Roman Maciejewski Timeline - 1980–1989


5 December – Maciejewski’s Requiem is very enthusiastically received in Göteborg. Like in Los Angeles, the conductor is Roger Wagner.


2 March – premiere of Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s Harpsichord Concerto in Katowice.

15 April – Jean-Paul Sartre dies in Paris.

14 August – beginning of the strike at the Gdańsk Shipyard.

31 August – signing of an agreement between the strikers and the authorities.

Czesław Miłosz is awarded the Nobel Prize.


9 January – death of Kazimierz Serocki, co-founder of the Warsaw Autumn.

13 May – attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.

2 September – death of another co-founder of the Warsaw Autumn, Tadeusz Baird.

19 September – the premiere of Wojciech Kilar’s Exodus at the Warsaw Autumn is enthusiastically received.

13 December – introduction of martial law in Poland.


A woman appears in Maciejewski’s life. She is Elsi Thorsten, the composer’s neighbour, retired telegraphist and skilful pianist. The relationship would last until the end of the composer’s life.


10 November – death of Leonid Brezhnev, who is succeed by Yuri Andropov.

The Nobel Prize in literature goes to Gabriel García Márquez.

Arvo Pärt completes his St. John Passion, the culmination of the tintinnabuli style.

Artists in Poland boycott the Polish Television. The Polish Composer’s Union decides not to organise the Warsaw Autumn Festival that year.


19 April – death of Jerzy Andrzejewski.

17 June – Miron Białoszewski dies in Warsaw.

22 July – martial law ends after John Paul II’s pilgrimage to Poland.

29 September – premiere of Witold Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 3 in Chicago.

28 November – premiere of Messiaen’s opera Saint François d’Assis.

Lech Wałęsa receives the Nobel Peace Prize.


Maciejewski sends a new version of his Concerto for Two Pianos (as Piano duo concertante) to Poland. PWM Edition would publish it in 1989.


6 September – premiere of Miloš Forman’s film Amadeus.

28 September – premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Polish Requiem in Stuttgart.

19 October – kidnapping and then murder of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko.


11 March – following the death of Konstantin Chernenko, Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. His programme is based on perestroika and glasnost’.

28 March – death of Marc Chagall.

Witold Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 3 receives the Grawemeyer Award from the University of Louisville.


28 January – explosion of the Challenger space shuttle. Seven astronauts die.

31 January – premiere in Zurich of Witold Lutosławski’s Chain II.

25 April – accident at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl.

31 August – death of one of the greatest twentieth-century sculptors, Henry Moore.


22 February – Andy Warhol dies in New York.

1 June – first happening of the “Orange Alternative” in Wrocław.

8–14 June – John Paul II’s third pilgrimage to Poland.

Josif Brodsky receives the Nobel Prize in literature for “universal values of his entire literary oeuvre marked by a clarity of thought and poetic power.”


7 May – premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s opera Montag aus Licht at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala.

10 June – Henryk Stażewski dies in Warsaw.

19 August – Krystian Zimerman premieres Witold Lutosławski’s Piano Concerto in Salzburg.

After the parliamentary elections the USRR begins to withdraw from Afghanistan (the Soviet troops would finally be withdrawn in February 1989).

Krzysztof Kieślowski directs an extraordinary cycle of short television films, Decalogue. It would be broadcast by the Polish Television in 1989.


Recording of Maciejewski’s Requiem with the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Tadeusz Strugała. The composer comes to Poland for the recording and takes part in the engineering process.


6 February – Round Table talks begin in Warsaw. They would last until 5 April and result in a momentous transformation of Poland’s political system and the registration of the Solidarity Trade Union.

4 June – landslide victory for Solidarity candidates in the partially free parliamentary elections.

5 August – Roman Palester dies in Paris.

12 September – Tadeusz Mazowiecki becomes the first non-communist Prime Minister of Poland.

22 December – death of Samuel Beckett in Paris.