USC Monogram Polish Music Center Books



by Maja Trochimczyk

Photo by Maja Trochimczyk, 1995

(b. 1944, Lwów; now Lviv, Ukraine)

Biography List of Works In Her Words Manuscripts


El¿bieta Sikora was born in Lwów on 20 October 1944. She completed studies in sound engineering at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw. In 1968-70 she studied electroacoustic music under Pierre Schaeffer and Francois Bayle at the Paris Groupe de Recherches Musicales. After her return to Warsaw, she took up composition studies with Tadeusz Baird and Zbigniew Rudziñski. During her studies, together with Krzysztof Knittel and Wojciech Michniewski she formed the KEW composers' group, with which she toured in Poland, Sweden, Austria and West Germany. Since 1981 she has lived in France where she attended a computer music course at IRCAM and studied composition with Betsy Jolas. At present she is professor at the Conservatory in Angouleme, France, where she teaches electroacoustic music.

A recipient of grants from the French government, the city of Mannheim and the Kosciuszko Foundation, she worked under John Chowning for several months at the Center for Computer Research for Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), at Stanford University.
She is the winner of the Young Composers' Circle of the Polish Composers' Union prize (1978, distinction for According to Pascal), Weber Competition in Dresden (1978, Second prize for a chamber opera Ariadna), Electroacoustic Music Competition in Bourges (1980, distinctions for The Waste Land and Letters to M.) and a competition for composers in Mannheim (1982, First prize for Guernica). In 1998 she received a Prix Magistere from the Bourges Festival of Electroacoustic Music. Sikora received two SACEM awards in 1994: Prix Pedagogique for Chant'Europe and Prix du Printemps for all of her works. in 1996 she was granted "Nouveau Talent Musique" prize for her opera L'Arrache-coeur in Paris. She also earned the Prix de la Partition Pédagogique and the Prix Stéphane Chapelier-Clergue-Gabriel-Marie, both from SACEM (both 1994). Most recently, she was awarded the Heidelberger Künstlerinnen-Preis (2000) and earned a special mention from the Académie du Disque Lyrique in Paris (2003, for a recent Le Chant du Monde recording).

Sikora's pieces have been performed in a majority of European countries and in the United States, e.g. at the Avignon Festival, Festival de Paris, Dresdner Musikfestspiele, "Fylkingen" in Stockholm and GMEB in Bourges festivals, as well as at the "Warsaw Autumn" Contemporary Music Festival. She recently received a prestigious commission to write a cantata for the 1000th anniversary of her home city of Gdañsk. She has been commissioned by the Ballet de Monte Carlo, the government of France, IRCAM, the Polish Ministry of Culture, Radio France, and other organizations. Among the soloists who have performed her works are flautists Pierre-Yves Artaud, Robert Dick, Carin Levine, and Emmanuelle Ophèle; saxophonist Daniel Kientzy; pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet; harpsichordist Elisabeth Chojnacka; violinists Leonardo Boero, Beata Halska and Hanna Lachert; cellist Ivan Monighetti; mezzo-soprano Ewa Marciniec; sopranos Elisabeth Grard, Henryka Januszewska, Frances Lynch, and Elena Vassilieva. AA (Agencja Autorska), PWM and Stoklosa Editions publish her works in Poland, while Le Chant du Monde and Heugel publish her music in France.


In my work I am in daily contact with the electronic music studio; however, music that is purely instrumental or vocal gradually takes more space in my output. Actually, I think that separating compositional techniques into electroacoustic and instrumental types and that ascribing specific aesthetic positions to these techniques does not make much sense today. Contemporary French music aesthetics is inclined towards the Apollonian trend - i.e. pure art - whereas I feel closer to the Dionysian trend in which emotions are as important as formal principles in building the final shape of a composition. [Sikora, interview with Michel Pazdro, Ruch Muzyczny, 1987]


Ariadna [Ariadne], chamber opera to a text based on Cesare Pavese. Manuscript score in black ink, 72 pages, on music paper from Dom Ksi ki, 32 staves. Annotation on the front page: "praca dyplomowa napisana pod kierunkiem doc. Zbigniewa Rudzi skiego na Wydz.I kompozycji PWSM w Warszawie w 1977" [Diploma work written under the guidance of Doc. Zbigniew Rudzi ski at the Department of Composition, State Higher School of Music in Warsaw, 1977].


Stage Music

  • Ariadna (opera, libretto by Cesare Pavese [translated by M.S. Kasprzysiak]), soprano, mezzo-soprano, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 2 trombones, 7 violins, 2 celli, piano, 2 percussion, 1977

  • Blow-up (ballet), tape, 1980; Derrière son double (radio opera, libretto by Jean-Pierre Duprey), soprano, baritone, 4 actors, flute, string quartet, percussion, tape, 1983;

  • Waste Land (ballet, choreography by Alain Marty), tape, 1983;

  • L'Arrache-coeur (opera, libretto by the composer, after Boris Vian), 3 children's voices, soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, actor, speaker ad libitum, mixed chorus, clarinet, trumpet, string quartet, percussion, 1984-86, revised 1992;

  • La clef de verre (ballet, choreography by Alain Marty), tape, 1986

    Orchestral Music

  • Symphonie I, 'Ombres', large orchestra (88 players), 1984, revised 1990;

  • Rappel II, orchestra, live electronics, 1988-89;

  • Canzona, viola da gamba, small orchestra (12 players), 1995;

  • Suite III, 1997;

  • Rappel III, string orchestra, 1998;

  • Ecce Homo, large orchestra (95 players), 1999;

  • I Concerto, piano, large orchestra (75 players), 1999-2000

    Chamber and Solo Music

  • Interventions, tuba, 2 percussion, tape, 1969

  • String Quartet No. 1, string quartet, 1975

  • Voyage No. 1, tuba/double bass, tape delay system, 1975

  • . . . selon Pascal, trumpet, harp, cello, harpsichord, 1976

  • Interludes, flute, harp, 1980

  • Sables, flute, percussion, 1980

  • String Quartet No. 2, string quartet, 1980

  • Voyage No. 3, flute, 1981

  • Prelude, for piano, 1981

  • La Tête d'Orphée II, [The Head of Orpheus], for flute, tape, 1982

  • Eine Kleine Tagmusik, flute, alto saxophone, bassoon, harp, violin, cello, piano, 1983

  • Solo, violin, 1984

  • Suite, cello, tape, 1990

  • Suite II, harpsichord, tape, live electronics, 1992 (also version for harpsichord, tape, 1992)

  • String Sextet, hommage à Witold Lutoslawski, 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 celli, 1993

  • Thinking of Brahms, string quartet, 1997

  • Lisboa, tramway 28, soprano saxophone (+ alto saxophone), tape, 1998

  • String Quartet No. 3, 'In memoriam Ursula', string quartet, 1999

  • . . . selon Pascal II, [according to Pascal], for trumpet, harp, cello, harpsichord, 2000

    Choral Music

  • Guernica, hommage à Pablo Picasso (text by Paul Éluard), mixed chorus, 1975

  • La Création du Monde [The Creation of the World], (oratorio, text from the Bible), soprano, tenor, 2 baritones, male chorus, flute, clarinet, bassoon, electric guitar, electronic organ, 4 percussion, string orchestra, 1976

  • Salve Regina, children's chorus, organ, 1981; Génèse (oratorio, text from the Bible), soprano, male speaker, mixed chorus, small orchestra, tape, 1986

  • Chant'Europe (text by the composer), 3 children's choruses, small orchestra, 1993

  • Cinéma, cinéma (text by the composer), children's chorus, small orchestra, 1994

  • Omnia tempus habent (oratorio, text from the Bible), alto, children's chorus, mixed chorus, organ, orchestra, 1997

  • Maître renard et maître corbeau/Le laboureur et ses enfants (text by Jean de La Fontaine), children's chorus, flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, violin, double bass, percussion, 1999

  • Trois Innocentines (text by René de Obaldia), mixed chorus, 2001

    Vocal-Instrumental Music

  • Les Chants Rejouissant le Coeur (]Heart-Brightening Song, texts from ancient Egyptian sources), soprano, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, cello, 1973 (also version for soprano, flute, harpsichord, 1983)

  • Loreley (text by Guillaume Apollinaire), soprano/mezzo-soprano, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, string quartet, double bass, 1987

  • À peine le temps que dure une vision (text by Jorge Hernández), soprano, female speaker, clarinet, trumpet, double bass, percussion, tape, 1987-89

  • Le Chant de Salomon, soprano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, percussion, 1992

  • On the Line (text by the composer), soprano, tape, 1992

  • Fragments (text by Jorge Hernández), soprano, tape, 1997

  • On est toujours (text by Alain de Castries), baritone, piano, 1997 (also version for 2 sopranos, baritone, alto saxophone, double bass, piano, bandoneon, 1997)

  • Eine Rose als Stütze (text by Hilde Domin), soprano, piano, 2000

  • Short Stories, for organ, 2001

    Electroacoustic Music

  • Prénom, tape, 1970

  • La vue par la fenêtre, [A View from the Window], tape, 1971

  • L'incertitude de l'été, [The Uncertainty of Summer], tape, 1973

  • Voyage No. 2, tape, 1976

  • La nuit, le visage contre le ciel, [In the Night, with Face to Heaven], tape, 1978

  • Rapsodie pour la mort d'une république, [Rhapsody for the Death of the Republic], tape, 1979

  • The Waste Land, tape, 1979

  • Lettres à M., tape, 1980

  • La Tête d'Orphée, tape, 1981

  • Janek Wisniewski - Decembre-Pologne, tape, 1982-83

  • Géométries variables, tape, 1991

  • Les enfants terribles, tape, 1992

  • Flashback, tape, 1996

  • Aquamarina, tape, 1999

  • Grain de sable, tape, 2002

  • Rouge d'été, tape, 2002

  • Eine Rose als Stütze - Hörspiel, tape, 2002

    Radio Productions

  • Passion selon Kijno, tape, 1986

  • Portrait de Witold Lutoslawski, tape, 1993 (collaboration with Krystyna de Obaldia)

    (from The Living Composers Project)

  • Voyage I. Zdzislaw Piernik, tuba (Pro Nova) (LP)

  • Ariadna. Ewa Ignatowicz, soprano; Lidia Juranek, mezzo-soprano; Jacek Kasprzyk/orchestra of the Warsaw Chamber Opera (Polskie Nagrania: SX 1778)

  • La Tête d'Orphée II. Jolanta Kotnowska, flute (Polskie Nagrania: SX 2739)

  • Rappel II. Wojciech Michniewski/Poznan Philharmonic (Polskie Nagrania: SX 2858)

  • La Tête d'Orphée; Aquamarina. (IMEB: LDC 278 070/71)

  • Lisboa, tramway 28; Janek Wisniewski - Decembre-Pologne. Daniel Kientzy, saxophones (INA/GRM: 5011 275 84)

  • Eine Rose als Stütze; Rappel III; Canzona; Solo; Le Chant de Salomon. Maria Bulkakova, Olga Lutsiev-Ternovskaya, sopranos; Aleksandr Kalashkov, violin; Alla Vasilyeva, viola da gamba; Mikhail Dubov, piano; Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble; Jean Thorel/strings of the Russian National Orchestra (Le Chant du Monde/Harmonia Mundi: LDC 278 1118/HM 90)

  • Grain de sable. (IMEB: LDC 278 1122/23)

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    Copyright 1999-2004 by the Polish Music Center
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    Based on materials from the program book of the Warsaw Autumn Festival,
    Encyklopedia Muzyki

    (Warsaw: PWM, 1995), The Living Composers' Project.
    Edited in July 2000 by Ewa Grzegrzulka. updated on 5 January 2004.