Witold Małcużyński (August 10, 1914 – July 17, 1977) was a distinguished Polish pianist who specialized in the works of Frédéric Chopin. His playing was marked by great passion and poetry.
Małcużyński was born in 1914. He was the older brother of Karol Małcużyński, a Polish politician and journalist. He began playing piano at the age of 5, starting regular lessons four years later. Eventually, he studied at the Warsaw Conservatory. Originally, he intended to study law but switched to music, studying under Józef Turczyński. In 1936, he received an invitation to study under Marguerite Long and Isidor Philipp in Paris (France). He won the third prize at the Third International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1937. At the same time, he met his future wife, the French pianist Colette Gaveau.
The grave of Witold Małcużyński at Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw, Poland
When World War II began, he was in France. There, he joined the artistic-propaganda section of the Polish Army and visited military camps. After the capitulation of France, he and his newly wedded wife escaped in a sealed traincar to Portugal, where he met the conductor Grzegorz Fitelberg, who offered him a tournée in South America. Małcużyński went to Argentina in October 1940. In April 1942 he relocated to the United States. Essential to his American career was the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, who initially helped him with management issues. After the war, he moved to Switzerland.
He was a member of the jury of the International Chopin Competition in 1960 and 1970 and the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition (Belgium) in 1960.
He was conferred an Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. He died in 1977 in Majorca, Spain, and was buried in the Powązki Cemetery, Poland.