The Ogiński Dynasty
Prince Michał Kleofas Ogiński (1765 - 1833) was the father of the Polish pianistic tradition. As the inventor of the Polonaise and the Mazurka for piano, designed for listening rather than dancing to, he was a primary influence on the methodology of the young Chopin, who took the form to the great heights that we all know today. A career statesman, patriot and warrior of the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, he treated music purely as a hobby, yet his Polonaise “Farewell to the Fatherland” remains to this day perhaps the best-known and loved piece of music in all the Slav lands and in what was ancient Lithuania.
Ogiński is also at the head of a Dynasty which has produced published composers and performing artists with every generation to the present day. This remarkable music gene often passes through the female line, so although the Ogiński name is now extinct, the gene lives on in the Załuski, Ostaszewski, Zielinski and Seilern families, now spread out all over Europe. Since the fall of Communism, their compositions are now being rediscovered, recorded and published.