Mateusz Watroba

Mateusz Watroba I was born in Częstochowa, Poland on the 18th of August, 1971. Looking back from now, I realize that I had a very happy childhood and my parents are really great people.

In 1981, I was bought my first piano by my grandmother, who wanted me to become a concert pianist. In September 1981, I began to attend a music school in Częstochowa. Unfortunately, I had not enough determination to practise, practise, and practise playing the piano. Maybe I was too young at that time to understand what could be given to me by a decent musical education.

The fact is that I broke up with taking regular piano lessons at the age of 11, and, since then, I have become a self-learning pianist. My performance is far from perfection. As far as the British system of musical education is concerned, I can play some pieces at grade 6 now. Since I broke up with regular piano lessons, I have pursuited my musical interests mainly as a hobby.

As for my musical preferences, I have always been independent. In general, I am not a kind of a conformist, and it was the same with music. I saw no reasons why I should listen to that noise called "music" by my classmates. I have chosen my own way. What I have always liked best is Vienna waltz, early Argentinian tango, traditional jazz, military marches, and, of course, ragtime.

My first contact with the word "ragtime" was in 1983, when my father entered my room and said: "I have something for you to listen to. I think you will like it". The melody was so great that I was flabbergasted, despite the fact that I did not know the title. For many years, I titled it "Ragtime" in my thoughts. Finally, it turned out to be "Grace and Beauty" by James Scott.

My interest for ragtime flared in 1991, when I was in London and I came to HMV record shop. If you have never been brought up in a "musical desert" like Poland, you can in no way imagine the feelings I felt in HMV. In 1991, I bought the collection of Scott Joplin's music and the "Spanish Suite" by Albeniz. Although I had composed some music before 1991, after that year, ragtime became the mainstream of my output.

From the professional point of view, I graduated in medicine, but I work as a university teacher. I teach pathophysiology to third-year medical students in Warsaw. I am 32 now (January 2004), and the thought that has kept me straight through the most difficult years of my life is as follows: "The only thing that makes life bearable is awareness that you can give it up any time you want".

Mateusz Watroba

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