26 July

Tadeusz, the only son of Jan Baird and Maria Baird née Popov is born in Grodzisk Mazowiecki.

Birth certificate


12 August

Death of Leoš Janáček, the most eminent Czech composer of the modernist period.

2 December

In Berlin, Furtwängler conducts the premiere of Arnold Schönberg’s Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31. It is the first performance of a dodecaphonic work by a conductor of international renown. The concert causes a great scandal.

Béla Bartók writes String Quartet No. 4 in which we can discern some influences of Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite written two years earlier.



11 January

Karol Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater is premiered at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall.

Wanda Wiłkomirska, an eminent Polish violinist and first performer of Baird’s Expressions for violin and orchestra, is born in Warsaw.

Charles Ives finishes writing his Three places in New England. The work, the first drafts of which were made in 1903, was to become one of the most popular works of the American composer.

Julian Tuwim publishes a collection of poems entitled The Czarnolas Matter. This and two earlier collections, Lying in Wait for God and Dancing Socrates, will be chosen by young Baird as sources of lyrics of his Five Songs to words by Tuwim.



18 November

Jerzy Artysz – a distinguished Polish baritone, performer of many of Baird’s vocal-instrumental works – is born in Sochaczew. 

13 December

In Brussels Ernest Ansermet conducts the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms.


Maurice Ravel completes his work on the Concerto for the Left Hand written for the Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein.

Jean Sibelius works on is Symphony No. 8. In the end the composer decides to destroy the piece.



Edgard Varèse finishes writing Ionisation, the first work composed entirely for percussion instruments.

Ravel completes his Piano Concerto in G major written for Marguerite Long.

Baird’s family moves to Warsaw, to a flat at 11 Lipska Street in the Saska Kępa borough. Tadeusz Baird will spent his entire life there.



9 October

Premiere of Szymanowski’s Symphonie concertante in Poznań. The work, dedicated to Artur Rubinstein, was performed with the composer himself at the piano and the orchestra being conducted by Grzegorz Fitelberg.

21 October

Premiere of Szymanowski’s opera King Roger in Prague.


Schönberg completes the work on Act II of his opera Moses and Aaron. Today regarded as a masterpiece, it will never be completed by the composer and will not be performed during his lifetime.



23 January

Premiere of Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in Frankfurt.

23 November

Krzysztof Penderecki is born in Dębica.

6 December

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki is born in Czernica in Silesia.


Baird begins piano lessons with Maria Rzepko.

When I was six, I began regular piano lessons, but I had learned the notes earlier and spent, without any encouragement, quite some time over the keyboard, trying to play. Soon I began to put together some melodies, chords, to improvise.

6-year-old Tadeusz Baird at the piano


24 January

Premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. The innovative work is enthusiastically received by the audience.

10 May

Grażyna Bacewicz’s concert in Warsaw (the programme features the Partita for violin and piano). The attitude of this composer, born in 1909, was highly valued by Baird.



24 December

Alban Berg dies in Vienna. Berg, a representative of expressionism in the Second Viennese School was a composer who had a great influence on Tadeusz Baird’s aesthetics.

7 May

Birth of Halina Poświatowska, née Myga. Her poetry will fascinate Baird, who will write a cycle of songs to five of her poems in 1968.

4 September

Premiere of Anton Webern’s Concerto for 9 Instruments in Prague.

7 September

Bartók finishes writing one of his biggest masterpieces: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, commissioned by Paul Sacher.


Baird’s first compositional efforts.


28 January

The Pravda daily publishes an article entitled “Muddle instead of music” criticising Shostakovich. It begins an unparalleled smear campaign against the Russian composer.

19 April

Berg’s Violin Concerto is premiered in Barcelona. The Concerto is the last work completed by the Austrian composer (Polish premiere will not take place until 1958).

11 November

Webern completes his Variations for Piano, Op. 27. It is the composer’s only work for piano with an opus number.



29 March

Karol Szymanowski dies in Lausanne.

2 June

The Zurich Opera presents Berg’s incomplete opera Lulu (written in 1928-35). The work will be performed for the first time in Poland only at the 1971 Warsaw Autumn.

21 November

Premiere of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in Leningrad. The style of this symphony, much simpler than that of the composer’s previous works and at the same time monumental, was a result of political pressure put on its author.

28 December

Ravel dies in Paris.



10 October

The Glazunov Quartet premieres Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 1 in C major, Op. 49, a work in a neo-classical, rather cheerful mood, the first in the composer’s unique set of 15 quartets. 

28 November

Premiere of Charles Ives’ Piano Sonata No. 2, one of the most monumental and extraordinary works of the 20th century. The work was composed in 1905-1915 and was inspired by the figures of great American writers and philosophers of the 19th century.


Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz publishes the monograph Chopin (the book was published in Lviv). It is the writer’s first work devoted to the biography of a musician.

Bacewicz writes her String Quartet No. 1.

Witold Lutosławski composes his first orchestral piece – Symphonic Variations.



Young Baird often goes to the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall with his father. This is how he remembered that period:

I also remember, perhaps slightly more clearly, my father, very excited, dressing up particularly elegantly, telling me to dress nicely too and saying that I would witness something great. We went to the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. It was a concert given by the great Polish violinist, Huberman, accompanied by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, who played three violin concertos during one evening. I don’t remember the third one, but he undoubtedly played Brahms and Beethoven. The hall was full. It was Huberman’s first concert, if I remember correctly, after a long break.[...] I don’t remember his playing very well, but I do remember that at the end the audience stood up and gave him a long standing ovation.

3 October

Baird writes his first work that will be written down. It is a piano piece reflecting his despair, helplessness and anger after the Germans captured Warsaw.

I saw grey-green columns marching through the empty streets from the Grochów borough towards the Poniatowski Bridge; at some point I realised that I heard music, that I had to write it down to express the horror and sadness I felt.


2–17 August

Within an extraordinarily short time Bartók, commissioned by Sacher, writes one of the most cheerful works in his career – Divertimento for chamber orchestra.

9 September

The poet Józef Czechowicz dies during a bombardment of Lublin. Baird wrote a cycle of songs to his poetry containing subtle catastrophic overtones.

Aleksander Tansman completes his Symphony No. 4 in Paris.