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Jan A. P. Kaczmarek

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Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Kaczmarek in 2011
Jan Andrzej Paweł Kaczmarek

(1953-04-29)29 April 1953
Died21 May 2024(2024-05-21) (aged 71)
Kraków, Poland
Alma materAdam Mickiewicz University
(M.Jur., 1977)
Years active1977–2024
Elżbieta Bieluszko
(m. 1977; div. 2014)
Aleksandra Twardowska
(m. 2016)

Jan Andrzej Paweł Kaczmarek (Polish: [jan ˈandʐɛj ˈpavɛw kat͡ʂˈmarɛk]; 29 April 1953 – 21 May 2024) was a Polish composer. He wrote scores for more than 70 feature films and documentaries, including Finding Neverland (2004), for which he won an Oscar and a National Board of Review Award. Other notable scores were for Hachi: A Dog's Tale, Unfaithful, Evening, The Visitor, and Washington Square.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek was born in 1953 in Konin, Poland.[1][2] Studying music from an early age, he graduated with a law degree, specializing in legal theory and philosophy of law, from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (1977).[3]


In the late 1970s, Kaczmarek started working with Jerzy Grotowski and his innovative Theater Laboratory.[1][4] He created the Orchestra of the Eighth Day in 1977. He recorded his first album, Music for the End (1982), for the United States (US) company Flying Fish Records.[1]

In 1989, Kaczmarek moved to Los Angeles, California in the US. In 1992 he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a Play for his incidental music for 'Tis Pity She's a Whore.[1] His music has been released by Sony Classical, Decca, Varèse Sarabande, Verve, Epic, Milan, and Savitor Records. He gave concerts in the United States and Europe.[1]

In 2005, Kaczmarek received the Academy Award for Best Original Score for Finding Neverland, directed by Marc Forster, on which he had worked with music editor Christopher Kennedy, among others. Kaczmarek also won the National Board of Review award for Best Score of the Year and was nominated for a Golden Globe and the BAFTA's Anthony Asquith Award for Achievement in Film Music.[1][5]

In addition to his work in films, Kaczmarek was commissioned to write two symphonic and choral pieces for two important national occasions in Poland: Cantata for Freedom (2005) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Solidarity movement, and Oratorio 1956 (2006) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a bloody uprising against totalitarian government in Poznań, Poland. Both premieres were broadcast live on Polish national television. Other concert works of the composer include Jankiel's Concert, The Open Window and Fanfare A2. On 10 May 2014, the world premiere of Universa – Open Opera, an opera written for the 650th anniversary of the Jagiellonian University, was held in Kraków's Main Square. Jan's last monumental work, Emigra – The Neverending Symphony, was performed in February 2017 in Gdynia, Poland.[6][failed verification]

Kaczmarek was a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, European Film Academy and Polish Film Academy.[1]

In 2007, Kaczmarek began working to set up a film institute in his home country of Poland. Inspired by the Sundance Institute, he intended for the new institute to serve as a European center for the development of new work in film, theater, music and new media. His Instytut Rozbitek (Rozbitek Institute) opened in 2005.[7]

On 1 July 2015, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for his outstanding artistic accomplishments and for promoting Polish culture abroad.[8]

Kaczmarek was the founder and director of the Transatlantyk Festival, held yearly in Łódź, Poland.[9]

In 2023, he received the Lifetime Achievement Polish Film Award for his contribution to Polish cinema.[10]

Illness and death[edit]

In 2023, Jan's daughter stated that Kaczmarek was suffering from multiple system atrophy, for which there is no cure.[11] He died in Kraków on 21 May 2024, at the age of 71.[12][13]



Year Title
1993 White Marriage
1994 Gospel According to Harry
Dead Girl
1995 Total Eclipse
1996 Bliss
1997 Washington Square
1999 Aimée & Jaguar
The Third Miracle
2000 Lost Souls
2001 Quo Vadis
Edges of the Lord
2002 Unfaithful
2004 Finding Neverland
2006 Who Never Lived
2007 The Visitor
2008 The Karamazovs
2009 Horsemen
City Island
Get Low
Hachiko: A Dog's Story
2010 Leonie
2012 The Time Being
2013 Tajemnica Westerplatte
2013 Joanna
2014 Inbetween Worlds
2014 Dancing Before the Enemy: How a Teenage Boy Fooled the Nazis and Lived
2016 La Habitación (Tales of Mexico)
2018 Paul, Apostle of Christ
2019 Valley of the Gods
2019 Underage Engineers
2020 Magnezja


Year Title
1993 Night Owl
Empty Cradle
2001 Shot in the Heart
2002 A Soldier's Girl
2006 A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story
2007 War and Peace
2008 Pinocchio
2009 The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Film Result
2004 National Board of Review Awards Outstanding Film Music Composition Finding Neverland Won
2005 Academy Awards Best Original Score Won
British Academy Film Awards Best Original Music Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Original Score Nominated
2009 Czech Lion Awards Best Music The Karamazovs Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Jan A.P. Kaczmarek". culture.pl. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Jan A.P. Kaczmarek Dies: Oscar-Winning 'Finding Neverland' Composer Was 71". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 21 May 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Zygmunt Ziembiński stał się legendą za życia. Jego imieniem nazwą salę w Collegium Iuridicum Novum". Głos Wielkopolski (in Polish). 18 May 2013. Archived from the original on 11 August 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  4. ^ "An evening at the phone with Jan A. P. Kaczmarek". BSOSpirit. Retrieved 21 May 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Jan A. P. Kaczmarek – film composer". mfiles. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Jan A.P. Kaczmarek". RMF (in Polish). Archived from the original on 21 September 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Instytut "Rozbitek" rozpoczął działaność". Filmweb (in Polish). 3 September 2005. Archived from the original on 21 May 2024. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  8. ^ "Odznaczenia dla twórców i mecenasów kultury". President of the Republic of Poland (official) (in Polish). 1 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Nowy multimedialny festiwal Transatlantyk". Polityka (in Polish). 12 August 2011. Archived from the original on 9 October 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Orły 2023: Jan A. P. Kaczmarek z nagrodą za osiągnięcia życia". Interia Film (in Polish). 1 March 2023. Archived from the original on 5 March 2023. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  11. ^ "Polish Film Academy honours Oscar-winning composer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek". Polskie Radio. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  12. ^ "Renowned composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek passes away at 71". Polskie Radio. Archived from the original on 21 May 2024. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  13. ^ "Polish Composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, Oscar Winner for 'Finding Neverland,' Dies at 71". Variety. 21 May 2024. Archived from the original on 22 May 2024. Retrieved 21 May 2024.

External links[edit]