Zbigniew Karkowski (1958 - 2013)

Zbigniew Karkowski, Polish composer and musician who broke many barriers between classical music, avant-garde, electronics and noise, died of cancer in the Peruvian jungle.

Zbigniew Karkowski has performed several times at V2_ in the 1990s. Along with Edwin van der Heide and Atau Tanaka, he was a founding member of the Sensorband. In performances by this electroacoustic music performance trio, Karkowski activated his instrument by the movement of his arms in the space around him; this cut through invisible infrared beams mounted on a scaffolding structure.

Zbigniew Karkowski was born on March 14, 1958 in Krakow, Poland. He studied composition in Gothenburg and computer music at the Chalmers University of Technology. After completing his studies in Sweden, he studied sonology for a year at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague , Netherlands. During his education, he also attended many summer composition master courses, studying with Iannis Xenakis, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez and Georges Aperghis. Karkowski lived and worked in Tokyo for the last years of his life and was active in the underground noise scene there. In October 2013 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Because European doctors could not give him any hope on improvement he travelled to Peru to seek treatment from a shaman. He died in December, shortly after arriving in Peru.

His music broke down the barriers between noise, avant-garde, electronics and classical music. His pieces were often loud and aggressive, perfectly in tune with the spirit of the times, and he collaborated with many 'greats' of contemporary music, like Jim O'Rourke, Zeitkratzer and Merzbow. He will be missed.


Source: Zbigniew Karkowski nie żyje. Mistrz muzycznej awangardy, radykał, burzyciel barier... in Gazeta Wyborcza, 13/12/2013.


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