After the success of last year's performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra performed in Paris once again, this time at the Salle Pleyel. Pianist Rafal Blechacz was accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Grzegorz Nowak
The Sinfonia Varsovia concert consisted of Szymanowski's Concert Ouverture, Op. 12, Chopin's "Piano Concerto II" and Mendelssohn's 4th "Italian" Symphony. The Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra has already had a traditional artistic season in France -this year's performance marks their 28th appearance in the country. The concert was held in Paris in a very prestigious concert venue - the Salle Pleyel, one of the largest concert halls in the world.
Rafał Blechacz won the 15th Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in October 2005 uncontested, along with all of the Competition's special prizes, including the Polish Radio Prize for the best mazurka performance, the Frédéric Chopin Society Prize for the best polonaise performance, the National Philharmonic of Poland Prize for the best concerto performance, and the Krystian Zimerman sponsored Prize for the best performance of a sonata. The Polish pianist has also won 1st Prize and Grand Prix of the 13th All-Poland Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Gorzów Wielokpolski (1996), the 2nd Prize of the 5th International Young Pianists Competition "Artur Rubinstein in memoriam" in Bydgoszcz (2002), and the 2nd Prize of the 5th International Piano Competition in Hamamatsu, Japan (2003). He has also performed at the Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall in Lodon, Berliner Philharmonie, Herkulessaal in Munich, Alte Oper in Frankfurt/Main, Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Tonhalle in Zurich, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Avery Fisher Hall in New York, to name but a few. He is also a regular at music festivals across the globe.
In July 2010 he received the prestigious Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Siena, Italy) awarded annually by the international jury of music critics to young musicians for their superb artistic achievements. On May 29, 2006 the artist signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, a music recording company, becoming the second Polish artist to do so, after Krystian Zimerman. His first Deutsche Grammophon CD containing all of Frédéric Chopin's Preludes had its European release in October 2007. This was followed by a second album with sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven which reached double Platinum Record status in Poland.
The Salle Pleyel event marks both a Polish national holiday and the Polish Presidency of the EU Council as a part of a series events promoting famous Polish composers, in particular, Karol Szymanowski.The Polish Institute in Paris organised the evening's live transmission on France Musique radio.
Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra, under the artistic direction of three-time Grammy award winner Krzysztof Penderecki, performed with Rafal Blechacz in Paris last November in a hugely successful concert conducted by Jerzy Semkow as part of the Year of Chopin - a project led by the Adam Mickiewicz Institiute in Warsaw.
The orchestra was established in 1984 after an experimental collaboration with acclaimed violinist Yehudi Menuhin. With a repertoire that includes both Polish and international composers, they havegone on to tour Europe, parts of Asia, the United States and Canada, performing an extensive variety of works hailing from the eighteenth century to the present day.
Penderecki, who became the orchestra's artistic director in 2003 (after six years as the orchestra's musical director-a position now held by French conductor Marc Minkowski), has debuted his own works with the orchestra, as well as those of modern contemporaries such as John Adams, Witold Lutosławski, Marta Ptaszyńska and Paweł Szymański.
Karol Szymanowski is a Flagship Project of the Cultural Programme of the Polish Presidency. For more information on the project, see: Karol Szymanowski
Date: 11th of November, 2011 (8pm)
Venue: Salle Pleyel, Paris
Organised by: Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra
Project cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute
For more on Szymanowski, see: www.karolszymanowski.pl