Wojciech Świtała is a pianist and teacher, born on 5th October 1967 in Ruda Śląska.
He began his piano education under Adela Pyszna at the State Music School of the 1st and 2nd degree in Bytom. In 1982, he became Józef Stompla’s student, under whom he began piano studies in 1986 at the Academy of Music in Katowice. He graduated with honours in 1991. In between 1991-96, he perfected his skills by attending masterclasses led by Karl-Heinz Kämmerling in Hannover, as well as Andre Dumotier and Jean-Claude Vanden-Eynden in Belgium.
He has won numerous international competitions: First Prize at the International Music Competition in Bardolino, Italy (1987), Second Prize at the Stendhal Foundation International Competition in Kraków, Prize for the Best Interpretation of the Polonaise at the 12th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (1990), the II Grand Prix, Audience Award and Award for Best European performer at the Long-Thibaud Competition in Paris, and the VI Award at the Montreal Piano Competition (1996). Moreover, he was awarded an artistic scholarship four times by the Fryderyk Chopin Society and he won the First Prize at the Young Performers Polish Piano Festival in Słupsk.
Świtała has toured many Polish towns. Foreign tours have taken him to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, France, and Italy as well as the USA, Canada, Argentina, Peru, the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Morocco. He has performed with the majority of Polish symphony orchestras (including Sinfonia Varsovia, Amadeus, the Kraków Philharmonic and the Silesian Philharmonic), under the baton of such conductors as Jan Krenz, Krzysztof Missona, Jerzy Katlewicz, Tadeusz Strugała, Agnieszka Duczmal, Volker Schmidt-Gertenbach, Mirosław Błaszczyk and Tomasz Bugaj. In addition to solo performances, he has developed a career in chamber music, appearing with the violinist Szymon Krzeszowiec, the Silesian Quartet, the Camerata Quartet and the Royal String Quartet.
He has produced a series of library recordings for Polish Radio, the BBC, and several French radio stations as well as television stations. For record labels Polskie Nagrania, Radio Katowice, BeArTon, Wojciech Świtała has recorded many CDs, mainly of music by Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, Fryderyk Chopin, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and joined Szymon Krzeszowiec in recording the complete violin sonatas of Brahms for SONY Music Polska. In 2000 and 2005 his discs were awarded the Grand Prix du Disque Frederic Chopin and in 2002 he received the Fryderyk Award of the Polish recording industry. His discography also includes works by Juliusz Zarębski recorded with the Royal String Quartet in Super Audio CD technology in 2006. The National Frederick Chopin Institute released his album of Chopin's Preludes, Op. 28, recorded on an 1848 Pleyel piano as well as a recording of the ‘Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise' op. 22 on an 1849 Erard piano. In 2008, Dux released a CD recorded with Piotr Pławner that was composed of Karol Szymanowski's works for piano and violin.
Since 1998, Wojciech Świtała has also pursued a teaching career. He is a Professor of Piano Performance at the Academy of Music in Katowice, where he has also held the position of proctor of didactics and learning since 2008.
Author: Małgorzata Kosińska, the Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, January 2005, update: October 2009. Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska, July 2015.