Born 1957 in Kijany/Poland.
After attending elementary school of music and Music high school Piotr Radko studies music theory and composition at the College Of Music in Katowice with Edward Boguslawski.
From 1981 to 1989 he was assistant for music theory at the Silesian University in Katowice. At this time his compositions were already performed at all importand festivals of contemporary music in Warsaw, Katowice, Wroclaw, Gdansk and Szczecin.
He got important inspiration through the meetings with Witold Lutoslawski and Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki.
Since 1989 he has been living in Germany. First in Duisburg, later in Mülheim (Ruhr). Apart from his activity as a composer he teaches at different schools of music.
Piotr Radko got several awards, for example the first prize at the competition of the Polish Composer’s Federation (1981), the Music Award of the Katowice District (1989) and the second prize of the Polish Radio on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Polish Composer’s Federation. Additionally he was distinguished three times by the ZAiKS Federation, the Polish BMI or ASCAP. He was comissioned by the Polish Ministry of Culture and the Silesian Philharmonic concert hall Katowice. His works were performed in Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Russia, Sweden, Bulgaria, Japan and in the USA. His music was presented twice on a radio programme called “Workshop New Music” on the German radio channel WDR 3.
Piotr Radko is a member of the Polish Composer’s and German musicians’ Federation. He develops is compositions on the basis of selfdesigned scales the harmonies and melodies of which are typical stylistics devices. The effects of colors play a crucial role.
Characteristics of the work of Piotr Radko by Ryszard Gabryś
Piotr Radko builds and bases his aesthetic attitude and music on a deep respect for the European compositional heritage, especially fascinated by the late Romantic era and expressionism, especially with the then achievements in the field of harmonics, instrumentation, textural solutions and polyphonic and contrapuntal solutions.
In an individual way, on the basis of symphonic music, which is the domain of Piotr Radka’s activities, it is enough to mention “Trena”, both “Symphonies” or “Sinfonietta”, inspirations and models drawn from the achievements of such masters as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Richard Strauss, Max Reger, Gustav Mahler or Alexander Scriabin with full openness, to whom the “Cantilena” (2007) for symphony orchestra was dedicated, and to which he also leads an obvious vector in the “Poem of Expression” intended for a string orchestra (2008).
The first period of Arnold Schönberg’s work also sets an important point of reference for Radka. Radko undertakes their construction experiences subjectively also in chamber music, he is strongly interested in that compositional world and the ethos of works as a component and factor of the musical worldview of an artist much decades younger, already familiar with the aspirations and compositional procedures of both subsequent avant-garde and postmodern trends, but he does not identify with with one or the other historical route.
Despite the expressive, one would like to say: the romanticising tone, the drama, the sublime and pathos of the works, the composer cares about the accuracy of the form and – as he says – the “harmonic identity of the sound language”.
From the very beginning of his creative work, the artist’s ambition has been the maximum and logical use of the introduced harmonic-motif matter, the precision of narration in the scale of both microstructures and macro-forms, while the power of expression shaped in many directions in the course of evolutionary motivic metamorphoses and thematic starting points is not programmatically -literary, but it remains within the limits of the constructive rigor as “absolute” music, although we hear that this musical self-existence pulsates with rich, sub-textual spiritual messages, which could sometimes be – and would like – be easily defined by a word or title.
However, the author, faithful to himself, sticks to purely musical names, derived from professional terminology, avoiding “psychologizing” and “painting”, while trying to add and add his own, specific content as well as compositional, textural and formal ideas to the ranges delineated by traditions (including neo-stylistic ) symphony, instrumental concerto, sonata or variations. Being aware of the creative methods of Bela Bartók or Olivier Messiaen, as well as the searches of the late Scriabin – regardless of the musical genre and instrumental cast, Radko systematizes the sound matter (without going towards any “extra-note” sonoristic articulations) according to the three “base” scales used to form pions from structural particles to multi-note chords. These scales are also useful in building linear runs.
In the author’s printed commentary accompanying the premiere of “Cantilena” by the Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra, after pointing to Scriabin’s fascination with Chopin, and one could enrich the gallery of sources important for Radka by Szymanowski, who was enchanted at a certain stage by a Russian, we read a confession illuminating not only the “Cantilena”, but also some other key opuses by Piotr Radko; Namely, he emphasizes the maximum chromaticisation of the major-minor system and its surpassing, especially in the last piano sonatas, towards “bold and original harmonic solutions”, which, like Scriabin’s way of evolutionary development of sound structures and the palette of types of expression, constituted the mental and technological roots that defined the above-mentioned score, and it is undoubtedly a characteristic example of legible and recognizable not only analytically, but also auditory sound, characteristic of Radka, expressiveness and compositional syntax.
Musicological and theoretical works
Tradition and innovation in Piotr Radko's Piano Sonata No. 1
VII International Scientific Session “Piano music”, Gdańsk 1987