Zbigniew Preisner studied history and philosophy at the
University of Cracow, but music started to interest this
young man who then started to explore music and while at
these private studies of his he met Elzbieta Towarnicka who
has appeared on some of the soundtracks Zbigniew Preisner wrote.
Zbigniew Preisner used to buy records from which he wrote partitures
from and learned writing music by taking the music in parts on
his writing desk. As a composer he is an incurable romanticist
- he likes romantic music, especially romantic Polish composers
as well as Paganini and Sibelius. He emphasizes the importance
of melody in music and considers the modern music that lacks a
melody as artificial music he simply does not like nor does he
Krzystof Kieslowski and Zbigniew Presiner met some time in
the middle of the 80's while Presiner was writing music for
Antoni Krauze's movie "Weather Report". He works while the
script for the movie is still being written and he is usually
taking part in the cutting of the movie. Often the music and
the script go hand in hand, but he has also written music for
a finished movie as well.
The Double Life of Veronique was the
big break for Zbigniew Preisner. A beautiful concerto in E minor by a
dutch composer, Van den Budenmayer was a most strange mystery
as there is not a single word written about him in the history
of music. Of course, Van den Budenmayer is just something
Zbigniew Preisner had pulled out of his hat, an alter ego. Even though
Zbigniew Preisner's music is strongly associated with Kieslowski's
movies he has written other music including soundtracks for
Louis Malle, Agnieszka Holland and Antoni Krauze. During the
past decade he has written music for 17 movies. Zbigniew Preisner never
got to work with Kieslowski on his next project, a trilogy
about Heaven, Hell and Purgatory as Krzystof Kieslowski died
13th March 1996. Robert Temple has asked Zbigniew Preisner to compose
an opera to be performed in London.
Zbigniew Preisner is Poland’s leading film music composer and is considered to be one of the most outstanding film composers of his generation. His scores for the film of the late Krzysztof Kieslowski, particularly Dekalog, the Double Life Of Veronique, Three Colours Blue, Three Colours White and Three Colours Red, have brought him international acclaim
Among many recent awards and citations Zbigniew Preisner received the Silver Bear from the Berlin Film Festival in 1997, two Césars from the French Film Academy - one in 1996 for Jean Becker’s Elisa, and one in 1995 for Three Colours Red - and three consecutive citations as the year’s most outstanding composer of film music in The Los Angeles Critics Association Awards of 1991, 1992 and 1993. Zbigniew Preisner is a member of The French Film Academy and in 1992 he received the Award of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for outstanding achievements in the presentation of Polish Culture abroad.
Feature films which he has scored to date include Hector Babenco’s At Play In The Fields Of The Lord, Louis Malle’s Damage, Luis Mandoki’s When A Man Loves A Woman and Charles Sturridge’s Fairytale : A True Story. For many years Zbigniew Preisner enjoyed a close celebration with Krzysztof Kieslowski and his script-writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz. Among the many other films by Polish directors he has scored are three made by Agnieska Holland : Europa Europa, Olivier Olivier, and The Secret Garden.
Zbigniew Preisner’s soundtrack albums have also achieved considerable sales around the world. The Double Life Of Veronique CD on the Sideral label has sold over 300,000 copies since its release in 1991 and was awarded a Gold Disc in France in 1992. The three CDs of the soundtracks for Three Colours Blue, White and Red, on the Virgin France label have sold over 700,000 copies around the world. Zbigniew Preisner’s Music, the live recording of the suite drawn from the music he has created for films over the last ten years, has recently achieved Platinum Disc status in Poland (over 60,000 sales).
Among a number of works created for television, Zbigniew Preisner was commissioned to write the title music for People’s Century, BBC TV’s 26-part series documenting the history of the twentieth century, which will be seen by television viewers in over 30 countries between now and the year 2000. Co-produced by WGBH Boston, the series is being broadcast on PBS in the USA.
Zbigniew Zbigniew Preisner has just completed the scores for Liv, a short film by the young director Edoardo Ponti; Foolish Heart, Hector Babenco’s new feature; and Dreaming Of Joseph Lees, the new British film, directed by Eric Styles, featuring Samantha Morton, Lee Ross, and Rupert Graves. He will shortly begin work on a new cinema trilogy, scripted by Krzysztof Piesiewicz from stories originally created by Piesiewicz and Kieslowski.
Zbigniew Zbigniew Preisner continues to live in Krakow, where his artistic roots were nurtured in the seventies, after graduated in Art History from the city’s Jagiellonian University. A self-taught composer, he favours the style and commitment of the team of Polish musicians and sound engineers he has created to perform and record his work.