Baird composes new pieces for piano and violin as well as songs.

During the occupation period I wrote a number of piano works, works for violin and piano, and songs (nothing has survived); as time went by I was becoming more and more interested in composing. Yet I was diligently doing my piano exercises, still seeing piano as my main goal. It wasn’t clear whether I’d be a composer or a performer, but there was no doubt that music would be my profession.

Twelve-year-old Baird in front of his house



Béla Bartók leaves the Nazi Hungary and goes to the USA, where he begins working at the Curtis Institute of Music.

7 November

Premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony in C, one of his clearest neo-classical works, in Chicago. The work, each part of which was written in a different place (from Paris to Hollywood), is an example of art independent of the artist’s life.


Tadeusz Baird begins piano lessons with Tadeusz Wituski. At that time he also has the first composition lessons with Bolesław Woytowicz. The lessons took place at the House of Art, an art cafe run by Woytowicz in Nowy Świat Street. Young Baird was also becoming familiar with musical literature, attending concerts given in private homes.

It may have been in 1941, when my father, who wasn’t put off from active music making even by the war and occupation, which didn’t weaken his musical needs and passions, took me to Professor Woytowicz’s cafe. So we went there together and I remember my father booking table no. 49 in this cafe once and for all. The advantage of the table was that it was right next to a big, tile stove, so we could hope that it wouldn’t be too cold in autumn or winter. Let’s bear in mind that most guests sat in their overcoats during concerts or recitals. This table, number 49, was our table until 1944, I think. I learned there more works of the greatest musical literature – piano and chamber music – of all periods than ever before or after.

13-year-old Tadeusz Baird


15 January

Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time is premiered in Stalag VIII A in Görlitz.

29 June

Ignacy Jan Paderewski dies in New York.


Dmitri Shostakovich finishes his Symphony No. 7. Whether it was begun already after the German invasion of the USSR or earlier is a question still discussed by musicologists.


Edward Baird becomes involved in the work of the clandestine Department of Agriculture of the Government Delegation for Poland. The department prepared plans for agriculture in post-war Poland. Baird’s father’s involvement in the work of the government in exile caused his subsequent problems in the Stalinist period.


Sergei Prokofiev writes his Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 83, the most concise and dramatic of the three sonatas he composed during the war.

Arnold Schönberg writes his strictly dodecaphonic Piano Concerto, Op. 42.

Paul Hindemith composes a cycle of piano works – Ludus tonalis – comprising 12 fugues, 11 interludes, a prelude and a postlude, drawing on Johann Sebastian Bach’s polyphonic tradition.


Baird begins music theory lessons with Kazimierz Sikorski at the Municipal Conservatory in Okólnik Street.


8 October

Bartók finishes writing his Concerto for Orchestra, a masterpiece that will inspire many 20th century composers, including, Witold Lutosławski, Grażyna Bacewicz and Tadeusz Baird. It contains a quote from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7.

4 November

Premiere of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8 completed in the summer that year.



Baird receives his “certificate of secondary education”.


During the Warsaw Uprising the sixteen-year-old Baird remains in Saska Kępa. After the fall of the Uprising he is deported to a camp in Zakroczym and then to Germany.


In Germany Tadeusz Baird works as a farm hand in Emsdetten.

I was bought from the representatives of the German Arbeitsamt [...] by a German, more or less 55 or 60 years old, who, urging us as if we were the cattle he’d just bought, told us to get into the carriage. We were driven for something like 3 hours, [...] to a very large farm near the town of Emsdetten, half way between Reine and Münster. The gentleman who bought us owned a large, over 100-hectare farm; what’s worse, as it turned out later he was the local Parteiführer, i.e. head of the village, peasant Nazi party cell. And this man became my owner for a while, a man [...] who could decide whether I’d live or die.

At that time Edward Baird reaches Kraków, where he meets Józefa Ciechomska, with whom he starts a relationship, having no information about his wife’s fate.


Tadeusz Baird is sent to work on building defence fortifications on the German-Dutch border. After attempting to escape, he is arrested by the Gestapo and sent to a branch of the Neuengamme concentration camp – first in Soest and then in Gladbeck-Zweckel.


18 January

The Metropolitan Opera hosts the first jazz concert featuring artists like Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldrige and Jack Teagarden.


Sergei Prokofiev composes the opera War and Peace.

Messian writes his huge piano cycle Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus.


1 April

The Gladbeck camp is liberated by the American troops. Tadeusz Baird, emaciated, is now free.

Edward Baird returns to work at the Ministry of Agriculture.


Tadeusz Baird is taken to hospital in Zweckel.


Having recovered, Baird is sent to a DP camp in Emmerich. This is where he finds his mother. While waiting to be sent back to Poland, he sets up a club, a musical library and musical ensemble, which gives about 65 concerts for the camp community. At the same time he self-studies the principles of music, harmony, and musical literature from German textbooks.


7 June

Premiere of Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes in London.

15 September

In Mittersill, an American soldier accidentally kills Anton Webern, one of the exponents of the so-called Second Viennese School and inventor of pointillism.

26 September

Bartók dies in New York, leaving two unfinished pieces: Piano Concerto No. 3 and Concerto for Viola.



Baird begins working as a teacher of theoretical music subjects in a temporary conservatory in the town of Kagel near Hagen. He also performs as a pianist, although the osseous tuberculosis he contracted in the camp has weakened his right hand.


Tadeusz Baird returns to Poland with his mother and continues his composition studies.


17 August

Premiere of Arthur Honegger’s Symphony No. 3, known as Symphonie Liturgique. According to a comment provided by the composer himself, the work expresses wartime experiences and longing for peace.


Stravinsky writes Ebony Concerto (for clarinet and small orchestra), which reflects the Russian composer’s jazz fascinations.

Pierre Boulez composes Piano Sonata No. 1. This short, two-part piece is Boulez’s first dodecaphonic composition.


Baird is entered in the student register at the State School of Music in Warsaw, where he begins to study composition, first with Piotr Rytel and then with Piotr Perkowski.

Application for admission to the State School of Music in Warsaw


26 September

Witold Lutosławski composes Symphony No. 1, the first drafts of which were written already during the war. Initially successful, it is pronounced to be a formalist work and is not performed for a long time.

Bacewicz writes her Concerto for String Orchestra, one of her most successful neo-classical (neo-Baroque) works.

In his Lullaby, a piece composed that year, Andrzej Panufnik uses quarter tones.

Arnold Schönberg composes an expressionist poem, A Survivor from Warsaw, to a text written by the composer himself.


10 April

Baird passes his final exams at the General Jasiński High School in Warsaw.

Baird's maturity certificateBaird's maturity certificate

1 October

Baird begins his musicology studies at the University of Warsaw. Although it quickly turns out that the composer is bored by the theoretical approach to music, many years later he will have fond memories of his university lectures.


Andrzej Panufnik writes his first symphony, entitled Sinfonia Rustica.

Pierre Boulez finishes writing Piano Sonata No. 2, which will earn him the reputation of a leading avant-gardist. The work poses a great technical and intellectual challenge to the pianist.



Baird is invited to work with the Youth Club of the Polish Composers’ Union.


Baird writes his Sinfonietta, which will be performed during the National Congress of Composers and Music Critics in Łagów Lubuski.

5-8 August

Baird takes part in the Congress of Composers and Music Critics in Łagów Lubuski. This is where Group 49 is established.

Invitation to the Congress of Composers and Music Critics in Łagów Lubuski

6 November

Baird becomes a member of the Polish Composers’ Union.


15 December

Premiere of Shostakovich’s oratorio Song of the Forests. The work was inspired by party officials and enabled Shostakovich to survive yet another difficult period. It is an example of a simplified, “accessible” style.

Messiaen composes his etude for piano Modes de valeurs et d’intensite, in which serialisation applies not only to pitches, but also to rhythmic values, ways of articulation and dynamics (36 pitches, 24 rhythmic values, 12 kinds of articulation and 7 dynamic markings). The work heralds the so-called tonal serialism and will become a point of reference for composers participating in the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music.