Pianist, composer, and music theorist, born on 4 December 1955 in Słupsk.
He studied the violin at the Academy of Music in Gdańsk, graduating in 1981. He obtained a PhD in composition from the Academy of Music in Katowice in 2000, was appointed a professor of the musical art unit of the Pomeranian Pedagogical University in Słupsk the same year, and has been head of that school's Institute of Music since 2006. Also since 2006, he has taught composition at the Academy of Music in Gdańsk, and is the head and founder of the Jazz and Light Music Course at the Gdańsk Academy.
His career as a musician and composer began straight after graduation. In 1981-83 he worked with Ryszard Miśko's Instrumental Theatre at the Musical Theatre in Gdynia as an actor-musician and composer of music for productions of The Trial based on Franz Kafka and Taniec Lokatorów / Tenants' Dance. After that, in 1983-85, he worked with the Hamburger Mozart Orchester in Hamburg.
He debuted as a jazzman in 1979 with his band Antiquintet, with appearances including a 1981 performance at the Jazz on the Oder festival in Wrocław which won him first prize for the composition Reinkarnacja / Reincarnation. He also gave concerts at the Jazz Jamboree. In 1984 he came second in the Jazz Violinists Competition in Szczecin. In 1984-86 he was the leader and pianist of the funk group Zu-Zu, appearing at the Pomeranian Jazz Autumn and the Jazz Jantar Festival in Gdańsk. In 1987-93 he collaborated with the band Sami Swoi, giving numerous concerts at European jazz festivals, including the Pori Jazz Festival.
With his sextet, in 1994 he recorded his first original album, Black & Blue. Its success allowed him to move on to new projects in subsequent years. In 1995 he recorded Chopin and Other Songs, a collaborative project with a jazz trio and the Słupsk Chamber Orchestra, in 1996 - Interwały / Intervals with Zbigniew Namysłowski, in 1997 - Kułakowski & Kaszubi with a jazz quartet, the vocal group Swinging Singers, and the folk group Modraki from Parchowo, and in 1999 - Katharsis with a jazz trio and a string quartet, combining jazz with references to the language of classical music from the Romantic era and contemporary times. The album Eurofonia for solo voice, jazz quintet and symphony orchestra, a compilation of contemporary music, stylised Polish folk music and jazz, was released in 2000. A year later it was chosen Album of the Year on the "Jazz Top 2000" ranking list based on a poll of the "Jazz Forum" monthly's readers.
Kułakowski also came up with the idea and inspired the Krzysztof Komeda Composers Competition and the Komeda Jazz Festival, events first held in 1996.
In 2001 the governor of Pomerania province granted him the Pomeranian Artistic Award 2000 in music for his remarkable combination of folk music, jazz and contemporary music in Eufonia. A year later, he received the first-degree award in culture from the Mayor of Słupsk, and in 2003 - a Gold Cross of Merit from the President of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski.
Author: Anna Iwanicka-Nijakowska, grudzień 2007.
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