• Writing

Adrian Thomas is a leading international authority on Polish music.  His work has been recognised by three different Polish institutions: the Polish Composer’s Union, the Polish Ministry of Culture (twice) and the Lutosławski Society (twice).

• 1989: the annual award of the Polish Composers’ Union (ZKP)
• 1996: the Polish Government’s medal of the Order of Merit for Polish Culture
• 2005: the Lutosławski Society medal (above, with the Polish film director Andrzej Wajda)
• 2013: the Lutosławski Society medal marking the composer’s centenary
• 2013: the Polish Government’s Gold Medal of the Gloria Artis (conferred 2014, below)


He was a member of the UK Honorary Committee of the ‘Fryderyk Chopin 2010’ celebrations marking the bicentenary of the composer’s birth and of the Warsaw-based Honorary Committee of the Witold Lutosławski Year 2013.  In 2015 he was invited to become a member of the Honorary Committee celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Polish Music Publishers PWM.

Adrian Thomas is on the Advisory Panel of twentieth-century music (CUP) and on the Editorial Board of Eastern European Studies in Musicology (Peter Lang).

He is perhaps best known as the author of the only major study on Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (1997; Polish edition, 1998), but he has also written extensively on other Polish composers including Witold Lutosławski, Grażyna Bacewicz and Andrzej Panufnik.  He is a specialist in what he has called the ‘Dark Decade’ of post-war socialist realism in Polish musical culture.  In 2000 he was awarded an AHRB research grant of £120K for a project entitled ‘The Struggle for Music in Poland, 1945-56’.  His most recent book is Polish Music since Szymanowski (2005). He is currently completing a monograph on Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto.


• Bacewicz: Chamber and Orchestral Music (Los Angeles: USC, 1985)
• Górecki (Oxford: OUP, 1997; Polish translation, Kraków: PWM, 1998)
• Polish Music since Szymanowski (Cambridge: CUP, 2005)
• Lutosławski. Cello Concerto (Aldershot: Ashgate, forthcoming)

Articles and Chapters (selected)

• ‘Beyond the Dance’, in J. Samson (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Chopin (Cambridge: CUP, 1992), 145-59
• ‘Your Song is Mine’, The Musical Times, 1830 (August 1995), 403-10
• ‘Pivotal Bacewicz: Some Aspects of the Nature and Function of her Lyrical Impulse’, in M. Szoka (ed.), Rodzeństwo Bacewiczów (The Bacewicz Siblings) (Lódz: Music Academy, 1996), 101-16
• ‘Autocytat w muzyce Grażyny Bacewicz’ (Self-Quotation in the Music of Grażyna Bacewicz), in M. Gąsiorowska (ed.), O Grażynie Bacewicz (About Grażyna Bacewicz) (Poznań: Brevis, 1998), 88-117
• ‘Witold Lutosławski: Musique funèbre’, in F. Meyer (ed.), Settling New Scores: Music Manuscripts from the Paul Sacher Foundation (Mainz: Schott, 1998), 265-7
• ‘Mobilising our Man: Politics and Music during the Decade after the Second World War’, in W. Thomas (ed.), Composition-Performance-Reception: Studies in the Creative Process in Music (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998), 145-68
• Squaring the Triangle: Traditions and Tyrannies in 20th-Century Polish Music (London: SSEES, 2000) [in English and Polish]
• ‘Jeux vénitiens: Working Methods at the Start of Lutosławski’s Mature Period’, in Z. Skowron (ed.), Lutosławski Studies (Oxford: OUP, 2001), 211-43
• ‘File 750: Composers, Politics, and the Festival of Polish Music (1951)’, Polish Music Journal, vol.5/1 (Summer 2002) <http://www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/PMJ/issues.html> [further navigation required, via ‘Archives’ link, to correct issue]
• ‘In the Public Eye: Panufnik and his Music, 1948-54’, in J. Paja-Stach (ed.), Andrzej Panufnik’s Music and its Reception (Kraków: Jagiellonian University, 2003), 205-20
• ‘Intense Joy and Profound Rhythm’: An Introduction to the Music of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’, Polish Music Journal, vol.6/2 (Winter 2003), <http://www.usc.edu/dept/polish_music/PMJ/issues.html>
• ‘One Last Meeting: Lutosławski, Szymanowski and the Fantasia’, in Z. Skowron (ed.), Karol Szymanowski w perspektywie kultury muzycznej przeszłości i terazniejszości (Karol Szymanowski from the perspectives of musical culture past and present) (Kraków: Musica Jagiellonica, 2007), 309-26
• ‘Boundaries and Definitions: The Compositional Realities of Polish Sonorism’Muzyka 1 (208) special issue: ‘Sonoristic Legacies. Towards New Paradigms in Music Theory, Aesthetics and Composition’ (Instytut Sztuki PAN, 2008), 7-14
• ‘Das Cello-Konzert lesen. Lutosławski und die Literatur’, Osteuropa 11-12 (62), special issue: ‘Witold Lutosławski. Ein Leben in der Musik’ (Berlin, 2012), 111-29 [this is a translation by Andrea Huterer of my paper ‘Lutosławski and Literature‘ (2010)]
• ‘Locating Polish Music’, Polish Music since 1945, ed. Eva Mantzourani (Kraków: Musica Iagellonica, 2013), 28-41 [reproduced on this website at https://onpolishmusic.com/talks/locating-polish-music-2009/]
• ‘Energia – Ruch – Życie.  Geneza Elementi‘ (Energy – Movement – Life.  The Genesis of Elementi), Scontri 1 (2013), 11-36
• ‘Witold Lutosławski et ses interprètes/Witold Lutosławski en zijn uitvoerders’, Witold Lutosławski (Brussels: Institute Polonais/Pools Instituut, 2013), 45-47/49-51 [reproduced on this website at https://onpolishmusic.com/articles/•-lutoslawski-and-his-performers-2013/]

Dictionary Entries

• The New Grove Dictionary of Opera (1992)
• The New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers (1994)
• The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Second Edition (2001)
• The Oxford Companion to Music (2002)
• Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (2002)


• The Hidden Composer – Witold Lutosławski and Polish Radio, BBC Festival ‘Breaking Chains’, GSMD, Barbican Centre, London (January 1997)

CD and Programme Notes

Adrian Thomas also contributes CD and programme notes to a wide range of international organisations.  Please click here on CD NOTES or PROG NOTES or scroll down the CD NOTES and PROG NOTES tabs above.

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