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About this Piece

Prodigiously talented as a pianist and violinist, Grażyna Bacewicz won prizes and gave concerts across Europe, performed her first concerto with orchestra at age 12, and became the Polish Radio Orchestra’s concertmaster in 1930. Bacewicz studied composition with Nadia Boulanger and became a prolific composer and acclaimed teacher who was guided by a drive to create. Written in 1949, the Quartet for Four Violins is a pedagogical piece for her students. It also embodies the style of “socialist realism,” which had become official artistic doctrine in the Eastern Bloc four years prior. Characteristic of this style, Bacewicz transforms Polish folk music through a neo-classical lens, balanced by emotive lyricism—all the while cleverly structuring four string voices that share the same range.