1913 – Witold Lutosławski is born in a Warsaw delivery clinic on Moniuszki St. The Lutosławski family lives in Drozdowo, their estate near the village of Łomża, at the time.
1913 – Continued unrest in the Balkans, which will soon spark the First World War
1913 – The British composer Benjamin Britten is born.
1913 – Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring debuts at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, causing a huge scandal.
1913 – Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo publishes The Art of Noises.
1913 – Niels Bohr presents the model of the hydrogen atom.
1914 – Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik is born.
1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand Habsburg is assassinated in Sarajevo.
1914 – Germany declares war on Russia; the First World War begins.
1915 – The Lutosławski family flees th German offensive, into Russia. There, the composer’s brother and father engage in political activity and start organizing a Polish military force.
1915 – Composer and piano virtuoso Alexander Scriabin, one of the most innovative musicians of the dawn of the 20th century, dies in Moscow.
1915 – The Russians begin their retreat from the Kingdom of Poland and East Galicia.
1916 – Hugo Ball founds the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich; the Dadaist movement is born.
1916 – Birth of the U.S. composer Milton Babbitt, brilliant innovator of serial and electronic music and a pioneer of the second avant-garde, is born.
1916 – The Battle of Verdun, a months-long clash between German and French forces, begins.
1917 – Erik Satie’s ballet Parade, with choreography by Léonide Massine and costumes by Pablo Picasso, premieres in Paris.
1917 – Joseph Pulitzer, U.S. journalist and publisher of Hungarian origin, funds the prize that bears his name.
1917 – The October Revolution begins in Russia.
1918 – Lutosławski’s father and brother are arrested by Bolsheviks and murdered in a mass execution on the outskirts of Moscow.
1918 – Maria Lutosławski returns from Russia with her two sons and moves into an apartment at 21 Marszałkowska St. in Warsaw.
1918 – Béla Bartók’s opera Bluebeard’s Castle premieres in Budapest.
1918 – Claude Debussy, the composer considered “the father of 20th-century music” dies in Paris.
1918 – Tsar Nicholas II’s family is executed.
1919 – Lutosławski begins taking piano lessons, first from his mother, later from Helena Hoffman.
1919 – Walter Gropius establishes the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany.
1919 – Richard Strauss becomes the director of the Vienna State Opera.
1919 – Under the dictates of the Treaty of Versailles, the Republic of Poland is born.
1920 – Stravinsky’s ballet Pulcinella premieres in Paris, marking the symbolic beginning of neoclassicism in music.
1920 – Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Germaine Tailleferre, Louis Durey, Francis Poulenc, and Georges Auric found the composers’ group Les Six.
1920 – The National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) is founded in Germany.
1921 – The Lutosławski family returns to Drozdowo. Each week for almost two years, Witold goes to nearby Łomża for piano lessons with Alina Rudnicka.
1921 – The world-famous tenor Enrico Caruso dies in Naples.
1921 – The Riga Treaty ends the Polish-Soviet War.
1922 – Lutosławski creates his first composition – Prelude for piano.
1922 – Birth of Greek composer and architect Iannis Xenakis – a titan of the musical avant-garde, pioneer in using mathematical models in music and originator of “stochastic music”.
1922 – Birth of French flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal who will be the first to perform Krzysztof Penderecki’s Flute Concerto
1922 – James Joyce publishes Ulysses.
1922 – Founding of the USSR
1923 – Birth of Hungarian composer György Ligeti, another titan of the 20th-century musical avant-garde, creator of the concept of “micropolyphony”, a dense arrangement of instrumental or vocal lines that create the impression of ever-changing “sound clouds”
1923 – Sigmund Freud publishes his work on the structure of the human psyche – The Ego and the Id.
1924 – Lutosławski moves with his family to Warsaw and starts attending the Stefan Batory Gymnasium, choosing a class specializing in mathematics and physics. Concurrently, he takes piano lessons from Józef Śmidowicz.
1924 – Lutosławski hears Karol Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 3, which makes an enormous impression on him.
1924 – The New York City premiere of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue
1924 – The Italian composer Luigi Nono is born – he will be the first “Western” musician Penderecki meets.
1924 – Vladimir Lenin dies.
1925 – Birth of the French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, one of the pioneers of so-called total serialism in music
1925 – The premiere of Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck at the Berlin Staatsoper
1925 – Sergei Eisenstein directs The Battleship Potemkin.
1925 – Marshal Paul von Hindenburg becomes the President of Germany.
1925 – Benito Mussolini declares himself the dictator of Italy.
1926 – Lutosławski begins taking violin lessons from Lidia Kmitowa.
1926 – Dimitri Shostakevich’s Symphony No. 1 brings the teenage composer international recognition.
1926 – Ivan Pavlov introduces the concept of conditioned reflex.
1926 – Marshal Józef Piłsudski carries out the May Coup in Poland.
1927 – Lutosławski enters the Warsaw Conservatory, where he studies music theory with Piotr Maszyński and Wincent Laski, and piano with Artur Taube.
1927 – Werner Heisenberg introduces the uncertainty principle.
1927 – Birth of the cellist Siegfried Palm, an excellent interpreter of contemporary music to whom composers including Penderecki will dedicate works
1927 – Birth of the famous cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who will initiate and premiere many contemporary cello compositions, including works by Lutosławski and Penderecki
1927 – The First International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition takes place in Warsaw.
1927 – Charles Lindbergh flies solo across the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Paris.
1928 – Lutosławski leaves the conservatory and becomes Witold Maliszewski’s private student.
1928 – Birth of the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, one of the great innovators in contemporary music, a creator of serial, aleatoric and electronic music
1928 – Kurt Weill composes The Threepenny Opera.
1928 – Discovery of Penicillin G – the first antibiotic by Alexander Fleming
1928 – At the Olympic Games in Amsterdam, Halina Konopacka wins the discus competition, earning Poland’s first Olympic gold medal.
1929 – Lutosławski composes Variations for Piano at age 16.
1929 – Sergei Diaghilev, the creator of Ballets Russes, dies in Venice.
1929 – The first Academy Awards ceremony takes place in Los Angeles.
1929 – The New York Stock Exchange crashes on “Black Friday”, beginning the Great Depression, the biggest economic crisis of the 20th century.
1930 – Lutosławski composes Dance of the Chimera for piano and Scherzo for orchestra.
1930 – Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz publishes the novel Insatiability.
1930 – The second modern-art museum in the world opens, in Łódź.
1931 – Lutosławski composes an anthem for the Stefan Batory Gymnasium.
1931 – Lutosławski passes his final exams and enrolls at the Warsaw University to study mathematics.
1931 – Edgar Varèse composes Ionisation, the first piece composed for a percussion orchestra.
1932 – Lutosławski stops violin lessons. He is accepted into Witold Maliszewski’s composition class at the Warsaw Music School. He also studies piano in Jerzy Lefeld’s class.
1932 – Wojciech Kilar is born. He will become one of the chief representatives of the Polish musical avant-garde in the 1960s, along with Krzysztof Penderecki and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki.
1932 – The term “swing” appears in the title of a Duke Ellington hit.
1932 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt becomes the 32nd president of the United States.
1932 – The first Venice International Film Festival takes place.
1932 – The first public performance of one of Lutosławski’s compositions (Dance of the Chimera).
1933 – Lutosławski abandons his mathematics studies at Warsaw University.
1933 – Krzysztof Penderecki, the second son of Tadeusz Penderecki and Zofia Berger, is born in Dębica.
1933 – Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, son of railway worker Roman Górecki and his wife Otylia, is born in Czernica.
1933 – Adolf Hitler becomes the Chancellor of the German Reich.
1933 – Arnold Schönberg is expelled from the Preussische Akademie der Künste in Berlin.
1934 – The British composer Edward Elgar, one of the great figures in 20th-century music and the first to record a series of his own orchestra pieces on gramophone records, dies.
1934 – The USSR joins the League of Nations.
1935 – In May, during a class stay in Riga, Latvia, Lutosławski meets Karol Szymanowski.
1935 – Górecki’s mother Otylia suddenly dies on his second birthday.
1935 – Birth of the composer Helmut Lachenmann, the creator of instrumental musique concrète
1935 – Birth of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, creator of the unique composing technique “tintinnabuli”
1935 – Birth of Elvis Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi, who’ll be acclaimed as the “King of Rock and Roll”
1935 – The first subway line is opened in Moscow.
1936 – Lutosławski makes his first attempts at composing music for film.
1936 – Lutosławski receives his degree from the Warsaw Music School, graduating in piano.
1936 – Birth of Steve Reich, one of the pioneers of American minimal music.
1936 – The Moscow newspaper Pravda publishes an article attacking Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.
1936 – André Jolivet, Yves Baudrier, Daniel-Lesur, and Olivier Messiaen found the composers’ group Jeune France.
1936 – Birth of Don Cherry, U.S. jazz trumpeter and leader of the band that will deliver the only performance of Penderecki’s Actions.
1936 – The 11th Summer Olympic Games take place in Berlin.
1936 – The Spanish Civil War begins.
1937 – Lutosławski gets his degree in composition for his Requiem for soprano, mixed chorus and orchestra.
1937 – Lutosławski moves with his mother to Komorów, near Warsaw.
1937 – The Górecki family moves to a new house in Rydułtowy.
1937 – Young Henryk has an accident while playing in the yard that results in suppurative arthritis.
1937 – The first performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in Leningrad rehabilitates the composer for a time with the Soviet government.
1937 – Premiere of Alban Berg’s opera Lulu at the Stadttheater in Zurich.
1937 – Birth of the U.S. composer Philip Glass, one of the key pioneers of minimal music, along with Steve Reich.
1937 – Karol Szymanowski dies in Lausanne.
1938 – The creation of Symphonic Variations, which Lutosławski considers his composing debut.
1938 – Béla Bartók composes the Sonata for two pianos and percussion.
1938 – The first products made of a synthetic polymer – nylon – appear on the market.
1938 – Polish forces enter Zaolzie; German forces occupy the Sudetenland.
1939 – Lutosławski prepares to leave Poland to study in France. Instead, he is drafted just before the war begins and assigned to a communications unit. He is then captured by German forces near Lublin, but manages to escape.
1939 – The Penderecki family flees the advancing German front toward Lviv.
1939 – The German hospital in Bytom treats young Górecki. After four surgical procedures, the boy regains partially use of his legs.
1939 – John Cage composes Imaginary Landscape No. 1, which uses test tones from gramophone records.
1939 – Birth of the Swiss oboe player and composer Heinz Holliger – due to his mastery, composers including Lutosławski and Penderecki will dedicate works to him
1939 – Germany invades Poland – the Second World War begins.
1939 – The Soviet Army occupies Eastern Poland.
1939 – Birth of Elżbieta Chojnacka, harpsichord virtuoso specializing in contemporary music for whom Górecki will composed his Concerto for Harpsichord.
1940 – Birth of the youngest sister of Penderecki, Barbara
1940 – Mikhail Bulgakov completes The Master and Margarita, which waits three decades for publication.
1940 – The first performance of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, now one of the most famous guitar concertos.
1940 – Construction work begins developing Konzentrationslager Auschwitz, the German concentration camp and, starting from 1942, death camp.
1941 – Lutosławski meets his future wife, Danuta, sister of the writer Stanisław Dygat.
1941 – Lutosławski performs in a piano duet with Andrzej Panufnik in Warsaw cafes, to earn a living.
1941 – Lutosławski’s Variations on a Theme by Pagannini for two pianos is created.
1941 – The 8-year-old Górecki comes back to Rydułtowy from hospital.
1941 – Young Górecki’s developing interest in music is disapproved of by his father and stepmother – the boy has to sneak in time at the piano.
1941 – Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the pianist, composer and statesman, dies in New York.
1941 – The birth of Bob Dylan, the U.S. singer and songwriter
1941 – Germany invades the USSR.
1941 – The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor; the war in the Pacific begins.
1942 – Lutosławski begins work on Songs of the Underground Struggle (completed in 1944).
1942 – The 9-year-old Penderecki witnesses harrowing scenes during the liquidation of the Dębica ghetto. The Penderecki family, thrown out of their apartment in a bank building, moves into a formerly Jewish apartment in the main square.
1942 – White Christmas, the famous song written by Irving Berlin and performed by Bing Crosby in the film Holiday Inn, wins an Academy Award.
1943 – Lutosławski creates a series of short counterpoint pieces, as preparation for composing his first symphonic work.
1943 – Górecki begins taking violin lessons from Paweł Hajduga, a local teacher. He creates his first works – songs and miniatures.
1943 – Sergei Rachmaninov, composer and pianist, one of the last great romantics in Russian music, dies in Los Angeles.
1943 – Birth of Mick Jagger, British singer and co-founder of the Rolling Stones
1943 – Germans reveal that they have found mass graves of captured Polish army officers in Katyń, formerly in eastern Poland.
1943 – Hitler declares total war.
1944 – Lutosławski finishes the first part of his Symphony No. 1 in the summer.
1944 – Lutosławski spends autumn and winter in his aunt’s house in Komorów. He takes several of his most precious manuscripts; the rest of his compositions are destroyed by fire during the Warsaw Uprising.
1944 – Olivier Messiaen publishes Technique de mon langage musical.
1944 – Composers Pavel Haas, Hans Krása, and Viktor Ullman are among those who perish in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
1944 – The Allies land in Normandy, opening the fighting on the Second Front in Western Europe.
1944 – The Warsaw Uprising begins.
1944 – Helena Błażusiakówna scratches an inscription in the wall of her German torture cell in the Zakopane. It will be memorialized by Górecki in his Symphony No. 3.
1944 – Liquidation of the Łódź ghetto
1945 – In spring, Lutosławski begins working at the Polish Radio as assistant to Roman Jasiński, director of the Department of Classical Music.
1945 – Lutosławski composes Folk Melodies for piano, and carols. He writes music for the documentary film Odrą do Bałtyku (Taking the Oder River to the Baltic).
1945 – Lutosławski is elected secretary and treasurer of the newly created Polish Composers’ Union.
1945 – Penderecki goes to high school in Dębica. He takes violin lessons from Stanisław Darłak, a local musician.
1945 – Béla Bartók, one of the most important composers of the first half of the 20th century and a creator of modern folklorism in music, dies.
1945 – The tragic death of Anton Webern, one of the pioneers of the 12-tone technique (dodecaphony), whose work will have a huge influence on post-war composers
1945 – The end of the Second World War in Europe
1945 – The atom bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.
1946 – Lutosławski leaves the Polish Radio.
1946 – Lutosławski’s foreign debut in Paris, where his Symphonic Variations is performed.
1946 – Lutosławski marries Maria Danuta Bogusławska (née Dygat).
1946 – Penderecki witnesses the public execution of resistance soldiers from the Polish Home Army in Dębica’s main square.
1946 – The first International Summer Courses for New Music are organized in Darmstadt, Germany.
1946 – Birth of French composer and spectral-music innovator Gérard Grisey
1946 – Winston Churchill uses the term “iron curtain” in a speech; the symbolic beginning of the Cold War.
1947 – Lutosławski finishes his Symphony No. 1 – his most important composition of the early post-war period.
1947 – Lutosławski represents Poland at the International Society for Contemporary Music in Copenhagen.
1947 – Penderecki founds an amateur band in which he plays violin. The band plays at school events, parties and weddings.
1947 – Penderecki pens his first compositions, which have since been destroyed.
1947 – Arnold Schönberg composes A Survivor from Warsaw.
1947 – Astrid Lindgren writes Six Bullerby Children.
1947 – The newly formed UN agrees to divide Palestine into two states: a Jewish one and an Arab one.
1948 – Lutosławski visits Paris and the south of France, where he spends 6 weeks as Witold Małcużyński’s guest.
1948 – Lutosławski receives an award from the city of Warsaw for his music for children.
1948 – Penderecki is expelled from school for demonstrating his political views; he is readmitted after his father’s intervention.
1948 – Pierre Schaeffer founds the first electroacoustic music studio in Paris under the auspices of Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française.
1948 – In September, Bolesław Bierut replaces Władysław Gomułka as the Secretary General of the Polish United Workers Party (PZPR).
1949 – Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 1 opens the Fourth International Chopin Piano Competition.
1949 – Messiaen’s Mode de valeurs et d’intensités is created, heralding the arrival of total serialism.
1949 – A 4-day conference of Polish composers and musicologists begins in Łagów Lubuski, during which an attempt is made to introduce socialist-realism aesthetics into music.
1950 – Lutosławski composes Little Suite and begins work on his Concerto for Orchestra.
1950 – Penderecki graduates from secondary school, having specialized in classical humanities. He moves to Kraków in autumn and begins violin lessons with Stanisław Tawroszewicz. He takes music theory and composition from Franciszek Skołyszewski.
1950 – The Korean War begins.
1951 – Lutosławski writes the Silesian Triptych and arranges folk songs with soldiers’ themes for a cappella chorus.
1951 – Penderecki’s beloved grandfather, Franciszek Robert Berger, dies.
1951 – Penderecki listens to 20th-century music during concerts organized at the Kraków Concert Hall under Bohdan Wodiczko.
1951 – Górecki graduates from secondary school in Rydułtowy.
1951 – Górecki signs up at a music centre, where he takes piano lessons. He begins teaching history, math and biology at a school in Radoszowa. He also organizes art classes and conducts choirs there.
1951 – Death of Arnold Schönberg, the originator of dodecaphony – “a method of composing with twelve tones which are related only with one another” – which has radically changed the musical vocabulary of the 20th century and inspired countless composers.
1951 – Westdeutscher Rundfunk and Herbert Eimert establish the Studio für Elektronische Musik in Cologne.
1951 – The establishment of Mossad – the Israeli intelligence agency.
1951 – Gustaw Herling-Grudziński’s A World Apart: a Memoir of the Gulag is published in English.
1952 – Lutosławski composes Bucolics for piano, and songs for voice and piano.
1952 – Penderecki begins attending the Kraków Musical School. He studies harmony, counterpoint and musical forms.
1952 – Penderecki abandons violin and focuses on composing.
1952 – Górecki starts regular music education at a music school in Rybnik.
1952 – John Cage composes 4′ 33″, a three-part piece, with each part marked “tacet”.
1952 – Penderecki attends lectures by Tadeusz Sinka and Roman Ingarden at the Jagiellonian University, as a non-matriculated student.
1952 – Pierre Boulez composes Structures for two pianos – one of the manifestos of total serialism.
1952 – Construction begins on the towering Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, a gift from the Soviet nation to the Poles. It is completed in 1955.
1953 – Lutosławski composes Ten Polish Dancesfor chamber orchestra.
1953 – Penderecki writes a series of solo, chamber and orchestra compositions under the supervision of Franciszek Skołyszewski (only his Sonata for violin and piano has survived).
1953 – Górecki quits his teaching job and focuses solely on his musical studies.
1953 – Górecki works on the ballet Świtezianka based on Mickiewicz’s ballad but leaves it unfinished.
1953 – Sergei Prokofiev, composer of the ballet Romeo and Juliet and the symphonic fairy tale Peter and the Wolf, dies.
1953 – Czesław Miłosz’s The Captive Mindis published in Paris.
1953 – Joseph Stalin dies in the USSR.
1953 – The coronation of Elizabeth II in the UK
1954 – Lutosławski receives an award from the Polish prime minister for his music for children.
1954 – Lutosławski completes his Concerto for Orchestra and Dance Preludes for clarinet and piano.
1954 – Penderecki begins studying composition in Artur Malawski’s class at the Academy of Music in Kraków.
1954 – Penderecki marries the pianist Barbara Graca.
1954 – Andrzej Panufnik, the composer, pianist and conductor, emigrates from Poland.
1954 – Iannis Xenakis writes the orchestral composition Metastaseis.
1954 – Nikita Khruschev becomes Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
1955 – Penderecki sets Leopold Staff’s poems Silence and Night Sky to music.
1955 – Penderecki’s first daughter, Beata, is born.
1955 – Górecki enrolls in Bolesław Szabelski’s composition class at the Music Academy in Katowice.
1955 – The first performance of Pierre Boulez’s Le marteau sans maître.
1955 – Albert Einstein, who established the theory of relativity, one of the foundations of modern physics, dies.
1955 – The creation of the Warsaw Pact, a political and military alliance between the nations of the so-called Eastern Bloc.
1956 – Lutosławski’s Little Suite and Concerto for Orchestra are performed during the first Warsaw Autumn festival.
1956 – Penderecki completes Three Miniatures for clarinet and piano, his first piece to be published.
1956 – Penderecki takes part in the organizing meetings for the cabaret Piwnica pod Baranami in Kraków.
1956 – Górecki attends the first International Festival of Contemporary Music – the Warsaw Autumn.
1956 – The first International Festival of Contemporary Music, the Warsaw Autumn, takes place.
1956 – Birth of Krystian Zimerman, the first performer of Witold Lutosławski’s Piano Concerto.
1956 – Workers’ protests erupt in Poznań and are crushed by the military and police.
1956 – Władysław Gomułka becomes Secretary General of the Communist party in Poland.
1956 – Beginning of the Soviet invasion of Hungary, which results in the bloody suppression of the anti-communist uprising that began on 23 October.
1957 – The Five Songs set to Iłłakowiczówna’s lyrics are created – a turning point in Lutosławski’s technique and style, as he begins to create his own musical language.
1957 – Penderecki composes a song set to Gałczyński’s poem Prośba o wyspy szczęśliwe (A Request for Happy Islands).
1957 – Penderecki writes musical scores for theatre and puppet theatre.
1957 – Górecki composes the Concerto for 5 instruments and string quartet – his first work to use an atonal musical language akin to dodecaphony.
1957 – USSR launches the first space satellite, Sputnik.
1957 – Premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s musical West Side Story in New York City.
1957 – The Rome Treaty establishes the European Economic Community (EEC) and with it a “common market”.
1957 – The creation of the Polish Radio’s Experimental Studio – one of only a handful of professional electronic music centres in Europe.
1958 – The first performance of Funeral Music takes place, in Katowice. The piece is dedicated to the memory of Béla Bartók.
1958 – Following Artur Malawski’s death, Penderecki switches to Stanisław Wiechowicz’s composition class. In June, he receives his degree in composition.
1958 – Psalms of David and Emanations are composed.
1958 – A monograph concert of Górecki’s work takes place in Katowice.
1958 – Górecki debuts at the second Warsaw Autumn festival, where his Epitaph op. 12 is performed.
1958 – Edgar Varèse’s Poème électronique is presented during the World’s Fair in Brussels, at the Phillips Pavillon designed by Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis.
1958 – Charles de Gaulle becomes the President of France.
1959 – Lutosławski receives the annual Polish Composers’ Union award, as well as the Order of the Banner of Labour, First Class.
1959 – Lutosławski’s Funeral Music wins first prize at UNESCO’s International Rostrum of Composers.
1959 – Lutosławski participates in the Donaueschingen Festival.
1959 – Penderecki composes Strophes for soprano, reciting voice and 10 instruments. He enters the composition, along with Psalms of David and Emanations in the Polish Composers’ Union competition, and wins the three top prizes.
1959 – In autumn, Penderecki begins working as an assistant in Stanisław Wiechowicz’s composition class, and in winter he leaves for Italy, where he forms a closer friendship with Luigi Nono, whom he had met in Kraków.
1959 – Górecki marries Jadwiga Rurańska. The newlyweds spend their honeymoon in Zakopane. They settle in Katowice.
1959 – The partial premiere of Górecki’s Symphony No. 1 takes place at the Warsaw Autumn festival. The musicians forego playing the segment Antiphone for lack of rehearsal time.
1959 – Giacinto Scelsi composes Quattro Pezzi su una nota sola.
1959 – Miles Davis releases Kind of Blue.
1959 – The Cuban Revolution; Fidel Castro becomes Prime Minister of Cuba.
1960 – In January, Lutosławski’s song Nie oczekuję dziś nikogo (I’m Not Expecting Anyone Today), sung by Rena Rolska, wins first place in a radio poll for the song of the month.
1960 – The radio broadcast of John Cage’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra inspires Lutosławski to explore new ideas in aleatoric composition.
1960 – Faced with a difficult housing situation, Penderecki starts doing his creative work at the Jama Michalikowa cafe.
1960 – Penderecki composes Anaklasis, Dimensions of Time and Silence, Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima and Quartetto per archi – all manifestos of a new, avant-garde composing technique.
1960 – Górecki graduates from his composition studies with distinction.
1960 – Górecki’s Monologhi op. 16 wins first prize at the Polish Composers’ Union Young Composers’ Competition.
1960 – The premiere of Górecki’s Scontri op. 17 at the Warsaw Autumn festival
1960 – Karlheinz Stockhausen composes Gruppen for three orchestras, and György Ligeti composes Apparitions.
1960 – The Beatles form.
1960 – Premiere of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
1960 – The European Free Trade Association is created.
1961 – Venetian Games are composed, the first work that uses Lutosławski’s controlled-aleatorism technique. The first performances of the first and second parts take place at the Venice Biennale, then the full piece is premiered during the Warsaw Autumn festival.
1961 – Penderecki composes Polymorphia for strings, and two works for tape: Psalmus 1961 and Brigade of Death.
1961 – Penderecki’s Threnody wins third place at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris.
1961 – Górecki writes Diagram IV for solo flute, which gives the performer freedom to choose the sequence in which the structure-fragments are played.
1961 – Górecki spends the last three months of the year in Paris, where Symphony No. 1 “1959” op. 14 wins first prize at the Second Youth Biennale. He hears Olivier Messiaen play organ there, at the Church of the Holy Trinity.
1961 – Stockhausen composes Klavierstück XI, and Ligeti composes Atmosphères.
1961 – Yuri Gagarin becomes the first astronaut – or, rather, cosmonaut.
1961 – John F. Kennedy is sworn in as the 35th President of the United States.
1962 – Lutosławski comes to the U.S. at Aaron Copland’s invitation. He spends three months, conducting a summer composition workshop in Tanglewood and traveling.
1962 – The UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers awards Lutosławski’s Venetian Games.
1962 – The first performance of Polymorphia takes place in Hamburg, and the first performance of Fluorescences for orchestra in Donaueschingen. Penderecki uses his fees to buy his first car – a Volkswagen.
1962 – Górecki composes two parts of the cycle Genesis op. 19 cycle – Elementi per tre archi, and Canti strumentali per 15 esecutori, beginning his radical exploration of sound.
1962 – The first performance of Britten’s War Requiem takes place in Coventry.
1962 – The German war criminal Adolf Eichmann is executed in Israel.
1963 – The first performance of Trois poèmes d’Henri Michaux in Zagreb marks Lutosławski’s conducting debut.
1963 – Lutosławski becomes a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
1963 – Penderecki writes music for animated films and puppet theatres.
1963 – At the International Society for Contemporary Music festival in Amsterdam, the excited audience makes the musicians play an encore of Penderecki’s Threnody.
1963 – Penderecki meets Elżbieta Solecka, his future wife, on holiday in Jurata, Poland.
1963 – Górecki closes the Genesis cycle with Monodramma per soperano, metalli de percussione e sei violbassi.
1963 – Birth of Anne-Sophie Mutter, famous German violinist, performer of works composed for her by Lutosławski, Penderecki and many others.
1963 – U.S. President Kennedy is shot and killed in Dallas.
1964 – Lutosławski composes the String Quartet – it is the first composition that utilizes his concept of two-part form.
1964 – The first performance of Penderecki’s Brigade of Death elicits a series of negative reviews.
1964 – Penderecki writes music for the Wojciech Jerzy Has film The Saragossa Manuscript.
1964 – Górecki completes Three Pieces in the Old Style and Choros for strings.
1964 – Beatlemania erupts in U.S. after The Beatles’ TV performance of I Want to Hold Your Hand on the Ed Sullivan Show.
1964 – Stockhausen composes Mikrophonie I, the first example of live electronics.
1964 – Leonid Brezhnev becomes the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
1965 – During his stay in Stockholm for the premiere of his String Quartet, Lutosławski delivers a lecture at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music titled About the Element of Chance in Music.
1965 – The first performance of Paroles tissées for tenor and chamber orchestra, set to poems by Jean-François Chabrun, takes place at the Aldeburgh Festival.
1965 – Penderecki marries Elżbieta Solecka and the couple settles in Dębica.
1965 – Penderecki composes Capriccio for oboe and strings, dedicating it to soloist Heinz Holliger.
1965 – Górecki begins work at the Katowice Music Academy.
1965 – Terry Riley composes In C, now a classic work of minimalism.
1965 – The death of Edgard Varèse, often called the “father of electronic music”, composer of works based on rhythm and tone
1965 – The end of the Second Vatican Council
1966 – Lutosławski becomes an honorary member of Akademie der Künste in Hamburg.
1966 – Lutosławski is awarded by the Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation in New York City.
1966 – Pierre Boulez conducts the first performance of the second part of Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 2, with the composer in attendance.
1966 – Lutosławski signs a contract with J. & W. Chester Ltd. for the publication of his works in Western countries.
1966 – The first performance of St. Luke Passion takes place at the Münster Cathedral. It is one of the most important works in Penderecki oeuvre, and is considered a milestone in the history of 20th-century music.
1966 – Penderecki’s son, Łukasz, is born.
1966 – Penderecki goes with his wife but without his baby son to Essen, Germany, where he starts teaching composition at the Folkwang-Hochschule.
1966 – Donald Buchla constructs his synthesizer, the Buchla Modular Electronic Music System.
1966 – The first edition of the oratorio-cantata festival Vratislavia Cantans takes place in Wrocław.
1966 – The 1,000th anniversary of the Polish state
1966 – The Cultural Revolution begins in China.
1967 – Lutosławski completes Symphony No. 2, which is performed in Katowice.
1967 – Penderecki composes Dies irae for the unveiling of the Victims of Auschwitz Memorial.
1967 – Penderecki is awarded the Sibelius Gold Medal for his St. Luke Passion.
1967 – Górecki’s Refrain wins third place at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris.
1967 – Saxophonist, bandleader and supreme soloist John Coltrane dies at 40.
1967 – The first issue of Rolling Stone is published.
1968 – The first performance of Lutosławski’s Livre pour orchestre takes place in Hagen, Germany.
1968 – The Lutosławski family moves into a house in Warsaw’s Żoliborz district, at 39 Śmiała St.
1968 – Lutosławski receives the main award at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers for the third time, for Symphony No. 2.
1968 – Penderecki composes String Quartet No. 2.
1968 – The first performance of Penderecki’s Capriccio per Siegfried Palm for cello takes place in Bremen.
1968 – Penderecki begins a year-long scholarship in Berlin.
1968 – Górecki’s Cantata for organs op. 26 receives the first prize at the Szczecin Composing Competition.
1968 – Luciano Berio composes Sinfonia, and Stockhausen composes Stimmung.
1968 – A brutal suppression of student demonstrations in March sparks political crisis in Poland.
1968 – Warsaw Pact forces intervene in Czechoslovakia.
1969 – Lutosławski becomes a honorary member of the International Society for Contemporary Music.
1969 – The Polish premiere of Lutosławski’s Livre pour orchestre takes place during the Warsaw Autumn festival.
1969 – Penderecki composes his first opera, The Devils of Loudun. It is first performed at the Hamburg State Opera.
1969 – The first performance of Górecki’s Old Polish Music takes place at the Warsaw Autumn festival.
1969 – The first Woodstock Music and Art festival takes place.
1969 – The tenor Plácido Domingo makes his debut at the La Scala opera house in Milan.
1969 – Astronauts from the Apollo 12 mission take the first walk on the Moon.
1970 – Lutosławski composes his Cello Concerto and dedicates it to Mstislav Rostropovich.
1970 – Penderecki composes Cosmogony and the first part of Utrenja.
1970 – Penderecki receives the annual Polish Composers’ Union award.
1970 – In November, Penderecki moves with his family to Vienna.
1970 – Górecki receives the annual Polish Composers’ Union award.
1970 – The workers’ uprising in Gdańsk takes place in December.
1970 – Edward Gierek replaces Władysław Gomułka as the Secretary General of the Polish Communist Party.
1971 – Lutosławski spends summer in Norway with his wife and her son’s family. From then on, he goes there each year to compose for several months.
1971 – Lutosławski becomes an honorary member of the Polish Composers’ Union.
1971 – The second part of Penderecki’s Utrenja is completed; the first performance of the full work takes part in Münster, Germany.
1971 – The first performance of Actions for jazz band takes place in Donaueschingen, with leader Don Cherry on trumpet. It is Penderecki’s conducting debut.
1971 – Penderecki’s second daughter, Dominika, is born. The composer returns with his family to Poland, and moves into a house in Kraków’s Wola Justowska district, at 22 Cisowa St.
1971 – Górecki’s son, Mikołaj, is born.
1971 – Górecki composes Ad Matrem op. 29, a turning point in his creative development.
1971 – Stravinsky dies in New York City.
1971 – John Lennon’s Imagine is released.
1971 – Intel manufactures the first microprocessor.
1972 – Lutosławski completes Preludes and Fugue for 13 solo strings.
1972 – Lutosławski meets artist and filmmaker Jan Lenica in Paris to discuss writing an opera libretto.
1972 – Tadeusz Kaczyński’s Conversations with Witold Lutosławski is published.
1972 – Penderecki’s Ekecheiria for tape is performed at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Munich.
1972 – The first performance of Penderecki’s Cello Concerto takes place in Edinburgh.
1972 – Penderecki is elected President of the Academy of Music in Kraków, a post he holds until autumn 1978.
1972 – The first performance of Górecki’s Ad Matrem, during the Warsaw Autumn festival, causes a stir among the audience and critics.
1972 – The first performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15.
1972 – The terrorist attack during the Munich Olympic Games
1972 – The Watergate scandal erupts in U.S.
1973 – Lutosławski receives a honorary doctorate from Warsaw University and – for the second time – the annual Polish Composers’ Union award.
1973 – Lutosławski becomes Vice President of the Polish Composers’ Union, a post he holds until 1979.
1973 – Penderecki writes Symphony No. 1 and Canticum Canticorum Salomonis.
1973 – Penderecki begins teaching composition at Yale University in New Haven.
1973 – Ad Matrem wins first place during the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris.
1973 – Górecki receives a DAAD scholarship and leaves for Berlin.
1973 – Mike Oldfield releases Tubular Bells.
1973 – The Swedish group ABBA records its first album Ring Ring.
1973 – David Harrington founds the Kronos Quartet.
1973 – The UN proclaims 1973 to be Copernicus Year.
1974 – Lutosławski works on the orchestral composition A maiori for the conductor Zubin Mehta but, unsatisfied with his progress, destroys the sketches.
1974 – The first performance of Penderecki’s Magnificat takes place at the Salzburg Festival, and the first performance of The Awakening of Jacob in Monte Carlo.
1974 – Penderecki becomes an honorary member of the London Royal Academy of Music.
1974 – Górecki receives an award from the Committee on Radio and Television.
1974 – Zbigniew Herbert writes the series of poems Mr. Cogito.
1974 – Duke Ellington dies.
1974 – U.S. President Richard Nixon leaves office. He is succeeded by Gerald Ford.
1975 – Lutosławski is the second Pole, after Ignacy Paderewski, to become an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
1975 – Lutosławski completes Les espaces du sommeil for baritone and orchestra, and dedicates it to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
1975 – PWM publishes Ludwik Erhardt’s Meetings with Krzysztof Penderecki.
1975 – Górecki becomes the President of the Music Academy in Katowice.
1975 – The first Young Musicians for a Young City festival takes place in Stalowa Wola.
1975 – General Francisco Franco dies in Madrid.
1975 – Dmitri Shostakovich dies of a heart attack in Moscow.
1976 – The first performance of Lutosławski’s Mi-parti takes place in Rotterdam.
1976 – The first performance of Lutosławski’s Sacher Variation takes place in Zurich to help mark the 70th birthday of Paul Sacher, renowned conductor and impresario.
1976 – Lutosławski becomes an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London.
1976 – Penderecki begins work on Paradise Lost and the Violin Concerto.
1976 – Penderecki’s father, Tadeusz, dies.
1976 – Górecki completes work on Symphony No. 3 – “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”.
1976 – The first performance of the first Philip Glass’ opera, Einstein on the Beach, directed by Robert Wilson.
1976 – Benjamin Britten dies.
1976 – Workers’ protests in Radom, south of Warsaw, in June
1977 – Lutosłaski conducts the Polish premiere of Mi-parti during the Warsaw Autumn festival.
1977 – April – in Basel, Issac Stern is the first to perform Penderecki’s Violin Concerto No. 1.
1977 – Górecki becomes an associate professor.
1977 – Górecki composes Three Little Pieces for violin and piano, educational works dedicated to his 6-year-old son, Mikołaj.
1977 – Opening of the Institute for Music/Acoustic Research and Coordination (IRCAM) led by Pierre Boulez in Paris.
1977 – György Ligeti composes the opera Le Grand Macabre.
1977 – Elvis Presley dies.
1977 – The first successful in vitro fertilization is performed, in Great Britain.
1978 – Lutosławski conducts the first performance of Les espaces du sommeil in Berlin.
1978 – Lutosławski arranges Variations on a Theme by Paganini for piano and orchestra for Felicja Blumental.
1978 – The first performance of Penderecki’s Paradise Lost takes place at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.
1978 – Górecki receives a commission from Cardinal Karol Wojtyła to compose a piece to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the murder of Krakovian bishop Saint Stanislaus.
1978 – Brian Eno creates ambient music, releases Music for Airports.
1978 – Karol Wojtyła is elected Pope.
1979 – Lutosławski completes Novelette for orchestra, and Epitaph for oboe and piano.
1979 – Lutosławski becomes a member of the Editorial Committee of the PWM Music Encyclopaedia.
1979 – Penderecki begins work on the cantata Te Deum, dedicated to Pope John Paul II.
1979 – During John Paul II’s visit in Kraków, Górecki conducts the premiere performance of Beatus vir, a psalm for baritone, chorus and orchestra.
1979 – Górecki steps down as President of the Music Academy in Katowice.
1979 – Hughes Dufourt creates the term “spectral music”.
1979 – Jean-François Lyotard publishes The Postmodern Condition, the philosophical manifesto of postmodernism.
1979 – Pope John Paul II embarks on his first papal visit to Poland.
1979 – The German-language monograph on Penderecki by Wolfram Schwinger is published.
1980 – The premiere of the Double Concerto for oboe and harp, composed by Lutosławski for soloists Heinz and Ursula Holliger, during the Internationale Musikfestwochen in Lucerne.
1980 – The New York Times names Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto one of the 10 most important compositions of the 1970s.
1980 – The first performance of Penderecki’s Symphony No. 2 “Christmas” takes place in New York City.
1980 – Penderecki composes Lacrimosa for the unveiling of the memorial in Gdańsk to shipyard workers killed during events of December 1970.
1980 – The first performance of Harpsichord Concerto by Elżbieta Chojnacka takes place in Katowice. It is Górecki’s first purely instrumental piece since Little Music IV.
1980 – Czesław Miłosz receives the Nobel Prize in literature.
1980 – Stanley Kubrick directs The Shining.
1980 – The Gdańsk Shipyard strikes begin; within months, the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union “Solidarity” is born.
1981 – Lutosławski begins working on Symphony No. 3.
1981 – Lutosławski opens the Culture Congress in Warsaw with his lecture The Role of Truth in Art.
1981 – Penderecki composes Agnus Dei, dedicated to the memory of the activist Prelate of Poland Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński.
1981 – Penderecki goes abroad, where he receives news of the imposition of martial law in Poland.
1981 – On hearing of bloody clashes between representatives of “Rural Solidarity” and the Citizens’ Militia in Bydgoszcz, Górecki composes Miserere op. 44.
1981 – Kazimierz Serocki, representative of sonorism in Polish music, composer of music for films Black Cross and The Deluge, dies.
1981 – The MTV network is launched in the U.S.
1981 – Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, the activist Prelate of Poland, dies in Warsaw.
1981 – Ronald Reagan is sworn in as the 40th President of the United States.
1981 – Martial law is imposed in Poland.
1982 – Lutosławski conducts a concert of his works in Paris and receives the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
1982 – February – Penderecki returns to Poland. He refuses to join the National Culture Council, which supports General Jaruzelski, the nation’s military leader.
1982 – Michael Jackson’s Thriller is released.
1982 – Martial law is suspended in Poland.
1982 – Time magazine names the personal computer its Person of the Year.
1983 – The first performance of Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 3 takes place in Chicago, and the first performance of Chain 1 in London.
1983 – Lutosławski receives the Ernst von Siemens Music Award in Munich.
1983 – The official celebration of Penderecki’s 50th birthday in New York City
1983 – Penderecki composes the Viola Concerto on commission from the government of Venezuela.
1983 – Górecki composes Songs for voice and piano, set to Juliusz Słowacki’s verse.
1983 – The first CDs appear on the market.
1983 – The end of martial law in Poland
1983 – Construction begins on the first line of the Warsaw subway.
1984 – Lutosławski receives an honorary doctorate from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and an artistic award from Solidarity (the union is illegal at the time).
1984 – Lutosławski completes the Partita for violin and piano.
1984 – Penderecki completes the Polish Requiem; its first performance in its present version is conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich in Stuttgart.
1984 – The first performance of one of Górecki’s early works – the first part of Piano Sonata No. 1, composed in 1956 – takes place at the Lerchenborg Festival in Denmark.
1984 – Miloš Forman’s Amadeus wins seven Academy Awards.
1984 – Madonna releases Like a Virgin.
1984 – October – the kidnapping and murder of Reverend Jerzy Popiełuszko, a prominent Solidarity activist
1985 – Lutosławski receives the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition from the University of Louisville for his Symphony No. 3.
1985 – Lutosławski funds a scholarship for young Polish composers, which allows them to continue their studies abroad.
1985 – Penderecki begins work on a cello piece, Per Slava, dedicated to Rostropovich.
1985 – Director Maurice Pialat uses part of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 for the soundtrack of Police, starring Gérard Depardieu.
1985 – The first performance of Boulez’s Dérive takes place in London.
1985 – Mikhail Gorbachev comes to power in the USSR; the perestroika era begins.
1986 – Lutosławski receives the Koussevitzky Prix Mondial du Disque for the CBS recording of Symphony No. 3.
1986 – The premiere of Lutosławski’s Chain 2, conducted by Paul Sacher with soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter, takes place in Zurich.
1986 – December – Lutosławski conducts the first performance of Chain 3, in San Francisco.
1986 – Penderecki completes his one-act opera The Black Mask; its first performance takes place in Salzburg.
1986 – Górecki’s fascination with the flute is reignited after a quarter century – he composes For You, Anne-Lill dedicated to the Norwegian flautist.
1986 – Andrzej Markowski, creator of the international festival Wratislavia Cantans, promoter of Polish music abroad, conductor and the first performer of many Penderecki works, dies.
1986 – One reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear-power plant in the USSR (now in Ukraine) malfunctions catastrophically.
1987 – Lutosławski receives honorary doctorates from the Cambridge, Baldwin, Belfast and Manchester Universities. He becomes a honorary member of the the venerable National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome.
1987 – Penderecki receives honorary doctorates from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and from the Autónoma Universidad in Madrid. To mark the latter occasion, he composes Veni Creator.
1987 – Górecki composes Totus Tuus for mixed a cappella choir in honour of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland.
1987 – The Belgian director and playwright Jan Fabre asks Górecki to compose an opera. After several months of deliberations, Górecki rejects the offer.
1987 – Zygmunt Mycielski, composer, music critic and insightful commentator on Poland’s post-war music scene, dies.
1987 – John Paul II embarks on his third papal visit to Poland.
1987 – Earth’s population surpasses 5 billion people.
1988 – Lutosławski completes his Piano Concerto, dedicated to soloist Krystian Zimerman, and conducts its first performance at the Mozart Festival in Salzburg.
1988 – Penderecki composes Passacaglia i Rondo, the initial version of his Symphony No. 3.
1988 – The recording of Penderecki’s Cello Concerto No. 2 recorded by soloist Rostropovich receives a Grammy Award.
1988 – Penderecki becomes a guest conductor at the NDR Sinfonieorchester in Hamburg.
1988 – Górecki signs a publishing contract with Boosey & Hawkes.
1988 – Steve Reich composes the string quartet Different Trains.
1988 – The Citizens’ Committee with Lech Wałęsa is created in Poland.
1989 – Lutosławski completes Interlude for orchestra, which he dedicates to Paul Sacher. He writes Lullaby for Anne-Sophie Mutter.
1989 – Lutosławski accepts an invitation to join the Citizens’ Committee with Lech Wałęsa.
1989 – The London premiere of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 is enthusiastically received by the audience and critics.
1989 – The French government commissions Penderecki to compose Symphony No. 4 “Adagio”.
1989 – The great Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan dies of a heart attack.
1989 – The Round Table negotiations begin between the Polish regime and the Solidarity Union; they last until April 5.
1989 – The first free elections for the Sejm, the Polish parliament
1989 – The fall of the Berlin Wall
1989 – George Bush is sworn in as the 41st President of the United States.
1990 – The Paul Sacher Stiftung (Paul Sacher Foundation) in Basel obtains the majority of Lutosławski’s manuscripts and sketches.
1990 – Lutosławski represents the community of musicians in the Polish President’s Council on Culture.
1990 – The first performance of the Sonata for violin and piano, composed by Penderecki in his youth, takes place in Hamburg.
1990 – Górecki composes Good Night for soprano, alto flute, piano and three tam-tams, and String Quartet No. 2 which he dedicates to the Kronos Quartet.
1990 – The Three Tenors – Pavarotti, Domingo, Carreras – perform before the final match of the World Cup in Rome.
1990 – Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister of Great Britain.
1990 – December – Lech Wałęsa is elected President of the Republic of Poland.
1991 – June – Lutosławski participates in a meeting between Pope John Paul II and representatives of Polish cultural circles in Teatr Wielki in Warsaw.
1991 – Lutosławski conducts the world premiere of Chantefleurs et Chantefables in London, and the Polish premiere at the Warsaw Autumn festival.
1991 – The Kronos Quartet records Lutosławski’s String Quartet for Nonesuch Records.
1991 – The first performance of Penderecki’s opera buffa Ubu Rex takes place in Munich.
1991 – Planetoid No. 21059, designated with the symbol 1991 GR10, is named after Penderecki.
1991 – The Kronos Quartet records Already It Is Dusk, Górecki’s piece for string quartet, and Dawn Upshaw and the London Sinfonietta conducted by David Zinman record his Symphony No. 3 – both for Nonesuch Records.
1991 – Miles Davis, originator of many important trends in contemporary jazz, dies.
1991 – Freddie Mercury, frontman of the British rock group Queen and one of the fine vocalists in the history of popular music, dies.
1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Member states of the former USSR begin proclaiming their independence.
1991 – Pope John Paul II embarks on his fourth papal visit to Poland.
1992 – Lutosławski completes Symphony No. 4 and Subito for violin and piano.
1992 – Lutosławski conducts performances of his works across Europe.
1992 – Penderecki composes the Symphony No. 5 “Korean”, and a flute concerto for Jean-Pierre Rampal.
1992 – Penderecki becomes musical director of the Casals Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
1992 – The recording of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 becomes a huge commercial success. Toward the end of the year, its sales top 600,000 copies.
1992 – Olivier Messiaen, French organ virtusos, ornithologist and one of the most inspiring composers of the 20th century, dies.
1992 – John Cage, leading figure in the post-war musical avant-garde, dies. He formulated the concept of indeterminacy, which served as the U.S. alternative to European aleatorism.
1992 – Roman Polański directs Bitter Moon.
1992 – The bloody civil war begins in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1992 – Penderecki’s Symphony No. 4 is awarded the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition by the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
1993 – Lutosławski receives the Polar Music Prize from Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden. He receives the Kyoto Prize in Japan.
1993 – Lutosławski conducts the first performance of his Symphony No. 4 in Los Angeles.
1993 – Lutosławski takes part in domestic and foreign celebrations of his 80th birthday.
1993 – Lutosławski is taken to a hospital, where he undergoes two surgical procedures.
1993 – Penderecki adds another segment to A Polish Requiem, the Sanctus; the expanded piece is first performed in Stockholm.
1993 – Penderecki receives a honorary doctorate from Warsaw University, and the Order of Cultural Merit of the Principality of Monaco.
1993 – The first performance of Górecki’s Kleines Requiem für eine Polka op. 66 takes place in Amsterdam.
1993 – The recording of Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 by the London Sinfonietta and soprano Dawn Upshaw climbs to No. 6 on the British pop charts.
1993 – Léon Theremin, creator of the early electronical instrument that bears his name, dies at 97 in Moscow.
1993 – Czechoslovakia splits into two states – the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
1994 – Lutosławski receives the Polish Order of the White Eagle, the nation’s highest decoration for merit.
1994 – Witold Lutosławski dies in a hospital in Warsaw.
1994 – Lutosławski is buried at the Powązki Cemetery to the accompaniment of his Lacrimosa.
1994 – Penderecki composes Sinfonietta No. 2, and Entrata for brass and timpani.
1994 – Górecki moves to Ząb, a village on the Gubałówka mountain – it is the village in Poland at the highest altitude.
1994 – Lejaren Hiller, a pioneer of computer music, dies.
1994 – The opening of the Channel Tunnel under the English Channel.
1995 – The first performance of the full version of Penderecki’s Symphony No. 3 takes place in Munich, and the first performance of his Violin Concerto No. 2 (Metamorphosen), dedicated to soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter, takes place in Leipzig.
1995 – January – Górecki completes String Quartet No. 3 on commission from the Kronos Quartet, but delays publishing the piece.
1995 – The MP3 format is introduced.
1995 – Jazz trumpeter Don Cherry dies.
1995 – Aleksander Kwaśniewski wins the presidential election in Poland.
1995 – 16 million people worldwide are using the Internet.
1997 – The First Witold Lutosławski International Cello Competition takes place in Warsaw.
1997 – The first performance of Penderecki’s Symphony No. 7 „Seven Gates of Jerusalem” takes place in Jerusalem to mark the 3,000th anniversary of the Holy City.
1997 – Penderecki publishes The Labyrinth of Time. Five Addresses for the End of the Millennium.
1997 – The British trip-hop band Lamb uses samples from Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 in their song Gorecki.
1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales and her friend Dodi Al-Fayed die in a car crash in Paris.
1996 – Penderecki receives the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government.
1996 – Górecki assumes patronage over the first Festival of Polish Composers in Bielsko-Biała.
1996 – Wisława Szymborska receives the Nobel Prize in literature.
1996 – Madeleine Albright is the first woman to become Secretary of State of the U.S.
1998 – The first performance of Penderecki’s Credo takes place in Oregon.
1998 – Penderecki receives a honorary doctorate from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków.
1998 – The first portable MP3 players appear on the market.
1998 – Gérard Grisey, one of the creators of spectralism, dies.
1998 – The European Court of Human Rights is established in Strasbourg.
1999 – A group of artists and persons associated with Lutosławski founds the Witold Lutosławski Society. The conductor Jan Krenz becomes its first president.
1999 – The recording of Penderecki’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with Anne-Sophie Mutter receives a Grammy award.
1999 – Górecki composes Five Kurpian Songs for a cappella chorus.
1999 – Impresario and conductor Paul Sacher, who has commissioned works from many contemporary composers including Lutosławski, dies.
1999 – Following Boris Yeltsin’s resignation, Vladimir Putin becomes President of the Russian Federation.
2000 – The premiere of Penderecki’s Sextet for clarinet, horn, string trio and piano takes place at the Musikverein in Vienna.
2000 – Penderecki receives the Cannes Classical Award for the Best Living Composer of the Year at the MIDEM fair.
2000 – The first performance of Górecki’s Cantata in Honour of St. Wojciech takes place at the EXPO World Fair in Hanover.
2000 – The premiere of Górecki’s Lobgesang op. 78, composed for the Gutenberg commemorations, takes place in Mainz, Germany.
2000 – The first performance of Kaija Saariaho’s opera L’amour de loin takes place in Salzburg.
2001 – The Center for the Documentation of the Life and Work of Witold Lutosławski is created at the Jagiellonian University’s Institute of Musicology.
2001 – Penderecki’s granddaughter, Marysia, is born.
2001 – The first performance of Concerto Grosso for three cellos and orchestra takes place in Tokyo.
2001 – Iannis Xenakis, the Greek composer, music theoretician and architect, and participant in numerous editions of the Warsaw Autumn festival, dies.
2001 – The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon.
2002 – The New York City premiere of one of Penderecki’s most controversial pieces, the Piano Concerto “Resurrection”
2002 – Górecki receives the Polish Radio Music Prize.
2002 – The world premiere of Roman Polański’s The Pianist in Cannes. The film receives three Academy Awards, the Cannes Palme d’Or, two BAFTAs, seven Césars and the European Film Award.
2002 – The introduction of the euro currency in most European Union countries – the Eurozone is born.
2003 – Penderecki composes Largo for cello and orchestra, for Mstislav Rostropovich.
2003 – Penderecki receives honorary doctorates from the University of St. Petersburg and Yale and Leipzig Universities.
2003 – Górecki receives the Lux ex Silesia (Light for Silesia) award, and becomes an honorary citizen of Bielsko-Biała.
2003 – Stockhausen completes his opera cycle Licht, which he began in 1977.
2003 – Apple opens its Internet music store – iTunes.
2003 – The Iraq War begins.
2004 – On commission from Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, Penderecki composes another Concerto Grosso, for five clarinets and orchestra.
2004 – Górecki composes Songs of the Katyń Families for mixed a cappella chorus.
2004 – The cellist Boris Pergamenshikov, the prominent performer of Penderecki’s compositions, dies in Berlin.
2004 – Terrorist attack on trains in Madrid.
2004 – The Orange Revolution begins in Ukraine.
2004 – Poland joins the European Union.
2005 – Upon learning of Pope John Paul II’s death, Penderecki composes the Chaconne for string orchestra.
2005 – The premiere of Penderecki’s Symphony No. 8 “Songs of Transience” takes place in Luxembourg. The symphony sets poems by German poets.
2005 – Penderecki receives the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest decoration of merit.
2005 – The first performance of Górecki’s String Quartet No. 3 op. 67 takes place, in Bielsko-Biała.
2005 – Pope John Paul II dies.
2005 – Cellist Siegfried Palm dies.
2006 – Penderecki composes Aria for solo cello, which he includes in his Divertimento, dedicated to Boris Pergamenschikow.
2006 – Composer György Ligeti dies in Vienna.
2006 – The English-language version of Wikipedia reaches one million entries.
2006 – The execution of Saddam Hussein, the former President of Iraq
2007 – Andrzej Wajda uses Penderecki’s music in his film Katyn.
2007 – Penderecki expands his Symphony No. 8 with three new songs.
2007 – Górecki is ranked No. 32 on The Daily Telegraph’s ranking of “living geniuses”.
2007 – Karlheinz Stockhausen, a leading representative of the contemporary musical avant-garde, dies.
2007 – 9 new nations including Poland join the European Union and the Schengen Area.
2007 – Apple presents its first iPhone.
2008 – The world premiere of Penderecki’s Concerto “Winterreise” for horn and orchestra takes place in Bremen.
2008 – The first performance of String Quartet No. 3 takes place at a concert in Warsaw celebrating Penderecki’s 75th birthday.
2008 – Górecki becomes an honorary citizen of Katowice and an honorary fellow of Cardiff University.
2008 – Reverend Michał Heller receives the Templeton Prize.
2008 – The New York Stock Exchange crashes, marking the beginning of a global financial crisis.
2008 – Fidel Castro retires from the presidency of Cuba.
2009 – To commemorate the 15th anniversary of Lutosławski’s death, the Lutosphere concert takes place in Kraków, featuring pianist Leszek Możdżer, cellist Andrzej Bauer and DJ m.bunio.s.
2009 – Penderecki composes Kaddish to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liquidation of the Łódź ghetto.
2009 – Górecki receives the highest papal honour available to the laity – the Order of Saint Gregory the Great.
2009 – Michael Jackson dies.
2009 – Over two billion people worldwide are using the Internet.
2009 – The World Health Organization announces an A/H1N1v flu pandemic – swine flu.
2010 – Penderecki is invited to join the Honorary Committee of the Chopin Year 2010 celebrations at the Polish Embassies in Lisbon, Tokyo and Rome.
2010 – Górecki receives Poland’s Order of the White Eagle while at the cardiology clinic in Katowice.
2010 – Górecki prepares his Symphony No. 4 for its premiere in London. The event is cancelled due to the composer–s failing health.
2010 – Henryk Mikołaj Górecki dies in a Katowice hospital after a long struggle with lung disease.
2010 – Anre Nordheim, Norwegian composer and friend of Lutosławski, dies.
2010 – The Polish presidential jetliner crashes outside Smolensk in western Russia.
2010 – December – demonstrations in Tunisia mark the beginning of the Arab Spring.
2010 – Apple presents the iPad.
2011 – The world premiere of Penderecki’s song cycle “A sea of dreams did breathe on me…”. Songs of Reverie and Nostalgia for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, set to Polish poems. The cycle is a commission for the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth.
2011 – September – during the European Culture Congress, Penderecki collaborates with Aphex Twin and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.
2011 – The Silesian Philharmonics is given Górecki’s name on the first anniversary of his death.
2011 – An earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter scale hits Japan.
2011 – Poland begins its six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
2012 – The Sejm, the Polish parliament, proclaims 2013 the Year of Witold Lutosławski.
2012 – The first performance of Penderecki’s Double Concerto for violin and viola takes place in Vienna.
2012 – The first Henryk Mikołaj Górecki International Composers Competition takes place in Kraków.
2012 – The German lieder and opera singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau dies.
2012 – The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship opens at the National Stadium in Warsaw.
2013 – Krzysztof and Elżbieta Penderecki receive the prestigious annual Passport award from Polityka magazine.
2013 – The world premiere of the new version of Penderecki’s opera The Devils of Loudun takes place in Copenhagen.
2013 – Kraków makes Penderecki an honorary citizen.
2013 – Benedict XVI concludes his eight-year pontificate and becomes the first Pope Emeritus in history.