Today we celebrate the anniversary of Jerzy Semkow’s birth

Jerzy Semkow, an outstanding conductor and patron of our orchestra, born 92 years ago, wanted the world to perceive him above all as an artist, what is more – an artist admired live at concerts. He believed that all recordings blight the message and thus, he released relatively few of them (compared to other titans of the baton with a similar status in the musical world). We are all the more proud and happy that our Master devoted his precious time to record with us our first album containing Schubert’s symphonies (CD Accord, 2008), followed by another with Tchaikovsky’s “Fifth” (CD Accord, 2010). Firmly focused on artistic matters, the conductor rigorously protected his privacy, rarely gave interviews and never liked to talk about himself even to his close ones (after his death, one of his friends and an excellent pianist Ewa Osińska published a beautiful memoir of the Artist under a telling title: Wielki nieodgadniony [“The Great Inscrutable”]). Those who knew him more closely remember him as a man of great erudition and culture, as well as a charming interlocutor sensitive to others, although reserved in relations and often laconic in his statements. He could not be considered a loner, although he highly valued the time devoted to repose (and he had little of it) and, for example, he loved sailing alone in summer.

Jerzy Semkow podczas nagrań z Polską Orkiestrą Sinfonia Iuventus, Bydgoszcz 2008
fot. Tadeusz Cytulski

 A lot of effort in collecting memories, accounts, critical reviews and biographical details was put by a reliable and insightful documentalist of musical life, the invaluable Małgorzata Komorowska, in her monograph dedicated to this beautiful figure, titled Jerzy Semkow. Magia batuty [“Jerzy Semkow. The Magic of the Baton”]. It was published in the year which was to be the last one for the Master… We encourage you to read the book: