“Kalinowski and Szlezer, friends since childhood, have a wonderfully natural rapport and there is an arresting quality to their playing that gives life to the music” – writes The Strad magazine.
The musicians were brought together by education – they both studied in Kraków and Paris. The band assumed the name Cracow Duo over ten years ago. Since then they have been acclaimed by audiences and critics from Poland and abroad. Their collaboration began in 2001 with work on Frederic Chopin’s Sonata in G minor, Op. 65, and since then they have built a broad repertoire.
The musicians have performed on prestigious concert stages in Europe and Asia. Their tour of the Middle East in 2006 and the 2013 project Lutosławski in the Caucasus / Lutosławski na Kaukazie, which took place on occasion of the composer’s 100th anniversary, were important and interesting experiences for the duo. In 2010 Kalinowski and Szlezer represented their home city at the Days of Kraków event in Nanjing, China. In 2015 the duo will perform at the New York Carnegie Hall, where they will present a programme prepared for occasion of the 205th anniversary of Frederic Chopin’s birth.
Due to their fascination with Polish music, the duo have actively participated in the promotion of Polish culture since the beginning of their musical activity. They have presented to audiences the works of Aleksander Tansman, Zygmunt Stojowski, Ludomir Różycki and Tadeusz Majerski, for example. The duo is involved with the DUX label, which released their album Dedykacje in 2014. This record contains compositions written specially for the Cracow Duo. The duo also recorded Aleksander Tansman’s compositions for piano and cello (2009), made an album with all of Chopin’s chamber compositions (2010) and participated in the recording of an album of Krzysztof Penderecki’s compositions which was made for Penderecki’s 80th birthday (2014). The albums with Tansman’s and Chopin’s compositions were honoured with the French critics' award (La Clef de ResMusica).
A cellist born in 1982, Jan Kalinowski studied in Kraków, Paris and Stuttgart under Professors Witold Herman, Paul Julien and Peter Buck. He has recorded for radio and television, amongst others, cello concertos by Witold Lutosławski (Lebanese National Orchestra, Azerbaijani National Orchestra) and Marek Stachowski (Beethoven Academy Orchestra). Presently, Kalinowski is focusing on cello works by such Polish composers as Chopin, Tansman, Różycki, Stojowski, Lutosławski and Penderecki. Kalinowski is an adjunct at the Academy of Music in Kraków, where he received a PhD degree in 2009. He led courses in the framework of exchanges between educational institutions (amongst others in Bremen, Karlsruhe, Fermo and Tbilisi). In 2013, DUX released a CD with his project of eight compositions by Polish composers for cello ensembles consisting of from 1 to 8 instruments.
He was born in 1981 and is among the Polish pianists of the young generation who most frequently give concerts. His career started when he won the Grand Prix at the International Piano Competition in Rome at the age of twelve. He pursued an education at École Normale de Musique in Paris, the Academy of Music in Kraków and Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Belgium under the tutelage of, amongst others, Professor Ewa Bukojemska, Abdel Rahman El Bacha, Dmitry Baszhkirov and Marcella Crudeli. Szlezer has received many awards for his interpretations of Frederic Chopin’s works (in one recital, he even played a piano that belonged to the composer). He has performed with the English Chamber Orchestra and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. He works at the Academy of Music in Kraków. In 2009 he received a PhD in musical arts from this institution. He discovered the piano works of Jadwiga Sarnecka, whose compositions he recorded for DUX. He wrote arrangements of several piano works by Polish composers, which were published by the Polish Music Publishing House and by the publishing house Eufonium.
- Tansman. Works for cello and piano (2009) – Jan Kalinowski (cello), Marek Szlezer – (piano).
- Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849) The Complete Chamber Works (2010) – Jan Kalinowski (cello), Bartłomiej Nizioł (violin), Marek Szlezer (piano).
- Krzysztof Penderecki Chamber Works vol. I / Krzysztof Penderecki Utwory kameralne vol. I (2014) – Jan Kalinowski (cello), Maria Machowska (violin), Artur Rozmysłowicz (viola), Marek Szlezer (piano), Tadeusz Tomaszewski (horn), Roman Widaszek (clarinet).
- Dedications | Works for Cello and Piano/ Dedykacje | utwory na wiolonczelę i fortepian (2014) – Jan Kalinowski (cello), Marek Szlezer (piano)
- Ludwig van Beethoven: All Sonatas for piano and cello
- Zbigniew Bujarski: Kalszlez (2010)*
- Bartosz Chajdecki: Three Glimpses (2007)*
- Frederic Chopin: Introduction and Polonaise in C major, op. 3 / Introdukcja i Polonez C-dur op. 3; Grand Duo Concertant; Sonata in G minor, Op. 65 / Sonata g-moll op. 65
- Marcel Chyrzyński: Farewell (2013)*
- Maciej Jabłoński: Unfortunatelly It’s Over… / Niestety już po … (2006)*
- Tadeusz Majerski: Sonata (1949)
- Maurycy Moszkowski: Three Works, op. 29 / Trzy utwory op.29
- Andrzej Panufnik: Dreamscape
- Jarosław Płonka: Croon (2009) *
- Ludomir Rogowski: Arietta
- Ludomir Różycki: Sonata in A minor, op. 10 / Sonata a-moll op. 10; Two Melodies, op. 5 / Dwie melodie op.5; Two Nocturnes, op. 30 / Dwa nokturny op. 30
- Dmitri Shostakovich: Sonata in D minor, op. 40
- Karol Szymanowski: Sonata in D minor, op. 9 / Sonata d-moll op. 9
- Aleksander Tansman: Sonata no. 2 / Sonata nr 2 (1930); Fantaisie (1936); Deux pièces (1931); Partita (1955)
- Wojciech Widłak: All My Angers / Wszystkie złości moje (2013)
* written for Jan Kalinowski and Mark Szlezer.
Sources: press materials, edited by fl 13.11.2014