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Wojciech Kilar

Born in Lvov (which is now in the Ukraine - it was then part of Poland), on 17 July 1932, Wojciech Kilar is inarguably one of that country's finest composers. A classically trained pianist, he studied at some of Poland's finest music academies, including the State Higher School of Music in Katowice, before moving to Paris in 1959 to study under Nadia Boulanger at the Conservatoire.

Having already received critical success as a classical composer, Kilar scored his first film that same year, and ha since gone on to write music from some of Poland's most acclaimed directors, including Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Kazimierz Kutz and Andrzej Wajda. Having worked on over 100 titles in his home country, including internationally recognised titles such as "Bilans Kwartalny" (1975), "Spirala" (1978), "Constans" (1980), "Imperativ" (1982), "Rok Spokojnego Slonca" (1984), and "Zycie za Zycie" (1991), it was only a matter of time before Kilar was asked to score his first American film. Francis Ford Coppola gave him his English-language debut with his vibrant adaptation of "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992), and since then Kilar has built up a solid core of admirers in the film music world.

His other English language features, Roman Polanski's trio "Death and the Maiden" (1994), "The Ninth Gate" (1999) and "The Pianist" (2002), and Jane Campion's "The Portrait of a Lady" (1996), were typified by his trademark grinding basses and cellos, deeply romantic themes and minimalistic chord progressions. As well as his film work, Kilar continues to write and publish purely classical works, which have included a horn sonata, a piece for a wind quintet, several pieces for chamber orchestra and choir, the acclaimed Baltic Canticles, the epic "Exodus" (famous as the trailer music from Schindler's List), and his most recent work, a Concerto for Piano and Orchestra dedicated to Peter Jablonski