'The Pianist' Composer Wojciech Kilar Dies at 81

'The Pianist' Composer Wojciech Kilar Dies at 81

Kilar, who took part in the Roman Polanski's Oscar-winning movie, passes away in his hometown of Katowice, southern Poland following a long illness.
Polish composer Wojciech Kilar, who wrote music for "The Pianist" and "Dracula" among others, has passed away. The head of the Association of Polish Composers Jerzy Kornowicz told The Associated Press that Kilar died on Sunday, December 29 in his hometown of Katowice, southern Poland after a long illness. He was 81.

"The power and the message of his music, as well as the noble character of Wojciech Kilar as a person, will stay in my memory forever," Kornowicz said in a statement. Polish film director Kazimierz Kutz additionally said that working with Kilar "was pure pleasure. He would come, see my movie and a month later he would bring extremely good music that was always beyond my expectations."

Born on July 17, 1932, Kilar studied piano and composition in Poland. He attended the State Higher School of Music in Katowice and graduated with top honors in 1955. Kilar took part in 130 movies throughout his career. He worked with three influential directors in Poland, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Kieslowski, and Krzysztof Zanussi.

Kilar also collaborated with Roman Polanski in three titles, 1994's "Death and the Maiden", 1999's "The Ninth Gate" and 2003's "The Pianist". The composer received a BAFTA nomination in 2003 for his score in the latter movie which stars Adrien Brody. He additionally won best score composer award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 1992 for his work in Bram Stoker's "Dracula".

Kilar's wife of 40 years, Barbara, passed away in 2007. They had no children. Kilar will be buried in Katowice on Saturday after a mass which will take place at the Arch Cathedral of Christ the King.

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