Preludia - Unofficial website for Rafal Blechacz

Blog

Jan 19, 2014

blechacz.net

One thing that I forgot to post about was that Rafał Blechacz's new official website was opened on December 18, 2013, created by SUPERMEDIA Interactive, Warsaw.  Sorry for the delay (;_;)

blechacz.net
English

Now the new website is featured with a stylish, easy-to navigate design.
Thanks to Ms. Anna Kopczyńska, Client Service Manager, for notifying me of the new website on the date of publication.


Dec 29, 2013

Memories


photo credit; marcoanelli.com/gestrures-of-the-spirit/

I now feel that I've had some achievement of what I wanted to do by writing the website for Rafał Blechacz; to promote the pianist by giving an opportunity to listen to his music to a wide range of classical music listeners including those at pro/semi-professional level (especially in my country); and to provide right info/news of RB to him and his fans, which satisfies me to some extent.

Compiling various posts, working with other fans in particular, was enjoyable. Big thanks to Dana & Ola & Beata, Jan, Shizuka, Marine, MP, Operasora, Marzena, Deborah, Yewon, Joanna, arillei, Madokakip, three Masako-sans, Keiko-san, Yoko-san, Tamaki-san, Kuma-san, SUZU-san, Kaori-san, Miki-san, Okudaira-san, Praha-san, fans from Europe,  Americas and Asia (Korea and the Philippines, especially) and friendly followers on Twitter. Thanks for the contributions to Carmen,  Citrine, Marina (US), Cong, Karolina, Kathrina, Ms. ML Liu, Staff from Saitama Arts Center, several organizers in Europe (for sending reviews/photos), Tomomi-sensei (for beautiful pictures * *), Piotr Iwicki * and Fred Child *.  Thanks for visiting and reading this website.  (Akiko Ichikura, Tokyo)


PS
The wise words that a friend of mine gave me have supported me for the past several years when I was in difficulties.  My heartfelt thanks go to her. (Jan.8 ET).

"My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition there." by Indira Gandhi

I've been always in the first group in my efforts to support him and I'm proud of that.  But I must say the existence of a few from the second group, acting in a way that might compromise the reputation and integrity of the artist, has been a big obstacle for me to keep on my blog.


I sincerely hope he will grow to play for many people's hearts.


PS 2 (Jan. 9 JST)
From yesterday, I've been inundated by messages of congrats/mails of news of Mr. Blechacz's receiving 2014 Gilmore Artist Award.  Many thanks to Mary from Frederic Chopin Society, Jong, others from music lovers' community and music industry.  The prestigious US music award given to only one artist every four years has such distinguished pianists as Leif Ove Andsnes and Piotr Anderszewski as awardees.

You can watch the video of Gilmore 2014 with his commemorative performance and interview, at Greene Space, NY, which was live-broadcast on Jan. 8.

Another interview with NPR (audio).

Also, read the NYT article of the award, very interesting article.


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Following is a copy of the message and news that was forwarded to me by Mary Sigmond, President of Frederic Chopin Society in Minnesota, sent from Dan Gustin, Director of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Jan.7, the previous day of the award announcement.

******************************

“ I wanted to share with you the announcement of our 2014 Gilmore Artist Rafal Blechacz, which will appear publicly tomorrow.  Best wishes,  Dan”


RAFAŁ BLECHACZ NAMED 2014 GILMORE ARTIST

Mr. Blechacz to give his first performance as the Gilmore Artist during a special, live-streamed event presented by WQXR at The Greene Space on January 8 at 5:30 p.m. ET


New York, NY (January 08, 2014) – Polish pianist Rafał Blechacz (pronounced Ra-FAW BLEH-haatch) has been named the recipient of the 2014 Gilmore Artist Award, it was announced today by Daniel R. Gustin, Director of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. One of the most prestigious honors in music, the Gilmore Artist Award is presented every four years on a non-competitive basis to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, has the potential to sustain a career as a major international concert artist. Mr. Blechacz will receive $300,000 in support of his musical and career goals over the next four years. Previous recipients of the Gilmore Artist Award are Kirill Gerstein (2010), Ingrid Fliter (2006), Piotr Anderszewski (2002), Leif Ove Andsnes (1998), Ralf Gothóni (1994) and David Owen Norris (1991).
            Mr. Belchacz will perform works by Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven and Debussy during his first public performance as the 2014 Gilmore Artist in an event presented by WQXR at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space on Wednesday, January 8 at 5:30 p.m. ET. Hosted by WQXR’s Jeff Spurgeon and American Public Media’s Fred Child, the Greene Space event will include interviews with Mr. Blechacz, Daniel Gustin, Director of the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, former Artistic Advisory Committee members Ara Guzelimian (1998 and 2006) and Sherman Van Solkema (2010 and 2014) as well as the 2010 recipient of the Award Kirill Gerstein. The Greene Space event will be streamed live on www.greenespace.org, and a Gilmore Artist radio special will air on New York’s WQXR 105.9 FM on Wednesday, January 15 at 10:00 pm ET and Sunday, January 19 at 11:00 pm ET, and nationally on American Public Media’s Performance Today on January 14 (check local listings for time).  
“Rafał Blechacz stood out to us as a truly distinctive musical figure whose passionate commitment to his art and profound musicianship portend a long and brilliant career,” said Daniel Gustin.
Rafał Blechacz, 28, is a native of Poland, where he still makes his home. In October 2005, his career was launched when he was named the uncontested winner of the prestigious International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, receiving all five prizes including First Prize and special prizes for best mazurka, polonaise, concerto and sonata. He has since performed in Europe, Japan and North America to critical acclaim. Mr. Blechacz is an exclusive recording artist for Deutsche Grammophon, and has made five well-received recordings with the record label.
            “To receive this prestigious award is a great honor for me,” said Mr. Blechacz. “The award offers superb support for my upcoming musical projects and undeniably is a significant factor in the furthering of my career.”
            The Gilmore Artist Award is given by the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, established in 1989. Candidates for the Gilmore Artist Award are nominated confidentially by a large and diverse international assemblage of music professionals. The finalists among the candidates are then each evaluated for their career potential and musicianship in many live concert performances by Mr. Gustin and an anonymous committee representing various aspects of the classical music world. The committee evaluates the candidates’ work over a sustained period of time, rather than judging their achievements during the course of a highly concentrated and limited set of conditions as in a public competition.
            The Gilmore Artist receives a $50,000 cash grant to be used at the artist’s discretion and $250,000 typically disbursed over a four-year period for projects and activities that will enhance the artist’s musicianship and career.
In addition to Mr. Gustin, the supporting committee for the 2014 Gilmore Artist Award included Numa Bischof-Ullmann, Artistic and Executive Director of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra; Anthony Fogg, Artistic Administrator of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Christopher Roberts, President of Robison Consultants and former President of Universal Music; Judith Sherman, eminent recording producer and engineer; and Sherman Van Solkema, musicologist and retired chairman of the music departments of Brooklyn College and Grand Valley State University.
The Gilmore also gives Gilmore Young Artist Awards every two years to the most promising of the new generation of American pianists, age 22 and younger. Andrew Hsu and Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner, were named the 2014 Gilmore Young Artists. Between 1990 and 2012, 28 young pianists have received the Gilmore Young Artist Award, including Christopher Taylor, Jonathan Biss, Yuja Wang, Orion Weiss, Kirill Gerstein and Orli Shaham.
The Gilmore Festival and Awards are the legacy of Irving S. Gilmore, a Michigan businessman and philanthropist based in Kalamazoo, whose special devotion to piano music and pianists inspired the creation of the biennial Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and the Gilmore Artist and Young Artist Awards. Mr. Blechacz, along with former Gilmore Artists Kirill Gerstein, Piotr Anderszewski and Ingrid Fliter will appear at this year’s Gilmore International Keyboard Festival taking place April 24 to May 10, 2014 throughout West Michigan. More information can be found at www.thegilmore.org.
            Rafał Blechacz already has been praised as “one of the pianistic giants of our time” (The Sunday Times). With a determined pursuit of clarity and brilliance at the keyboard, his playing is often characterized by its elegance and delicacy, which conveys a poetic solemnity that has led him to be compared to legendary pianists of the early 20th century, as well as to fellow Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman, one of Mr. Blechacz’s mentors. The music of Chopin resonates strongly with Mr. Blechacz, and he is recognized for his intelligent and expressive interpretations of the composer’s works, yet his abundant virtuosity and profound musicianship have incited equal acclaim for his performances of works by an increasingly wide range of composers, from Bach and Beethoven to Liszt, Debussy andSzymanowski.
            Mr. Blechacz was the first Polish musician in 30 years to win the International Chopin Piano Competition. In a feat no other pianist has achieved, he was awarded First Prize, as well as all the special prizes of the competition including 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, the Krystian Zimerman-sponsored prize for the best performance of a sonata, and the Competition Audience Award. In July 2010, he received the prestigious Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Italy), awarded annually by an international jury of music critics to young musicians for their outstanding artistic achievements.
            In May 2006, Rafał Blechacz was signed as an exclusive recording artist for Deutsche Grammophon (DG). His award-winning recordings for DG include Chopin’s Complete Preludes, which received a German Echo Klassik award and a French Diapason D’or l’Année award; a recording of sonatas by Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart; and a “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik” (German Record Critics’ Award) winning recording of both Chopin concerti with the Concertgebouw Orchestra led by Jerzy Semkow. In spring 2012, his fourth DG album featuring works by Debussy and Szymanowski was named Gramophone magazine’s "Recording of the Month" and won Echo Klassik’s Solo Recording of the Year. In the Gramophone review of Mr. Blechacz’s recently-released Deutsche Grammophon recording of the Chopin Impromptus, Jeremy Nichols writes: “…this is Chopin-playing of the highest order,” noting that it sets “a new benchmark” among the many recordings of this repertoire.
            He has performed with renowned orchestras such as the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra, NDR Hamburg, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scalla in Milan, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in Europe; and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic in the U.S. Also in the U.S. he has performed in recital in Ann Arbor, Portland, Washington DC and San Francisco, among other cities. He has made important debuts at London’s Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt and the Konzerthaus in Vienna; and he is a frequent performer at important festivals including the Chopin Festival in Warsaw, the Klavier Festival Ruhr, Festival de la Roque d’Anthéron, the Verbier and Salzburg Festivals and the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, at which he made his North American debut in 2008.
            This season Rafał Blechacz made his debut with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin conducted by Cornelius Meister and returned to the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia conducted by Kent Nagano. He performed in recital at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, as well as in Glasgow, Porto, Madrid and Tokyo. His upcoming engagements include performances with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in Germany, Italy and France; an extensive tour of Germany with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds; and concerts at the Musikverein in Vienna with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra led by Alain Altinoglu. 
            Born in 1985 in Nakło nad Notecią, Poland, Mr. Blechacz’s earliest memories about music are connected with attending church and being fascinated with organ music he heard there. He aspired to become an organist until he began piano lessons and realized the piano was the right instrument for him. Mr. Blechacz enrolled at the Arthur Rubinstein State Music School in Bydgoszcz and went on to study with pianist Katarzyna Popowa-Zydroń at the city’s Feliks Nowowiejski Academy of Music, where he graduated in May 2007. In addition to his performing career, he is currently pursuing a Doctorate in philosophy with emphasis in aesthetics and the philosophy of music, at Uniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika (Nicolaus Copernicus University) in Torun.
# # #
Press contacts: 
Dan Gustin, Director

Mary McCormick, Director of Marketing & PR



*****

(I added this to express my appreciation to those who helped me for the past few years.)

Dec 7, 2013

Review of the concert at Santa Cecilia (3)

by Claudio Listani, posted on La Voce
"Kent Nagano, an elegant and refined director"

".....In the Mozart concerto, the understanding between Nagano and Rafal Blechacz, the pianist who is young but of great international importance, was perfect,  exhibiting a bright amalgamation between the orchestra and the soloist,  certainly of great grip and musical charm....."

*****
Another review on Rinascita
"Nagano, Blechacz and two masterpieces"
A very good review, sorry no time to translate


*****
Interview by Blechacz, on Rai Podcast Radio3 (audio)

Dec 5, 2013

Blechacz completed performances with Nagano and Santa Cecilia

His third and final performance of Mozart concerto in C minor, No.24 was on December 3.


"As to the Tuesday concert: Big applause, very long, Rafał & Kent Nagano were called up by the enthusiastic audience four times so there was no time for an encore. They both were coming out to the front of stage together each time."
(R.F.)

*****
We are now looking forward to his recitals in Japan, wishing sincerely for his good health.


Dec 4, 2013

Review of the concert at Santa Cecilia (2)

written by Stefano Ceccarelli

Original review

".....Blechacz suona da virtuoso assoluto: lasciano stupiti la perizia, il tocco delicatissimo e l’esecuzione delle impervie scale, ascendenti e discendenti. Più che un prorompente esecutore, è un cesellatore virtuoso: la resa della sua esecuzione pare opera di un giardiniere avveduto, che adorna le proprie piante con coreografie d’acqua, con zampilli spumanti. Nagano ben dirige l’orchestra e l’accompagna nella concertazione del solista...."


Review of the concert at Santa Cecilia

Refined elegance - Rafal Blechacz plays Mozart in Rome
written by Deborah Swain

".....I've had the pleasure of hearing Rafał Blechacz perform on several occasions over the last couple of years, and once again last night I was impressed not only by his sheer virtuosity, but also by the refined elegance, maturity of interpretation, and consummate poise in his playing...."

Reviews by Deborah of his performances in Rome
Recital, March 2011
Beethoven Concerto No.4, Feb. 2012
Recital, May 2013


photo credit: Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia FB

*****

Prize of the German Record Critics for Rafal Blechacz
reported on KD Schumid

☆detail



Dec 3, 2013

Big ovation at Santa Cecilia Monday evening to Blechacz

"Rafał played both Mozart's Piano Concerto in C minor with Santa Ceciclia under Kent Nagano as a program and Chopin's polonaise in C minor op. 40 as an encore. Ovation after the Concerto was huge and he was called to the front of the stage several times by the enthusiastic audience".
(R.F.)



Blechacz plays Chopin's Polonaise op.40 in C minor

Review of the concert by Santa Cecilia Orchestra on November 30
Mainly focused on Kent Nagano.
As for Blechacz, the review introduces him as the unrivaled winner of the 2005 Chopin Competition.

Blechacz and Nagano, see other pictures on Santa Cecilia FB  


。.☆.:*・゚☆。.:*.・゚☆゚・*:.。.☆゚・*:.。.☆.。.:*・゚☆.。.:*・゚☆゚・*:.。.☆゚・*:.。.☆
Message from Deborah from Rome.  Big thanks to her (^_^)

"It was a wonderful evening...I'll try to get a review online soon!"



Dec 1, 2013

Blechacz played Mozart concerto with Kent Nagano in Rome

and with Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

"Rafał just finished playing Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 at Santa Cecilia in Rome under Kent Nagano with the S. Cecilia Orchestra. Big, big and long applause! President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano was present. No encore at the request of the organizers not to prolong the evening because of President's age".
(R.F.)

Program page












Preview on Polish Institute in Rome

Preview on Repubblica
"My Mozart with Blechacz discovers a masterpiece", says Nagano.

Teatrionline

Roma2oggi

Many more enthusiastic previews on numerous websites.



Nov 30, 2013

Rafał Blechacz recital for Rheingau Festival to be broadcast by ABC Classic FM (Australia)

on December 6 @13:00 (local time) (3:00 am CET)
~convenient time for listeners in Asia/Pacific ♫

ABC Classic FM website



Courtesy Rheingau Music Festival -3 pictures available

Nov 25, 2013

Blechacz with Sinfonica de Galicia

You can see more pictures from the Orchestra's FB page. →


Nov 24, 2013

Nice reporting & photo from Concertgebouw

by Towarzystwo Polek w Holandii,

ToPolki website
Nice description of the recital.  You can see the artist in playing, by enlarging the photo.


The picture let me recall what he said in an interview of his unforgettable things/people (as of the spring, 2009).  Concertgebouw came first.  It was even before his recording of "Chopin concertos" there in July, 2009.



*****
Some of the images and literary works on this website remain the property of their owners. No copyright infringement is intended.
Visitors are asked to contact the author of this website personally before quoting any material which is exclusive to www.blechaczinfo.com

Enthusiastic applause again in La Coruña

for Rafał Blechacz @Palacio de la Ópera, November 23.

"Again a big success in La Coruña this Saturday evening. Rafał played again the Mozart Piano Concerto in C-minor No. 24, KV491 with the same orchestra under the same conductor (Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia,Victor Pablo Pérez, coductor). He received a big ovation and a lot of enthusiastic shouting "Bravo! Bravo!. Also after his encore!"
(R.F.)

Program page


*****
A review of this concert posted on opinionlacoruna.es.
".....In the concerto by Mozart,a refined pianism sparkled, with elegant phrasing and exquisite regulation of dynamics by Blechacz, who offered a Waltz by Chopin as an encore......"


Nov 23, 2013

Blechacz played Mozart Piano Concerto in C-minor k491 in La Coruña, Spain

@Palacio de la Ópera, November 22.

"Big success for Rafał in La Coruña tonight with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia under Victor Pablo Pérez. He played Mozart Piano Concerto in C-minor No. 24, KV491. The listeners erupted in a big ovation after the concerto came to an end and applauded again very enthusiastically when he finished his encore piece!"
(R.F.)



el arte de la fuga

Palacio de la Ópera website

Orchestra's program booklet (PDF)
Blechacz comes on P.18, 19

Preview
with a photo of gentle Pablo Perez.

Nov 22, 2013

Blechacz's CD "Chopin Polonaises" , 5 de diapason, November 2013 (France)

Diapason cd.com
"Chopin Polonaises" awarded 5 de Diapason, November 2013.
Review by Etienne Moreau

Etienne Moreau wrote reviews on his previous albums, such as "sonatas" and "Chopin Piano Concertos" for Diapason, too.  (See DG's Blechacz album review pages)

*****
(Reference)
"Debussy Szymanowski"  5 de diapason, April 2012

"Chopin Preludes" Diapason d'Or, 2008 (Best of the year 2008)