Xing for 2 conductors and ensemble (Weishaupt / Van Yperen / Score Collective)

Score available at Donemus Publishing (click)

In Chinese philosophy before the beginning of matter, there is just nothingness – such empty that for a human being it is not possible to imagine. From emptiness, borders are created (Xing) to make a form for perceivable emptiness (Wu). Some of the other meanings of Xing are: “new beginning”, “to wake up” or “to conduct”.

Form of the piece was inspired by the physical string theory in which collisions of gigantic string-shaped structures give birth to new universes operating with different dimensions and physical rules. In the piece, conductors deciding tempi of separate structures causes their meetings and beginnings of new small soundscapes.

The concept of connecting different elements to create something new in a secular ritual of logic and rhetoric reminds me of the one from the last novel by Hermann Hesse – The Glass Bead Game. In the last 90 seconds of music, the audience can hear a rhythmically morse-coded translation of his poem with the same title:

Hermann Hesse
The Glass Bead Game

We re-enact with reverent attention
The universal chord, the masters’ harmony,
Evoking in unsullied communion
Minds and times of highest sanctity.

We draw upon the iconography
Whose mystery is able to contain
The boundlessness, the storm of all existence,
Give chaos form, and hold our lives in rein.

The pattern sings like crystal constellations,
And when we tell our beads, we serve the whole,
And cannot be dislodged or misdirected,
Held in the orbit of the Cosmic Soul.

Composers' Festival 2019, BernardHaitinkzaal, Conservatorium van Amsterdam

Dedicated to theoretical physicist Edward Witten, a researcher in among others string theory, quantum gravity and supersymmetric quantum field theories.

Hypnagogia for vocal ensemble (Exaudi Vocal Ensemble)

Music score in PDF (click).

Written for Exaudi Vocal Ensemble conducted by James Weeks. Recording published by Donemus Records, available on all major streaming platforms.

Hypnagogia is a state of hallucination/illusion a human body experiences every night just before falling asleep; different visions, colours and shapes gradually leading us to the reality of dreams. This work, using the text asking questions about free will and chance, operates with different techniques like hocket and Shepard tones to achieve different aural illusions.

The poem with the same title is written in the sestina form: composed of six stanzas of six lines, followed by a stanza of three lines – “envoi”. There is no rhyme within the stanzas; instead, the sestina is structured throughout a recurrent pattern of the words that end each line, a technique known as “lexical repetition”. These words evolve together with the music of “Hypnagogia”, gradually changing their meaning and context, leading us to the dreamy moral of the work.

Dedicated to Alexander Tay.

Lyrics (Adam Łukawski):


Everyone and no one, all at the same time;
immortal – expanding through different paths.
Hypnotised by chaos – images from dreams
about an old flock of birds in an endless
play: The wisest shepherds make their final choice
In the most monstrous moonshine of illusion

A child looks with passion at the illusion,
At the magic shop losing his sense of time.
When he’s called away, a future disappears
butterflies vanish from the flourishing paths.
Seasons may change, but his longing stays endless,
Premonitions always remain at his dreams.

A man exhausts time accomplishing his dreams
As he gets further, avoiding illusion
becomes trickier. – “Era of an endless rain…”
– stop: he pressed a button in a hollow time.
In the labyrinth of the numerous paths
this task is as easy as Erwin’s cat’s choice

Intelligence. It takes little for a choice
to matter – it comes first in a lucid dream.
I see the Burning Giraffe converting paths
with Chinese herbs. Artificial illusion
becoming a symbol of idyllic times –
collective minds programming their perfect end.

I hope for a dark blue rose in an endless
repeat: Consciousness of an atomic choice.
Steampunk retrospection, sexual music,
as in some European drama movie
on hackers starting a government of souls,
obeying an independent script of fate.

The final speech in superposed code of fate:
Poetry nearing silence denies an end
at the most expected illumination.
Digital anarchy gives another chance
teaching us the newest most exciting cult:
Making new words to extend reality.

When on the right paths and within quantum time,
Fortune is endless. Dive in the illusion
of a free choice, shed for the goldfinch of dreams.

16 Fractals for 4 Ensembles: Fractal no 7 (Lucas Vis / Score Collective)

Score available at Donemus Publishing (click).

"Fractal no 7" is a part of a sixteen-part cycle, in which the underlying form principle of mathematical fractals leads to an infinite spiral. The composer considers the shape of these pieces as the imitation of our universe because the listener can only perceive a fragment of the whole structure. There are four groups on stage: a traditional wind quintet, a 'glass' quintet, and another percussive 'quintet'. Each group plays for itself and has little to no interaction with the other ensembles. The note material for all groups consists of sixteen elements that the composer returns according to self-imposed mathematical rules. Łukawski elaborates on techniques of limited aleatoricism and coordination technique developed by the American composers John Cage and Christian Wolff and his compatriot Witold Lutosławski. (Michel Khalifa)

Score Collective performed also Fractal no 12 (click to hear the recording) and Fractal no 13 (click to hear the recording).

To Plant Again, opera for 16 performers with sounding costumes, 2 music boxes and live electronics (Opera Forward Festival)

Music score in PDF (click).

Premiered during Opera Forward Festival, Amsterdam at Studio 2 of The Dutch National Opera & Ballet.

To Plant Again is a new opera inspired by albatross birds and their behaviour as a metaphor for human experiences of love, travel, finding their own paradise and longing. It is an opera about going far away in the hope to get closer. Speaking to emerging generations, the opera asks us what type of love we are searching for in a world peopled with strong, individual beings. To Plant Again has its roots in a collaborative production process that challenges the boundaries between artistic disciplines. Like its main character, the opera departs from traditions to seek new ones: the libretto avoids dialogue and there is no orchestra, the costumes of the performers instead become instruments themselves. Here choreography has become the composition as music and movement depend on one another like two albatrosses who have fallen in love.

Composition: Adam Łukawski
Direction & Lighting: Erasmus Mackenna
Scenography & Costume: Paul Boereboom
Dramaturgy: James Whiting
Production Leader: Floor Ofner
Movement Advice: Lucie Rutten
Sound Consultant: Jordy Zoet

Bas Ammerlaan
Bitha Babazadeh
Alidtcha Binazon
Gijs De Corte
Julia Diepstraten
Gita Rebeka Dirveika
Lina Heijmans
Maarten Krijger
Ariel Lee
Natalia Pérez Rodriquez
Judith Schrijver
Jessica Stakenburg
Judit Subirana Muntada
Ben Tian
Meike Weima
Juncai Zhang

Humors for saxophone quartet (Maat Saxophone Quartet)

Score available at Donemus Publishing (click).

Commissioned by Maat Saxophone Quartet.

The title of the piece refers to the ancient proto-medical theory of temperaments in which 4 types of fluids/personalities were reasons for different behaviours in humans. In the work there are 4 characters: sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic and melancholic - each of them playing at their own tempo. They follow each other, by constantly changing the leader, in order to be able to keep the musical work (here: metaphor of the human psyche and body kept in balance) going.

Loops for augmented reality ensemble (Sam Weller / Score Collective)

The piece is inspired with an infinite mirrors effect which occurs when two mirrors are placed against each creating an effect of an infinite tunnel.

Composition and concept: Adam Łukawski
Videographer: Jakub Sałyga
Performance: Sam Weller (conductor) and Score Collective

Speech of Avenice, music theatre for voice, blockflutes, live electronics and lights (Hetherington / Myllyla / Matos)

Commissioned by Gesti Festival Amsterdam.

voice - Elisabeth Hetherington
blockflutes - Juho Myllyla
live electronics - Dennis Matos

A fictional story takes place in the future utopia society in which every, even small human action is directly interpreted as an artistic manifestation. Piece belongs to an open cycle called “Lella” (in sanskrit it means a way of describing all reality, including the cosmos, as the outcome of a creative play). All melodies used in “Speech of Avenice” belong to the character of Avenice and have their corresponding melodies in the super-formula of the cycle - piano piece “Lella”. Avenice is the character who is curious and adventurous. She’s creating the artistic atmosphere around herself. She’s intuitive and it seems that when everybody is trying to achieve a certain level of the artistic satisfaction, she doesn’t care, because she is just playing the game. The piece is a conversation between Avenice (soprano) and symbolic Source of the Answers (blockflutes) with the background of the Eternal Echo (live electronics).

performance: 17th of December 2016
Gesti Festival at Splendor, Amsterdam

Recording courtesy of the Gesti Festival.
Recorded by VIDEOTAPE: Carlo Diaz and Simon Knighton (

Score available at Donemus Publishing (click).

The Moth for 2 grand pianos and animation (Kyle Nash-Baker / Ugne Vazgileviciute)

In "The Moth", the audience is presented with a mystery dotted shape on which an image of a giant moth is being drawn (a form of the piece). Each dot is a symbol of a different set of pitches and The Moth is a way of a graphic representation of the 12-tone-system. It can be read both vertically and horizontally. If followed from left to right - the amount of dots in a column tells you how many scales you can build using just this interval, for example, the minor second gives us 1 chromatic scale, the major second gives us 2 whole tone scales, etc. Performers are challenged by playing in strict coordination, yet aleatoric - performing the harmonic material at the same time as it's being drawn on the video. Extended use of the sostenuto pedal for both pianists creates an image of additional sound layers.

composition: Adam Łukawski
visual imagery: Julia Szczygielska
performance: Kyle Nash-Baker & Ugne Vazgileviciute

Milton Court Concert Hall, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London, UK

Trappist-1 for midi-organ, tape and giant poster (Orgelpark, Amsterdam)

On the 22nd of February 2017, during the conference at NASA, astronomers from the TRAPPIST team announced an incredible news – seven terrestrial planets of a size very close to the Earth were discovered orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star “Trappist-1”. All of them could possess water and three of them are located in the habitable area. The collaboration of Adam Łukawski (composer) and Julia Borzucka (visual artist) was established to convey an artistic greeting from the homo-sapiens species to the new system and civilizations possibly living there.

The sound is the same as the graphic, the graphic is the same as sound - the MIDI piano roll resembles its graphic interpretation very closely. Enormous, 12m long poster is a living, literal interpretation of the electronic score and it can be followed by the public as a score. Seven short parts of the piece present a story about the new system. If you are curious to understand better what is really happening here, check out these two behind-the-scenes videos:
1. A MIDI file of that score alone: Link.
2. My recording from the rehearsal showing the working organ: Link.

composition and concept: Adam Łukawski
poster: Julia Borzucka (
technical support: Trevor Grahl & Sonja Duimel, Orgelpark, Amsterdam

Article about the artwork available also on an official website of TRAPPIST-1 system (click).

Abrahadabra for midi-organ (Orgelpark, Amsterdam)

In the XXth Century Aleister Crowley changed the popular, esoteric term „Abracadabra” into „Abrahadabra”. Just one letter difference made the kabalistic calculations symmetrical and thanks to this, word that initiates the magic gained it’s real power in the rituals. Air-pressure and register change controlled constantly by the computer in the midi-organ piece made for the instrument playing itself causes a special effect - magical title is not what you hear from the notes itself, but from the overtones floating around the concert hall made by sometimes almost not hearable actual notes of the organ with their register changes - these, transformed into waves of sound create the effect of three layers in the piece: percussive (symbol of subconsiousness), waves of the modulated sound of the organ (consciousness) and overtones over the general sound (magical superconsciousness).

Ikigai for 2 performers and Disklavier (Yu / Łukawski)

Performed at the Muziekhuis Utrecht in a concert of Stichting Conlon/ Gaudeamus as a result presentation of artistic residency in the building.

Performers: Chonglian Yu and Adam Łukawski

Ikigai is a Japanese word meaning “the reason for being”. The concept for this work, existing in 36525 different rhythmical and harmonic versions using different figures built on Shepard tones depending on the date of the performance originated with an idea included in an ancient archetype of a spinning wheel - showing a metaphor of limitations in the human and mechanical performances by presenting them both together. With this work, I would like to ask the question about the role of machines in modern society, especially with the rise of AI technology giving us access to limitless new possibilities.

Version: 21.12.19

Concertino for piano, strings and percussion (UFM Composers Forum, Warsaw)

Score available at Donemus Publishing (click).

Chamber Orchestra conducted by Grzegorz Dąbrowski
Piano: Adam Łukawski

Year of composition: 2013

Violin I (min. 6)
Violin II (min. 4)
Viola (min. 3)
Violoncello (min. 3)
Double Bass (min. 2)
Snare Drum
Gran Cassa