Tadeusz Baird (26 July 1928 –2 September 1981) was a Polish composer.
Baird was born in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, in Poland. His father Edward was Scottish, while his mother Maria (née Popov) was Russian. In 1944 at the age of 16 he was deported to Germany as a forced labourer, and after a failed escape attempt was imprisoned in a concentration camp. After liberation by the Americans he spent six months recovering at the military hospital in Zweckel before returning to Poland.Between 1947 and 1951 Baird studied composition and musicology in Warsaw under Piotr Rytek and Kazimierz Sikorski, and piano with Tadeusz Wituski. In 1949 he founded Group 49 along with Kazimierz Serocki and Jan Krenz. The aim of Group 49 was to write communicative and expressive music according to socialist realism, the dominant ideology in the Eastern Bloc at the time.
After Stalin's death in 1953 he increasingly turned to serialism.In 1956, along with Kazimierz Serocki, he founded the Warsaw Autumn international contemporary music festival. In 1974 he began to teach composition at the National College of Music (currently the Music Academy) in Warsaw. In 1977, now a full professor, he was offered a post to teach a composition class at the Warsaw Academy of Music, and also a membership of the Academie der Künste der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik – Berlin in 1979.
Baird died in 1981, aged 53.
He wrote both large scale symphonies and chamber music, however, of great importance in his output are numerous vocal cycles inspired by poetry. He was also a composer of film and theatre music. Baird's music is usually melodic, lyrical, very expressive, and intensely subjective. It is often rooted in the post-Romantic tradition, despite the use of serial techniques. Alistair Wightman identifies Baird as "a late Romantic lyricist and successor not only to Berg, but Mahler and Szymanowski". Like Berg, his use of serialism was always very free and expressive, as in his String Quartet (1957).
But the later works, starting with the 1966 one-act opera Jutro ("tomorrow", based on the short story by Joseph Conrad)become darker, particularly in the orchestral piece Psychodrama (1972) and in his final work, the song cycle for baritone and orchestra Głosy z oddali (‘Voices from afar’), which sets a bleak text by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz on the subject of death and personal extinction. This change in perspective was a result of the traumatic experiences he faced during World War II and on into the early 1950s. Barbara Literska sees him as "a prophet of the future of music (postmodernity)".
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Warsaw Autumn(Warszawska Jesień) is the largest international Polish festival of contemporary music. Indeed, for many years, it was the only festival of its type in Central and Eastern Europe. It was founded in 1956 by two composers, Tadeusz Baird and Kazimierz Serocki, and officially established by the Head Board of the Polish Composers' Union. It is an annual event, normally taking place in the second half of September and lasts for 8 days.
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