Tekla Bądarzewska

* 1829 (Mława) 29.09.1861 (Warsaw) Poland
Fields of activity: composer, pianist
Author: Ewa Podogrocka

Tekla Badarzewska


»Her music is like a fairy tale from childhood«

Paweł Betley (musician)

Why I consider this woman to be an important person?

Tekla Bądarzewska was a pioneer; she launched a new kind of music with a light mass character, which was extracted from the classical music. Her work titled „Maiden’s Prayer." has been travelling around the world for 160 years. With a total edition of over one million copies of the composition. Many musical generations were brought up and educated their taste on this composition. It can be sung by every Japanese child. But, unfortunately, almost no one knows the composer’s name and his nationality. The times in which she lived did not accept women – composers. She was not appreciated but ridiculed during her life, forgotten after death; she deserves to find a proper place in the history of music. Her music beside beauty and simplicity contains patriotic elements, which was an act of courage in the Poland’s political situation.


Tekla Bądarzewska was born in Mława. About 1835, the family moved to Warsaw. No documents remained stating, in which the schools she studied. We can only guess that like most girls in those days, she attended the "girl’s school", where she studied French and was artistically educated. Perhaps under the care of the mother or some teacher she learned to play the piano. Her musical talent was noticed by her parents quite early. From the notes in the Warsaw newspapers of the time, we learn that as a young girl she amazed the audiences at the charity concerts with her talent, skills and outstanding piano playing. The first piece of music "Valse pour le piano forte" was composed when she was just 14 years old. In her short life she wrote about 40 compositions. Her greatest work "La priere d'une vierge” (“Maiden's Prayer.") was issued in 1851 (when she was about 20 years old).

This work was published in Warsaw in the years 1851-1853 many times, and since 1855 its international career started, first the publishing company Ed. Bote & G. Bock, in Berlin and Poznań, followed by other German cities. In 1858, the composition conquers Paris, then London, New York, Philadelphia, etc. An American composer wrote in 1860 the lyrics to the English version of "Maiden's Prayer." The work lived to see many different arrangements for all instruments and adaptations, among others by composer Edmond Missa (1880) "Ave Maria" dedicated to the Archbishop of Reims.

Our composer’s music occupies a unique place in the Far East. „The virgin’s Prayer” on Taiwan is a radio signal, at the Tokyo stations it precedes the announcement of the arrival of Shinkansen trains. Mr. Yukihisa Miyayama from distant Japan was so delighted by Tekla Bądarzewska’s music that for 20 years he has been collecting her works scattered all over the world. She was a person not only talented, but very brave and enterprising. She broke conventions. She dealt with the issuance and distribution of her own works.

In 1852 she married to Jan Baranowski, a civil servant, and gave birth to three daughters: Maria (1855), Bronisława (1856) and Janina (1857). The eldest daughter Maria Baranowska graduated from the Girl’s II High School in Warsaw in 1872, with a title of high school teacher. Bronislawa and Janina Baranowska were pupils of the Institute of Music in Warsaw and were school friends of Ignacy Paderewski. An interesting fact is that the Bądarzewska’s daughters were taught by Stanislaw Moniuszko himself.

Tekla died 29 September 1861 year. It is a difficult period for Warsaw and its residents (the time of terror after the January Uprising), No one knows what was the reason for the premature death of the composer. Tekla Bądarzewska - Baranowska was buried on the 1st of October 1861 at the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw.


  • Beata Michalec, Tekla z Bądarzewskich Baranowska, Ebkin Studio PR Warsaw 2012

  • Picture source: From private collection of Beaty Michalec the autor a book "Tekla z Bądarzewskich Baranowska autorka nieśmiertelnej La priere d'une vierge. Miejsca, czas i ludzie, ”Warszawa 2012, publischer; Ekbin Studio PR 2012, Rights: The consent to place photo obtained from Mrs. Beata Michalec and Mr. Rafał Krupa