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Academy Award-Winning Composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek Dies At 71



Jan A.P. Kaczmarek from tribute post on Aleksander Dębicz twitter

Academy Award-winning Polish composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, who was best known for his award-winning score for “Finding Neverland” in 2005, passed away this week after battling multiple system atrophy at the age of 71.

Growing up, Kaczmarek did not plan to become a composer. Instead, he studied law and graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland with a law degree, specializing in legal theory and philosophy of law.

In the late 1970s, Jan began playing with avant-garde ensembles, composing for experimental theater, and founding The Orchestra of the Eighth Day. The orchestra featured two musicians, one of whom was Kaczmarek, playing an unusual stringed instrument called Fischer’s fidola.

After touring with TOED, Jan moved to the United States, where he began composing music for films and plays. In 1992, Kaczmarek won a Drama Desk Award for his music for the New York Shakespeare Festival’s performance of “Tis Pity She’s a Whore.”

Jan composed music for several films, including “Total Eclipse,” “Bliss,” “Washington Square,” “Lost Souls,” “The Visitor,” “Get Low,” and “Paul, Apostle of Christ.”

In 2005, Kaczmarek composed the score for “Finding Neverland,” which helped narrate the story by infusing emotions to enhance the overall feel of the film, capturing the emotional peaks and valleys of the narrative.

In addition to his Oscar, Jan also won the National Board of Review Award for “Finding Neverland.” Kaczmarek also founded the Instytut Rozbitek, inspired by the Sundance Institute, to nurture new talents in filmmaking, theater, and composition.

Several tributes to Kaczmarek have been posted to social media following the news of his passing.

Rest in peace!

Jan A.P. Kaczmarek from tribute post on Aleksander Dębicz twitter
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