Depending on the relations with a given individual, Tadeusz Baird is said to have varied character traits. Many thought him to be shy, oversensitive and withdrawn, a contemplative man. Others point to his egocentrism, independence, uncompromising and determined nature. To his closest friends he was warm, kind, empathic, and, above all, very sociable and cheerful. For them he often arranged more or less official get-togethers in his flat. As Alina Baird recalls:
There were often get-togethers and with quite a lot of people at that [...]. In addition, there came various performers, not necessarily to discuss some specific piece, but simply to make a social call. For example [Andrzej] Hiolski would often visit us; Lothar Faber would come from Cologne. My husband was friends with Kurt Masur, also with [Aleksander] Bardini, of course with [Witold] Rowicki, for some time also with Serocki and Krenz, but when Group 49 ended, the ties became gradually loose [...]. Even the Lutosławskis, the Wisłockis came here [...]. We were friends with the Kotońskis, with the Turskis, and Stefka Woytowicz once sang Gypsy romances here [...]. There were various actors – Woszczerowicz, for example. I wasn’t present there, but apparently he gave a whole show, in front of the piano. And it lasted a few hours.
Although the composer was fascinated primarily with the Mediterranean culture, the South of Europe, he himself was – as he said – a man of the North in all respects. Also with regards to his mentality, customs and type of relations with people. He added that withdrawing was his natural trait. This was confirmed by Krzysztof Meyer:
There was something tragic and lonely in this artist – devoting so much time to community work, playing an important role in the Composers’ Union and for a long time in the organisation of the Warsaw Autumn, in various committees, he was by nature a great loner.
Baird’s actions and statements revealed a strong, tenacious character, but also understanding with regard to others:
I don’t really care that my behaviour may seem outrageous. Life is possible also because people are very different.
Although the composer seemed haughty to many, he never, as Jerzy Kornowicz stressed, was haughty with his students despite the “schoolboy pranks” they sometimes played on him. His reactions were very warm, wise and understanding.
Tadeusz Baird seemed rather haughty to many people. I didn’t feel that at all as his student; it’s strange, because he could have easily shown me this haughtiness, he had the right to do so. We were separated by light years [...] of experiences, awareness, stage of artistic development. I could talk very easily with the Professor about everything, despite my sometimes juvenile pranks, which – if I had had to suffer them in his position – would have ended in some “student slaughter”. [...] I want to apologise to Tadeusz Baird for the fact that, knowing he had classes with me on Mondays at 9am, that we was commuting from Saska Kępa, I sometimes called the secretary’s office [...] and said that tragic circumstances prevent me from attending the classes. [...] And I know that the Professor waited for two hours for the next class, because he could do nothing else. [...] I wish so much I hadn’t wasted all those hours [...]. I find it difficult to associate this warmth with which he tolerated this kind of behaviour with the “haughty Baird”.
Krzysztof Knittel interprets Baird's quite cool and distanced attitude towards the environment as a kind of defense, a kind of mask for the very sensitive nature of the composer:
Jerzy Artysz, too, disagrees that Baird was haughty, stressing other interesting traits of his character instead:
It seems to me that Tadeusz was authentic, that you can’t pigeonhole him as a haughty man [...]. He was, in my opinion, very emotional, bluntly emotional [...]. He had all these layers of relations in life that conditioned him in a way. He wasn’t a cardboard character, that’s for sure. Besides, he knew the value of his artistic ideas [...]. His was a very rich personality. As a result, no side of life was alien to him [...]. He was an excellent driver, had his favourite car types, changing them [...] with passion [...]. Pigeonholing or cataloguing are not for him – no way [...] His emotions were sincere, true and very dynamic.
When describing the composer’s personality from the point of view of a performer Jerzy Artysz says that
Tadeusz Baird was not a character that would embrace anyone wanting to become interested in his music. His was a very defined personality, very classy, with great manners [...]. Not that he was aloof, but he wouldn’t chum up with you immediately only because you would perform his work [...] But this became deeper during the rehearsals.
Jacek Kaspszyk emphasizes that certain traits of Baird's personality is typical for most artists:
In Grzegorz Michalski's memoirs general, "old-fashioned" cultural formation of Tadeusz Baird and his reactions are compared to those, that characterize Witold Lutosławski:
Baird’s uncompromising nature and absolute honesty did not make life easier for him. As his wife recalls:
There were people whom he disliked, with who he quarrelled [...]. It usually happened in the Conservatory. There were people with different political views – this was the basis, but it also happened, when someone did something wrong and wouldn’t admit it [...]. Then he would bring it to light and talk about it, which people held against him. Because they could be people he usually adored, and then it turned out that they were guilty of various misdemeanours.
This complexity of the composer’s character undoubtedly stemmed from his wartime experiences and his complicated family situation after the war. Baird’s exceptional nature earned him a large number of friends and associates. According to Izabella Grzenkowicz:
Baird had this sense of self-esteem and it would have been difficult to believe, if he hadn’t had it. [...] He was by no means a conceited man; he was very approachable and warm in his contacts with people. Warm and kind. [...] He was a well-mannered man and undoubtedly capable of showing empathy. Sometimes he would be moved by someone’s misfortune or, for example, by students’ poverty. He got annoyed by great [...] professional failures, not his own, but generally – those of Polish musical culture, which in his lifetime went through various, sometimes very difficult periods.
He was an incredible man. First of all, very wise, with broad humanistic horizons [...]. He had this extraordinary gift [...] for quickly discerning the right values, not only musical ones. [...] he was a dynamic man.
- K. Meyer, Kilka myśli o muzyce Tadeusza Bairda [Some reflections on Tadeusz Baird’s music], Ruch Muzyczny 1982 no. 7, p. 7.
- Ponad codzienność. Rozmowa z Tadeuszem Bairdem [Above mundanity. A conversation with Tadeusz Baird] (E. Kofin), Odra 1973, no. 4, p. 91.
- A. Skulska, Szkic do portretu: Tadeusz Baird [Tadeusz Baird: a Portrait] [sound doc.], Second Programme of the Polish Radio, 2007.