Jerzy Godziszewski was a pianist and pedagogue, born on 24th April 1935 in Vilnius, died on 4th March 2016 in Bydgoszcz.
He studied in Irena Kurpisz-Stefanowa’s piano class at the State Higher School of Music in Poznań and under Stanisław Szpinalski and Maria Wiłkomirska at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw. In 1960, he graduated with honours and in the same year he was awarded second prize at the 6th Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw and a special prize founded by Witold Małcużyński. In 1960-61, he perfected his playing skills under Arturo Benedetti-Michelangeli at master classes in Arezzo.
He performed in many European countries, including Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Sweden, Norway. He was also active as a chamber musician in Poland. His repertoire included, among others, all piano works by Maurice Ravel and Karol Szymanowski (which he performed in cycles of recitals in Poland on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth) and monographic programmes devoted to the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Fryderyk Chopin, Ferenc Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, Sergei Prokofiev, Béla Bartók, and Olivier Messiaen. He recorded albums for Polskie Nagrania (Polish Records) and Wifon, and made many archival recordings for the Polish Radio (including all Karol Szymanowski’s piano works).
Jerzy Godziszewski has taught piano at the State Higher School of Music in Wrocław since 1967, and since 1978 he has been teaching at the State Higher School of Music in Bydgoszcz. There, in 1988, he received the title of associate professor, and in 1991 he was appointed full professor.
In 1998, he received the Award of Karol Szymanowski Foundation. His recording of Szymanowski’s solo piano works was recognized as the Record of the Year 1998 by Studio monthly and was also awarded the Fryderyk 1998 Award. For his lifetime achievement he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Association of Polish Musicians. In 2007, the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz awarded him an honorary doctorate.
He was buried at the Nowofarny Cemetery in Bydgoszcz.
Originally written in Polish by Małgorzata Kosińska, Polish Music Information Centre, Polish Composers' Union, August 2003. Translated and updated by Marcin Gozdanek, December 2019.