Composer, collaborator of many renowned ballet creators.
In 2005 Brzóska graduated from the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Music Academy in Poznań (composition, class of Mirosław Bukowski). The composer also holds a post-graduate degree in composition obtained at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp in 2007, under the academic supervision of Luc van Hove.
As a student Brzóska won numerous awards for composition, both at home and abroad. He was appreciated at, among others, Ogólnopolski Konkurs Kompozytoski im. Adama Didura w Sanoku (editor’s translation: The Adam Didur Polish Composition Contest in Sanok), Ogólnopolski Konkurs Kompozytorski na Chóralną Pieśń Pasyjną w Bydgoszczy (The Polish Composition Contest for Lenten Choral Music in Bydgoszcz), and the competition for young composers at @venture Music in Antwerp.
The year 2008 turned out to be a break-through year for the young artist’s career. It was at that time that he began collaboration with the eminent Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, which resulted in the creation of their show Sutra. The premiere, in which Chinese Shaolin monks participated, took place in May 2008 in Sadler’s Wells theatre in London. The work was subsequently shown at the most important festivals all over the world (including Avignon, Barcelona, Berlin, Sydney, and New York) and turned out to be such a great success that it is still being performed all over the world.
In September of the same year, the Hommage a Schnittke concerto for piano, strings, and percussion premiered during the 42nd Festiwal Pianistyki Polskiej w Słupsku (42nd Polish Piano Festival in Słupsk). From that moment on, the composer became renowned in the world of music and contemporary dance and started co-operating with choreographers, dancers, directors, and performers (both soloists and groups) of contemporary music.
Success in ballet
A year after Sutra premiered, Brzóska and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui created another work together – Orbo Novo, written for the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet Company in New York. Similarly as in the case of their first collaboration, also this time Brzóska’s compositions were appreciated by the most renowned theatre critics.
Subsequently, Brzóska composed music for numerous shows: I Will, in co-operation with the choreographer and dancer Małgorzata Dzierżon (premiered in London, June 2009); Dunas, a collaboration with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the world-famous flamenco dancer Maria Pages (premiered in Singapore, October 2009); (S)NOW, with choreography by Joost Vrouenraets (premiered in Tilburg, October 2010) and Labirynth (choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui), a show commissioned by the Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam. Brzóska’s music, composed for orchestra, was performed by Holland Symfonia conducted by Jurjen Hempel, and the pianist Barbara Drążkowska.
In November 2011 the show Desert, a Polish Dance Theatre production choreographed by Paulina Wycichowska, premiered in Poznań. In 2012, Brzóska’s co-operation with New Movement Collective, a group of dances and choreographers, resulted in the show Casting Traces (premiered in London, July 2012). Oh, Noh, a collaborative project with Kaya Kołodziejczyk, premiered at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw in November 2012.
Overture was another co-operation with the Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam, and, this time, the choreographer David Dawson. The show premiered in June 2013, and the music for chamber string orchestra and piano was performed by Holland Symfonia conducted by Matthew Rowe, and the pianist Barbara Drążkowska. In June 2016, Transatlantic was shown at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam. The show was a combination of four views on contemporary ballet from the perspective of choreographers coming from the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean: Justin Peck, George Williamson, Ernst Meisner, and David Dawson.
Overture - Scene VII from Szymon Brzoska on Vimeo.
In the same year, Brzóska’s compositions were performed by a group of Argentinian musicians accompanying the play m¡longa, choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui with the collaboration of the best tango dancers in the world, who also performed in the show. The work was commissioned by the Swiss Théatre Jorat.
Icarus, a piece for Vladimir Malakhov
The year 2014 started with the Malakhov and friends gala in Staatsballett, Berlin. During the event, Brzóska’s new composition, Icarus, was performed. The work was commissioned by Vladimir Malakhov, the legend of Russian ballet and long-time director of the Staatsballett.
In March, the result of yet another collaboration of Brzóska and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui premiered – the show Noetic, performed by the opera chamber orchestra in Göteborg Opera. In June, Szymon Brzóska was invited to Poznań by Old Brewery – New Dance to create the show Unintended Consequences, later presented at the 24th Malta Festival. In October, the artist’s piano compositions were performed during a concert organised as part of the 4th Ars Polonia Biennale in Opole.
In February 2015, Brzóska's biggest, so far, work premiered – the ballet Tristan + Isolde choreographed by David Dawson. The work was commissioned by Semperoper in Dresden, where its premiere, a performance given by the distinguished Staatskapelle Dresden orchestra conducted by Paul Connelly, took place.
- Toccata for piano (2000)
- Hades for piano (2001)
- Pange Lingua for mixed choir (2001)
- Antiphona Beatae Mariae Virginis for mixed choir (2001)
- Nubis & Angor for cello, piano, and guitar (2001-2002)
- Pięć pieśni do słów Paula Celana (Five Songs after Paul Celan) for bass-baritone and piano (2002)
- Tryptyk / Triptych for violin and piano (2003)
- Timor officit string quartet (2003)
- Ècoutant les Fleurs (d’apres F. Khnopff) for flute (2004)
- Czarna róża do słów Zbigniewa Herberta (Black Rose after Zbigniew Herbert) for tenor and piano (2004)
- Vexilla Regis Prodeunt for mixed choir (2004)
- Lux aeterna for mixed choir (2005)
- Pałac Lodowy (Ice Castle), ballet (2005)
- Six pieces for cello and piano (2005)
- All these dawns (after Auden) for piano (2006)
- Hommage à Schnittke, concerto for piano, strings and percussion (2006)
- 3 aphoristic songs for bass and piano with words by e.e.cummings (2007)
- Vae soli! for violin, clarinet and piano (2007)
- Between the shade and the light for clarinet (2007)
- Big Sur 2002 for violin, cello and piano (2009)
- The Wanderer for cello (2009)
- Septem for piano (2010)
- Tres Somni for violin and piano (2010)
- Scores for Oh, Noh based on the Japanese drama Izutsu by Motokiyo Zeami (2012)
- EXKURSS musical dance spectacle (2013)
Sources: press materials, written by Filip Lech, translated by Natalia Sajewicz, August 2016