Konstanty Andrzej Kulka is a violinist born on 5th March 1947 in Gdańsk.
He started to learn violin aged eight under the supervision of Stefan Herman and later continued his musical education with the same pedagogue in the National Music High School and the National Music Academy in Gdańsk (graduating with honours in 1971).
When Kulka was seventeen he received a recognition prize at the International Niccolò Paganini Violin Competition in Genoa but his road to fame began after the International Radio Contest ARD in Munich in 1964, where he was awarded the first prize. In that very moment, his international career started.
Since 1966 Konstanty Andrzej Kulka has performed in both hemispheres (in each and every country of Europe, the Americas, Japan and Australia) – he has played more than 1,500 recitals and symphonic concerts. As a soloist, he has been a guest of many prestigious orchestras (including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra) and performed at many esteemed music festivals, for instance in Lucerne, Bordeaux, Flanders, Berlin, Prague, Barcelona, Brighton, and Warsaw. An important place among Kulka's artistic tours is occupied by his performances with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, with which in 1971 he completed the longest tour in his career (Africa, Asia, and Australia).
Kulka has performed with Jerzy Marchwiński since 1968. He is also a member of the Polish Radio and Television Piano Quartet (together with Stefan Kamasa, Roman Jabłoński, and Jerzy Marchwiński).
Kulka has recorded with Polish Radio and Television and the Polish Music Publishing House. Among his phonographic achievements one can find concerts written by Antonio Vivaldi, Amadeus Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn, Alexander Glazunov, Édouard Lalo, Béla Bartók, Sergei Prokofiev, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Mieczysław Karłowicz, Paul Hindemith, and Karol Szymanowski. He has also recorded many sonatas and virtuoso works. Among many recordings, his most appreciated are Vivaldi's Four Seasons with Karol Teutsch, Mendelssohn's and Glazunov's violin concerts performed with the National Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Jerzy Katlewicz, Brahm's D Major Violin Concert with the National Philharmonic Orchestra under Witold Rowicki and J. S. Bach's Sonatas for Solo Violin. He has also performed for radios and record studios abroad. His recording of Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 2 (EMI) was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque in 1981.
Contemporary music has a special place in artist's repertoire. He is a great interpreter of Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki (e.g. Violin Concerto performed on multiple occasions with different orchestras), Henryk Hubertus Jabłoński, Augustyn Bloch, and Eugeniusz Knapik.
Kulka has simultaneously had a pedagogical career, as a professor at the Warsaw Academy of Music and the head of the institute’s Department of String Instruments.
He has won many awards, commendations and distinctions, including the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage Award, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Award for ‘exceptional merits in promoting Polish culture abroad’ and the Order of Polonia Restituta.
Author: Małgorzata Kosińska, Polish Music Information Centre, Związek Kompozytorów Polskich, July 2002, updated in November 2009, translated by AW, November 2016.