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Rafał Augustyn (born August 28, 1951 in Wrocławmarker, Polandmarker) is a composer of classical music, and a pianist, music critic, writer and scholar of Polish philology. As a composer he has written symphonies, chamber orchestra works, vocal and electronic music, as well as music for theatre. Since the mid 1990s, Augustyn has collaborated with visual artists, architects and photographers on numerous multimedia art works.

Education and career

Augustyn studied composition under Ryszard Bukowski at the State Higher School of Music in Wrocław between 1971-74, and between 1975-77 at the State Higher School of Music in Katowicemarker, where he studied under Henryk Górecki. In 1979, Augustyn began to teach at the Institute of Polish Philology at Wrocław Universitymarker and has remained there since. His works have had numerous performances at the Warsaw Autumn Festival, as well as at other Polish festivals, and across Europe, North America and the Far East. As a music writer and critic he has written for such journals and periodicals as Ruch Muzyczny and Odra.


Along with Andrzej Krzanowski and Eugeniusz Knapik, Augustyn is sometimes included as a member of the so called "Silesian School"; that is, a group of composers who studied under Górecki in Katowice, Silesia, and are noted for their break with the current dominant postmodernist approach to classical music in Poland.

One of his major pieces, his "Symphony of Hymns", took 20 years to complete, typically lasts for 100 minutes and requires an orchestra of over 170 players. It was described in 2004 by the music critic Tim Rutherford-Johnson as,
"a monster of a work....[but] has that broad sweeping feel of neo-Romanticism that one might expect from a contemporary Polish symphonist, although it features none of Górecki’s direct simplicity, or Penderecki’s gloomy ponderousness. It does however...continually blur the line between orchestration and form. Melody and harmony are present, but not discernible as such; more important is a lilting shifting of colours that tumbles the music forward."

Selected works

  • "Four Silesian Songs for mixed choir" (1970-71)
  • "Monosonata for piano" (1976)
  • "En blanc et noir [1st version] for harpsichord" (1979)
  • "String Quartet no. 2 with flute ad libitum" (1981)
  • "Sub Iove, nocturne for mixed choir" (1986)
  • "Cyclic Piece no. 1 for solo violin or violin ensemble" (1986)
  • "Three Roman Nocturnes for mixed choir" (1986-91)
  • "Varesiana for solo flute" (1987)
  • "Five calligrammes by Apollinaire for soprano and piano" (1990)
  • "Cinque pezzi diversi per violino e pianoforte" (1996)
  • "Au pair for violin and piano" (2001)
  • "Itinerarium concertino for orchestra and piano" (2001)



  • Adrian, Thomas. "Augustyn Rafał". In: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Second Edition , volume 2. London: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2001.
  • Bauman, Jolanta. "Charakterystyka sylwetki twórczej Rafała Augustyna (Rafał Augustyn’s artistic individuality)". In: Research conference on the topic of "The Work of Wrocław Composers (1945-1985)". Wrocław: Akademia Muzyczna we Wrocławiu, 1990.
  • Zduniak, Maria. "Augustyn Rafał". In: Encyklopedia Muzyczna PWM. Kraków: PWM, 1998.

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