Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Jan AP Kaczmarek is dead. The composer and Oscar winner was 71 years old

“After a long and serious illness, my husband died Jan AP Kaczmarek. He was a warrior until the end, trusting that he would recover and share his works with us… I watched over him until the end. He died surrounded by love. The value in which he believed most strongly,” she wrote Aleksandra Twardowska-Kaczmarek.

Information about the death of the 71-year-old musician was provided by the Polish Music Foundation, which helped the ailing composer.

He was one of the most outstanding Polish film music composers. He lived in the United States for many years. He created music for over seventy films, including: “Unfaithful” by Adrian Lyne, “Aimee and Jaguar” by Max Fareberbock, “Lost Souls” by Janusz Kamiński.

In 2005 he was awarded Oscar for composing the soundtrack to the film “Finding Neverland” by Marc Forster. She was his first wife Elżbieta Bieluszko, with whom he has four adult children. He returned to Poland a few years ago, and in 2016 he married Aleksandra Twardowskawith whom he has a 7-year-old son, Jaś.

Multiple system atrophy, also known as MSA, leads to the destruction of nerve endings and ultimately to lung failure.

The disease has recently left the composer unable to move on his own. His wife and two caregivers were needed to help him with basic activities.

Jan AP Kaczmarek was born on April 29, 1953 in Konin. He came from a musical family. His grandfather was a violinist, who performed, among others, live music for movies in the cinema. As a child, Kaczmarek learned to play the piano. He achieved his first success in the high school in Konin, for which he composed the school anthem, and also created music for school theater performances. Dreaming of a career as a diplomat, he began studying law at the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań.

He started his musical career by composing a cabaret song for the high school theater “Ósemki” in Konin.

“I was given the text. I sat down at the piano and started composing. Next to me was the teacher who was our theater supervisor. When the piece was ready, the teacher, to my surprise, said that it was him who composed it. I insisted that it was me I am the author. He was so nice that he did not object. It was the first lesson in how to protect the author's rights,” Jan AP Kaczmarek laughed in an interview with PAP Life.

His next composition was the school anthem. “I won the competition together with a friend whom I persuaded to write the lyrics. The anthem was played for 23 years at every celebration. It was abandoned, which is funny, a few months before I won the Oscar. When I come to the 1st Secondary School in Konin, the students are singing it for me. The management gives me the illusion that my anthem is still alive,” the musician recalled.

“In his youth, he dreamed of a diplomatic career and chose law as his first field of study. He finished it knowing he had made a mistake, already knowing that diplomacy in the Polish People's Republic had little in common with the romantic patterns from his youthful reading,” wrote the portal.

Apparently he changed his mind about his career after completing an internship at Jerzy Grotowski's Laboratory Theater. Another avant-garde theater with which he collaborated in the 1970s was Theater of the Eighth Day. There he created a chamber music group Orchestra of the Eighth Day. During a tour of the USA in 1982, they recorded the LP “Music for the End” for the Chicago-based independent label Flying Fish Records.

In 1989, Kaczmarek left for Los Angeles. “Emigration is a big part of my life. I have been living and working in America for 27 years. It is enough to stop for a moment and look back to the past to remember that it is associated with a lot of emotions. (…) Today, people also emigrate in on a large scale, and in dramatic circumstances. Drama means emotions. Very complex, sometimes ultimate. There is no better fuel for music, music communicates mainly with emotions,” Kaczmarek said in an interview with PAP on the occasion of composing music for the Emigration Museum. Gdynia for the show “EMIGRA – Symphony Without End”.

In 2004, he established Castaway Institute – a working place for meetings of film, music and theater artists. The composer himself supervised the construction of the Institute. The facility is located in the village of Rozbitek, 60 km west of Poznań (Greater Poland Voivodeship).

In 2005, he received an Oscar for the music for the film “Finding Finder” by Marc Forster. “It's obviously great emotion and great emotion, because when you enter the stage, have this statuette in your hand, and on the other side are the most outstanding people from the film, you are struck by the realization that something has happened after all. (…) Then he started a whirlwind of events, photos from John Travoltawe danced together, then I danced alone, and then the parties started and a lot of people wished me all the best and we were happy until the morning,” Kaczmarek recalled.

He also composed music for films such as: “Total Eclipse” and “Washington Square” by Agnieszka Holland, “Hania” by Janusz Kamiński, “Horsemen – Riders of the Apocalypse” by Jonas Akerlund, “Until the Grave” by Aaron Schneider and “Irena Sendler's Children” by John Kent Harrison.

Kaczmarek was the creator of the festival Transatlantyk, the first edition of which took place in Poznań in the summer of 2011. “Transatlantyk is a festival of ideas, we want to talk about important social issues using the language of film and music. Both of these languages ​​evoke many emotions, and these best define virtually every issue, including social issues,” he explained.

In recent years he has composed music, among others: down “Valleys of the Gods” by Lech Majewski (2019), “Magnesia” by Maciej Bochniak (2020), “The Death of Zygielbojm” by Ryszard Brylski (2021) and “Van Gogh” by Daniel Fridell.