Thaddeus Kozuch Biography
Polish-American Thaddeus Kozuch was born on March 5th, 1913 in Chicago. During his childhood and teenage years the young Thaddeus became known in the Polish community and Chicago musical circles as a pianistic phenomenon whose talents were worthy of being closely followed. Piano recitals and performances as a young man were often highlighted in Chicago community news articles.
In 1932 Kozuch entered the Chicago Musical College and won, each year, a full scholarship until he received his degree in 1936. When Dr. Glenn Dillard Gunn left the college in 1934, Kozuch became a pupil of Rudolph Ganz, internationally famed pianist, and under his great teaching the dashing talent of this Polish boy matured into first-rate musicianship. He received a beloved accolade "to the brilliant young pianist and musician Thaddeus Kozuch with every good wish from his friend and teacher Rudolph Ganz" when he set forth upon his career several years after graduation from the CMC.
In 1939 Kozuch competed against 30 pianists in a contest conducted by the Adult Education Council in collaboration with the Society of American Musicians, winning first prize and the privilege of a performance at Orchestra Hall in Chicago in a 1940 weekly series, along with some of the great pianists of the day, including Gitta Gradova, Rudolph Serkin, Walter Gieseking, Artur Rubinstein, and Alexander Brailowsky. This award recognized that Thaddeus Kozuch had achieved the highest ranks of piano performance, and with this success launched his professional career.
During the years of WW-II (1944-1945), Kozuch was a US Army soldier stationed in England. An officer heard him practicing in the barracks one day, and quickly diverted his talents to play for wounded soldiers in hospitals. Instead of storming the beach at Normandy, where 75% of his fellow troops perished, Kozuch survived as an entertainer for the war's duration, performing solo piano recitals and concerts with orchestras, choirs, and vocal soloists.
Before and after the war he performed at Orchestra Hall with the Chicago Symphony and with a number of other orchestras. His teaching career included faculty positions at the YMCA College, Chicago Musical College, Drake University, Northwestern University, MaryCrest College as piano department chairman, as well as piano department chairman for over 25 years at DePaul University, from which Professor Kozuch retired in 1979. Thaddeus Kozuch died at the age of 78 years old on October 5, 1991.