Paul Kletzki

Paul Kletzki (born Paweł Klecki; 21 March 1900 - 5 March 1973) was a Polish conductor and composer.[1][2]

Paul Kletzki
Paweł Klecki
Paul Kletzki in 1965.
Paul Kletzki in 1965.
Background information
Born21 March 1900
Łódź, Poland
Died5 March 1973(1973-03-05) (aged 72)
Liverpool, United Kingdom


Paul Kletzki joined the Łódź Philharmonic at the age of fifteen as a violinist.[1][2] After serving in the First World War, he studied philosophy at the University of Warsaw before moving to Berlin in 1921 to continue his studies. During the 1920s his compositions were championed by Arturo Toscanini; and Wilhelm Furtwängler, who permitted Kletzki to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1925. Because he was Jewish, he left Nazi Germany in 1933 and moved to Milan, Italy, where he taught composition.[1] Due to the anti-semitism of the Italian Fascist regime he moved to the Soviet Union in 1936.

During the Holocaust a number of Kletzki's family were murdered by the Nazis including his parents and his sister. In 1946, he participated in the reopening of La Scala in Milan.[1]

In 1949, he became a Swiss citizen.[1]

In the post-war years Kletzki was a renowned conductor, especially of Gustav Mahler. In 1954 he was appointed chief conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1955, he conducted the first recordings of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.[1] Between 1958 and 1961 he was principal conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. From 1967 until 1970 he was the General Music Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.[1]

He died on 5 March 1973 at 72 years of age after collapsing during a rehearsal at the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.[1]


Most of Paul Kletzki's compositions were thought to be destroyed during World War II.[1] However, during excavations in Milan in 1965, a chest was found containing the scores he had left in the basement of the Hotel Metropole in 1941. Kletzki, fearing his scores had turned to dust, did not open the chest. Upon his death in 1973 his wife, Yvonne, opened the chest finding his scores well-preserved.[3]

Kletzki's most notable work is his Third Symphony, completed in October 1939, with the subtitle 'In memoriam'. It is an elegiac work interpreted as a moving monument to the victims of Nazism.[4] Other works include three string quartets,[5] a Sinfonietta for strings, a Fantasy for piano, and a sonata for violin and piano. From 1942 onwards Kletzki wrote no more compositions; he argued that Nazism had destroyed his spirit and his will to compose.

List of compositions by Paul KletzkiEdit

Genre Opus Date Title Scoring Notes
Orchestral 1921 Overture to A Florentine Tragedy by Oscar Wilde Orchestra Won first prize in a composition competition sponsored by the Warsaw Philharmonic,[6] lost.
Chamber 1 1923 String Quartet in A minor String Quartet
Vocal 2 Four Songs Voice and Piano
Vocal 3 Three Night Songs Voice and Piano
Piano 4 1923 Three Preludes Piano
Orchestral 7 1923 Sinfonietta String Orchestra
Piano 9 1924 Fantasie in C minor Piano
Chamber 12 1925 Violin Sonata in D major Violin and Piano
Chamber 13 1925 String Quartet No. 2 in C minor String Quartet
Orchestral 14 1926 Vorspiel zu einer Tragödie Orchestra
Chamber 16 1924 Trio in D major Piano, Violin and Cello
Orchestral 17 1927 Symphony No. 1 Orchestra
Orchestral 18 1928 Symphony No. 2 Baritone and Orchestra 4th movement setting of a poem by Karl Stamm "Sleep, Sleep, O World"
Concertante 19 1928 Violin Concerto in G Violin and Orchestra
Orchestral 20 1929 Orchestervariationen Orchestra
Chamber 21 1930 Introduction and Rondo Violin and Piano
Concertante 22 1930 Piano Concerto in D minor Piano and Orchestra Published in 2 piano 4-hand version, orchestrated by John Norine Jr.
Chamber 23 1931 String Quartet No. 3 in D minor String Quartet
Orchestral 24 1931 Capriccio Large Orchestra
Orchestral 25 1932 Konzertmusik Solo winds, strings and timpani
Violin 26 1933 Sonata for Violin Solo Solo Violin
Chamber 28 1932 Octet
Orchestral 30 1938 Lyric Suite Orchestra
Orchestral 31 1939 Symphony No. 3 ("In memoriam") Orchestra
Chamber 32 Trio Flute, violin and viola
Orchestral 33 1940 Variations sur un thème de Émile Jaques-Dalcroze String Orchestra
Concertante 34 1940 Flute Concertino Flute and Orchestra
Piano 1940/41 Three Unpublished Piano Pieces Piano
Chamber 1943 String Quartet No. 4 [7] String Quartet Rediscovered, premiered by Merel String Quartet[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Paul Kletzki, 72, conductor, dead". 7 March 1973.
  2. ^ a b Wendland, Wojciech, PhD. (2012). Paul Kletzki (Paweł Klecki) – all alone in the great big world. Tansman 2012, A. Tansman Association for the Promotion of Culture, Lodz. pp. 38–41. ISBN 978-83-905532-8-3.CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. ^ Jackson, Timothy L.,PhD. "Paul Kletzki, Violin Concerto, Op.19". American Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Paul Kletzki - Symphony No. 3 in memoriam". BIS. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Nachlassverzeichniss Paul Klecki" (PDF). Retrieved September 1, 2012., lists 3 string quartets, Op.1 in A minor, Op.13 in C minor, Op.23 in D minor, copyright 1923, 1925, 1931.
  6. ^ Jackson, Timothy. "Paul Kletzki, Piano Concerto, Three Preludes, Three Piano Pieces, Fantasie". Naxos.
  7. ^ "Paul Kletzki (Paweł Klecki)". Musiques-Regenerees. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Merel Quartet - Concerts". Merel Quartet. Retrieved 24 April 2020.

External linksEdit

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Walter Hendl
Music Directors, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Georg Solti