Urszula Bartkiewicz is a harpsichordist, born on 28th January 1952 in Bielsko-Biała.
After graduating with honours from the Academy of Music in Elżbieta Stefańska’s harpsichord class, she completed postgraduate studies at the Paris Conservatory under Huguette Dreyfus. She has also honed her artistic skills during many international music masterclasses, among others in Prague, Zurich, Paris, Madrid, Stuttgart, and working with Zuzanna Ruzickova, Kenneth Gilbert and Rafael Puyana, a student of Wanda Landowska.
She has won the main prize at the Polish Piano Festival in Słupsk, the audience award at the International Harpsichord Competition in Paris and the first prize at Gold Medal at the Harpsichord Competition of the Conservatoire Nationale de Bobigny near Paris.
She performs as a soloist and chamber musician in Poland and abroad, among others in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, the United States, Switzerland, and the UK. She has participated in many festivals, including the Polish Piano Festival in Słupsk, the Wratislavia Cantans Festival, the Warsaw Autumn Festival, the Musica Polonica Nova Festival in Wrocław, the Early Music Festivals in Lublin, Warsaw, and Gdańsk, the Festival in Łańcut, the Biennale de Danse in Lyon, the ‘Szymanowski and his Europe’ Festival, the Beethoven Festival in the Opole region, the Bach Festival in Kraków, Bydgoszcz Music Tuesdays, and Tempus Paschale in Lublin.
She has cooperated with many orchestras and cultural institutions, including the Toruń Chamber Orchestra, the National Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of the National Philharmonic, Polish Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Jerzy Maksymiuk, the Warsaw Chamber Opera, the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and the Orchestra of the Warsaw Academy of Music Camerata Academia.
She has made many radio, television and CD recordings – she has recorded, among others, harpsichord works by Polish composers from the second half of the 18th century she herself discovered, as well as all dances from the tablature of Jan of Lublin. They are highly appreciated by professionals and music lovers alike (pieces from her album Polska Muzyka Klawesynowa (Polish Harpsichord Music, trans. MG) occupied the first place of the Classical Music Chart of the Polish Radio Łódź in 1996 and 1999).
Urszula Bartkiewicz’s extensive repertoire includes solo, chamber and orchestral works from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classicism and the 20th century, including many world premieres. She eagerly promotes Polish music and musicians. In 1991, she founded the Pro Bono Artis Foundation, in which she holds the honorary position of Vice-President of the Board of Directors. In 1993, she founded the award for the best Polish participant in the international harpsichord competition in Warsaw, which she helped to prepare and organise, and in 1995 she took part in a promotional recording of the world premieres of Polish contemporary music. In 1996, she released her own record with old Polish harpsichord music.
She has been honoured with many awards and distinctions, including the Honorary Badge of Jeunesses Musicales de Pologne (1997), the Badge of ‘Meritorious Activist of Culture’ (1996), the scientific scholarship of the Minister of Culture and Art (1997), a Fryderyk Award in the solo music category for her album Das Wohltemperierte Klavier published by Acte Préalable (1999), Gold Cross of Merit (2002), the Individual Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the 1st degree for outstanding achievements in artistic and didactic work (2006), creative scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (2009).
Bartkiewicz is also a professor of music. She leads a harpsichord class at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz and the Fryderyk Chopin State Music School Complex in Warsaw. At the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz she founded and now runs the Department of Harpsichord, Organ and Early Music, and at the Warsaw school she founded and runs the Harpsichord, Organ and Early Music Section. Bartkiewicz publishes articles in specialist publishing houses, conducts scientific seminars, interpretation courses, workshops and lectures on early music, among others at Wayne State University in the United States, Academy of Music in Kraków, Warsaw and Białystok, Academy of Art in Banska Bystrica (Slovakia). She is the initiator and scientific director of the Methodical Summer Courses of Early Music organized since 2007 at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz. She is the editor of the music sheet published by the Academy in Bydgoszcz – Polska Muzyka Klawiszowa Z Wydawnictwa Józefa Elsnera Na Klawesyn Lub Fortepian (Polish Keyboard Music from Józef Elsner’s Publishing House for Harpsichord or Piano, trans. MG; 2008). She recorded and published these pieces on two CDs entitled Polska Muzyka Klawiszowa (Polish Keyboard Music, trans. MG; 2009). The album with works by Józef Elsner was nominated for the Fryderyk Award in 2010.
Bartkiewicz’s scientific and artistic research mainly concerns the area of 17th and 18th century music, with particular focus on the heritage of Polish musical culture and the discovery of unknown music works. Her research results in lectures she gives in Poland and abroad (USA, Slovakia, Czech Republic), as well as publications (articles, editorial comments, records). Among her published works is critically reviewed sheet music: Carl Joseph Birnbach (1751-1805) – Concert pour le clavecin avec l’accompagnement deux violons, deux hautbois, deux cors de chasse, viola et basse (ca 1790) (AMFN Bydgoszcz 2017; world premiere on 8th March 2016 in Bydgoszcz) and Carl Joseph Birnbach - Concerto a due cembali (ca 1790) (AMFN Bydgoszcz 2017; world premiere on 22nd February 2018 in Brno).
Originally written in Polish by Małgorzata Kosińska, Polish Music Information Center, Polish Composers' Union, May 2003. Translated and updated by Marcin Gozdanek, December 2019.