Autobiography for 2019
Grzegorz Tomaszewski , a psychologist, has paved the way to creative treatment of the zither and made a specific domain of the zither in the musical landscape of Poland. He is able to promote the uniqueness and „exoticism” of the zither in Poland as a peculiar cultural and musical value. Tomaszewski took interest in zither in 1982; it was the time when many intellectuals looked for his/her personal independent microcosm. In the beginning, he played an accord zither. Thanks to participation at the Meeting of Zither Players in Vienna in 2000, the concert zither has also aroused his interest. In 2010, he began to play on Hungarian zither and Fidola Fischer, the last one was modified by him. His public concerts are combined with a presentation of the zithers and a talk about their history and have somotimes an international character. Nowadays, there are four kinds of the zither in his creative workshop. Tomaszewski plays zither using sometimes one or even two bows, this technique appears also in his compositions. The bowing seems to be, in my opinion, not only a search for alternative technique of the play on zither, but also an echo of the traditional music practice on chordophones in Poland, where the plucking technique is generally lacking in the folk music practice.
Grzegorz Tomaszewski treats the zither both as a medium and vehicle for his artistic and sonic imagination and, by the way, as an expression of his cultural disagreement, even contestation, facing the mainstream of pop music.
In his artistic output, we can discern three inspirations seen and heard on his CDs. The first, also chronologically, is the traditional, folk repertoire of Polish heritage, especially from the western regions (Wielkopolska, Pałuki, Kujawy), songs and instrumental pieces performed originally by peasants and recorded since 1950s by professional ethnomusicologists (Barbara Krzyżaniak, Jadwiga and Marian Sobieski). This repertoire is partly connected with a place of living of Grzegorz Tomaszewski (town Wągrowiec in Wielkopolska) and he finds a support of local cultural institution. Tomaszewski plays arrangements of folk melodies solo or in quartett consisting of zither, vibraphon, contrabass, guitar. Thus the zither with its peculiar sound image contributes to the regional, local culture identity in district Wągrowiec (northwards of Poznań.). The second inspirational current is the classical music including works (small forms) of F. Chopin. The third domain is his personal artistic realm full of subtle lyrism, melancholy, meditation.
Prof. dr hab. Piotr Dahlig