Zbigniew Preisner, whose real name is Kowalski (taking his name from his wife Ewa Preisner), is a self-taught person – he learned to play guitar and piano by ear. However, his career took off unexpectedly quickly.
Pressner never went to music school, but studied philosophy and history at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. During this period, in 1977, he began working with the literary cabaret Piwnica pod Baranami, where he began writing songs for songs under the influence of Zygmunt Konieczny.
The next step in his career was to start collaborations with Stary Theater and Teatr im. Juliusz Słowacki in Krakow.
The first movie
Then came the first class of music for the film. Weather Forecast (1982) was directed by Anthony Krause. This is how the young composer became interested in Krzysztof Kieślowski, who, together with Krauze, was a member of the “Tor” film group.
Cooperation with Kieślowski
Kieślowski and Preisner first met at the already famous Lotos bar in Warsaw. Kieślowski, aware of the discipline prevailing in the film industry on the one hand and the recurring effects of the famous Krakow spleen, which was the typical lack of punctuality for artists associated with this city, on the other hand, for half an hour convinced the young composer how important it was for the music to be ready on time.
– Mr. Krzysztof, do not worry, the first performances were not like this – said Preisner, who reported the event in one of the interviews. – Since then, we have never discussed this topic during our entire collaboration – we added the composer.
Thus began the collaboration of the artists, which lasted for 12 years – until the death of Kieślowski. During that time, they made 17 films together. In addition to some documents, this number includes: the films of the Tricolor trilogy, all the famous films of the Ten Commandments, and the film The Double Life of Veronica (1991), which is considered Breisner’s greatest film. completion.
– It is undeniable that “a short film about murder” opened the door to a career in the West – said Zbigniew Presner in one of the interviews.
Indeed, since this film, which was released in 1987, the career of the artists has gained momentum. Since then, they have been able to make films abroad that have gained increasing popularity. They even received an Academy Award nomination for “Three Colors: Red.” On the other hand, Preisner, apart from continuing to cooperate with Kieślowski, began to receive more and more offers from foreign artists.
– It wasn’t me who pushed there, they wanted me there – said Zbigniew Prezner on Anna Baleka’s broadcast on Polish Radio in 1993 – if a man is fashionable, so are these suggestions. It is like a commodity. When there was a once-fashionable little Fiat, everyone drove a little Fiat – he added humbly.
Thanks to this, Preisner was able to work with such directors as: Louis Malle, John Irving, Thomas Vinterberg and Claude Miller. He has also composed the music for several foreign productions directed by Agnieszka Holland, such as “To Kill a Priest” (1988), “Europe, Europe” (1990), Olivier, Olivier (1992) and “The Secret Garden” (1993). . Brezner is also the music composer for a novel series based on Joseph Roth’s popular book “Marsz Radeckiego” (1994) directed by Gernot Rolla and Axel Corte. At the same time, the composer rejected many of his proposals.
Three-quarters of the proposals I reject. I work with whoever I want – said Brezner on Polish Radio in 1993. – I just don’t like American cinema. Moreover, I prefer working with small studios rather than big companies like Warner Brothers. Few committed studies and put your heart into it. and large factories such as the Lenin Steel Mills. The composer said they produce a product that either works or fails.
After the untimely death of his great friend Krzysztof Kielowski in 1996, Presner wrote “Requiem for My Friend,” composed for a symphony orchestra. The premiere was held on October 1, 1998 at the Great Theater in Warsaw. The music was initially intended as an account of another screenplay by Piesiewicz, who, like Preisner, was a regular collaborator of the distinguished director, and only after Kieślowski’s death did it become a work dedicated to his memory.
In the following years, Preisner continued to compose music, primarily for foreign films, and released CDs containing compositions not intended for cinema. He collaborated with Leszek Możdżer, who performed “10 Easy Pieces for Piano” (1999).
In 2006, Preisner took part in a concert by David Gilmour in Gdańsk. A famous musician assigned him the task of developing symphonic arrangements for his most popular works.
In 2013, the composer realized the project “Diary of the Fatherland”, which was inspired by childhood memories of the Holocaust. The symphony orchestra was supported by singer Lisa Gerrard, known from the band Dead Can Dance.
Zbigniew Preisner remains professionally active at all times. He lives and records in a private studio in Niepołomice near Kraków.