Stefan Stuligrosz, born in 1920 in Poznań, graduate of St. Mary Magdalene Junior High School. Soprano singer in the Cathedral Choir of Fr. Wacław Gieburowski, founder of the ensemble which was greatly renowned in Poland and abroad between the world wars. In 1939, when World War II broke out, Stuligrosz gathers around himself the singers who remain in Poznań, holds clandestine rehearsals, and performs with this choir in one of the city's two churches available for Poles. Fr. Gieburowski, on the eve of his forced displacement by the Nazis, entrusts to the twenty-year-old youth the care of his work in case he himself would not be able to return to Poznań (he dies in Warsaw in 1943).
In the spring of 1945 Stefan Stuligrosz begins to create a new choir from scratch, and at the same time pursues a versatile education. Having finished Karol Marcinkowski High School, he takes up musical science at Poznań University (M.A. from Prof. A. Chybiński in 1951), soloist singing in the singing class of Prof. M. Trąmpczyńska at the then High School (currently Academy) of Music, and also there symphony conducting under Prof. W. Bierdiajew (both M.A.'s in 1953, the latter - summa cum laude). At the Academy of Music he climbs up the ladder as an artist and teacher, from the position of an assistant lecturer to a professor; in the period 1967-1981 he was President of the Academy.
"The Nightingales" were closest to Stefan Stuligrosz's heart. He concentrated all his time and efforts on perfecting the choir's sound, expanding and honing its repertoire, building up its artistic image and at the same time educating the young singers. He also found time for work in a conservatory; in the group of his students and graduates there were many renowned artists, mainly choir masters and orchestra conductors. From time to time, Professor Stuligrosz took on conducting of other choirs and played the organ. He was also a composer; his portfolio includes over 600 choral works of sacred music. He is author of over 100 arrangements of Polish and foreign Christmas carols. He conducted research on choral music and choir singing and used to write diaries.
In Stefan Stuligrosz's private life, family had a unique value which he managed to reconcile with his social activities. In the ranking of the most influential residents of the region of Wielkopolska of the 20th century, he was fourth best, in 2002 he even won the ranking. He was a holder of a great number of awards and highest orders and medals from Poland and abroad. They are, among others, Knight's Cross with a Star of the Order of Poland's Restitution, the Great Knight's Cross with a Silver Star of St. Pope Silvester granted by Pope John Paul II and . . . the Order of Smile. He received three honorary doctorates: from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in the Vatican, and the Music Academy in Poznań.
Stefan Stuligrosz died in Puszczykowo (near Posen) on 15 June 2012.
Stuligrosz's Choir is characterised by a unique excellence of sound, perfected and ennobled throughout the 60-odd-year period of symbiosis with one master. Affiliated to the Poznań Philharmonic since 1951, it is an amateur ensemble which competes with ease with professional choirs. The boys are students of various schools, the men are either university students or work in different professions. They meet for rehearsals three times a week and perform 60-70 times a year in a variety of venues, in small churches, cathedrals and basilicas, on the stages in towns and huge cities, including the most famous halls of music, radio, television, and film studios. Abroad alone they have given around 3,000 concerts in almost all European countries as well as in the USA, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. The group of listeners of the Choir includes kings and presidents of states. Especially John Paul II appreciates greatly the music of "The Poznań Nightingales".
The Choir's repertoire includes over 1,000 works, from medieval monody and Renaissance masters (e.g. G. P. da Palestrina) through vocal and instrumental masterpieces of Baroque (J. S. Bach, G. F. Haendel), Classicism (W. A. Mozart, J. Haydn, L. van Beethoven), and Romanticism (F. Schubert, F. Mendelssohn - Bartoldy), to 20th-century compositions, especially by Polish composers (K. Szymanowski, T. Szeligowski, W. Kilar, and K. Penderecki). Renowned Polish and foreign artists frequently perform with the Choir; these are such singers as Barbara Hendriks, Renata Scotto, Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa, Teresa Żylis-Gara, Ryszard Karczykowski and directors as Leonard Bernstein and Stanisław Wisłocki. Apart from the Poznań Philharmonic, the Choir cooperates also with the "Sinfonia Varsovia" orchestra.
The Choir is a member of the "Pueri Cantores" World Federation of Church Choirs.
Close to 2,000 people have at one point or another spent some time in the "nest of the Poznań Nightingales". This Choir was born of the centuries-long music tradition of Poznań, especially of the depth of spiritual profundity, expertise, and artistic imagination of Fr. Dr W. Gieburowski. On those foundations Stefan Stuligrosz, through his talent, perseverance, knowledge, intuition, experience, and passion, set up his own work, a STULIGROSZEUM, as it were. It is an informal school of behaviour and shaping characters in which there are strict yet clear rules of conduct within a community, a system of values that is characterised by responsibility, friendship, openness to those who are nearby and those more distant, where great art and humility in contact with it is connected with a way of everyday life. It is the highest esteem for the tradition of national culture coupled with respect for its European and global heritage. The flock of the "Poznań Nightingales", scattered all over Poland and in dozens of countries in both hemispheres, proves all the time that the ideals and the experience of their childhood and their youth, as well as the charisma of the Conductor bear fruit, no matter who you are and where you live.