Grzegorz Ciechowski

Grzegorz Ciechowski was one of the most-outstanding Polish musicians.
He was born on 29 August 1957 in Tczew, and died suddenly on 22 December 2001. During his school years, Ciechowski developed his musical and literary interests: he played the flute and the piano, performing – as a flute player – in a choir and in bands – Nocny Pociąg, and, since 1976, in Jazz Formation. He studied the Polish language at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. This is where he started his professional music career. He was the founder of the Toruń music band Republika – one of the most-important ensembles in the history of Polish music.

Author, composer, musician, vocalist, instrumentalist, flute player, producer. Ciechowski debuted in 1976 as a flute player in the Jazz Formation band. 18 months later he became a member of Res Publika, Jan Castor’s band, transformed by him in 1980 into Republika. The artistic activity of both bands began in a Toruń student club, Od Nowa.

After recording two extremely successful albums entitled Nowe sytuacje/New Situations and Nieustanne tango/Everlasting Tango, Republika quickly became immensely popular. The band was one of the driving forces behind the boom in rock music in Poland in the first half of the 1980s. Its influence is largely attributable to Ciechowski himself – the lead singer and the composer of almost all of the band’s songs. At that time, Republika was composed of Paweł Kuczyński, Zbigniew Krzywański, Sławomir Ciesielski and Grzegorz Ciechowski.

Since 1986 (after Republika had disbanded), he enjoyed great success while performing as Obywatel G.C. (Citizen G.C.) and recorded several albums, such as Obywatel G.C./Citizen G.C. and Tak, tak!/Yes, Yes!. As a composer and recording artiste performing under the alias of Grzegorz z Ciechowa (Grzegorz from Ciechów), he introduced Polish folk music into the pop-culture landscape.

He also contributed to the success and the production of albums by many Polish artistes, such as Kasia Kowalska, Justyna Steczkowska, Krzysztof Antkowiak and Katarzyna Groniec. He even wrote the lyrics to some of their songs under the pseudonym of Ewa Omernik.

Ciechowski was also the author of soundtracks to several films, including Stan strachu/State of Fear by Janusz Kijowski, a story about the historical events related to the introduction of martial law in December 1981. He also wrote the score to Moja Angelika/My Angelica by Stanisław Kuźnik, The Magic Brothers by Tomasz Magierski, a short film by Mariusz Wilczyński entitled Śmierć na 5/Death to Five and a German series entitled Schloss Pompon Rouge for the RTL television station.

Based on a novel by Ciechowski, in 1991 Roland Rowiński wrote the screenplay and directed a film entitled Obywatel świata/Citizen of the World – a picture about the longing for love that never came true. The cast included Jan Frycz, Toruń native Adrianna Biedrzyńska, Marek Kondrat, Mirosław Baka and others.

Shortly before his death, in 2001 Ciechowski composed the soundtrack for Wiedźmin/The Hexer – a fantasy film directed by Marek Brodzki, which was a screen adaptation of the iconic book series about the Hexer by Andrzej Sapkowski. The screenplay was created by Michał Szczerbic, and the leading role was played by Michał Żebrowski. For his compositions, Ciechowski posthumously received the Polish Film Award Eagle for Best Film Score in 2002.

On 22 December 2001, Grzegorz Ciechowski died unexpectedly at one of the hospitals in Warsaw. His death interrupted the work on many of his ideas. Numerous events aimed at cultivating the memory of this extraordinary musician are regularly held in Toruń.  A film created by a Director from Toruń, Ryszard Kruk, entitled Republika. Narodziny legendy/Republika. Birth of a Legend, premiered in 2017.

Selected filmography

1982 – „Koncert”/„Concert” dir. Michał Tarkowski
1989 – „Stan strachu”/„State of Fear” dir. Janusz Kijowski
1991 – „Obywatel świata”/„Citizen of the World” dir. Roland Rowiński
1992 – „The Magic Brothers” dir. Tomasz Magierski
1999 – „Moja Angelika”/„My Angelica” dir. Stanisław Kuźnik
2001 – „Wiedźmin”/„The Hexer”,  dir. Marek Brodzki
2002 – „Śmierć na 5″/„Death to Five” dir. Mariusz Wilczyński

Selected awards

Polish Film Awards: Eagle for Best Score for the music composed for Wiedźmin/The Hexer, etc.