A distinguished composer with a huge oeuvre and a friend of the Polish Chamber Choir has died at 93 in Kraków in the evening of 17 October.


He studied in Kraków with Stanisław Wiechowicz, in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and took part in seminars with Olivier Messiaen himself. He wrote operas, ballets and was a Polish pioneer in experimental music with prepared piano, but it was the human voice that always was the focal point of his interests.

The composer’s first meeting with the Polish Camber Choir, then the Madrigal Ensemble at the State Baltic Opera and Philharmonic, took place in 1979 at the Poznań Music Spring festival. The Choir, conducted by its founder Ireneusz Łukaszewski, performed the premiere of Hymnus de caritate, a piece of sacred music that with time became the main axis of Juliusz Łuciuk’s work. Since then, our ensemble has often performed premieres of his pieces, including his extensive and technically difficult Apocalypsis for soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and mixed choir (1985) or Marian Suite (1983), a five-movement piece inspired by the Polish folk tradition, that won an award at the Polish Episcopate Composers Competition in 1984 and was enthusiastically received by audiences all over the world.

Although humanly speaking we are saddened that this year has taken so many of our musical friends from us, today we are ever so grateful for the opportunity to have been friends with Juliusz Łuciuk, who definitely holds a place of pride in the pantheon of great composers who we had the honour to work with for many years. He was a very humble man, blessed with great charisma and a very special sense of humour. He remained very artistically active all the way up to the end of his life.

 We also welcome you to listen to a fragment of an interview with the late Juliusz Łuciuk from the private archive of Prof. Jan Łukaszewski, recorded on 17 June 2018, where they speak of the composer’s Apocalypsis recorded by the Polish Chamber Choir for the “Polish Choir Music” CD (2019).

Rest in Peace. All hail his memory!