top of page

Krzysztof Komeda

This page was created thanks to cooperation with The Krzysztof Komeda Association and The Komeda Jazz Festival

The text below as well as all photos thank the courtesy of  Tomasz Lach, Zofia Komeda's son

13 - Krzysztof Komeda.jpg

Krzysztof Komeda 1931-1969


Komeda was a jazz musician and composer, writer of film stores and a leading figure in modern jazz both in Poland and in Europe. He was a character larger than life. He loves music ever since he was a young child – he studied piano at the Poznań Conservatory. From the age of 7 in his own words, playing music was the only occupation he felt passionate about. Yet, he completed medical school and obtained the title of ENT doctor. In spite of the polio which afficted him in his childhood he engaged in sports such as swimming and skiing. He competed with top performers and often won. Those who shared his artistic endeavours remember him as a workaholic, tyrant, and tor mentor on the one hand; and a close, true, and helpful friend, as well as husband, on the other.

Krzysztof Komeda considered himself a European with roots in the coninental’s Hellenic past. He was an art. connoisseur whose own art was in a genre highly uncommon, incomparable to Any other – because that is what jazz is. He was the first to introduce modern jazz to film music in a logi cal and consistent manner, Hus setting a New trend in film scoring to prevail for decades. Music became inextricably linked with the word, image, and silence. In Komeda’s compositions silence player a role on a par with music in evoking the mood. To grasp the creative genius and unique personality of the artist, the term „the Komeda phenomeon” is used most frequently today.


Krzysztof Komeda (born Krzysztof Trzciński) was born in Poznań of 27 April 1931 to an affluet middle class family. He received extensive education, both general and musical. As a young child he started to study piano, and the foundations of music. Shortly arter the war, while living in Ostrów Wielkopolski, he became interest in jazz. He actively contributed to the nascent jazz movement. At the same time, he completed medical studiem in Poznań in 1955, and set out to obtain the title of a konsultant ENT doctor.

Eventually, however, jazz prevailed. Nearly two years later, Krzysztof Trzicński abandonem medicine and embarked on a Carter as a jazz musician, assuming his old nickname „Komeda” as an artistic alias (the nickname being a result of a slip of somebdoby’s tongue while the boys had been playing at soldiers). Krzysztof moved to Cracow with his partner and wife (as well as manager) Zofia, where the two live a life of wobbly and needy existence, yet one that was free and fired by artistic dreams. These Dreas proved to be quite realistic. Following a spectacular success of Komeda’s live performance at the First Jazz Festival in Sopot, he became an unquestionable guru and the brightest star of the fledgling Polish modern jazz. The next decade was an uninterrupted stream of artistic achievement. In 1960, the Komeda moved to Warsaw.

Krzysztof gradualny restricted his live appearances in favour of writing music, which resulted in the release, in 1965, of a work that was to proce fundamental, and revolutionary in the history of European jazz – the triptych Astigmatic. Increasingly often, Komeda also wrote background music for films. This was an area in which he had become a true master, and, as time showed, a reformer.

In 1957, Komeda made friends with film direktor Roman Polański. He wrote music for 6 of his films, including the famous Rosemary’s Baby. Between September 1957 and December 1968, he composed over 60 scores to films by both Polish and foreign directors, winning worldwide acclaim. By this time he had become an unsurpassed model for his colleagues, and a living legend for his audiences.

In December 1967, Komeda left for Hollywood to score Roman Polański’s Rosemary’s Baby. He stayed there for 16 months, and wrote another score, to Buzz Kulik’s film The Riot, gaining the reputation of the most promising composer in the American film industry. As a consequence, he signed a long-term contrach with Paramount Pictures studio.

Unfortunately, a trifling mishap thwarted all the plans. During a lighthearted rough-and-tumble with a friend, Marek Hłasko, a famous writer and anticommunist out of the law, Komeda fell on some rocks and suffered a head injury resulting in cerebral hemorrhage. After 3 months in a coma, the artist, still unconscious, was taken back to Poland by his wife. In spite of the efforts of the part of top Polish neurologists, he died 3 days later, without gaining consciousness.

Krzysztof Komeda lives on in his music. His legacy includes numerous stunning time less jazz pieces and film stores. Even today, 40 years after his Heath, his music continues to set a standard for generations of New composers, and to delight the he arts of music lovers. He earned a permanent place in the panteon of prominent and pioneering European musicians. Thankts to his music, and his live story, he became a model of a real artist, and a good person of true integrity. After Chopin, he is the greatest and most widely recognized ambasador for Polish culture and art. cross the workl.

logo stowarzyszenia.png
bottom of page