Teaching activity

Since 2008 I have been teaching classes at the Department of Composition, Conducting, and Music Theory of the Frederic Chopin Music University.  For the first two years I assisted Professor Marcin Błażewicz by holding seminars for composers, teaching score-reading and instrumentation courses.  Since 2010 I have been hired as an associate professor and offer courses in composition (together with Professor Marcin Błażewicz), instrumentation, contemporary compositional techniques, and have taught counterpoint with fugue (until 2013) at the Department of Piano, Harpsichord, and Organ for students of harpsichord and organ.

Since the academic year 2014/15 I have held lectures on introduction to composition.  During the 2012-2016 term I have held a position as vice-dean of the Department of Composition, Conducting, and Music Theory.  In the academic year 2010/11 I held a composition class at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea.  I was also a guest lecturer at music schools in New York (Mannes College The New School For Music, New York University), Hamburg (Hochschule für Musik und Theater), Rome (Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia), Cuneo (Conservatorio "G.F.Ghedini"), Istanbul (Mimar Sinan University), Moscow (P. Tchaikovsky Conservatory), Minsk (National Academy of Music) and in Siegen (Universitaet Siegen).


I try to pass on the experience I’ve gained at four European higher learning institutions (in Warsaw, Cologne, Karlsruhe, Frankfurt-am-Main) in my work with students.  It was my main professor’s Marcin Błażewicz’s candor that led me to complete my education abroad, to learn the German techniques of teaching composition, to be a part of another musical environment, and to have a wider perspective on my own works.  Work with students of composition is a difficult task, since the professor becomes responsible for a young, esthetically, and technically uneducated pupil of the art of composition.  When teaching composition classes, I always try to analyze compositional issues thoroughly by pointing to different solutions.  I let them become acquainted with works of already well-known composers, so that the young person may have an easier route towards creating his/her own original works, so that the novice may put off purely technical aspects for some other time and focus rather on finding more important values while composing, like developing one’s own musical language and philosophical, esthetical concepts.


As a teacher of instrumentation, one of the most important subjects in teaching composition, I focus on introducing the student to a very lively, vivid, and expressive multi-person body of performers – to the world of the orchestra.  The first few attempts at instrumentation take place on a smaller scale, i.e. smaller ensemble groups, and are fused with concepts from the study of instruments.  After this introduction follows a phase dealing with instrumentation in a historical background:  I provide examples from piano works of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, and Prokofiev, which are later orchestrated by using forms of expression found in the music scores of these composers.  An important element here is observing and maintaining an appropriate balance between instrumental groups, maintaining their proper usage according to a given period style, and maintaining the right balance of material in particular groups – especially in fragments marked tutti, which have been variously set and orchestrated by different composers.  The last phase in the class of instrumentation is the instrumentation of the 20th century.  It is important at this stage to determine the style in which the student wishes to complete the assignment, to discuss with him the ways by which the given effect is to be achieved, and to show him the most suitable examples.  In my opinion, after receiving the most important information concerning the study of instruments and the putting together of particular instrumental groups and basic knowledge of a composer’s style and/or a given period, instrumentation is a task belonging purely to the composer, during which it is necessary to make use of one’s imagination and to think about the orchestra’s sound capabilities, in order to achieve fullness of sound by applying simple solutions.  I base my instrumentation lectures on my own experience with orchestras.  I have had the pleasure to have my works performed by The National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, The Beethoven Academy Orchestra, The Polish Radio Orchestra, The Orchestra of the Warsaw Chamber Opera, The Philharmonic Orchestras of the following cities: Poznan, Gorzow, Kalisz, the Silesian Region, Szczecin, Czestochowa; The National Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Aukso, Amadeus, et. al. Working with such renowned groups has allowed me to check and revise my ideas for instrumentation, and conversations with conductors have made me realize that an accurate score notation is important. I try to pass on this experience gained over the years to my students.
    An interesting experience for me is teaching classes dealing with introduction to composition for harpsichord and organ students, for which I prepare the issues to be discussed.  As an organ graduate, I know the organ literature, which helps me in having the right approach to teach. This subject is but a continuation of counterpoint with fugue – a set of the most important knowledge regarding strict and free counterpoint, and also of compositional methods using the major/minor system.  In the introduction to composition class, I try to pass on knowledge concerning contemporary compositional techniques in correlation with music composed for organ or harpsichord, which the students are well acquainted with, and which leads to positive results.  I introduce examples from contemporary music to organists and harpsichordists, in which the musical language is often based on compositional techniques they are not familiar with.  I encourage students to a practical realization of their works during chamber music class – at this point a real confrontation occurs between the scores and the living performers, which we can later analyze in class.
    I have based my lectures regarding contemporary compositional techniques for students of composition and music theory on didactic programs taught by UMFC professors in the past.  I have been teaching this course for five years.  The topics covered by me range from basic issues concerning the art of composition from an accepted “end” of the major/minor system (Wagner Tristan und Isolde) to compositional techniques, e.g. dodecaphony, punctualism, serialism, Oliver Messiaen’s language, minimalism, aleatoric music, sonorism,  to electronic music from Klanggestalt by York Höller, and to the esthetics of Arvo Pärt and Thomas Adès.  I realize that these lectures anticipate a seminar of the same name at a later stage of education, so for this reason I attempt to present the chosen topics in a basic fashion, but also graphically and practically by making use of scores, recordings, and also films representing the character and esthetics of given composers.


Dariusz PrzybylskiDariusz Przybylski

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Dariusz Przybylski