The Warsaw Autumn is an important point in Tadeusz Baird’s biography, because the composer made a substantial contribution to the organisation of this festival. We should look for its beginnings as far back as in 1950, when Baird became a member of the Board of the Polish Composers’ Union. Together with Kazimierz Serocki, Andrzej Dobrowolski and Włodzimierz Kotoński, he organised the 1st Polish Music Festival. It covered the whole country and took into account Poland’s entire musical culture – from amateur to professional activities. As Baird recalled years later:
Over one concert season, despite the chaos and still rather poor organisation, together with some conductors and soloists helping us we tried to present the most important works. The interest in and understanding of the event were beyond all our expectations.
As early as in 1952 the same individuals sought to organise the 2nd Polish Music Festival, which eventually was held in 1955. It was a huge venture witnessed also by a group of guests from abroad. The success of the Festival prompted Baird and Serocki – the outgoing deputy presidents of the Polish Composers’ Union – to put forward a proposal at the 8th General Assembly of the PCU that festivals of contemporary music be organised in Poland. This idea was indeed implemented and in 1956 the then members of the PCU’s Board (Tadeusz Baird, Andrzej Dobrowolski, Włodzimierz Kotoński and Kazimierz Serocki), supported by Professor Kazimierz Sikorski (president of the PCU), organised the 1st “Warsaw Autumn” International Festival of Contemporary Music.
The work on the preparation and organisation of successive Festivals was a source of great satisfaction to Baird. Until as late as 1969 he was a member of the Programme Committee of the Warsaw Autumn, but when he did not manage to introduce changes to its format, he withdrew, believing that
All institutions or all regular events share the fate of all living organisms: they get old. The Warsaw Autumn, too, has grown old a bit. This doesn’t mean we should abolish it or wait calmly for the patient to die.
The Warsaw Autumn was an international forum for presenting the works of contemporary Polish composers, a forum used also by Tadeusz Baird. Until 1981 his music was present during virtually every Festival (with the exception of its 1965 and 1980 editions). 25 of his works were performed at the Warsaw Autumn, with 11 of them being premiered there.
- J. Cegiełła, Szkice do autoportretu polskiej muzyki współczesnej [Sketches for a Self-Portrait of Contemporary Polish Music], Kraków 1976, pp. 21 and 23.