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Rafal Blechacz, piano

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
7:30 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Concert Hall

Rafal Blechacz, piano

In 2005, at the tender age of 20, Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz became the sole recipient of all five first prizes at the 15th International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. ABC News reported that one of the judges felt he “so outclassed the remaining finalists that no second prize could actually be awarded.”  He makes his Vermont debut with a program featuring Bach’s Partita no. 3, Beethoven’s op. 10/3, Szymanowski’s first sonata, and two polonaises and a scherzo by Chopin. Sponsored by the Performing Arts Series. Reserved Seating. Tickets: $20/15/6.  Go to the Box Office>>

Read the press release>>
NEW! Pre-concert Lecture: Ruth Ochs
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
6:45 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Room 221

Princeton conductor, musicologist, and Orwell native Ruth Ochs provides insights into Rafal Blechacz's program, and in particular,  the music of Szymanowski. Sponsored by the Performing Arts Series. Free


Deutsche Grammophon trailer about Rafał Blechacz's new recording featuring piano works by Szymanowski and Debussy.


BACH Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827


BEETHOVEN Sonata in D Major, Op. 10, No. 3                                                                                 

Largo e mesto
Menuetto: Allegro
Rondo: Allegro


CHOPIN Two Polonaises, Op. 40                                                                                         

No. 1 in A Major
No. 2 in C minor

CHOPIN Scherzo No. 3 in C-sharp minor, Op. 39   

SZYMANOWSKI Sonata No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8                                                                                     

Allegro moderato
Tempi di Minuetto.  Comodo
Finale: Introduzione.  Adagio


Rafal Blechacz, piano

In October 2005, Rafal Blechacz was the uncontested winner of the 15th Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland.  (To underscore his distinguished performance among the remaining competitors, the international jury did not award a second prize.)  In addition to the Grand Prize, Mr. Blechacz won all the special prizes of the Competition: the Polish Radio Prize for best mazurka performance, the Frédéric Chopin Society Prize for the best performance of a polonaise, the National Philharmonic of Poland Prize for the best concerto performance, and the Krystian Zimerman-sponsored prize for the best performance of a sonata.  He also won the Competition Audience Award.

Born in 1985 in Nakło nad Notecią, Poland, Mr. Blechacz began his piano studies at age five, and continued his musical education at the Artur Rubinstein State School of Music in Bydgoszcz.  In May 2007, he graduated from the Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz, where he studied with Professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń.

Since then, the artist has won many prestigious prizes and awards at music festivals and competitions in his native Poland and worldwide.  Among the most important of these are: 1st Prize and Grand Prix of the 13th All-Poland Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Gorzów Wielokpolski (1996), 2nd Prize of the 5th International Young Pianists Competition, “Artur Rubinstein in memoriam” in Bydgoszcz (2002), and 2nd Prize of the 5th International Piano Competition in Hamamatsu, Japan (2003), an award he shared with Alexandr Kobrin, as a 1st Prize was not awarded.  In July 2010 he received the prestigious Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Siena, Italy), awarded annually by an international jury of music critics to young musicians for superb artistic achievements.

The 2005 victory in Warsaw opened the doors of the most famous concert halls of the world, including Royal Festival Hall and Wigmore Hall in London, Berlin’s Philharmonie, the Herkulessaal in Munich, Alte Oper in Frankfurt/Main, Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Tonhalle in Zurich, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and Avery Fisher Hall in New York.  Mr. Blechacz has also performed at the most renowned music festivals of the world, such as Salzburg, Verbier, La Roque-d’Anthéron, Klavier Festival Ruhr and the Gilmore Festival.  He has received critical acclaim and praise from audiences for his performances with orchestras under the direction of such noted conductors as Valery Gergiev, Mikhail Pletnev, Charles Dutoit, David Zinman, Marek Janowski and Jerzy Maksymiuk.  

In 2006, Rafal Blechacz signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, becoming only the second Polish artist, after Krystian Zimerman, to be signed under the prestigious label.  His first recording for DG, of the complete Chopin Preludes, was released in Europe in October 2007.  It attained Platinum Record status in Poland within the second week of its release, and was awarded with the German Echo Klassik and French Diapason D’or.  This recording was followed by a second disc on the DG label of sonatas by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven in October 2008.  Upon the huge success of this second CD, as well as the critical acclaim of the first, the record label released under its “yellow label” in 2009 both Chopin Concerti, with Mr. Blechacz performing with the Concertgebouw Orchestra under the baton of Jerzy Semkow.  The recording, honoring the Chopin anniversary year of 2010, received a “Best of the Year” honor from Gramophone magazine, and the Preis der Deutschen Schalplattenkritik, a prestigious recognition from Germany’s music critics.  The recording quickly achieved double platinum status in Poland.   His fourth and latest DG recording, of the works of Debussy and Szymanowski was released on February 1, 2012 and quickly achieved great critical acclaim, as well as a British  Gramophone Recording of the Month in May 2012 and another Echo Klassik Piano-Solo recording of the year (20th-21st Century.)

Press Quotes

“He is studious, in the best sense, searching and probing, but always within the confines of the text . . . Blechacz’s technique emphasises clarity, the individuality of each note, the pure articulation . . . ”--Gramophone, May 2010

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