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Jan A.P. Kaczmarek Passes Away – Renowned Composer and Oscar Winner

NEWSJan A.P. Kaczmarek Passes Away – Renowned Composer and Oscar Winner

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Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, the distinguished composer and Oscar laureate, has passed away after battling a severe, incurable illness for several years. The news of his death was announced by the Polish Music Foundation.

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek

Born on April 29, 1953, in Konin, Kaczmarek received his first music lessons from his grandfather, an amateur musician. He began composing music for school plays during his school years. In the 1970s, he studied law at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.

While interning at Jerzy Grotowski’s avant-garde Teatr Laboratorium, he created music for performances by Teatr Ósmego Dnia and Teatr Polski in Poznań. He then co-founded the Orkiestra Ósmego Dnia with Grzegorz Banaszak, touring many countries in the 1980s. In 1989, he moved to the USA with his wife Elżbieta and their four children on a State Department scholarship, where he composed music for film and theater.

In 1993, Kaczmarek received the Drama Desk and Off-Broadway Theatre Award for the best theater music of the year. In 2005, he won an Oscar for the score of “Finding Neverland,” directed by Marc Forster and starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Radha Mitchell, and Dustin Hoffman. That same year, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.

Kaczmarek composed music for over 70 films, including “Unfaithful” by Adrian Lyne, “Aimée & Jaguar” by Max Färberböck, “Lost Souls” by Janusz Kamiński, and “Quo Vadis” by Jerzy Kawalerowicz. He collaborated with Lech Majewski and Agnieszka Holland, providing scores for films such as “Total Eclipse,” “Washington Square,” and “The Third Miracle.” He also composed autonomous pieces, typically written for large orchestras and choirs, including “Cantata for Freedom” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the August Agreements and the founding of Solidarity, and “Universa – Open Opera” for the 650th anniversary of the Jagiellonian University.

In Poland, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek founded the Rozbitek Institute (in Rozbitek, Kwilcz municipality), dedicated to educational and artistic activities, including connecting young composers with producers and renowned artists. He was also the initiator and organizer of the Transatlantyk Festival.

In 2023, commemorations dedicated to the composer were unveiled on the Walk of Fame in Kraków and Łódź.

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek passed away after a long battle with a severe, incurable illness.

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