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"Blechacz is one of the greatest artists
I have ever heard in my life"

John O`Connor



Rafał Blechacz

After ten years since the victory in the 15th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2005 he has achieved a position of the truly world-famous artist. His outstanding talent has been appreciated by the audiences of Europe, America, Asia, by music critics, great conductors and famous symphony orchestras, record producers, managers and artistic agencies organizing concerts in the most famous concert halls and in the largest music centres.
Last ten years of Rafał Blechacz’s career was filled with the solo recitals as well as concerts performed with the symphony orchestras. First of all however, it was time of intensive work on expanding his repertoire. Winning the Grand Prix, the Gold Medal and all of the other awards possible, namely for the best performance of mazurkas, polonaise, concerto, sonata (the latter founded by Krystian Zimerman) and also the audience award he unquestionably has been recognized as his generation’s greatest performer of Chopin’s works.
In such a role the international audiences wanted to hear and know him better as he never lets them down being able to win people over and gain their affection and appreciation. To meet these demands the young artist embarks on numerous and often long artistic tours. After all, the title of the Chopin Piano Competition Winner carries the meaning and importance. Everyone everywhere would like to listen to him and experience a talent of someone who amidst tough rivalry before distinguished jury proved to be the best one. One can only mention here that the young Polish pianist was definitely head and shoulders above the large and strong - as it is always the case in Warsaw - group of competitors. To emphasize his superiority the jury has not awarded the second prize but only the third and subsequent ones.
The aforementioned artist’s intensive work on developing his repertoire refers of course to Chopin but it is hard to imagine that the pianist of such a rank would not perform works by other composers. Therefore his repertoire is being continuously enlarged with works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Brahms, Debussy and Szymanowski. From among them the programs of the artist’s albums recorded and released by Deutsche Grammophon (currently five) have been selected.
The American Gilmore Artist Award, sometimes called ”the Piano Nobel,” bestowed on Rafal Blechacz in January 2014, is a strong and meaningful acknowledgment that summarizes well the last decade of his artistic activity.

Rafał Blechacz was born in 1985 in Nakło nad Notecią. He started playing piano at the age of five. He studied in the Artur Rubinstein State Primary School of Music in Bydgoszcz under the supervision of Professor Jacek Polański. In 2007 he completed the piano studies in the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz in class of Professor Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń. Still a student, he received many awards and honours such as the 1st Prize and Grand Prix in the 13th Johann Sebastian Bach National Competition in Gorzów Wielkopolski (1996), the 2nd Prize in the 5th Artur Rubinstein International Competition for Young Pianists in Bydgoszcz (2002), the victory in the 5th International Piano Competition in Hamamatsu, Japan (2003).
As the winner of the Grand Prix of the 15th Chopin Piano Competition he started concertizing in the most prestigious venues such as Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein in Vienna, Berliner Philharmonie, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Herkulessaal in Munich, Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Royal Festival Hall as well as the Wigmore Hall in London, Tonhalle in Zurich, La Scala in Milan, among others. He is being invited to the best music festivals such as Salzburg, Verbier in Switzerland, La Roque-d'Anthéron (France), Klavier-Festival Ruhr in Germany as well as The Gilmore Festival in the USA. He plays with numerous symphony orchestras, cooperating with outstanding conductors like Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Daniel Harding, Pavo Järvi, Fabio Luisi, Kent Nagono, Andris Nelsons, Victor Pablo Perez, Trevor Pinnock, Mikhail Pletnev, Jerzy Semkow, Antoni Wit and Dawid Zinman. In 2006 he signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, the German record company. He is the second in history, after Krystian Zimerman, Polish pianist signed up by this prestigious label.
Rafal Blechacz’s first album with Fryderyk Chopin’s Preludes appeared in 2007. In Poland it obtained the platinum status just in the second week of sale. It has been honoured with many awards, among others by German Echo Klassik and French Diapason d’Or. The next album, this time with sonatas of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, was released one year later and again it was received very well. After the success of the two first albums the artist celebrated the Chopin’s Year of 2010 with the recording of both Chopin’s Piano Concerts conducted by Jerzy Semkow and legendary Concertgebouw Orchestra, proclaimed in 2009 by the British magazine Gramophone the best orchestra of the world. This time the already third album of Rafał Blechacz was honoured with Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the prestigious award of critics from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In Poland it obtained the double platinum status in the short period of time. The next recording with works by Debussy and Szymanowski, due to a thoughtful selection of the repertoire, as well as masterful performance, gained significant publicity and recognition among the international music critics. In 2012 the Deutsche Phono Akademie awarded Blechacz the Echo Klassik prize in category of the Best Solo Album of the Year (19th and 20th century). Furthermore, this same recording was honoured as the Album of the Month by the British magazine Gramophone. It was also recognized with the Polish phonographic Fryderyk Award as the best classical music album of 2013. In the fall of 2013 Rafał Blechacz returned to Chopin’s repertoire recording his seven grand polonaises. This album obtained the gold record status on the first day of sale. Soon after, it was honoured with Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik as the best album in the category Piano music (2013).
In July 2010 Rafał Blechacz received the Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Siena) award for his overall artistic achievements bestowed on him by the international jury of music critics. In January 2014 in New York he was pronounced the winner of The Gilmore 2014 award, highly valued in the piano world, conferred every four years on the most outstanding artist to provide financial support for advancing his/her artistic career.
On February 24, 2015 in Warsaw during the concert in the Warsaw Philharmonic Rafal Blechacz received the President of the Republic of Poland’s medal Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta awarded during the concert at the National Philharmonic.



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chopin competition_

Chopin Piano Competition 2005

The 15th International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition sponsored by PKN ORLEN

PKN ORLEN has taken up the role of the sponsor for an extraordinary artistic event – the 15th edition of the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition. In addition, the company has financed the radio broadcasts of concerts together with the numerous events accompanying the contest.

As an active and responsible participant in public life PKN ORLEN committed itself to provide comprehensive financial assistance to the Chopin Piano Competition. The company’s intense involvement in the projects related to the contest constitutes the continuation of the concern’s praiseworthy endeavours intended to preserve the national heritage in the form of Chopin’s music.


The International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition was held for the first time in 1927 and it ranks among the oldest such musical festivals worldwide. It is universally perceived as one of the most significant cultural events enjoying well-deserved reputation and widespread recognition. This special occasion does not merely offer an opportunity for young musicians to compete against each other. It also serves as a valuable forum for exchange of views and ideas on the condition of Polish culture in general as well as provides a perfect venue for critics, musicologists, leading figures from the world of mass media, politics and economy, and last but not least for music lovers from all over the world.

The 15th edition of the competition was exceptional owing to the record number of competitors who entered for the contest. As many as 323 pianists took part in the competition preliminaries, out of whom 12 contestants managed to qualify for the grand final.

For years the Chopin Piano Competition has been accompanied by a number of additional events including occasional concerts, performances, meetings and press supplements. PKN ORLEN acted as the exclusive sponsor for the radio broadcasts and coverage featured on the 2nd Programme of Polish Radio – the only radio station where you could listen to the concerts broadcasts. They have always been enormously popular with listeners.


Besides, the company subsidized the special supplement to Rzeczpospolita newspaper devoted entirely to the 15th edition of the Piano Competition, its history, pianists and outstanding personalities. The insert also included a unique record with Frédéric Chopin’s music performed by Krzysztof Jabłoński.

What is more, PKN ORLEN became the exclusive partner in the OPEN FOR CHOPIN cycle of concerts organized in cooperation with Radio RMF FM Classic. During the sequence of events taking place in Cracow, Warsaw, Gdynia, Wroclaw and Szczecin the inhabitants of these cities were offered the opportunity to listen to Chopin’s music in both traditional and – somewhat unconventional – jazz renditions. The concerts were played by Janusz Olejniczak, Bartłomiej Kominek and Urszula Dudziak together with Michał Urbaniak.




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