master, and, as time showed, a reformer.

in 1957, Komeda made friends with film director Roman Polański. He wrote music for 6 of his films, including the famous Rosemary's Baby. Between September 1957 and December 1968, he composed over 60 scores to films by both Polish and foreign directors, winning worldwide acclaim. By this time he had become an unsurpassed model for his colleagues and a living legend for his audiences.

in December 1967, Komeda left for Hollywood to score Roman Polański's Rosemary's Baby. He stayed there for 16 months and wrote another score, to Buzz Kulik's film The Riot, gaining the reputation of the most promising composer in the american film industry. as a consequence, he signed a long-term contract with Paramount Pictures studio.

Unfortunately, a trifling mishap thwarted all the plans. During a lighthearted rough-and-tumble with friend Marek Hłasko, a famous writer and anticommunist outlaw, Komeda fell on some rocks and suffered head injury resulting in cerebral haemorrhage. after 3 months in a coma, the artist, still unconscious, was taken back to Poland by his wife. in spite of the efforts on the part of top Polish neurologists he died 3 days later without gaining consciousness.

Krzysztof Komeda lives on in his music. His legacy includes numerous stunning, timeless jazz pieces and film scores. Even today, 40 years after his death, his music continues to set a standard for generations of new composers and to delight the hearts of music lovers. He earned a permanent place on the pantheon of prominent and pioneering European musicians. Thanks to his music and his life story he became a model of a real artist and a good person of true integrity. after Chopin, he is the greatest and most widely recognized ambassador for Polish culture and art across the world.

Tomasz Lach, Zofia Komeda's son