Roman Maciejewski Timeline - 1920–1929


Ten-year-old Roman makes his first appearances as a pianist and organist.

Maciejewski joins the scouts and runs an amateur choir there.


24 January – the Warsaw Conservatoire hosts first post-war concert of Szymanowski’s compositions (the composer is very offended by the relatively modest turnout).

15 May — premiere in Paris of Igor Skravinsky’s ballet Pulcinella hailed as a model example of neoclassicism.

13–25 August – Battle of Warsaw (later nicknamed “Miracle of the Vistula”), culmination of the Polish-Soviet War.

Piet Mondrian publishes his treatise entitled Neoplasticism – manifesto of the avant-garde associated with geometric abstraction.


18 March – Treaty of Riga ends the Polish-Soviet War.

Paul Klee becomes a Bauhaus professor.

Nadia Boulanger begins teaching at the American School in Fontainbleau.


2 February – publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

3 March – birth of Kazimierz Serocki in Toruń.

18 November — Marcel Proust dies in Paris.

16 December — Gabriel Narutowicz, the first president of the reborn Poland is assassinated.


30 March – birth of Roman Maciejewski’s youngest brother, Wojciech (1923–2018). He would become not only a well-known theatre director, but also an indefatigable promoter of his brother’s oeuvre until the end of his life.

Sigmund Freud publishes his fundamental work on psychoanalysis, The Ego and The Id.

Arnold Schönberg completes his first fully dodecaphonic piece – Suite op. 25.


22 June – Maciejewski is admitted to the Poznań Conservatoire thanks to a scholarship from Count Krzysztof Mielżyński. His piano professor is Bohdan Zaleski, harmony – Kazimierz Sikorski and solfeggio – Stanisław Wiechowicz.

As Mirosław Dąbrowski, Roman Maciejewski’s colleague from that period recalls:

“We went to numerous concerts, experiencing raptures and thrills when listening to famous pianists. Like the entire youth from the conservatoire, we debated which of our great Chopin experts played the best: Aleksander Michałowski or Józef Śliwiński, or perhaps Henryk Melcer. Artur Rubinstein fascinated all of us with his magnificent renditions of Spanish music.”


21 January — death of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Joseph Stalin takes over power in Russia.

In Warsaw the group “Blok” is established, brining together avant-garde artists around Mieczysław Szczuka, Władysław Strzemiński and Katarzyna Kobro.

Thomas Mann’s most important work, the novel The Magic Mountain, is published.

Władysław Reymont receives the Nobel Prize in literature for his novel The Peasants.


Maciejewski begins attending the Saint John Cantius Secondary School in Poznań.

In addition, he becomes an assistant to Wiechowicz, who runs a choir.


26 March – birth of Pierre Boulez.

26 April — Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial is published posthumously.

24 December — Benito Mussolini seizes power in Italy.

José Ortega y Gasset publishes his fundamental piece on aesthetics — The Dehumanisation of Art.


Maciejewski takes over the running of the choir, when Wiechowicz leaves for Paris on a scholarship. As the composer recalled:

“The first rehearsal was marked by absolute chaos. I was a delicate, small boy and everybody thought this was some kind of joke. I let them run wild for a bit, but then I stamped my foot on the stage as hard as I could, which sounded like a gun shot, I immobilised them with what I thought was a hypnotic gaze and complete silence fell. And I had this silence throughout that year of standing in for the professor.”

Beginning of Maciejewski’s collaboration as an accompanist with Walentyna Szaposznik-Wiechowicz’s dance school. He meets there Marcella Hildebrand and falls in love with her.

Maciejewski writes his first serious composition – Sonata for piano (now lost).


12 May — beginning of a coup in Poland, leading to a takeover of power by Marshal Józef Piłsudski.

12 May — premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1.

5 December — death in Giverny of Claude Monet, the founder and last living representative of impressionism.


Numerous musical activities cause Maciejewski to fail his school-leaving exams. He transfers to the Karol Marcinkowski School.

Maciejewski composes the Poznań Songs (lost).


Karol Szymanowski becomes the rector of the State Conservatoire of Music in Warsaw.

Werner Heisenberg formulates the principle of uncertainty, which has huge implications not only for quantum physics, but also for philosophy.

Henri Bergson receives the Nobel Prize in literature.

Martin Heidegger publishes his fundamental philosophical work Being and Time.


Maciejewski passes his school-leaving exams and begins his studies at the University of Poznań (philosophy and musicology).

He writes his first Mazurkas, which he would continue to write until the end of his life.


26 July — Tadeusz Baird is born in Grodzisk Mazowiecki.

22 August — birth of Karlheinz Stockhausen.

22 November — premiere of Ravel’s Bolero in Paris.

Władysław Strzemiński publishes Unism in Painting.


Maciejewski takes part (as a chorus member) in a performance of Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater in Poznań (which takes place two months after its Warsaw premiere).

He writes more compositions for piano: Lullaby (the composer’s first surviving composition) and Variations.


11 January — premiere of Karol Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater in Warsaw.

29 January — publication of Erich Maria Remarque’s novelAll Quiet on the Western Front.

24 October —  crash on the New York Stock Exchange begins the so-called Great Depression.

Karol Szymanowski’s cycle Six Kurpie Songs for choir a capella is published.