dr Michal Szymanowski

One of the most promising Polish pianists of the young generation, Michal Karol Szymanowski was born in 1988 into a musical family. He graduated with honours from the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, where he studied piano with Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron and symphonic-operatic conducting under Zygmunt Rychert. He honed his skills with Eldar Nebolsin at the Hochschule fur Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. At present he continues his piano education as a doctoral student and at the same time works as an assistant lecturer at his alma mater and at the Academy of Music in Lodz.

Michal has won top awards in a number of national and international piano competitions, including the International Chopin Piano Competition in Darmstadt, Germany (2017), MozARTe International Piano Competition in Aachen, Germany (2016), the International Chopin Piano Competition in Daegu, Korea (2015), the Zarembski International Music Competition in Warsaw (2012), the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Piano Competition in Katowice (2011), the Paderewski International Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz (2010), the International Competition in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz in Kyiv (2007), and the Polish National Chopin Piano Competitions in Warsaw (2008, 2015). In 2015 he was the highest placed quarter-finalist in the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

Michal has given performances in Poland and other European countries (including Germany, England, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Switzerland) as well as on other continents (in the United States, Japan, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela). Of particular note, he has also performed in the Palace of Nations in Geneva, the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican (a concert for Pope Benedict XVI), at Warsaw’s Belvedere Palace for Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, numerous philharmonic halls throughout the world as well as major festivals in Poland and abroad, among them Oficina de Musica de Curitiba, Festival Internacional de piano Chopiniana in Buenos Aires, Festival Europeo de Solistas in Caracas, Festival Pianistico di Roma, the Long Lake Festival in Lugano, and the “Chopin and His Europe” Festival in Warsaw, where he brilliantly performed piano concertos by Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Jozef Wieniawski.

Michal has performed under such eminent conductors as Alfredo Rugeles, Medardo Caisabanda, Juri Gilbo, Jacek Kaspszyk, Antoni Wit, Marek Pijarowski and Michal Dworzynski with, among others, the Teresa Carreno Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, the Symphonic Orchestra of the Claudio Santoro National Theatre in Brasilia, Daegu Symphony Orchestra, Russian Chamber Philharmonic St. Petersburg, the Warsaw, Cracow, Wroclaw, Szczecin and Bydgoszcz Philharmonic orchestras, the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra and the Capella Bydgostiensis Chamber Orchestra.

Apart from solo repertoire, Michal also frequently performs chamber music, in which his partners are the Silesian Quartet, Erzhan Kulibaev, Romain Garioud, Benedict Kloeckner, Anna Maria Stankiewicz, Maria Machowska, and many others.

Michal has released two solo albums for CD Accord (Naxos), featuring compositions by Fryderyk Chopin, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Karol Szymanowski and Jozef Wieniawski. The recordings were critically acclaimed. One reviewer wrote: “Uncommon talent and a pianist of great promise.”

prof. dr hab. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron

Katarzyna (Ekaterina) Popowa-Zydron (full professor) is a Polish pianist of Bulgarian origin. She was a student in Prof. Zbigniew Sliwinski’s piano class at the Higher School of Music in Gdansk, from which she graduated with distinction in 1973. In the two years that followed she was a holder of the Austrian government scholarship and continued her music education under Alexander Jenner at the Hochschule fur Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna. She also perfected her piano skills by participating in masterclasses with Suzanne Roche, Dieter Zechlin and Gyorgy Sebok. She is a winner of numerous competitions, among them the 4th National Festival for Young Musicians, or the 2nd National Piano Competition. She was among the semi-finalists in such prestigious competitions as the 1975 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, the 1975 Piano Competition in Terni (Italy) and the 1978 ARD Competition in Munich (Germany).

Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron is a regular performer in Poland and abroad. Her repertoire includes compositions from the baroque to the present day, with particular emphasis on the works of Mozart, Beethoven (e.g. Piano Sonata No. 29, Op 106), Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Debussy, Bartok and others. She is known for premiering Polish modern music. She has also performed as a chamber musician with renowned soloists and ensembles: Urszula Kryger, Piotr Kusiewicz, Florian Skulski, among others. She has appeared in piano duos, duos with violinists, flutists and cellists, as well as in piano trios and quartets.

This is what music critics have had to say: ‘(…) Popowa-Zydron’s interpretation of Chopin is contemporaneous in character, understated and free of exaggeration. The pianist knows perfectly how to express Chopin’s lyricism, this peculiar ambience of personal tragedy (…)’, ‘(…) an exceptional care for detail. The pianist has been able to create a musical world of its very own kind. Her playing has been deeply moving – sad, surprising and relaxing at the same time. Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron is a romantic artist at heart. Her firm commitment to and total confidence in her music interpretation are what listeners find infectious as they become involved in the reality the pianist is constructing before them. Technical mastery, exceptional musicality, outstanding interpretative individuality (…)’.

Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron is a professor at the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, where she is also Head of the Piano Department. She gives guidance to talented students of secondary music schools in the region and frequently gives masterclasses, conducts seminars and courses for piano teachers at home and abroad. She has frequently been on juries, judging national and international competitions. In 2010 she was a member of the jury appointed for the International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, and in 2015 she headed the jury. She is President of the I. J. Paderewski Music Society in Bydgoszcz, the organizer of the Paderewski International Piano Competition and the Paderewski Piano Academy, one-of-a-kind summer courses in piano playing with a symphonic orchestra.

Her pupils and students have won awards in numerous national and international competitions, are busy performing, and some of them are successful teachers, also abroad. Among her former pupils are Krzysztof Herdzin, Rafal Blechacz, Pawel Wakarecy, Katarzyna Borek, Radoslaw Kurek, Michio Nishihara Toro, Michal Szymanowski, and others.

For her artistic and pedagogical achievements, Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron has received a number of awards, including those of national significance such as the Gloria Artis medal and the Officer’s Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order.

Anna Fedorova

Anna Fedorova  is one of the world’s premier young pianists. From an early age, she demonstrated an innate musical maturity and outstanding technical abilities. Her international concert career took off while she was only a child and audiences around the world were stunned by the depth and power of her musical expression. Critics have praised Anna’s signature “sweet modesty and wild expression,” which rendered listeners “completely taken by surprise, compelled and astonished.”

At over 20 million views, Anna’s live recording of the Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto in the Royal Concertgebouw has become the most watched classical concerto on Youtube and is highly praised by many renown musicians. Being the face of the Sunday morning series in season ’17/18, she returns  there annually to perform with orchestras with live streaming on the dutch classical music channel, AvroTros.

        Anna has performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls of Europe, North and South America, and Asia, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Carnegie Hall, Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris, the Zurich Tonhalle, The Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico), the Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Cadogan Hall (London), Vancouver Playhouse, Louis Vuitton Series in Paris, the Warsaw Filharmonia, the Gdansk Philharmonic, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Hamburg Laeiszhalle, Belem Cultural Centre in Lisbon and many others. She has also appeared at numerous Music Festivals such as the Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Annecy Classic Festival (France), Menuhin Festival Gstaad (Switzerland), Ravinia Festival (USA), Absolute Classics festival in Scotland, the IKIF (New York, USA), Violon sur le sable (France), the Rubinstein Piano Festival (Lodz, Poland), the International Piano Festival in Trieste (Italy), the Orpheum Music Festival (Zurich, Switzerland), Musikdorf Ernen (Switzerland), The Corfu Festival of Arts (Greece), the Chopin Festival in Antonin (Poland), International Chamber Music Festival Koblenz (Germany) and others.

        Having mastered a formidable concerto repertoire, she has been performing with orchestras around the world, among which are The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Lamoureux, the Orquestra Filarmonica de Buenos Aires (Argentina), the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne (Switzerland), the Residentie Orkest and the Camerata Amsterdam (Netherlands), the Tokyo New City Orchestra (Japan), the Philarmonia of the Nations and the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie (Germany), the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico, the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra and the OFUNAM (Mexico), the Israel Chamber Orchestra, the Polish Camerata and many others. Conductors with whom Anna has had the pleasure of performing with include Jaap Van Zweden, Olari Elts, Jun Markl, Alun Francis, Andrew Grams, Howard Griffiths, Gerard Oskamp, Justus Franz, Kevin Griffiths, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Jerome Pillement, Shinik Hahm, Alejo Perez, Martin Panteleev, David Lockington and many others.

        Anna has claimed top prizes at numerous international piano competitions, including the International Rubinstein ‘In Memoriam’ piano competition, the Moscow International Frederick Chopin Competition for young pianists, the Lyon Piano Competition, and recently became recipient of the Verbier Festival Academy Award. She is also two-time laureate of the Dorothy MacKenzie Artist Recognition Scholarship Award at the International Keyboards Institute & Festival (New York, USA). Anna graduated with distinction from the Royal College of Music under the guidance of Norma Fischer. She also studied at the prestigious Accademia Pianistica in Imola, Italy with Leonid Margarius, as well as the Lysenko School of Music in Kyiv with Borys Fedorov. She has also received mentorship from world renowned musicians such as Alfred Brendel, Menahem Pressler, Steven Isserlis and Andras Schiff.

        In spring 2018 Anna signed with the Dutch record Channel Classic. The first Solo CD, “Four Fantasies” was released shortly thereafter to much critical acclaim. Anna’s first solo album of works by Brahms, Liszt and Chopin was released by the DiscAnnecy Label and the Rachmaninoff CD with Piano Classics. 2016 marked the release of 3 more albums – with Rachmaninoff 3rd piano Concerto and Mussorgsky “Pictures at an Exhibition”, and two duo CDs are – with german Cellist Benedict Kloeckner and works of Chopin and Frank, and with turkish cellist Jamal Aliyev and works by Russian composers. In 2018 In the 2015-2016 Anna was the artist in residence in Edesche Concert hall in Ede, Netherlands. The collaboration continued when in May 2017 she became the artistic director and co-founder of the International Chamber Music Festival, Ede.

        Highlights of Anna’s future engagements include performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, St. Gallen Symphony Orchestra and many others. She will perform in such prestigious concert halls as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Boston Symphony Hall, Royal Festival Hall in London, the Seoul Arts Center and many others.

prof. dr hab. Jaroslaw Drzewiecki

Jaroslaw Drzewiecki – graduated with distinction from the Academy of Music in Poznan, where he had studied under Andrzej Tatarski. He also completed a post-degree piano programme with Jerzy Sulikowski at the Academy of Music in Warsaw. In the years 1986-1988 he was a teaching assistant to Victor Merzhanov at the Peter Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow. Since 1983 he has taught his own piano class at the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz. In 2005 he was awarded the Order of the White Star, the highest decoration bestowed on Estonian citizens and foreigners by the President of the Republic of Estonia. In 2010 he was presented with the honorary title of the Wawer Resident of the Year by the ’Initiative for Wawer’ Association. In 2013, on the initiative of the Senate and Rector of the National Academy of Music in Lviv, he received the Academy honoris causa degree.

He is the originator of the following Warsaw-based events: the Wawer Music Festival, the International Master Competition for Music Teachers and the Polish and European Festivals for Music Academies. He is also a co-organizer of the International Competition for Young Virtuo”sos under 13 Years of Age, the Master Piano Teaching School and the 14th “Bieszczady without boundaries” Piano Forum in Sanok.

Jaroslaw Drzewiecki is the winner of a number of national and international music competitions, such as the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano (Italy), the Marsala International Piano Competition in Sicily (Italy, the 1st Prize) or the International Piano Competition in Porto (Portugal, the Grand Prix award and four special awards). In 1992 he received the Estelle Zwick Prize “Pretoria 92” for the best rendition of Fryderyk Chopin’s works.

He has extensively recorded for radio and television in Poland, Portugal, the Republic of South Africa, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Italy. He has recorded works by C. Seixas, L. van Beethoven, F. Chopin, J. Brahms, K. Szymanowski and I. J. Paderewski for the Polskie Nagrania (Polish Records) Company and Polish Radio. For the Japanese recording companies, Pony Canyon Classic and IMC-Tokyo, he has recorded Chopin’s rondos, variations, 16 polonaises and 27 etudes. Along with Adam Harasiewicz, he is the first Polish pianist to have recorded a CD album featuring the complete collection of etudes by Chopin.

He has made several tours in Portugal, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Canada and the Republic of South Africa. He has performed at international music festivals, such as those in Yokohama in Japan, Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, Gaming and Vienna in Austria, Cape Town in the RSA, or Antonin, Slupsk and Duszniki Zdruj in Poland. In 1995 he had his debut at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (Holland). He also performed as a duo with his late wife and great pianist, Tatiana Shebanova.

He has taught piano masterclasses in Poland, Portugal (Porto), Russia (the Peter Tchaikovsky State Music Conservatory and the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow), Slovakia (the Academy of Arts in Banska Bystrica), Lithuania (the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in Vilnius), and Ukraine (the National Mykola Lysenko Academy of Music in Lviv). He frequently sits on juries for national and international piano competitions, among them those held in Portugal (Porto), Ukraine (Kiev, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad), Belarus (Homel), Lithuania (Palanga, Druskininkai), Estonia (Tallinn, Narva), Russia (Moscow/Ruza, Yekaterinburg), Denmark (Copenhagen), Slovakia (Banska Bystrica) and the Czech Republic (Prague).