Danuta Gwizdalanka is a musicologist and music critic. She studied musicology (diploma in 1980) and English (diploma in 1981) at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, where in 1990 she gained her doctorate based on a dissertation dealing with Beethoven’s string quartets (supervised by Jan Stęszewski). Between 1981 and 1991 she taught music history and related subjects at Bydgoszcz Music Academy (research and teaching assistant from 1981, assistant professor in 1991), and from 1979 to 1984 she also worked in the literary department of Poznań opera house. She has delivered papers to academic conferences in Cracow, Bydgoszcz, Poznań, Warsaw, Düsseldorf and elsewhere. Since 1991 she has worked in music journalism and musicological letters. In 1995 she gave a series of lectures on Polish music after 1945 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Since 2020 she has presented the programme ‘The golden age of chamber music’ on Polish Radio Chopin. She has been decorated by the Lutosławski Society with a medal for her outstanding contribution to research into the composer’s work (2004) and with the Lutosławski Centenary Medal (2013). In 2021 she received a Coryphaeus of Polish Music Award for her book Uwodziciel. Rzecz o Karolu Szymanowskim [Seducer: on Karol Szymanowski].
Gwizdalanka’s extensive and multi-faceted work includes musicological essays, books of an interdisciplinary character, works in the field of music lexicography, journalistic articles, works of a popularising character and textbooks. In her works written between 2010 and 2023, Gwizdalanka has continued to pursue her research interests linked to the history of music in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She addresses issues relating to musical life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the book Złoty wiek muzyki kameralnej [The golden age of chamber music]; she has also written monographs of the life and work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Maria Szymanowska. The book Mieczysław Wajnberg. Kompozytor z trzech światów [Mieczysław Weinberg: a composer from three worlds], published in Poznań in 2013, is the first Polish monograph of Weinberg’s music. In her voluminous monograph of Karol Szymanowski (Uwodziciel, 2021), in five parts and 16 chapters, she discusses new issues – not comprehensively explored to date – relating to the composer’s life and work. She describes Szymanowski’s biography in its historical and cultural context, stressing the composer’s relationships with his family, friends and collaborators, portrays his personality and presents the results of new research into his music and its reception in Poland and around the world.