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Alexandre Desplat Winner of the 2nd Kilar Award

We are proud to announce the winner of the second edition of Kilar Award. The expert council unanimously decided to bestow this prestigious distinction upon a French composer, conductor, and an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and two times BAFTA winner – Alexandre Desplat, responsible for scoring King’s Speech, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Argo, The Imitation Game, Tree of Life, and over a 140 other motion pictures, including three films by Roman Polański. The composer will receive the Award at the 9th Krakow Film Music Festival, during his first ever visit to Poland.

The expert council, consisting of representatives of the most important Polish cultural institutions, unanimously decided to award the French composer – Alexandre Desplat. The Honorary Board of the Award, which was established by the mayors of Krakow and Katowice, is composed of the most prominent Polish artists: prof. Krzysztof Penderecki, Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polański and Krzysztof Zanussi.

We had no doubts. It’s a rare occurrence, that such a ersified body, representing different areas of culture and music industry, arrives at such a unanimous conclusion. Among the composers, that have been nominated for the Award by FMF, Alexandre Desplat was the obvious choice for everybody. His music is possessive of its own intricate dramaturgy, its carefully suited to the actors’ performances, it emphasizes their characters, adding a new dimension, while remaining classical, which points to an unprecedented sense of craft, says Robert Piaskowski, chairman of the Award’s Expert Council, and FMF Artistic Director.

Alexandre Desplat is one of the most prolific, and versatile composers of the European and global cinema.  After creating scores for over 50 films in Europe, he managed to break into Hollywood. His big break was the music for Peter Webber’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), which earned him a Golden Globe, BAFTA, and European Film Award nominations. He collaborated with such prominent filmmakers as Roman Polański, David Fincher, Wes Anderson, Tom Hooper, Stephen Frears, David Yates, Terence Malik, Philippe de Broca, Francis Girod. He scored over 140 films, including three films by Roman Polański – Carnage, Venus in Fur, and Ghost Writer.

Alexandre Desplat remains one of the most sought-after film music composers in the world. He has been nominated to numerous awards, including eight Oscars (twice in 2015, for Grand Budapest Hotel and Imitation Game), eight Golden Globes, seven BAFTAs, five Grammys, eight Caesars, ten World Soundtrack Awards, and two Polish Film Awards. He has won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, two BAFTAs and Grammys, three Caesars, a Silver Bear, two European Film Awards, five BMI Film Music Awards, and eight World Soundtrack Awards.

It is a great honor to be the winner of the Wojciech Kilar Award, a composer I have long admired, and who has influenced my work, as he has done for many composers of my generation, - wrote Desplat in response to Award Council’s decision. – I look forward to coming to Poland, for the first time, and being greeted with such honors. It will no doubt be a wonderful tribute to the great Roman Polanski, an artist and a man I cherish, admire, and that I am lucky to be able to call a friend.


The composer accepted the invitation to Poland. The Award ceremony will be held on May 24th 2016, in the National Polish Radio Symphonic Orchestra Hall in Katowice, during the Scoring4Polański concert, as a part of the 9th Krakow Film Music Festival. Desplat will also visit Krakow on May 25th. His music will be played during the Scoring4Polański galas, and during Animation Gala, in Tauron Arena Krakow, May 27th at 5 pm.


Along with the statuette and title, the winner gains the possibility of holding a recording session of their own music, using a string section of any orchestra from Silesia or Krakow, or to organize a full retrospective concert of their work, during the following edition of the festival.

The winner of the 1st Kilar Award in 2015 was Eliot Goldenthal, one of the most renowned film music composers in the world, Oscar, Golden Globe, and World Soundrack Award winner, who scored such films as Frida (2002), Titus Andronicus (1999), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Alien 3 (1992), and many others.


The Kilar Award is granted for the lifetime achievement, to the most unique and original composers. Artists nominated to the Award are loyal to the traditional art of composition, they create instrumentation independently, write pieces, that can stand on their own, and possess the ability to masterfully and creatively use the language of music, colour, tone and texture. The Award is presented to composers who, like Wojciech Kilar, treat film music as autonomous, giving it all the attention and focus. Composers who derive inspiration from folk music, and their national musical tradition, who put local style and identity above postmodern drive to globalize everything, including music. The criteria for choosing the Kilar Award nominees negate the film industry’s drive to industrialization of film music, and the primacy of artificial effects in film scores. Creating this award means taking a stand in the debate of clashing traditional way of composing, with its streamlined, business counterpart.

The reasons for establishing the Award are primarily nurturing the memory of Wojciech Kilar, signifying the importance of composer’s ethic in the interdisciplinary world of film, and denoting composers, who – just like Wojciech Kilar – are the unquestioned masters of this art form, as well as creating a strong image of Katowice and Krakow for the international film industry, and forming a strong cultural and cinematic collaboration between these two important cities.


The honorary patrons of the Kilar Award are some of Poland’s greatest filmmakers and musicians: Krzysztof Penderecki, Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polański, and Krzysztof Zanussi, and the Expert Council consist of: Daniel Cichy, Editor-in-Chief of Polish Music Publishing House; Mateusz Matyszkowicz, Director of TVP Kultura; Andrzej Kosowski, Director of the Dance and Music Institute; Magdalena Sroka, Director of the Polish Film Institute; Magdalena Wojewoda, RMF Classic Program Director; Robert Piaskowski, Chairman of the Expert Council, and Krakow Film Music Festival Artistic director; Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa, Director of Polish Radio Symphonic Orchestra; Piotr Zaczkowski, Director of Katowice City of Gardens.