Kurpiński, Karol (1785–1857)

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Composer, conductor and journalist. Born 1785 in Włoszakowice near Leszno, he was initially taught music by his father Marcin, organist and capellmeister at the Sułkowskis’ court. In 1810, Karol moved to Warsaw where he took the post of conductor.

Enrolled as member of the Warsaw Royal Society of Friends of Learning in 1815, editor of Tygodnik Muzyczny weekly, the first-ever music periodical in Polish lands. In 1824–1840, he was Director of the National Theatre in Warsaw. Author of a total of twenty-two operas, including Dwie chatki [Two Huts] (1811); Jadwiga, królowa polska [Hedwig, the Polish Queen] (1814), Zabobon, czyli Krakowiacy i Górale [Superstition, or, the Cracovians and the Mountaineers] (1816); Zamek na Czorsztynie [The Castle of Czorsztyn] (1819).

Along with Józef Elsner, Kurpiński is considered to be a founding father of the Polish national opera. His oeuvre moreover includes symphonies, concerti, fugues, variations, dances and, primarily, patriotic songs, such as Mazur Chłopickiego, Marsz obozowy and Warszawianka. He died in 1857 in Warsaw and is buried at the Powązki Cemetery.

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