Poland's preeminent contemporary film composer, Zbigniew Preisner
was born May 20, 1955 in Bielsko-Biala; while studying history and philosophy at the University of Cracow he began writing music, and in 1981 scored his first picture, Antoni Krauze's Prognoza pogody. Krauze introduced Preisner
to filmmaker Krzystof Kieslowski, with whom he enjoyed his most fruitful collaboration; beginning with 1985's Bez konca, the two worked together on a series of projects including the 1987 television miniseries Dekalog and the 1991 feature La Double vie de Véronique which brought them both international acclaim. The latter picture introduced Preisner
's musical alter ego Van den Budenmayer, a fictitious Dutch composer whose "work" surfaced in subsequent projects. 1991 also saw Preisner
step outside Eastern Europe to work with Brazil's Hector Babenco on At Play in the Fields of the Lord; he subsequently worked with filmmakers including Louis Malle
(Damage) and Agnieszka Holland (Olivier, Olivier and The Secret Garden. In 1993 he reunited with Kieslowski for Bleu, the first chapter in the director's celebrated "Trois Coleurs" trilogy; Preisner
's score for the concluding chapter, 1994's Rouge, earned a Cesar, the French equivalent of an Academy Award. He and Kieslowski were scheduled to begin work on a trilogy exploring themes of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory when the director died on March 13, 1996; Preisner
later celebrated Kieslowski's life and work with the release of Requiem for My Friend.